Linear Interactive Storytelling (Master's Thesis)

Linear stories in interactive storytelling systems are commonly seen as a flaw, because they limit the freedom of the users and force a single direction upon them. But what if this direction happens to coincide with what the users were going to do in the first place? There would be no difference in the experience to the first run of a non-linear story.

It should be possible to write such a coinciding linear story. This thesis shows several psychological concepts which help to predict and influence the behavior of users, so that a matching linear story can be authored.

Since even the best psychological models cannot predict human behavior with absolute certainty, there is also the need to think about possible deviations. An analysis of various interactive storytelling systems shows promising strategies which can be useful for linear interactive storytelling, although the perfect framework currently does not exist. Fortunately, complex approaches are not absolutely necessary, as demonstrated by a simple exception strategy.

» Linear Interactive Storytelling (PDF)

By the way, the thesis has been rated 1,1 (between A and A-) by my supervisors Prof. Dr. Huberta Kritzenberger und Prof. Dr. Stephen Lowry. Yippee! :)

Here are two excerpts from their assessments:

“Die Arbeit demonstriert ein sehr gutes und fundiertes Verständnis der herangezogenen Theorien, die nicht nur referiert, sondern vollständig in die eigene Argumentation integriert werden. Herr Sander zeigt auch, dass er in der Lage ist, auch komplexe und abstrakte Überlegungen verständlich und klar zu erklären (auf Englisch!). Die Arbeit ist übersichtlich und logisch gegliedert.“

[The thesis demonstrates a very good and well-grounded understanding of the theories drawn upon, which are not only referenced but also completely integrated in his own reasoning. Mr. Sander also shows that he has the ability to explain complex and abstract thoughts comprehensibly and clearly (in English!). The thesis is structured clearly and logically.]

(Prof. Dr. Stephen Lowry)

“Literaturrecherche, Literaturauswertung und Fazit, das Herr Sander jeweils zieht, gehen weit über die sonst bei Masterarbeiten zu erwartenden Leistungen hinaus.“

[Literature research, analysis and the respective conclusions which Mr. Sander is drawing go way beyond the usual performance than usually to be expected of a master’s thesis.]

(Prof. Dr. Huberta Kritzenberger)