Telling Stories Through Space: The Mindstage Project

  • Michael Nitsche
  • Paul Richens
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4326)


Mindstage is a real-time multi-user 3D virtual environment used to explore the relationships between a linear story and the virtual world in which it unfolds. The prototype uses as its narrative spine an illustrated lecture on film design by Christopher Hobbs. It provides a stage for interaction featuring a customized 3D environment based on this material, with the necessary actors and objects in it. The main design issues were mapping the linear talk onto the virtual space, and the implementation of various interactive features within it. We argue that a careful use of spatial design supports a degree of non-linear story-telling without compromising the core linear content.


virtual space narrative educational architecture 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Aarseth, E.J.: Allegorien des Raums: Räumlichkeit in Computerspielen Zeitschrift für Semiotik, pp. 301–318 (2001)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aarseth, E.J.: Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London (1997)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Aarseth, E.J.: Quest Games as Post-Narrative Discourse. In: Ryan, M.-L. (ed.) Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling, pp. 361–377. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bates, J.: The Role of Emotion in Believable Agents. Communications of the ACM 37(7), 122–125Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bates, J., Loyall, B.A., Reilly, W.S.: An Architecture for Action, Emotion, and Social Behaviour. In: Castelfranchi, C., Werner, E. (eds.) MAAMAW 1992. LNCS, vol. 830, pp. 55–68. Springer, Heidelberg (1994)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Blumberg, B.: Old Tricks. New Dogs: Ethology and Interactive Creatures, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bolter, J.D.: Writing Space. In: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc, Mahwah, New Jersey, London (2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brophy, S.P.: Constructing Shareable Learning Materials in Bioengineering Education. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine 22(4), 39–46Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Crawford, C. Understanding Interactivity (draft 7.0). n.n., n.n. (2000)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dillenbourg, P.: Virtual Learning Environments EUN Conference 2000, Brussels (2000)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Friedman, T.: Civilization and Its Discontents: Simulation, Subjectivity, and Space. In: Smith, G. (ed.) Discovering Discs: Transforming Space and Genre on CD-ROM, pp. 132–150. New York University Press, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fuller, M., Jenkins, H.: Nintendo and New World Travel Writing: A Dialogue. In: Jones, S.G. (ed.) Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, pp. 57–72. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks (1995)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Harrison, S., Dourish, P.: Re-place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems. ACM Press, New York (1996)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hayes-Roth, B., van Gent, R.: Improvisational Puppets, Actors, and Avatars. Miller Freeman, San Francisco (1996)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Herman, D.: Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, London (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hillier, B., Hanson, J.: The Social Logic of Space. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jenkins, H.: Game Design as Narrative Architecture. In: Harrington, P., Wardrup-Fruin, N. (eds.) First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game, MIT Press, Cambridge (2004)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jenkins, H., Squire, K.: The Art of Contested Spaces. In: King, L. (ed.) Game On: The History and Culture of Video Games, Universe, New York, pp. 64–75 (2002)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Loomis, J.M., Lippa, Y., Klatzky, R.L., Golledge, R.G.: Spatial Updating of Locations Specified by 3-D Sound and Spatial Language. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 28(2), 335–345Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Loyall, A.B.: Believable Agents: Building Interactive Personalities. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (1997)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lynch, K.: The Image of the City. MIT Press, Cambridge (1960)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mateas, M.: Interactive Drama. In: Art and Artificial Intelligence, Carnegie Mellon University (2002)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mateas, M., Sengers, P.: Narrative Intelligence. John Benjamins Publ. Co., Amsterdam (2002)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mateas, M., Stern, A.: Integrating Plot, Character and Natural Language Processing in the Interactive Drama Façade. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Darmstadt (2003)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Murray, J.H.: Hamlet on the Holodeck. In: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, MIT Press, Cambridge (1997)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nitsche, M., Roudavski, S., Thomas, M., Penz, F.: Building Cuthbert Hall Virtual College As a Dramatically Engaging Environment. In: Binder, T., Gregory, J., Wagner, I. (eds.) Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 2002, CPSR, Malmoe, pp. 386–390 (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nitsche, M., Roudavski, S., Thomas, M., Penz, F.: Drama and Context in Real-Time Virtual Environments: Use of Pre-Scripted Events as a Part of an Interactive Spatial Mediation Framework. In: Göbel, S., Braun, N., Spierling, U., Dechau, J., Diener, H. (eds.), pp. 296–310. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Darmstadt (2003)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Richens, P., Nitsche, M.: Mindstage: Towards a Functional Virtual Architecture. In: Martens, B., Brown, A. (eds.) 11th International CAAD Futures Conference, pp. 331–340. Springer, Vienna (2005)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Riedl, M., Saretto, C.J., Young, M.R.: Managing Interaction between Users and Agents in a Multi-agent Storytelling Environment. ACM Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ryan, M.-L.: Narrative As Virtual Reality. In: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London (2001)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schroeder, R.: The Social Life of Avatars: Presence and Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments. Springer, London (2002)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Siegel, D.: The Nine Act Story Structure. In: Proceedings of the Computer Game Developers Conference 1996, pp. 421–431. Miller Freeman, San Francisco (1996)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Smith, H.: The Future of Game Design: Moving beyond Deus Ex and other dated Paradigms Multimedia International Market, Montreal (2001)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Stone, A.R.: Cyberdaemmerung at Wellspring Systems. In: Moser, A.M. (ed.) Immersed in Technology. Art and Virtual Environments, pp. 103–118. MIT Press, Cambridge (1996)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Szilas, N.: Interactive Drama on Computer: Beyond Linear Narrative. AAAI Press, Menlo Park (1999)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Taylor, T.L.: Play between Worlds. In: Exploring Online Game Culture, MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Tomlinson Jr., W.M.: Synthetic Social Relationships for Computational Entities. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2002)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tosca, S.: The Quest Problem in Computer Games. In: Gőbel, S., Braun, N., Spierling, U., Dechau, J., Diener, H. (eds.) Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling TIDSE, pp. 69–82. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Darmstadt, GE (2003)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Weinbren, G.: The Digital Revolution is a Revolution of random Access. In: Telepolis (online magazine) Heise, February 17 (1997)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wimberley, D., Samsel, J.: Interactive Writer’s Handbook. The Carronade Group, Los Angeles, San Francisco (1995)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wright, W.: Content, Compression, and Creativity Living Game Worlds Symposium, Atlanta, GA (2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Nitsche
    • 1
  • Paul Richens
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Literature, Communication & CultureGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Paul Richens, Department of Architecture and Civil EngineeringUniversity of BathBathUK

Personalised recommendations