We present a logical theory of specifying interactive and reactive systems, particularly as they pertain to world-building and narrative construction.

Systems for executing, animating, and verifying sets of rules have been used ad nauseam for programming languages, which are typically expected to receive all input (the program) at once and execute monolithically. Games that humans play are also systems of rules, also amenable to treatment in these systems--yet rarely are they considered more than in scaled-down form as pedagogical examples. The richness of these rulesets emerges when they are seen as dynamic systems that evolve with the choices that agents make. These agents can be human or programmatic. This research endeavors to bridge the gap from existing logical frameworks to the ability to specify dynamic, narrative worlds.

Some game design scholars use the term ludonarrative dissonance (ludo being the Latin word for "play," thus used in game-related neologisms) to refer to the frequent disconnect between game mechanics and story intent---e.g. a game ostensibly "about" friendship and trust may offer interaction only in the form of combat and movement, with character and plot development relegated to (noninteractive) cutscenes. This work attempts to understand the structure of both story and game mechanic in the same framework, thus offering a basis for deeper ludonarrative harmony.

Talk slides * Proposal document * Project repository