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Educating Interactive Narrative Designers: Cornerstones of a Program

Authors:
  • HKU University of the Arts Utrecht
  • HKU University of the Arts Utrecht

Abstract and Figures

In recent years, games with a focus on narrative have been a growing area. However, so far, interactive narrative aspects have not been the focus of video game education (with the noted exception of a small number of programs in game writing), which indicates that many narrative designers are self-trained. The insular status means that many designers use private vocabulary and conceptualizations that are not directly transferable. This state of affairs is an obstacle to productive discourse and has negative consequences for the further development of the professional field. By starting an educational program, we aim to address this problem using the opportunity to also include perspectives outside of games. We report on the first iteration of a minor in interactive narrative design, and reflect on lessons learned, while considering future trajectories for this and similar programs.
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Educating Interactive Narrative Designers
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Hartmut Koenitz, Christian Roth, & Teun Dubbelman
Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association
November 2021, Vol. 5 No 3, pp. 117-145. ISSN 2328-9422
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In recent years, games with a focus on narrative have been a
growing area. However, so far, interactive narrative aspects have
not been the focus of video game education (with the noted
exception of a small number of programs in game writing), which
indicates that many narrative designers are self-trained. The
insular status means that many designers use private vocabulary
and conceptualizations that are not directly transferable. This state
of affairs is an obstacle to productive discourse and has negative
consequences for the further development of the professional field.
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By starting an educational program, we aim to address this
problem using the opportunity to also include perspectives outside
of games. We report on the first iteration of a minor in interactive
narrative design, and reflect on lessons learned, while considering
future trajectories for this and similar programs.
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Ludonarrative pedagogy, game design education, interactive
digital narrative (IDN), interactive narrative design, interactive
narrative pedagogy
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Interactive narrative aspects, sometimes referred to as
ludonarrative, have not been the focus of video game studies and
education. During the foundational phase of the discipline, the
focus was placed on game mechanics and on understanding what
distinguishes games from earlier forms, such as movies and
novels. In addition, some scholars presented narratives as
oppositional to the very idea of games. In recent years, however,
the growing field of high-profile narrative-focused games (e.g.,
Dear Esther (The Chinese Room 2008), Gone Home (The
Fullbright Company 2013), Telltale Games’ productions like The
Walking Dead (Telltale Games 2012), The Wolf Amongst Us
(2013), Firewatch (Campo Santo 2016)) and Detroit: Become
Human (Quantic Dream 2018), Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik 2019)
and more recently the release of The Last of Us 2 (Naughty Dog
2020) have alerted a wider audience to the possibilities of narrative
expressions that embrace the affordances and unique possibilities
of digital interactivity (Laurel 1986; Murray 1997; Rieser 1997;
Jenkins 2004a; Murray 2011; Calleja 2013; Koenitz et al. 2015).
In other words – these games do not attempt to ‘interactivize’
print literature or the movie, but instead explore a different and,
so far, less explored space of interactive digital narration. This
development needs to be reflected in video game teaching. Yet, so
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far, narrative has been a stepchild in games education. Most game
design degree programs feature only a single course on the topic,
and specific programs in game writing are scarce1. Our approach,
instead, is to offer a minor concentration within a game design
program, which also integrates perspectives outside of games, for
example interactive documentaries and installation pieces. and
thus offers a wider view on interactive digital narratives (IDN).
First, we will discuss the concrete motivation and professional
context of the minor interactive narrative design. Next, we will
explain our overall pedagogical approach, followed by a report on
the first full iteration of the course. Finally, we will reflect on the
lessons learned and consider future trajectories for this and other
programs.
