Interactive scenario, in different media forms, has grown tremendously over the years and have gained large popularity in recent years, with more and more movies being created. The format is not only diverse but also places importance upon the user and audience in having a say and choice in the outcomes of the media they are interacting with. It is used in both learning and storytelling, as an engaging and immersive way to create an experience that sticks with the user more effectively; to learn, empathize and engage with a given story. Below we will take a look at how such interactive scenarios came about and its progress over time, discussing important past and present examples of such media.
Story of ISD
Interactive scenario originally started in the format of PowerPoint presentations, created by the Articulate Studio as an instructional example of e-learning. Its purpose was to illustrate how to prepare scenarios with multiple options that can then be chosen from. Following that, new technology and software were specifically designed for the creation of such interactive learning tools. Rise 360 enabled the creation of content blocks for each option the user could choose from, not only did it make interactive scenarios easy to create, but it is also presented them to users with a much more lively interface and more fluid movement. This paved the way for interactive scenario design to be utilized in video, with options and recommendations even being presented on youtube and eventually in film shooting.
Cinema and ISD
The first interactive movie was Kinoautomat which was released in 1967 which was created by Radúz Činčera. It was screened at a specifically built theater in Montreal. Each seat at the theater had two buttons, one green and one red corresponding to the colors of the two blocks of options presented to the audience throughout the movie. Five times during the screening, a performer comes onto the stage and asks them to choose one of the two options for the following scene by pressing the corresponding button. The votes are shown on the screen and the majority voted scene is then played. The spectacular thing about this film is that it was made before any new media platforms are possibilities came to the forefront, yet it still is one of the first known examples of interactive video.
This is another example of Cinema8's interactive short film below :
Popular ISD Movies
Other renowned examples of interactive video and scenario today is the Bandersnatch by Black Mirror. The series specifically taps into the modern world’s “techno-paranoia”. The interactive episode released on Netflix in 2018 is called Bandersnatch, and it tells the story of a programmer who attempts to create a video game from an old fantasy novel. Soon after it’s release the episode was trending worldwide. The ability for people to themselves participate in the telling of the story they are watching created a storm of both interest and debate. Depending on the choices the viewer makes, the story can run from 90 minutes to a total of two and a half hours.
How to Create ISD
After the creators of Bandersnatch realized that there were no tools to create a branching narrative script like the one required for the movie, they worked with a team to create a program called Branch Manager. Netflix now applies this technology in all other interactive projects such as Bear Grills’ You vs. Wild and the upcoming Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt interactive special.
These new technologies create possibilities for anyone interested to learn more about interactive scenario design and enables people to create their own videos or scenarios that similarly engage people in the story’s progression. This progress is likely to grow and develop over time, with possibilities of fully immersive, 360 interactive videos that resemble virtual reality video games and movies. As we will be seeing more developments in the future with such media playing more of a vital role in our lives, it also creates the need for more people to learn about, engage with it and learn how to make their own content if they are interested in media creation.
There are many software available for interactive scenario design today, starting from the simple PowerPoint to more complex and sophisticated design tools. Creators can choose from many which are suitable for their process of scenario design. However, some important pointers are necessary to learn before creating such content. Firstly, it is important to know how you want to design the interaction by considering things like choice and consequence. What will either branching choices lead to, how will the scenario be affected by A or B. This can be done by creating a scenario map, which goes from the start of the story’s main events, and details the different options along the way, how they branch out into different outcomes and finally different endings. Once the idea is finalized, the scenario is ready to be designed on a given software which enables the branches to be created with the associated imagery or video scenes.
It is important to consider the audience while planning the scenario, and how their feedback and choices play a role in the changes to the character and the story’s progression. As this form of media empowers the audience by giving them a role and say in how a given story can progress, the consideration of what different options audiences may want to choose from is key, and incorporating that into the scenario and story in itself fluidly is equally as important. This is a good example for 360 interactive video, with Cinema8 .