Aeon Timeline Version 0.3.1 (Story Arc View Beta)

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matt
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Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:59 pm Post

For those users who have disabled automatic updates (or want to download the new version before the automatic update filters through), Aeon Timeline Version 0.3.1 (Beta) can be downloaded from the following URL:

http://aeontimeline.wordpress.com/latest-version/

The big addition to this release is the all new Story Arc View. Although it is not yet feature complete (the links between Story Arcs have not yet been implemented), it is still a big addition to Aeon Timeline. The new Story Arc view provides:
  • A horizontal timeline, using a similar folding timeline algorithm to the Entity View, that compresses time periods with little activity, and expands time periods when there are lots of events.
  • A much better temporal view of the timeline by placing all events at their exact location, and provides a visual display of events’ duration.
  • Events can be split into different story arcs with simple drag and drop operations, making it easy to sort out the events that belong together.
  • Story Arcs can be hidden and shown with a simple drop-down menu option, making it easy to concentrate on smaller sections of your timeline at once.
  • The Story Arc View is fully integrated with the Entity View, sharing the same Hot Tags bar, maintaining selections as you toggle between views, etc.

This version also fixes several bugs found in the previous release.

Before downloading the beta, please read the Introduction and Beta/Forum Rules.

Please post all general bug reports found in this beta as a reply to this thread. Wish list items and discussion of other pending features belong in their own threads.

If the application crashes, please include the crash log and output from the Console in your bug report.

REPORTED/KNOWN BUGS

* Known display problem in Tiger where the date is displayed next to the overview bar.
* Known problem in Tiger where the split view grabber in the footer has no effect.

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ptram
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Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:24 pm Post

Matt,

The new Story Arc view is simply fantastic. Thank you very much for creating it. I have just a few suggestions here:

- Let the zoom work here, too, since there are times when you want to deal with the detail, some others with the general picture.
- Add a preference to display/hide the date as part of the event's name.
- Let the Story Arc view be printed or exported when shown. Currently this is only allowed for the Entity view.

Best regards,
Paolo

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Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:49 pm Post

ptram wrote:The new Story Arc view is simply fantastic


Agreed. Thank you.

And I agree with Paolo's suggestions, particularly a zoom-to-detail option.

I understand your (and others') interest in Scr integration, and don't mean to dissuade you, but I'm more comfortable working on discrete elements with specific tools. Even if they do mesh, Scr and Aeon will probably co-exist in my work flow as separate stops.

Phil
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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matt
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Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:09 am Post

Hi Paolo/Phil,
When you talk about zoom, are you talking about a literal zoom, where the events and text would get smaller, so that you can see more of them, but not actually read them. Or do you just mean something that allows the depth of nesting to be increased (so that the timeline is not expanded as wide)?

The latter will be coming in the next minor release. I haven't thought too much about a literal zoom yet, but if it is something people desire, I will look to add it.

Alternatively, I still intend to make a separate overview window, as per the Story Arc post on the blog - you will be able to shift this around the screen, hide it, etc. This might do what you want, in a more effective manner, since you could see the overview, and also the detail in some section. I might try to get this ready for the next minor reelase as well.

The preference to display/hide a date for Story Arc view will be added (and probably a preference to have start and end date, or just start).

Printing and exporting the Story Arc View will be part of the next major upgrade, when I overhaul the entire printing/exporting system with a lot more options.

PJ
PJS
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Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:27 am Post

matt wrote:depth of nesting to be increased


is what I had in mind, though a separate overview window might work just as well.

ALSO: the event list in the "manage story arcs" drop down. I deleted an event from the time line, which disappeared from the arc view, but remains in the event list.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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matt
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Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:19 am Post

Thanks for the bug report. I will look into it.

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Redfox
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Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:21 pm Post

Hi

I've just upgraded to the latest Timeline, and I'm looking forward to playing with the new Story Arc feature, as I am engaged in revising the plot of my novel.

