How to Create a HTML Asset

From TrainzOnline
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

HTML Assets

DotPoint.JPG HTML assets contain the text information, graphic images and sounds (those that are not built into locos and other assets) that can be displayed and played during a session.
DotPoint.JPG A single HTML asset can provide all the text, graphic and sound data for an entire session and for multiple sessions.
DotPoint.JPG At the most basic level you do not have to create a HTML asset for your session. You can use existing resources (graphics and sounds) and add your own text to simple on-screen messages using Session Rules. See the section PageLink.PNG Adding a Message Popup to a Session below.


NotePad.PNG Notes:

HTML assets in TANE consist of:-

  • a config.txt file which is mandatory
  • one or more graphic files of type .jpg, .tga, .png, .bmp. One of these must be the asset thumbnail.
  • (optionally) one or more HTML formatted text files of type .htm, .html
  • (optionally) one or more sound files of type .wav


How to Create a New HTML Asset

If you decide that you will need to create a HTML asset for your Session or Sessions, then these are the basic steps you will need to perform (if you have never done this before).


Steps.PNG Step 1: Create the Asset
NewAsset.PNG

NewAssetCreated.PNG
From the TANE Launcher
  1. select Manage Content
  2. in Content Manager open the Developer menu
  3. select New Content

This will create a new asset and open it for editing.

A message window will appear that will (hopefully) report on the successful creation of a new asset.

  • Close the message window



Steps.PNG Step 2: Find the New Asset
NewAssetSelectOpen.PNG
  • Set the CM Search Filter to Open for Editing

This will display only those assets that have been opened for editing (hopefully only your new and as yet unnamed asset will be shown)



Steps.PNG Step 3: Open the Asset in Windows Explorer
NewAssetShowExplorer.PNG
  1. Right mouse click on the entry New Asset
  2. Select Open
  3. Select Show in Explorer



Steps.PNG Step 4: Open File in Notepad
NewAssetOpenExplorer.PNG There will only be a single item in the asset, its config.txt file
  • Double click on the file to open it in Notepad



Steps.PNG Step 5: Edit the File
NewAssetOpenNotepad.PNG You will need to edit the contents of this file.
  • The next section, PageLink.PNG The Config.txt File, identifies the changes you will need to make.
  • The new name you give to the asset will not take effect until after it has been committed.
  • After editing, save the changes and exit Notepad.

Stop.PNG Unless you know exactly what you are doing, DO NOT ALTER THE KUID NUMBER that has been added to the file



Steps.PNG Step 6: Add Any "Extras"
  • You will need to add at least one file to the asset folder, a thumbnail image as described in the section PageLink.PNG Graphic Files below.
  • Other files, such as additional images, sound (wav) files and HTML files may need to be added depending on the type of HTML asset that is being created. These topics are covered in the sections PageLink.PNG Graphic Files, PageLink.PNG Audio Files and PageLink.PNG HTML Files below.


These file do not have to be added immediately but must be present before the new asset can be used. You can reopen the asset for editing later to add the files before it is committed.


HTMLfileview.JPG THIS IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY

The minimum number of files needed in a HTML asset is 2 - the config.txt file and a thumbnail image (a .jpg file).

Steps.PNG Step 7: Finish Up
NewAssetSubmit.PNG
  • Close the Asset window
  • Commit the asset in Content manager
    • Right mouse click on the asset
    • Select Submit Edits

Hopefully there will be no errors.

