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StoryHarp Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations.
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StoryHarp & IF
StoryHarp & Java

Does using StoryHarp require programming?

We hope an author using StoryHarp will spend less time programming and more time writing than in other Interactive Fiction (IF) authoring systems.

But that is not to say the aim of StoryHarp is to remove programming or all other difficulties from authoring IF. Rather, the aim of StoryHarp is to make a system for rapidly producing audioventures, whether that takes much programming or not. Writing IF (even with StoryHarp) will always entail some programming, even if it is not called that. The issue is more one of keeping programming tasks in the background rather than in the foreground.

Debugging the availability of commands with the
variables list, creating variables in the rule editor panel, and linking rules via moves using the map and new moves wizard are all programming tasks of a sort. In that sense, StoryHarp is perhaps best thought of as a set of tools (the table, map, browser, rule editor panel, and variables list) for rapidly programming rule-based IF in an interactive development environment. StoryHarp just tries to make the tools as easy to use as possible. These tools help you do programming tasks quickly. The more they fade into the background, the better they are.

Similarly, StoryHarp tries to make the underlying concepts as simple as sensible (a
rule with six fields). The rule-based system limits the scope for programming by focusing on what is really the essential programming for telling a story. The more the notion of a rule can be taken for granted, the better it is as an organizing idea.

This is not to say more general-purpose programming features might not be added to StoryHarp in the future (like expanding the macro system further, or letting
variables have values other than true or false). Nevertheless, the intent of StoryHarp will always be to keep programming as a background task, with the creative writing task always in the foreground.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.