January 20, 2008

Choose-Your-Own Dogma

by Nick Montfort · , 6:31 pm

Malcolm Ryan, a frequent commenter on here who several of us recently heard undertaking to analyze a page of Peter Rabbit, has apparently been circulating the beginning of a manifesto pertaining to interactive narrative and drama systems. Most people in this area think of Dogz when they hear “dogmatic,” but there’s also the obedience to doctrine that the Dogme 95 filmmakers have pledged and the Dogma 2001 vows Ernest Adams proposed, following the lead of those filmmakers.

Grand Text Auto has managed to obtain the first vow from this still-secret document:

As a signatory to the 2007 Narrative AI Manifesto, I do hereby solemnly vow that:

1) I will no longer assign events a numeric “tension” value and plot a story as an Aristotelean “dramatic arc”. I recognise that real stories contain situations and devices that are more semantically complex than can be represented by a sequence of numbers that rises and falls.

What else might be in store? We have some ideas …

?) A programming language, subsystem, or component may not be used in the development of the work if its name is an acronym.

?) Knights, elves, dwarves, dragons and the like are the only creatures that may be represented. I recognize that the portrayal of couples undergoing a marital crisis and other ordinary people in domestic situations is alienating to the largest group of people interested in computer-simulated characters.

?) Interaction must be completely based around verbs. Only pure verbs may be supported. Verbs which are also nouns will not be permitted.

?) Development of some sound, music, and art assets is allowed, but all developers must use identical consumer laptops and sit together at the same folding banquet table.

Do you have other ideas?