Hi Per, I know you are making big improvements to the software in general as you guys prepare it for collaboration/sharing etc, but just wanted to put in a few personal things that would really help my workflow and you can decide if they are relevant/would be useful for others too, if if they are already in the mix for a future update. Just some ideas and no doubt you are already thinking about some of them, so forgive me if it's repetitive.
Episode dropdown toggle that would enable being able switch/jump to episodes in a dedicated way. Currently I have 7 episodes (Books, but for formatting I'm using the Episode method to separate each book as I can't see how else I would do it). As they 200-300 pages long. it's a lot of horizontal scrolling or resizing the top timeline to roughly move to where I need to be.
I know it's a much bigger task but it would be great to be able to focus on one episode at a time and remove the others from the whiteboard until I need them. The filtering just greys things out, but keeps it in place, so doesn't alter the amount of scrolling needed to access neighbouring episodes. Understanding how that might present issues with moving beats around, I did think about Episodes having tabs, so that if you need to move a beat from one episode to another you could hover over the tab to then port it to that. Much like moving a file between tabbed FINDER window on a mac.
WORD COUNT: Live word count for Novels format:
The word count reporting takes a while to load as it's pulling together a lot of info.
I spoke to a few authors using Causality and we imagined which in Novel mode, a dynamic counter in place of where the page count currently is (as page count is not relevant for authors because of individual output formatting that would make this inaccurate.
Clicking on a beat would reveal it's word count.
Clicking on a group would reveal the combined word count for every beat contained within it.
Clicking on a Block etc
Placing the marker randomly on the whiteboard would aggregate all words (ignoring titles, meta) up to that point.
NAVIGATION: More keyboard shortcuts for Controllers:
It would be awesome to have a scrub left / scrub right shortcuts, so that I can link them to my Scrub wheel controller making moving through the whiteboard horizontally left to right much faster. I'm constantly needed to jump through beginning scenes. and end scenes.
(A keyboard equivalent of the two finger gesture on the trackpad).
BEATS: pop up windows:
Currently they live inside the UI of the app. Are they able to float outside of the console so that they can be left open on another monitor.
The colour palette has an array of similar colours which makes it hard to select the exact colour again. Could the colours also have numbers: B1, B2, B3, B4 etc so that selecting them is a sure thing. I'm often selecting the wrong shade when trying to colour multiple beats for clarity. It would also be great to be able to change the colour from right click of a beat, as you can with Character/Visibility/Tags etc.
EPISODES: This has been intended for a while, and also requested. It's basically about isolating the area you're supposed to think about. We're also supposed to get a Season level above Episodes. The script filter can easily adapt to this, and it's mostly about having a more convenient menu to quickly go between episodes. However, the timeline and whiteboard are programmed in a way that they mirror the actual data, making it very hard to show any kind of filtered view at present. This is old code that I've disagreed with since forever, and it takes a significant rewrite of both whiteboard and timeline. This is in the pipeline, because the way they're done is a major obstacle to lots of other things. We might opt to make the choice that the only kind of filter that can be displayed in the whiteboard and timeline is an episode filter. Especially the whiteboard would be nearly impossible to render if we randomly removed events, because anchoring for e.g. blocks exists in-between regular beats, and beats have relative distance to each other, which would deeply corrupt the whiteboard if we didn't show all beats. But it's still possible to limit to an episode.
Word Count: Yes, a more interactive word count is planned. The difficulty is pinning down exactly what information is needed. If you look at the Word Count report, that's what a report looks like when you use all the data, and we of course can't present that live. We could easily reveal some statistics for the thing you're currently standing on, as well as any "parent" levels. So if you're standing on a beat, you'd get the beat word/page count, as well as its position and proportion within its chapter/act/episode. But you can see, it's already a lot of data. I'm having a difficult time deciding on what is actually valuable information. I'm reluctant to us just putting in every possible metric, because in likelihood, there's some ground truth about just the couple of metrics people actually look at. And maybe you should still go to the Word Count Report for some metrics. Are the metrics you mentioned the metrics you actually use? Are they so relevant for you that you're forced to calculate them manually? What metrics do you get in other apps, and which metrics do you truly use? What metrics do truly need to be live (versus in a report)?
Good idea with some next/previous controls in the whiteboard. Which ones would we care about, besides Next/Previous Beat and Next/Previous Scene? By the way, Next Scene isn't relevant for authors, so it would have to play second fiddle to more universal shortcuts, at least until we can map them, and even then, most people run on default settings, so we still have to make good choices.
I agree, Beat Editors should be possible to drag to other monitors. The difficulty is that they live inside of the graphics viewport of a window, i.e. they're not windows unto themselves, and it would be quite difficult to do that. But as soon as we have a window on that other monitor, we can also show beat editors there. Do you have other Causality windows on those other monitors?
About coloring beats, we generally don't favor color that has meaning that isn't available to the app, which is why we're with few exceptions forcing you make color mean something in terms of tags or characters. We do have the Base Color function for each lane and block, just so you can have the generally blue lane mean "the flash-back lane", for example, and be able to easily spot it. But if you're using color, the meaning is only in your mind and not revealed to the app, so we can't do anything based on it, like filtering, reporting, automation, graphics, logic etc. So the question is, what does any given color mean to you, and shouldn't that be a tag if it's a real thing in the story?