LGC 3.3.0 – table of contents, validation and history

Spring release for the interactive book editor, LibroGameCreator, which gains a “minor” version, going from 3.2 to 3.3. There have been numerous changes including the introduction of various features that have long awaited in my hard disk to be completed. To avoid updating the manual this time I will examine in depth every new feature, to clarify its use with lots of colorful images.

Gamebook Validation

It should have been one of the first features, but I used to bang my head several times against the monitor while I decided to revise an old gamebook, Obscura Genesi, to decide to implement it. I derived it in the format from the ebook editor, Sigil, adding some changes to fit the needs of LibroGameCreator.

The validation of the librogame starts from the button in the main bar or from the Book menu.

The button starts the validation, which will reports:

  • empty chapters
  • orphan chapters (without inbound links)
  • widow chapters (without outgoing links and without any kind of information that justifies them, such as the final flag or the deadly flag)
  • paragraphs with links to a non-existent chapters

By clicking on a row of the results table, the editor will move to the paragraph relating to the error.

gamebook-validation

Removing generic entities

Each object parts of the structure of a LGC3 gamebook was originally called Entity. The basic idea was to build a generic and modular database, which support text entities but also abstract entities such as the game hero, opponents, items, each with its own attributes. The hero would have had scores (strength and stamina), weapons abilities. With a suitable parser, like that of the Adventurescape engine, we analyzed the meta text of the chapter, containing the narrative part and the interactive code that was based on the value of the attributes to manipulate it, allow access to otherwise hidden sections, start the fights and so on.

Adventurescape project has remained in the hard disk and no one has picked up the idea, so the Entities have become an annoying and difficult to understand element of LGC3, which I finally decided to hide. In the Preferences menu you will now find the item Show generic entities, which is deactivated by default.

Gamebook Table Of Contents

In this release I’ve added the Sections, parts of text that make up the interactive book, even though it is not really a game chapter. Sections can be created, modified and deleted as chapters and as these are defined by a name (an alphanumeric identifier as “rules”) and by a title (for example “Game Rules”). When exporting the file, priority will be given to the title and only in the absence of this the name will be used.

With the Sections you have the possibility to introduce texts such as the introduction and the epilogue, the rules, the colophon and whatever else, sections that we find in every book.

To decide whether to export them and in what order, there is a new page, dedicated to the structure of the book, accessible from the Book menu.

On the left there is a list of all Sections, including the standard one of the Game Chapters. On the right there is the current TOC of the book, composed by the sections which will be exported. Sections can be moved between the two sets with simply draging & dropping them (you can select more than one using CTRL + mouse click or select all with the CTRL + A shortcuts).

The TOC is saved in the LGC3 file with the other data.

Book details

The elements belonging to the now hidden Game entity have been grouped into a text information window, accessible from the Book menu. You can enter the author, the title and book’s version. It also shows the number of characters and the word count (number of chapters are included).

History

The reading history was an old LGC 1 feature (a vintage version still used by some well-known Italian writers).

At any time the History records the “movement” between paragraphs. When you want to use it, for example to save a sequence of paragraphs for a test, or a series of notes to keep.

You will see all you have read up to that point. History can be reset with the button on the bottom right, while it can be saved on file with the button on the left. You can edit it by writing directly next to the chapters number.

New Icons

The LGC 3 icon bar has been modified, introducing some block spacings for the feature sets: file, export, and tools. In the last part, the one dedicated to the instruments, three new icons are now visible:

  • validation: starts the book control process and opens the results panel at the bottom
  • search: show the panel at the bottom to search the book
  • history: show the panel to the right of the reading history

GUI modifications

I changed many small elements of the interface, to improve usability. The main one involves the chapters tree. I removed the background and colored the individual “page” icons to indicate the status of the chapter.

The meaning of the colors is the original one:

  • green = selected chapter
  • blue = empty chapter
  • orange = chapter with at least one note (inserted with the special tag {todo}).

The dialogues are no longer the standard ones but a “homemade” version.

The About window is now complete and shows all the data of the program, including credits for external elements and the names of “supporters”, which I have to integrate with the latest arrivals.

Epilogue

The changelog of 3.3.0 contains numerous entries left out of this post, for which it does not make much sense to go into detail. Those are internal changes and bugfixings, correction of graphical glitches, rewriting of dozens of unclear localization strings. In this regard, the French translation, entrusted as always to the excellent Yannick Roch, is on its way.

 

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