One question I have is if you have a timescale for customisable calendars? I'm writing an historical novel about a period before the switch to the Gregorian calendar, which means that the days of the week are out by three! It's really a trivial thing, but it gets a bit confusing when trying to plan events that are ruled by the "no work on a Sunday" rule :)

TIA - and kudos on the great app!
Elizabethan fantasy novels The Alchemist of Souls, The Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies by me, Anne Lyle, out now from Angry Robot Books!

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matt
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Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:26 pm Post

Hi Redfox,
I am not certain about the timing for the customisable calendars at this point. I am planning on doing the exporting first, and the fantasy calendars are probably fairly high on the list after that.

Subsequently, it will probably be a couple of months away at least.

Matt

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Redfox
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Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:10 pm Post

OK - thanks for the prompt reply!
Elizabethan fantasy novels The Alchemist of Souls, The Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies by me, Anne Lyle, out now from Angry Robot Books!

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Redfox
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Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:12 pm Post

Hi Matt

I've come across a bug in the Label/Story Arc code:

Having only just downloaded 0.3.1, I started off by using different coloured Labels for different story arcs in a new project, as I had done previously. Then I realised that Story Arcs were working (the PDF manual said they weren't implemented), so I decided to use the Labels for PoV and set up proper Story Arcs. So I set up some Arcs, then deleted the Labels I didn't need and set a custom colour on one of them.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, I have the following:

Labels: Hero (blue), sidekick (red), antagonist (green)
Story Arcs: GLOBAL (nothing), Arc 1 (yellow), Arc 2 (black)

I had some blue events (hero's PoV), all assigned to the default GLOBAL arc. I then selected the yellow story arc for one event - and all the events turned yellow! The swatch next to the hero's PoV was still blue in the Inspector, but when I went into Timeline Settings, the swatch in there was yellow. I have changed it back to blue manually and it seems fine now, but I thought I would let you know.

P.S. Loving Story Arc View, BTW - this is going to be so useful!
Elizabethan fantasy novels The Alchemist of Souls, The Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies by me, Anne Lyle, out now from Angry Robot Books!

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matt
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Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:07 am Post

Thanks,
I will look into it today.

If I fix the bug and add a couple of other minor features, I might do another minor release in the next week or so before the major one... I spent some time yesterday making things look pretty:

sunset_bg.png
sunset_bg.png (926.1 KiB) Viewed 1782 times


Matt

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AndreasE
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Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:09 am Post

Thanks for the new version. I am using it fiddling around with some of my next novel's characters life dates - "real usage" - and I stumbled over some issues:

- Bug in Story Arc Management Window and Entity Management Window: Notes you enter here are not stored. Close the window, open it again (even without leaving the application), and your notes are gone.

- I'd very much like to have the date format adjustable to country specific formats - d.m.year for example.

- I have defined a timeline starting 1980, ending 2060 - with the result that the Story Arc View displays nice two-year-columns for the period from 1980 until 2000 and after that, a somewhat larger column titled "2000s" that contains the whole millenium, divided into sub-columns 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800... So, my events appear all on the same spot... :(

- The behaviour of the Event View is sometimes rather counterintuitive as well: I don't really understand the way the timeline is condensed, abbreviated etc. - it seems to do what it wants. And the distance between events is very often too narrow. When thinking about characters and how old they should be, I'd like to drag their birth dates around etc. - but that's very often not possible or with rather random results. A strict zoom function would be useful: To enlarge the timeline to the granularity of hours, if you need, and then again see a century as a whole. Maybe plus a button "intelligent overview" that you click to get a clever distilled overview over as much events as reasonable possible, with eventless years condensed etc.

- Somehow I must have missed what the event "time span" means. In my understanding a time span is something that begins and ends - but I can only enter a begin date. I haven't found an explanation, but I have to admit I didn't follow the discussion closely in the last months.

Otherwise I have to say that the program has become pretty stable meanwhile and is fun to use. It is already a big help as it is, although further improvements will be welcome... :lol:

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matt
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Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:03 am Post

AndreasE wrote:Thanks for the new version. I am using it fiddling around with some of my next novel's characters life dates - "real usage" - and I stumbled over some issues.


