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tinderbox, hypertext

New versions of old hypertext tools

So as I've started to assemble the bits, the unusual lexia, of this game that I'm working on, I've been checking back in with hypertext tools that I haven't used in some time to see which might be up to the unusual story structure that I'm aiming for.  Do you have any recommendations?
First, I checked in on Tinderbox, the hypertextual note-taking tool that grew out of people using the pre-web hypertext tool Storyspace for organizing their personal information.  Tinderbox has a new version, a paid and significant upgrade, but more significantly ... Storyspace has a new version, out in the last few months!  And, as though Mark Bernstein has a sluice running from my stream of consciousness, several of the new versions innovations support sculptural hypertext!

If that doesn't mean anything, picture this: the hypertext, and interactive media that we usually think of, can be considered calligraphic hypertext.  We write lexia, and then we draw connections between them.  We point next buttons, form links, etc.  We take scattered texts and build them into an elegant structure. Sculptural hypertext is the inverse of that process.  Like a large block of stone that is carved down to reveal the form inside, we can also assume that any of our lexia could link to one another, and then impose restrictions on how the links can be traversed.

What excites me about this approach, besides how rarely it's done, is that it potentially offers the 'reader' more authorship.  As authors, rather than ask the reader to merely trace the lines we've drawn, we can give a richly textured block of soapstone to our readers and leave it to them to find the exact shape within that they want.  We still have strong authorial control, even within this metaphor: as we mix the stone and press it into the block, we can set the mix and the overall structure of the medium.  We can mix in rich veins of ore.  We can stratify, so that no matter what they carve they'll hit something every 3 inches.  Like a King Cake, we can embed structures within the whole; it is not formless.

I spent a bit more time than I should have this weekend looking into whether Storyspace's sculptural hypertext support would do what I want.  (That time might have been better spent writing!) The conclusion was: yes, and I'm starting in now.  What's more, I think that Storyspace will help me structure both the narrative for the game (which I am pretentiously codenaming Emergence) and the playtest content for the 'card game' engine (which I'm even more pretentiously calling Mnemoscene).

The other tool that got a major upgrade 'recently' is Twine, whose 2.0 release came out ... about a year ago?  I looked at but never used v. 1.0, as it seemed little more than a super-micro-version of Storyspace or Tinderbox, offering little more over an html editor or wiki than a map view.  However, such cool stuff has been made by it, and made by folks unfamilar with the Field of Hypertext, that I need to get to know it.  So I will.
Well, and so.  I have run out of time for writing this and not gotten into the shape of my own narrative.  But I did catch the tools!

(As a sidenote: how did no one yet have the name Mnemoscene attached to anything cool?!  Now I have the domains and am very excited.)

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