Author Topic: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText  (Read 387 times)

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« on: May 02, 2018, 07:25:40 PM »
Hey, guys. I always wanted to share how I take notes. I imagine a lot won't like how it works, and others might actually like how it works. I like to think of roleplaying as a hobby and the more tools I have to make that task easier, the better. So if this helps someone, fantastic! If not, I'll hopefully have fun showing what I make.

What?

ConnectedText is a personal information system that works like a wiki. At first it might sound either simple or pointless, but ConnectedText gives the users a series of tools to define properties and attributes, which I have taken advantage of, to create a system that allows me to get in character and design the wiki in a way that simulates my character's personality.

Why?

I've always felt that it is difficult for me to really get into the mind of a person who is living in a world I am not living at. Sure, I roleplay them based on their background and I try to think based on the personality I gave them, but I wanted more. I am by nature a cheerful person. Can I really get into the mindset of a timid, depressed, shit-earning commoner in a medieval world when the decisions I have to take are at most done in a couple of seconds? I wanted a system for taking notes that gave me all the tools to THINK like my character.

When?

I've been working with ConnectedText (and have tried a lot of other alternatives) for some time. When I was playing back in 2014, I had a basic run of ConnectedText which was nowhere near where it is now. It took me time to figure out how to use the functions it has to do what I wanted.

Where?

You can read more about ConnectedText here.

How? (Unfinished Series)

Character - Physique, Personality, Skills, Relationships (And Forgetting Them)
Clans - Information, Colors & Members
Clothing - Properties, Colors & Filters
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 02:51:14 AM by deskoft »

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 08:28:29 PM »
Character - Physique, Personality, Skills, Relationships (And Forgetting Them)

So in the past what I did was create a topic and assign it to the category 'Character' in ConnectedText. In the topic, I would write like one does in wikipedia everything my PC knows about this character. This was great. Especially since I could see every character indexed by their name, see their short description, and remember everything. I really didn't want my character to remember everything. I feel a person should start forgetting, confusing or even mixing details about other people. My system lets me do that absolutely easily. This is my template (don't panic):

Code: [Select]
[[$CATEGORY:Character]]

**Name [[family:=]]**, [[sdesc:=]], is a [[gender:=]] [[race:=]] [[class:=]], a [[rank:=]] of [[clan:=]].

[[$INFOBOX:]]

{|
||**Current Location**
||
[[$COMBOBOX:location]]
|-
||||[[$BUTTON:SAVE_RELOAD_TOPIC|Reload]] Press this to reload the topic.
|}

== Physique ==
**Hair:** [[$COMBOBOX:hair]] **Eyes:** [[$COMBOBOX:eyes]] **Height:** [[$COMBOBOX:height|very tall|tall|average|short|very short]] **Skin:** [[$COMBOBOX:skin|white|brown|black]]
((:((:=sdesc))))
== Personality ==
[[$LISTBOX:trait|]]
=== Wants ===
[[$LISTBOX:want|]]
=== Likes ===
[[$LISTBOX:likes|]]
=== Dislikes ===
[[$LISTBOX:dislikes|]]
== Skills ==
[[$LISTBOX:skill]]
== Relationships ==
=== Lovers ===
[[$SUMMARY:[$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND [$PR sexual partner = (($CURRENTTOPIC))]]]
[[$LISTBOX:sexual partner|]]
=== Previous Lovers ===
[[$SUMMARY:[$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND [$PR previous sexual partner = (($CURRENTTOPIC))]]]
[[$LISTBOX:previous sexual partner|]]
=== Friends ===
[[$SUMMARY:[$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND [$PR friend = (($CURRENTTOPIC))]]]
[[$LISTBOX:friend|]]
=== Enemies ===
[[$SUMMARY:[$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND [$PR enemy = (($CURRENTTOPIC))]]]
[[$LISTBOX:enemy|]]

Imagine I am roleplaying with you in a tavern and I have just met you. What I would do would be click on Insert > Template > Character and it pastes that. It took me one second. Now, you might see a lot of gibberish you don't understand. Don't panic. That is me taking use of the most advanced features the software gives, for my nerdy roleplaying hobby. I will explain it to you so that you can use it in your own nerdy roleplaying hobby too!

This template is fast. I only need to edit the second line:

Code: [Select]
**Name [[family:=]]**, [[sdesc:=]], is a [[gender:=]] [[race:=]] [[class:=]], a [[rank:=]] of [[clan:=]].

