Hypertext Fiction

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Mark Bell

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Oct 2, 1994, 2:10:23 PM10/2/94
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Folks,

Is there anyone here working in this area or interested in it?

Mark


Ron Pool

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Oct 2, 1994, 4:46:08 PM10/2/94
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Mark Bell (dag...@inforamp.net) wrote:
: Is there anyone here working in this area or interested in it?

I'm interested and working on it.

I've written a language somewhere between basic, c, and perl that gets
embedded in a word processing document. I save the document as a RTF
(Rich Text Format) file and them compile it down to a p-code for an
imaginary machine I framed up. I've got a Visual Basic interpreter
for this p-code that lets you browse the e-book. I think the results
are pretty nice.

For an example of it, available through the World Wide Web check out
the URL http://zeb.nysaes.cornell.edu/ . Please note that I designed
and developed the language, compiler, and e-book reader. A friend of
mine, the author of the text, is the person who inspired me to design
and build the tools we use.
--
Ron Pool; Internet: r...@aruba.nysaes.cornell.edu
Computer Services, NYSAES; Food Research Lab; West North St.; Geneva, NY 14456

porter hall

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Oct 4, 1994, 6:14:07 PM10/4/94
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> Mark

I am. I have a writing assignment for a class in which I am supposed to
create a hypertext narrative, except I'm not too clear on the concepts.
What programs are available on the Mac that will make writing hypertext a
little easier and where are they available?

Porter

Rick Pryll

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Oct 5, 1994, 4:11:35 PM10/5/94
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In article <36mt2f$f...@inforamp.net> dag...@inforamp.net (Mark Bell) writes:
>From: dag...@inforamp.net (Mark Bell)
>Subject: Hypertext Fiction
>Date: 2 Oct 1994 14:10:23 -0400

>Folks,

>Is there anyone here working in this area or interested in it?

>Mark

Yes. I have some stuff about to go live on the WWW, a HyperFiction short
story called "LIES" I will post when it is up and fully functional.

Rick Pryll
ri...@interport.net

Rick Pryll

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Oct 5, 1994, 4:14:20 PM10/5/94
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In article <36sk3f$i...@nic-nac.CSU.net> hben...@huey.csun.edu (porter hall) writes:
>From: hben...@huey.csun.edu (porter hall)
>Subject: Re: Hypertext Fiction
>Date: 4 Oct 1994 22:14:07 GMT

>> Mark

>Porter


Get HyperCard!! You probably already have it. I originally did my project
there in 1992 on V2.0. It will handle almost anything you want to do.

Philip Jones

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Oct 5, 1994, 4:23:39 PM10/5/94
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In article <36n66g$j...@newsstand.cit.cornell.edu>,

Ron Pool <r...@cce.cornell.edu> wrote:

>I've written a language somewhere between basic, c, and perl that gets

>embedded in a word processing document. I think the results


>are pretty nice.
>
>For an example of it, available through the World Wide Web check out
>the URL http://zeb.nysaes.cornell.edu/ .

I'm confused. Do you mean an example of your program or The Doomsday
Brunette? I just read through the beginning of TDB but that was implemented
in HTML. I then read that the Windows version was implemented using
SoftLock technology - which I assumed was your program - so I went chasing
round Downtown Anywhere (an IF in its own right) only to find that SoftLock
was a completely different product. Why are you telling us all this? Is your
program available somewhere? Are you selling it, giving it away, what?


philip

Gareth Rees

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Oct 6, 1994, 10:11:21 AM10/6/94
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Mark Bell (dag...@inforamp.net) writes:
> Is there anyone here working in this area or interested in it?

I'm vaguely interested. See
<http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/gdr11/tree-fiction.html>

--
Gareth Rees

Gareth Rees

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Oct 7, 1994, 7:06:02 AM10/7/94
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Porter Hall (hben...@huey.csun.edu) writes:
> I am supposed to create a hypertext narrative, except I'm not too
> clear on the concepts. What programs are available on the Mac that
> will make writing hypertext a little easier?

Read the literature! "Hypertext/Hypermedia handbook" (ed. Emily Berk &
Joseph Devlin, McGraw-Hill 1991) is a good survey of the field of
hypertext, although it concentrates on information provision rather than
hypertext fiction.

There are some hypertext narratives available for free on the World Wide
Web, mostly of fairly low quality; see the document
<http://is.rice.edu/~riddle/hyperfiction.html> for a list of these.

Hypercard is the standard Macintosh hypertext authoring tool.

--
Gareth Rees

Ron Pool

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Oct 6, 1994, 3:21:42 PM10/6/94
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Philip Jones (phi...@cogs.susx.ac.uk) wrote:
: In article <36n66g$j...@newsstand.cit.cornell.edu>,

: Ron Pool <r...@cce.cornell.edu> wrote:
: >the URL http://zeb.nysaes.cornell.edu/ .

The above URL gets you to several things. 1) a downloadable copy of a
MS-Windows version of the Doomsday Brunette and a hypertext browser
for reading the Doomsday Brunette, 2) a WWW demo of the first few
chapters of the Doomsday Brunette, and 3) some other unrelated items
(free computer cartoons, etc).

