Events vs. States

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elenien
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:38 am Post

I'm sorry if this has been addressed before, but I haven't had a chance to look through all of the previous posts :)

After using this software, and Timeline 3D for a few years now, I think I've finally put my finger on a "want" that I've always had. It comes down to the difference between events the character participates in, and stages of life (or states they exist in).

Let me use an example. In a fantasy story I'm working on, I have a character who gets accepted as an apprentice to learn swordplay. Their acceptance is an event in and of itself, as is their "graduation", but in between these two they exist as an apprentice. As it is, if I want to represent that "state" in my timeline, I have to create an event that spans that time; for instance "character is an apprentice". This... isn't ideal.

In a sense, I think what I want is the ability to visual link/group multiple events and say something about them while still being able to see them among the other events. I see this as a somewhat different need than what the arcs and tags and notes fulfill; a kind of visual sub group under arcs.

Does that make sense?

I do love the software by the way :)

Thanks.

ma
matt
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:44 pm Post

Hi,
I think I understand what you mean, but will need to think about how this relates to the current application, and how something like this can be represented in the future.

I have had other conversations with someone along similar lines, where events are really just the trigger points to advance the story or character - i.e. the events are the cause, and their effect is to advance a character to the next state of their "character arc".

I think that ties partly into what you have described.

How all of that ties into the existing timeline application is something I still need to think about.

Matt

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elenien
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:31 pm Post

matt wrote:I have had other conversations with someone along similar lines, where events are really just the trigger points to advance the story or character - i.e. the events are the cause, and their effect is to advance a character to the next state of their "character arc".


Yes! That is part of what I'm talking about :)

What I said about "grouping" aside, it seems like this is something that would go perfectly in the 'entity' section, where all of the event relationships are visually represented. Maybe just a way to highlight between two events and put a label (as a really basic version)...

Though, I think being able to visually group events within an arc would still be handy.

I know all too well how things that sound *simple* end up being extremely complex, if not impossible, to program. I'm in no hurry. It's exciting to see just how the app has progressed since I first noticed it and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Thanks! :)

sa
sarajiel
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:28 pm Post

elenien wrote:
matt wrote:I have had other conversations with someone along similar lines, where events are really just the trigger points to advance the story or character - i.e. the events are the cause, and their effect is to advance a character to the next state of their "character arc".


Yes! That is part of what I'm talking about :)

The way you describe that behavior, I immediately had to think about Gantt charts. Although it is a rather nice idea, I guess that leads to a bigger redesign of the UI. :cry:
From my personal experience with project management tools abused for writing, I'd say that it works quite well for single characters, but I always got the impression that a lot of different characters or unrelated (historical) events turn those nice Gantt charts into a mess.

Maybe Matt should take a look at the screen shots of the new iPad version of OmniPlan for some visual inspiration. :lol: I'd expect that event grouping and a more cause-action driven time lime in AT might look something like that.

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elenien
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Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:18 am Post

sarajiel wrote:The way you describe that behavior, I immediately had to think about Gantt charts. Although it is a rather nice idea, I guess that leads to a bigger redesign of the UI. :cry:
From my personal experience with project management tools abused for writing, I'd say that it works quite well for single characters, but I always got the impression that a lot of different characters or unrelated (historical) events turn those nice Gantt charts into a mess.


It's extremely easy to make a mess of any kind of organizational software :D

My "stripped down to its most basic/simple" request is just to be able to see where my character is in life during any particular event and to mark which events trigger those transitions.

One thought is something kind of like this:
http://www.sonrider.net/external_photos/timeline_mod.jpg

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elenien
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Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:26 am Post

sarajiel wrote:I guess that leads to a bigger redesign of the UI. :cry:


Now.... see.... I really kind of like the current UI...

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Jaysen
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Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:50 pm Post

I may be to dense to see what you are getting at, but isn't this kind of a "story sub-arch" with a little more detail around the start/stop aspect? Could you use a new story arch with dedicated start and stop events to get the idea? I guess that "character arc" Matt talked about is the same idea, but I'm not sure it can't be done with the existing story arch context.

Sorry if there is a obvious reason this doesn't work.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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sarajiel
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Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:10 pm Post

Hallo Elenien,

Since I'm just some kind of of AT zealot I can't speak for Matt, but I looking at our sample I can understand your idea better now. You might try something like this to fake grouping with sub arcs:

Bildschirmfoto 2012-06-11 um 18.47.44.png
Aeon Timeline Mockup
Bildschirmfoto 2012-06-11 um 18.47.44.png (58.26 KiB) Viewed 2326 times


I hope my quick mockup doesn't look to confusing, but it's something I do for chapters and scenes in a similar way. Basically you start with a long event covering all the time of certain part of character development and add more specific events later. Sadly you can't really create a proper group of events in AT yet, so you have to select all events to move them around for example.
To avoid clutter you can also define different arcs and re-order them similar to my "Hero" arcs. This might give you some kind of fake Gantt chart as well, but without links or connections.

Hope that helps, until we get some "smart" features like groups in AT.

Sarajiel

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elenien
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Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:54 am Post

Nice example :D

Yeah... I do something similar with the long events. The problem is that it really only works nicely when separated into arcs. Otherwise all those events get mixed in with other stuff. Yet, having all of those separate arcs starts to get problematic, especially when dealing with multiple characters.

[Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not possible to reorder arcs once they have been created, right?]

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matt
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Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:24 am Post

elenien wrote:Nice example :D

Yeah... I do something similar with the long events. The problem is that it really only works nicely when separated into arcs. Otherwise all those events get mixed in with other stuff. Yet, having all of those separate arcs starts to get problematic, especially when dealing with multiple characters.

[Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not possible to reorder arcs once they have been created, right?]


Hi Elenien,
If you click on the "Toggle Items" toolbar option, you can show/hide any arcs you want, and also drag them around in the table into any order you want.

Matt

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elenien
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Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:19 am Post

matt wrote:If you click on the "Toggle Items" toolbar option, you can show/hide any arcs you want, and also drag them around in the table into any order you want.


Ah... which I now see you kindly mention in the manual. Opps :) My habit of skimming manuals once again works against me :)

Thank you.