Computer Game Narratives

Most computer games have narratives, and for some genres such as RPGs and Adventure games following a narrative pretty much is the game. Narrative flaws, however, are common, and run the gamut from benign non-sequiturs and unexpected short-cuts to more devastating unwinnable situations and program crashes.

This research project aims to model computer narratives and develop analysis techniques for detecting narrative flaws and other narrative properties.

Our current techniques are built around an investigation of Interactive Fiction (IF) games, as a relatively pure source of game narratives. IF games written in our high level language (PNFG) are translated to a lower level format based on a structured petri net (NFGs). An interpreter reads this low level representation and permits the game to be played interactively. The interpreter also connects to the NuSMV model checker, allowing game properties, such as winnability to be queried.

For more details see the publications page for our papers on narratives or contact Clark Verbrugge, Christopher J.F. Pickett, or Félix Martineau.

Software

You can also download a preliminary version of our software: version 0.1 (r3994).

Only for the brave: limited instructions are provided. You will also need a functioning installation of SableCC (version 2), and optionally you may want to install NuSMV as well.

Basically, download and untar the file, change to the pnfg direction and 'make all'. Then change to the nfg directory and 'make all'. Then have a look at the examples and the fulltest and singletest scripts in both the pnfg and nfg subdirectories.