Idea for using IPFS with interactive story telling

Hi everyone, what I want to say might take some time, it’s a bit complex, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible.

Overview:
I want to use IPFS to create an interactive story, which eventually becomes more than just a story, containing elements that are purely text, others involving images, others with sound, others with full sound and video, some elements that can be interacted with in a limited capacity, others more fully interactive like a game, and still others which extend right into your daily life, giving you things you can actually get involved with.

Inspirations and similarities:
In some regards this is like the “choose your own adventure” books which came out in the 1980s, where at the bottom of each page, you could make a choice about what the character in the story does, but of course with the technology we have these days, it takes that concept far further. You could also liken it to the game “Ingress” ( I think that’s the name ), where you use your mobile device on a real world gloabl treasure hunt, but again it takes the concept far further. In part this is also inspired by Isaac Asimov’s Foundation saga, but I won’t get into explaining that connection just yet.

Objectives:
This is all inspired by and related to an academic obsession of mine which I will get onto in a minute, and what I hope to achieve through story, is to get people excited about something, so they might take the time to look behind the scenes, get involved in the study of some of the geekier academic elements, which they might not normally read if it were just a dry academic text, and inspire them to take these principles back into their own lives to make changes to the way they live.

If you ever watched a film like Star Wars or Avatar or The Matrix, and you left the cinema inspired by the story, thinking to yourself “I wanna be a Jedi” or “I wanna be a Pandoran” or “I wanna be like Neo”, and it felt like you could do it, but you didn’t quite know how, or like when you wake from a dream about flying, and it’s on the tip of your tongue as you wake up, like you almost rememeber how to actually fly … that’s where I want my system for story-telling to go beyond, where my story actually gives people a philosophical view of the nature of reality, teaching them essentially this:

  • “no matter what it is that you want, IF it is possible, THEN this will be the pathway”
    … no guarantee that you succeed of course, but from a philosophical/logical/mathematical perspective, this particular story hook is about linking fantasy to reality via viable hypotheses which are completely congruent with the axiomatic bases of all knowledge.

So what I need to create is a system of story telling, which is integrated with project development in such a way, that the audience can become developers of various aspects of the story themselves, the story can branch and fork in many directions, and both online ( virtual ) and real world ( or augmented reality ) projects and activities can be linked to various story elements.

Thus, the story becomes a journey, not just of the characters in the story, but also for the story developers, collaborators, and audience alike.

I have drawn a few diagrams so far as to how this is achieved, but I am still studying how IPFS and related things function, so that I can get this to work correctly, and so that I don’t make design mistakes at the foundational level which require starting from scratch when the errors are later discovered.

Background:
I’ve had a 30+ year academic obsession with the quantification of ecological and social justice and sustainability via the principles of ecological systems modelling and thermodynamics, as a basis for non-species-biased, non-property/trade/currency-based, and non-hierarchical ( anarchic ) justice economics and politics.

What this means in a nutshell is that we can achieve justice without law or authoritarian enforcement, communal/social politics withouth authoritarian hierarchies of political power, and economic interaction without the necessity of property trade or currency of any kind. All of this is quantified in real scientific units of measurement and meaningful ratios, applied to both the beneficial and deleterious consequences of human actions, and taken from a non-species-biased perspective - and if you didn’t notice it for yourself, the reason why this must be “non-species-baised”, is because the very term “justice” implies a lack of bias, therefore how can you have ecological justice where there is bias towards human interests. This doesn’t mean going back to the stone age and not having technology, quite to the contrary, it just means that we do everything that we do so vastly differently, and for such vastly different reasons, that we end up choosing and developing ever more efficient and sensitive ways of doing things, which do not involve the rampant consumerism, ecological destruction, inefficiency, waste, pollution etc., which arises from the status quo paradigm, and which status quo justifies such insanities as inbuilt obsolesence, unnecessary redundancies, war and destruction for profit, and so on.

This is however quite a complex thing to explain, and what I have discovered through countless conversations over the past 20 years or so, is that people tend not to listen to anything which contradicts their existing beliefs, no matter the evidence presented, and given that most people are either scientifically illiterate or incompetent, it doesn’t even matter if you have a conclusive definitive and irrefutable argument, where no valid ( much less sound ) counter argument is even possible, people willl still refute it. So I decided some time ago that my academic work would have to educate the audience first, completely breaking down their belief system, and rebuilding it … but such a work is complex and time consuming to write, and since my true passion is actually games, cinema and TV ( story telling ), I figured it made sense to do it in a way that I would enjoy, and which would be accessible to a greater audience.

