(please excuse my lack of ease when expressing myself in english
I'm much more fluent in french ^^)
I just read Emie's messages and questions, Thurallor has already very well answered and described the situation.
Reading this made me remember 4 years ago when I decided starting to taddle a skin to fix it, without any knowledge about how to do it, no experience in coding, and most of all no idea about the the crazy amount of time I would spend on it ! ^^
But contrary to Emie I have very poor graphic artistic skills, I'm absolutely unable to draw a picture from zero, I'm just good enough in Photoshop to recycle/transform existing material
I confirm the only tool I use to edit the skindefinition.xml file is Notepad ++
(a free and open source text editor).
It brings colors to the text to make it more readable/understandable and it has a pretty useful Control+F search/replace tool.
After that, I effectively do many restarts of the Lotro client to check each modification I bring in the skins... I felt asleep on my keyboard many times !
To start the game faster I use a patched version of Pylotro instead of the official lotro launcher, associated with a keyboard macro for entering instantly my login and password.
As a source for determining which name and code correspond to an element, the skinning pack updates
and up-to-date community made skins are your best friends. (for JRR skins, mostly look into the "JRR CORE" folder.)
Some skins were particularly well documented into their skindefinition.xml file, with a lot of indications on which elements do what. ... Now I must confess I'm not that conscientious and professional !
Here are a few tips which maybe can help you to understand the skindefiniton file coding :
- When you see ..\
in the path for a picture that means "previous folder in the tree root", so ..\..\
means 2 folders back the file tree.
- You can write comments inside <!--
(start) and -->
(stop) . These commands can also allow you to disable some parts of code. You just have to put <!--
at the beginning and -->
at the end. (comments/disabled code appear in green in notepad++)
- When there is a mistake in the line linking to a TGA file associated with an element (wrong name or wrong path) you'll see ingame the grey frame crossed by white lines.
- If a panel element (I mean <Mapping ArtAssetID="something"... ) is mentioned more than one time, the lotro client will only take in consideration the first one it sees in your in your skindefinition file (by order of appearance from the top to the bottom) .
- If you feel stuck/tired/desperate to locate which damn line in of code leads you to a grey frame crossed by white lines, you can use this brainless but very effective method : Let's virtually divide your skindefinition into big blocks of lines, for example of 200 or 400 lines each block, now consider you are a mafia's godfather and each block is suspect to be a traitor !
Now execute your first suspect ! I mean temporarily delete the first block of your code, then have a look ingame to see if the grey frame is still here. If the frame is still there, that proves your 200 or 400 lines were not involved in the bug (and you just executed an innocent !), undelete your first block and let's proceed with the next block, then the next one, then the next one, until the grey frame disapears. Then your can sub-divide your traitor block into several smaller suspect blocks and run a new sharper investigation.