Brief set of AddOn Studio 2010 documentation and help as time permits. :) Is intended to provide filler information for those who like to read more, or those who don't necessarily have a lot of experience with some or any of these areas. Real docs one day forthcoming. Home: AddOn Studio 2010, Change History: AddOn Studio 2010 History, Support: Issue Tracker and Forums, Twitter: @AddonStudio2010
About the AddOn Studio IDE and AddOn Development Edit
With AddOn Studio 2010, it can seem deceivingly easy to get started and see your first AddOn running in WoW within in minutes, even with no real experience. However, game development, in combination with a modern fully-featured IDE like AddOn Studio, can also be one of the most difficult and demanding things you could undertake, at least as far as technically creative endeavors go.
An "IDE" is an Integrated Development Environment, where lots of tools and facilities are clustered together in one application in an attempt to make things more convenient, to save time, and help you focus more on what you are really trying to do, so the theory goes... Many times however this doesn't actually happen. The complexities of mastering the development environment can be a daunting task in itself, in addition to everything else.
With all this in mind, I'm going to do my rendition of "breaking things down" for how to get started with WoW AddOn development and AddOn Studio, especially for those who aren't already "hobbyists" or professional programmers and might be just starting out, or were just curious.
Getting AddOn Studio Running Edit
The installation and running of AddOn Studio for the first time.
The instructions on the home page pretty much cover all the steps you need and should be simple to follow. Its basically as easy as coping the folder in the zip and then just running the executable. Below is a more lengthy look at each installation step for anyone wanting more detail or help.
1. Install the free Microsoft Isolated Shell Edit
Installs a stand-alone version of the Visual Studio, the 'ISO Shell'. This is both free as in not costing you anything, and free legally for you to download and install for your own use. The install should go without a hitch and is fairly friendly, especially considering that its a very low volume developer oriented install. Most of what it installs are prerequisites that any other application might have already installed, so the install may go quite quickly. You do not need Visual Studio itself, and installing this will not interfere with an existing Visual Studio install of any kind. You only need to install this once, ever, and after this step you won't need anything else, except AddOn Studio 2010, to get started.
2. Install AddOn Studio Edit
AddOn Studio 2010 has a very simple install process. It is however a slightly manual process. All that is involved is downloading the .zip file from the download link, then opening the zip file, and copying the 'aswow' folder in the zip file to a folder on your hard drive. Yep that's it... that's all you have to do. It's suggested that you create a folder like d:\apps and then copy the 'aswow' folder into that. You should end up with 'd:\apps\aswow'. This avoids any mishaps in 'Program Files' and is a lot easier to find later.
This type of install is often referred to as a "Portable Install", and the program just runs from the copied files, where ever they sit. There is no installer and no uninstaller. You are free to place the files anywhere you like, and move or delete them at any time. You are also free to have multiple copies. You can start more than one instance of AddOn Studio, although I would only run one version at a time. And again, you can also just delete the files anytime you want. Thus to install a new version, simply rename or delete the old one, and follow just this AddOn Studio the install step again. You don't have to install the ISO shell, in step 1. again, ever.
3. Run AddOn Studio Edit
This will be the hardest part if you aren't used to starting programs manually, but only for the first time. Just open your newly copied "aswow" folder and find "WowAddonStudio.exe", and double-click. If you found it, that's all there is to it and the program will start.
However, if for some reason you see a sea of files all named WowAddonStudio with no extension except one ".exe", then is because you have your Windows Explorer set to not show extensions, which is fine, and is how Windows usually comes by default. In fact, one of the files is actually named "WowAddonStudio.exe.config" and with extensions hidden will look like the right file, but its not. To see extensions, "hide extensions for known file types" can be disabled. Another way is to click on each file and look at the status bar at the bottom or look top the right if you have detail view selected which will reveal the file type. To disable "hide extensions for known file types: hit "Alt" > Click "Tools" in the top menu > Click "Folder Options..." > Click the "View" tab > Find "Hide extensions for known types" about half way down the list > Uncheck that option > Click "OK".
4. Make a Shortcut Edit
Now that you have found the exe you can make an shortcut. There are tons of ways to do this. For Windows 7 and Vista probably the easiest thing to do is to just right click on the application file, the real ".exe" file, and then click either "Pin to task bar" or "Pin to startup menu". At that point you should see a pinned shortcut icon on either and you are done. On XP (or Vista or Windows 7 as an alternate way) you can, using the *right* mouse button, drag the file to the taskbar "quick launch" menu, or the start menu or the desktop, and when you release the mouse button, select "create shortcut". And you are done :)
Getting Started in AddOn Studio Edit
Hints and help for getting started.