NotePad.PNG Notes:
Because you still have the Filter Open for Editing in operation, the now closed and committed asset will vanish from the window display. To check that your asset has been correctly created and renamed, set the CM Search Filter to "Today".
Bug.png Some of the most common errors that can occur when creating and committing a new asset are:-
  • no thumbnail image in the asset
  • typing errors in the config.txt file
  • poorly formatted tags in the config.txt file
  • incorrect file types added to the asset folder
  • files missing from the asset folder
  • incorrect kuid value (despite the warning you changed it in Step 5)


The Config.txt File


Gears.PNG Settings:

The HTML asset must have a config.txt text file that must include the following tags:-

  • kind set to "html-asset"
  • username set to the asset title or name
  • kuid a unique ID code
  • thumbnails set to a 240 by 180 pixel JPG image

While not mandatory, the following tag is useful:-

  • category-class set to "YH"


The order of the "tags" is not important - an example (entries in blue will/may be different between HTML assets):-

kuid                                    <kuid:45176:100207>
username                                "TGR Fingal Line 1955 - Mixed Goods Sessions HTML"
trainz-build                            4.5
kind                                    "html-asset"
description                             "HTML data for TGR Fingal Line 1955 Conara Mixed Goods Sessions - all versions"
category-class                          "YH"
thumbnails
{
  0
  {
    image                               "thumbnail.jpg"
    width                               240
    height                              180
  }
}

Gears.PNG Settings:

For the above example:

  • The <kuid> is unique to every asset so it is not advisable to select your own. This will be automatically generated by the Content Manager program when a new asset is created.
  • The username is your name for the asset and the name that other users will see. It is advisable to make it compact and meaningful.
  • The trainz-build identifies the minimum Trainz version for this asset. A list of asset trainz-build numbers and their corresponding Trainz versions can be found at WikiLink.PNG "Trainz-build"_number
  • The kind identifies the type of asset and the types of files that TANE will expect to find in the asset. It also tells TANE how to render and error check the asset. A list of asset kinds can be found at WikiLink.PNG KIND Hierarchy
  • The description provides more details for users than the username.
  • The category-class identifies the intent of the asset and is important in classifying it for filtering and searching. A list of category classes can be found at WikiLink.PNG Category-class
  • The thumbnails is the preview image of the asset shown by the Content Manager program and the Web version of the DLS. Information on thumbnails can be found at WikiLink.PNG Thumbnails
    • The image is the name of the thumbnail image. It does not have to be called thumbnail.jpg but it must be a JPG format image
    • The width of the image must be 240 pixels
    • The height of the image must be 180 pixels

String Table Option

If you are going to use the String Table method of adding HTML message windows, then the config.txt file will need a string-table container. For example:-

string-table
   {
      warning_message_stop                          "You have passed a stop signal. Apply your brakes immediately"
      warning_message_speed                         "You are speeding. Slow down"
   }

The "tags", warning_message_stop and warning_message_speed in the example shown above, are called "String Table Tokens" and are used to identify which message is to be displayed.

For more details of string-tables, see the section PageLink.PNG Option 3: A String Table below.

Graphic Files

Supported Image Formats

There are some differences in the graphic files supported between TANE HTML and Web HTML.

Graphic Format TANE Web Main Points Recommendation
GIF not supported supported Do not use
JPG supported supported
  • lossy compression
  • no transparency
Needed for the main thumbnail image but avoid unless you can take the steps recommended for using JPG images below
BMP supported supported
  • lossless but no compression
  • limited transparency
Avoid
PNG supported supported
  • lossless compression
  • transparency
Use if compatibility with older Trainz versions is NOT needed
TGA supported not supported
  • lossless with optional compression
  • optional transparency
Use if compatibility with older Trainz versions is needed
.texture supported not supported
  • a text file containing the names of image files
  • controls how the images are displayed
Recommended method for all images except thumbnails

The above are not the only image file formats supported by TANE but those unlisted formats are not common and are not usually recommended.

For TANE HTML pages displayed on the screen during gameplay, the most commonly used image formats seem to be JPG and TGA. If you are going to test your pages on a standard web browser before testing them in TANE (a technique that will save both time and frustration) be aware that TGA format files will not be visible in any web browser.

Thumbnails

DotPoint.JPG A thumbnail image MUST be present in the asset. You can create a HTML asset without any other images but there must be a thumbnail image.


