Story Editor Overview

The Story Editor is the workshop you will use to create your interactive story. The Story Editor tools let you lay out your animation clips, build transitions between them, insert actions that happen at specified points in the story, and create conditional branches that let your viewers navigate their own unique path through the story.

The Story Editor

Story Editor Basics

To get you started, we recommend watching this video about how to set up a basic story.

As a recap, here is a summary of the steps described in the video:

  1. Set up your Maya scene for import:

    a. Objects at the root level of the Maya scene that render, or affect the render, will be your actors.

    b. Use the Spotlight Stories Editor plugin to create animation clips. You can also create the clips later using the Clip Editor.

    c. Use Spotlight Stories shaders. Default Maya shaders will be converted, but you may not have as much control over them.

  2. In the Story Editor, import the Maya scene as your source.

  3. Add animation clips as states in the Graph Editor.
  4. Set the behavior of the states, for example if they loop the animation.
  5. Add transitions between the states.
  6. Add any conditions you may want to the transitions. For example, you can have the transition launch only when the viewer is looking at a trigger.
  7. Build and run your story.

As described in the video, your story will likely grow more complex as you add in layers of animation and interaction. But these simple steps will get you started.

Story Editor Windows

Below are brief descriptions of the Story Editor windows along with links to read more about them. We also have a video introducing the Story Editor and its functions.

Each of the tool windows listed here can be docked in the main Story Editor window, or can be torn off to be moved independently.

Graph Editor

Use the Graph Editor to place your animation clips in order and add transitions between them.

Timeline

The Timeline shows you the frame range of each state (animation clip), and lets you add actions and events to your story.

Properties

The Properties window lets you view or change the attributes of objects you select in the Story Editor.

Outliner

The Outliner lists the actors that are imported into your story, as well as any story graphs and user events you create.

Device

The Device window allows you to view and filter the logs of an attached device. Its Browser tab also lets you see what packages have already been installed on the device. For more information on installing stories on a device, see Publishing.

Job Manager

When you build your story to play it, the Job Manager keeps track of the progress of the build process. It also presents a red button you can click on to cancel the build process.

Log

The Log window lets you see, and filter, system messages from the Story Editor.

The Story Editor Menu

The following lists the most important options and commands available from the Story Editor's main menu.

Story Editor

  • Preferences (OSX): Opens the Preferences window. For more information, see Preferences

File

  • New Story: Create a new story file.
  • Open Story: Navigate to and open an existing story file.
  • Open Recent: Choose from a list of recently opened stories.
  • Save Story: Save your story. Story files have a ".story" file extension by default.
  • Save As: Save the current story with a new path and filename.
  • Autosave Story: Save your story file automatically as you make changes.
  • Import Source File: Import the actors/assets from your source Maya file.
  • Reload Source Files: Re-import the source Maya file. This option ensures you will include any changes that have been made to the Maya source.
  • Auto Reload Sources: The Maya source file will be reloaded automatically whenever changes are made to it.
  • Save log: Save the messages appearing in the Log window.
  • Clear log: Clear the messages from the Log window.

Edit

  • Undo/Redo: Undo and redo actions taken in the Story Editor. Note: there are some actions, such as building your story, importing source files, and adding or removing clips from the Clip Editor that you can not undo.
  • Cut, Copy, Paste: Cut, copy or paste states, transitions and actions.
  • Delete Selected: Delete the selected object in the Story Editor.

Story

  • Add Story Graph: Add an additional story graph to the Graph Editor.
  • Clip Editor: Open the Clip Editor window which allows you to create and edit animation clips.
  • Delete Unused Elements: Remove imported Maya files from the story if the assets they contain are not used. This does not alter the original Maya files.
  • Validate Story: Run an internal Story Editor check to ensure that the story you have built has the minimum necessary elements to be built. This includes looking for such things as inconsistent actors, alembic consistency, and problems with meshes.

Play

For more information on the build process and supported devices, see Story Viewer and Publishing.

  • Extract Assets: Re-import Maya assets in preparation for building your story.
  • Build Story: Build the story and store it, allowing for future repeated plays.
  • Play: Play a built story. Depending on your preference settings, the story appears in either the Preview player or the Story Viewer.
  • Play on Device: Play a built story on an attached device.
  • Extract, Build and Play: Opens a window which allows you to choose whether to re-import Maya assets, build the story, and includes some playback options.

Tools

  • Create Device Package: Opens a window allowing you to create an Android or iOS APK which can be installed on a device to play your story. For more information, see Publishing.
  • Create VR Package: Choose a location to save a zipped VR package. The package includes baked story assets, a copy of the Player, and a BAT file which allows you to play the VR package on a Windows system. For more information, see Publishing.
  • Export Clip Range Data: Exports a file with state and frame information for each clip. This is useful when you need to add elements to a story with specific frame accuracy, such as multiple sound files.
  • Archive: Opens a window allowing you to create an archive of the assets and story files needed to open and build your story. This can make it more convenient to transfer the story to another computer. Click on Archive to Folder to choose a destination.
    • Flatten Archive: Include all the asset and story files in one directory. This can be important if your story references files across drives or networks, which can affect the successful creation of the archive.
  • Create Timestamped Directory: By default, the archive will be created in a separate timestamped directory. Uncheck this option to save to a specific directory, which allows you to overwrite previous files.
  • Clean Cached Assets: This command removes the story assets from the cache forcing them to be re-extracted before the next build.
  • Preferences (Windows): Opens the Preferences window. For more information, see Preferences

Windows

Use this menu to choose which of the windows described earlier is visible in the Story Editor.