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One reason for the development of the minor Interactive Narrative
Design has been the expressed need of the game industry in the
Netherlands for skilled interactive narrative designers. When
developing narrative content for games, such as dialogues or
storylines, game studios often rely on scriptwriters. These are
trained in the art of creating traditional, fixed forms of storytelling,
and understand the appeal of narrative experiences. However, this
skillset is not directly applicable in an interactive context. In
contrast, game designers understand the art of interaction design,
and see the appeal of interactive experiences, but often lack a deep
understanding of interactive narrative. Consequently, some game
studies have resorted to in-house training in order to transform
game designers into narrative designers. This practice has
economic implications (training costs for companies, lost projects
due to lack of expertise and/or capacity), but more significantly,
this condition creates vocabularies and practices specific to a
particular employer – knowledge that is scattered, siloed and not
easily transferable to other contexts (cf. Koenitz and Eladhari’s
“Babylonian Confusion” (2019)). For the individual narrative
1. The authors are aware of less than ten specific programs worldwide.
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designer this means re-learning becomes necessary when
switching companies. In addition, for the field of narrative design
as a whole, this state of affairs is a significant obstacle to further
development, since incompatible vocabulary results in a vicious
circle of ‘forget and reinvent’ and endlessly repeating “groundhog
day” (ibid) of interactive narrative design. This is the other
motivation for the minor – to break the vicious circle of company-
specific silos and offer an education that is oriented on furthering
the creation of interactive digital narratives as a design discipline
beyond immediate economic interests. On this backdrop, the minor
targets game design students with an interest in designing
interactive narrative experiences.
As Koenitz et al. (2016) have pointed out earlier, the interactive
narrative designer finds their craftsmanship in the ability to
express narrative through interaction. In other words, an
interactive narrative designer understands the appeal of characters,
or the importance of conflict and then must be able to apply this
narrative sensibility when designing engaging interactions for its
audiences. The question thus is how to turn this sensibility into
concrete designs?
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The challenge for us as educators in the minor is to first help game
design students “unlearn” linear and static ways of storytelling,
which still dominate school education and public discourse about
narrative. We do this by expanding students’ understanding of
narrative and raising awareness of alternatives to the dominant
euro-centric forms (e.g., multi-climactic and cyclical Africa oral
storytelling forms or the ‘conflict-less’ Asian form of
Kishotenketsu) and thus counter the myth of “universal” narrative
models (Koenitz et al. 2018).
Secondly, we train students to “reuse” their game design skills
for narrative purposes. Students first need to develop a new
understanding of narrative; one that is not based on established
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notions of storytelling, but that understands narrative as a
cognitive meaning-making process, a “mental frame for
cognitively projected worlds” (Herman 2002). We explain to the
students how this ‘cognitive turn’ in narratology facilitates novel
forms of narration and thus provides a solid foundation for
interactive narrative design (Ryan 2006; Koenitz 2015a; Roth,
van Nuenen, and Koenitz 2018). When they have acquired this
alternative understanding of narrative, they can start using their
skillset in a new way by applying specific design principles
(Koenitz 2015b). For example, we ask students to design
interesting narrative game mechanics (Dubbelman 2016) that
invite the player to perform actions that support the construction of
engaging stories and fictional worlds in the mind of the player.
In this two-step process, we turn game designers into narrative
game designers; students with the ability to design game systems
in such a way that meaningful narratives emerge in the imagination
of players when they interact with the designed interactive
systems.
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We train the students to be narrative artists, interactive system
designers and vision holders (Figure 1). The skillset that
interactive narrative designers need to master, is derived from
these three essential components. First, we consider them to be
artists (Knoller 2012), working with interactive technologies as
their medium of (self-) expression. The skills pertaining to this
narrative sensibility are, amongst others, the ability to imagine and
express engaging and believable characters, worlds, events and
conflicts. Although they do not necessarily have to been trained
scriptwriters or visual artists, they do need to be able to understand
and apply the basic principles of writing and visualizing for an
interactive context. Secondly, they are system designers who need
to be deeply aware that their creation is a dynamic artefact that
already by itself at runtime can show intricate and even unintended
behaviors, an aspect already described for cybernetic art by Roy
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Ascott in 1964 (Ascott 1964). Once players/interactors enter the
picture, the complexity only grows. The role of the designer is to
plan for these effects and embrace the role of “narrative architect”
(Jenkins 2004) who sets boundaries, and offers opportunities for
meaningful interaction – the quality Janet Murray has deemed
agency (Murray 1997). Third, as vision holder, it is the
responsibility of the interactive narrative designer to facilitate the
vision of an interactive narrative project and communicate about
it internally and with clients. This is a considerable responsibility
due to the lack of standardized procedures in the production of
narrative-focused games and other forms of interactive digital
narratives. Equally, clients often have little understanding of
interactive narrative, and the lack of an established lingo means
that a considerable effort is needed to prevent misunderstandings,
and ensure successful communication.
