Participant Content (PC) guide
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Guide to introduce the use of so-called Participant Content (PC) system in Entropia Universe (not to confuse with the regular in-game a system).
Participant Content in a nutshell
Participant Content (PC) are images and videos that players for a fee can upload into the game and display it on a specific set of items (signs, screens, displays) able to host such content. Those items can then be put on display in/on player-owned estates. The most popular use-case for Participant Content is advertising (don't confuse with the in-game advertising system).
The legal framework for Participant Content is the Participant Content Policy. The system was introduced in Version Update 8.9.
How to get displays for Participant Content
Displays able to host Participant content are usually crafted. Theoretically you can craft one yourself which would require the according skills, the Blueprint and the ingredients. Crafting in general usually only makes sense if you want to level up specific skills and/or you want to sell the products, both of which again usually only makes sense if you craft a large number of these items. So if you just want a display for displaying your content crafting it yourself can be ruled out.
Like almost any other item the displays for Participant Content can be bought in Player-to-player_trade, at shops or from auction where it can be found in the Furniture category (All -> Items -> Housing -> Furniture). Displays that can host Participant content can be recognized easily by the letters "PC" usually at the end of the item name, for example "Xlite-S Screen (PC)". But not any PC enabled display can host any type of PC content, many can host image & text and "multimedia" (=video) as well, some can only host image & text but no multimedia (=video). Further details can be found in the list of display in the next section just below.
Displays for Participant Content
Appropriate Participant Content
Of course not all content is suitable for being displayed in game. As a rule of thumb, all content should be related to Entropia Universe, but regularly non-EU related artwork can be seen as PC too. A very important aspect is the copyright and other rights attached to the content.
Following is the according paragraph in Mindark's Participant Content Policy - the legal framework for PC:
- "You agree that You will not: (a) submit materials that are copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, privacy and publicity rights, unless You are the owner of such rights or have a written permission from their rightful owner(s) to submit the materials; (b) publish falsehoods or misrepresentations that could damage MindArk or any third party; (c) submit material that is unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, threatening, pornographic, hateful, harassing, containing excessive language, racially, ethnically or sexually offensive, or encourages conduct considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, violate any law or agreement, or is otherwise inappropriate; (d) post advertisements or business solicitations not related to participation in the Entropia Universe;"
Where to find appropriate content
- you might want to use your own Entropia Universe screenshots: Taking and managing screenshots
- you might want to use the backgrounds from the regular ad system: Ad background images
- you might want to use other images to be found on this wiki (respect the license or contact us): Entropia_Universe_Gallery
Preparing images for upload into the game
Besides restrictions for content there a few important parameters (aspect ratio, colour depth, resolution, and file formats) to take into account. Most likely you will need image editing tools to adjust these parameters, good options are the formerly costly but now free Photoshop CS2 (raster graphics -> JPG) and Illustrator CS2 (vector graphics -> png).
Displays come in four different aspect ratios: 1:1, 2:1 and 4:1.
- 1:1 – Gigantium Sign/Screen (PC) or Xlite-S Sign/Screen (PC) or Reon-S Sign/Screen (PC)
- 2:1 – Megaview Sign/Screen (PC)
- 4:1 – Xlite-W Sign/Screen (PC)
For best results when uploading your own images and videos, you must use the correct aspect ratio and dimensions.
To make sure your image has the right dimensions (in pixels), its width and height must conform to fhe following:
- Aspect Ratio 1:1 - Size 64x64, 128x128, 256x256, 512x512, 1024x1024, 2048x2048
- Aspect Ratio 2:1 - Size 128x64, 256x128, 512x256, 1024x512, 2048x1024
- Aspect Ratio 4:1 - Size 256x64, 512x128, 1024x256, 2048x512
The largest dimensions you can use for your graphics are 2048 pixels in either width or height. For ensuring the best possible quality it is recommended to use the biggest possible width/height.
