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Monday, December 15, 2014

Simplifying the Artiste Learning Experience

Well we've  had  a lot of new 1st-time users. Different types of users. 

I've had time to reflect as different people struggle with different learning hurdles. 

The seasoned users sort of grew up with the Artiste. There wasn't as much content ..way back then. They didn't have to learn everything from scratch...way back then. They already knew some basics more easily learned because there wasn't  so much to learn....way back then....and so it was easy to slowly build on what they already knew. 

The seasoned users had in common the need to do a lot of different types things; emoting, stripping, dancing, adorning, to name a few. Most were accustomed to a screen full of HUDS. They were looking for a more simplified solution. Their minds were already accustomed to function-juggling. The  concept of "events" or a "timeline" back then was a an undeveloped mental construct.

Todays users have more material to peruse over. More choices to make without knowing why they should make one over the other. There are books, videos, blogs, reviews, one-on-one chat logs. Its a lot to take in at once. But most are very motivated to adventure into new areas. Those with a 'what-ever-it-takes' 'for-as-long-as-it-takes' will likely do well if the past is any indication.

What things have I learned from helping those newcomers who've struggled?

1 - Baby Steps!!!  Take small incremental baby steps. Digest it in very small bites. Reward yourself with praise each day you learn one new tiny thing. That is what has worked as people have 'thrown up their hands'. We find something small that they can do. Something easy. Bite-sized. And then we build on that.

2 - Don't try to put a routine together out of the gate. Their reason being that creates more opportunities to do things get confused about events and timings. More areas to create typos.

3 - Skip menus. Skip over anything in the books that talks about menus, with the exception of menus and buttons related to dancing. They are indispensable.

Avoiding menus will create less clutter in you mind. I think most current avid users use note-cards. It is faster and easier to grasp and grapple. The menu approach to configuration I thought, way back when, would be easier but I think I was wrong. There is no need to learn them 1st, if at all. If you get to a menu and are not sure which note-cards it is associated with then ask me. Send me an IM. Lets try and fast-track your learning past the menued-examples in the book.

4 - Choices - I will now TELL YOU which choices to make based upon a consensus of user history and preferences:

 a) Event Method - Choices are: Specific, Calculated, Custom. Use CUSTOM! Don't spend time learning the others. Save yourself some learning time. Its what everyone uses. 

b) Event Type: DURATION or ELAPSED?  Use ELAPSED. People always end up using ELAPSED, deciding that its easier to manage, even if they started with DURATION.

c) Event #0.  DONT USE IT. PERIOD. (Sorry Kat) It throws timings off. It confuses people. It is an anomaly. It was a created way back when ..when we only had 10 events. People complained so added 2 more events. Event 0 and event 11. for a total of 12. I know big deal. I should have just added 10 more. pfft. Well now we have 20 events plus event #21 for a total of 21 events so no need to scrounge for a 22nd.  Also if you really need more, use HUD-Chaining. HUD A can chain to HUD B and you can get another 20-21 events. HUD B can chain to HUD C and you can another 20-21 for a total of 60-63 events. For those of you considering an hour-ish-long musical production totally Artiste controlled. And there is zero delay between chains.

5 - Put final poses in your sequence.

6 - Put animations in your sequence not the palette, though you could. Keep that as an option. Keep palettes for walking/moving from A to B like you probably already do.

7 - Always keep your *orders01 filled with 20 "nones". That is how it comes so just don't change it unless you have a good reason to. Everyone uses it filled.
Then MaxGroupsOverride will ALWAYS tell you how many events will be fired. Why didn't I call it NumberOfEvents?. A holdover from ...way back then...when I could only imagine what the future would be..decided not to rename it.

    MaxGroupsOverride is the most important entry on your *config notecard cause if you try to do more events, it wont tell you you have too many, just wont do them and you will ask me why none of your events past #6 are working. Its because MaxGroupsOverride,6 is what is on your *config nc. So be sure to increase it as you add more events.

8 - Start small. Add ONE NEW THING at a time. That way if there is a problem then you know where the problem is.

9 - Avoid learning and worrying about Lead Times and Delay Times until you have a need for things to happen together or very close together. It will be a while before reaching that level of sophistication.

   One exception...consider using an AutoEmoteLeadTime say of 7 seconds. This gives people 7 seconds to read your emote that probably describes what you will be seeing (i.e. removal of an item of clothing) before seeing the actual strip. This will save on events too. No need to create an extra event for an emote that is associated with an event. 

10 - If you lose something off into never-never-land, do an area search. Sometimes you have to search neighboring regions, so untick that box. Once in a great while it might be in a linked item. That happened to me once. Expand your search criteria. Very often it will return to(0,0,0) of the region. And you may need to CTRL-ALT-T to see it. 

11 - If its Tuesday, no this is not a joke, there are often asset-server issues and changes you think you made, just don't stick. And sooooo many times, Artiste has taken the blame and yes its happened to me too. "I made this change and its not working. It used to work". Then they go back and realize the change they made isn't there. 

12 - Typos - 80% of the problems as to why things won't work will be due to typos. For you, me, and the world. Develop an anal eye. Missing commas is the biggest offender. Periods instead of commas because those 2 keys are next to each other on the keyboard. Using something other than $ to separate multiple autofx commands. Improper CaPiTaLiZaTiOn.

13 - TOO MUCH WAIT TIME. Too much Wait time in an autofx. Say you have 2 events. Event #1 starts 10 seconds in and event #2 starts 20 seconds in.

So many times people will do this


Whats wrong with this picture....? Well there is 10 seconds between event 1 and event 2 (20-10 = 10). said you want to do 13 seconds (8+5=13) worth of stuff in 10 seconds. Can't be done. And the Artiste goes off into never never land. Essentially what happens is none of the *autofx lines after this one in error will execute and maybe other functions will NOT execute and you will come to me asking why. "It used to work, you tell me". I didn't put in a check for that. Maybe I will in the future but for now...whenever you do a WAIT, don't get carried away or remember to count and add them up.

14- EVENT GAP LESS THAN 2 SECONDS.  This will cause things to just stop working. The time between Opening and Closing is 1 second. Not good. Must be at least 2 seconds.


Change it to


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