Review for Story Maker Version 1.1
Educational value, creativity, and
A great combination of education, creativity,
and fun. Kids get to make their own animated stories, and add chapter after chapter
as inspiration hits. Story Starters provide the clueless with ideas to build stories
on...inspiration on demand. Reading and writing become a fun activity as opposed to
a boring task.
The software has a tremendous amount of
features; it comes with lots of sounds, images, animation, and backgrounds. You can
drag the images around to place them where you want or to make them do what your story
wants them to do. Then you can place a speech bubble and type in what the character
is supposed to say. You can create a story and continue to expand on it, create
branching stories, or merge stories into each other. This software is created by a
kid at heart.
Ease of use:
Most kids with some computer exposure will
find the program easy to use. Children less than 8 years old are probably going to
need their parents help but will have just as much fun as their older siblings.
We believe the software is lots of fun for all
ages...including grown-ups! Children under 8 years of age will probably need their
parents assistance but children above the age of 8 can use it by themselves. We had
as much fun playing with the software as our kids did! The software is "age
scalable" where younger kids can comfortably use the simple settings while older and
more creative kids can tap into the many advanced features to create some incredibly
You can paste in your text from other
programs, or add your own images or WAV sound files; this allows you to take a story, or
half a story that has already been started and expand on it using the vast capabilities of
the software. The software package comes with a free story reader on a 3.5"
disk that can be freely copied and distributed. Stories made by a kid on the Story
Maker can be sent to his grandparents with a copy of the reader (or they can download the
reader software free from the manufacturer's site), and grandparents can see their
grandchild's work in all its glory. You cannot export the stories made to other file
formats, but you can send them as attachments in e-mail.
Ease of installation:
We installed Story Maker on a Pentium II
machine running Windows '98 with 32MB RAM and 20X CD-ROM. It took us less than 5
minutes to read the directions and install the software, with no errors or crashes.
Amount of hard disk space used:
The installed component is approximately 2MB
making it an extremely efficient software in terms of space utilization. Like most
children's software, you must have the CD in the CD-ROM drive to run Story Maker.
According to the software manufacturer, the
minimum system requirement is Windows 3.1, 95, 98, or later. 486 chip or better, and
a sound card for speech and sound. All these requirements are standard on all
Windows based computers sold today.
The software "reads" the typed
words in a synthesized voice using a British accent. The alternative is to record
your own voice and specify that file for the software to use when reading the story.
The software provides an option for direct recording, or for importing pre-existing
sound files. Using your own recorded WAV files will increase the storage size of the
Spell checker uses British English.
Stories made by the Story Maker can be
mailed to Goodnight Stories on a 3.5" disk or CD-ROM and all stories found suitable
by our reviewers will be posted on our site for downloads by people who wish to view them
using the free player. Click here to get our mailing
You can purchase the Story Maker from our
partner Gift Box by clicking
You can download the free player from Story
Maker's manufacturer by clicking
here, and you can download a sample story too. Try "A Branching Adventure Story"
or "The unhappy Farm
Worker and The 3 Pigs". Make sure you remember which directory you chose to
download the files to, since you will need to go to the downloaded file and double click
on it to install it. The computer is defaulted to download on the desktop,
this way you can double click on the icon that shows up on your desktop once the download
is complete. After you double click and install the download, you can delete the
downloaded file if you want to remove useless clutter from your hard drive. This will not
affect the installed program.