Codex – Software framework for “highly interactive” gamebooks

With increasing digitalization and a daily surplus of multimedia content, guaranteeing the appeal of books has become an ever larger challenge, especially for children, teens, and young adults. One of the potential ways that we can (at least partly) counteract this trend is through what are known as gamebooks. These give the reader multiple opportunities to choose between various possible actions, jump to different text passages, and thereby influence the story being told. However, “analogue” gamebooks and their digital counterparts (typically smartphone apps) generally only give readers a minimal level of interactivity and a relatively rigid narrative with severely limited opportunities for branching off. This project therefore aims to develop a software system to enable authors to pen “highly interactive” gamebooks in which, similar to a computer game, readers can take a wide range of possible actions based on an underlying game world simulation (with dynamic world states, integratable objects, and non-player characters).
The foundation for this lies in a description language to be developed as part of the project, which “non-computer scientists” should also be able to use without in-depth knowledge of a programming language. Furthermore, in addition to an intuitive input system, support will also be developed for audio-visual effects to form the background to the story being told. As such, the project can also be seen as a contribution to the convergence between the media of conventional books, audiobooks, and computer games.

Prof. Bartosz von Rymon Lipinski