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Figure 1: Triadic perspective of the interactive narrative designer
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The multiple roles of the designer translate to an expanded skillset
(Table 1) in nine areas: interactive narrative design principles and
conventions, narrative sensibility, ideation and conception, testing,
prototyping, writing (for interaction), audio-visualizing (for
interaction), communication, and dramaturgy. In each area, we
define three different skill levels with expected knowledge/
abilities at that level. In this way both educators and students have
a clear understanding of where they stand and what they need to
accomplish to reach the next level.
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While our minor is located in a game design program, we do
understand interactive narrative design as a cross-cutting
perspective of which ludonarrative design is one variety (cf.
Koenitz et al. 2015). Consequently, we acknowledge additional
forms, for instance, interactive documentaries (Aston et al. 2017),
interactive film (Hales 2015), non-game forms of VR and AR
experiences (Bucher 2017, Fisher 2021), interactive art and
museum installations (Oh & Shi 2012, Vayanou et al. 2014),
educational approaches (Dubbelman et al. 2018, Sylla & Gil
2020), as well as journalistic interactives (Usher 2016; Jones
2017). Our curriculum reflects this view by also bringing students
in contact with these additional varieties and their design practice.
For their projects, students can choose to also work on these forms,
and thus use an extended design space. This multidisciplinary
perspective also distinguishes our program from existing ones
focused exclusively on game writing.
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Table 1: Skillset on the interactive narrative designer
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Our approach became a concrete educational program in the form
of a minor in interactive narrative design at the University of
the Arts Utrecht. The minor had its first run in the fall term
2019. It was in high demand, and therefore, participation became
competitive. After a selection process, 20 students were accepted.
In this section, we describe the structure and content of the
program, and give examples of student projects. We close this
section with a reflection of our approach, consider lessons learned,
and point out topics for future improvement.
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The minor is scheduled as a 20-week program starting in the fall
and extending into spring. The full syllabus is available online2. As
shown in Figure 2, the overall course is divided into two periods,
each lasting ten weeks and ending with a project presentation. In
the first project (“Express yourself”), the students work in pairs to
create a simple interactive digital narrative. The main learning goal
for the students is to acquire the basic skills of interactive digital
narrative design (see Table 1). In the second project, the students
work in teams to create a pitch to an external committee, which
includes the creation of a digital prototype. The main learning goal
here is for the students to apply the skills they have acquired thus
far, in a context relevant to their future professional ambitions. For
example, students wanting to pursue a career in the arts, work on a
proposition for an art grants committee. Students who would want
to start their own company, prepare a proposition for a publisher or
investor. Students who would want to work in a company, do not
have to prepare a pitch, but instead make a portfolio and participate
in a mock job interview.
2. https://ardin.online/resources/syllabi/
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Figure 2: Program overview of the minor IND
In parallel with the projects, the students participate in labs. These
are learning units in which students explore one particular topic
in detail. Each lab is given by a topic expert. These topics are
closely connected to the basic interactive narrative design skills
the students have to master (cf. Table 1) and are relevant to the
respective phase of the project. The first lab focuses on narrative
fundamentals. In the following sections we describe the structure
and content in sequential order.
