International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling

ICIDS 2022

December 4 - 7, 2022
University of California Santa Cruz

What is ICIDS?

ICIDS stands for the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. ICIDS is the premier conference for researchers and practitioners concerned with studying digital, interactive forms of narrative from a variety of perspectives, including theoretical, technological, and applied design lenses. The annual conference is an interdisciplinary gathering that combines technology-focused approaches with humanities-inspired theoretical inquiry, empirical research, and artistic expression. ICIDS 2022 is the 15th edition of the conference and will be presented as a fully hybrid event. ICIDS is the main academic conference of the Association for Research in Digital Interactive Narratives (ARDIN).

We are in Santa Cruz, California!

This year, ICIDS will be hosted in-person at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a small city along California’s central coast. It features world-famous surfing spots, a wharf with restaurants and giftshops, and a bustling boardwalk with amusement park rides, arcade games, food and more. For more information on visiting Santa Cruz, please visit:


2022 Theme: Speculative Horizons

The theme for the conference this year is Speculative Horizons. We are motivated to consider the future and its relationship to Interactive Digital Storytelling. In our contemporary times, where we are confronting global disasters, from war to pandemics, and where we are challenged by the ever-increasing impacts of climate change and the toll of other human interventions on our worlds and cultures, what can we foresee and foretell about what is next on the horizon? How can interactive digital storytelling be a call to action, a mode for healing and peace, or a method of intimate communication to help us visualize, empathize and consider what might be at stake in our worlds and how we can intervene? We aim to explore the ways that narratives, technologies, systems, cultures, and creators can situate and motivate us, attuning us to a present reality, while looking forward to an unknown and uncertain future that we may, or may not, be able to change. What should we know now to aid us in the journey forward?


We encourage authors to consider possible connections to this theme, and we will foreground contributions that focus on the topic. But we also emphasize that there is no requirement that papers or workshops reflect the theme, either implicitly or explicitly – it is meant only as inspiration and is not intended to impose a constraint on other possible contributions and topics relevant to the field of Interactive Digital Storytelling. To that end, we also suggest other areas and modes for presentation, including papers, posters, and demos.

Congratulations to our award winners!

Best Long Paper Nominees

  1. ⭐️ WINNER ⭐️ Candice Butts and Michael Nitsche: Embodied Locative Storytelling of African American Histories
  2. Alex Mitchell, Dennis Ang and Shao Han Tan:“It’s fun not to know”: The Role of Uncertainty in Text-based Online Collaborative Storytelling
  3. Sophie Varone and Nicolas Szilas: The Future of the World: From Scientific Account to Interactive Storytelling

Best Short Paper Nominees

  1. Ying Zhu, Aylish Turner, Naomi Yonas and Douglas Blackmon: Interactive Cartographic Storytelling with Complex Spatio-Temporal Structures and Social Connections
  2. ⭐️ WINNER ⭐️ Daniel Echeverri: Integrating Brechtian Concepts in the Design of a Tangible Narrative: The Case of “The Non-myth of the Noble Red”
  3. Svetlana Rudenko, Maura McDonnell, Timothy Layden, and Mads Haahr: Exploring Classical Music Narratives through Multimodality in AR/VR Experiences

Best Student Paper Nominees

  1. Isaac Karth, Nic Junius and Max Kreminski: Constructing a Catbox: Story Volume Poetics in Umineko no Naku Koro ni
  2. ⭐️ WINNER ⭐️ Miranda Greting, Xiehui Mao and Mirjam Eladhari: What Inspires Retellings: A Study of the Game Genshin Impact
  3. Ps Berge, Daniel Cox, Jack Murray, and Anastasia Salter: Adventures in TwineSpace: An Augmented Reality Story Format for Twine

Keynote Speakers

Cat Manning

Monday, December 5 at 10:00 PST (GMT +8)

Dr. Cat Manning is an IGF and Nebula-nominated game narrative designer and writer. She is a narrative lead at Firaxis, formerly at Riot (League of Legends & internal R&D). Her prior work includes Where the Water Tastes like Wine, Scents & Semiosis, What Isn’t Saved (will be lost), Pathologic 2, and the cult favorite Blaseball.

Michael Chemers

Tuesday, December 6 at 09:30 PST (GMT +8)

Michael Mark Chemers is Professor and Chair of the Department of Performance, Play & Design at UC Santa Cruz. He was also the Founding Director of the BFA in Dramaturgy program at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious School of Drama. His research on interactive dramatic storytelling is published as Systemic Dramaturgy: A Handbook for the Digital Age (Southern Illinois University Press, 2022). He is also the author of Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy (SIUP 2010, 2022) and The Monster in Theatre History: This Thing of Darkness (Routledge 2018).

