Synchronous Action & Direction
Using the Ampersand
The ampersand (&) can be used in place of the at-sign (@) to allow directing commands to occur simultaneously with other actions, animations, or dialogue.
The function of the ampersand (&) can also be explained with this Donacode analogy…
@ is sequential; & is concurrent-- So to explain more closely…
Using at an @ means that it will wait for the previous command to completely finish before starting. Using an & means that it will NOT wait, and will immediately start it’s action.
Let’s contextualize this with two examples...
In the app, open the story “Advanced Directing Guide”
Then click choice “Using The Ampersand”
To follow along in the script, open:
Then jump to “label zeroone” using CTRL + F or CMD + F after tapping into the script editor. You can view the examples by tapping at the line you want to view, and pressing “Preview” button in the upper right hand corner to view the differences.
Example A: A character enters a conversation with “@CHARACTER enters.”
@JOHN enters from right to screen right
Here, ALISON and MARIE stop talking while JOHN completes his “enter” action. This is because @commands take place as their own discrete actions.
Example B: A character enters a conversation with “&CHARACTER enters.”
&JOHN enters from right to screen right
Here, ALISON and MARIE continue talking while JOHN completes his “enter” action. This is because &commands occur simultaneously with other actions and animations.
&commands can be tricky to use. If a character has not completed an action when they are asked to do another one, behaviors can become unpredictable. They may slide characters into place, end offscreen or zoom to strange and unexpected locations. Always test an &command both tapping slowly and quickly, to make sure it functions well.
Using the THEN Command
Sometimes you want characters in the background to do multiple things in a row. Or you want a character to enter and THEN turn and face their friend, while their friend is talking with them. This is a great time for the THEN command:
&JAMIE enters from left to spot 1.28 150 200 THEN JAMIE faces left
Hey Jamie, it’s good to see you!
In the above example, Jamie would enter WHILE Sally was talking. When Jamie completed her entrance, she would turn around
&JAMIE is talk_neutral THEN JAMIE is talk_gossip THEN JAMIE is idle
In this example, Jamie may be a background character. She could just continue animating seamlessly while the rest of the scene moved on around her.
Example C: A character enters a conversation and act with the “THEN” command.
&JOHN enters from right to screen right THEN JOHN faces left THEN JOHN is listen
The THEN command is only useful when paired with the &ersand command. If you want actions to happen independently in a row, you can continue to use the @ command. If want things to happen WHILE dialogue is on screen, that is a good use for & and THEN.