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In the first week of the minor, we introduced a wide variety of
interactive narrative works, and taught and discussed the basic
terminology, including Murray’s affordances and aesthetic
qualities (Murray 1997) and Koenitz’s SPP model (Koenitz
2015a). Together with students, we played games, VR/AR apps,
interactive documentaries, and more. By reflecting on our play
experiences, we tried to answer questions such as: What is special
about an interactive narrative experience? How does it differ from
other narrative experiences, like watching a TV show or reading
a book? Can we already recognize certain design principles or
conventions? And how do we talk about these products? What
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kind of terminology should we use? At this stage, students were
encouraged to start thinking about their own upcoming projects,
and to develop some initial ideas.
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This lab provided a framework for discussing and designing
interactive digital narratives. We started by tackling the big
elephant in the room: what is narrative and how can it be designed
to be interactive? To answer that question, students have to unlearn
much of what they have been told about narrative so far to be able
to look at the topic with fresh eyes, connecting age-old traditions
of oral storytelling with modern insights from cybernetic arts
(Ascott 1964) and brain sciences (Herman 2002). Students learned
that narrative can be many things beyond the novel and the movie,
and that the notion of a universal story structure is only a myth
(Koenitz et al. 2018). Building on this expanded understanding
of the narrative space, we taught basic vocabulary and a model
(Koenitz 2015) for analysis and critique of existing interactive
narrative works and for presenting sample analyses. We explained
to the students that we intend to continually evolve these
foundations to reflect on our own design practice, and
communicate it to others.
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This lab focused on the design of the interactions that users have
at their disposal to influence the narrative. These actions can differ
between different interactive digital narratives. Some provide the
user with explicit choices, for example: “Do you want to go right
or left?” Others create an exciting environment for users to
experience and explore. And yet others give the user a set of tasks
to perform, like running, jumping and picking up items. In this
lab, we looked at different interactive narratives and discussed
their differences in terms of user interactions. Students explored
the types of user interaction suited their own projects, trying to
find answers to questions such as: “What kind of user interactions
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are inspired by the story you have chosen as a starting point?”
and “How can you create narrative meaning or arouse emotions
through user interactions?” Students worked with a set of concrete
tools to communicate, discuss and test their ideas, such as the
IDN Design Canvas (Dubbelman 2021) and a specific framework
for evaluation (Roth 2016), With the help of these tools, students
created their first digital (or physical) prototype during this lab.
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In this lab, students focused on the topic of writing for interaction
in different media. Students acquired tools and techniques for
layered and impactful storytelling. Throughout the lab, we drew
inspiration from a wide variety of source material, from cutting-
edge interactive narrative projects to examples from the world
of cinema, theatre and literature, and even traditional ways of
storytelling. In this lab, we focused on different aspects of
‘writing’: from creating convincing characters and scenes, to
playing with the structure and possibilities of language itself.
There was also an emphasis on how to structure the writing
process, and students learned to not only write, but also to re-write
their texts throughout different iterations. Finally, we focused on
how students can reach out to target groups (audience members,
peers, investors, etc.) through the writing of treatments, synopses,
and marketing texts.
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Meaning-making, understood as the process by which we create,
construe, and interpret meaning, is an essential part of how we
experience different forms of creative expressions. In this lab,
participants learned how the design, delivery, and reception of
meaning contribute to the interactive narrative experience. We
investigated how designers create meaningful, potentially
transformative, experiences, and how to evaluate the resulting user
experience (Roth and Koenitz 2016). This lab applied cognitive
psychology to facilitate insights into the interactors’ perspective
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and interactive narrative meaning-making processes, which is
crucial when designing with a goal in mind. In this context, we
analyzed and utilized the concepts of ludonarrative harmony – the
successful combination of ludic and other narrative elements –
and ludonarrative dissonance – the clash between ludic and other
narrative elements. In the second part of the lab, the aspiring
interactive narrative designers learned how to efficiently playtest
and evaluate their prototypes. Participants applied Roth’s
Measurement Toolbox (Roth 2016) to evaluate their works both
qualitatively and quantitatively as part of an iterative design
process. The Measurement Toolbox consists of 12 user experience
research dimensions (usability, effectance, autonomy, flow,
presence, role-identification, curiosity, suspense, believability,
eudaimonic appreciation, affect positive/negative, enjoyment) that
can be used in experimental setups to identify effective design
principles and potential for improvement. A concrete application
of this set of measurements is asking users to fill in questionnaires
immediately after an experience. Since interactive narratives can
take many forms, and this robust measurement toolset is able
to compare user experiences across different technological and
design approaches. For example, evaluating an interactive theatre
experience with VR elements (Roth 2019) or the interactive
movie, Bandersnatch (Roth and Koenitz 2019).
