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Snake Story: Integrating Gameplay and Co-Creative Storytelling

Core Concepts
Snake Story blends the classic Snake game with a GPT-3-based co-writing system, requiring players to balance survival and narrative creation goals.
Snake Story is a mixed-initiative co-creative storytelling game that combines the classic Snake game with a GPT-3-based text generation system. The game consists of two main parts: the Snake game and the Story co-writing element. In the Snake game part, players navigate a snake to collect candies on the map. Each candy is associated with a unique text segment generated by GPT-3. By selecting a candy, the player adds the corresponding text to the evolving story. The snake's growth and the effects of the candies (positive, negative, or neutral) create a resource management challenge, as players must balance their storytelling goals with their gameplay objectives. The study with 11 participants revealed three distinct player roles: Writers: Focused on crafting high-quality narratives, these players found the gameplay mechanics frustrating as they often interfered with their writing goals. Players: Primarily interested in the Snake game, these participants largely ignored the storytelling aspect, seeing it as superfluous. Readers: Engaged with both the gameplay and the narrative, these players viewed the game as a way to continue experiencing the evolving story. The findings suggest that designing mixed-initiative co-creative storytelling games requires tailoring the experience to appeal to different player types. For writers, the game should prioritize narrative creativity and minimize conflicts between gameplay and writing goals. For players, the focus should be on immersive gameplay with narrative as a complementary feature. For readers, the ideal design seamlessly blends narrative and gameplay to enhance the overall experience.
The 11 participants played a total of 142 rounds in Snake Story. The text segments generated with a lower temperature (number 2 candies) were selected 43 times. The higher temperature (number 1 candies) texts were selected 89 times. Participants chose to write their own words (yellow candies) 10 times. The 11 stories had an average of 272.64 words.
"I felt the words the AI used were really nice, and there were hardly any grammar mistakes. But because I picked a lot of good candies (with less coherent texts), I don't feel like the story flows that well." "Since the game's mechanics kind of keeps me from the text I want, I feel like I don't really have much control over the story." "It is not that fun to create stories with this (system). I do not have enough time to read and make decisions. That's kind of stressful." "I'm not a fan of this game because I'm looking for a longer and more engaging story. Right now, it just seems way too easy to get killed in it."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Daijin Yang,... at 04-12-2024
Snake Story

Deeper Inquiries

How can the game design better support the different player roles (writers, players, readers) to create a more cohesive and engaging experience?

In order to better support the different player roles in mixed-initiative co-creative storytelling games like Snake Story, the game design should be tailored to the specific preferences and objectives of each role. For writers, the game environment should prioritize narrative creativity, with gameplay elements that support rather than hinder the storytelling process. This could involve assigning better text segments to candies with positive effects, ensuring that writers can select high-quality content without compromising their gameplay objectives. Additionally, the game mechanics should facilitate writing goals, offering appropriate AI interactions for writers to enhance their storytelling experience. For players, the focus should be on immersive and engaging gameplay mechanics that keep them motivated and entertained. While players may not have strong writing goals, the gameplay should be rewarding and challenging enough to maintain their interest. Incentives such as rewards for narrative successes or gameplay advantages based on narrative achievements can help players engage with the story creation aspect of the game. For readers, the game design should seamlessly blend narrative and gameplay to enhance their overall experience. This could involve dynamically adjusting the pacing of gameplay to match the progression of the generated narrative, creating a more immersive and cohesive interaction between gameplay and storytelling. By reinforcing the connection between gameplay and narrative, readers can enjoy a balanced experience that caters to their interest in both elements.