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 preview image 6 can be used for additional overview, to quickly recognize it in the context of the Flow View. The reference strip 7 above the description text can be used to attach other objects or assets to the flow fragment. In the image above, an entity 8 has been dropped onto the reference strip. You can freely set the height of the reference strip using the splitter 9.

There are two pin bays on both sides of the flow fragment for input and output pins 10. 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, all types of flow nodes 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 11.
  • ... 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 new flow objects (Flow Fragment, Dialogue, Dialogue Fragment, Hub, Jump, Condition, Instruction) 12.

"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 13 as it is displayed in the navigator and other occurrences. The omnipresent reference strip 14 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 15, the "General" tab, the "Template" tab and finally the "References" tab. In addition flow fragments also come with tabs for their "Input & Output pins".

"General" tab

For flow fragments, the description field 16 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 17 can be given to ease the handling of this flow fragment when using any technical export or 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.

The Object ID is the primary ID to identify any object within articy:draft. It consists of a 64-bit Integer. Normally you do not need to bother about this ID and you can't change it anyway.

"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 18. If there is already a template assigned to this flow fragment and you want to make changes you can use the Edit template button 19 to quickly jump to the Template Editor. The "apply color" button 20 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:
  • Succeeding / Preceeding flow nodes 21: Lists all succeeding / preceeding objects connected to this fragment's output / input pins.
  • Referenced entities 22: Lists all entities attached to this object's reference strip (top of property sheet).
  • Is placed on the following locations 23: Lists all locations where this object has been linked on the map.