The basis of our approach begins with characters, and more specifically with Jungian archetypes. We are defining the characters within the NOC by specific archetypal traits to ensure that only characters with traits akin to evil, treacherous, conniving, cunning, cruel, etc. are cast as the villain, and only characters displaying mystical, enigmatic, wise, inspiring or noble traits will be cast as the mentor or wise mystic within the story. Keeping the number of characterizing traits to a minimum, and allowing characters within the NOC to encompass multiple archetypes, allow for complex, flawed, and engaging combinations of characters, as well as huge amounts of variety in the stories generated.
Once the characters are set, the story evolves through the engagement of the user in a “choose your own adventure” style, based on a framework of the hero’s journey. As the user moves through the story, they encounter these archetypal characters and have to decide how to interact with them based on how they are described. Certain paths of these encounters end the game early: if you kill the mystic mentor, then you die, however if you encounter the trickster and take his or her help, that could severely hinder your success. The archetype of each character is never explicitly stated, and can change from story to story, i.e. in one story Catwoman could be the hero and in the next, the trickster.
The superstructure begins with call to adventure/ leaving for the realm of adventure, takes you through a series of encounters, a main challenge (determining whether the helper is a trickster or a mentor) and then a final showdown with the shadow figure. These stages are linked by generated descriptions of movement and setting, for instance a description of the hero’s departure from the initial space and into the realm of adventure. In this way the program alternates between interactive encounters with characters and descriptive storytelling.
By combining elements of conventional narrative structure, archetypal categories, and weighted user interaction, we create a hero, put him into a hero’s journey, and rest his fate in the hands of the user.