Open Design Challenges for Interactive Emergent Narrative

  • James Owen Ryan
  • Michael Mateas
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9445)


We introduce a research framework for the design of interactive experiences in the domain of emergent narrative, an application area of computational narrative in which stories emerge bottom-up from the behavior of autonomous characters in a simulated storyworld. Prior work in this area has largely concerned the development and tuning of the simulations themselves from which interesting stories may reliably emerge, but this approach will not necessarily improve system performance at its most crucial level—the actual interactive experience. Looking to completed experiences, namely simulation games like Dwarf Fortress and The Sims, we identify a series of shortcomings that yield four design challenges at the level of interaction: modular content, compositional representational strategies, story recognition, and story support. In this paper, we motivate and discuss each of these design challenges and, for each, summarize prior work and propose new approaches that future work might take.


Emergent narrative Content authoring Story recognition 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Owen Ryan
    • 1
  • Michael Mateas
    • 1
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin
    • 1
  1. 1.Expressive Intelligence Studio, Center for Games and Playable MediaUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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