One of the most information-packed sentences in the English language is “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” It was formulated by a German scientist named Ernst Haekel. It’s not actually true, but it’s close enough to be interesting.
Ontology is the sequence of steps in the development of an individual. The ontogeny of a human being comprises conception, fetal development, birth, infancy, childhood, puberty, adulthood, aging, and death.
Phylogeny is the sequence of steps in the evolution of a species. The phylogeny of Homo Sapiens starts several billion years ago with some single-celled creatures, through the Cambrian era, then through Tiktaalik to mammals, then to primates, simians, Australopithecus (“Southern Lisping Urinator”) to Homo Erectus (“Aroused Man”) to Homo Sapiens.
The statement “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” means that the development of an individual recapitulates its evolutionary history. We start off as a fertilized egg — a single-cell creature. At one point in our fetal development, we get fish-like gills, then lose them. We have a tail, just like the simians we descend from. Then we lose it.
There are a zillion exceptions to the rule, but there’s more than a grain of truth in it.
The ontogeny of interactive storytelling is the development of the technology of interactive storytelling. In other words, we are inquiring into the most likely sequence of steps necessary to get the technology of interactive storytelling off the ground. How should we proceed?
If we were to apply Haekel’s insight to interactive storytelling, then we would start off re-creating the first simple social interactions of simians. I would start well before humans developed language. The only two forms of communication I would start with are facial expressions and simple grunts and hoots.
The only kinds of interactions I would include would be simple trades and some simple emotional interactions carried out with facial expressions.
From there I’d expand to interactions based on food sharing. And then I’d pursue mating interactions.
All this is derived solely from my knowledge of the phylogeny of human social relationships. I am a bit surprised that Siboot almost perfectly meets the requirements of the starting point.