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The University of British Columbia

Interactive Narrative

The University of British Columbia via edX


The primary difference between video games and other art forms is interactivity. Players embody the characters in a game; instead of watching the protagonist make choices, they actively make choices for the player character.

For writers, choice takes on a different meaning in games that allow players to control the outcome of the plot. How do you ensure that game choices are meaningful, have consequences, and also don’t require an impossible amount of work for the game design team?

In this course we will explore how choice works in games, how branching plots work, and how to manage them with tools such as pinch points, bottlenecking and story silos. We’ll look at characters and dialogue, then get you authoring your own interactive narrative with commonly available online tools.

Verified learners will access additional game industry interviews, assignments and discussion topics, connecting with a community of other writers and game enthusiasts.


Module 1: Choice in Games

  • Choice-based experiences
  • Types of branching narrative
  • Elements of choice

Module 2: Structuring Choice

  • Main branches
  • Trimming the tree
  • Making choices matter
  • Types of choices

Module 3: Characters & Dialogue in Branching Narrative

  • Characters
  • Branching dialogue
  • Non-linear storytelling
  • Tools

Module 4: Using the Tools

  • Features of Twine, Klint and others
  • Analyzing existing work
  • Planning for interactivity
  • Using the tools effectively

Module 5: Your Interactive Project

  • Managing interactivity
  • Dealing with excessive choices
  • Editing and revision

Taught by

Peter Boychuk


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