In designing digital and multiplatform storyworlds that are situated in a boundaryless, networked environment what knowledge can be contributed to an interdisciplinary field? In designing The Nadir, a multiplatform, immersive environment, the author has used narrative inquiry to design the storyworld. Reflection on creative practice leads the author to suggest the re-emergence of representation in a ‘complex virtual narrative architecture’ and extends our discussion of text beyond ludology and narratology.
This paper questions whether a narrative can be created or co-created and at what point can it be classified as a game? And if it is necessary to define the nature of the artistic practice, even within an interdisciplinary and multimodal environment, what parameter shifts occur? The author is particularly concerned with the absence of critical theories and frameworks relating to the creative process of constructing narrative for digital artifacts.
The author reflects on the design of multiplatform works as complex virtual narrative architecture drawing on Hayles and Gannon’s discussion of ‘virtual architecture’ (2012) and systems theory. The first level of narrative design for The Nadir was concerned with prose. Latter designs include locked rooms, emergent texts, location-based gaming and immersive theatre connected to a digital landscape. To model both the creative process and co-created environment, the author has used weather systems, for eg a hurricane and cosmological concepts, the black hole. In building this regenerative, dissipative narrative structure, core features consist of emergence and complexity – and not spreadability or drillabilty as suggested by Jenkins of transmedia environments (2009, 2013).
This paper shows how co-creation may extend information architecture beyond the replay and archiving of playable stories (Giannachi, Foster & Benford et al 2010) to support a regenerative narrative landscape concerned with the capture and recreation of data. In addition, co-creation will be analysed using systems theory to extend our knowledge of narrative. The author delivers contributions via new theoretical models and frameworks to guide artists in their multimodal, multiplatform practice and theorists in their analysis of these complex environments.