Chapter 20. High-Level Structures

In Chapter 19, “Engines,” I briefly discussed plot-based engines, which use a top-down approach: Starting with the high-level concepts of plot and story structure, they attempt to figure out the low-level events that should emerge from the combination of the player’s decisions and the high-level plot concepts. So far, such techniques have not been successful. The bottom-up style, starting with individual character decisions and working upward from there, seems more promising. Bottom-up engines, however, suffer from meandering; there’s little impression of story structure. This chapter addresses that problem, suggesting some ideas for imparting a stronger sense of narrative development to the experience.

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