Surfing around I came across a new book to be published this Fall, called “Tomorrow’s Stories: How Responsive Narratives Will Change Storytelling”. The author is Andrew Glassner, perhaps best known as the creator and editor of the Graphics Gems book series on computer graphics. According to his bio, he’s also written a novel, directed a short animated film, and designed some interactive fiction / game prototypes. I heard Glassner opine on the “Future of Fiction” panel Noah co-organized at SIGGRAPH 2000, and remember him as thoughtful and articulate.
His forthcoming book “addresses the fundamentals of how and why successful games and stories work. It is the first book to give a reader a practical understanding of both the structure of story and the structure of participatory gaming. This knowledge helps the reader see why and how today’s models of interactive fiction succeed and fail, and provides a foundation for developing new storytelling art forms that harmoniously integrate interaction and narrative.”
He sees limitations in branching narrative / hypertext approaches. “These ideas, and their cousins, have been tried time and again in the marketplace but have yet to achieve mainstream success. There are some very good, specific reasons for this lack of success, and those reasons can be found by going back to the basics of what stories and games are, and how they work.”
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