Along with all the above, I have come up with countless inventions, but none of which I have yet developed, primarily because I was just struggling to survive, but now that I am 50 years of age ( turning 51 soon ), I want to see as much of this achieved while I am still on this planet.

So, another thing to mention here, is that along with my vision for alternative justice economics and politics, I want this project to be the starting point for a “project collaboration development and resource allocation framework”, which will be linked to an ethical investment fund ( for interaction with the existing economic paradigm ), and a new blockchain architecture I have designed, along with countless other projects of my own … eventually opening up so that anyone can insert their own project.

Development:

From what I can see, IPFS is the nearest thing that exists already to a part of the technological backbone of what I want to do, and at some stage, either this project would rehouse itself into a new ecosystem, OR it would feedback data into the evolution of IPFS, such that IPFS becomes that part of the backbone … however this future is uncertain, as it would require the licensing of IPFS and other concerns to be congruent with that future. One way or the other, the IPFS ecosystem would benefit, at the very least in the short term.

The starting point I require is what I have been diagramming at the moment, and while I have a rough overview model, it’s just the latest iteration of a very broad overview of the elements of the starting point of this system - however it would be enough to have an in depth conversation with interested parties who want to get involved and help me achieve this vision.

Perhaps it would be possible to use existing publishing system built on top of IPFS already to at least some degree, but it’s unlikely they fulfil all the requirements I have, and so given the tight integration required for the bigger picture, and given all the issues around licensing and intellectual property etc., I think it makes more sense to develop it from scratch ( even if there are components borrowed from suitable licensed open source projects ).

I do not wish to openly publish a detailed plan of what I want to develop, but instead to start a conversation here, in order to hopefully find people who want to get involved in the development, or people who can help point me towards things which might help that development.

For greater detail than this, I need to speak with people one on one, privately, and assess whether or not I think that person is a good fit for my core team, and then set up a private collaboration space, which would include certain agreements regarding intellectual property and so forth. But in those private conversations I could answer with a bit more detail than what I have provided above.

Conclusion:
I think that should do it for now, please feel free to ask anything here, but please understand that I may not be willing to answer in a detailed fashion about anything that goes too far into intellectual property ( in this public forum ).

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So a webapp(website) with pretty css hosted on ipfs, easy.
ipfs for a database to store mutable data shared across network isn’t supported directly.

I have made a library that you might be able to use to address the short comings of ipfs, I can hook you up if you want, it’s like a file system built on top of ipfs that can run cross platform including the browser through blazor

The holy grail of game design!

This hit home for me as a former game master and developer. Building a narrative machine is what game design is about. It’s really hard but so rewarding.

As for your project, I would not go the technology route, what you want to build is beyond that. Start with TTRPG, get hand-on knowledge of how narrative are created first. Play a game of microscope.

If you create a “narrative machine”, the tech it’s build on won’t matter.

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A website alone may work initially, but in terms of the whole vision, not quite … I think it needs to be a bit more like combining GitLab - modified to deal with projects beyond the scope of software programming alone - combined with a modification of a torrent client application, so that while yes there would be a web interface, behind that is the ability to more directly work with the files, and eventually behind all that comes the modified blockchain architecture I have in mind. It’s not just about the story telling, but about the linking to story and other project development, being able to create teams, views of information, and so on … a collaborative portal, where some users may just be “audience”, but others are now contributors, both in terms of viewable content by the audience, but also in terms of production departments, such that as the story develops from text only ( via funding availability ), to production of film, someone from the audience may also enter a role in wardrobe, makeup, special effects, camera work, and so on … and the same again for any game components that spin off, or anything else.

