SANTHARIAN GAME DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

DOCS PART II: DATA MAINTENANCE

All forms where you can add, edit or delete, sort and search data work with the same scheme. If you know how this scheme works, you can apply your knowledge at every form of the program. Please note that you can only edit or delete everything you’ve added yourself! Also you will have no add, edit or delete possibilities when using the master database.

Let’s start with sorting and searching:

 

SORTING AND SEARCHING

Let’s explain it all on a simple example. Select the entry “Locations” from the Data Maintenance menu (or press the toolbar button with the globe). You should see the following form:

The grid displays all locations, which currently exist, sorted by location name. You can scroll up and down to view them all. Once you move around in the grid you’ll see that the controls above are updated with the data from the record you’ve selected below.
 

SORTING

The header of the second grid column is red. This indicates that the information you see in the grid is currently sorted by the second field, the name field. Click on the header column where you see the red “name”, and you’ll notice that the sort order will be reversed. Click again, and the sort order will be ascending again. You can also change the sort order by clicking on the toolbar buttons on the right of the toolbar to the top.

If you want to sort by another field, simply click on the header of this column and voilá, there you go...
 

SEARCHING

You can also search for a specific record in the grid in case the amount of records makes finding something more difficult. Simply click on the binoccular icon (or press the shortcut F8) and a small window will open:

Enter your search term in the Search Term field, select the field in which you want to search, e.g. search term “Santhala”, field name “Name”. At the Search Mode box you can also define if you want to search for a word part only or for the whole word (e.g. if you search for “Santhala” by using the “Search whole word” option and there exists only a “New-Santhala” in the database, you won’t find the entry).

If you have decided what to search and how, press ENTER or click on the Search button, and in case the entry can be found, the record will be selected in the grid of the Location. Press F3 or click on the Next button to find the next entry matching your criterias. The search terms are stored by the way, so the next time you open the search window, you can select a previously used search term by selecting another word by clicking on the arrow to the right of the Search term field.


T
HE EDITMODE

Now let’s add, edit and delete things. Once you enter the Locations form you’re not in editmode. You’re in viewing mode, meaning you can move the record selector around at the grid, sort and search entries. You can easily recognize if you’re in viewing mode in case the backcolor of the controls on top are gray. If you want to click on these controls, you can’t enter the textboxes and change the content.

Once you press one of the three buttons in the toolbar to the top right, you enter the editmode:

You press the first button (Add New, shortcut F5 or INSERT) if you want to add new data (e.g. a brand new location).
You press the second button (Edit, shortcut F6) if you want to change existing data (e.g. to correct a typo in a location name).
You press the third button to delete (Delete, shortcut F7 or DELETE) a location from the database.


ADD NEW

- Press the AddNew Button (or F5).

- You’ll see that you enter editmode now as the form changes: The grid will be deactivated (you can’t select another row now), other toolbar buttons than the AddNew button will be deactivated as well, and the colors of the textboxes will change to white. Your cursor will blink at the textbox near the Location-No. label. Welcome to editmode...

You will also notice that the Undo button on the bottom left is now active. If you press it and you’ll leave editmode again, no data was changed. Press AddNew again.

- Enter a new location. In order to do that, you need to add a number (this number is only important for the program, not for you!) and a name for it. It is not allowed to use the same number twice, so in order to help you to find the right number, there’s a “+” button close by. If you press it, the program will select the next number automatically for you. It is suggested to always use the help of the “+”- button. Note: You can only type in numbers in number fields, no letters will be accepted!

Now type the name of the new location in the name field as well and you’re almost done.

- Press the Apply button. If you have entered new data, the Apply button on the bottom right will be clickable. Once you press this button, the information will be saved. The location will be added to the grid, and it will be selected as well.
 

EDIT

Editing works the same way. Try it with the location you’ve just added.

- Press the Edit button (or use F6)
- You’ll enter Editmode, however, this time you won’t be able to change the number anymore, only the text, as the number is used for reference in other parts of the program.

- Change the name
- Press the Apply-button.
 

DELETE

Deleting is even easier. So let’s remove the location you’ve just added and then edited:

- Press the Delete button (or use the DELETE key on your keyboard)
- A message-box will appear asking you if you’re sure about deleting the record.

- Confirm with “yes”
- ... and gone it is.

In general that’s all you need to know about the editmode and the possibilities you have with it. Oh, I’ve forgotten to explain the OK and Cancel buttons:

OK and CANCEL close the form. In case you’re not in editmode, both buttons have the same function. If you’re in editmode, OK will save before closing, Cancel will quit without saving. That’s it.
 

FAST EDITING

For advanced users and people who use the program very often, there are possibilities to add, edit and delete pretty quickly. Once you’re in the form, you don’t need to touch the mouse a single time. Just make sure to use the following shortcuts, which were already mentioned above:

F5 or INSERT Add New
F6 Edit
F7  or DELETE Delete
F8 Search
TAB Cursor moves to next control (e.g. to jump from one textbox to the next)
SHIFT+TAB Cursor moves to previous control
+ If you’re in the No. field, pressing the “+”-key will click on the “+”-button, without forcing you to click on the button with the mouse. The cursor then will automatically be positioned in the next field, in this in case the Name textbox.
ESC Closes form (in view mode); clicks on Undo (in editmode)
 =
SHIFT+ENTER
Do linebreak
ENTER Closes form (in view mode); clicks on Apply or Undo (in editmode, depending whether data was entered or not). ENTER has a special function if you’re adding data: If you add a new location and press the Apply button, you will switch back to view mode. Not so if you press ENTER. If you press ENTER the program assumes you want to add another record and will automatically press the AddNew button for you. If all textboxes are empty and you press ENTER again, you will automatically exit editmode.

