Workshop Descriptions

Half Day Workshop: Interactive Digital Storytelling: Practice, Impact and Aesthetics

Organizers: Noam Knoller, Henrik Schoneau-Fog, Udi Ben Arie

As the tools for creation and the applications of Interactive Digital Storytelling become more mature, the time has come to discuss how makers practice their craft of creating experiences, how the works impact their audiences and how the aesthetics and content of these works can be theorized upon.

The workshop aims to establish a significant venue at future ICIDS conferences for the presentation and discussion of Interactive Digital Storytelling/Narrative works that will reflect the concerns and perspectives of makers and audiences. The envisaged venue will allow artists and other practitioners to present novel and inspiring interactive digital works, provide an opportunity for mutual enrichment on questions of form and aesthetics, content, and the cultural and societal impact of current and future interactive storytelling applications, and – by being part of ICIDS – build bridges by creating a more structural interdisciplinary meeting point.

Format: Participants will be requested to submit, up to one week prior to the workshop, a short position paper addressing some or all of the following questions, which we will discuss during the workshop:

  • Which current and future trends in IDS/IDN works should we highlight and encourage?
  • How can IDS/IDN attract more artists and practitioners? How can we encourage them to engage with the field?
  • What format should the venue have that would best tease out questions of cultural and social impact? Should we establish a competition? What sort of competition, or what alternative format to a competition would you support?
  • What are the logistical considerations involved and what resources could be made available to realise this vision?
  • Participants who already have projects they would like to share as inspiration during the workshop are also welcome to prepare a video and/or a 10×20 second per slide mini-“Pecha Kucha” style presentation of their work. (This could also function as a teaser for some of the ICIDS demos).
The official email for the workshop is icids2013workshop@interfacestudies.organd the website is at http://www.interfacestudies.org/icids2013.
 

Full Day Workshop: Interactive Story Creation with Smartphone Video

Organizer: Lorene Shyba

Lorene Shyba’s  full-day workshop is to showcase and make use of new digital tools for game creation; primarily smartphone and tablet video cameras. Working with other participants from all over the world, you will create game storyboards from your video clips, motivated by characteristics of role-playing and adventure games. Please bring ideas about social or political issues that concern you, past or present, so we can develop story ideas that may address solutions to global problems. The take-away for artists and game developers is a new tool to tap into the smartphone camera’s ubiquity and portability to document real life conflicts and to use this footage, or dramatizations, to construct storyboards or even fully fledged interactive movies and serious games.

Organizer: Lorene Shyba has been a video producer, videogame designer, university professor (now at the University of Calgary, Canada), international entertainment impresario, magazine publisher, advertising art director, TV talent, sports car enthusiast, and cowgirl among other things. Her recent art projects get political about world energy resources through a mashup of forum theatre, serious videogames, and good old-fashioned book publishing. Among recent artistic endeavours is the forum theatre event Spies in the Oil Sands, and its spin-offs; the serious videogame The Pipeline Pinball Energy Thrill Ride Game and satirical novel 5000 Dead Ducks: Lust and Revolution in the Oilsands. She headed the design team for the award-winning Booze Cruise: A Driving Game With a Serious Drinking Problem and is interested in cultural aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI), play in virtual environments, and giving digital media workshop in far-away corners of the world.

Contact: lori.shyba@gmail.com

Full Day Workshop: Revisiting the spam folder – Using 419fiction for Interactive Storytelling

Organizers Andreas Zingerle, Linda Kronman
This workshop will be offering the participants both a theoretical and practical introduction to interactive narratives in ’419-fictional environments’ created by scammers and scambaiters. We seek to understand different sides of online fraud and through creative storytelling reflect on issues like online privacy, virtual representation and trust within networks. We also draw parallels to other practices and cultures like: gaming, transmedia storytelling or creative activism. Through a ’419fiction toolkit’ participants take the first steps of creating their fictional characters and infiltrating a scammers story-world to observe and interrupt their workflow.

We explore how persuasive narratives are setup, how characters are designed and how dialog is exchanged to build trust between the acting parties. We will use social media and various content generators and other tools to orchestrate internet fiction, creating entrance points to a story world and spreading traces of information online. By reflecting on scam bait experiences we enter a discussion around the topic of interactive narration connecting to the participants’ and their general work in this field.

