Garden Box: An Owner's Manual (Current as of 1.0)

Garden Box information, downloads, and discussion

Garden Box: An Owner's Manual (Current as of 1.0)

Postby Amaikokonut » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:39 am

This visual guide will help you understand exactly what the garden box is, how to use it, and how to get the most out of it. You are welcome to post any questions you have in this thread as well (but please direct bug reports and feature requests to the appropriate forum)

Anyway, let's get started!

Overview

The Garden Box was created with one major purpose in mind: to make the process of customizing your DS world, whether ecologically or aesthetically, as easy and painless as possible.

The first thing to note about the Garden Box is that it is, in fact, an agent injector, meaning it is an agent that searches your My Agents folder for compatible agents and displays them. It does not inject the same agents as your standard agent injector (it uses the DSGB chunk type rather than DSAG or AGNT), rather, it only reads agents that have been specifically written for the Garden Box. However, there are a few other things that sent it apart from your standard agent injector.

For one, it is not confined to a certain room. The Garden Box floats with your screen, and can be toggled on and off via a button in your bottom left corner for easy access. You can choose where exactly your agents are injected by use of a floating crosshair on your screen. Garden Box agents are also grouped into categories such as Plants, Aquatic Animal, Decorations, and Tools. They can be filtered according to these categories, allowing you to find the agent you are looking for more easily.

The Garden Box also supports two special categories of agents: Patch Plants and Decorations, which we'll get to later.

Anatomy of a Garden Box

The first thing to be aware of is your best friend, the crosshair:

Image

Whenever the Garden Box is open, this crosshair will appear. You can pick it up and move it, but it will float with you on the screen. Should you lose track of it, hiding and showing the Garden Box will reposition the crosshair in the center of the screen.

This crosshair controls where your GB agents will appear when you inject them. Clicking on the crosshair will attempt to inject the currently selected agent to its' currently position. If the crosshair is in an invalid spot, say, outside of the room system, or in a space too small for the agent to inject, injection will fail.

Note the diagram below!

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A: Show/Hide: This little box depicting a carrot and an apple floats in the bottom corner of your screen, and can be clicked to show or hide the garden box. If you don't like the button there and want to move it, you can double-right-click it to pick it up. The garden box will still appear at the bottom of your screen, regardless of where you move the button. Note that once the button has been moved, it will no longer respond to window resizes. If you somehow lose the button, reinjecting the garden box (without removing) will restore it to its original position.

B: Inject: This little green button rests in the top left corner of the Garden Box, and will inject the currently selected agent. If the agent is a standard one, it will appear at the crosshair, assuming it is in a valid place. Clicking the crosshair will also inject the currently selected agent.

C. Remove: The red button in the bottom left corner of the Garden Box will remove the currently selected agent. Since this means removing all of that particular agent, it is required that you hold down the Shift key while clicking to complete the removal. This is meant to prevent accidental clicking and removal of something you really didn't want to remove! However, if you wish to disable the shift+clicking requirement, you may do so in the options menu.

D. Currently Selected Agent: Clicking an agent will select it; it will then be denoted by a white border. Here, we have some cute butterflies.

E. Previous Page: Clicking the arrow on the left edge of the Garden Box will show previous agents in the list, if there are any.

F. Next Page: Clicking the arrow on the right edge of the Garden Box will show the next agents in the list, if there are any.

G. Filter: The blue button in the top right corner of the Box will allow you to cycle through the different categories of agents, allowing you to view only agents of a certain category.

H. Options: The yellow button in the bottom left corner will bring up the options panel. Currently there is a whole one option available-- that is the option to switch the shift+click removal requirement on or off.

I. Agent Information: This top line of text displays information about the currently selected agent including its name, author, and category.

J: Agent Description: This bottom line of text displays the description of the currently selected agent. If you click the filter button, it will switch to displaying the current filter category. Injection error messages, when they occur, will also appear here. If there is too much text to fit in the box, it will scroll to the next line after a few seconds.

