Despite recent progress in plan-based narrative generation, one major limitation is that systems tend to produce a single plotline whose progression entirely determines the narrative experience. However, for certain narrative genres such as serial dramas and soaps, multiple interleaved subplots are expected by the audience, as this tends to be the norm in real-world, human-authored narratives. Current narrative generation techniques have overlooked this important requirement, something which could improve the perceived quality of generated stories. To this end, we have developed a flexible plan-based approach to multiplot narrative generation, that successfully generates narratives conforming to different subplot profiles, in terms of the number of subplots interleaved and the relative time spent on each presentation. We have identified specific challenges such as: distribution of virtual characters across subplots; length of each subplot presentation; and transitioning between subplots.
In this paper, we overview this approach and describe its operation in a prototype Interactive Storytelling (IS) System set in the serial drama genre. Results of experiments with the system demonstrate its usability. Furthermore, results of a user study highlight the potential of the approach, with clear user preference for presentations that feature interleaved multiple subplots.
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