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Film Meets Game: Interactive Narrative

Trinity University | Undergraduate Honors Thesis| Fall 2011

My Thesis examined how casual gaming might enhance viewer engagement within interactive films. In order to understand how the the mediums could support each other I conceptualized, produced, filmed, and coded a quirky, interactive film using games to string together a branching narrative. Each win or loss of a game altered the course of the narrative, directly linking viewer success with the best possible outcome for the story. This was an experiment in trying to align the viewer’s goals with those of the narrative's protagonist.

The most challenging part of this project was attempting to integrate the game segments into the flow of the film without things being too clunky. The best use of this was in creating a “live action”, first-person shooter. For this wacky mini game, demoed below, I filmed actors in front of a green screen and captured multiple scenarios of each character either being shot, or shooting. The interaction was then programmed in, using AS3 and Flash animation. This film acted as a proof of concept for my thesis paper which focused on methods of maintaining the guests engagement within branching narrative storytelling. Often, branching narratives fail to engage viewers fully because they ask them to try to make tough story decisions. This usually leads to cognitive dissonance for the guest. My proposed solution was to focus on aligning the player's goals with those of the story's protagonist. 

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