7

I found this freeware app, labytrinth, years ago. It allowed to create elements (characters, places, objects, etc) and detail information about them. Then you could drag these elements into a wide area where you could set relationships in between them (arrows with little text tags). It also had a function where you could create a table with place / chapters / characters / etc in order to organise your plot and determine who was doing what and where. It was very basic: no colours, no great variety of arrows, but it worked perfectly.

Last year I discovered YEd, an app that allows you to create extremely intricate diagrams, with variety of colours, shapes, arrows, etc, and it can also automaticaly rearrange all the elements. I've started using it because the diagram part is very useful, but, unlike Labyrinth, each element is created from scratch. So, if you decide to change the name of a character, labyrinth would automatically update the name in every diagram which included that element, whereas I have to change each diagram manually in YEd. For this reason, I never got around to transport all the information I had inserted into Labyrinth concerning a Fantasy series I'm planning.

This series comprises of 5 books, with the first four being completely planned by now. I have over one hundred characters with their relationships carefully anotated.

And my computer crashed.

I lost no files because I make regular backups but... I never did make a backup of the app. And now I can't find it online.

So, please, has anyone heard of this app (or freeware programme) and can direct me to a site where I can download it so that I can recover the information I've got locked in the files?

The name of the app is Labyrinth and it creates files with the PLT extension. I have tried PLT viewers with no success at all. Here is an image of a diagram made with the app:

enter image description here

EDIT: I started using it 3 or 4 years ago and both the site and the look of the app gave me the feel that it was something that had been created at least 5 to 10 years before. It runs on Windows.


Conclusion

A helpful user at stack overflow has directed me towards Python and graphviz as a way to read the diagrams. Another way is to manually associate ID numbers to names, events, relationships and slowly (manually) recover the connections. Either way, It'll take time, but I can recover everything.

I'll tell you all one thing: when people say not to bother with backing up software because it's all online and you'll have to go online to get the most up to date version anyway... Only photos you'd rather be forgotten stay online forever, so back everything else up. Better safe than sorry.

Thank you all for your assistance.

  • How exactly old is that application and what platform were you running it on? The screenshot looks like it was made on a Mac from the early 90s? – Lew Nov 1 '16 at 16:00
  • @Lew: I'll add that info to the question. – Sara Costa Nov 1 '16 at 16:07
  • Is this it? people.gnome.org/~dscorgie/labyrinth.html – user16226 Nov 1 '16 at 16:30
  • @mbakeranalecta No, I'm afraid not. I tried to instal the Windows Installer, just in case it was a different version of 'my' Labyrinth, and it's not even an experimental app, just a text to see how the app runs on Windows, so... no, it's not it. – Sara Costa Nov 1 '16 at 16:37
  • 2
    @SaraCosta: Since you have a valid answer, you may put it up as an answer, and mark as accepted :) – Sonic Nov 10 '16 at 9:24
7

I used the link posted by Ryann Foxx earlier, decompiled the code, and ported it to modern Windows and Linux. Basically everything is the same except it used a collections library that can't work in the modern version of the language, plus a widgetry library from 2003 that's hackily supported at best today. I also checked it for malware. There was none but if you don't believe me you can compile it from scratch using the source code I posted.

My code is here. If you think I seem trustworthy, you can download Release.public.zip from the Releases section here and all you'll need to do is unzip the ZIP file. Otherwise you can download it and compile it yourself. I included some hotfixes that mostly affect Linux which you can disable in Program.cs.

The documentation strongly implies that this was distributed with partial source code originally under a "do what you want but don't sell it" basis so I don't feel too bad about redistributing it in source format.

Note that Ryann's version mostly worked fine for me on modern W10 -- it was really only Linux that I ran into problems on. But I did feel a little skeeved out running random EXE files from the internet, so I'm hoping this helps any nervous people. If nothing else, my Github repo is likely to last longer than Ryann's Dropbox.

3

I'm a bit wary about posting this as an answer, but I just pulled a copy of Labyrinth from my computer. It should still work.

One warning is that it may only work if placed in Program Files (or Program Files (x86)). If so, it should be put under Karetao\Labyrinth.

I'm unable to provide a version for Mac, if one existed, but this is the only working copy I have been able to find.

1

Here is an app that tries to make plotting out your story very easy: Plottr

It's got a timeline that is a very graphical way to show each story line (main plot and subplots) and each scene. Across the top are the scenes and along the side are the story lines.

The nice thing is that you can flip it so the scenes are down the side and the story lines are across the top. It's better for some people to see it like that.

Where the scene and story line intersect you can add a card which is just a place you can write a description about what happens at the intersection of those two.

You can even drag and drop cards easily anywhere around the timeline.

It also has a place for general notes, a place for characters, and a place for settings. For characters and settings you can add custom attributes which is really handy.

And the notes you can tag with your characters or places.

I use it for my stories and it's been invaluable

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