Sounds a bit technical? Well, try it! If you’re accustomed to the Fast Editing scheme, you can work very efficiently.

DATA MAINTENANCE FORMS

LOCATIONS, RACES, CLASSES, OCCUPATIONS

Got it? If you can handle everything we’ve described above, you can already modify data in various forms in the Data Maintenance menu. Races, Classes, Occupations look much the same as the Locations form, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem to add a new occupation, in case you plan to add e.g. an NPC, who is a tailor and there is no tailor occupation at the moment. Always make sure to have the necessary data entered if you need it in another form.

You might also have noticed that there is a field in each grid of the Data Maintenance forms, which is identical: The export field. If you add a new record or edit something you will see a small arrow appear in the export field of this row. This indicates that there was a change in this row since the last export. If you export data (explained later) after you’ve done a dialogue or two and want to send all you’ve done to your webmaster, all rows which are marked with this export arrow (at all forms/tables) will be collected. After the export the arrows will disappear again, indicating there’s nothing more to export for now.

There are 3 forms in the Data Maintenance Menu, which look a bit different than the rest, which I’d like to explain a bit more. These are the NPCs form and the NPC Greetings and NPC Byes forms:
 

NPC GREETINGS/NPCS BYES

The purpose of the NPC Greetings form is to provide a pool for greetings which you then can allocate to an NPC.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s take an example: You want to create an innkeeper, a friendly one in fact. Greetings are dependend on the time of day, so we’d need something friendly the innkeeper would say in the morning, during daytime, in the evening and at nighttime.

Example (let’s assume the player is male and is called Artimidor):

Morning “Good morning, young man! Time for some breakfeast, eh?”
Daytime “Welcome in my humble inn!”
Evening “Good evening, Artimidor! Sit down and relax!”
Night “Good to still see you this late, Artimidor. It can never be too late for a little drink, right?”

As there are more friendly innkeepers living in the whole world of Caelereth, we can create a greeting group with these 4 possibilities called “Friendly Greeting (Innkeeper)” and in case we have another NPC who is a friendly innkeeper, we can just allocate these greeting group to him as well. Depening on the time of day, the innkeeper will then choose which greeting he/she should say.

As you can see on the screenshot above the first column of the greeting shows no different numbers, but 4 times the same number. This is the greeting group. Each greeting group can have up to four greetings (4 different times of the day).

Which means: If you edit the greeting group name, this of course also changes the group name at the other greetings with this number. On the other hand if you want to add a new greeting and type in an already existing group number the group name will appear in the name field, and you can add another greeting to this group (e.g. if you have only done a Morning greeting, and want to add one for the Daytime as well).

The NPC Byes form works the same way.
 

NPCS

Quite obviously it has several more controls on it than the other forms we’ve just talked about. Well, this is the one where everything you’ve added in the other forms will come into use.

If you’re using the master database you can see here, which Santharian member created the dialogue (in this case Thuja). Only if you’re using the user database the edit functions will be accessible.

In order to add a new NPC you need to add his location, his/her race, class, occupation, greeting and bye group etc. So before you add a new NPC make sure that race, class, occupation etc. have already been added. Only then you can select these things from the combo-boxes.

TIP In case you add a new NPC, have entered all data and then realize that you have forgotten to add an occupation in the occupation form first (so that you can’t select it in the occupations combo-box), here’s help: First open the Occupations form and add your entry here. Then go back into the NPCs form, place your cursor into the occupation combo-box and press F12 in to refresh it – and voilá, there it is (you can do that with any combo-box of course). Also you can press the Refresh Button in the toolbar (or F9) to refresh all combo-boxes instantly.

There’s one more thing you can do in this form: You can add a picture to your NPC, providing of course you’ve got one.

To add a picture click on the folder icon below the pic when in editmode and select a picture from your harddrive (JPG files are prefered!). Once selected, it will appear in the picture box at the form. In case the picture is larger, it will be shrinked to the display size. In general pictures should have a size of 175 height and 160 width, however, they will be adjusted once they are imported in a main database, as it is important to save space. Please note that only the path of the picture is stored in the database, so if you export your data and mail the dialogues to the webmaster, you should include the pictures you are using. Note: Only unique Santharian artwork is accepted as a valid Santharian pic.

To remove the picture again from the NPC, click on the “Remove Picture” icon below the pic when in edit mode, then confirm with Apply.

TIP Short note on the combo-boxes (the controls with the arrows on the right): You don’t necessarily need to use the mouse in order to select something. You can also simply hit a certain key (e.g. “M”) in the combo-box and the first element in the list starting with “M” will be selected. If you press “M” again the next element starting with “M” will be selected, and so on.

[Continue with Part III]

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