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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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The Narrative Complex

The Narrative Complex

What happens when our favorite narratives are retold by the viewer? How might we experience a familiar story in multiple ways? Could the tale of Harry Potter be retold through the viewer’s choices?

The Narrative Complex attempts to answer these questions by turning the linear narrative of Harry Potter into a multi-branched, maze-like tale, generated by the decisions of the viewer. Inspired by observations of the parallel relationship between the navigation of a maze and the structure of an interactive film – both embodying the complex process of navigating the unknown through a series of branching points along the journey, the project team saw an opportunity to explore this relationship further.



Each turning point in the narrative is similar to a crossroad in a maze structure, and each possible path leads to a brand-new storyline that contains further choices of its own. To construct the branches of the storyline, metadata from the original films are extracted and grouped to build a data bank of possible scenes that can come together to form stories in real time depending on the viewer’s decision. In other words, The Narrative Complex constantly evolves and changes according to the viewer.



To immerse the viewer in an embodied decision-making and navigation experience, the team created 3D environments inside which interactive narratives will take place. The new 3D environment is constructed through a process called photogrammetry, in which frames from the original films were stitched together to generate 3D models. The design team is currently exploring the virtual environment in different visual styles, including mesh, point cloud, and voxelization.


Exploring visual styles – Point Clouds and Voxelization

“The Chamber of Secrets” – Point Cloud