The downloadable Windows version of DDB (The Doomsday Brunette) uses
SoftLock to let you read the first few chapters of the e-book for free
or (if you choose) pay a fee to get a password that unlocks the rest
of the e-book.

: I'm confused. Do you mean an example of your program or The Doomsday
: Brunette?

The Windows version of DDB is an example of what comes out of the
compiler I wrote. The free e-book reader is the reader I wrote and is
really only useful for reading DDB.

The WWW demo that you can read with any WWW browser was not generated
by the compiler I described. The WWW demo was written with yet
another tool, a perl script that allows me to embed logic into the
middle of HTML files. The perl script also lets me maintain state
information (eg, a gun was fired) in the URLs that get used to
navigate between "pages" of the WWW demo of the ebook. Here's an
excerpt of one of the DDB "HTML" file as it's actually stored on our
server.

<title: Strangers in the Twilight (continued)>
<if y>
<# Back in c3 Zac said yes, they have right guy>
"Sure am," I replied. "What can I help you gentlemen with?" <p>
<# ...text deleted to save space>
<else>
<# Back in c3 Zac said no, they don't have right guy>
"Fraid not." I replied. <p>
<# ...text deleted to save space>
<endif>
<# ...text deleted to save space>
<ifnot y>
<# Zac said they had right guy back in c3>
I got up and dusted myself off. <p>
<# ...text deleted to save space>
<endif>
<# We no longer care if Zac said they had right guy>
<delvar y>
I had aimed low on purpose. Death isn't always a good enough
<# ...text deleted to save space>

The above HTML would not be served out in the above form. The perl
script actually pre-processes the <if...> <else> <endif>, <delvar...>,
and other similar directives and turns out normal HTML code that is
usable by all WWW browsers. The variable "y" from the above excerpt
is actually "stored" in the URL that your WWW browser uses to "go to
the next page". These variables also let us have pages that show
descriptions/definitions of items from one of several character's
point of view. We use these same perl/HTML techniques in other places
on our server to let us have singles pages that have captions in your
choice of langauges (only English and Spanish at the moment); these
bilingual pages are free (no catches -- truly free) computer cartoons
(see URL http://zeb.nysaes.cornell.edu/CGI/ctoons.cgi ).

The WWW demo of DDB is there so that people can get a feel for the
style of John Zakour's writing in DDB before downloading the Windows
demo. The Windows demo has the first few chapters freely readable so
that people can get a feel for whether they would be willing to pay to
read DDB using the Windows version of the e-book reader.

: I just read through the beginning of TDB but that was implemented


: in HTML. I then read that the Windows version was implemented using
: SoftLock technology - which I assumed was your program - so I went chasing
: round Downtown Anywhere (an IF in its own right) only to find that SoftLock
: was a completely different product. Why are you telling us all this? Is your
: program available somewhere? Are you selling it, giving it away, what?

I know what you mean about Downtown Anywhere being a bit IF-like --
it's a bit unorganized as it mostly takes the form of pointers to
other peoples products. I'm not very closely associated with Donwtown
Anywhere or SoftLock Services -- I just make use of their services.
SoftLock doesn't have any direct link to hypertext. SoftLock lets an
author deliver any kind of Mac, DOS, or Windows file or Application
that is either partially or completely locked until a password is
purchased for a given workstation. SoftLock Services and Downtown
anywhere sell passwords, collect money for the passwords, and turns
over a portion of the password fees to "authors" who use SoftLock
services. The e-book reader for The Doomsday Brunette has a couple of
subroutine calls to a SoftLock subroutine library. SoftLock wrote
those subroutines, I make use of them.

The tools I wrote aren't available to anyone, so you won't find them
on Downtown Anywhere or anywhere else; they're not documented
sufficiently for me to be comfortable with sharing them. I'm sorry I
sent you on a wild goose chase for my tools -- I guess I should have
mentioned that I'm happy to share my techniques but that the actual
code isn't available.

I'm giving away the first part of DDB as a WWW document and as a
Windows e-book and e-book reader (actually John Zakour, the author of
the text of DDB, is giving it away). The remainder of DDB is being
sold as a Windows e-book and e-book reader for $4.95 a copy. The role
of SoftLock and Downtown Anywhere is that they will sell you the $4.95
password through an 800# telephone call that will unlock the bulk of
the Windows version of the e-book.

I told you all this (on top of the information in my original posting)
because someone asked if anyone was interested in writing or
discussing hypertext fiction. I'm not trying to keep anything secret
about the techniques I came up with.

I'm sorry this reply is so long. Believe me, John Zakour's writing in
DDB is much more interesting, coherent, and humorous than this posting
of mine is.

-- Ron
--
Ron Pool; Internet: r...@zeb.nysaes.cornell.edu

Joanne Omang

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Oct 18, 1994, 6:10:05 PM10/18/94
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Re Mark Bell's hunt for a MAC hypertext program: how about one for PCs? I've
bought Afternoon, a Mac hypertext story allegedly reconfigured to run on
Windoze, but it won't perform. And I'd like to write one myself...but not on
a Mac. Any thoughts??

Joanne Omang

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