July 23, 2005

Lust at High Speed

Lust at High Speed

One of the cornerstones of the Storyspace test suite is a routine that explores Mary-Kim Arnold's classic hypertext, "Lust". In addition to being a wonderfully-written hypertext, "Lust" offers a baroque array of guard fields, the dynamic links that let Storyspace vary the link behavior to take into account what you've already seen.

Guard fields are indispensable in large hypertext narrative, and (as "Lust" shows) very useful even in short hypertexts. On the Web, you're stuck with javascript or breadcrumbs.

The test routine starts at the beginning, chooses one of the text links, and then starts following default links. We know where it should go; does it follow the expected path? If it does, we can be pretty sure that Storyspace guard fields are working right!

The new Storyspace 2.5 for MacOSX is so fast that it zooms through "Lust" I noticed more than a momentary flicker on the screen.

There were two papers on "Lust" at Hypertext 2004 last year. (Higgason, Bernstein) (Here's another copy of my pdf)