Flow fragments

"Flow fragment" - What's this?

A flow fragment can be regarded as a part of the story, like a chapter. When writing a non-linear story, you will have to split the plot into individual "plotpoints" and express events that lead from one plotpoint to another. These plotpoints can be represented by flow fragments within articy:draft.

Anatomy of a "flow fragment" object

The template icon is in the upper left corner of a flow fragment 1 and shows at a glance the type of the flow fragment.

In short, you can create custom types of flow fragments, e.g. "Quest" or "Fight", by defining a template and assigning it to a created flow fragment. Each template can have an icon for easy differentiation. That's the template icon mentioned above.

Template examples: Quest, Fight and Standard

The name of the fragment 2 is also displayed in the title bar, as well as a "container" symbol 3 saying "Yes, there is inner content!" and the claiming state icon 4 (only in MULTI-USER). The latter indicates whether the object can be edited or is claimed by another user.

A description text ("synopsis") 5 can be used to express what goes on in this part of the story, for example. The reference strip 6 above the description text can be used to attach other objects or assets to the flow fragment. In the image above, a concept art 7 has been dropped onto the reference strip. You can freely set the height of the reference strip using the splitter 8.

There are two pin bays on both sides of the flow fragment for input and output pins 9. These are sockets for connections between flow objects.

Inner content

You can flesh out a flow fragment by composing an inner flow network. Within flow fragments, other flow fragments, dialogues, jumps, hubs and annotations are allowed.

Pin conditions

As described in greater detail on the conditions & instructions page, input pins can carry conditions for the fragment to be triggered and output pins can be used to describe instructions.

Simply double-click a pin to open the "edit pin"-dialog:

Exemplary uses of flow fragments

  • A part of your story, i.e. an act, a sequence or scene
  • A quest
  • A game state
  • A skill in a skill tree
  • A mission in a mission tree
  • A development step in a tech tree
You can use templates to further define the above fragment types, for example by adding additional properties to them.

Creating flow fragments

In "flow view"

To create flow fragments in flow view, you can ...
  • ... use the drag factory in the toolbar. (Simply drag objects onto the canvas)

  • ... use the context menu. Right-click on empty space and select "New -> Flow Fragment".
  • ... CTRL + SHIFT + click on empty space. The default node is created at the mouse cursor position.
    To change the default node, use the radiobutton in the "New" context menu 1.
  • ... Drag a connection out of a pin. When "dropping" the connection on empty space, an object creation menu will pop up.

In other views

In list and tiles views, fragment creation is relatively similar.

The image shows the list view on a flow fragment, with toolbar icons for creating flow fragments 1 and dialogues 2.

"Flow fragment" property sheet

All about the sheet view in general can be found here.

Click the "property sheet" icon in the view selector to access the property sheet.

The sheet begins with the fragment title 1 as it is displayed in the navigator and other occurrences. The omnipresent reference strip 3 invites you to drop artwork, documents, web links or other objects and thus attach them to the flow fragment.

Just like any other property sheet, the one for a flow fragment divides its remaining properties into several tabs 2, the "General" tab, the "Template" tab and finally the "References" tab.

"General" tab

For flow fragments, the description field 4 is the key element. Here you can put your summary / synopsis text of the story fragment, for example.
There are no restrictions to how you use the description field. You can even paste script code here if that benefits your use case, or define your own markup language. It'll all end up being exported with your project data and ready for use in your tool-chain.

A technical name 5 can be given to ease the handling of this flow fragment when parsing the XML export or using the articy:draft API

The External ID is normally empty but can be filled with an ID this flow fragment carries inside another application. Using this external ID provides an convenient way of opening the currently viewed flow fragment within another application. Read here to learn more.

The Object ID is the primary ID to identify any object within articy:draft. Normally you do not need to bother about this ID and you can't change it anyway.
In previous versions this was a GUID but now we changed it into a 64-bit Integer. This is important to know if you use the articy:draft API because instead if handling GUIDs you now need to handle this new ID type.

"Template" tab

If you have defined a template for flow fragments (i.e. "Quest"), you can assign the template to this flow fragment using the template selector 6. The "apply color"-button 7 copies the default color specified in the template onto the currently viewed flow fragment.
For example, if all your "quests" shall appear purple, you can specify this as the template's color. Flow fragments that were created without a template assigned have the flow fragment's default color. After having assigned the quest template, you can choose to overwrite the flow fragment color with the "quest purple".

"References" tab

This section contains a set of automated reference strips:
  • Following / previous elements 8: Lists all succeeding / preceeding objects connected to this fragment's output / input pins.
  • Involved entities 9: Lists all entities attached to this object's reference strip (top of property sheet).
  • Takes place at 10: Lists all locations where this object has been linked on the map.

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