Hi Andreas,
Thanks for the feedback. It is always useful to hear of the kinds of things that come up as people are using the software, because they are often things that can otherwise be overlooked.

AndreasE wrote:- Bug in Story Arc Management Window and Entity Management Window: Notes you enter here are not stored. Close the window, open it again (even without leaving the application), and your notes are gone.


Thanks, I will fix this up for the next minor release.

AndreasE wrote:- I'd very much like to have the date format adjustable to country specific formats - d.m.year for example.


The dates that are displayed alongside the events and in the Inspector can be formatted as you wish: open Timeline Settings, and you can set both settings there. You can also choose between Day/Month or Month/Day for use in the margins of the timeline.

AndreasE wrote:- I have defined a timeline starting 1980, ending 2060 - with the result that the Story Arc View displays nice two-year-columns for the period from 1980 until 2000 and after that, a somewhat larger column titled "2000s" that contains the whole millenium, divided into sub-columns 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800... So, my events appear all on the same spot... :(


There are still some issues with this collapsing timeline on occasions, although I think it is more a problem when you have a relatively small number of events. As the number of events increases, you should find it does its job better. Also, keep in mind that the zoom control should help with this (but again, I think it has a problem with less than 10 events).

One of the known problems is if the zoom would otherwise not have the timeline stretch the full height/width of the view - in which case it currently just zooms in the first time section (hence, the initial two year columns, and then the ridiculous final span).

It should be less of a problem once you have sufficient events that it wants to zoom in more of the timeline.

This is something I intend to return back to and fix up when I get the chance. Hopefully for the next release.

AndreasE wrote:- The behaviour of the Event View is sometimes rather counterintuitive as well: I don't really understand the way the timeline is condensed, abbreviated etc. - it seems to do what it wants. And the distance between events is very often too narrow. When thinking about characters and how old they should be, I'd like to drag their birth dates around etc. - but that's very often not possible or with rather random results. A strict zoom function would be useful: To enlarge the timeline to the granularity of hours, if you need, and then again see a century as a whole. Maybe plus a button "intelligent overview" that you click to get a clever distilled overview over as much events as reasonable possible, with eventless years condensed etc.


The biggest problem with a strict zoom is the time it can take to calculate everything if you zoom in too far. For instance, if you have a timeline spanning centuries, and set it to display by the hour, you will watch the scroll bar shrink into nothing, and it takes a very long time just to calculate the placement of the text in the time margins. That was one of the reasons I switched to the collapsible time in the first place.

The timeline collapsing is meant to work like the "intelligent overview" you describe, and at this stage, I think further improving this to make it as natural as possible will work better than returning to the strict zoom.

As I said above, I do intend to refine it, so if you could perhaps post some screenshots (or if they are confidential, email them to me, if necessary scrambling the contents first), that would help me isolate the cases where it is not working.

AndreasE wrote:- Somehow I must have missed what the event "time span" means. In my understanding a time span is something that begins and ends - but I can only enter a begin date. I haven't found an explanation, but I have to admit I didn't follow the discussion closely in the last months.


I am not sure where you have found the phrase "time span", because I cannot find it in my GUI at the moment and have forgotten where I may have referred to something that way.

But you can set start and end dates for events in the inspector. If you hold down the Alt key as you click and drag in Story Arc view, you can also change the event duration there.

AndreasE wrote:Otherwise I have to say that the program has become pretty stable meanwhile and is fun to use. It is already a big help as it is, although further improvements will be welcome... :lol:


Many thanks. I will keep plugging away, to make it even more useful, and refine some of the rough edges.

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Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:28 am Post

Matt,

I just started Aeon today to start work on this year's NaNo, and it told me the version was due to expire on 30 Aug, 2009 - a few days in the past, now. "Check for updates" tells me I have the latest version. It seems to work regardless.

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matt
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Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:04 am Post

Beat me by about 10 minutes. Then the new version will be available, once I test the download.

The actual expiration date is September 30 - I just failed to update the warning message.