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Storyard: A place for building stories
Like a Shipyard or a Trainyard, but for stories
Creating metaphors when naming products is a challenge. Metaphors add depth and meaning to a product's identity, making it resonate with the audience. However, finding that perfect metaphorical connection can be akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. It involves balancing the abstract with the concrete, ensuring the metaphor aligns seamlessly with the product's function and purpose. It's a creative tightrope walk, where the wrong metaphor can obscure the product's essence, while the right one can illuminate it brilliantly.
This year, we've been working on a project to enhance our storytelling tools. It's been more of an evolution of our existing eLearning tools, with continuous refinement and integration. Now, our challenge is to create a unified narrative that tech-savvy folks can easily grasp. We're taking these refined tools and making them work seamlessly together to tell compelling stories. Join us as we dive into the world of tech-powered storytelling.
Most of your time in this tool is dedicated to scene creation. Each scene is a blend of visual elements, dialogue, and optional user interaction components. It's a complex mix of technologies that might be a bit challenging to handle directly. So, we've been working on simplifying things by creating more user-friendly abstractions.
When you think of other tools, like video production software, they often use a timeline metaphor. In video editing, you have scenes, transitions, and audio tracks on a linear timeline. However, for interactive fiction, this linear approach doesn't quite capture the essence. Instead, imagine it as "trains on tracks" – a dynamic and branching system that suits the interactive nature of storytelling.
When the learner or reader has the power to make decisions in the story, it's like they can switch tracks and guide the train in a new direction. The train, of course, follows its rails, bound by its own inertia, but there are choices to be made along the way. This metaphor fits nicely for the learner's experience, but what about the creator? Where do creators build these interactive narratives? Well, think of it as building in a "Trainyard" – a place where the tracks are laid, and the story's possibilities are assembled.
Just as trains take shape in a trainyard and boats in a boatyard, stories find their form in a "storyyard" or simply "storyard." Picture a user interface where you craft tracks, with each scene seamlessly connected to the next. As the narrative unfolds, scenes link together, and the user, like an engineer, switches tracks, explores turnouts, and follows sidings. The person constructing the train is called a "trainmaster," and in our case, the creators of stories become "storymasters." This metaphor is not only holding up well but also adding an exciting dimension to our storytelling journey.
Our current working title for this tool is "Storyard." However, one challenge with this name is that it might need a bit of clarification. It's not instantly recognizable, and some might associate it with greenery like grass and shrubs, which is perhaps its weakest aspect.