What is a Ghost? some of you may be asking. A Ghost is basically a character or set of characters that sits on your desktop and chats with each other/you. Sometimes they can do other functions, like empty your recycle bin and check your mail, but mostly they're a cute desktop doodad you can pet and interact with. Here's some more info if you're curious.
SSP, the program we'll be using for this, will run on Windows XP, 7, 8, and probably 10 as far as I know. There are some other options if you're not using Windows, but I can't vouch for how well they work. You'll have to look into them yourself.
Macs - Ukagaka on Macs, NiseRingo, PlayonMac+SSP (10.6 or above), WineBottler (I think?)
Linux - NINIX, NINIX-AYA
Android - Ukagaka for Android (I have NOT tested this, so...)
Anyway, as you can see to the left, the process is broken up into sections to try and make it easier to digest. To make a ghost, you will need...
That should be it! Here are the basic steps you will go through.
A lot can go into each step, but that's the basic pattern. You can actually swap the order of 2 and 4 and code your ghost first, THEN make the shell if you want, it's up to you. But I'd probably make the shell first.
Do I need to know how to code to make a ghost??
No! Not really. The only thing you'll need to learn how to do is format text with SakuraScript, which is more like using html than anything else. All the other coding is done for you! And in each file I explain carefully what everything does and what you need to touch or edit, so all you'll have to do is just write new dialogue. You can see on the left a whole section on SakuraScript, so don't be afraid!
If you don't know anything about coding anything at all coming into this, that's okay! I myself am not a coder really - the only real coding knowledge I knew coming into this was a tiny bit of ActionScript from Flash. I was still able to figure most of this out! You really only need a little bit of understanding to be able to do this. If you know how to write very basic html that's a good sign. You should also know how to navigate around your computer well.
How much graphical skill and knowhow will I need to make a ghost?
You should at least understand how to set up layers in your graphics program and how they work. You should also know how to crop things down, draw rectangles, and undo changes, as well as what a Red-Green-Blue/RGB value is and how to find it in your Color Picker. It'll also help if you know what an alpha channel is, but it's not necessary.
If I DO want to code, how much will I need to know?
Honestly, you can achieve a LOT of stuff just by being creative with if/else statements. That's how I did most of my extra features for my Ghosts. But if you are a real coder, the language the template is written in is AYA, which is a variant of C. A lot of C functions will still work, but you'd probably want to refer to the AYA guide (link) to see, although you may have to run it through Google Translate. If you know C then I'm sure most of what goes on in these files will make sense fairly quickly.
This looks really hard!
I know it looks intimidating and there's a lot to do, but don't be afraid! It's not really hard, exactly, it's just complicated. I understand how you probably feel - when I first looked into making a FLELE shell, I immediately wrote the idea off as too complicated, but after I came back and reread the directions a few more times, it began to come together in my head and I realized it wasn't as hard as I thought.
Reread each section as many times as you want! Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed! You don't have to do all of it all at once, take it one step at a time. It may seem like an enormous amount of work and effort, but just keep chipping away at it and eventually your ghost will emerge from the rubble, haha.
I'm confused about something! Can you explain it better?
Yes! Please tell me what you were confused by and I will try to explain it further! This walkthrough is for the benefit of YOU, the reader, so if you need to know more about it, let me know! I know it's easy for me to overlook things that seem simple because I've immersed myself in ghost coding for so long.
Formatting dialogue is hard! Can you do it for me?
Making a ghost is hard! Can you do it for me?
Not unless you pay me big bux $$$$$$ to do it, and maybe not even then. I have no idea how workable taking ghost commissions would be.
My ghost is broken! Can you tell me why?
Possibly! Try and explain what you were doing and what happened and I can probably figure it out. Always remember to save and test often! That'll help you narrow down what the exact problem area might have been. You can also look at the troubleshooting page.
How do I contact you?
Can you read Japanese? How did you figure all this stuff out?
I cannot! This walkthrough is the result of running many, many Japanese tutorials and ukagaka/ghost sites through Google Translate and intense study of the only ghost written in English I ever found. Much of this template is based on that ghost as a result.
Do you know anything about other Ghost scripting languages like Kawari or other programs like Materia?
Nope, I only really know about AYA and SSP. As such, if you have a ghost in one of those languages that doesn't work, I can't really help very much with that.
I know more about coding than you.
Well, great! If there's new stuff you've figured out that you'd like me to add here or you have a better explanation for how something works, let me know and I'll see what I can do.