Using AR Mechanics and Emergent Narratives to Tell Better Stories

  • Matthue Roth
Part of the International Series on Computer Entertainment and Media Technology book series (ISCEMT)


In games like BioShock and Half-Life 2, most storytelling does not happen with words. Graphic design, sound design, environmental architecture, and experiential cues put the player in the space, tell the story, and teach users to play the game. Together, these components tell the player what to afraid of, when to run or when to approach with caution, when to draw your gun, and when to jump on a monster’s head.

Augmented reality, or AR, does not merely introduce users to a new world. It introduces users to a new world every time they start a new play session. These design techniques present a basic layout for a new physical vocabulary of game design and user interaction.

How do traditional game experiences, and this existing well-defined vocabulary, transfer to augmented reality experiences? In AR, the user’s main game mechanic is simply existing in the space. Moving your phone or device around is an act of exploration and discovery. Each physical movement leads to a new variation on the experience, revealing a new slice or a new aspect of the AR world.


Augmented reality Storytelling Realism Environmental design Experience design Game mechanics Player choice 



Many thanks are due to the Google Daydream AR Platform UX team: Alex Faaborg, Yvonne Gando, Patrick Gunderson, Khushboo Hasija, Kurt Loeffler, Eugene Meng, Germain Ruffle, and Alesha Unpingco.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthue Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.Google LLCMountain ViewUSA

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