Live Action Role Playing Games in a Theater Setting

AIP's Hypertheater Group specializes in the design and production of Live Interactive Fiction Events derived from a combination of theatrical presentations and LARPs (Live Action Role-Plays). These unique "theater-games" are designed and run by Tod Foley and the AIP staff, along with a growing network of affiliated independent artists and producers.

The AIP system of interactive fiction development is based upon more than fifteen years of research in game design and playtesting for all media. Bringing together a wide variety of specialized talents from the fields of Film and Stage Production, Computer Programming, Screenwriting, Graphic Design, Performance Art and Business Development, AIP has created a new hybrid vehicle for the development of interactive fictional worlds.

The PLAYACT System

At the core of all our LARPs is The PlayAct System - our proprietary body of interactive fiction design theory and procedure. This system has been tested and refined in AIP workshop sessions, design sessions and live playtests, and in public performances beginning with our debut work Ghosts in the Machine (1992) and continuing to this day. Simply put, PlayAct encapsulates "the AIP approach" to creating interactive narrative worlds.

The potential applications of these worlds run the gamut of human experience, since the system is platform-independent and can be used to produce immersive environments for any literary genre or conceptual space. Potential uses include:

  • Entertainment ("Theater Games")
  • Education ("Historical Simulations")
  • Escape ("Interactive Fiction")
  • Entrainment ("Situation Simulations")

Developed by Tod Foley, PlayAct began as a sort of "Narrative Algebra" - an extension of Role-Playing Game Design Theory. Since its inception in 1991 (and the formation of AIP as a vehicle for its development), the system has been influenced by everything from online game design to theatrical production techniques, but its primary purpose remains the same: to serve as a concise, organized and economical means of creating unique, live, nonlinear, narrative environments. The system considers the psychological results desired and the venue (or bandwidth) available, and assists us in developing and running a milieu - complete with Characters, Groups, Locations, Items, Plot Elements and Rules - which is logical, consistent, and dramatic.

The PlayAct System is easily modified to accomodate any variety of client-specific parameters or demands. This holds true in regard to both form and content. Basic parameters which may be addressed by restructuring include: available space, performance duration, participant admission rate, performance breakpoints, neighboring events, daily schedules, special interests, difficulty level, and client-specified characters, items or events. These modifications are made on a case-by-case basis.

For more information or consulting services, contact us.

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HyperTheater Productions

Ghosts in the Machine
A "large-scale live interactive multimedia cyberpunk gothic murder mystery horror theater-thing" presented at the CyberArts International arts & technology conference in October 1992.

An adult career-based LARP set in the internetworked multimedia world of the near future, presented for the Interactive Fiction SIGĀ of the Los Angeles IICS in 1993.

Mediatrix II
Second presentation of this favorite at the UCLA Extension/IBM Multimedia Lab in Westwood, CA, 1994.

World of Ideas
LARP set in the high-powered world of business and finance, presented for the residents of a Los Angeles homeless shelter (People Assisting The Homeless, Los Angeles, CA) in 1994.

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