Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beginner Layout Editing Classes

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. By popular demand, beginner's layout editing classes will be returning to EQ2.

(Link to the thread on the Homeshow forums for if you want to post questions, comments, or opinions!)


Where will the classes be held?
Cloudrat was generous enough to donate a guild and guild hall on the Test server. The Norrathian Decorators Academy is now in session!
For those who cannot reach the Test server for whatever reason, I am willing to hold the occasional lesson on the Antonia Bayle server. Please send me an email if you'd like to arrange a lesson on Antonia Bayle. Do keep in mind that it may take a few days to arrange a lesson. Sending me a tell or mail in-game, or a PM on these forums is not a guaranteed method of contacting me. Email is. You can find out how to email me further down this Q&A.

When will the classes be held?
Dates and times will vary. I'm aiming for every two weeks, but realistically, it'll probably be more like once a month. Dates and times will be posted in this thread. I will update the thread name as well as this post to reflect the planned class time. Be warned! I'm mildly pedantic (I know, how can you only be mildly pedantic?) and expect class to start at the time posted. If there is no one there at class time, I'll simply log out of the test server and go do something else. I will not wait around for you. Do not log in at the class time. Log in at least five minutes before. Better would be to give yourself ten minutes, so that if anything goes wrong with the test client, you have time to fix it. If you can't get in, log on the live server and send me a tell. Don't mess around with the server for half an hour, log in twenty minutes late, and expect a class to be there. There's the possibility that no one else showed up, and I logged back to the live server. So send a tell to either /tell Test.Jazabelle or /tell Test.Jazabella, depending on who I'm on.

But what if I contact you beforehand and let you know I'm going to be late?
All right, I'm not completely heartless. If you contact me beforehand, I'll stick around. I understand that real life can be rather annoying, and might keep you away from the game. I can be flexible, but I expect the courtesy of being informed beforehand that you'll be late. If you don't bother to let me know, I can't guarantee that there'll be a class in session when you log in. And if something comes up and you have no way of letting me know, you'll just have to try and either arrange a private lesson with me, or you'll have to wait for the next class.

How can I contact you for private lessons/lessons on Antonia Bayle?
Follow this link to my Blogger profile. On the lefthand side you should see a heading that says "Contact me." Under that is another link that says "email." Click the word "email," and you should be able to email me.
If, when you click the link, a window pops up telling you that there's no program associated with that action, click "Okay." Then right-click the word "email," and go to "copy email address." Now you can paste my email address into the email program of your choice to email me.
If you still can't find it, try (my character's name).(my character's last name without any punctuation)

Why are you making it so hard to email you? Why can't you just type it out here?
I'm not deliberately making it hard to contact me. It's just that the more places your email address is, the more likely it is that you'll wind up with spam. Since this email address is spam free so far, and I'd like to keep it that way, I'm not posting the actual address.

Yes, there will be a little bit of math. No, it won't be more than a little addition and subtraction. If you're not good at doing math in your head, the calculator program that comes with your computer will be enough to take care of it.

But I heard something about trig?
That's for advanced layout editing, and you don't really need to use trig. There are websites that do all the math for you, and I'll provide you a link to a website when you're advanced enough to use it. Until then, I'm not going to, because I don't want to scare you (and there's no reason to be scared, anyway!_)

Do I need to know anything coming into the class?
Nope! These are beginning layout editing classes for a reason. Eventually, I'll have picture tutorials up on my blog to go along with the classes, but I haven't gotten there yet.

Picture tutorials?
Yep! Here's a link to my layout editor tutorial page. I don't yet have beginning tutorials up, but when I do I'll include a direct link to them here.

How do I get to the Test server?
I'll include a picture tutorial for that, too, in a bit. But for now, follow these steps. Do not do this a few minutes before class. Do not do this half an hour before class. Give yourself at least an hour for the first time you log in to the Test server just in case something goes wrong. In fact, I wouldn't even do this on the same day as the layout editing class. I'd do this several days before, so that if you can't get it working, you have time to ask people for help. If you frantically contact me the day of the layout editing class, saying you're still copying files over and can I please hold class for you, I'm sorry, but the answer will be no. Either arrange a private lesson, come late, or wait for the next class to be held.
  1. Find the EQ2 icon on your desktop.
  2. Right-click it.
  3. Click Open file location.
  4. Create a new folder in this folder, and name it TestServer. That isn't a typo. There is no space between the word test and the word server in the name of the folder.
  5. Select everything in your EQ2 folder except the TestServer folder, the logincache folder, the cache folder, the screenshots folder, the logs folder, and the eq2_default.ini file. The easiest way to do that is to select everything in the folder, then hold down ctrl and click each of the folders and file I named above. That will unselect them while leaving everything else selected.
  6. Copy the files. You can do that by right-clicking after you've selected them, and clicking the option to copy, or holding down ctrl and c.
  7. Open the TestServer folder.
  8. Paste the files you copied. You can do that by right-clicking and selecting paste, or by holding down ctrl and v.
  9. Open the EQ2 launcher like you normally do.
  10. In the upper lefthand corner of the launcher, you will see a section that says Version: US English (or whatever version of EQ2 you're running).  Click the US English (or whatever yours says after Version). The lower half of the launcher should change to something that says Advanced Settings on the left and Select Game Version on the right.
  11. Under Select Game Version, there's a dropdown box. Select Public Test.
  12. Make sure that Full Download is UNSELECTED. That's right, you don't want it to be clicked. Not unless you want to wait several hours while the game downloads the entire test client.
  13. Click the green Apply button. The client should now patch. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes, but depending on how different the Test server's client is from the Live client, it might take a bit longer.

You're now ready to log in to the Test server!

Why the Test server?
I understand that we have free accounts now. I also understand that some people don't like to make free accounts. The Test server allows people to play on their main account, without counting against their character total on the Live servers. I also understand that some people can't log in to the Test server, which is why I'm willing to offer private lessons/small lessons on the Antonia Bayle server.

Wait, the characters on the Test server don't take up character slots?
They do take up character slots, but they have a separate count from the Live servers. If you have twenty character slots on the Live servers, you also have twenty character slots on the Test server.

Okay, so I started the Test client. Now what do I do? I don't have any characters here!
Create a brand new character. The easiest place for you to start is in New Halas, because that's where the guild hall is. Race and class don't matter, so make whatever you want to make. Contact Jazabelle/Jazabella or anyone in Norrathian Decorators Academy for an invite to the guild.

How will lessons be conducted?
Lessons will be conducted in /say. They will be step-by-step, and I will explain everything that's going on. Don't be afraid to speak up if you have a question. If you're too embarrassed to do so in /say, go ahead and send me a /tell. But we're all there to learn, so there's really no need to be embarrassed!

Lessons won't be in voice chat?
No. Lessons will not be in voice chat. For one, lessons in /say have the benefit of being caught by EQ2's /log option. For another, not everyone plays with sound or microphones. I don't want to leave anyone out.

But I learn best when I hear instructions instead of reading them! You're leaving ME out!
Then arrange a private lesson with me. Public lessons will be in /say, and that's that.

How long will these classes take?
Class length depends on how many students there are, and how quickly people are picking it up. Some people just learn things a little slower than others, and if there are a lot of people, classes can take a while. Set aside at least an hour for the class. When Gracey was running classes, they usually took anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours. If the class is taking longer than usual, I may call an end and schedule a followup class for the next week.

So how much are these classes going to cost me?
Absolutely nothing. These classes are free! I only ask that you "pass it on," and help someone else out in the future. The more of us passing on our knowledge, the better.