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Nick Montfort: “Curveship: Interactive Narrating for Interactive Fiction”

January 11, 2011 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm  |  Social Sciences 2, Room 75


Curveship is an interactive fiction (IF) development system that adds support for interactive narrating — automatic narrative variation that is accomplished through text generation. For 30 years, IF development systems have done very well at allowing us to build and manipulate world models, which are then encountered by players using text-based interfaces. Curveship aims to do for the *narrative discourse* what IF has already done for the underlying story world, to allow us to change important things about the narrating as easily as we can move a simulated object from one room to another. The system aims to facilitate research and teaching in AI (and expressive AI particularly), computational creativity, creative NLP, and narrative theory, while also allowing allow author/programmers to create new sorts of games with new literary aspects. In my talk, I will demo the system and, in theoretical and practical terms, discuss:

 – Curveship’s representation of actions.
 – Writing string-with-slots templates for description and representation.
 – Generating text using only high-level narrative parameters.
 – Developing different types of “spin” — specifications for narrating.

Curveship has been tested and used in research by a small group; it is
being prepared for a public release early in 2011.

Nick Montfort writes computational and constrained poetry, develops computer games, and is a critic, theorist, and scholar of computational art and media. He is associate professor of digital media in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is now serving as president of the Electronic Literature Organization. He earned a Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania. 

He collaborated on the blog Grand Text Auto, the sticker novel Implementation, and 2002: A Palindrome Story. He writes poems, text generators, and interactive fiction. Montfort has co-edited The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 (ELO, 2006) and The New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003) and written Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003), Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, (with Ian Bogost, MIT Press, 2009) and Riddle & Bind (Spineless Books, 2010).


January 11, 2011
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Social Sciences 2, Room 75
Social Sciences 2‎ University of California Santa Cruz, College Ten
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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