Enquirer Home Page | Twitter | Back to Improbable Island



A Brief (and probably wildly inaccurate) History

Once upon a time the people on the Island were homeless. They wandered around exposed to the vagaries of the elements, and were often cold, wet and miserable. 1) They slept out in the cold and whined. How they whined! The all-seeing Admin felt an unfamiliar pang. Let's call it sympathy. Anyway, He said "Right you lot, I'm sick of you moaning about the wet and the cold and the nowhere-to-sleep", for verily He was heartily sick of it, " .. here, have at this, and let me get some rest". And He gave them Dwellings.

The people were right pleased. They were ecstatic! They built huts and hovels, hotels and harbours, palaces and Bingo Halls. Even the occasional house. They had somewhere to eat and sleep, chat and, well, other stuff that is best not elaborated on here. And the aforementioned omnipotent Admin smiled and said: "Boffo, proper job! Now I can get back to (that other thing he wanted to do)."

Time passed. The people made suggestions. The ecstasy wore off. The Admin sighed. "Here we go again". And He said: "Fine, I can do better." And He went back to His drawing board. Days passed. Then weeks. Weeks turned into months. Consultation and previews, hints and snippets came forth. And after four months He unveiled his masterwork, and said: "Henceforth Dwellings will be known as "Places", and just to make the point I'm gonna knock down all the Dwellings, and you lot can re-build them". To Himself He added: "Should keep 'em busy for while." and He went back to doing that other thing.

What are Places?

The Places system is a set of incredibly powerful and flexible tools that allow you to design a place with a high degree of precision. At first sight they can look very complicated. The good news is, you only need to understand a fraction of this to get started. If you have no idea of how to go about building a Place, then go to Places for Dummies. This gives you a very basic introduction, just enough to get something done. It shows you how to buy, build, and decorate your first room, and then how to build connect and decorate subsequent rooms.

Once this has been achieved the builder can, if they wish, start to read up on one of the other topics. These fall into two natural groups: Basic (non-programming) skills, and the more complicated Programming skills. The order in which these are read is not so important, although having some familiarity with the basic Places parts before proceeding to programming is probably a good idea. 2)

Programming Places get a little complicated, but you only have to know a little bit to get a little bit out of programming. The complicated parts are for getting complicated effects. This means that you can learn as much or as little as you want to, and slowly learn more and more as you go along rather than having to learn a big chunk to get anywhere at all.

Programming has been designed in a way to make it as intuitive as possible. People who have some experience with programming computers in general should be able to dive straight in and work it out as they go along. For the rest of us, there is a handy series of tutorials to work through. Each one of these after the very first gives you one more trick that you can use in your Place. So even reading only the first two or three will give you a couple of things you can add. The second tutorial shows you how to add tree backgrounds or raindrop/splash backgrounds to a room. The third tutorial shows you how to make one way doors. These tutorials include pictures of what programming grids should look like to achieve certain effects, so it's possible to just blindly follow this and get some of the more basic tricks to work in your Place. I would urge you to at least have a look at what the components in the grid are, and see if you can understand how it all works. If all else fails, ask somebody for help. 3)4)

If you want to read everything, then the given order is probably as good as any.


The Useful Bit

Non-programming skills

Basic Guide to Places I - How to get started. The bare minimum that you need to start building your own place.

  • Initial buying and construction of a Place.
  • How to decorate your one room place.
  • Building and decorating new rooms.
  • Building doors between rooms.

Basic Guide to Places II - More stuff that can be done with rooms and doors.

  • Chat
  • Who's nearby.
  • Renaming of doors.
  • Locks and keys.
  • Ordering of doors.

Basic Guide to Places III - Other Features

  • Room Expansions.
    • Beds.
    • Teleport Beacon.
  • Pages.
  • Retitling Navigation Link Headings.

Programming - Introduction and tutorial.

Programming Places has been carefully designed to be as visual and intuitive as possible. If you have an aptitude towards computing or maths or a similar "logical" subject then you could just wade straight in and have a go.

There are however, some highly intelligent creative people whose minds don't really work this way. The following series of tutorials are written with you in mind.

There looks like quite a lot at first sight, but don't worry! You don't have to know all of it to be able to do things. There's a lot that you can do with programming, and the more you know, the more you can do, but you only need to know a little bit to get started.

These tutorials go quite slowly, and have been written so that every page after the first introduces one new piece of tool kit to play with. The first, introductory page shows you the basic pieces that you'll use. The first tutorial after this allows you to use light and dark backgrounds and other graphic backgrounds. The next tutorial shows you how to build one-way doors, and so on. So if you only read the first two pages you'll still have an extra trick up your sleeve that you wouldn't otherwise have had.

They are carefully structured to build on each other, so later tutorials use some of the concepts introduced earlier on. This means that it's a good idea to read them in the order given. Once you have worked your way through these, you should have a good solid understanding of the basics of programming.

Have a go! Get stuck in, and most important of all, enjoy yourself!

Start at the beginning.
Tutorial Contents Page.

Other worked examples.


Once you've gained some familiarity with programming it's time to look at memories and what they can do for you. They let you remember things for more than one page load. So if you want to remember what a guest has done, or how much of your own 'currency' they have, use memories. It is strongly recommended that you are comfortable with basic programming before starting to use memories.

Start at the beginning.
Memories Tutorial Contents Page.

Advanced Programming Techniques

Programming can be taken to some quite sophisticated levels. If you've read and understood and used the above, and are still thirsty for more then there is the advanced programming techniques tutorials where you can learn how to have multiple outcomes from one program,how to build your own gadgets for use in several rooms in your Place, and more.

Start at the beginning.
Advanced Tutorial Contents Page.

Some other programs that you may wish to use

    • For the brave, the insane, and the masochistic programmer/worldbuilder.
    • A suite of programs so you can program your place to have beasties attack your players! Complete with hit points and weapons.
    • Makes heavy use of RUN PROGRAM contraptions, where a Core program invokes many nested subroutines in other parts of the Place.
    • The wiki is currently about 80% complete and a work in progress. The system described is operational.


"How to" links


1) Many of them still are, but that's besides the point.
2) In the sense that avoiding having your brain catastrophically implode is 'a good idea'.
3) Most of the people who can do this stuff are busting for a chance to show off their brainliness!
4) Don't tell them I said that though.
Logged in as: Guest (Guest)
places/start.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/22 16:42 by Zoinks