I’ve been meaning to post this for ages. Marcus Brown did a presentation at an event last month, where he spoke about character design in the storytelling age. Marcus is a storyteller extraordinaire – as part of his characterisation of Jack the Twitter, I in fact became part of his story. Here he explains how he goes about building stories on the web:
Been meaning to post this for a while now. Marcus wrote up a case study of how he went about building @JacktheT. I feature in it. Yup. It was a very memorable day, as Marcus said – he freaked out my whole office, who thought I was in mortal danger. Ah, the joys and weirdnesses of digital media!
I am tremendously excited about the Demo Graphic Replicator project. Remember Dolly the sheep? This project takes that one step (many, actually) further. Using open APIs from social tools like Twitter and We Feel Fine, ag8 in collaboration with artist Rob Myers have created this experimental bot that develops its personality as a reflection of what others are saying about it on the web. Essentially, as their website says ‘internet publishers (blogger and microbloggers) are informing the development of a fictional character in real time.’ Currently, the project is using re-tweets on Twitter to build the bots’ personality:
The DGR builds up a persona through small amounts of information – at present – by using Retweets. It’s about maximizing a character’s development through the generation of the smallest amount of addition – specifically – the ‘RT’ prefix.
Bit by bit they begin to create a character’s possible motives, direction and purpose.
One of them is called Felix Freeman. (@Felix_Freeman). Using MindMeister, a mind mapping application, Marcus Brown (who’s done quite a few cool things on and related to the internet including the Tweet Readings I attended earlier this year), created a personality for Felix, replete with avatar.
Marcus has even used Google Street View to create a video that visualizes Felix’s commute to Liverpool Street, London, where he works, to make the character more real. Check it out:
As David Bausola from ag8 says on the blog, it’s a very useful experiment if we keep an augmented reality future in mind. The ultimate aim is to enable the creation of characters for entertainment and education.
The project will publish the full source code and a wiki soon. In the meantime, Felix and his fellow bot-characters @krankychloe, @igguggogg, and @ohlaylala will slowly be formed by us, the general public.
One step closer to a rather spooky and simultaneously, ridiculously exciting future as far as technology is concerned. It was actually a relief for me to read that the DGR’s aren’t passing any Turing Tests yet – but who knows what the future will hold?