Actions allow you to launch commands while a clip is playing. These commands can help you control the flow, timing, and behavior of your story elements.
You can choose to launch an action when the story gets to a specific frame in a clip, or you can make it depend on an event or condition.
Creating an Action
Each state in the Timeline will have tracks underneath. The tracks' only function is to help you visually spread out and organize actions.
You can choose to make an action instant, meaning it will be evaluated for launch on only that frame. Or, you can give the action a duration, or frame range, during which it can launch. Instant actions are shown as a diamond icon while actions with a duration appear as a bar extending over their frame range.
To add an action to a particular state in the Timeline:
- Move your mouse to a track under the chosen state. A vertical line appears showing you the current frame.
- At the frame you want to launch the action, right-click in the desired track. A menu appears.
- From the menu, choose Create Action. A list of the available commands appears. The commands are divided into categories. See Commands for a detailed list.
- Click on the command you want. An action icon appears in the timeline, and its parameters appear in the Properties window.
Once you create the action, you can give it a name in the Properties window. There you can also change its icon color and set its other parameters. Depending on the type of action, you may also want to set an event or condition that must happen before the action will run. See the Timing and Condition section below.
Two things to remember:
- An action in the Timeline must start on a state's track and within its frame range. Otherwise, it will never run. It may, however, end outside of the state's frame range.
- You can also add one or more commands to a transition rather than in an action in the Timeline. The commands will run when the transition launches.
Changing an Action
In the Timeline, click on an action to see its properties in the Properties window. At any time, you can give the action a new name or color, change its type, or change the other parameters.
If you decide you want to move an action to a different track or frame, you can click and drag its icon to a new location in the Timeline. You can drag one action on top of another, however if they are both represented as diamond icons you will not be able to see them both. We recommend you place the actions on different tracks.
You can mute an action, causing the Story Editor to omit that action when you build the story. To mute an action, do one of the following:
- Check the Mute checkbox in the Properties window.
- Right-click on the action in the Timeline and select Mute.
- Right-click on a track and choose Mute Track Actions. All the actions in that track are muted.
To delete an action, click to select it and press the Delete key.
Timing and Condition
Once you create an action and place it on a particular frame in the Timeline, you can set the Timing and Conditions for the action to start in the Properties window.
- On Event: Set an event that must be received for the action to run. Choose "none" if you do not want the action to be dependent on an event.
- Instant: When checked, the action will evaluate for launch only on its Start Frame. If unchecked, you can enter a Duration and Period.
- Start Frame: Choose the first frame for this action to launch.
- Duration: A frame range during which the action can run. Appears when the action is not Instant.
- Period: The action will be evaluated for launch once in this number of frames. For example, a Period of three ("3") means the action will be evaluated only on every third frame. The default zero means the action will be evaluated every frame. Appears when the action is not Instant.
- Min Loop: Specify a minimum number of loops a state must play before running the action.
- Loop Count: Enter a specific loop during which the action can launch. The action must launch between the beginning and end of that specified loop. The default ("-1") means you are not specifying a particular loop.
The action will launch only if the condition you set is true. For more information, see Conditions.
- Type: Choose a type of condition. Other parameters appear depending on your choice.
You create an action with an initial choice of command. However you can change the command at any time using the Properties window.
You can also add additional commands to an action in the Properties window. Note, however, that additional commands will not be visible in the Timeline.
See Commands for a detailed list.