Here’s how I hope to train students for the Dramagine project:
Because the Encounters take place in the Siboot universe and must conform to that universe, students will be required to read the Siboot novel before using the Encounter Editor.
Students will be introduced to use the Encounter Editor, a handy-dandy editor that allows the user to easily create and edit Encounters for Siboot. The previous program was merely an Encounter Tester; the user edited an XML document and the Tester merely offered a variety of tests for the operation of the new Encounter. The new program, still in development, will handle everything; the users will never even be aware of the XML document except as the final product of their efforts.
The Encounter Editor will permit the user to create and edit the following properties of the Encounter:
The introductory text presented to the player
A list of acceptable protagonists
A list of acceptable antagonists
A list of previous encounters that would exclude this encounter from consideration
A list of previous encounters that are required as prerequisites before this encounter can be considered
The range of days during which the encounter can be considered
A list of options available to the player
The text reaction to the option chosen by the player
For each option:
The text expressing that option
The percentage by which the antagonist’s Intimidation by the protagonist is changed
The percentage by which the antagonist’s Affection for the protagonist is changed
The percentage by which the antagonist’s Trust in the protagonist is changed
A list of possible reactions taken by the Antagonist, each containing the following elements:
The text expressing the antagonist’s reaction to the choice of option
The two relationship emotions that will determine whether the antagonist chooses this reaction
The bias factor between them that will determine whether the antagonist choose this reaction
(This is an implementation of the “Blend” operator used in Dramagine scripts)
A large number of Encounters have already been written. For a few, we will provide detailed explanations of how they function. Students will also be able to obtain help from Chris Conley, the Encounter manager.
The Encounters as a group will be used in the Siboot game. We intend to have several hundred encounters in the game. Some will provide the backstory currently built into the novel. Authorship credit will be included in the game.
This is not a commercial project, and I will not be enjoying any financial benefits from the project. There is a small amount of money that will be distributed among the other team members in proportion to the contribution they have made, but it will hardly constitute adequate compensation for their efforts. Students will not be paid for their work on the Encounters.
The real value of the Encounters is that they will provide a gentle introduction to the Dramagine technology. This technology is extremely powerful, but as complex as, say, HTML5. Most people have great difficulty figuring it out. The Encounter Editor provides the student with a small subset of the larger Dramagine technology; after learning how to use the Encounter Editor, the student will be well positioned to tackle the more powerful technology. This in turn will permit the student to master the best interactive storytelling development environment available.