Now that you've got the basics down, let's look at the special categories in the Garden Box and what they're capable of.
Amaikokonut
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Re: Garden Box: An Owner's Manual (Current as of 1.0)

Postby Amaikokonut » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:39 am

Using Patch Plants

Patch Plants are a special kind of agent that allows you to draw a square "patch" on the wall where fruit or other produce will start sprouting. When you first inject a patch plant, for example, the apples, you will notice an icon of the fruit following the hand. This indicates that the hand is currently in Patch-Placement mode.

Image

Once you're in placement mode, click once on the spot you would like to anchor a corner of your patch. You will notice that a green dotted line now appears between that spot and the hand.

Image

There are some limitations on where patches can be placed-- mostly notably, they can't cross outside the room system. If you stretch the patch box over an invalid place, the dotted line will turn red, indicating that you can't place the patch there.

Image

Once you've decided on the other corner for your box, click again to anchor it. You will then be greeted by this dialogue:

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Cancel will remove the box and act as if nothing happened. Retry will remove the box but put you back into patch placement mode so you can try drawing the box again. Confirm will...well, confirm your patch, and bring up the options menu:

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Here's where it gets fun.

Density controls the maximum number of fruits in the patch. At 100%, the patch will spawn as many fruits as can fit in the patch. At 50%. It'll spawn about half that, and so on. The minimum number of fruits a patch will spawn will always be 1, regardless of the density. For a small berry bush, a higher density might be appropriate, whereas for a massive apple tree, a lower density will look a lot more natural.

One thing to note is that fruits within the same patch are scattered randomly and will not overlap. meaning that even though technically a 4x4 patch would be able to spawn four 2x2 fruits at 100% density, it might only be able to spawn one or two or so before it can't fit any more without overlapping, depending on where in the patch those fruits spawn. For this reason, 100% density and 50% density can appear strikingly similar, depending on how big the fruits and the patch are.

Growth Rate sets the timer, or tick, in the fruits of the patch to a random number between the two numbers that you input. Exactly how this affects the fruit depends on the code of the fruit itself, but generally the lower the growth rate, the faster the fruit will grow. There are roughly 20 ticks to a second, so if you wanted your fruits to advance to the next "life stage" every 2-4 seconds, you might set the growth rate between 40 and 80. Setting a wide range in your growth rate, say, 40 to 400, will result in some quickly edible fruits as well as some slow-maturing fruits.

Growth Plane indicates the "layer" the fruit grows on. Agents with a higher plane will overlap agents of a lower plane. Pay particular attention to this if you are planting a patch over something other than the background, such as a decoration-- you'll want the Growth Plane to be higher than the plane of the agent the patch should appear to be growing on; otherwise the fruit will appear to grow behind the agent instead.

Growing Seasons
allow for control over during which in-game seasons your patch will bear fruit. Such options can add an element of realism or be useful for testing migration and hunting instincts in creatures-- if a patch stops bearing fruit in the winter, will your creatures sit dumbly around where the food used to be, or go out in search of another patch?

One thing to note is that while a patch may stop spawning new fruits during a certain season, any fruits already in the patch will continue to grow. If a patch is set to a very long growth rate, and no creatures pick any of the fruits from the patch, it may appear as though the plant still bears fruit even in its off-seasons. This can create interesting situations, such as one in which a tribe of creatures indeed has enough food to last through the winter if they eat it sparingly.

Confirm will close the options menu and your patch will start growing. Remove patch will... well, remove the patch, and we pretend none of this ever happened.

Once a patch is confirmed, the outline will vanish, and you can watch it in all its glory!

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Yay!

Now if you decide later you want to change your patch's options, have the Magic Words Core installed and simply use the speech-bubble command "Patch Options":

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When you do this, all your patches will appear outlined in white. Hover over one (the outline will turn green), click it, and the options for the patch will appear again, so if you decide a patch is, say, growing too slow, you can alter it to your taste.

That should tell you all you need to know about patch plants!

Random trivia: The idea for patch plants, formerly know as "planting-stuff-into-walls agents," actually came long before the idea for the Garden Box, in fact, patch plants spawned the idea for the garden box itself. You can find an old post about it here!

