Accessibility statement

Object-Based Media - TFT00076H

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Marian Ursu
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

In this module you will acquire a deep understanding of a key technical approach to developing interactive narratives: Object-Based Media (OBM). Like in traditional film and television, in OBM stories are still crafted through the sequencing and layering of smaller fragments – the media objects – but, unlike film and television, they are assembled/edited automatically, at the time of viewing. Thus they are able to respond and adapt to characteristics of the individual viewers and of the specific contexts in which they are experienced. You will learn how to systematically design interactive narratives, through a number of dedicated fundamental narrative structures, how to technically realise them through a dedicated Unity toolkit called Cutting Room, and how to think about extensions to Cutting Room that would enhance its power of expression. You will learn how to employ various peripherals – sensors, data repositories, ambient devices, smart toys, AR glasses, etc. – to enrich storytelling beyond the standard 2D screen. You will examine issues related to scalability – how can one story be delivered in a personalised manner to millions of spectators? – and portability – how can a story authored in a particular technology be ported to another one? You will study these aspects through various specific examples and case studies of interactive narrative productions. Upon a successful completion of this module, you will be equipped with a set of techniques and tools with which you could create comprehensive and sophisticated interactive narratives in a variety of domains.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • To introduce Object-Based Media as a key approach to the development and delivery of responsive, interactive and multi-platform digital narratives made with time-based media
  • To introduce techniques and tools for the development of Object-Based Media productions, as well as uncover issues regarding the authoring and delivery of Object-Based Media productions
  • To demonstrate how knowledge from previous modules can be brought together in developing interactive narratives

Module learning outcomes

Subject content:

  • An ability to capture requirements for Object-Based Media productions in a chosen social context (entertainment, education, health …)
  • An ability to translate requirements into designs – interactive and responsive narrative structures expressed in abstract models – of Object-Based Media productions
  • An ability to translate designs into functioning prototypes of Object-Based Media productions.
  • An ability to critically analyse Object-Based Media from both end-user and technological perspectives
  • Ability to scope and report on a topic related to the development of an Object-Based Media application.

Academic and graduate skills:

  • Practicing creative thinking
  • Practising abstract modelling
  • Practising software implementations and computational thinking, particularly through dedicated tools
  • Developing technical writing skills


Task Length % of module mark
Coursework :Object-Based Media
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Coursework :Object-Based Media
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback on coursework assignments using a proforma identifying key requirements and marks awarded for sections of the assignment. This will be available within six weeks of submission, except in exceptional circumstances which will be communicated to the students.

Indicative reading

  • Object Based Media: Principles and Examples, Last accessed 9 December 2021.
  • M. Brooks, Storyformer: The Manual. Available at Last accessed 9 December 2021.
  • M.F. Ursu, I.C. Kegel, D. Williams, M. Thomas, H. Mayer, V. Zsombori, M.L. Tuomola, H. Larsson, J. Wyver, 2008. ShapeShifting TV: interactive screen media narratives. Multimedia Systems, Volume 14, pages115–132, Springer.
  • M.F. Ursu, M. Thomas, I. Kegel, D. Williams, M. Tuomola, I. Lindstedt, T. Wright, A. Leurdijk, V. Zsombori, J. Sussner, U. Myrestam, N. Hall, 2008. Interactive TV narratives: Opportunities, progress, and challenges. ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications, 4 (4), pages 1-39, ACM.
  • N. Sailaja, A.Crabtree, J. Colley, A. Gradinar, P. Coulton, I. Forrester, L. Kerlin, P.Stenton, 2019. The Living Room of the future. TVX '19: Proceedings of the 2019 ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video, pages 95–107, ACM.
  • S. Concannon, N. Rajan, P. Shah, D. Smith, M. Ursu, M. & J.D. Hook, 2020. Brooke Leave Home: Designing a Personalized Film to Support Public Engagement with Open Data. Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2020 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, pages 1-14, ACM.
  • M.F. Ursu, D. Smith, J. Hook, S. Concannon, J. Gray, 2020. Authoring Interactive Fictional Stories in Object-Based Media (OBM). IMX '20: ACM International Conference on Interactive Media Experiences, pages 127–137, ACM.
  • Chris Crawford, 2014. Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling, 2nd edition. New Riders.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.