August 25, 2015
MarkBernstein.org
 
Follow me on Twitter

Dramatis Personae

Dramatis Personae

Here’s a shot from the a corner of one of my Storyspace 3 experiments. It’s a conventional map view, but in one part of the map I’m keeping track of a bunch of characters. (The experiment involves a party at a country house. It’s a quick study, so I’ve got a bunch of names to remember.)

One distinctive feature of Storyspace has always been its dynamic links – specifically its guard fields, which effectively turn links on and off as the reader moves through the work. Guard fields are indispensable for large hypertexts; you can manage, some of the time, with visited link colors, but guard fields are far more expressive. The classic Storyspace syntax for guard fields was somewhat limited and a bit tricky; Storyspace 3 will make this better.

Another key feature of Storyspace is the notion of the default link. Most of the time, if you don’t know which link you want to follow, you can just press “return” and let the author choose the link for you. This was controversial in the early days, back when “free and knowing navigation” was widely regarded as the touchstone of hypertext. Now we understand that, much of the time, we don’t know what we want or how to find it: that’s why we’re reading. Even when you’re reading against the grain, the presence of default links is transformative. Again, Storyspace 3 continues to support default links in the conventional way, and also will introduce a new sculptural hypertext facility that makes it easy to provide interesting default links.