Narrative support for young game designers’ writing

Howland, Kate, Good, Judith and du Boulay, Benedict (2015) Narrative support for young game designers’ writing. 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Boston, June 21-24 2015. Published in: IDC '15 Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children. 178-187. Association for Computing Machinery ISBN 9781450335904

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Creating narrative-based computer games is a complex and challenging task. Narrative Threads is a suite of software tools designed to aid young people (aged 11-15) in creating their own narrative-based games as a writing development activity. A participatory design process highlighted the areas where additional support was required, and informed the iterative design of Narrative Threads. The tools are implemented as a plugin to a commercial game creation toolset, and constitute character and object design tools, a branching narrative diagramming tool and an augmented story map view. In this paper, we provide an overview of the design of the tools and describe an evaluation carried out with 14 children over a four-day workshop. The study examined tool usage patterns, and compared games created with Narrative Threads to those created using the standard toolset. The results suggest a number of ways in which dynamic external representations of story elements can support writing activities in narrative-based game creation. Young designers using Narrative Threads wrote more character dialogue, made stronger links between the conversations they wrote and wider game events, and designed more complex characters, compared to those using the standard toolset. In addition to showing how Narrative Threads can support young games designers, the results have broader implications for anyone looking to support storytelling and writing through game creation activities and tools.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Kate Howland
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 14:54
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2018 15:03

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