TaleBox - a mobile game for mixed-initiative story creation

Olatz Castano, Ben Kybartas, Rafael Bidarra
Proceedings of DiGRA-FDG 2016 - First Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG - aug 2016
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Creating stories appeals to a very wide public, but its computational automation is a very challenging endeavor (Kybartas and Bidarra 2016). We present TaleBox, a mobile game that enables a group of players to collaboratively create their own stories. TaleBox is a mobile card game in which players (authors) take turns to append their contribution to the story, properly combining in a creative way, within the chosen time constraints, the cards that they have been dealt. Cards make for an accessible and dynamic authoring tool. The game uses a client-server architecture, in which a key role is played at the server by the card hand generation system, which tracks the progress of the story and selects for each player a variety of cards that promote both the story coherence and the authors' creativity. This approach strongly benefits from the use of GluNet, a generic, open-source knowledge-base that seamlessly integrates a variety of lexical databases and facilitates commonsense reasoning (Kybartas and Bidarra 2015). By combining, among others, the VerbNet and FrameNet databases, GluNet provides a very sound semantic basis to derive essential semantic relations, that are needed to generate coherent story content. GluNet also provides verbs and generic/abstract words to widen the story space, defined as the group of elements (characters, items, locations, etc.) taking a part in the story. This allows for the generation of a large variety of potential events that are meaningful at a given moment in the story. After players have chosen a master plot, following the scheme of Tobias (1993), the system is able to determine what kind of major events should happen at each Story Point. These are based on the classical story building structure: Status Quo, Trigger, First Pivot Point, Midpoint, Second Pivot Point, Climax and Ending. In order to ensure coherence, the card hand generation system keeps track of each element's state after an action is performed. Following the notion of the Story Intention Graph (David K. Elson, 2012) and the semantics in GluNet, the system is also capable of assigning goals and other properties to the elements by processing the action. As a result, no actions will be permitted that contradict the current state of any story element, e.g. deploying a character that is dead. We developed a mapping that associates roles and story genres to the words in GluNet. The system uses the genre to determine which vocabulary can go in the cards being dealt, while roles are checked against the word's semantics, to guarantee that at least one action is possible every turn. Once a set of words is selected, the system checks the story progress and its space. If the story is at a Story Point, a set of significant verbs for events.

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BibTex references

@InProceedings { CKB16,
  author       = "Castano, Olatz and Kybartas, Ben and Bidarra, Rafael",
  title        = "TaleBox - a mobile game for mixed-initiative story creation",
  booktitle    = "Proceedings of DiGRA-FDG 2016 - First Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG",
  month        = "aug",
  year         = "2016",
  url          = "http://graphics.tudelft.nl/Publications-new/2016/CKB16"

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