NotePad.PNG Notes:

The thumbnail image:-

  • must be in JPG format.
  • must be 240 pixels wide by 180 pixels tall.
  • does not have to be named thumbnail.jpg as long as the name used is in the Thumbnails container in the config.txt file.

TGA File Compression

DotPoint.JPG While TANE supports compressed TGA format files, the current advice is NOT to use compression when saving images in this format.


ExportTGA.JPG When exporting an image as a TGA file uncheck the image compression setting (example shown left for GIMP 2.10)

JPG Files

JPGs are still the most widely used image format for web pages and all Trainz versions support this format. The main problem with JPG is that it uses a "lossy" compression method - image data is thrown away or deleted every time a JPG image is saved. If you are constantly loading, editing and then saving the same JPG image, then the quality of the image will noticeably decline over time.

PencilTips.PNG The best way to use JPGs is to:-
  • keep the original image in a lossless format such as PNG or TGA
  • when editing the image, always save the edited image in a lossless format
  • only when all the editing has been completed, export the image as a JPG

Texture Files

DotPoint.JPG Texture files are text files that act as a container for an image and control how that image is to be displayed in TANE. TANE texture files are NOT graphic files as they were in earlier versions of Trainz
primary=ashpit.jpg
alpha=ashpit.bmp
tile=st
Texture files (actually .texture.txt files) are standard text files that contain the name of 1 or 2 image files and instructions on how they are to be displayed in TANE, as shown in the example on the left. This is the recommended format for all image files in TANE except thumbnails.
NotePad.PNG Notes:
This format does not replace the other supported image formats (BMP, JPG, PNG or TGA) but simply provides additional options for controlling how those image files are used, particularly their alpha channels.

A detailed description of the .texture file format can be found on the Trainz Wiki at WikiLink.PNG Texture File

Transparency (Alpha Channel)

DotPoint.JPG Transparencies are also called Alpha Channels.

Transparencies in images are essentially colours or layers that are rendered invisible when the image is displayed. This makes parts of the image transparent so the colours or patterns behind the image, such as the background page, can be seen.

Shown below is the Message Popup browser window from a TANE Session. The two images it contains are from the same original image but displayed in two different image formats.

TransparencyDemo.JPG
  • The STOP sign on the left has been exported as a JPG which has no transparency (or alpha channel) so the image background is shown as a colour, in this case white.
  • The STOP sign on the right has been exported as a TGA with its background layer saved as an Alpha Channel which is rendered transparent so the background colour of the browser window shows through.

Image file formats with transparencies or alpha channels that are supported by TANE are BMP, PNG and TGA.

Graphics Editing Software

There is a wide variety of graphical software applications available that would be suitable for creating TANE ready images, both commercial and freeware.

NotePad.PNG Notes:

The minimum requirements for a suitable graphics package for use in creating TANE HTML assets would be:-

  • load and save (or export) images in JPG and either TGA or PNG formats
  • support for an alpha channel

"Nice to have" features would include:-

  • support for layers
  • text editing


HTML Files

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is the "language" that creates web pages. Creating HTML files (or web pages) is not a simple process. If you have never worked with HTML before then there will be a learning curve. Fortunately it is possible to start at a very basic level and progress as you learn.

DotPoint.JPG If adding HTML files looks too difficult then TANE does provide an option that allows you to place simple message windows onto the screen without having to create any HTML files or images. See the section PageLink.PNG Adding a Message Popup to a Session below.

Some Things You Should Know About HTML

The image below shows a simple HTML page typed into a basic text editor.

HTMLSampleMSNotepadA.JPG

A HTML page is constructed by "tags", words and codes enclosed by "<" and ">" symbols. These tags control the layout of the page and how the text and images are displayed.

If the above page is loaded into a normal web browser, this is what you would see.

HTMLSampleEdge.JPG

The problems: What happened to the:-

  • blank line between the heading and the first line of text?
  • Return Key codes (or end-of-line characters) at the ends of each line?
  • extra spaces placed between the sentences in the first line of text?