The intended audience of this workshop would be students, artists, writers, narrative designers, and other people involved in the creation of IDS on a practical level or those with an interest in that direction. Attendees should be willing to actively participate in the discussions and the practical exercises which require to bring an own laptop, decent internet connection, some improvisational role-playing, internet savviness and an active imagination. We imagine an ideal group size of 8-15 participants.

Format: Full day workshop with theoretical introduction and a practical module. The theoretical module introduces the participants to the history of scamming, different types of scams and how the world of fraud has been dealt with in different genres – ranging from pop culture to modern art. The practical part of the workshop starts by introducing the participants to a specially designed ‘Scam the Scammer Kit’, a collection of tips for secure and ethical scambaiting, instructions how to start a non-traceable design of a new identity, tools to design a credible character and a storyworld around the bait by using transmedia storytelling methods, social media and various content generators.

Workshop Website: http://kairus.org/419-fiction/

To register for the workshop: Send email to Andreas Zingerle: mail@andreaszingerle.com

Full Day Workshop: Classical Games Workshop

Organizer: Ahmet Nazif Satı

We have been playing games for as long as human culture and society have endured. For the great part of that time, computers did not exist. That’s why, our digital games borrow heavily upon classical games that have been perfected over many centuries. The closest approach to digital games from the vector of classical gaming is board games. Both share a game platform (screen or game board) upon which game actors (a player character or a game piece) move according to certain rules to overcome obstacles.

This workshop is based on the premise that, in order to become a good digital game designer, it is crucial to have an intimate understanding of classical board games and their gestalt.

On the other hand, digital games also provide us with a brand new storytelling medium to work with. Then, why not produce a classical game, which tells a classical story out of classical literature?

Objectives: This workshop aims to design a game or a set of games (based on the number of participants) using a work of classical literature as inspiration. The products of this workshop are going to be (for each team):

  • A game design document
  • A playable game prototypeSince time limitations and technical considerations apply, the prototype is going to be a simple board game with sketchy art. Primary focus will be on conversion of the story into a fun ludic experience, rather than producing a piece of visual art. Also, the game design document is expected to provide prospective plans to turn the board game into a working digital title by speculating on the following issues:
  • Choice of digital platform (mobile devices, massive online gaming, social games, etc.)
  • Development schedule
  • Feasibility & Funding

Method:The following method is going to be used in order to realize the workshop objectives:

  • The participants are going to be expected to deconstruct a classical work of literature into gameplay components.
  • The works to be selected for deconstruction should be public domain works that are generally well‐ known in literature, such as: Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronté), Romeo & Juliet (William Shakespeare), 20.000 Leagues Under The Sea (Jules Verne), etc.
  • Wikipedia plot summaries and articles should be used as helpful tools for the deconstruction process.
  • The deconstructed works are going to be re‐interpreted in game design language:
  • Type of game (Roll and Move (Candyland, Chutes and Ladders), Simulation (Monopoly, Life), Strategy (Chess, Go), Wargames (Diplomacy, Axis & Allies), Party/Family (Taboo, Cranium), Resource Management (Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico), Cooperative (Knizia’s Lord of the Rings, Shadows over Camelot), Abstract (Blokus, Ingenious), Miniatures (Heroscape, Memoir ’44), Collectible (HeroClix, Magic: the Gathering), Auction (Medici, Modern Art), Tile Laying/Modular game board (Carcassonne, Zombies!!)
  • Player units or characters o Game rules
  • Story elements
  •  Fun factors
  • Proper sketchy art is going to be developed for the prototype, with an additional style sheet for further development (as part of the game design document) if time permits.
  • The playable prototype is going to be developed and produced.
  • A game design document is going to be refined, which will also act as the gameplay booklet.