First of all, the *TEXT** is to bold, like wikipedia does with the start of every page. [[family:=]] is an EMPTY PROPERTY. And everything else there is also an empty property I have to fill. This is the basic information I need for this new character I have met to be categorized in a lot of systems I have in place (like my character considering who to invite to a high-class tavern, or my character thinking about who to choose for a business decision). Here is how it looks filled out:

Code: [Select]
**Lord Amos [[family:=House Borsail|Borsail]]**, [[sdesc:=the fancy-looking man]], is a [[gender:=male]] [[race:=human]] [[class:=noble]], a [[rank:=Junior Noble]] of [[clan:=House Borsail]].
And this IMAGE shows how it really looks. I have cut short everything else that comes below because I will be explaining that as we go. First of all, it took me two seconds to record a new character in the database. As you can see, every 'field' has a link. This means that if I click on House Borsail, I will see every character in that clan. If I click on human, I will see every human I know. If I click on noble, I will see all the highborn I know (and have known).

I have created a new project for this example (so the fields are not showing properly) but the section below has a lot of drop-fields and checkboxes.

PHYSIQUE -- This screenshot shows the four fields I have for physique: hair, eyes, height, skin. The colors are pretty standard: red, blue, green, yellow, etc. The options for skin are white, brown, black. The options for height are very tall, tall, average, short, very short. We also have the short-description and a description of the character. This is how my forgetfulness system works. In the main page, I get a list of all the characters I haven't interacted for 7 days (basically, if I haven't modified the character's topic in 7 days, it shows up). This  lets me decide if I start forgetting details about them or not. It takes me three clicks to do this, per character. Say that Amos shows up as someone I ought to forget. I have met him 7 days ago, but he has been really busy. I notice that I remember EVERYTHING about him: short description, eye color, hair color, skin color, height and full description. As a rule for me, if I see it in the topic, I can use it. So what I would do first is delete the full description. This means my character will only remember that they have red eyes, yellow hair, are very tall and are brown-skinned, plus the short description. If after another week, I haven't met with them, I might forget the color of their eyes. To do this, I just go ahead and click on the dropdown and select the blank option. I forgot. I keep deleting details until all I remember is their name, and nothing about how they look. Eventually, if the character doesn't interact with mine for a couple of years, I will decide to delete the topic and while I as a player might remember them, if someone asks my PC about them I'll say that I don't know.

PERSONALITY - I have blurred a few sections because it's from my actual, current PC. The trait system is honestly my proudest creation with the character system. I use it a lot in other systems where my PC will consider who to work with, who to create events with, who to hire, or even who to take as friends / lovers based on conditionals. This mixes up with other systems like physique. My PC might consider only inviting people to the tavern who arent ELVES and who arent SOCIABLE (he wants someone who isn't that chatty). Or my PC might only want ELVES because he's a very xenophile elf. I also match it with the location system, so it will only show me people who are at the same place I am at. There's a lot of other things I can do, really. I usually combine 3 or 4 variables, so that it's not 1-dimensional.

SKILLS - Pretty self-explanatory. This doesn't measure how GOOD you are at it. It just measures if I think you can do it. It works well that way.

RELATIONSHIPS - Pretty self-explanatory.

What for? This screenshot shows how information starts to show at the end of the topic. As you can see, this helps me start to create relationships. Imagine I am a merchant. The character's eyes are blue. What garments are blue? I as a player won't recall. If my guy is a good merchant, he might recall what stock he has that is blue.

Ultimately it leads to automatic lists like this. This was created with this formula:

Code: [Select]
[[$SUMMARY: [$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND ( [$PR trait = Cooperative] AND ([$PR trait = Sociable] OR NOT [$PR trait = Unsociable]) AND NOT [$PR trait = Reserved] ) ]]
This means: a CHARACTER that is not DEAD, who is COOPERATIVE, SOCIABLE, and NOT RESERVED.


Don't forget one of the key systems here is again to do the maintenance of forgetting things (or creating fake details). When I'm bored, I create false memories. Like I might decide to change information and if Character A of House Sath bought an item, I decide that Character B of that same House bought it, because they act somewhat the same and the purchase was a while ago. It's up to you! Testing the system, it really helps me a lot. Perhaps the best system for this is the trait system. I really go crazy deciding false things there. I will judge your PC mercilessly and falsely, and as you can see, my automatically generated tables might exclude you or include you in things. I might decide you're dull, or that you're affectionate when you're not. I get creative!

You can also, as a start, just work on a wiki that is full text and links. This is the easiest way to use ConnectedText. I recommend that for beginners, but this is how far you can push the system.

Also this might look time-consuming. It really isn't. It takes me no time (I obviously had to spend time figuring the system out and coding it, but once coded it's really fast). As you can see, it's mostly drop-down menus and automatic lists, so it's pretty much designed so that I can record what I want fastly (or fuck it up and create false notions on the spot too).
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 08:31:40 PM by deskoft »

cshoov

  • Posts: 60
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 08:34:10 PM »
I get an access error trying to check out the images.

stoicreader

  • Posts: 125
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 08:46:01 PM »
This seems reallly complicated. What's the purpose of all this, why not just use excel?
Meh

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 08:51:59 PM »
This seems reallly complicated. What's the purpose of all this, why not just use excel?

