Hannah Wood: Narrative and Player Agency in Games


Hannah's research examines how writers can use and adapt dramatic techniques to deliver player agency and narrative affect in video games.

Hannah won the Springer Best Paper Award for her recent paper entitled ‘Dynamic Syuzhets: Writing and Design Methods for Playable Stories,’ which was presented at the 10th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS), hosted by the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, November 14-17, 2017.

The paper, which is also published in the Springer Interactive Storytelling book series, tackles how writers can use and adapt dramatic techniques and literary devices to deliver narrative affect and player agency within the current technological constraints of the interactive digital storytelling form. It navigates through a close analysis of the Story Exploration Game genre of video games, comparison with interactive theatre and reflection on Hannah’s own creative work.

The paper emerged from Hannah’s PhD research into the negotiation of narrative and player agency in live, digital and live-digital hybrid works and follows a paper given at this year’s MIX Conference at Bath Spa University entitled ‘Playable Stories and Experience Protagonists in Video Games.’ It was one of 32 per cent of peer reviewed submissions accepted for presentation and was awarded Best Paper at the end of the conference. To access the paper visit: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-71027-3_3

ICIDS is the premier annual gathering of developers, practitioners and theorists presenting and sharing the latest innovations, insights and techniques in the expanding field of interactive storytelling and the technologies that support it. It brings together a dynamic and interdisciplinary community in narratology, computer science, the arts, and interactive and immersive technologies, working across artistic projects, interactive documentaries, games, assistive technologies, edutainment, pedagogy, museum science, advertising and entertainment.

The conference brings academia, industry, designers, developers and artists into dialogue through a mix of keynote lectures, long and short article presentations, posters, workshops, and demo sessions. For more information visit: https://icids2017.m-iti.org/

Dr Hannah Wood is a lecturer, writer, narrative/game designer, performer and interactive artist. She recently developed a theatre adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches and wrote for a video game about aliens and secrets. You can find out more about her work at Story Juice