Storytron is a program currently (2006) under development by Chris Crawford and Storytron, Inc. The technology used by Storytron is called Storytronics. Authors will be able to create a story file called a Storyworld using an authoring system called Swat, the Storyworld Authoring Tool. Players use the Storytron program to experience the story within a Storyworld.
Storytronics is a technology derived, in part, from Chris Crawford's earlier work on the Erasmatron in 1998. Storytronics should not be thought of as "games". It aims to provide an interactive storytelling experience where the player may behave in whatever manner he or she likes, yet restricted to actions that make sense within the story and have interesting or dramatic results.
Unlike traditional interactive fiction, a Storyworld is more concerned with modeling actors' actions and reactions and their emotions and inclinations rather than the game world geography or the mundane objects that populate it. It should also be noted that all actions (and reactions) are scripted in an actor-independent way. If the protagonist has the options to kill, kiss, or threaten the other characters in the game, then they also have the options to kill, kiss, and threaten the protagonist and each other as well.
A Storytron product also looks different than traditional IF. Storytron uses Deitko, a special language used between the characters, which is visually presented in the form of a node graph. Deitko statements may include adverbs and predicates; for example: "moderate I advise Mary that she go home". Storytron also plans to use images to show close-ups of the NPCs' facial expressions when your character interacts with them.
The current plan is to make Swat freely available. Authors (aka Storybuilders) may opt to upload their Storyworlds to the Storytron.com storyworld library. Players will pay a small monthly fee to gain access to the library. Royalties will be paid to the authors based on the usage of their storyworlds.
Testing and development of Swat, Deitko, and Storytron is happening now (2006). Demonstration storyworlds are expected to be available in the Fall of 2006. Storyworlds for players are expected to be available sometime in early 2007.
- Version 0.64 of Swat released on July 27, 2006. This is a pre-alpha release. Available for download, see the page.
- Storytronics Reference Document now also availiable on the site, making explicit a lot of the inner workings of the technology.