The Automatist Storytelling System

I am in the process of reading Michael Murtaugh’s Master Thesis “The Automatist Storytelling System” as it has some similarities to parts of the project I am preparing. He describes his thesis as “… an “editor in software” or “narrative engine” — a system that produces dynamic and responsive presentations from an extensible collection of keyword-annotated materials. Sequencing decisions are made on the basis of association, and the overall structure and meaning of an experience emerges from the interactions of individual material presentations. In this highly decentralized model, viewers are consistently integrated participants, who exert varying degrees of influence or control over the construction of the experience. The viewers’ role is considered primarily extradiegetic; viewers’ actions influence the process of the storytelling rather than altering actual events in the story world. By making both the viewing experience and authoring process variable and extensible, the Automatist Storytelling System supports new story forms such as the “Evolving Documentary.”