You can read a book, watch a movie, play a video game... and now you can enjoy a "storyworld" too. Computer game designer Chris Crawford has teamed with science fiction writer Laura J. Mixon to found Storytron, a company devoted to the creation and publication of works of "interactive storytelling".
"Storyworlds" is a new form of computer entertainment, with - not necessarily professional - storytellers scripting their own sets of Actors, Stages and Props. Players engage with the Actors and explore a wide range of choices and behavior in the dramatically rich environment developed by the storyworld author.
Think of your favorite story in a book or a comic, a movie or a TV show... and then imagine you are the protagonist who chooses what has to happen next. Do you prefer to be a sweetheart or a jerk, to gossip or to be discreet, to have your way through force, subtlety, or compromise? Do you seek romance or do you concentrate on other goals, do you want to avenge wrongs or forgive them? It's all up to you.
In a "storytronic storyworld", you are not walking down a predetermined path, or manipulating puppets. The characters you meet are intelligent, feeling beings, with their own ideas and agendas. Every time you make a choice, they are evaluating you, and making decisions on how to respond.
"Storytron" is about gaming, enjoying stories... and people. It's the ancient art of storytelling in a new and interactive medium. Currently www.storytron.com has one demo running: Balance of Power-21st Century, a sequel to Chris Crawford's blockbuster hit from the early days of computer games, focusing on geopolitical, military and economic strategy. (Indeed, strategic storyworlds have broad application in training and entertainment.)
Ultimately, the Storytron website has to grow into "a bazaar, with a wide variety of storyworlds for sale and a thriving community built around them. Romance, magic, science fiction, drama, adventure, mystery--any genre you have experienced in traditional form--is possible with Storytronics."