authorial intent

by MotionBrothers

the extent to which the human author pre-ordains the possible narrative or instills the system with the ability to creatively adapt to the experiencer

On the one hand, strong authorial intent means the quality of experience can be ensured, according to the vision of the human author. On the other hand, greater creative freedom on behalf of the interactive narrative system can yield greater user agency at the risk of straying from the human author’s vision.1

1. Riedl, M and Bulitko, V. Interactive Narrative: An Intelligent Systems Approach. AI Magazine Pg 6.

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butterfly effect system

by MotionBrothers

the butterfly effect system is a storytelling mechanism for managing complex narrative structures where actions from the experiencer can have a direct influence on how the narrative plays out

The phrase ‘butterfly effect’ derives from chaos theory where American mathematician Edward Norton Lorenz used it as a metaphor to describe the phenomenon whereby a minor change in circumstances can cause a large change in outcome.

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embodied presence

by MotionBrothers

acknowledging the existence of your body within a virtual reality VR experience

In physical reality and first order virtual reality there is something very simple that you can do to physically establish your presence. Look down, and you will see your body, or see parts of it continuously in peripheral vision.1

1. Slater, M. “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments”Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Dec 12; 364(1535): 3549–3557 Pg 10.

Experience Manager

by MotionBrothers

(also known as a ‘story generator’)

a generalisation of the ‘drama manager’ concept put forward by Joe Bates in Virtual reality, art, and entertainment. Originally published in Presence: The Journal of Tele-operators and Virtual Environments, Pg. 133–138, 1992.

an intelligent, omniscient, and disembodied agent that monitors the virtual world and intervenes to drive the narrative forward according to some model of quality of experience. Often used as a surrogate for the human author.1

1. Mark O. Riedl and Vadim Bulitko. Interactive Narrative: An Intelligent Systems Approach. AI Magazine Pg 3.

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ghost story

by MotionBrothers

(see also: the Swayze effect)

a virtual reality (VR) experience where the user is a disembodied observer in an unfolding narrative – as if watching a movie – but incapable of making changes to the world or talking to the characters


by MotionBrothers

an interactive spot within the artificial experience that reveal more content or options

Hotspots can be animated and are often shown as a glowing orb.

interactive narrative

by MotionBrothers

(also known as: ‘responsove narrative’)

a form of digital interactive experience in which experiencers create or influence a dramatic storyline through their actions

When the balance between an ordained narrative and freewill interaction is tweaked just right, it creates the perception of great “game play” – a sweet feeling of being part of something large that is moving forward (the game’s narrative) while you still get to steer (the game’s play).1

1. Kelly, K. (2016) The Inevitable Penguin. Pg 229.


by MotionBrothers

(also known as: ‘telepresence’)
(see also: active presence, embodied presence, emotional presence, and social presence)

a feeling of being in and of the virtual world, and the ignoring of physical world distractions

It is the strong illusion of being in a place in spite of the sure knowledge that you are not there.1

1. Mel Slater. Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments Pg 5.

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redirected walking

by MotionBrothers

is the name given to a technique used to extend the possible size of a virtual reality environment by imperceptibly rotating the virtual scene without the experiencer being aware

Redirected Walking causes people to change their real walking direction without noticing it, allows for larger VEs [virtual environments], and does not induce appreciable simulator sickness.1

1. Sharif Razzaque, Zachariah Kohn, Mary C. Whitton Redirected Walking. The Eurographics Association 2001. Pg 1.

The technique is notably utilised in experiences created by The Void.

Swayze effect

by MotionBrothers

(see also: ghost story)

the sensation of having no tangible relationship with your surroundings despite feeling embodied in the virtual world

The phrase was coined by Story Studio and the name is a reference to actor Patrick Swayze who played the protagonist in the 1990’s film Ghost. In the film, Swayze’s character dies and returns as a ghost to help his wife solve the mystery of his death. The effect observed by Story Studio, looks to describe the struggle of affecting a virtual environment and the people who occupy it when no observable feedback from the world is being received.

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by MotionBrothers

any external or environmental cue that entrains or synchronizes an organism’s biological rhythms to the Earth’s 24-hour light/dark cycle and 12 month cycle

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