Gamers wanting a deeper narrative, story lovers wishing they could step inside the action, or simply anyone interested in the next wave of gaming will want to check out Storytron, software for interactive storytelling that is now available in pre-alpha. 

Founded by gaming legend Chris Crawford, whose credits include developing Atari classics like Excalibur and penning the seminal text The Art of Computer Game Design, Storytron intends to bring dynamic, character-driven narratives to the world of gaming. Creative types can use Storytron's Storyworld Authoring Tool (called Swat) to construct a "universe of dramatic possibilities" by establishing the personalities and agendas of a set of characters, along with other elements like locations, props and occurrences.  Players within one of these created Storyworlds are story protagonists; their actions shape events.

Some in the gaming community are skeptical of Crawford's efforts.  He has apparently been working on Storytron for years and the website's mid-'90s design aesthetic doesn't help his case.  But if you're an intrepid early adopter, you can download a version of Swat and start creating your dramas today.

by Jonathan Gottlieb