Yeah, I've used simpler systems (or no systems at all). I use this because it helps me get in character on the spot and divide IC from OOC and make them feel more real. It's not really complicated once you get the hang of it! All I do is click on stuff. But this is not just note-taking short descriptions. This is pretty much a system I use to record how my PC thinks of other PCs, without really taking a long time writing long paragraphs. Also, excel doesn't let me record events like this does and link it to characters. With this, I click on a character and it shows everything my PC would remember about them (and it also helps me delete info as they forget it). As a leader, writing my report is really fast too! I just copy paste my projects section and it shows up with links and the progress I had during the week. So that gets really summarized. And for merchants, it's really 100/100 for orders.

I get an access error trying to check out the images.

I'll reupload in a little bit! Does this link work? It should have all the screenshots in order.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 09:01:43 PM by deskoft »

stoicreader

  • Posts: 125
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 09:31:15 PM »
This seems reallly complicated. What's the purpose of all this, why not just use excel?

Yeah, I've used simpler systems (or no systems at all). I use this because it helps me get in character on the spot and divide IC from OOC and make them feel more real. It's not really complicated once you get the hang of it! All I do is click on stuff. But this is not just note-taking short descriptions. This is pretty much a system I use to record how my PC thinks of other PCs, without really taking a long time writing long paragraphs. Also, excel doesn't let me record events like this does and link it to characters. With this, I click on a character and it shows everything my PC would remember about them (and it also helps me delete info as they forget it). As a leader, writing my report is really fast too! I just copy paste my projects section and it shows up with links and the progress I had during the week. So that gets really summarized. And for merchants, it's really 100/100 for orders.

I get an access error trying to check out the images.

I'll reupload in a little bit! Does this link work? It should have all the screenshots in order.

ohhh! I want to do this... But I don't have a computer. I use the surface pro 3 and the Icons are really really small.
Meh

stoicreader

  • Posts: 125
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 10:07:57 PM »
This is complicated... I don't think it's something I want to pay for...
Meh

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 11:02:20 PM »
Clans - Information, Colors & Members

The clan system, unlike the character system, isn't as automated. This is because I don't have to create clans every day I play the game, nor update them. However, do you recall how the character system had a clan and family field? This is updated on the clan page automatically. The clan has two other variables for now: location and color. My homepage changes depending on where my character is at. It will first and foremost show all the clans that are at the place I am at. If I am at Allanak, it will show the noble houses. If I am not there, it won't show them. The color links the color system, which I will explain in another post. This is automatic. It is basically a natural conversation starter. If someone is telling me the colors of a house, instead of just nodding or really trying hard to think what stupid thing I could say, my PC would remember what ever other yellow things he recalls. If he's romatic, he might think of ohhhh, the yellow hair of his lover! Or he might simply recall the yellow cloak he bought last week. You get the point!

Here is the full screenshot of how a clan topic works

And here is how easy it is to code that page!

Code: [Select]
[[$CATEGORY:Clan]][[$PR:location:=Allanak]]

[[rank:=6|Renowned]] for their [[industry:=entertainment|entertainments]] and extravagant [[industry:=festivals|festivals]], [[industry:=noble]] Fales are sociable, giddy creatures, experts in matters of style, food, wine and spice. They are generally superstitious, or at least fond of pretending to be so when it amuses them, and dislike magickers of any ilk. The normal Fale reaction to any crisis situation is to throw a party and hope whatever it is either blows over or goes away. Nonetheless, due to their popularity with the lower classes, the Fales exert an uncommon amount of influence. 

Colours: [[color:=green]] and [[color:=purple]]

Insignia: A Woman's Hand holding an Overflowing Goblet

[[$SUMMARY:[$CATEGORY Character] AND NOT [$CATEGORY Dead] AND [$PR clan = House Fale]]]

This system also works fantastically well for player created clans or even informal crews, raider gangs, criminal associations, etc.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 11:23:41 PM by deskoft »

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 11:19:18 PM »
This is complicated... I don't think it's something I want to pay for...

It looks hard but it isn't! Most of my topics started like the clan one, without the $SUMMARY code in the end. Just text and links. Without a computer it's naturally impossible to set it up. But the idea of the system is to automize things. That clan post for example, as you can see the clan members update automatically. So what I would do with a normal system is to have a txt file with House Fale as a text file, and I update it whenever I learn of new members, or who's aide of who. As you can see, I don't even touch the clan topic once I create it. I update the character while I talk to them and it updates the topic automatically.

