Delays, Timing, and Tempo

As their name implies, Stepworks stories advance step by step in response to user input. Sometimes, however, you want the output of a step to happen a bit later than the input, instead of simultaneously with it. Maybe when the user hits a key, you want a word to be spelled out syllable by syllable over time, instead of all at once. Or maybe you want a short musical phrase to play. You want delays!

But you can’t have them. At least, not until you add some more information to your story—specifically, its timing and tempo. In Stepworks, delays are measured in pulses, which means you need to tell Stepworks exactly how long a pulse is.

To set the tempo and timing for your story, add a new character called “Pulse” and in the next cell below, enter “120/2”, like this:

Narrator Pulse
Hello world. 120/2

“Pulse” is a reserved name which tells Stepworks that the content in that column is not really for a character, instead it should be used to set the tempo and timing for the story, in this format:

[Beats per minute]/[Pulses per beat]

To Stepworks, “120/2” means that the overall tempo is 120 beats per minute, and that there are two pulses per beat—that means each pulse is a quarter of a second long.

Now that the tempo and timing are set, you’re free to use this format to enter delays:

[Content to be triggered]+[Number of pulses to wait before triggering]

For example, to cause the word “excellent” to be spelled out syllable by syllable over time in response to a single input by the user, you would enter

Narrator Pulse
ex
cel+1
lent+2
120/2

Try adding some delays to your story, then open the stage window and click “Refresh” to try them out.

Delays unlock a huge amount of versatility in your stories, especially when it comes to music. Experiment and have fun!