November 9, 2004

Crawford Tells All

by Andrew Stern · , 9:11 am

Chris Crawford’s long awaited book on interactive story, in which he finally reveals his secrets and hard-won lessons learned from slaving for years to build the Erasmatron, is now out and available from New Riders. (For more on the Erasmatron, go here and scroll down for essays.)

Chris considers it “the most important book I have ever written”, and describes his goals for the book on the back-cover blurb:

[He] resolves misleading dilemmas, such as the feckless debate over plot versus interactivity, and then offers detailed descriptions of technologies for implementing interactive storytelling. Herein lies the meat of the book. Instead of vague, hand-waving wishlists, Crawford gives workable solutions. Instead of intellectually pretentious gobbledygook, Crawford explains in plain English what works and what doesn’t. This is the real thing.

I have quickly read a pre-release version of the book, and can say it goes further than any other book to date on the true requirements for actually building more deeply interactive, generative stories — not just design goals, but specific paths to solutions. I plan to write up a thorough review once I find some free time.

(n.b. I’m reminded of my disdain for the oxymoronic term “interactive storytelling” — which Chris himself agrees is a poor term…)