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The second half of the minor was concerned with the “Present
yourself” project. During the kick-off, the project details were
shared and project teams were formed.
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This lab supported the group project by having students focus on
creating documentation, portfolio items, or presentation material
for both their internal communication needs as well as the final
assessment. In contrast to the previous two-week intensive labs,
contact hours in this part were spread over the whole second block
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and consisted of a bi-weekly mentoring session with each group,
ongoing peer-review and structured meetings with other teachers,
as well as the final judges, which included potential employers,
investors, clients, curators, or representatives from art funding
bodies, depending on each project’s focus. The students’ projects
were discussed from the perspective of real-world orientation.
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In the first project, students worked in pairs. The task was to create
a simple, personal interactive narrative with the skills acquired in
the first half of the course. The starting point of the project was
an existing story of the student’s choosing. This could be a movie,
TV show, book, or a play, but also a news item, documentary,
historical event, or something that happened in real-life. The
students were told to choose a narrative that was particularly
relevant to them. For the project, they had to turn this existing
narrative into a personal interactive narrative experience. The
project was assessed by a committee of teachers and industry
professionals. The learning goals were to understand core elements
of an IDN design process, and apply these in a concrete project,
more specifically:
Use of a set of IDN design tools (IDN Design Canvas
(Dubbelman 2021), IDN Design principles (Koenitz
2015b)), and a specific framework for evaluation (Roth
2016).
Learn a set of IDN design conventions (e.g., delayed
consequences, foldback structures and scripting the
interactor), and apply them.
Create a project with the following requirements:
The project must be inspired by an existing
story, chosen by the students.
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The project contains a clear analysis of the
basic elements of (a part of) the story
(characters, setting, conflict, events) as well
as the story’s appeal, according to you (topic,
message, affect).
The project must be small in scope
(preferably one scene with a limited
playtime).
The project includes:
1. Multiple characters.
2. Some form of interactive written
text.
3. A limited set of clearly defined user
interactions (i.e., narrative game
mechanics).
The project must be tested with the intended
target audience.
The projects in this category took a wide range of different forms,
including an interactive documentary about nuclear energy and its
potential benefits in reducing CO2 output, an interactive movie
about a child having to cope with a serious illness, another
interactive movie about addiction, a game where the interactor
became a censor in an Orwellian world, an AR-based science
fiction code puzzle, and a VR experience where the interactor is
trapped and needs to free themselves. In the following section we
describe two projects in more detail.
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In this project, the students3used an interesting design solution
to heighten the sense of immersion. The starting point of the
3. Ramon Hoffman and Jessica Krediet
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experience is that the interactor is an agent tasked with retrieving
data from a computer for their remote instructor. However, upon
entering the building, an earthquake happens, burying the
interactor under debris. To convey this situation, students fixed
the interactor’s right foot to the ground to create an experience
congruent with the player character being physically restricted
(Figure 3), thus also limiting the range of interaction. Only after
solving a series of puzzles, for instance by combining objects to
reach a switch, is the interactor set free. Play testers and evaluators
were impressed with the resulting embodied experience. This
project showcased how a seemingly simple design choice can have
a strong impact on the user experience.
Figure 3: VR experience with right leg fixed to the floor.
