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Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality

Sandy Louchart, Ruth Aylett

The Centre for Virtual Environments, University of Salford, Salford, Manchester M5 4WT

{S.Louchart, R.S.Aylett}@Salford.ac.uk

Abstract. Virtual Reality (VR), by its nature and characteristics, is of specific interest to the AI community, particularly in the domains of Storytelling and Intelligent Characters. We argue that VR must be considered a particular narrative medium alongside Theatre, Literature or Cinema. This paper reviews relevant work in narrative theory from Plato onwards, including the work and theories of literary critics [1], cinema critics [2, 3, 4] and theatrical dramaturges [5], and analyses the specific characteristics of VR relevant to this theory. Less studied media such as Live Role Playing Games, improvisational drama and participatory drama are also considered. Finally, this document argues for a participatory process-oriented narrative, with particular attention to the specificities and particularities of stories and their possible representation, adapted to the narrative medium Virtual Reality.

Keywords {Virtual Reality, Narrative theory, Storytelling, Interactivity, User experience, Emergent narrative}

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