"So I've got it running, now what? I see all the little windows and toolbars in the app, but absolutely no intuitive anything showing what I should be doing, other than the old-school File menu." If you are there.. then we are good-to-go. A few things first, and then the 60 second blitz to seeing your first AddOn in WoW.
For those who are Legally minded, or are otherwise concerned or interested. Reading the AddOn Policy below is strongly suggested for everyone.
- World of Warcraft - AddOn Policy
- Historic "Glider" Summary Judgement
- Blizzard General Legal FAQ and Copyright Infringement Summary Reminders
WoW Customization Reference Edit
Advanced Instructions and Help Edit
Further advanced help and options.
Making Portable and Networked AddOn Studio Installs Edit
One of the benefits of a "Portable Install" type, is the ability to run from a thumb-drive (or pen-drive or USB-drive), or from a network. This allows you to run AddOn Studio on any machine you like, 'at will'. You will still need to make sure the prerequisites are installed, those are however rolled up into the 'ISO Shell' in step 1. So all you would need to do is to make a copy of the 'ISO Shell' available on the thumb-drive or network, and copy the 'aswow' folder to the same drive, like 'e:\apps\aswow'. If you remove the drive after AddOn Studio is fully loaded and running it will appear to still work, however it is strongly advised that you close AddOn Studio before removing the drive. For those with 32 GB of a portable media drive, you may also be able to make an all-in-one 'portable AddOn development environment' on a drive. If you have room, copy the ISO Shell install, copy WoW and/or the Interface ToolKit, copy the AddOn Studio install. You can then tell AddOn Studio where to find WoW or the ToolKit in settings, which are saved with the 'per user' settings on that machine, and which you wont have to do again unless the drive-letter changes for the portable media.
Important: I feel compelled to mention that WoW content and files are only legally usable by those who have bought the game and/or agreed to TOS for trial account, and only for that specific matching set of WoW files, and only for your own use. Technically the Trial version of the WoW files are different, and show up on Blizzard servers differently. That being said, however, the specific actual resource and content files are the same.
And that being said...
Content Rollups for Localization Edit
Anything described here is for your own use, redistribution of Blizzard files must be according to the TOS and Licence.
For those who have to deal with multiple language versions of WoW, you can strip down the installs making one set of manageable content for development. A starting from nothing 'complete and proper' way to do this is to either 1) obtain each language ToolKit and manually merge, or 2) obtain multiple language WoW installs. One way to obtain the multiple language installs, in addition to the WoW languages you already have in your own WoW install, is to go and download additional trial versions in other languages. This is important for testing with the two non-western sets of languages: character based like Asian languages, and right-to-left languages like Arabic. With the Panda versions of WoW this for many will start becoming a support issue. Getting there is way harder than it should be, and how to get there goes like this...
- For downloading extremely foreign language versions of the trial, you will have to be crafty in navigating foreign language web pages and creating logins. In doing this you have the option of downloading the trial version with 'additional' languages, just like the U.S. download pages have the option of downloading with es-MX or not. Each of downloads will also contain a fallback version of English UI content. I would suggest getting the extra language versions.
- Once you have downloaded, say, the Taiwanese with extra languages support, can install to "wowTw" folder instead of 'wow' or 'world of warcraft' to keep them separate. After the install, wait until the WoW Loader has completely finished downloading. Start that WoW, log in, accept the TOS, then go back to the loader. In the loader, specify each of the alternate languages, and let the Loader again download the whole language. Start the loader once again and make sure there's nothing else for the loader to give you. Once you have installed, this copy of WoW will mark itself in your windows registry as "the current version of wow". AddOn Studio by default will pick that install of WoW, which you can change in the AddOn Studio settings.
- The only relevant portion of the install theoretically for AddOn dev is in the 'Data' folder. Inside that folder are folders that look like 'enTW' and 'zhTW'. Those are the language specific portions of WoW and are also the UI specific portions in total. The WoW UI content is always language specific, even if there are redundancies between them. In this case 'enTW' is English localized for Taiwan, and 'zhTW' is technically Chinese localized for Taiwan even though its really kind of its own language, and just to give you some context and perspective. The 'WTF' folder in the base WoW install folder can also be significant if you are trying to ensure or test variables. AddOn Studio will use the currently set WoW language by default, which is stored in the WTF folder in Config.wtf. Which language AddOn Studio uses can also be changed in the AddOn Studio settings.
Tutorial of the Day Edit
06/01/2011 - Old Russian Tutorial - but one of the best I've seen outside of WoWWiki (English Translation)
Got to love the brutal honesty in the commentary, and in the ensuing discussion about WoW in general. God save our English language. :)
08/05/2011 - AddOn in an Hour tutorial - A nice, relaxed, "finding your nose" starter tutorial, written as much more of a "how to not hang yourself getting started" blog. Recommended...