How immersive can a world be?

Importance of Bibles

In my last article, I introduced ‘Transmedia storytelling’ (TS) and the way bible-sunset-2it can use new technologies to achieve its goals. Now, we’ll inspect, in depth, the fundamentals of TS.

One of the main pillars of TS is the capacity of its diverse literary and creative works to converge into a single, well identified experience. This is the ‘immersive world’. What is important to understand here is that ‘immersive’ does not refer to any specific engagement, but a mix of correlated things. Usually, we speak about the latest things, but now it’s time to investigate the prior.

Achieving that goal is not simple. First of all, an author cannot obtain an immersive world by himself/herself. We know that nature is not ‘monochromatic.’ When a writer creates something, he/she etches the history in his/her own style. The people in the story is a reflection of how he/she visualizes things. Therefore, the total experience of this world is not converging, it’s flat! So, TS makes  the need for contributors, the prosumers, quite obvious. The stories, having different creators, offer a kind of 3D vision of that world. More contributors lead to more depth.

These contributors, however, raise a problem. TS states that production must be free in order to attract prosumers, but they need to be ‘constrained’ in some way but not ‘directed.’ Then again, if the production does not converge, you will not attract the prosumers.

The answer to that is the creation of the ‘Bible.’ The name is carefully chosen, because the original one is not simply a ‘faith’ book. It is, in fact, the description of the the culture, the food, the sins and the glory of the Hebrew people; it describes the story of the existence of  the chosen people… it’s not just credence.

Simply put, the goal of Bible is to project the ‘scenario’ at work – the grand-plot of that world – where all the characters live and interact. The Bible does not focus on single characters. It’s just that there needs to be few fixed ones, as per the rules of history, because focusing on an abstract scenario of any world is a real challenge.

As human beings, we realize that our history is a ‘repeating schema,’or patterns, with different actors and strength, but with the same plot (Giambattista Vico). TS makes use of those patterns to write the fundamental rules of this world. The Bible decides what is faith and goodness, the culture and history of main races, the idea of what is good and what is evil for its people, social conflicts, wars, principal heroes, villains and so on. The more detailed and complete those patterns are, the more realistic the world is. That world can exactly be like ours, or a completely new one, but that is irrelevant here. What is important is the ability to shape it. Determining the correct shape is the real work. To describe the expected result, we can use a metaphor – the ‘engagement of five senses’ i.e. an immersive world can not only be seen, but can also be tasted, smelled, touched and heard.

If you are interested in starting a new world, take a look at what a Bible is and how it can be created through these two examples: Halo Bible and Star Wars expanded universe. You can find a complete guide to write a Bible here[i]. The guide also describes the technological approach, platforms & tools; and serves as a good starting point. There are some resources that can help create it and some platforms such as StarlightRunner and Conducttr that can help develop it between them. This is all you need to start engaging prosumers!

References

[i] Screen Australia ®

[ii] TmResourceKit®

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