The research presented below is an early-stage research project regarding the role and importance of backstory in an augmented reality application for cultural heritage. Literature and desk research show little attention for backstory when developing a storyline for extended reality applications in the cultural heritage field. However when looking at cinematic productions, theme parks and games for example, it can be stated that backstory plays an important role as a storytelling element to create a cohesive and immersive narrative. The hypothesis presented by Scan4Stories is that adding a backstory to the applications designed for cultural heritage sites, could help enhance the immersivity of the experience. To test the hypothesis presented above, we will develop a prototype, examining how the backstory of characters can be presented to the audience in an extended reality application on a cultural heritage site. By eventually combining the results from literature research and the development of a prototype we aim to formulate preliminary results concerning the use of backstory in cultural heritage extended reality applications.
As mixed reality storytelling becomes more popular we are beginning to see examples of where it can go wrong, by causing harm to those that directly participate, or offence to those indirectly affected. Without an ethical framework to inform design, mixed reality storytelling could have the same sorts of unintended consequences as other digital technologies (for example, social media that has led to mass surveillance and problems with anti-social behaviour). But what might these be? In this paper we explore a range of ethical issues that could affect mixed reality storytelling technologies in order to illustrate the complexity that awaits as they become more popular. We describe ethical responsibilities under two broad themes. The first is a responsibility to the place, in terms of avoiding physical trespass, respecting cultural norms of behaviour, control over virtual graffiti, consideration of names, and awareness of the values embedded in narratives. The second is a responsibility to the person, in terms of safe passage, expectations of accuracy, respect for social and psychological norms, and obtaining wide consent. In both cases there are unresolved legal questions about the duty of care that designers have for their participants, and cultural questions around balancing the competing claim rights of stakeholders with the liberty rights of artists, writers, and designers.
This paper presents a modern, open-source game engine/framework for the visual novel genre of interactive narrative. It takes the insights from the engines of visual novel games and the products made with them to produce a free engine that contains all the features and components required of a standard visual novel, and demonstrates its capabilities with a demo artefact. Visual novels provide authors with a powerful way of presenting their fiction and narratives, yet they are often considered less viable due to the costs required against the profit in sales, or because of their technical requirements to use. The M22 engine aims to address both these issues.