A Plea

I don’t think like most people. Most people perceive the universe to be a collection of things. I perceive it to be a system of processes. This process-intensive style of thinking is universal among physicists and mathematicians, but is rare in the general public. 

Most people are poor storytellers; the stories they tell are flat, dull, and gray. Yet most people consider themselves to be competent storytellers. Their greatest weakness is that they don’t understand that stories are about human emotions. I’m a passable storyteller. I can’t hold a candle to the professionals, because I understand storytelling at only a cognitive level. I know the basics, but I can’t feel story in my guts. It’s not innate in me. All in all, there aren’t many good storytellers.

Interactive storytelling requires competence in both process-intensive thinking and storytelling. We have seen many attempts coming at the problem from both sides. Lots of techies tell themselves “It’s merely a technical problem!” and plunge in, producing ghastly results. All such efforts have failed.

We have also seen storytellers plunge into interactive storytelling. Because they don’t think in process-intensive terms, they just don’t grasp interactivity. They don’t know how to express their emotional intelligence in algorithmic formats. We have seen countless such efforts, and they have all failed.

I built my Storytron technology as a way for artists to build interactive storyworlds with a much reduced technical burden. However, no interactive storytelling technology can dispense with process-intensive thinking. This explains the failure of the Storytron technology to catch on: it required a combination of skills that exists in very few people.

In order to overcome this problem, I designed the Encounter Editor as a clean, fairly simple introduction to the idea of creating algorithms for basic interactive storytelling. It truly is the simplest possible introduction to the fundamentals of interactive storytelling. 

Thus, the Encounter Editor is an instrument for measuring the number of people who possess a modicum of process-intensive thinking AND storytelling talent. While many people interested in interactive storytelling are aware of it, we can be certain that only a small fraction of the total candidate population is aware of it. 

If the Encounter Editor fails to attract a modicum of authors, then I must conclude that there is nobody to whom I can pass the baton, and that my work has been futile; I shall have to place it in a time capsule for future generations.  

I therefore request that you do whatever you can to inform appropriate candidates of the Encounter Editor. The software is described here: