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Layout: Conquering Your Fear of New from Diff

~by Jazabelle of Antonia Bayle

This tutorial of the layout editor's new from diff feature was originally posted in the SOE forums, and is reprinted with permission of the author. Jesdyr's Layout Editor, for editing saved house layouts, can be found here.

"Help!" you say."I have 5 or 20 or 500 of the same exact item in my house, and it takes me 20 minutes to find the item I want in the layout editor! I've heard about the new from difference feature of the layout editor, but I'm too afraid/can't figure it out!"

Never fear, Jazabelle is here! And she's giving you a picture tutorial!

"OH WOW!" you're thinking. "I just scrolled through this tutorial, and it's super long! How am I ever going to understand the New From Difference feature if the tutorial is this long?!" Pssh. Don't worry about it. I talk a lot, if you can't tell. I never say one word when I can use ten! But the good news is, I've hopefully so over-explained this, that even the most layout inept of you will understand what I'm saying. And if you don't, poke me and I'll try to arrange an in game demonstration.

My apologies for the large size of the screenshots on smaller monitors. This was the only way I could be sure the text was legible, without putting in thumbnails and links. That would defeat the purpose of an easily accessible and understandable tutorial!

The first thing you're going to do is create three macros. I like to call them "WITH" "WITHOUT" and "LOAD WORKING."

For WITH, click the Add Step button with Command selected. In the box that appears, type /save_layout with then click Ok. In the screenshot, you cannot see that yes, there really is a _ (that's shift-dash -- the button next to 0!) in the box. Do not forget the _ or it will not work! /save_layout with NOT /save layout with!

For WITHOUT, do the same as for WITH, except instead of /save_layout with you want to type /save_layout without then click Ok.

For LOAD WORKING, do the same as the other two, except type /load_layout working

Next, you're going to save the layout with the item you want to move. This is super easy now that you have the macros. Just click the WITH macro, and you're done!

Now, you're going to do something that I know will scare a lot of you. Right-click the item you're interested in finding in the editor, and send it to the moving crate. "But Jaaaaaaaaz!" I know a lot of you are thinking. "How am I going to get it back out of the moving crate now that you've made me put it in there? I have 200 more of the same item in the moving crate! How will I know which one it is in the editor?" Patience, my young padawan! The new from difference feature will take care of popping the item back out of the moving crate and into the same location for you. So just bear with me, trust me, and send that item to the moving crate!

"Oh no, Jaz! You've killed one of the walls of your house!" ....not quite. This next step, you're going to click the WITHOUT button. It makes sense doesn't it? You have one layout WITH the item in the correct spot. Now you have a layout WITHOUT the item in the correct spot.

Did you remember to click the WITHOUT macro? Good. We're ready to move on to the next step. Which is...

Opening the layout editor!

Your first step in the layout editor is going to be to click on File > New From Diff. Don't panic when you see the window with the warning! As long as you've saved whatever layout you were working on before you started using the New From Diff function, you're fine.

In the Original File, click Browse. Navigate to your EQ2 layouts folder, and click the with layout, then click Open. I'm going to assume that if you're playing with layouts, you know what folder the layouts are saved in. I'm running the streaming client on Windows 7, so for me the Original File box should read C:/ProgramData/Sony Online Entertainment/Installed Games/EverQuest II/saved_house_layouts/with

In the Difference File, you're going to choose the without layout, just like you did with the with layout. So once again, for me that's C:/ProgramData/Sony Online Entertainment/Installed Games/EverQuest II/saved_house_layouts/without

Lastly, the Destination File. This is the step where a lot of people get things wrong. You can't just put in a name for the layout you want to use or create. You have to include the full destination of where the file is to go, or the layout editor will save it wherever you saved Jesdyr's editor, instead of into the layout folder that EQ2 reads. So what you're going to do is SELECT and then COPY the line of text in your Original File line. Remember, that text should read something similar to C:/ProgramData/Sony Online Entertainment/Installed Games/EverQuest II/saved_house_layouts/with

Now, you're going to go down to the Destination File, and PASTE that path (yes, for those less familiar with computers, that string of folder names separated by slashes is called a "path." It makes sense -- it's what leads you to the file you want!) into the box. Then you're going to go to the end of the path, and DELETE the word with. Instead, you're going to type working. So now that line should read C:/ProgramData/Sony Online Entertainment/Installed Games/EverQuest II/saved_house_layouts/working

Now that you've done all that, click Go. The editor will take a moment or five to process -- the bigger your layout files, the longer it takes. When it's done, you should have exactly one item in the layout.

Click the Save button on the layout editor.

Go back in game, and click your LOAD WORKING macro. This should (if you've followed my steps exactly) pop your item back into it's original location.

Tadaaaa! You have mastered the first step of the New From Difference feature -- isolating a single item to move from an existing setup. You can now use the layout editor to move this item around without having to hunt through hundreds of items to find that one item you want to move! And the bonus -- to load the item's location in game, you can just keep clicking that LOAD WORKING macro each time you edit the file. Easy!

"But wait, Jaz!" you're thinking. "You haven't addressed the problem I have! I want a layout with just one item, but it's a new item. I don't have it in my house yet! You mean I'm going to have to place it in my house first, save it with WITH, send this new item to the moving crate, save WITHOUT and all that other stuff you said?"

No, silly decorator! Instead of saving WITH first, crating the item, saving WITHOUT and all that... you're going to do the steps in a different order!

1. Save WITHOUT. The item should still be in your inventory when you save this layout.

2. Place the item where you want it in the house. Or at least, near where you want it. Or you can even just drop it anywhere. It's up to you. If you want to just move it with little tweaks of the layout editor, try to place it where you want it. If you're going to use the layout editor to move it to an entirely new location, where you place it doesn't matter. All that really matters is that you place it in your house.

3. Save WITH

4. Open the layout editor, and fill in the Original File, Difference File, and Destination File exactly as you did in the other method. That means Original is WITH, Difference is WITHOUT, and Desitination is WORKING.

5. Save the layout.

6. Unlike with the previous method, there's no need to load working in game, because the item is already where it should be. You can dive right in to moving the item around with the editor. The working layout button is there for ease of loading the modified layout in game!

"HAH!" You're thinking. "I did everything you said, and instead of there only being one item in the editor, there were two! One was the item I was trying to put in, yes, but the other was a house pet of some sort! Obviously Jaz, you've done something wrong while you were explaining this. That's the only reason I could have a house pet in my layout file!"

I'm sorry, dear decorator, but you are wrong. The way New From Difference works is that any change between the WITH and WITHOUT files shows up. Usually, that change is you dropping items in the moving crate, or in the house. Unfortunately, house pets walk. This means that between the times you save your WITH and WITHOUT files, the house pet may have moved. The layout editor isn't smart enough to realize that you didn't move the item that is the pet. All it does is compare two files, then spits out a new file that only contains items that have changed location in some fashion.

The simple fix for this is to just crate all your house pets before you begin trying to use New From Diff. But if you absolutely cannot crate them for some reason, or absolutely refuse to crate them, you can just remove them from your layout file.

No, you do not have to open the actual layout file and delete the line that belongs to the house pet. Instead, you're going to look at your working file that has the item you want plus the house pet. Then you're going to click the crate checkbox for the house pet. Wander your mouse up to the Del Crates button at the top of the editor... and watch your house pet disappear! Save the layout but only after you've hit the Del Crates button), then go back to messing with the item's location. Woohoo, bye bye pets!

"But wait again, Jaz!" you're thinking. "I don't want to move just one item. I built this really cool fireplace/altar/toilet/sink/whatever it is, and I don't know if I can find all the pieces in the layout editor! I don't want to have to rebuild it, but I just want to shift it a liiiiiittle bit in some random direction! Can the New From Diff help me?"

Yes, of course it can, dear decorator! Here goes!

1. Click WITH.

2. You're going to do the dreaded sticking-items-in-the-crate again. Remember, INTO THE CRATE! Do not pick them up. CRATE them!

3. Click WITHOUT.

4. Open the layout editor. Or switch to it if you already have it open.

5. Fill in the New From Diff section exactly like before. This step never changes. Whether you're trying to isolate one item, ten items, fifty items, an entire room, or whatever, you will always do this step the same.

6. Click Go.

7. Your layout editor file working should now have all the items you want to move in it, and they will be in the correct spots.

(Yes, if you can read the teensy text that is the layout editor, I really do have a hot chocolate mug and a wine bottle as part of my toilet. Flush button!)

8. Click Save.

9. Load the layout in game by clicking the LOAD WORKING macro.

10. Go back to the editor, and shift your items where you want. For the purposes of this tutorial, I'm going to decide for some random reason that I want to shift my toilet and laundry basket 1.839 units to the East. Click the blank white rectangle next to Item ID to select all items in the file. On my screen, it's a pale blue because my mouse pointer is over it.

11. Now that I have everything selected, I'm going to go over to the box next to Move Amount and type in my amount of 1.839.

12. I'm going to click the East button once, to move all of my items 1.839 to the East.

13. Click Save.

14. Load the new layout in game by clicking the LOAD WORKING macro.

Ummm yeah. Moving my toilet to the East probably wasn't the best idea. So let's move it 1.839 to the West to get it back to it's default position, then 1.839 further to the West!

15. Highlight the items as explained in step 10.

16. Click the West button twice to move the items to the West.

17. Click Save.

18. Do that thing that step 9 and 14 tell you to do. I think it's called loading it in game by clicking the LOAD WORKING macro?

Whoa. I'm not sure I like where this is after all. I'd really rather the item be back in the same location it was before. So, I have two options.

Since I know exactly how far I moved the item West from it's original start location (1.839) I can simply select everything and move it East that same amount.

Or if I were really editing an item's location and changing it a lot and could no longer remember how far from the original start location I was, and then decided I preferred the old location, I can... type in /load_layout with since we never edited the with file at all, and it is exactly how we left it. It has all of the items in their original locations. I'm going to do it that way, because I'm too lazy to select everything and move it East.

Yay, all fixed!

Created: 2011-09-14 11:35:53          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2011-10-13 11:12:39          

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