Once you’ve taught a Tidepool agent some new rules, how do you change them? The answer is the director, a new user interface element that I discuss in today’s podcast. The director is much like a programming IDE (integrated development environment) in that it lets you review and edit your code, then step through it like a debugger. It’s your window inside your agents, letting you browse and extend their capabilities.
Another UI element is the timeline, which lets you hang rules on timed events, so you can say things like “angry bear, when player time is 20 seconds, do a scary dance.” This lets you schedule events relative to a player’s entry into your story or scene. The timeline gives you an overview of what’s about to happen in a story as well as what has already happened, so you can use it to investigate past activity.
The third programming tool is the roster, which will soon be extended to let you control agents directly, playing and stopping them, setting properties, and so forth. Think of the roster as a kind of buddy list for the agents and players in your story. Add in the message bar and lexicon and you’ve got the full programming interface for Tidepool, along with the goals for the current milestone, and June.