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[{“id”:859,”date”:”2016-11-26T13:20:54″,”date_gmt”:”2016-11-26T19:20:54″,”guid”:{“rendered”:”http://narrativedesign.org/?p=859″},”modified”:”2016-12-30T12:42:54″,”modified_gmt”:”2016-12-30T18:42:54″,”slug”:”the-drama-of-friends”,”status”:”publish”,”type”:”post”,”link”:”http://narrativedesign.org/2016/11/the-drama-of-friends/”,”title”:{“rendered”:”The Drama of Friends”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

I first encountered Zuckerbergu2019s Friend function in about 2004 while doing research as a graduate student in interactive media.n

It was unique, but I failed to see its brilliance.n

To me it felt like a retreat to the social habits of high school and, to some extent, I suppose it was for us all. Or at least about a billion of us.n

The Facebook platform had yet to hit campus at The University of Southern California, and it seemed ripe to be exploited by it. So I sent a note to Mark and stated he should expand to other campuses, an idea he was probably already on top of.n

I never heard back.n

Over the years since, Iu2019ve stepped in and out of the Facebook scene. My current account and series of pages being the latest edition. Most recently over the course of the past two years, my casual research has turned into performance. I call it u2018transmedia storytellingu2019.n

You see, Iu2019m an interactive dramaturge. I started working in interactive drama at USCu2019s Annenberg Center under one Marsha Kinder in 2003.n

I design interactive systems to convey meaning, and so that a user might speak of their experience as a story, one well told.n

It took me by surprise recently to realize the Friend function may be the most dramatic function in interactive media today.n

More so than the flame wars of internet trolls, or the recoil on a virtual rifle in Call of Duty, Friending (and Unfriending) is so powerfully dramatic it echoes into real life. Itu2019s now taken so seriously people have a hard time differentiating between real friends and social media Friends.n

Iu2019ve learned this through a series of experiments using social media for performance, culminating in a crowdfunding campaign I ran a little while backu00a0and the subsequent product development.n

Though I understand why say, my niece or twenty-something cousin might take it all too seriously, I find it compelling even my professional associates do.n

My performance was so on-point that they were like putty in my hands, even when Iu2019d explain that it was a performance, a game, a story, a system, theyu2019d cower, call me crazy, or even yet worse assume I was some hacker bot.n

I didnu2019t intend to be malicious or hurtful, but Iu2019ve had several old real-world friends tell me off as a result. Such is life.n

Part of the beauty I believe is the simple binary of Friend and Unfriend. Iu2019d like to see Facebook implement a system like Google Plus. The Circles function is/was helpful in disseminating content unto targeted social groups. Sure Facebook has u2018securityu2019 measures, but again with limited variability.n

To some extent this realization has humbled me, Iu2019ve worked really hard to create interactive opera, but it seems Zuck might have me beat.n

We once thought that interactive media was moving into the creation of synthetic worlds, what in fact it has done is made the world more synthetic. The two now bleed together and for the most part people have a hard time cognitively differentiating between the screen and real life. The study of mirror-neurons in this context I imagine would only reinforce such a thesis. Read mine @ NarrativeDesing.orgn

Though I remain skeptical of the commodification of u2018friendu2019 and friends. The u2018Unfriendu2019 has become one of the most dramatic functions in social media.n

What Disney did to fairy tales and fables, Zukerberg has done to our social lives.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

I first encountered Zuckerbergu2019s Friend function in about 2004 while doing research as a graduate student in interactive media. It was unique, but I failed to see its brilliance. To me it felt like a retreat to the social habits of high school and, to some extent, I suppose it was for us all. Or … Continue reading The Drama of Friendsn”,”protected”:false},”author”:1,”featured_media”:0,”comment_status”:”closed”,”ping_status”:”open”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:[],”categories”:[5,7],”tags”:[],”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/859″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”}],”about”:[{“href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”}],”author”:[{“embeddable”:true,”href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/users/1″}],”replies”:[{“embeddable”:true,”href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=859″}],”version-history”:[{“href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/859/revisions”}],”wp:attachment”:[{“href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=859″}],”wp:term”:[{“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=859″},{“taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”http://narrativedesign.org/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=859″}],”curies”:[{“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/{rel}”,”templated”:true}]}},{“id”:544,”date”:”2011-09-14T08:05:24″,”date_gmt”:”2011-09-14T13:05:24″,”guid”:{“rendered”:”http://narrativedesign.org/?p=544″},”modified”:”2017-02-10T15:46:42″,”modified_gmt”:”2017-02-10T21:46:42″,”slug”:”what-is-a-narrative-designer-3″,”status”:”publish”,”type”:”post”,”link”:”http://narrativedesign.org/2011/09/what-is-a-narrative-designer-3/”,”title”:{“rendered”:”What is a Narrative Designer?”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

The Narrative Designeru00a0is a role in contemporary video game development first seen in 2006 when the video game publisher THQ began hiring for the position I wrote based on talks with THQ Canada dba Relic Entertainment.u00a0 While the strict definition may vary from team to team, andn

"Stephen
Stephen E. Dinehart IV in the THQ dba Relic Entertainment Story Room, June 17, 2007n

production to production, the core of this role is to champion story, craft compelling narrative elements, and define the systems through which they will be delivered to the player.u00a0 Interactive Narrative Design is a new craft waiting to be further defined and explored.n

While writers to some extent have been engaging in narrative design for linear storytelling arguably since Aristotle, it is wholly new to the field of interactive entertainment.u00a0 Since working with the team at THQ to create the “Narrative Designer” position in 2006, the industry has seemed to watch the development of this new role with a skeptical eye.u00a0 Many writers have falsely taken on the self-appointed title of ‘Narrative Designer’ and as a result there has been a watering down of the term and a general sense that the role is for nothing more than an relabeled game writer. This assumption is false. Narrative Designers are a new breed of hybrid talent for interactive entertainment industry, specifically the AAA-games sector.n

I recieved a good head check fromu00a0Mary DeMarle, Lead Game Writer at Eidos Montreal. Apprarently she first heard the term at the Austin GDC in 2004, supposedly the contreversy began then (I look forward to hearing the complete story)!n

When I wrote the job description (JD) for THQ Global I hadn’t heard the term.u00a0You can see the JD I wrote belowu00a0prior to taking the role in 2006, followed by a 2009 version by Monolith, and the most recent JD posted by Microsoft (2011). One can see clearly that, even in these first attempts to define the role, it is wholly different from other roles in interactive entertainment.n

Narrative Designeru00a0(THQ JD 2006)n

Job Description:
nRelic Entertainment is looking for a Narrative Designer. The Narrative Designer will focus on ensuring that the key elements of the player experience associated with story and story telling devices, script and speech are dynamic, exciting andu00a0 compelling. Working collaboratively with other design oriented team members, the Narrative Designer will be the primary contact with external writing resources for the duration of a production, and will be responsible in ensuring we get the mostu00a0 out of those external resources.n

Responsibilities:n