So how does it work when someone changes of clan? I just write a single different word in the character file, and it updates EVERYTHING. Every single link. Every conditional. Everything. I only changed one word. That is the beauty of this. The system looks absolutely massive and complicated, but I am really only changing one word and it goes in a domino effect. If I decide a PC is not 'reliable,' and put them as a trait 'unreliable,' I only had to make one click. It will probably update circa 5 pages automatically.

cshoov

  • Posts: 60
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 01:32:35 AM »
And this IMAGE shows how it really looks. I have cut short everything else that comes below because I will be explaining that as we go. First of all, it took me two seconds to record a new character in the database. As you can see, every 'field' has a link. This means that if I click on House Borsail, I will see every character in that clan. If I click on human, I will see every human I know. If I click on noble, I will see all the highborn I know (and have known).
This link is still broken; the others work now.

I'll reupload in a little bit! Does this link work? It should have all the screenshots in order.
Yes, that one works.

Here is the full screenshot of how a clan topic works
Oops another broken link!

Actual discussion:
I think this is a neat idea. I agree that there's no way in hell I would spend $40 on the program. That said, there's free and open-sourced personal wikis that one could probably adapt to something like this.

Personally, I use Microsoft OneNote (got a free copy through school) to keep track of character notes, including keeping separate pages on people that are significant to my character. When I have more free time, I might consider switching to a personal-wiki type program like this, because I do like the idea of linking pages on other PCs with events and such (OneNote has the capability, but it's clunky).

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 02:34:51 AM »
And this IMAGE shows how it really looks. I have cut short everything else that comes below because I will be explaining that as we go. First of all, it took me two seconds to record a new character in the database. As you can see, every 'field' has a link. This means that if I click on House Borsail, I will see every character in that clan. If I click on human, I will see every human I know. If I click on noble, I will see all the highborn I know (and have known).
This link is still broken; the others work now.

I'll reupload in a little bit! Does this link work? It should have all the screenshots in order.
Yes, that one works.

Here is the full screenshot of how a clan topic works
Oops another broken link!

Actual discussion:
I think this is a neat idea. I agree that there's no way in hell I would spend $40 on the program. That said, there's free and open-sourced personal wikis that one could probably adapt to something like this.

Personally, I use Microsoft OneNote (got a free copy through school) to keep track of character notes, including keeping separate pages on people that are significant to my character. When I have more free time, I might consider switching to a personal-wiki type program like this, because I do like the idea of linking pages on other PCs with events and such (OneNote has the capability, but it's clunky).

I've played a lot with a lot of wiki systems. At some point I used mediawiki's portable version (which was too slow for me). ConnectedText vs other wiki systems allow the properties and attributes that everything I have above uses. That alone for me justifies the $40 tag (apart from the uses I give it outside of my nerdy hobby). Then there is the calendar, which allows me to really organize my character reports easily and quickly. And honestly there's a lot of other power features that I'll probably keep showing in these posts.

That said, if only links are the requirement, there's a lot of freebie alternatives which are really good! Wikipad is good. I've also used Scrivenr but it's not a wiki system. I also liked Mediawiki with the adapation for Windows.

IMHO none of them are as versatile as ConnectedText, which is designed with this kind of systems in mind.

deskoft

  • Posts: 319
Re: Note-Taking System with ConnectedText
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2018, 02:50:22 AM »
Clothing - Properties, Colors & Filters

In this image, you can see a (really blurred) topic for a piece of clothing. The code looks something like this (I cleared out the fields):

Code: [Select]
[[$CATEGORY:Item|Clothing]]

The **Name**, [[sdesc:=]], is [[Clothing|a backpack]]. It has a value of [[value:=]] and weights [[weight:=]]. It is a unique design of [[owner:=]]. It is [[color:=]] and made of [[material:=]] and [[material:=]]. It can be worn [[wear location:=]] and can carry [[capacity:=]].

== Description ==
{{{
Here
}}}

This system has a lot of uses. It's one of the new systems I made this year. First of all, it has a value field (for characters with the value command). This means that if I want to filter out a list of, say, shirts that cost less than 200 sid because I'm running out of coin, I can make him try to remember. Then there's weight. Owner usually links the item to a Great Merchant House if they craft it. Color is part of the magic of this system. If I am talking to someone with blue eyes, my guy could think about what garments could look good on them -- for example -- and if I click on the link 'blue,' it'll pop every clothing item that is blue. It serves well for matching stuff too. This also records material, wear location (on face, across one's back) and capacity.

Note that clothing is categorized both as CLOTHING and ITEM. I'll explain the broad items category in another topic.