The Art of Interactive Writing and Design
Copyright © 2000-2007 Isabel Pedersen
Labyrinths is organized into ten chapters with several appendices. Stansberry, influenced by the Futurists, engages in the explanation of non-linear interactive texts. He is particularly interested in simultaneity and multilinear lyricism, two Futurist notions. He intermingles theory and his own reflection upon the state of technology with some very practical examples of how to build multimedia designs.
One of the more striking features of this work is the way that Stansberry tackles the creative process rather than just dodging that part, which so many writers in this area seem to do. Stansberry demonstrates the creation of interactive art, not just an analysis of all the tasks involved in bringing a multimedia project to fruition. He begins with an analysis of the generic design process. He introduces a vocabulary that he uses throughout his work. Then he applies the generic design process to specific types of multimedia works like computer games, educational modules and business projects.
In the general theoretical section, he discusses the way that narrative and expository structure provide the foundation for multimedia works. He demonstrates through examples the way in which one can apply narrative structure (plot, character, theme, setting, style and point of view) to the design of a piece. He also dabbles in classical rhetoric when he uses expository structure as a model. The chapter on computer game design is particularly appealing. Stansberry analyzes the importance of conceptual metaphor for games design, but he also alludes to the fact that metaphor sits at the heart of every multimedia work.
On the practical side, Stansberry provides examples of how you document your design through scripts and treatments. In each of the subject areas, he demonstrates how the interactive writer prepares information to pass to developers and producers within the design process. He includes actual flowcharts that represent screens that one can give to a software developer to create.