Digital Storytelling: Hamlet on the Holodeck

A holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation

The Holodeck is a lot more complex than I thought it was when I first started working on putting these ideas together. The stories we tell, how we tell them and how much they become the reader/participant’s stories is still being fleshed out and a lot of the work will fall to designers and developers.

Story Ideas

We’ve talked a lot about the how and what technologies to use when working in AR and VR storytelling. The following section will work on the what, ideas of types of stories that because of structure or content I believe lend themselves well to an AR or VR environment and, possibly, to a transmedia storytelling mesh.

Daemon and Freedomtm

In these two novels, author Daniel Suarez chronicles the birth of the Daemon a self sustaining network “entity” capabable of interacting with other networks and real people, and the building of the Darknet, a community based on different principles than the corporate overlords trying to take over the world.

Freedomtm is the more approachable story of the two and one where we could change to an augmented reality story. The Daemon’s Darknet, after all, already uses HUD glasses to communicate and provide information to its members… It shouldn’t be hard to convert that paradigm into a story.

Furthermore, if we constraint the story to a given geographical location it shouldn’t be too hard to augment real places in this location with story elements and way for readers to interact with them. The novel tells us how such an interaction of the real and the virtual happens.

Rayuela / Hopscotch

Hopscotch (Rayuela in Spanish), by Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar tells multiple stories about a group of expatriates first living in Paris and the further adventures of Horacio Oliveira, one of these expatriates upon his return to Argentina.

What attracted me to this story is that it’s multiple stories. You can read the first 73 chapters sequentially and be done. After chapter 73 the story ends and you move along. The other option is to read it using a table of directions that tell you what order to read the 155 total chapters.

What attracts me from this story is the multiple stories contained within. If you read it sequentially it’s one story but if you use the table of directions you discover more layers of the story as you move along.

This may be a good way to tell stories in VR and AR environments. Tell one core story and let the user build as many additional layers to the story as they want to.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is a multimedia franchise (novels, anime series and movies) that tells the story of how people deal with fully immersive technologies and the stories they live in these virtual worlds.

The stories make use of fully immersive (full dive in the novels) technologies and also explores some of the implications of full dive technologies when missused or when applied to people with terminal medical conditions.

There is also a movie, Ordinal Scale, where the technology is essentially AR. The game is played in the real world and people and how they’d interact in an augmented reality environment.