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Originally, the two students4working on this project had a plan
to create a technically sophisticated mask that would emit visual
impulses through the closed eyelids of the interactor to trigger
afterimages, accompanied by synchronized audio effects. The first
4. Nicky Maatman and Luke Verhagen
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prototype of the mask revealed too many design challenges, and
the team deemed the project to be too ambitious. Instead, the
advisor to the project suggested the use of simpler technology, and
to focus on self-expression and interaction. The resulting project
was a powerful interactive narrative of addiction and failure,
realized as an artistically filmed interactive movie, using an almost
invisible interface with hotspots to trigger different metaphorical
video clips that provided a fuller picture of the protagonist’s
personal narrative (Figure 4). The project showed that a focus on
interactive narrative first and technological sophistication second
can pay off. Play testers and evaluators were impressed by the
project and surprised to learn that Microsoft’s PowerPoint
presentation software was used as the authoring system.
Figure 4: Interactive movie experience realized with PowerPoint
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The second course project, “Present yourself”, was about the
students’ position as an interactive narrative designer in the
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creative industry and in society at large. What is their role, and
what kind of opportunities exist to work in this profession? If they
want to succeed as an interactive narrative designer, they have to
be good designers first. In addition, they also have to learn how
to create their own opportunities for a profession that is still not
widely known, or understood. In this project, students explored
the kind of opportunities that exist by reflecting on the value of
interactive narrative designers for society. Conversely, they needed
to consider the different application areas of interactive narrative
design. They also learned how to seize these opportunities by
practicing the “selling” of their capabilities, skillsets, and concept
ideas. For this project, students worked in teams to create and pitch
a promising (“saleable”) interactive narrative concept (supported
by a convincing, playable prototype), targeted at a relevant
application area and audience.
Students were reminded that interactive narratives come in all
shapes and sizes. They can offer engaging artistic experiences,
they can be used in a museum to shed light on a historical event,
they can be used in an advertisement to sell a particular product
or brand, they can be used by journalists to share insights on a
news topic, they can be used by politicians in their campaigns,
and so on. It was up to them and their team to decide what kind
of interactive narrative concept they wanted to pitch, as long as it
catered to a clearly defined and existing societal (social, economic,
political, artistic) need or opportunity. Mentors from the industry
were attached to the projects and a committee of teachers and
industry professionals assessed the students’ projects.
In this project, there were three main learning goals:
How to work in a team.
How to develop and pitch a promising, purposeful IDN
concept (supported by a prototype), targeted at the
“right” audience and application area.
How to present themselves as professional interactive
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narrative designers.
The project itself had the following basic requirements:
The project must address an existing societal need or
opportunity.
The project must contain a clear exploration and
analysis of this need or opportunity (research).
The project’s aims and targets must be realistic –
workable in scope (considering team size, skills, and
available time).
The project team must deliver a pitch presentation,
supported by a tested and playable prototype.
“Present yourself” projects again took a range of different forms,
including an interactive movie about stress, a VR experience about
hacking computers, a VR experience about the fabrication of
beauty, and an interactive narrative experience about teenagers’
online experiences, including the consequences of online fame and
harassment.
C-9<81<=;61/?:?50;?@9
A team of six students5worked on the project, Antidotum, a short
interactive movie demonstrating that ignoring stress can lead to
unforeseen consequences and panic attacks. The team’s goal was
to give interactors a warning about what can happen when body
and mind can no longer cope with stress and panic.
In their narrative, Theo, a businessman in decline, retires after
experiencing a violent panic attack in an empty country house, in
the hope of learning to prevent this in the future. His expectation
of this rest period is disturbed by his own twists and fears. By
making choices about Theo’s life, interactors get involved in his
5. Dwayne Rufai, Nicky Maatman, Peter-Jan Wittebol, Sam Vette, Thom de Bie, Wim
Brouwer
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inner struggle. In this interactive film, interactors select options
similar to Netflix’s Bandersnatch. The team wanted to include
interaction to immerse players in Theo’s role and to create a bond.
