So, what is interactive storytelling?
Short answer: read Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling. By Chris Crawford.
Well, the short answer for me, anyway. You have to go read a book. So I’ll give you a bit longer answer, which will hopefully answer most of your questions, or at least familiarize you with the subject. If you want to learn more, I really do recommend the book linked to above, and you can find a lot of information online about the subject.
Basically, an interactive story is a simulation in which the player can change the story and influence the characters. Think of the Holonovels in Star Trek, only a bit more simple. In an interactive story, each character would have a separate personality, which would define what they do and how they act in certain situations. An oversimplified example: if a character is nice, he won’t go around killing people.
Some of the difficulties that come up when trying to design and implement an interactive storytelling system are personality models and how they affect the character’s behavior, the player’s interaction with the world, and of course many other things.
I will discuss interactive storytelling more in my posts, and if I mention a new idea or topic I will attempt to explain it as well as I can.