From the audience’s perspective:

  1. You download an application that allows you to get the files from torrent ( IPFS )
  2. The initial set of files opens in a browser
  3. You read/watch that initial content ( the free part )
  4. You want more, so you create an account, and pay for content
  5. The website knows your account details, and downloads the next parts you have access to ( or at least a ‘view’ of them - depending on your account type and assigned user role/group )
  6. The website achieves this via the torrent/IPFS system, but it can only download the views of content you have access to
  7. During the viewing of content, eventually you will come across interactive content, where for example, a character in the story may ask a question of another character, and you may have the opportunity to provide your own answer to this question, or to ask questions of either character, or make some other kind of statement etc. - sometimes this might be a form of ‘test’, where your answer potentially gives you access to new content, kind of like a hidden Easter Egg, where you demonstrate your worthiness to see the content ( eg: it may be a kind of philosophical test )
  8. At some other point in the story, there is a system described, and you can interact with that system, by seeing its wiki page where it is described in greater detail, and again if you qualify via some test, you could also get access to a GitLab-like project development page/site, where that system is actually being developed, and you can contribute to its development ( there are built in incentives for doing so beyond mere curiosity and enthusiasm over the story )
  9. One such system being developed might be a game relating to the story, or a story chapter, a spin-off side story, or a real world system which is attempting to bring a story element into the real world for completely practical purposes
  10. The systems developed keep expanding the abilities of this whole framework, so that eventually someone else can come along with an idea for something completely unrelated, insert that idea, and generate their own audience and helpers around it, and that project can qualify for funding as it achieves certain milestones and passes certain hurdles, passing from stage to stage through a project development system

Thus story is used to bring audiences helpers and resources around any project of any type.

What is the library you’re referring to about, have you got anything I can read about it?

Yes I really do want to go the technology route, and for many good reasons - see my replies to Xyncgas - though it is also true that it goes beyond technology as well … but the technology aspect is critical, and that’s for reasons that are too complex to explain here just yet. I will have a look at microscope later, but yes I am familiar with gaming, I used to play everything from D&D to CarWars, MechWarrior, Illuminati, Paranoia, Traveller/MegaTraveller, and several others in my teens back in the 80s.

It isn’t just about a narrative machine, that’s only one part of one part of the whole equation, but the tech it is built on does matter because of all the integrations required with other systems for the whole vision.

Let me give you an example:

  1. in the world today, our economic system is such that many brilliant ideas never see the light of day, for the simple reason that the people who come up with them are poor, struggling to survive, and so distracted and exhausted by that survival, they have no time or motivation left … I have seen this so many times throughout my life, brilliant people who are broke and homeless, while complete idiots are rolling in money
  2. when these people finally get an opportunity, it often comes via people with lots of money and unrealistic expectations, but as they dominate the negotiation, the creative person has no choice but to walk away with nothing, or submit to these non-negotiable terms in which their years of struggle and sacrifice are ignored and given zero value, while the person with the money coming in at the end, is given the lions share ( and I have had discussions with many people from the private equity and venture capital arena, without any exception this is a universal law of how they operate )
  3. add to this the fact that many creatively and technically brilliant ideators/inventors/creators also hate conflict, and they’re not particularly good at negotiation, which combined with their lack of leverage, leaves them in a shitty position
  4. so … imagine if instead, there’s a project collaboration development and resource allocation framework, tied to a blockchain, which records the relative consequences of all inputs ( labour, ideas, money, equipment etc ), and makes everyone automatically an investor, no matter the type scale or scope of their investment … and the proportion of that investment is not determined by bargaining position, nor by skill, nor by authority within the system, but is just algorithmically determined acccording to the principles of ecological systems modelling and thermodynamics, applied to this project collaboration framework, and everyone knows that without any negotiation, they’re going to get that share for their inputs
  5. this gives a real sense of ownership to everyone involved, and by use of a whole bunch of principles ( which again I don’t have time to go into here ), it means that the ongoing effect of your inputs over time, is automatically scaled in proportion to all other inputs of all types, their relative consequences, and their diminishing influence over time ( a kind of “half-life” decay is applied )
  6. so as the story develops, this record in the background, stored in the blockchain architecture, provides calculations for many purposes, one of which is profit distribution within the status quo economic paradigm
  7. as the initial story relates to these ideas, the audience will have some idea that behind the scenes, the very systems they’re reading about in the story are coming to life, being applied, and they can potentially get further involved in those things
  8. when someone inserts a new project - when this system evolves and has been tested enough to be able to handle other people’s projects - the same is applied again
  9. since this vision is about anarchic society, and true justice, the system itself only gets its fair share according to the same algorithm, so instead of having some large corporation taking a massive cut ( because they can ), you have a system supplying you with the framework required to see your idea made real, which takes no more than it deserves - thus there are no permanent shareholder parasites draining the rewards of a “worker class”, financial investors are kept at a distance from the actual projects via the ethical investment fund, receiving rewards by the same algorithm, tailored to deliver their minimum expectations but in a way different to what they’re used to:
  • their share is proportional to the thermodynamic benefit of their input
  • the value of that input has a half life decay
  • thus their “exit strategy” from the investment is built in
  • their “hurdle rate” of ROI ( return on investment ) is what will determine who invests and who doesn’t, and thus projects are always receiving funding from the lowest ROI expectation
  • due to the nature of how the system works, projects are also incentivised to pay off such investments as early as possible
  • with respect to risk reduction, as every memeber of project staff feels a personal sense of ownership and thus loyalty to the project ( from which they get their fair share without even having to negotiate, knowing also that no one else got an unfair share ), this reduces investor risk, as staff is the source of one of the biggest areas of risk for any project

