Pixilating The Storyteller

Developmental Steps in Computer-Mediated Storytelling
Katherine Phelps July 1998


With other artistic genres such as novel writing, painting, or musical composition, students of these arts examine their historical development in order to hone and develop their own skills, and be inspired with new ideas. For the computer mediated story very little has been available to-date to assist in a similar process. Digital creators are not working in a vacuum, and yet much time and effort is being wasted by people crossing-over from other media, such as cinema, television or print, who then re-invent the wheel out of unfamiliarity with the full scope of computer mediated storytelling.

This is not always a matter of ignorance. I have noticed that some creators tend to have a one sided experience of CD-ROMs or Web sites. Those who are interested in high art may only look at Eastgate productions. Those who are out for fame and fortune may only look at Doom, Tomb Raider or Myst.

I would like to encourage people to move beyond such self imposed boundaries, since they can prove hindering at such an early stage in the development of this art form. We need as many medium specific skills available to us as possible and these may be developed from a diversity of sources. In this way we are more likely to have the appropriate skill set to fulfil any creative vision we may have. Therefore, I found it important to look at the history of computer mediated storytelling not so much from the perspective of landmark works of artistic or commercial merit, but in terms of developmental steps.


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