The causes: When displaying a page, HTML ignores:-

  • blank lines,
  • the end-of-line character (and other special characters), and
  • extra spaces between characters


Stop.PNG HTML is extremely unforgiving when it comes to errors and "typos" in the tags. Simple syntax and spelling errors can lead to hours of frustration while you attempt to find the error. If you don't have the patience or any "bug hunting skills" then perhaps HTML coding is not for you.


...and that is the easy part.

Some Things You Should Know About TANE HTML

If the page shown above is loaded into a TANEs MiniBrowser, this is what you would see.

HTMLSampleTANE.JPG


NotePad.PNG Notes:

In the TANE Minibrowser:-

  • All browser windows have the same "greenish" gradient background colour (darker on the outer edges and lighter in the middle) and this cannot be changed
  • The default text colour is white (it used to be black which was impossible to read on the background)
  • Extra spaces between characters are NOT ignored
But blank lines and the end-of-line character, amongst others, are still ignored.


DotPoint.JPG TANE HTML is NOT the same as standard HTML. There are similarities and there are a lot of differences. In general, TANE HTML is a much smaller and simplier subset of standard HTML. A detailed reference on the version of HTML used in the TANE Minibrowser can be found at WikiLink.PNG MiniBrowser


If you are experienced with standard HTML you will have to adjust your thinking to use TANE HTML.

HTML Editors

HTML editors allow you to create HTML files with a minimum of fuss. Most provide tools that can automate much of the repetitive typing work and many provide some error checking features.

DotPoint.JPG Because TANE does not use standard HTML, avoid dedicated HTML applications and Web design packages.


PencilTips.PNG Particularly avoid:-
  • HTML editors and applications that use a graphical interface to move objects such as images and blocks of text around the screen
  • applications programs such as word processors and desktop publishers that can create web pages
... they will create HTML code that will be far too complex for TANE to handle.


HTMLSampleNotepadPlusPlus.JPG
PencilTips.PNG
  • Simple text editors, such as MS Notepad supplied with MS Windows or TextEdit on MacOS, will work well but will require you to do a lot of typing and they will not perform any error checking
  • More advanced text editors are available that are "HTML aware" and will recognise HTML "tags" making it easier to enter the tags and to check for their completeness

Shown on the left is the Notepad++ text editor which recognises HTML coding and provides some tools to assist in entering and correcting HTML code. The software has coloured the text segments that it has identifed as HTML tags or parts of tags.

Suitable freeware HTML editing software would include:-

  • Notepad++ (Windows only)
  • Atom (MacOSX and Windows)


Audio Files

Audio files can be added into HTML assets to play sounds when the HTML page is displayed on the screen. Examples would include conductor whistles and "all aboard" calls, etc. The sound is stored as a separate file in the HTML asset.

Audio Specifications


Gears.PNG Settings:

Audio files must be recorded using, or converted to:-

  • 8 or 16 bit sample sizes
  • 22kHz (22,050Hz) or 44kHz (44,100Hz) sample rate
  • Mono, stereo or surround format ("surround" is not fully tested)

...and saved using

  • Uncompressed WAV format PCM (Pulse Coded Modulation)


Stop.PNG Take care when deciding which settings (bit rate, sample rate, number of channels) are to be used for a sound.
NotePad.PNG Notes:
  • Higher settings will produce significantly larger file sizes and often for no noticeable improvements in sound quality
  • For a short simple sound, such as a telegraph bell or a conductors whistle, lower settings (e.g. 8 bit, 22kHz, mono) would probably be more suitable


Audio Software

The main requirement for audio editing software is that it must be able to save sound files in the WAV file format and meet the specifications listed above.

A suitable freeware audio editing software would be:-

  • Audacity for both MacOSX and Windows
3BellsWave.JPG

Audacity audio file recording and editing software (shown above).

Adding a Message Popup to a Session

The built in Message Popup rule is used to create the message windows that appear on the screen during the running of a session.

