Multi-Agent Narrative Experience Management as Story Graph Pruning

  • Stephen G. Ware University of Kentucky
  • Edward T. Garcia University of New Orleans
  • Alireza Shirvani University of Kentucky
  • Rachelyn Farrell University of Kentucky

Abstract

In many intelligent interactive narratives, the player controls an avatar while an experience manager controls non-player characters (NPCs). The space of all stories can be viewed as a story graph, where nodes are states and edges are actions taken by the player, by NPCs, or by both jointly. In this paper, we cast experience management as a story graph pruning problem. We start with the full graph and prune intelligently until each NPC has at most one action in every state. Considering the entire graph allows us to foresee the long-term consequences of every pruning decision on the space of possible stories. By never pruning player actions, we ensure the experience manager can accommodate any choice. When used to control the story of an adventure game, players found our technique generally produced higher agency and more believable NPC behavior than a control.

Published
2019-10-08