All we have left to cover now is decorations!
Amaikokonut
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Re: Garden Box: An Owner's Manual (Current as of 1.0)

Postby Amaikokonut » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:39 am

Using Decoration Agents

Decoration agents have one purpose and one purpose only: to decorate. These agents do not have physics and cannot be seen or touched by creatures. Their purpose is to allow you to customize the appearance of your metarooms. Despite their limitations, they're incredibly simple to make, and come with an extensive control panel that allows you to clone, mirror, and tint them to get them just the way you like them.

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Whenever you inject a decoration agent, you will put the game in "deco mode" which will unlock all decorations so they are movable. The decoration control panel will also appear on the left side of your screen. You will notice the decoration you have just injected is outlined in green. Green means that decoration is currently selected, and can be manipulated with the control panel. Any unselected decorations will be outlined in white, unless outlines have been turned off.

Clicking a decoration agent will select it. In the event that you have several decorations stacked on top of each other, clicking will cycle through selecting all the decorations that the hand is touching. When an agent is selected, it will briefly flash to the top plane so you know what it is that you are selecting, even if it is hidden behind other decorations.

You can also put the game in deco mode and bring up the control panel using the Magic Words command, "Deco Mode". This will be useful since otherwise you can't enter deco mode without first injecting a decoration agent.

Anyway. Onto the panel.

Image Image

If you don't have an deco agent selected (left), most of your options are going to be grayed out because they require an agent to perform actions on. Once you select an agent, more icons will light up (right)

ImageDecoration Plane: The top section of the panel controls the plane, or layer, of the selected decoration. The top blue arrow works by checking all the agents overlapping it, finding the one closest (in plane) to it, and moving it five planes above that agent, effectively moving it in front of the next highest plant object. The bottom arrow works the same way, in reverse. If the agent isn't touching any other agents, it will simply move 200 planes in the selected direction. You can also click the plane textbox itself to edit the plane number directly. Be sure to hit enter once you are done to confirm your changes.

ImageDeco Outlines: This button will allow you to turn off or on the white outlines that surround all unselected agents, which can start to look really messy when you're dealing with a lot of little decorations. The green outline around the selected agent will persist.

ImageNudge Mode: This is a special tool to help you align your decorations perfectly. When nudge mode is on, you will be able to move your selected agent, pixel-by-pixel, using the directional arrow keys on your keyboard. This is especially useful when trying to make wooden planks line up perfectly end-to-end. If you have deco outlines disabled, Nudge mode is the one circumstance in which the green "selected" outline will also vanish, allowing you to line up your decorations without visual interference.

ImageTint Panel: This button will open and close the tint panel:

Image

This will allow you to play with the color of your decoration. Using the arrows, you can increase or decrease the tint values of Red, Green, Blue, Rotation, and Swap by a factor of 20. You can also click the textboxes to edit the values directly; if you do this, make sure to hit enter once you are done to confirm your changes.

Image

ImageFlip Horizontally: This allows you to mirror your selected agent.

ImageSpecial Action Buttons: A decoration agent can have up to four Special Actions. If the selected agent has a special action available, the corresponding button will light up, and, when clicked, will activate said action. What the special actions are completely depends on what the agent creator has programmed them to do; they might, for example, allow you to switch between different styles or sizes of the agent, or cause the agent to explode.

ImageClone Selection: This will create an exact clone of the selected decoration, tints, orientation, and all. Great for when you've finally perfected the color of your grass and now want to spread it all over the world.

ImageDecoration Help: Brings up the agent help for the selected agent (same as right-clicking the agent in F1-help mode). Ideally, the agent author will have written a descriptive help file explaining any special actions the agent might have.

ImageDelete Selected Decoration: ...does just that

ImageLock: This will disable Deco Mode, closing the panel, making all decorations unmovable again, removing outlines, and generally making your scenery untouchable. You can open Deco Mode again by injecting a decoration agent, or with the magic words command, "deco mode".

Hopefully you can see by now that the possibilities with decorations are pretty endless, especially as more decorations are made available!
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Re: Garden Box: An Owner's Manual (Current as of 1.0)

Postby Amaikokonut » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:08 pm

Hope this guide is useful to you guys! If you have any questions or comments, need something clarified, or want to correct something, feel free to leave them as a reply to this thread! Happy gardening <:
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