So to make all this happen, and a whole lot more - as I mentioned at the start, this is a 30+ year obsession, so you name it, and I already thought of it - while it may be possible to use some things that already exist straight out of the box, the end goal definitely needs to be an integrated system that is largely coded from scratch … some components might be able to be imported where the licensing is compatible, but even those are most likely going to be heavily modified over time … and many things required just won’t exist at all, or won’t exist in a form compatible enough to be imported and used, so at best we might be able to get ideas from their coding, but it will need to be redesigned and recoded to really work.

FYI - a very good friend of mine ( currently doing his PhD ) was the one who introduced me to the work of the late ecologist Howard Odum some 20+ years ago now, and it was only via that understanding of ecological systems modelling, was I able to solve the questions I’d been stuck on for a decade up to that point … basically it came down to the single most fascinating question I have ever been asked, which he asked of me after some months of prior discussion: “can we quantify justice?” - and while I knew the answer was yes, it took me 2 weeks to come back to him with an explanation as to how … that explanation was extremely rudimentary, a simple binary quantification, but over the years and decades since then, I have refined it to the point where I can add a great deal of granular detail to the quantification, and even apply the notions of justice and sustainability to non-living objects ( which I know might sound counter intuitive - what is justice to something that isn’t alive much less conscious or sentient - but it comes from understanding the role everything plays within the relationships of an ecosystem, and how these things affect functional expression, aka “consequences” ).

Sorry for the long winded reply, but as you can see, it’s difficult to put all this into simple terms, and hence the reason I said I would skip a lot of detail at this stage … but that’s roughly where it’s all headed, and I want this “narrative engine” for story to eventually be tightly linked to all the other components, so that no matter who does what, the consequences of their interaction can be recorded ( as automatically as possible ), and these consequences can then be used for a variety of purposes ( not just profit sharing ), eventually leading to the formation of an alternative economic paradigm, not based on any form of property trade or currency … but to keep going further into the explanation of all that would take an entire series of books ( hence this starting story using this vision as a story element ).

Hope that was reasonably clear, but ask away if you have any questions.

I’ve built something that can enable dynamic website and similar dynamic content applications in a secure decentralized vision running on ipfs, if you are interested in using this, join the telelgram group Telegram: Join Group Chat where we help eachother use it, the project has no repo and no documentations for now but some sorce code and explainations and nuget packages are already posted if you want to get started

Is there a link just for the source code itself? Telegram just seems to put everything into a single conversation stream, so I don’t really enjoy using it and trying to hunt through that single stream to find things. I take it what you meant by no documentation but explanations, is that the source code is well commented?

You are welcome to come to the group chat and ask questions, it’s how this has to work for now, because there isn’t any documentations now, but to get started you can look at the packages references either in visual studio or fuget package browser, then if you want to do something specific, I can help you with it.
Also I have code examples in the telegram group, and I will be there too, I can give you the codes and you can try out yourself. Then from there you can use DAG to build your dynamic websites, or whatever you want once you can use it.
And if you have any problems like a bug or something, you can let me know. The project is closed source for now as I am the only one maintaining it.

Having a group also means that, if some how I get distracted to work on another project, I will still be here and people can still complain or ask for helps and I will listening and helping to people’s problems

What are the prerequisites in terms of programming languages and other concepts required to be able to understand and utilise your library?