A bit confused here, Im working in the alpha and I am unable to set a story beat as 'needing a cause' or 'needing an effect'. I can set dependencies but only when they are both written. I have some events that need to be caused, and I don't want to forget to cause them, I just dont have the time to figure the causes out at this point. Was this feature removed from 3.0?
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I think that the status flag is the one we're most confident about, although it begs the question why it's not rolled up into a larger status system, so that's what we're making.
Sorry for hijacking the thread but since it's somewhat related : One of the personally more useful features with the old cause and effect was the little red dot that would get added to the beats on the whiteboard. It was a simple nice way to "yeah don't forget to figure this out later". Would it be possible to reintroduce it as a cosmetic page marker of sorts? Thanks.
Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed response! Yes! I agree with you, my biggest concern here is logical gaps or plot holes created by the circuitous nature of writing that could be easily solved by a flag. If I throw a beat down because Im just dumping, then I want to make sure I don't overlook it before its too late (My team and I don't write everything at once before we shoot due to the improv nature of our show) So flags would seriously help. Right now I think what will work in the meantime is I have a tag labeled 'needs cause' marked red and no other red tags and that tag is always the first tag, but its a system that can easily break, but it works for now. I'm not exactly sure how to visualize what you're talking about in terms of a 'Dependency Graph' but it sounds intriguing. I would LOVE to see tags in the timeline rather than just seeing them as flowlines. Of course, this comes from working in the series grid format, in which you are absolutely correct, by the end of the season a series grid is entirely unmanageable and I end up writing on the fly because my brain cant comprehend the complexity of a murder mystery with 5 intertwining stories. lol So right now Im trying to release that fixation to have everything in its own lane and use the program how you designed it because I think you are ultimately correct. BUT the system still doesn't show storylines that fall off unless Im looking for them (Clicking tags). This could be solved by showing the tags in the timeline like characters are represented. Maybe thats what you are talking about with a dependency graph? Maybe not! Thanks again!
Yes, it was removed, because the feature was problematic. It needs a different kind of solution.
So first of all, when we started work on Causality a decade ago, we had a rough idea of having a visual handle of beats, but lacking in experience in what actually works. It's like when Apple made an iPad, the use case was unknown.
Now we know that fanning storylines out into separate lanes is part of a "bad" workflow that makes the story harder and harder to work with the larger it gets. And the old cause/effect concept is deeply based on that. It only works when you have already structured your story's layout on the assumption that every storyline is in its own lane.
You should be using tags for storylines, blocks/groups for segments, and only use lanes for things that are truly separate, like A/B plots, or a particular writer's private lane, stuff like that. The moment you fan out into 20 lanes, the whiteboard becomes scattered and impossible to understand.
Secondly, in 3.0, beats are atomic. Previously, a beat could exist in multiple places, and there could also be multiple instances of the same beat at different times, or a no time at all, and they could be linked with zero, one or multiple snippets. This inability to not talk about THE beat was a massive problem across the entire app, holding back endless features, like sync, versions, synopsis and much more, and was the primary source of bugs, because it's simply unmanageable even with great effort.
Cause/effect depended on the same beat being in multiple place at once. That ability will be replaced the ability to relate a beat to a different block or lane that's makes it visually shown in other places then where it really lives, but it's only visual, so you can relate to lane B while working in lane A.
Finally, I never thought the feature worked in terms of giving me the cognitive flash I needed as a writer. And it confronts what it really needs for one thing to cause another thing. We already have dependencies, and when causation happens over time, i.e. you drop a gun now that someone picks up later, there's no problem. The cause/effect concept only ever handled causations that happened now, i.e. one storyline causing a change in another storyline within the same beat. But since we now can't have multiple beats happen at the same time because it crippled the rest of the app, cause/effect in the old form isn't a coherent concept.
When you start to unpack the idea of cause and effect, it's also clear that this concept didn't cover a lot of use cases anyway. Sometimes, for example, the cause just happens within a single beat within a single storyline. If you've marked something as needed to be caused, that could just refer to the text, that you need to come up with a reason why something happens. There are no other beats involved, it's purely writing the right text to make something make sense. The cause/effect concept didn't help at all.
So we have cause/effect over time, which is handled by dependencies, we have cause/effect right now which depends on using high numbers of lanes which cripples your story overall, and you have cause/effect that happens inside a single beat. In that world, having a cause/effect concept between beats is naive, because it's only a small part of it, one we never felt worked even at that.
I do agree that marking something as needing a cause is useful for your comprehension of your story. But I'm not sure what this is beyond a flag. And a flag/status system is coming, it's mostly designed.
So we're (A) waiting to see if the cause/effect feature actually even mattered to anyone, and (B) waiting to understand what it is you actually need in order to follow causation.
In my view, causation is 90% dependency. And to that end, we're getting a dependency-graph where you line up beats/tags/folders/whatever and draw lines between them to express the order they must happen in. This was where the whiteboard started, before it became a whiteboard. We need that feature back, it's highly and immediately useful for plot, e.g. a murder mystery.
So to answer your question, I think that "Must be caused" is basically a flag that auto-resets when a certain condition is met, one of which is that it has at least one dependency leading into it. That would cover the majority of the use-cases.