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Syllabus

Let's tell some stories. Rich, wonderful stories, with many voices and interpretations, many possibilities and outcomes. Stories to be told, seen, programmed. Stories to be shared and to be shaped. Sitting around a campfire, clicking on a link, capturing on film, beating the boss, improvising on stage, being part of life.

Don't we all have stories to tell?

This course has been offered since 1992. Formerly entitled "Structure and Interpretation of Non-linear and Interactive Narrative", it examines the potential for dynamic narrative in traditional media like novels and films and as well as in computer-based stories and games. The course focuses on the creation of electronic stories and games using simple authoring systems and multimedia software tools. Students present and constructively critique one another's work in progress in a workshop setting aimed at expanding the representational powers of a new creative medium.

Class is a mix of lectures and workshop discussion of student projects, with emphasis upon workshop discussion of assignments leading up to your final projects. Class will cover a range of topics drawn from the following: hypertext, interactive cinema, games, installation art, and soundscapes.

Grading will be portfolio based, with a review of your creative work in three assignments, two preliminary pieces and a final, larger-scale project. Students may work on projects individually or in small collaborative groups. In-class presentations account for most of your grade. Attendance is mandatory since your discussion of student work is also a major element of this class.


Projects

The primary focus of the class is the development of narrative projects. Projects can be web sites, computer games, live action role-playing games, videos or improv performances. Students are invited to propose interesting projects to illustrate their perspectives of the subject matter. All project proposals must be approved by the instructors.

Students have to complete three main projects, evenly scheduled through the semester:

  • Hypertext (individual or group) (Week 2-5)
  • Film/Performance (group) (Week 6-9)
  • Game (group) (Week 10-13)

At the end of a semester, an informal award ceremony will give bragging rights to students who have completed exceptional work.


Grading

  • 25% Hypertext Project
  • 25% Film/Performance Project
  • 25% Game Project
  • 25% Class Participation

Attendance is mandatory. Three unexcused absences will result in a reduction of one letter grade.