Contact: ahmet@borderlineworlds.com

Half Day Workshop: 2nd Workshop on Games & Natural Language Processing

Organizers: Noriko Tomuro, Yun-Gyung Cheong, Michael R. Young

Workshop website – https://sites.google.com/site/gamnlp13/

Contact email for workshop – tomuro@cs.depaul.eduyugc@itu.dk

The 2nd Workshop on Games and NLP (GAMNLP-13) aims at promoting and exploring the possibilities for research and practical applications involving Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Games.  With the advances in videogames in recent years, areas in which games and NLP can help each other have greatly expanded.  The main objective of the workshop is to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners to discuss and share ideas regarding how the NLP research community can contribute to games research and vice versa.

The workshop welcomes the participation of both academics and industry practitioners interested in the use of NLP in games or vice versa.

Our GAMNLP workshop includes a hands-on activity in which the participants can try using NLP tools with a sample dataset.
For this session, it is desirable to bring their laptops, although we will encourage the laptop owners to share them with other participants. We made the note on our page at https://sites.google.com/site/gamnlp13/schedule.

Noriko Tomuro is an Associate Professor, and has been teaching at DePaul CDM since 2000. She obtained an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from DePaul University, and a B.A. in English Language from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. Her research interests are in Artificial Intelligence, in particular, Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval and Machine Learning. Her recent research includes Information Extraction and Sentiment Analysis from game review texts.

Yun-Gyung Cheong is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen, working for the EU FP7 ICT SIREN (social games for conflict resolution based on natural interaction) project. She received her PhD in Computer Science at North Carolina State University (2007), and M.S. and B.S. in Information Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea. She worked at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology between 2008 and 2010. Her research interests lie in artificial intelligence with emphasis on its use in discourse planning for narrative and games.

R. Michael Young received a BS in computer science in 1984 from the California State University at Sacramento, Sacramento, CA and an MS in computer science with a concentration in symbolic systems from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, in 1988. In 1998, Young received a Ph.D. in intelligent systems from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA and worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently a Professor of Computer Science and Co-Director of the Digital Games Research Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. His research interests span the computational modeling of narrative, the use of artificial intelligence techniques within computer games and virtual worlds. Dr. Young is a senior member of the IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery, and Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and a member of the International Game Developers’ Association.

Half Day Workshop: The importance of storytelling on online activism for creating change

Organizers: Uygar Özesmi, Serdar Paktin, Zennube Ezgi Kaya

Contact email: info_turkiye@change.org
Link of event page: http://j.mp/icidskonferans

Eastern Europe and West Asia Director of Change.org and civil society activist Uygar Özesmi, who were formerly TEMA Foundation and Greenpeace Mediterranean General Director, will take the participants on a ‘change from individual to society’ journey. In this journey, starting an online petition will constitute the core of the digital narrative that evolves into a movement, in which a grand narrative is constituted by contribution of personal stories of supporters, news articles, and social media shares and finally the response of the decision maker.

In this way, participants will experience building a movement around a cause by contributing their personal stories via digital channels and creating a network of stories to create a framework of social change that comes directly from the people. In this experience, the most crucial thing is, signing the online petition, in which the essential story is embedded. In addition, each person who shares their own story, shares their vision of it on social media, and each news article and/or comment from institutions fills into the cobweb. Consequently, this movement ends up in a grand network of stories, which ends happily for all by creating the desired change as a result.

At the beginning of the workshop, the most annoying and irritating subjects that touch our lives will be disclosed with no limits or boundaries. We will, then, distinguish what and why we want to change about these annoyances, as well as the target people who have the power or ability to change them. In the process, we will find out how and with whose support we can create these changes and figure out the road map of this individual and social change.

This road map will constitute the outline of the network of stories, which will write itself collectively throughout the campaign. Uygar will explain how you can use the world’s biggest petition platform, Change.org, and social media in order to create change, and the participants will be a part of the change with no procrastination. Right here, right now.

If you would like to learn what online activism and campaigning means in
daily life, please take your seat for the journey for change. Please, be reminded to bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop. If you don’t have one, please bring yourself.

Half Day Workshop: Edularp: Teaching, Learning and Engaging through Roleplay and Interactive Narratives

Organizers: Bjoern F. Temte, Morgan Jarl, and Henrik Schoenau-Fog

Co-organized by one of the world’s leading experts on Edularp,this ICIDS 2013 workshop will be offering the participants both a theoretical and practical introduction to Edularp, a form of interactive narrative roleplaying game that uses methods derived from Nordic-style live-action roleplaying games to heighten engagement and learning in education. The Edularp demos included in the workshop showcase concrete, real-world examples of applied Interactive Narratives, and the workshop relates Edularp and its methods to seminal works from the Interactive Digital Narrative community.

