It’s one-thirty PM, or thirteen-thirty if you happen to attend a certain fictional school I know, and the mimosas didn’t kill me. Rendered me a little spacey–okay, a lot spacy–but that’s it. I’m still functional, after a fashion.
When I picked up my new computer a couple of weeks ago the primary goal was to get it set up as quickly as possible so I could get back into my writing, and do it with the tools I’d already learned to use on the old Beast. Getting Scrivener and Scapple and Blender weren’t that big of a deal: I had the licence from when I’d picked them up originally, so all I needed to do was download current versions and reapply the licences. For Sweet Home 3D I pick up a new version, which was needed as well as this one came with lots of content.
But Aeon Timeline was a completely different story. In the time since buying it originally a new version had come out that changed how it now function, and the dilemma was do I get the old version and work with that, or do I go with the new hotness even though it’s going to run me $50?
The answer was yes and I proceeded to get the new program and pay for the licence. The question after that became, was it worth it?
The answer is yes.
The basic interface to Aeon Timeline 2 is much the same, yet at the same time it feels so much fuller and, in a way, less crowed and busy. This is due to taking a few things that were all clumped together and breaking them out either into their own windows, or setting tabs to allow the user to drill down to what they want to work upon.
When you bring up the program the first time the interface is now a black background with white lettering. If you don’t like this, you can go to the old standby of a white background with black lettering:
And if you want to get fancy, there are a few backgrounds that allow a little color and text to liven up your time lining drudgery. Like this one, the Borealis:
As before, adding an event is as simple as clicking somewhere within an existing time and plugging in information. This function is a window that drops down from the middle-top, and there are a few things here that immediately pop into view, such as Parent, Participants, Observers, and Place. The last three take the place of another function found in Timeline 1, and Parent–well, we’ll get to that.
The Inspector–that area that you can pop open on the right hand size of the interface to add information to each event–has been updated considerably. Where as in Timeline 1 everything was crammed into that widow for one to search out and modify, everything is now set up in separate tabs, allowing the user to concentrated on one particular thing at a time while they’re building up an event. This making things less confusing when modifying something, as the signal to noise ratio is toned down a great deal.
There’s a lot of meta data that can now be entered for an event, and in the past if you wanted to see that meta data you needed to open the Inspector. Not any more. You can go into your Display Options and decide what you want to see when you “expand” an event, and then all one has to do is hover over said event until a little green arrow pops into view in the upper right hand corner–
And click it so the event expands.
Here I went crazy with the expanded data. So now I see what is happening, who is involved, who is watching, where it’s happening, the arc in which this information is found, and, if I like, a nice picture of the area that I can expand into a larger picture window. If you notice, the time line event also tells me the ages to the people involved, and even the age of the location. The people and location can be tied to an event for time purposes, allowing you to see how old a person and/or location is in relationship to where the event falls.
So if I want to see how long my kids had been at school at the time the Called Up event occurred, I bring up Manage Entities, find the character in question, and reset their age at the moment they arrived at school:
So when I reexamine the Called Up event, we now discover how long Annie and Kerry were students when they were informed by Helena that The Guardians needed them.
Man, walk in the door of this joint and before you know it people want you to go off and “observe” bad guys.
Two of the biggest changes are Parents and Dependencies. Creating Parent Events allow one to set up an entities that occurs over time, yet consists of multiple actions or events within that time period. One of the easiest to show is from A For Advanced, the first week of school from the first class to the last moment of the second Midnight Madness.
Now lets created a new event called First Week of School and set the time frame for the parent.
And start moving the already established events into the Parent Event:
If you look closely you’ll see a little “+” on that event line, so if you click on that–
This helps you manage your events better without having to resort using another time line and linking to that–unless, of course, you have several arcs worth of information you need covered, in which case you may want that other time line.
Dependencies are the other addition to the program, and it’ll come in handy where one has events that not only require a certain amount of time between passages, but are grouped together. One sets the main event, then when adding additional events after that, the user needs to only specified to what event the new event is tied, and then indicate the time span between those events. Not only does the program then determine the actual times, but if the first event is change to a new time and/or date, the dependent events follow and are adjusted automatically.
And as I discovered while playing with another time line, if you need to know when an event happening in one time zone is being monitored in another, then event can be made dependent, and times can be adjusted forward and backwards. So say Helena’s in San Francisco for some reason, and she wants to speak with Kerry in Cardiff and Annie in Pamporovo, you’d set up Helena’s event with San Fran time, then make Kerry’s event 8 hours ahead of Helena’s, and Annie’s 10 hours ahead, and right there you have the events and times without having to do a lot of looking. And if the user needs to move Helena’s time for any reason, Annie’s and Kerry’s events change time as well.
There you have it: my new toy. And while it might not be useful for his latest novel, I’m certain I’ll get some use out of it in the following novels.
It’s just a matter of time.