Implementing drama management for improved player agency in interactive storytelling

Christopher McEvoy, David King

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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With increases in complexity of graphics in video games, there exists a need to increase the complexity of game world narratives so that players feel they are an active part of an unfolding story, influenced by their actions and behaviours. Drama Management (DM) systems offer an attempt to facilitate this but are an area in need of further exploration for application in real-time narrative games. The aim of the project is to develop a prototype DM system for a real-time game that improves player agency and to analyse the effectiveness of the chosen techniques. An application was developed consisting of a 3D interactive environment, a possibility space of narrative plot points, and an Intelligent Agent that branches the story based on a Player Model, using Heuristic Search Planning. It was determined that the possibility space design has a major role in the application's effectiveness to invoke agency within players. The sense of agency can also be improved by combining the developed framework with additional extensions. This project determined that Drama Management systems are a viable method of improving the complexity of a narrative's discourse to promote player agency, but also require careful design alongside suitable algorithmic techniques to be fully effective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication20th International Conference on Intelligent Games and Simulation
Subtitle of host publicationGAME-ON'2019
EditorsRobert Grigg
Place of PublicationOstend
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9789492859082
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2019
Event20th annual European GAME-ON Conference: Simulation and AI in Computer Games - Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, Netherlands
Duration: 18 Sep 201920 Sep 2019
Conference number: 20


Conference20th annual European GAME-ON Conference
Abbreviated titleGame-On 2019
Internet address


  • Drama management
  • Intelligent agent
  • Player modelling
  • Heuristic search planning
  • Graph theory


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