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Update #22 - May 23 - May 29, 2024

Using Discord To Deliver Collaborative, Narrative Gameplay With StoryEngine

We’ve been hard at work taking the feedback and insights we’ve recently gained and incorporating them into the next version of StoryEngine. With that, we’ve been working on a surface that we think will be an excellent entry point to the types of narrative games we imagine.

Discord brings groups of friends and gamers together to play and to socialize. We are building a Discord surface that allows for exploration and play through narrative adventures built with StoryEngine. We hope to learn several points from this.

First, how effective is Discord at allowing collaborative, narrative play? We aim to let players work together to explore the world, and to create a story that is unique to them. Second, what is the right pacing for this type of gameplay? Should these be shorter sessions with frequent interactivity, or is it better to let the game play out over longer timeframes with less frequent interactions? Finally, what are the key, initial mediums we need to truly immerse players in the story? Is text and audio alone enough? How much more engaging will it be with images, video, or realtime environments?

StoryEngine is a platform designed to operate many playable stories across many game worlds, but we believe the best insights come from real world testing of shared technology. To continue to gain those insights, we are bringing the world of Sherlock Holmes to Discord using StoryEngine. We allow players to jump into Sherlock’s London and to travel around the city to investigate locations, interview possible suspects and witnesses, and ultimately compete to solve crimes to put an end to Moriarty’s criminal empire.

At the same time, we’ve been making key improvements to StoryEngine itself. We have an improved web based editor to help author and manage the active stories that take place in each world, and we’ve added controls for how individual characters, locations and plot points can intersect with the larger world, or remain on their own path to ensure that players can have their own stories, while still collaborating on the shared narrative of the entire game world.

We hope to have a playable demo in the coming weeks so we can begin to get real feedback from real players. We hope to see you there.

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