The Virtual Gamemaster: A New Approach to Branching Narrative in Computer Games

Lead Research Organisation: Falmouth University
Department Name: Games Academy

Abstract

Aims
To develop new approaches to computer game branching narratives, via the concept of a "virtual gamemaster", inspired by the gamemasters of tabletop roleplaying games (a gamemaster referees a game, directing play and storytelling).

Objectives
1. Explain, analyse and contextualise computer game branching narratives within the field of interactive narrative structures in entertainment media.
2. Explain and analyse the role of the gamemaster in tabletop roleplaying games.
3. Investigate how the gamemaster's role might inform the design and function of computer game branching narrative structures, theoretically and practically.
4. Develop a virtual gamemaster system, utilising the outcomes above, to present branching narrative to a player while adhering to some beneficial principles of gamemastering.

Prediction of final form of thesis
Written thesis with images and diagrams
Practical components:
- written framework for adapting gamemastering techniques to computer game branching narratives - the principles of the virtual gamemaster which will be explored through practice;
- exploratory software systems, games, and other game design practice investigating my branching narrative, developed in Unity, Twine and other systems as appropriate to the task, digital and non-digital

Publications

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