TINY-IN: True Interactivity for Young Viewers of Virtual Broadcast Content via Intelligent Interfaces




Play Demo

Project Overview

Tiny-in is a two year EPSRC DTI LINK funded project. The overall aim of the Tiny-in project is to explore ways to create novel narratives from existing broadcast content. This type of content re-use is becoming increasingly more desirable as program-makers endeavour to recoup high-production costs through spin-off merchandise, such as within the emergent market of interactive DVD’s. Rather than simply re-using content, it is necessary to consider how the narrative principles which underpin the original broadcast content can be retained, so that the experience of interacting with the content is more meaningful and enjoyable. Thus, narrative is used as a tool to help organise content because it provides coherence and aids memory and comprehension.


The Tiny-in project has produced Scene-Driver, a narrative-driven game architecture for content re-use. Scene-Driver has been implemented using animation content from the Tiny Planets children's television series produced by Pepper's Ghost Productions. The work has involved the development of a methodology for the selection and description of existing Tiny Planets clips in terms of narrative element type and the creation of a narrative-engine to generate novel plot structures using these descriptions. A key feature of Scene-Driver is that the user is actively involved during the construction of the narrative. The Scene-Driver game is aimed at children of 5-7 years old, who are in the target age-range of Tiny Planets.

Playing the Game

We have developed an iconic interface by which children of this age can intuitively interact with the Tiny Planet’s content to form novel narratives. The interface takes the form of “domino-like” tiles which have pictures instead of numbers. A child places a domino that has a left-hand-side that matches a clip they have just seen. The pictures on the right-hand-side of the domino dictate properties of the next scene to be played. The narrative-engine ensures that narrative coherence is maintained regardless of the child’s tile choice and that playing the dominoes will lead to a complete story.

The screenshot shows a Scene-Driver demonstrator using the Tiny Planets content.

[1] The dominoes that have already been played during the game.
[2] The current clip played in response to the last domino laid - the characters in the clip match the right-hand side of this domino.
[3] The child's remaining dominoes.