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Sigmoids for Storytellers: Mathematical Solutions to Narrative Problems


Many narrative design tasks might appear numbers-light, focused more on story structures than on calculations or equations. nnBut numeric considerations do creep in, whether we're designing trait-based dialogue systems, incorporating randomised stat tests, or tying story pace to the meta progression in a free-to-play title. Soon it becomes useful to have some mathematical tools at our disposal including familiarity with different types of randomness, assorted functions to calculate difficulties and rewards, and strategies for turning the player's whole action history into useful stats. nnThis talk introduces a number of systems design techniques for narrative games, drawing on detailed examples from Failbetter's long-running Fallen London and elsewhere. It offers resources for further learning, and ends with guidance on how to provide tooling, training, and documentation to help even the numbers-averse members of a writing team make the most of these methods.

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