One of the most concretely applied subtypes of Interactive Narratives, Educational Live Action Roleplay or “Edularp” has gained great popularity in the past few years since its inception in Scandinavia. The concept has now reached USA, Israel/Palestine, Belarus, Brazil and beyond. Utilising methods derived from the live action roleplaying game types unique to the Nordic region, the interactive narratives of Edularps are now being used to heighten both engagement and learning in education and commercial environments alike.

Similar to a real world simulation, an Edularp offers the narrative to be experienced through a physical world, built or chosen for the particular pedagogic and artistic purpose. The participants co-create the story with the designers by improvisational drama similar to audience-free improvisation theatre. Through a common backstory – created and facilitated by the designer – it is possible to create a web of incentives for player to player interaction, based both on character motivations in the story and player motivation to succeed and “win” the game. This all can create very  immersive, engaging experiences, capable of motivating students, and giving them the opportunity to truly embody knowledge and try it out in a non-threatening environment.

Participants are expected to be academics or practitioners within the field of interactive narratives, who are professionally or personally interested in learning more about Edularp and narrative- and character-driven roleplaying game scenarios, both from a theoretical and especially a practical standpoint.

For more information, visit the workshop website at edularpworkshop.interaktivproduktion.se, or send your questions to edularpworkshop@interaktivproduktion.se

You can pre-register your intent to participate in the workshop here: http://interaktivproduktion.se/pedagogik/?page_id=9

Half Day Workshop: The Possibilities of Implementing Productive Interactivity in Emergent Narratives

Organizers: Sebastian Hurup Bevensee, Henrik Schoenau-Fog

The intention of the workshop is to introduce participants to the basic theory and the thought-provoking concept of productive interactivity in emergent narratives –a game concept where players mutually affect each other’s narrative experience through user-generated content by ‘leaving a mark’ in the world, which is then passed on to the next user. Furthermore, it aims to provide an insight into general creative perspectives addressing the potential authoring issue in emergent narratives. The concept of emergent narratives in the interactive storytelling domain has been defined by both Aylett and Louchart as well as Jenkins, which can be respectively defined as emergence from intelligent agents and from the environment of the world.

Clarifying the concept should lead to a short yet intense discussion with small problem-solving exercises for the audience to complete on the practical and theoretical possibilities, issues, and realization of the concept. The intended audience for the workshop will include creative and more practical-minded persons who can apply fresh inputs into the design of the concept and enjoy discussions on a potential new research area within emergent storytelling.

Being on a conceptual level, the idea raises an array of interactive storytelling issues when regarding the implementation and realization of the concept. For example, the productive actions the user performs might break the immersion or steal the attention of the user’s narrative-related goals. As a result, for instance, this could transform productive actions into motivating game elements and incorporate them in the main narrative. A relevant issue is also how to make sure the experience will be dramatic enough for a large number of participants to affect each other. Last but not least, how can the experience be measured in order to evaluate the experience?

The concept is currently being implemented in Cryengine 3 SDK as a story world which will be presented at the beginning of the workshop, but there are still unsolved issues such as motivating the user to be productive and designing an intelligent drama system which can control events, character behaviour, locations, and objects. As such, based on the conceptual idea, the main issues that will be encouraged to be discussed during the workshop can be presented in the following questions:

- The author problem—who will want to “leave a mark” and thus potentially break the immersion and narrative engagement?

- How to transform productive interaction into a motivating game element?

- Drama management (How could a potential drama manager function keep the player interested?)

- How does one implement AI and drama management?

- How can it be evaluated (game usability, interactive narrative user experience, immersion, flow, engagement etc.)?

After the workshop the participants should be inspired to use creative authoring techniques and apply them to emergent storytelling design in interactive environments, and hopefully the discussion will result in some new and inspiring ideas within the field.

Contact: sbeven09student.aau.dk and hsf@create.aau.dk