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Embedded Narratives in Procedurally Generated Environments

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12497)


Procedural Content Generation can help alleviate the workloads of designers, with the drawback of reducing their control over the final product. At the same time, many games have a growing focus on conveying a narrative using environmental storytelling which requires a high degree of control to embed in a virtual environment. This paper seeks to reconcile the apparent conflict in these two approaches, and explores a method in which Procedural Content Generation can be used to create virtual environments with embedded narratives. This is done using a Space-Time Drama Manager to dynamically place narrative elements in the virtual environment. A prototype game was developed and evaluated in a between-groups test (n = 69). Participants in the control condition all experienced the same environment, while those in the experimental condition each experienced a different procedurally generated environment. No significant difference was found for any of the measures. This was attributed to the fact that it is possible to convey an embedded narrative consistently to players, even when the environment which contains the narrative elements is procedurally generated, yielding a different experience for each participant.


  • Procedural Content Generation
  • Environmental Storytelling
  • Embedded narratives
  • Narrative experience
  • Space-Time Drama Manager

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-62516-0_3
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Correspondence to Henrik Schoenau-Fog .

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Nielsen, T.L., Rafferty, E.I., Schoenau-Fog, H., Palamas, G. (2020). Embedded Narratives in Procedurally Generated Environments. In: Bosser, AG., Millard, D.E., Hargood, C. (eds) Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12497. Springer, Cham.

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