Archive: September 18th, 2008

Narrowing it down

[Research] (09.18.08, 11:04 pm)

Here are some further endeavors in making my research more legible, compact, and straightforward. Also, I have updated and cleaned up my bibliography some. Good stuff for all.

My topic is simulating fictional worlds. The underlying problem is how to perform adaptation of fictional works into games. I believe that intrinsic to a fictional work is the world described by the author, in which the characters live. But more importantly, the essence of the work is the model that underlies the world, imbuing it with values and significance. To adapt fiction is to adapt this underlying model.

Recent theories in cognition emphasize the importance of models in thought and learning. Adaptation is a process and dependent on interpretation and then construction of a formal representation of the work’s meaning. I believe that the development of a model is a creative act, but simulation is necessary for the model to be understood.

Digital media, and games particularly, are adept at representing models and illustrating them via simulation. Mainstream games do not yet have an established language for simulating conventional social situations found in fiction. To remedy this, I propose a model of simulating characters based on the social theory of Erving Goffman. This idea uses a situational model of behavior, differing from the reliance on planning in contemporary AI.

My approach is theoretical and intended to cover a broad methodology for adaptation of fiction to games, but I specifically want to look at the works of Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice. Austen is a good candidate for adaptation because the world found in her literature is an enormous departure from mainstream games, her works have a broad culture of adaptation already, and her world is highly structured and formalized according to explicit values.