Online story system, IDN & Narrative paradox (for my master)

Hello all!

I’m 23 years and a master student in Media Innovation from the Netherlands. For my master thesis I’m looking into interactive digital narratives, specifically branching stories, and the narrative paradox.

For those of you who are not familiar with the narrative paradox: the narrative paradox claims that there’s tension between the user interaction and plot. (On the one hand, a strong narrative structure ensures quality of the narrative and doesn’t allow much interaction. On the other hand, as the possibilities of interactivity within a narrative increase, the shape of the narrative can become troublesome to maintain.)

To find out if the narrative paradox can be reduced or even avoided I first need to know how people experience a branching story without any adjustments.

And that’s where I need your help!

With some great help, I’ve set up a ‘storytelling system’ which includes a profile questionnaire, a short narrative story and an evaluation questionnaire.

Some things you should know before participating:

  • You will first need to register
  • The total time needed, to fill out the questionnaires and read the story, is estimated to be between 15 and 30 minutes
  • The data gathered will be processed anonymously

[size=150]Click here to go to the storytelling system and participate![/size]

Thank you very much in advance!

Any feedback is more than welcome :slight_smile:

Without wanting to step on your research… that feels like a 1990s way of looking at IF structure. I haven’t bought into that simplistic see-saw model for a long time, and I don’t think it figures into current discussions here.

The interesting question is: which elements of the gameplay are tightly constrained by the author, which elements are loosely constrained by the author (and thus strongly influenced by the player), and why has the author laid them out that way?

The idea that “the narrative” is a single thing which can only be one or the other implies that you’re considering a minimalist or pared-down game that only has one gameplay element. Which, I don’t know, maybe you are! But that’s not the common case.

The way I understand narrative paradox, it doesn’t necessarily imply a strict demarcation between narrative and gameplay. It posits that there is a tension between maintaining a cohesive narrative and allowing gameplay to have an impact on it.

Maybe I misunderstood you, but it seems to me that it’s far from a solved problem.

The questions you provide are indeed interesting and worth exploring. However give me the opportunity to explain some more about my research. I’m trying to fill in a gap a I found in literature on user modeling and interactive narratives (in this case a CYOA). I’m looking into how a certain user (reader/player) can be modeled based on his reading and branching behavior of a story, to find out to what extend user modeling might reduce the tension between interaction and plot in an interactive digital narrative. The ultimate idea behind this is that the author might provide a different kind of interactivity by not only focussing on a pre-authored story, but also on how a story might adapt to the user himself.

And if you don’t think that this fits into current discussions I’m sorry. I’m just trying to get feedback from people who have experience on this topic, so I still appreciate your opinion :slight_smile:

Yes, you are totally right, I described it a tension between the user interaction and plot elsewhere. It was a hasty conclusion to link it to satisfaction which was out of place, I edited in the previous post.