Each colour you see on your screen is made up from mixing Red, Green and Blue. Combinations of these will show different colours. It is important to note that while everything displayed on screen is represented in RGB, the actual document may be use the CMYK color model or a color space like PMS or some other pallet – these examples are primarily used in print media and must be converted to RGB. Graphics programs such as CorelDRAW will default to using a CMYK pallet which is not suitable.
All graphics you wish to upload into Entropia Universe MUST by in 24bit RGB colour depth. You can make sure of this when you are creating your graphics by either setting your programs defaults to the RGB pallet or converting it to 24bit RBG when you export your graphics working file to a format such as jpeg.
Resolution for graphics varies depending on its application. Something you might print out for a school assignment or work project might have a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch) for example.
The working resolution for web graphics is generally 72dpi and this is what you must set your graphics to in order to upload them to Entropia Universe. Again, you can do this be either by setting your programs defaults before you create your graphics or converting it upon export.
Optimizing file size and quality
Optimizing images is very much a matter of finding the smallest possible file size for the best or at least acceptable visual quality. One major factor is the compression respectively the internal methods of various file formats for managing information.
If you can keep your file size small, while maintaining an acceptable quality for your image, then this will benefit you and everyone greatly. Why? Because every kb you upload will cost you PED/Money, and also smaller files download faster so your viewers don’t have to wait very long for your image to load.
JPG vs PNG
JPG is a "lossy" format, meaning by utilizing compression JPG images loose quality, while PNG is a lossless format. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
In general the more complex an image is, the more shapes, colors, tones, shades, it has, the more data needs to be stored resulting in bigger file formats. Due to the internal workings of the format compressed JPG is usually better for these complex images, for example a screen shot of a rich 3D game environment. PNG is usually better for images showing clear shapes and unshaded areas, for example a logo.
Both JPG and PNG offer various additional options such as chroma subsampling of JPG or different storage algorithms for PNG. At any rate you should remove any metadata because it's really not needed inside a game. A great and free tool for such operations and trying different formats before saving is RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool), in addition for PNG you should get the PNGout Xtreme plugin.
Getting Participant Content into the game
Making content available for use in game
Once you have purchased a Sign (PC), Screen (PC) or Display (PC), a directory named “Archive” will be created in your My Documents folder, under Entropia Universe\Archive (For example C:\My Documents\Entropia Universe\Archive). You must place files you wish to upload to the Entropia Universe in this folder. The files will then be accessible from inside the Entropia Universe.
Images must be in JPG, DDS, PNG or TGA formats, with the correct aspect ratio and colour depth and resolution, in order to be uploaded. If your files to not conform to the specifics below, they will either not allow you to upload, or may not even be visible at all!
Uploading content into the game
To access the upload system for Participant Content:
- “Right Click” the sign/screen/display and select “Edit” from the Menu. This will bring up the Ad System interface.
- In the bottom right corner you will see a button labelled “User Content”. Click this and the next window you will see, shows the files you currently have uploaded to EU and linked to your account (if this is your first time, it will be an empty list).
- At the top of this window you will find 2 tabs: “My Files” and “Archive”. Click “Archive” and you should see a list of files that you have added to that directory under My Documents\Entropia Universe\Archive. If there are no files listed, click “Refresh” on the left.
- Click on the filename you wish to upload and then on the button marked "Upload" on the menu to the left. If everything is set correctly, you should get a message informing you of the charges to upload this file to the MA servers. After uploading (and removing the required PED from your card) the file will be available as a background for any ad you create on any Sign (PC) or Screen (PC) from this point on.
NB: It is worth noting at this point that if you are using the Ad Creation System through a particular sign or screen that you have not designed the graphics for, it will appear stretched or distorted on signs of different aspect ratios (such as a pic designed for an Megaview and viewed as a background image on an Xlite-W).
NB: Also worth noting, is that the files remain on your account till you delete them, regardless of whether you remove them from your Archive folder. At this point you will also be refunded a nominal value that you were informed about upon uploading the graphic originally. Don't get excited though as it is a very Nominal amount.
Cost for uploading images depend on the filesize.
Any more details?
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