Games have the power to transform the way stories are told. New ways to craft and deliver narratives using advanced game designs and technologies will be the focus of Inventing the Future of Games 2013: Interactive Storytelling Symposium on Friday, May 10, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media, the symposium will bring together leading game designers and experts from both academia and the game industry to discuss the future of interactive storytelling. Speakers will include Warren Spector, creator of Deus Ex and Epic Mickey; Clint Hocking, lead designer of Far Cry 2; Susan Bonds, CEO of 42Entertainment; Emily Short, interactive fiction writer and creator of Versu; and UCSC computer science professor Michael Mateas, creator of Façade and director of the Center for Games and Playable Media. 

Mateas's Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz does pioneering work in the use of advanced artificial intelligence for interactive storytelling. His group has developed technologies to push the boundaries of interactive drama, creating autonomous virtual characters and simulations of social dynamics that enable complex social interactions between players and virtual characters in a game.

Keynote speaker Warren Spector is a long-time advocate of better stories in games. His visionary work leading innovative projects has pushed the boundaries of game narrative. As the studio head of Ion Storm in Austin, he oversaw two seminal franchises, Thief and Deus Ex, both of which broke new ground in immersive storytelling techniques and are considered seminal works today.

New developments in interactive storytelling include complex virtual characters, dynamic drama management systems, and an expanding range of storytelling media. Film-makers craft interactive documentary experiences, while game-makers create richly immersive digital worlds steeped with narrative moments, and more exciting innovations are on the horizon, according to Jane Pinckard, associate director of the Center for Games and Playable Media.

"For this symposium, we've collected the top people in the world, from both the academic sphere as well as the game industry. These are the ones who are pushing the boundaries of interactive narrative every day," Pinckard said.

For more information and to register for the symposium, visit ifog.soe.ucsc.edu. Discount codes are available for interested students (contact cgpm-info@soe.ucsc.edu).