A couple skin dev questions
I'm trying to change the shape of the default circle for the playerportrait_mask_linemeup.tga file which looks like a mask for the character portraits. However, changing this circle mask doesn't seem to affect the character portrait that is shown (it still shows as a circle). Am I missing something?
Also, Frosty posted a download for the default LOTRO skin images with the new Vol.2 Book 7 changes and resource files. This included a "SkinDictionary.txt" file which appears to be XML and includes what appears to be defaults for relative positioning of each UI element. Yet, when I change this file and pop it into my skins folder, the changes do not take affect. I could try changing the extension to .xml, but I wanted to know if this is ever supposed to be a feature in skinning that we can change?
As far as I know there is no way to make the 3D portrait other than circle. Some UI's has rectangle shaped portrait so at least there was a way to do it earlier - no idea do they work anymore. Im pretty certain that you can modify the shape but most likely have to do some compromises how to do it like in many things while you skin Lotro.
You can change lots of skin elements and move stuff around but there are lots of odd stuff too that you just have to live with :/
I don't know why Frosty has seperated Skindefinition.xml and SkinDictionary.txt in separate files. Probably so it would be more clear to find stuff from each. Getting the skindictionary stuff to work you have to add them to your Skindefinition.xml and that's the only code file your skin should have.
Mind that there are lots of stuff in SkinDictionary.txt that doesn't take effect in game no matter how much you try to change the values. I don't know why they want to show us the code that we can't even use for our skins (like there is defitions for minimap buttons, the code is there but you can't actually move the buttons in new locations).
Daimon, thanks for the help! I never thought of adding some of that dictionary file to the definition file. Nice! :) I'll have to give it a try and see what I can and can't move around.
As for not being able to control everything, it's too bad Turbine is this limited for their skinning. We've been waiting almost 2 years for the promised revamp of the UI, but still nothing. *sigh* I guess we'll have to either wait longer or give up hope and work with what we have. :(
Thanks again for the help! ...and also the fast reply compared to how inactive these forums feel.
The SkinDefinition.xml is a template for the existing UI. It contains all of the assets that are skinnable linked up to the graphics distributed as part of the art asset packs. You could drop all the assets and SkinDefinition.xml file into your client directory and when you picked the new skin, the UI would look exactly the same!
The SkinDictionary.txt file is supposed to be the definitions of all the panels in the game with their coordinates relative to other items on the panels. Not all of the items in the Dictionary file have art assets associated with them - some are "container" fields used to separate stuff conceptually rather than visually. It's like a dictionary in that it contains a reference to all the panels that can be skinned (moving positions around). To use the file, you'd cut and items from it and paste them into the SkinDefinition.xml file and tweak the locations of the fields.
The code that allows the UI to tweak the positions of skinned elements only works for certain types of elements: items that are "inherited" do not work correctly. So something like the toolbar works fine: there's only one instance of the toolbar in the whole UI, so you can move it's child elements around. Something like the coin display (or more complicated like the character panel) are used in multiple places in the UI, so they "share" a definition. The code that repositions the elements within a "shared" definition does not work. I'm trying to get that fixed in an upcoming book release.
Awesome, Frosty! :)
Thanks for taking the time to respond and fill us in on the purpose of the dictionary file and how it can be used and possibly extended in the future. I certainly look forward to the day when LotRO is a mature MMO. I'm glad Turbine got over the recent server instability/performance issues with the multiple instances.
There are so many fixes and new functionality to add to the client, and the UI is a huge part of that. Keep pressing forward Frosty, and we'll soon enough see a polished client. Thanks for all of the work you do.
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