Towards a crowdsourced solution for the authoring bottleneck in interactive narratives
MetadataShow full item record
Interactive Storytelling research has produced a wealth of technologies that can be employed to create personalised narrative experiences, in which the audience takes a participating rather than observing role. But so far this technology has not led to the production of large scale playable interactive story experiences that realise the ambitions of the field. One main reason for this state of affairs is the difficulty of authoring interactive stories, a task that requires describing a huge amount of story building blocks in a machine friendly fashion. This is not only technically and conceptually more challenging than traditional narrative authoring but also a scalability problem. This thesis examines the authoring bottleneck through a case study and a literature survey and advocates a solution based on crowdsourcing. Prior work has already shown that combining a large number of example stories collected from crowd workers with a system that merges these contributions into a single interactive story can be an effective way to reduce the authorial burden. As a refinement of such an approach, this thesis introduces the novel concept of Crowd Task Adaptation. It argues that in order to maximise the usefulness of the collected stories, a system should dynamically and intelligently analyse the corpus of collected stories and based on this analysis modify the tasks handed out to crowd workers. Two authoring systems, ENIGMA and CROSCAT, which show two radically different approaches of using the Crowd Task Adaptation paradigm have been implemented and are described in this thesis. While ENIGMA adapts tasks through a realtime dialog between crowd workers and the system that is based on what has been learned from previously collected stories, CROSCAT modifies the backstory given to crowd workers in order to optimise the distribution of branching points in the tree structure that combines all collected stories. Two experimental studies of crowdsourced authoring are also presented. They lead to guidelines on how to employ crowdsourced authoring effectively, but more importantly the results of one of the studies demonstrate the effectiveness of the Crowd Task Adaptation approach.