Chat formatting

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loogie
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Chat formatting

Post by loogie »

Just playing around with some programming and such with .net (happy theres a fully functioning HTML parser included, thats basically the window for IE, so it parses everything nicely.

I've been fooling around with the idea of making my own VTT, more for experience then anything else... (talk to trevor a whole lot about it too) but i was working with HTML and formatting such to make it customizable for a user, as well as nicer to display...

i've seen the latest posts of how the current chat system works with HTML and css and such... and I was wondering if you could explain in a bit more detail how it works...

My idea was to completely format chat with css, so that in character, ooc, system msg, rolls, etc all look different, and the visuals and everything else can be edited through css styles so if you want to change your system colour for example, you can just go into the css stylesheet and change it... (and eventually you could automate it in the properties quite simply)

I was wondering how far the current chat system goes with stylesheets and how the chat format is setup? is it essentially set up like i just described? are all the issues we're facing simply because HTML parsing is terrible in Java?

just to give an example, i'll post my little template i made up today as an example of what i think would be a nice format for an rpg chat

Basically, i've sectioned off In character descriptions/speech/actions so that they are easy to distinguish, and display a small portrait beside them.

All the other text is also formatted with fonts and colours (all of which would easily be changed, i just made sure the colours i chose weren't the same)

would this be something we could work on in 1.4, to get chat up to speed in visual as well as other ways?

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RPMiller
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Post by RPMiller »

Hey, check out HeroCentral.net. Even though it isn't a VTT it is a fully featured play by post site and it allows you to basically do what you are looking at right now. In the User Control Panel you can put in your own CSS and it will change the entire site to match your preferences. I did a custom Style Sheet for a guy that I gamed with a bit that had some visual impairments. It worked really really well.

In fact that last part brings up something that I recently discussed on the Cartographer's Guild. A lot of time we forget that there are people with vision impairments that restrict their use of computer applications. If trevor and gang really wants to tap into a part of society that sort of gets left in the dark, they may want to seriously consider implementing exactly what you are considering into the chat. MT itself can be modified by most of the vision assist software, but only up to a point such as the individual tabs. Color blindness is a big one in that regard. Having a CSS format that could be modified like the HeroCentral.net site would seriously put MT in a class by itself.
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Naryt
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Post by Naryt »

This would actually be trivial (custom style sheets) to do BUT for that to actually work, an improved HTML renderer has to be found as the one currently used is...well...let's just be kind and call it inadequate.
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Azhrei
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Post by Azhrei »

I think Trevor has stated in the past that the plan was to provide a preferences entry that allows the user to specify a CSS stylesheet file that would be loaded. This would allow the GM to put a CSS file on a web site and have all users point there, or users who know what they're doing could create their own.

It would be nice if the attempt to fetch said web page would include POST data that included the player name, campaign name, and campaign password. Or something like that. Then the web page could be a PHP script that looks the information up. Such a page could become a public repository of stylesheets for others to try out (probably with all fields left empty).

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loogie
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Post by loogie »

i was afraid of that, i figured i wasn't the first to come up with the idea for maptool, i had a feeling the java HTML was the culprit for issues with the chat system

it'd be nice if 1.4 could implement more of those ideas.

as for a repository, it'd be a great thing, even just a space at rptools, where you could post your styles and themes, along with your images and such.

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biodude
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Post by biodude »

*drool* some chat formatting in MapTools would be awesome! The ability to "impersonate" is already a huge bonus, although I wish there was a way to change my default "username" when Out of Character. I realize it's using my Mac OS login, but what if I don't want to use that in the chat?

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Post by Phergus »

It uses the login name in the Connect to Server dialog. That defaults to your OS username but you can always change it.

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UntoldGlory
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Post by UntoldGlory »

I'd still be more interested in multiple chat windows and channels than any other chat enhancement. My group is large (though 2 people are bowing out of the next campaign so we'll be down to 8 !), so even with Vent our RP and stuff can get lost in rolls and goofyness. Or just get confusing if more than one conversation is going on. People suggest using a 3rd party chat, but that's unwieldly, doesn't have rolls and impersonate, and adds one more open window to the 6 or 7 I usually have open :roll: But I do like the idea of the customizability of a CSS stylesheet.

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