Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Major problem

I have just run head-on into a major problem. It arises from the various verbs that take secondary clauses: deal, request, advise, command, and threaten. I had intended these to be able to take variable secondary clauses, as in 'Joe deal Mary: Joe give Mary book; Mary kiss Joe.' ("Joe offers to give Mary the book if she'll kiss him.") The problem is the variability in both content and -- more importantly -- syntax of the secondary clauses. The first secondary clause takes the form Subject1 Verb1 DirObject1 Prop2, while the second takes the form Subject3 Verb3 DirObject3 Prop3 -- a different clause structure. Or how about this: "Joe deal Mary: Joe give Mary car; Mary steal book (from) Tom" ("Joe offers to give Mary the car if Mary will steal the book from Tom.") These are completely different clause structures.

Here's the problem: how's a poor storybuilder to specify these clause structures for the verb. What SentenceParts should be assigned to the verb 'deal'? It's pretty obvious that Subject1, Subject3, Verb1, and Verb3 are common to all, but what about Prop3? It's required only for that latter example; how can it be used for the first example?

Right now I am contemplating three possible solutions. In the first, I create some sort of special "clause builder" function that fills in the appropriate sentence parts. I find that a daunting proposition. The second idea is to restrict all these behavior-inducement verbs to just one or two secondary verbs. It would be trivial to make the secondary verbs 'give'; then all these verbs would address only the transfer of props. This solves the problem instantly, but presents a severe constraint on the storybuilder.

The third solution breaks up the process into two or even three steps. First, the Subject creates a single-verb sentence including one of the behavior-inducement verbs. When this Event executes, there's just one role and a set of options for what goes into the first secondary clause. Having chosen those, the next Event supplies the second secondary clause. Only upon completion of this third Event is the DirObject given the opportunity to respond. This approach might be workable but it's certainly clumsy.

Rumplety, rumplety, rumplety...

6 Comments:

Anonymous aevarsson said...

I am interested to learn more about the interactive storytelling process, is there any way of diagramming the flow of interaction in Storytron?

4:07 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Beyrak Lev said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Beyrak Lev said...

My new article on Verb-based dramatic interaction should be available in a day or two - check it out in the Storyworld portion of the overview ;-).

10:13 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Beyrak Lev said...

I seem to recall having asked you about this problem before hehe.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

I cobbled up a screen sketch showing how it will work and forwarded it to Paulo, who should be putting it up later today.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Muppet said...

The screenshot is already online :)

5:38 PM  

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