Set Up

First, you're going to want to install the Ghost Template, obviously. You'll need SSP to do this, which you can download from the site here. Just download it, install it to a folder, and run SSP.exe. A catgirl will pop up named Emily who'll say a bunch of stuff and toss an input box at you, asking for your name. Put in whatever you want, it doesn't really matter. Once she's done talking, right click her and it should bring up a menu. If the menus are in Japanese, you can change them to English by choosing the fourth option up from the bottom, like so.

Then restart SSP and that should switch the menus over. (Emily however will still be in Japanese... changing the language only changes the language of SSP, it won't change the language of any ghosts you download.)

Once you have SSP set up, or if you already have SSP coming into this tutorial, drag and drop the balloon and Ghost Template nar file (AYA ver or YAYA ver as you decide, they're pretty much the same. YAYA is more current.) onto your current ghost. The ghost will tell you its installing the template. Once it's done, you should see "GT Ghost Template" under the "Change Ghost" option (first option in the fourth section down from the top). Switch over to Girl and Triangle and they should introduce themselves and ask for your name. You want to make sure they work before you get into it, right? Let them sit around for a bit and see what they say. It'll seem oddly dry and explanatory, but it'll help you when you get to writing the dialogue in aitalk.dic in the future.

Go to the folder where you installed SSP. You should see an assortment of folders in there, like balloon, calendar, data, headline, plugin, and ghost.

Go into the Ghost folder. You'll see a few folders, but the one we're looking for is gt_template. That's the template ghost you downloaded that you're going to be working with. You may want to make a copy of it just in case, but if you mess up, you can always redownload the template. Open it up.

You'll see two folders, ghost and shell, as well as a few txt files and a thumbnail picture. Read the Template Readme. Take a look at install.txt and readme.txt (ignore updates.txt, we won't be touching it). At this point, we're going to rename the gt_template folder to be YOUR ghost folder!

Try and be unique with this folder's name! If your ghost shares a folder name with another ghost, then the two ghosts will overwrite each other when they install and everyone will be unhappy. So try to think of something unusual or creative that you don't think many other people will use.

Once you've renamed the folder, go back into it and go to install.txt. Change the information as directed to reflect your new ghost. Put in the new directory and give your ghost a name. You'll be using this name later on, so make sure you remember it. You'll also see a section for what balloon you want to use for this ghost. You can leave it alone for now, but if you make your own balloon, come back and change it to match your balloons' directory.

Now, go into the ghost folder. You'll see a folder inside called master. Go into that one. You'll see a lot of txt and dic files.

For now, open up the descript.txt file. Read it carefully and fill in the information. Put in the name of your ghost, your new folder name, your characters' names, and your info. Save and close.

Now, you might want to rename the .dic files to reflect the ghost you're going to make by adding their initials in front of it so they're easier to find in Notepad++. Changing aitalk to hs_aitalk or gt_aitalk or whatever letters would be appropriate for your ghost, something like that. You don't have to do this if you don't want to, but I find it handy when I have a bunch of .dic files from a lot of ghosts all open at once. If you DO rename your .dic files, make sure to open aya5.txt (or yaya.txt, depending) and change the .dic file names in there too! Once you've renamed them and changed aya5.txt/yaya.txt, make sure to reload your ghost to see if it still works. Though again, this is optional.

Note

If you picked up the YAYA version of the template, you'll see a few files not shown in the screencap, as well as a folder inside your ghost/master directory called system, with three .dic files inside. Just ignore all of them. The only one you'll ever have to touch, MAYBE (and that's a BIG maybe), is yaya.txt. Everything else you can safely ignore. Just proceed as directed.

With that done, now you're going to want to change a few settings for the Ghost. Go ahead and right click on Girl. It should bring up a fairly large menu with a lot of options. You're going to want to go to Options - Preferences. It'll look like this.

There's a lot of stuff going on here, and I wrote a big post about this menu over here if you really want to know, but for our purposes, there's only a few things we're going to do.

Check "Enable functions for developers".
Click the "Dev./Other" tab in the preference window. If "Create Update Def. File and/or NAR at Directory Drag & Drop" is not checked, check it.
Click the "Ghost(2)" tab. Check "Always show foreground". Hit okay.

Now that that's done, your ghost should always stay on top of the window, which is good. More importantly, we unlocked the developer panel. Right click Girl again and go to Utilities - Development Interface. You can also use Ctrl-Shift-D to bring it up.

Now there's a lot going on in this panel, but the most important thing for right now is the button that says "Reload...". This will let you reload various parts of your ghost, which will become super handy as we begin to change things. The other two important things you'll want to remember about this panel are Script Input and Surface Test, related to dialogue coding and shell making respectively. But we'll put those aside for now.

While the vast majority of coding is coming in Phase 4, I want to very briefly touch on a few basics to familiarize you with them, since we will run into them a little in Phase 2. These little notes are primarily for the benefit of those who have no coding experience at all.

//

These double slashes mean that something has been commented. A commented line isn't read by the code, and will almost always be some commentary from me to help you. All commented text in a Notepad++ file that's been set to Language - C - C will be green. You should see it pretty easily.

name
{
stuff
}

Here is the basic format for much of the code you'll be seeing. You can think of this as a book of sorts. "name" is the name of the book, or function, so the code knows what to call it. The two curly brackets {} function as covers for the book. And the "stuff" inside is what makes the book what it is. It is extremely important that each set of brackets is a matching pair! If there's no back or front cover to a book, then there's no way to tell when it begins or ends, you know? And the code will basically seize up and crash. So always make sure the brackets are closed. Almost everything you'll see on the coding end will follow this basic format!

And that's it for now! You can always come back to descript.txt or install.txt later to update them or change them if you change your mind on something, like your Ghost's name. For now, let's move on to Phase 2, the shell. You COULD skip ahead to 4, the coding, but I'd probably do Phase 2 first, if only so you don't have to go back through and readjust all the dialogue you spent all that time writing to match your new poses.

<--Phase 1 - Conceptualization

Phase 2 - Making Images-->