The PC3 Framework: A Formal Lens for Analyzing Interactive Narratives across Media Forms

  • Brian Magerko
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8832)


This article presents the PC3 framework, an analytical lens for dissecting interactive narrative systems across different media forms, such as in theatre, digital media, and board games. It proposes the use of process, content, control, and context as the important components of an interactive system that must be considered when comparing it to the makeup of other systems. It describes each component, the rationale behind the component, and relates them to interactive narrative systems in a variety of media forms and contexts.


Board Game Pretend Play Improvisational Theatre Story Creation Story Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Murray, J.H.: Hamlet on the Holodeck: The future of narrative in cyberspace. MIT Press (1997)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lebling, P.D., Blank, M.S., Anderson, T.A.: Special Feature Zork: A Computerized Fantasy Simulation Game. Computer 12(4), 51–59 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Borges, J.L.: Collected Fictions. Penguin Books, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Caillois, R.: Man, play, and games. University of Illinois Press, Urbana (2001)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gaynor, S.: Gone Home. The Fullbright Company (2013)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wreden, D.: The Stanley Parable (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rao, A.: Bastion. SuperGiant Games (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cage, D.: Heavy Rain. Quantic Dream (2010)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Once Upon a Time. Atlas Games (1994)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ravachol, E., Barmore, N.: Dread. The Impossible Dream (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morningstar, J.: Fiasco. Bully Pulpit Games (2009)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rizzolo, J.: 225 Plays: By The New York Neo-Futurists from Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Hope and Nonthings, Chicago (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Graham, S., Hoggett, S.: The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre, 1st edn. Routledge, London (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bogart, A., Landau, T.: The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition. Theatre Communications Group, New York (2004)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M., Zubek, R.: MDA: A formal approach to game design and game research. In: Proceedings of the AAAI Workshop on Challenges in Game AI, p. 04 (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ermi, L., Mäyrä, F.: Fundamental components of the gameplay experience: Analysing immersion. In: DIGRA, p. 37 (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Costello, B., Edmonds, E.: A study in play, pleasure and interaction design. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, pp. 76–91 (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Koenitz, H., Haahr, M., Ferri, G., Sezen, T.I., Sezen, D.: Mapping the Evolving Space of Interactive Digital Narrative - From Artifacts to Categorizations. In: Koenitz, H., Sezen, T.I., Ferri, G., Haahr, M., Sezen, D., C̨atak, G. (eds.) ICIDS 2013. LNCS, vol. 8230, pp. 55–60. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bevensee, S.H., Dahlsgaard Boisen, K.A., Olsen, M.P., Schoenau-Fog, H., Bruni, L.E.: Project Aporia – An Exploration of Narrative Understanding of Environmental Storytelling in an Open World Scenario. In: Oyarzun, D., Peinado, F., Young, R.M., Elizalde, A., Méndez, G. (eds.) ICIDS 2012. LNCS, vol. 7648, pp. 96–101. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Crawford, C.: Process intensity. Journal of Computer Game Development 1(5) (1987)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Roberts, D.L., Isbell, C.L.: Desiderata for managers of interactive experiences: A survey of recent advances in drama management. In: Proceedings of the First Workshop on Agent-Based Systems for Human Learning and Entertainment, ABSHLE 2007 (2007)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Riedl, M.O., Bulitko, V.: Interactive Narrative: An Intelligent Systems Approach. AI Magazine 34(1), 67–77 (2013)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Magerko, B., Manzoul, W., Riedl, M., Baumer, A., Fuller, D., Luther, K., Pearce, C.: An Empirical Study of Cognition and Theatrical Improvisation. In: The Proceedings of ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, Berkeley, CA (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sawyer, R.K.: Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brisson, A., Magerko, B., Paiva, A.: Tilt Riders: Improvisational Agents Who Know What the Scene Is about. In: Vilhjálmsson, H.H., Kopp, S., Marsella, S., Thórisson, K.R. (eds.) IVA 2011. LNCS, vol. 6895, pp. 35–41. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Baumer, A., Magerko, B.: Narrative development in improvisational theatre. In: Iurgel, I.A., Zagalo, N., Petta, P. (eds.) ICIDS 2009. LNCS, vol. 5915, pp. 140–151. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Baumer, A., Magerko, B.: An analysis of narrative moves in improvisational theatre. In: Aylett, R., Lim, M.Y., Louchart, S., Petta, P., Riedl, M. (eds.) ICIDS 2010. LNCS, vol. 6432, pp. 165–175. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Magerko, B., O’Neill, B.: Formal Models of Western Films for Interactive Narrative Technologies. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Computational Models of Narrative, Istanbul, Turkey (2012)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lakoff, G.: Cognitive models and prototype theory. In: Margolis, E., Laurence, S. (eds.) Concepts and Conceptual Development: Ecological and Intellectual Factors in Categorization, pp. 63–100 (1987)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Magerko, B., Fiesler, C., Baumer, A.: Fuzzy Micro-Agents for Interactive Narrative. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Annual AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Palo Alto, CA (2010)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sawyer, R.K.: Improvisational Cultures: Collaborative Emergence and Creativity in Im-provisation. Mind Culture, And Activity 7(3), 180–185 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Fuller, D., Magerko, B.: Shared Mental Models in Improvisational Theatre. In: Proceedings of 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, Atlanta, GA (2011)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fairclough, C., Cunningham, P.: A Multiplayer OPIATE. International Journal of Intelligent Games and Simulation 3(2), 54–61 (2004)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Magerko, B.: A Comparative Analysis of Story Representations for Interactive Narrative Systems. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Interactive Digital Entertainment, Marina del Rey, CA (2007)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Rimmon-Kenan, S.: Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics, 2nd edn. Routledge, London (2002)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Whose Line is it Anyway? BBC (1988)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Riedl, M.O., Young, R.M.: Narrative planning: balancing plot and character. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 39(1), 217–268 (2010)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mateas, M.: Interactive Narrative. In: Proceedings of 6th AAAI Workshop on Interactive Narrative Technologies (INT6), Boston, MA (2013)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Blumberg, B.M., Galyean, T.A.: Multi-level direction of autonomous creatures for real-time virtual environments. In: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, pp. 47–54 (1995)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Riedl, M.O., Stern, A.: Believable agents and intelligent story adaptation for interactive storytelling. In: Göbel, S., Malkewitz, R., Iurgel, I. (eds.) TIDSE 2006. LNCS, vol. 4326, pp. 1–12. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Frycook, (accessed: July 20, 2014)
  42. 42.
    Li, B., Lee-Urban, S., Riedl, M.: Crowdsourcing interactive fiction games. In: Foundations of Digital Games, pp. 431–432 (2013)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Johnson, W.L., Marsella, S., Vilhjalmsson, H.: The DARWARS tactical language training system. In: Proceedings of I/ITSEC, Marina del Rey, CA (2004)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hartholt, A., Gratch, J., Weiss, L., The Gunslinger Team: At the Virtual Frontier: Introducing Gunslinger, a Multi-Character, Mixed-Reality, Story-Driven Experience. In: Ruttkay, Z., Kipp, M., Nijholt, A., Vilhjálmsson, H.H. (eds.) IVA 2009. LNCS, vol. 5773, pp. 500–501. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Magerko, B., Dohogne, P., DeLeon, C.: Employing Fuzzy Concepts for Digital Im-provisational Theatre. In: Proceedings of the Seventh Annual AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Palo Alto, CA (2011)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    O’Neill, B., Piplica, A., Fuller, D., Magerko, B.: A knowledge-based framework for the collaborative improvisation of scene introductions. In: André, E. (ed.) ICIDS 2011. LNCS, vol. 7069, pp. 85–96. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ryokai, K., Vaucelle, C., Cassell, J.: Virtual peers as partners in storytelling and liter-acy learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19(2), 195–208 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Magerko, B.: Evaluating Preemptive Story Direction in the Interactive Drama Architecture. Journal of Game Development 2(3) (2007)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Magerko, B., Stensrud, B., Holt, L.: Bringing the Schoolhouse Inside the Box – A Tool for Engaging, Individualized Training. In: Proceedings of the 25th Army Science Conference, Orlando, FL (2006)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Blackwell, J.R.: Shelter in Place. Galileo Games (2010)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Jacob, M., Coisne, G., Gupta, A., Sysoev, I., Verma, G., Magerko, B.: “Viewpoints AI.”. In: The Proceedings of the Ninth Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE), Boston, MA (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Magerko
    • 1
  1. 1.Technology Square Research Bldg. 319Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations