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Category: Raiding & InstancesBlackboard
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Name: Blackboard
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Date: 08-22-2019 11:52 PM
Size: 631.71 Kb
Version: 0.95
Rate File: 5 out of 5 with 1 votes  
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Blackboard window example
 
Description
Introduction

This plugin creates a "blackboard" window that is shared among your friends. You can put text, images, shapes, etc. on the blackboard, and the data will be transmitted through a user chat channel to be displayed on your friends' screens. This could be helpful, for example, in a raid, for coordinating plans of attack.

This early version is a proof-of-concept to gauge feasibility and interest in further development.

Installation and Startup

To install:
  • First, unzip the archive. You will get a folder called "Thurallor". Move this folder into your Documents/The Lord of the Rings Online/Plugins folder. (If you have not previously installed any plugins, you will have to first create the Plugins folder.)
  • Plugin Compendium support is coming soon.
To load the plugin, use the game's built-in Plugin Manager. This can be found in the "^" menu, at the bottom of the screen. Click the icon, then choose "System" and then "Plugin Manager".

When the Plugin Manager opens, find Blackboard in the list on the left side, then click "Load" to load the plugin. If you would like the plugin to load automatically each time you login, choose your character's name in the "Automatically Load For" pulldown menu.

Feature Demonstration

To demonstrate the basic features of this plugin, you and a friend will need to be logged onto the same server, although you don't need to be in a fellowship or kinship. Both of you need to join a user chat channel which can be used for transmitting the data between you. I suggest you choose an obscure name that no one else is likely to guess (not "blackboard"). Password protection is optional.
  1. Login to the game.
  2. Load the Blackboard plugin.
  3. Join a user chat channel with "/joinchannel". Note the number that is assigned -- something between 1 and 8. (The number won't necessarily be the same for the two players, but that doesn't matter.)
  4. Create a Blackboard window with the command:
    /bkb new n title
    where
    n is the user chat channel number from step 3
    title is whatever title you want to be displayed in the Blackboard window.
  5. When the window opens, you will see the "Send data" icon on the right side of the screen:

    Whenever you see this icon, it means you have made changes that need to be transmitted. The number shown is the number of times you need to click the icon to send all of the data. The more changes you have made, the more times you will need to click the icon.
  6. Try some of the icons on the left side of the window to create shapes: text, images, rectangles, radar maps, ... (In order to create radar maps, you first need to install the Terrain Map plugin, by Garan.)
  7. To send your changes, click the "Send data" icon again.
  8. Right-click a shape to see its context menu.
  9. To save your work, click the "Settings" icon (lower right corner) and choose "Export". Copy the resulting text to the clipboard and save it into a text file.
  10. To load previously saved work, use the "Import" feature in the Settings menu. You can then send it to your friends with the "Send data" icon as usual.
Caveats

Please note: Whichever user chat channel you're using for the data transmission must be enabled in at least one of your chat window tabs. (If not, then the plugin will be unable to use the channel.) I suggest you create a "Spam" tab, put the channel there, and never look at it.

Changing the remote editing option (in the Settings menu) requires a notification to be sent to all viewers. So don't forget to click the "Send data" button after changing this option.

To-do List
  • Fix bugs. There are lots of known bugs, but none that are show-stoppers. The plugin works well enough to allow people to evaluate it.
  • Improved access permissions. In the future the creator will be able to specify who may edit, rather than just a blanket lock.
  • Loading/saving. This is essential to allow raid leaders to prepare their "slides" in advance. At the moment you have to use the import/export feature, which works OK for the purpose.
  • User interface improvements. Currently the only way to open a blackboard is with a chat window command. There will be icons and context menus to control that kind of thing.
  • Better ways of handling "clip art". Currently when adding an image you have to use the asset ID (from Image Resource Viewer or Asset Browser), but there should probably be a way to maintain a list of favorites.
  • Add scrollbars so the window doesn't have to be the same size on everyone's screen.
  • New shape types: More geometric shapes (lines, circles), tables, bulleted lists, etc.
  • Interactive elements such as: timers, polls, checklists, player stat comparisons.
  • German and French localizations.
Revision History
  • (22-Aug-2019) Version 0.95: Release notes are coming soon.
  • (21-Aug-2019) Version 0.90: Release notes are here.
  • (17-Aug-2019) Version 0.80: Preview release. Use at your own risk.
Archive List (Old Versions)
File Name
Version
Size
Author
Date
0.9
643.27 Kb
Thurallor
08-21-2019 02:14 AM
0.8
778.84 Kb
Thurallor
08-17-2019 11:40 PM
File Statistics
User Rating:
5 out of 5 with 1 votes
Downloads: 337
Views: 1715
Favorites: 1
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Unread 08-20-2019, 11:14 AM  
Garan
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Quote:
Thanks for that I'll check it out.

Looking forward to seeing where this plugin ends up.
Equendil made a utility plugin for this,
https://www.lotrointerface.com/downl...sDecoding.html

Last edited by Garan : 08-20-2019 at 11:15 AM.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 06:31 PM  
Agollas
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Quote:
Someone reverse-engineered most of the item link encoding a few years back. It's either on this site or in the lotro forum.
Thanks for that I'll check it out.

Looking forward to seeing where this plugin ends up.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 06:17 PM  
Thurallor
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That was the limit.

Yeah, I tried those other tags and wasn't able to cram as much data in.

Someone reverse-engineered most of the item link encoding a few years back. It's either on this site or in the lotro forum.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 06:03 PM  
Agollas
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Quote:
I was able to send 1910 arbitrary characters with the following format:

Code:
<rgb=0xblahblahblah></rgb>
If you use valid hex digits only (0-9 and a-f) then the color is considered valid, so the data is not displayed in the chat window. However, you can use other characters for the digits, and they will still be transmitted, although on the receiving end, the color will be detected as invalid, and all of the data will be displayed in the chat window (-> much more spam).
Was that 1910 before you got bored, or is that the limit?

One thing you could use is the format like this:

Code:
<Select:IID:0x02150000004400BD><\Select>
As it allows more digits per tag, while still being in the correct format to show properly.

There's also a format such as this:

Code:
<ExamineItemInstance:ItemInfo:ĀĀĀĀĶĀĀĀŸƜśǖǺǜƜƝŁƔŹǩŋƖĂĆƦƣłČĂ*njDŽǀǀ*LJnjǀ*NJǀ*ŐǍLJ**ĆǤīƲİĈƀİňĥĀŅǵĊĞ>[test]<\\ExamineItemInstance>
But I'm still trying to work out how it is encoded and if it is useful at all.

Last edited by Agollas : 08-19-2019 at 06:09 PM.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 05:32 PM  
Thurallor
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I was able to send 1910 arbitrary characters with the following format:

Code:
<rgb=0xblahblahblah></rgb>
If you use valid hex digits only (0-9 and a-f) then the color is considered valid, so the data is not displayed in the chat window. However, you can use other characters for the digits, and they will still be transmitted, although on the receiving end, the color will be detected as invalid, and all of the data will be displayed in the chat window (-> much more spam).

Last edited by Thurallor : 08-19-2019 at 05:37 PM.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 04:55 PM  
Thurallor
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Ha, it seems you can send a huge amount of data (I haven't yet determined how much, but 1000 digits works) by just tacking on digits in a single <rgb> tag:

Code:
<rgb=1234567890 .. any number of digits ...> test </rgb>
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Unread 08-19-2019, 04:26 PM  
Agollas
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Quote:
I'm going to mess with it a bit and see how much data I can cram into a single message.
Cool, let me know how it goes
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Unread 08-19-2019, 04:22 PM  
Thurallor
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Quote:
The way I thought of doing it would be to convert the strings that you already send to bytes, then store the bytes in hex form inside the ID, that way it requires minimal adaptation. think you can fit 8 bytes in there, unless I'm remembering incorrectly, then just use as many tags as you need.
Of course, sending the bytes in hex format requires two hex digits per byte, so that would immediately double the data size. Which could be mitigated by making the encoding scheme more efficient. Potentially even using the zlib compression library that I've used previously. There would be a tradeoff in responsiveness (due to computation time), though.

I'm going to mess with it a bit and see how much data I can cram into a single message.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 04:08 PM  
Agollas
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Your response to custom prefixes makes a lot of sense.

The way I thought of doing it would be to convert the strings that you already send to bytes, then store the bytes in hex form inside the ID, that way it requires minimal adaptation. think you can fit 8 bytes in there, unless I'm remembering incorrectly, then just use as many tags as you need.

I might write the functions needed to convert to and from that form tomorrow, as I would quite like to have a way of doing that too , so can post it on LoTRO interface if that would be of any use to you?

Edit: Just tried it quickly and "<rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb><rgb=0x000000>a</rgb>"

sending 525 characters works absolutely fine, slightly disturbing to see in my kin chat though

Last edited by Agollas : 08-19-2019 at 04:14 PM.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 03:47 PM  
Thurallor
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Quote:
Very impressive plugin, far beyond anything I could make
Thanks. It uses a lot of components I've developed over the years for other plugins, so it may not be as impressive as it seems.

Quote:
Could you let people use other chat prefixes, such as f, ra and k as well as user chat channels? That way you don't need to set up a user channel for it.
You certainly could; however, those channels are some of the highest-traffic channels for actual chatting. Wouldn't want to facilitate people overloading them with spam; that would be a quick way to get people to hate me and possibly get the plugin (or its basic mechanism) banned from the game.

Quote:
Would there be a way to encode the data in to multiple selectID tags around empty strings, in a more advanced way probably than my hide and seek plugin? That way the text won't flood the chat window, and I have a feeling it might let you send more information in one message also, as I think text inside tags might not count towards a character limit, although could be wrong about that?
That is an interesting idea. I will look into it.

It still wouldn't allow using normal chat channels for the data transfer, because empty messages are still annoying (because they scroll the actual messages you're interested in out of the chat history). I expect users to allocate the spam-channel to an unused tab in their chat window; which shouldn't be a problem now that chat tabs are no longer a scare resource.

But if it allows me to send more than 381 characters per packet (the current limit), it would be an improvement.

Last edited by Thurallor : 08-19-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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Unread 08-19-2019, 03:43 PM  
robhupf
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Blackboard - Wow

I can't wait to try this, it sounds very cool. Thurallor, you da man
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Unread 08-19-2019, 05:04 AM  
Agollas
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Very impressive plugin, far beyond anything I could make

2 suggestions really:

Could you let people use other chat prefixes, such as f, ra and k as well as user chat channels? That way you don't need to set up a user channel for it.

Would there be a way to encode the data in to multiple selectID tags around empty strings, in a more advanced way probably than my hide and seek plugin? That way the text won't flood the chat window, and I have a feeling it might let you send more information in one message also, as I think text inside tags might not count towards a character limit, although could be wrong about that?

Last edited by Agollas : 08-19-2019 at 05:12 AM.
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