DotPoint.JPG The Message Popup rule has to be added to the session rule list in the Surveyor Session Editor which you access from the Surveyor Main Menu. Each message will need its own Message Popup rule in the session rule list.

The Message Popup rule provides three different methods of creating the messages, and adding graphics and sound if needed. These methods are:-

  • from a simple text message typed into the rule with an optional graphic. If needed a sound can be added from an existing HTML asset.
  • from a HTML page stored as a file in a HTML asset. This file can contain many graphic images, each stored in the HTML asset, and many lines of text. If needed a sound can be added from the same or another HTML asset.
  • from a "string-table" in the config.txt file of a HTML asset. If needed a sound can be added from the same or another HTML asset.

Option 1: A Simple Custom Text Message

The simplest and easiest method of adding message windows to a TANE Session is to use the Message Popup rule with the Custom Text option for all your Session messages.

NotePad.PNG Notes:

This option has a number of advantages:-

  • No knowledge of HTML is required.
  • You can use a built in graphic (with more available on the DLS)
  • You can use sounds from existing HTML assets
  • There is no need to create a HTML asset

There are also some disadvantages. For each message window:-

  • You are limited to about 6 lines of text
  • You can only use one graphic which has to be selected from a list of special "texture" graphics


DotPoint.JPG If you are happy using Option 1, installed graphics and sounds or no graphics and sounds at all, then you do not have to create a HTML asset for your session.


For example:

MessagePopup2.JPG

Gears.PNG Settings:

PortalOptionButtonFilled.PNG Custom text
In This Example:

CheckBoxOff.PNG Pause game while message is displayed - game play will not be paused
CheckBox.PNG Close previous message popup windows - this is usually a good idea unless you want multiple message windows open
Message location: Top left of the screen has been chosen as the location for the message window. Other positions are Top right, Bottom left and Bottom right
Custom Message - the message entered into the text box will be displayed
Icon - the selected optional icon will be displayed
HTML Wave: General Purpose Session HTML HTML asset contains the optional sound file to be played
Wav Name: all-aboard.wav is the optional sound file to be played
CheckBox.PNG Autoplay Wav - the sound will be played when the page is displayed


DotPoint.JPG If all your Session messages use this option then there is no need to create a HTML asset.


PencilTips.PNG To find additional graphic icons that can be added to the Message Popup window, use Content Manager and set a Custom Filter to search for:-
  • Category select Texture- Not Environmental
  • Name type icon
  • On Download Station select True
Not all those shown will be suitable. Double click a possible icon to display its details before downloading.
PencilTips.PNG To find information on now to create your own Message Popup Icons, see the Trainz Wiki Page WikiLink.PNG How to Create a Message Popup Icon


Option 2: A HTML Page

To use a HTML file use the Message Popup rule with the A pre-defined HTML page option selected.

Use an Existing HTML Asset

DotPoint.JPG You can use HTML files and graphics from HTML assets that are already installed on your system.
DotPoint.JPG There is a General Purpose Session HTML asset that is built into TANE that contains a series of "basic" HTML message pages and audio files that can be used in a session. An example is shown below.


MessagePopup1.JPG

Gears.PNG Settings:

PortalOptionButtonFilled.PNG A pre-defined HTML page (advanced)
In This Example:

CheckBox.PNG Pause game while message is displayed - this will halt the game play until the window is closed. This may be needed if you have a long introductory HTML information page, otherwise leave unchecked
CheckBox.PNG Close previous message popup windows - this is usually a good idea unless you want multiple message windows open.
Message location: Top left of the screen has been chosen as the location for the message window. Other positions are Top right, Bottom left and Bottom right
HTML Asset: General Purpose Session HTML one of the HTML assets installed with TANE
HTML Page: right_away.html which is a HTML file inside the General Purpose Session HTML asset
HTML Wave: General Purpose Session HTML HTML asset contains the optional sound file to be played
Wav Name: all-aboard.wav is the optional sound file to be played
CheckBox.PNG Autoplay Wav - the sound will be played when the page is displayed


PencilTips.PNG
  • This has the advantage of not needing to create any new HTML files and assets.
  • But you will need to explore the existing assets, by opening them in Content Manager, to see what is available and if they are suitable for your purposes.

