Adapting Game Plotlines as Causally Linked Quests

This project aims to tackle those "annoying" quests in video games with plotlines. If you have some experience with role-playing video games, you might still remember being stuck at a very difficult quest, or being bored by a quest you don't like. However, in most cases you cannot skip a quest because the quest structure is intertwined with the game story. Removing a quest will inevitably leave a gap in the story, rendering the entire storyline incoherent.

Can you achieve customization and quality at the same time? This project aims to customize the game while preserving a high-quality storyline. Modeling a plotline as a hierarchical plan, our adaptation algorithm allows you to play only the quests you want within a coherent story. Based on players' preference, we can insert, remove and replace quests from the original story. A partial-order plan adaptation mechanism ensures the plotline is causally sensible without superfluous events, and players' actions have material effects on the game outcomes. As a result, the quests form an integral storyline rather than disconnected fragments. Furthermore, we preserve the original human-designed story as much as possible to maintain the original intentions of the story authors and story quality.

This technology can also be applied to the customization of educational materials in a virtual learning environment.

This work has been incorporated into a role-playing game developed by Hartsook et al. (2011). It has also been applied to the domain of training and tutoring in Niehaus et al. (2011).