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Character Editor

Frequently Asked Questions

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Table of Contents

  1. How to encode a character to automatic download
  2. MSChat Character Editor Bug Fix
  3. Emotions & Poses
  4. Make a Character file
  5. Palette shortcut keys
  6. Multiple neutral emotions
  7. Short Characters
  8. Large file sizes
  9. Character File Names

 

How to encode a character to automatic download

In the Properties area, complete all the information of the character.
  1. Complete the Character Name, Description and Gender fields.
  2. The Author field will place your name in the lower panel when viewing in MS Chat.
  3. The Copyright field will show just above the author information.
  4. Complete the Character URL with the complete path to the character location. You can use either an http:// or ftp:// address. The URL would look like this: http://www.server.com/directory/charactername.avb
    This URL is CASE SENSITIVE so you must match the directory folder and filename exactly. I recommend using all lower case letters in both the URL and filename.
  5. If you do not want others to change the URL for your character check the "Don't allow others to modify URL" box. I highly suggest this for those that wish to maintain some control and ownership of their characters.
  6. Then save your character, and make the character into an AVB file by pressing CTRL+M. Now you are ready to upload the character to your web or ftp site.
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MSChat Character Editor Bug Fix

The updated Character Editor fixes a major problem in the previous release. The problem was when a character was created it was published in High Color mode even if 2, 16 or 256 color mode was selected. This resulted in characters being larger in size then they needed to be.
Characters should be made using the bug fixed version of the editor to save space.
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Emotions & Poses

Each Character should have a minimum of one Neutral, Laugh, Happy, Coy, Bored, Scared, Sad, Angry, Shout, Point to Self, Point to Other and a Wave pose.

Each Emotion can have up to 10 different poses.    On the MS Chat emotion wheel the outer ring is a lower number (1) while the inner ring near the Neutral pose is a higher number (10). However, this author has found it best to apply only 3 poses to each emotion, such as Happy1, Happy4, Happy7.

NOTE: The original Editor had the strongest emotion (10) at the outside of the wheel, (which makes sense being the farthest away from Neutral) but the help file stated the reverse. When the new Editor was released, the programmers for some reason thought it was easier to change the program than to simply correct the help file.

To prove this is correct, make 3 poses for Laugh, setting the intensities to Laugh1, Laugh4, and Laugh7. When you type LOL in chat, the Laugh1 (strongest) will be displayed. You can also test this by moving the black dot around the emotion wheel. Don't try to figure it out, just set the intensities as described above and it will work fine in the final AVB.

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Make a Character file

When you are ready to "Make a Character File (.AVB)" avoid saving in the High Color format unless absolutely necessary. If you are only using the colors in the Character Editor selecting 256 or 16 colors should work fine.

Borders are often used by comic artists to keep the character lines from getting mixed up with the background.  This option gives the character such a border.

Smoothness is using anti-aliasing to dither up the edges (with shades of colors) so that the character's lines don't look so pixely. Borders must first be selected to use smoothing.

Note that using Borders and Smoothing can double the filesize of the AVB.

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Palette shortcut keys

You can assign shortcut keys to colors, click on the color in the palette, then press alt and a number from 1 to 6.  The number will appear next to that color in the palette.  Now, whenever you press that number, that color will appear.
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Multiple neutral emotions

Multiple neutral emotions can give the character more depth during normal conversation. You can move the head in a different direction, move an arm, change the expression etc. Neutral emotions are selected in sequence when you are engaged in casual conversation, so you can organize your neutral poses and sequence them in the way that seems most natural.

If the neutral sequence doesn't look normal to you, try switching the images around in the editor until they look correct. This neutral sequencing is the most overlooked item by character authors.

Avoid using only 2 neutral poses that will merely change back and forth predictably. If you only have 2 neutral poses prepared, then use one of them for both neutral1 and neutral2, the other for both neutral3 and neutral4. In effect, you will have 4 neutrals, but users won't see the jerky one-two, one-two, etc. sequence. If you have 3 neutral poses prepared, then you can have 6 neutrals, etc. Anything that can break up the predictable "cadence" will make your character seem more natural and life-like.

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Short Characters

Some short characters like Sparkie may not show his whole face in some panes.  This is because the editor is creating the AVB file by clipping only the portion of the picture (or pose) that has actual painted material.  So even if you moved Sparkie poses to the top or the side, they would still look the same.  The best work around is to draw a small dot at the bottom of the pose...right on the edge of the edit window.  This will increase the clipped area and will increase the overall characters height, it's kind of like stilts.
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Large file sizes

The default high color AVB files are pretty big.  By creating 16 color or 2 color versions, you decrease the file size dramatically.  Also, the Character AVS files are using a compressed graphic file type, so you may not need to compress them.
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Character File Names

When selecting "Make a Character File (.AVB)" it is best to choose a Character name without spaces.
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