Marianne Weems

Wednesday, December 7 at 09:30 PST (GMT +8)

Marianne Weems is a director of theater, opera, and mixed reality performance, and co-founder of the award-winning New York-based performance and media ensemble The Builders Association (( Since 1994, The Builders Association has created a significant body of work at the forefront of combining media and performance. They have toured domestically and internationally to over 100 theaters, festivals, and museums, and their last five productions have premièred in New York at The Brooklyn Academy of Music. Weems has also worked in various creative roles with The Wooster Group, Susan Sontag, David Byrne, The V-Girls, and many others. Weems is a professor in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) and Performance, Play & Design (PPD) at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


All workshops: December 4, 9:00 – 13:00 (9:00 AM – 1:00 PM) PST

All workshops will be given in hybrid mode. Registration is not required but is appreciated and advised, as each workshop allows a maximum of 20-25 participants.

Workshop 1: Netprov – Realtime Speculative Fiction as Processing and Problem Solving (Fully Online)


Organized by:

Rob Wittig


Netprov is networked improv: networked, improvised literature. Netprov is collaborative fiction-making in available media, usually the social media of the moment. Netprov is role-playing in writing and images. Netprov is storytelling in real-time. Netprov is a great game for students and friends. Netprov is an emerging art form of the digital age. And netprov is fun!

This workshop session, led by an experienced netprov player, creator, and scholar, will provide hands-on experiences of collaborative digital storytelling. For the past ten years, Rob Wittig has been helping develop the netprov form for use in everyday life via Meanwhile Netprov Studio, and in the classroom during his decades at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Netprov offers an opportunity for synchronous or asynchronous writing and critical thinking by small or large groups of authors in digital media. The principles discussed in this workshop apply across many social media platforms and can be used for narratives that are variously: comic, dramatic, or activist. Topics will include successful character creation, playing multiple characters, narrative development, and successful collaborative authorship. Specific techniques covered include how to support other netprov players: by quoting, by voting, by using emojis, stage directions and other phatic communication, by imitating, and by extending. The workshop also offers advice and support for those who wish to stage netprovs of their own. Bring a digital device and come build characters and stories with us!

The netprov workshop will be conducted entirely online. We encourage people with no prior experience in netprov to participate, so they can learn this fun and exciting new form of storytelling.


How to register: 

Send an email to, with in CC. In the subject line, please include: ICIDS 2022 Workshop 1

Workshop 2: Writing IDN for cinematic VR


Organized by:

Mirjam Vosmeer and Joshua Fisher


In this creative workshop, we will challenge you to not just think and talk about the concept of interactive digital narratives, but take a deep breath and actually write a scene for cinematic VR yourself. For this exercise, we will provide you with a Classic Short Story – and believe us, we’ve picked a fabulous one. After our introduction, in which we’ll talk about issues such as the perspective of the viewer in VR, the use of voice-over, and how to use interaction in a 360° scene, you will work in small teams to adapt the story (or a scene or sequence from it) into a VR script that should be suitable for filming in 360°.

A scene that is intended to be watched from 360° may take different viewer perspectives into account. For instance, the story could be told in such a way that the camera is not part of the narrative, but just registers the scene like a fly on the wall. Another option, however, would be to include the viewer’s position within the story and have characters react toward the camera as if it is another character participating in the scene. Experiments like these, in which actors react to a camera, are, of course, known within traditional cinema as well. As a media of attraction, VR draws on interdisciplinary practices to produce experiences, for which also the use of applied theater methodologies is being studied. Thus, experiments with new ways of storytelling are imaginable in which the option of the viewer to look around within the scene – and for instance, discover pieces of information and new interpretations – could be essential to the way a plot unfolds.


How to register: 

Send an email to In the subject line, please include: ICIDS 2022 Workshop 2

Workshop 3: MMAJam for IDN Analysis 

Organized by:

Hartmut Koenitz, Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari, Rebecca Rouse, and Christian Roth


When analyzing Interactive Digital Narrative (IDN) works such as narrative-focused video games, XR experiences, interactive documentaries, hypertext fiction, journalistic pieces, and installation works, often traditional methods for analysis are used. Yet, if we agree that IDN works differ in important ways from print literature, the stage play and the movie, then we can see that methods designed to analyze these traditional forms will be insufficient to understand IDN works.

Yet, most of the time, there are only enough resources to pick a single analytical perspective, and therefore the advantages of specific lenses like retellings the SPP Model or Roth’s toolbox will not become apparent. We propose a multi-method analysis (MMA) to gain a broader understanding and to overcome the limitations of individual methods, especially the ones rooted in the analysis of non-interactive works. To make MMAs a practical and accessible option, this workshop introduces a new format, the ‘analysis jam’ (MMAJam). Game jams are well-established for ideation and education. We adapt the ‘jam process to create an environment where researchers come together to produce several analyses in a short time.


How to register:

Send an email to, with in CC. In the subject line, please include: ICIDS 2022 Workshop 3