For this, they introduced breathing and heart rate mechanics. By
simultaneously pressing L2 and R2 on a gamepad, interactors
regulate Theo’s breathing. Pressing the “X” button regulates
Theo’s heartbeat. These controls serve to involve interactors in
more than just visual and auditory areas, and to bind them
emotionally to the story, striving for ludonarrative harmony, where
all facets of the interaction play a role in connecting the interactor
with the narrative experience.
For the realized project (Figure 5), the introduction part was text-
based with choices inspired by the introduction part of the
narrative game, Firewatch. Three crucial scenes were filmed and
aforementioned mechanics were fully implemented: 1) the
isolation of Theo, 2) Theo’s moment of insight, and 3) the
confrontation of the problem. Playtesting revealed that while
controls were clear and easy to remember, players needed better
feedback on how well they were performing regarding the
breathing and heartrate mechanics, e.g., by using certain controller
vibrations when performing in the right or wrong rhythm.
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Figure 5: Project Antidotum – Interactive movie
%1N1/?5;:
Overall, the first iteration of the minor was a considerable success.
The program attracted more applicants than available spaces, and
the cross-cutting perspective that addressed different forms of
interactive digital narratives not only worked well, but also
resulted in interesting cross-fertilization, e.g., students from game
design backgrounds remarked how they were enriched by the
contact with students from film backgrounds. Student evaluations
were also positive.
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In terms of lessons learned, we found that unlearning ingrained
explicit and implicit knowledge on linear storytelling can be
challenging, especially when students have already worked for
years in a professional capacity following design conventions and
paradigms from linear media, such as film and books. Students
with such backgrounds have a tendency to initially create linear
narrative, that they interactivize in the second step, usually
resulting in limited agency and a lack of meaningful interaction.
During our supervision of the group projects, we learned that it
helped to play to the strengths of a particular group. A group with
experience in writing film scripts had to learn to plan their scripts
by working from a perspective of interaction, while integrating
their knowledge of filmmaking.
The separation into two projects worked well, for two reasons.
First, it enabled students to express themselves freely via a first
project before tackling an applied project in connection with the
industry. Secondly, the initial project allowed for failure and faster
iteration, and thus was focused on the learning experience. On that
basis, the second project, “Present yourself”, needs professional
planning. Through industry involvement, the stakes are much
higher.
The role of mentors in the second project proved to be a bit of
a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was beneficial for the
students to have industry insiders attached to the projects, and they
profited from their experience. On the other hand, mentors were
at times also the source of confusion, as the boundary between the
mentoring role and teaching roles were not clear enough – in some
instances, mentors became teachers without fully understanding
our educational concept. A more clear-cut definition of the
mentor’s role is necessary here.
#" (&#"
In this paper, we have described the context of our educational
efforts in educating interactive narrative designers, outlined our
 -=?9@? ;1:5?E 4=5>?5-: %;?4  '1@: @..189-:
approach in creating a minor in interactive narrative design, and
described its first implementation. We see this effort as a step
in the direction of establishing interactive narrative design as a
discipline. We will use the lessons learned from this milestone to
further develop this approach.
"#* !"'&
The authors would like to acknowledge their fellow teachers in
the first iteration of the minor, Noam Knoller (who contributed
significantly to the planning and teaching of the application-
focused second part of the minor) and Sytze Schalk (whose
experience as a practitioner was a crucial addition to the program),
our mentors Hiske Arts, Mirka Duijn, Dennis Haak, and Roy van
der Schilden, and most of all, our students Thom de Bie, Wim
Brouwer, Sterre Heinis, Ramon Hoffman, Job Jansen, Karlijn de
Kok, Jessica Krediet, Quyen Le, Nicky Maatman, Myrna Min, Phil
Pot, Réne Rijken, Koert Roelfsema, Dwayne Rufai, Daan Sekreve,
Achior Vader, Yuan Valk, Luke Verhagen, Sam Vette, Peter-Jan
Wittebol, Marije Zantinga.
 #%$,
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Chapter
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