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Always do the most Dramatic thing

Storyteller relies on our human ability to "read" stories out of a sequence of images, but we don't always come up with the same stories even with the same images. Comic writers work hard to make sure readers "see" the story they intend: adding more frames if a transition leaves too much to imagination, writing captions to disambiguate an image, or redrawing whole frames to picture things clearer. This is the equivalent of cinema's editing.


But in Storyteller no editing is possible because the player is creating the story on the fly! This means all stories that can possibly be built with the game need to be clear and unambiguous from the get go. But there's another issue: while building the story, the player needs to be able to *predict* what is going to happen when he drops the next actor into the frame, or solving levels would become a blind process of trial and error. So where comic writers only need to make their stories clear, I also need to make the comic creation process clear!

Since there are many ways to interpret a sequence of images, I picked a set of principles that guide what's going to happen next. This is one of them:

Core Principle: "Always choose the most dramatic interpretation."


What I like about this principle is that it's easy to intuit... if something in the story can be dramatic, it will be the most dramatic it can be, so if while playing you wonder "if I put Adam there will he die or kill himself?" the answer becomes obvious.

To illustrate the principle at work:


Adam could have died a natural death, but since he is heartbroken and can commit suicide, the simulator picks the suicide over natural death. But let's take it further:


If you look closely, you will realize that Adam is living exactly the same situation as before, so he should have killed himself. However, the presence of a jealous Tim allows there to be murder, and the simulator will always pick murder over suicide.

Another example:


In this case, why did Tim *steal* the money in the second frame? He's just alone with a chest, he could have found the money lying around or put out a successful business, but again, what is the most dramatic interpretation?

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