Create Your own HTML Asset

Creating your own HTML assets allows you to add session information and instructions that are perfectly tailored to each session. This does require creative effort and time, will need more testing and will probably generate a lot of frustration. But the end result can be worth it.

DotPoint.JPG If you have created your own HTML asset it must be committed in Content Manager before it can be used in a Message Popup


All the files (HTML, graphics, audio and the config.txt) are saved in the asset folder as shown in the example below. This example includes a single .html file which references all the .jpg and .tga graphic files. You can add as many HTML files as you need.

HTMLfileview.JPG THIS IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY

The minimum number of files needed in a HTML asset is 2 - the config.txt file and a thumbnail image (a .jpg file).
DotPoint.JPG A useful time saving technique is to view the HTML files in a normal web browser before committing the asset. However, if TGA image files have been used then they will not appear in the browser.


PencilTips.PNG You can edit HTML files so that the pages will be displayed in a normal web browser with white text and a background that approximates the one used in the TANE MiniBrowser. This makes it easier to test the pages without having to constantly open, edit, update and then commit the HTML assets in Content Manager.

To do this, edit the <body> tag at the top of each HTML page to read ...

<body bgcolor=#192a32 text=#ffffff>

This will have no effect on the appearance of the pages in TANE.


Option 3: A String Table

To use a string-table for the message text, use the "A predefined string-table entry from a HTML asset" option.

DotPoint.JPG The text to be displayed in the message must be added to the config.txt file of the HTML asset. A series of text messages for different message windows can be placed in this file.

For example, the config.txt file of a HTML asset may have a string-table container as shown below:-

string-table
   {
      html_warning_late                             "You are running behind schedule."
      html_warning_early                            "You are running ahead of schedule."
      html_finished_title                           "Session completed!"
   }

The label html_warning_late is a "string-table token" that identifies the message "You are running behind schedule". The Message Popup rule uses this token to identify the message.

For example:-

MessagePopup4.JPG

Gears.PNG Settings:

PortalOptionButtonFilled.PNG A pre-defined string-table entry from a HTML asset (advanced)
In This Example:

CheckBoxOff.PNG Pause game while message is displayed - game play will not be paused
CheckBox.PNG Close previous message popup windows - this is usually a good idea unless you want multiple message windows open
Message location: Top left of the screen has been chosen as the location for the message window. Other positions are Top right, Bottom left and Bottom right
HTML Asset: General Purpose Session HTML one of the HTML assets installed with TANE
String Table Token: html_warning_late the string table token in the config.txt file of the General Purpose Session HTML asset contains the message to be displayed
HTML Wave: General Purpose Session HTML HTML asset contains the optional sound file to be played
Wav Name: all-aboard.wav is the optional sound file to be played
CheckBox.PNG Autoplay Wav - the sound will be played when the page is displayed


PencilTips.PNG The disadvantage of this Option compared to Option 1 above is that the config.txt file of the HTML asset has to be edited and the asset re-committed every time a message is added or changed.

A String Table With HTML

You can include some simple HTML codes in the text message. If the string-table token and message shown below is included in the config.txt file...

warning_message_stop                "You have passed a stop signal.<br><br><font color=#ffff00><b>Apply your brakes immediately</b></font>"

...and if this token and its HTML asset is used in the Message Popup rule, then the following message will appear on the screen.

MessagePopup5a.JPG

Alternatives to the Message Popup Rule

RulesWiki.PNG There are other HTML message window rules that are alternatives to the Message Popup rule. A few possibilities are:-



Trainz Wiki

TrainzWiki.png

More Tutorials and Guides to Using Trainz

Personal tools