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Category: [Glossary Term]


Storyspace is a tool for complex, interlinked narrative, both fiction and nonfiction.

Uses nodes as a central idea. Also see Guard Fields and Sculptural Hypertext.

Developer: Mark Bernstein
Eastgate Systems, Inc.
ACM Paper: Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.

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Calligraphic & Sculptural Hypertext

Familiar hypertext tools support calligraphic hypertext, hypertext that begins without links and lets the writer link things that should be connected.

Sculptural hypertext begins with densely linked bundles like decks of cards, from which the reader might select pages in any sequence. But Storyspace hypertexts aren’t just random: writers can remove links and enforce constraints so the hypertext organizes itself.

Sculptural hypertext encourages painterly narrative in which the writer controls what she knows to be necessary while relaxing control over the reader when control might not be needed.

Though sculptural hypertext has not yet proven to be of great interest to hypertext research, it has become a staple of literary games – particularly through Failbetter’s Fallen London and more broadly through narrativist games like Morningstar’s Fiasco or Czege’s My Life With Master. 

Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.

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Guard Field

The Storyspace Guard Field The distinctive feature of Storyspace is its dynamic link, a unidirectional link that can be activated or deactivated by a guard field. The guard field is a simply boolean expression whose terms may include the word clicked or the names of previously-visited notes enclosed in quotation marks.

The guard field
(“A” & (!”B”)) | Anne

is satisfied if the reader has read the note “A” but not the note “B”, or if the reader has clicked on the word “Anne”. Guard fields proved invaluable for breaking cycles, a central anxiety of early hypertext research,

The underlying mechanism, which simply disables unwanted links, is easy for new writers to understand.

Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.


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