Brian Bradley


Glorianna Davenport
Research Supervisor

"Happenstance" is flexible storytelling testbed which expands the traditional literary and theatrical notions of Place and Situation to accommodate interactive, on-the-fly story construction.

Important aspects of story content and context are made visible, tangible, and manipulable by systematically couching them within the metaphors of ecology, geology, and weather. Information-rich environments become conceptual landscapes which grow, change, and evolve over time and through use. Current information follows a natural cycle modeled after the Earth's water cycle. Older information, history, and complex conceptual constructs -- built up by the flow of data over time -- are manifested in the rock and soil cycles. Directed inquiries, explorations of theory, and activities associated with the audience's personal interests are captured and reflected by plant growth.

As a result, information itself is imbued with sets of systemic, semi-autonomous behaviors which allow it to move and act intelligently within the story world or other navigable information spaces.

Happenstance is largely implemented using Sun's Java programming language (and is programmed on the Macintosh).