Faculty Advisor

Claypool, Mark L.

Faculty Advisor

Madan, Ryan Smith

Faculty Advisor

Rich, Charles


In interactive narratives, there is a trade-off between authorial control and player agency. To address this issue, our team developed Halberd, a game engine which uses planning techniques to produce branching narratives while keeping author workload manageable. Rather than writing story paths, the author writes a world, a set of characters, and an end goal, and the engine dynamically generates the story path based on player actions. Additionally, the engine handles procedural creation of scenes using individual art or text components. To evaluate the engine, we created and playtested a horror game, titled The Worm of Everhill. This report describes the design of the Halberd system, and discusses techniques of authorship for narrative planning engines.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2017


Interactive Media and Game Development

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor Department

Humanities and Arts