May 31, 2006

Drama Princess

by Andrew Stern · , 11:17 am

Belgian game design duo Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, aka “Entropy8Zuper!”, creators of 8, have more than one ambitious new projects in the works.

The first is The Endless Forest, a dreamy, non-goal-oriented online world where players embody human-faced deer, beginning alone in the forest but before long encountering other deer avatars, and soaking up the peaceful environment together. They’ve just released Phase Two of the forest, which now allows players to collect “the hidden magic of the forest to cast spells on each other”, altering each other’s appearance. Their artistic goals include exploring new forms of narrative in an online world, presumably emergent narrative.

Especially relevant to GTxA readers is their newest project, Drama Princess, currently in an initial design phase, consisting of an extensive set of essays and discussions in Michael’s development journal (blog): “Research & development of a reusable autonomous character for realtime 3D focused on dramatical impact rather than simulation of natural behaviour”. Starting more from an artist’s perspective than a technologist’s, they explicitly want to avoid creating a realistic looking but “soul-less copy of a human organism“, to avoid implementing the boring parts of real life. Michael is musing on modeling relationships, sympathy and empathy, simplicity vs. complexity, the role of randomness in action selection, and do interactive characters need real minds? (I chimed in on this one). I pointed Michael to the Oz project, a strong influence and technology foundation for Façade; Michael critiques here.

They recently held a roundtable discussion where they evaluated Animal Crossing, the Sims, Black and White and more (the transcript seems truncated, actually). Other posts evaluate various books and authoring systems for interactive character and narrative.

I’ll be staying tuned to their blog (now in the blogroll) to see what design they eventually settle on and begin building.

7 Responses to “Drama Princess”


  1. Patrick Says:

    Its a great blog. I like the idea of these sort of experimental designs having their processes laid out bare for anyone to read. He certianly belongs to a different school of interactive narrative design, maybe you could call it “socialism”…

  2. andrew Says:

    I just finished a short interview with Michael Samyn for the Drama Princess blog.

  3. Grand Text Auto » Game/Play in the UK Says:

    [...] are also seven screen-based works — three online and four in the gallery, including recently blogged The Endless Forest from Tale of Tales, a funky second-person shooter [...]

  4. Grand Text Auto » Playing receiver Says:

    [...] Design Multimedia) to Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Tale of Tales / Entropy8zuper!, as discussed earlier) to folks like Lev Manovich, Gonzalo Frasca, and yours truly. My co [...]

  5. yourplace Says:

    PLAYING RECEIVER

    The 17th issue of Vodaphone’s receiver just launched, with a great collection of articles on games and play. Editor Katja Hoffmann has gathered an eclectic group of authors from industry, journalism, academe, and the arts — from Matt Jones (Directo…

  6. Grand Text Auto » Listening, Branching, Paths, Markup Says:

    [...] er/narrative/experience in the works called The Path, building upon their prototyping with Drama Princess. I made sure to let Uli Spierling know about their project, since she [...]

  7. Grand Text Auto » Tale-of-Tales Blog Says:

    [...] loper blogs, the team at Tale-of-Tales has multiple blogs, not just the Drama Princess one we’ve linked to. Check out their main blog, which has lots of activity lately. [...]

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