Thursday, February 19, 2009

BBT4 Is Coming, Donkavatar Is Phat

So now, since I-AM-NOT-A-GEEK, I can ask, WTF was this all about?

Yes... I'm sorry to say, I am serious. I have no idea what you are all talkng about here.

You are making custom avatars for players on F/T?

How would one see them, to know if anyone at the table has one? I ask because, I don't think I've ever seen anything but the typical Tilt stuff.

You do not have to answer this. I'm just getting my total lack of geekyness, off my chest.

- Bam Bam

Explanation coming, Bam Bam. Or at least my attempt at one.

One of my favorite things about blogger tournaments these days is, every so often, sitting next to the Swedish chef. See, that is how Astin appears to me at the table, as long as he has his game face on. And so he might appear to you. He certainly can, if you want him to. I look like Groucho. $mokkee can, if he likes, look like Chris Tucker. Riggstad is an angry lemur. The list goes on.

You can find it all right here at Donkavatar, a blog started by Bayne and me as an attempt to break out of the stiffling mold of just 72 avatar options that Full Tilt has given us. I keep the request/explanation post at the top, so all you have to do is make your request in the comments, and I'll try to take care of business.

But Bam-Bam's question remains. What in the name of pickled herring am I talking about, anyway? How does this work.

Here we go:

1) The Full Tilt software saves all of its images, including avatar images, on your computer. So, when you see any avatar, it's because the software is telling your computer to look in a certain place, and then displaying what it sees.

2) When you select your avatar, you are simply choosing an attribute for your account which tells the software "look here for an image and display it." That's how every other player sees the same image as the one you chose.

3) There are around 300 different images available to the typical player (that's us, you and me - pros have access to their own special image location, which is why you can't be Phil Ivey). There's something like 70 different avatar "types" now, and 4 different "moods." Each of those "moods" is itself a separate image.

4) You can replace any of the images that Full Tilt installs on your computer with other images, and those will display just fine, as long as they are of the correct size.

5) Because the images you change are on your computer, these image changes will display ONLY on your computer. For example, if you replace Happy Dracula with an image of your favorite Care Bear, you will see that Care Bear for ANYBODY who decides to rock the Happy Dracula. Like, say, you. However, NOBODY ELSE will see Prozac Bear. Everybody else will only see Happy Dracula . . .

6) . . . UNLESS they have also downloaded the image of Prozac Bear, and put it in the Happy Dracula location.

7) So if there were a site that had new, custom-made images, for specific people within an online community (like, say, ours) with assigments to specific image locations for each image, then anybody in that community could just come in, save the image to their computer, and look at that! Astin is the Swedish Chef!

8) That's where Donkavatar comes in.

If this seems complex, it really isn't. It requires a little bit of work, and it is obviously very limited, but it's easy to do. If you can save a file to your computer, you can do this. Right now there are 25 donkavatars created, so if you wanted to get all of them (not necessary, btw), it might be 15 minutes of your time.


1) Go to Donkavatar and request one in the comments. I'll do it up. I'm doing this for fun, so it may be a few days or a week, but I'll do it.

2) When it posts, go and save the image to the correct location.

3) Repeat for any other bloggers whose donkavatar you'd like to see (provided they are playing with the designated avatar and mood. If they aren't bug them to put their game face on).

4) That's all. You can also make your own if you know how.


OK, this is pretty easy, but let's just go through it slow.

First, let's just go find those avatars so you see exactly where they are.

1) In the lower left hand corner of your screen, right-click on the "Start" button. (If you don't know what right-click is, I suspect that you have a Mac one-button fist-mashing mouse, and may God have mercy on your soul.)

2) Choose "Explore".

3) Find "Program Files" and double-click that bad boy to open it.

4) Find "Full Tilt Poker" and double-click.

5) Find "Graphics" and double-click.

6) Find "Table" and double-click.

7) Find "Avatars" and double-click.

8) Find "Public" and double-click.

9) You should now see a whole mess of files with sequential numbers as names. Congratulations! You've found where the avatars live!

10) Now that you know how to find the avatars, go to the button at the top of the screen called "Views" and select the option "Thumbnails", just to get a sense of which avatar is contained in which folder.

11) Now, double-click on any of those folders. This is just to see what the contents look like. Notice that the "normal" mood is image 0, the "happy" mood is image 1, the "angry" mood is image 2, and the "confused" mood is image 3.

So, when you switch your avatar from bulldog to Eskimo girl, you're just asking Full Tilt to stop looking at folder 12 and to start looking at folder 29. And when you switch your mood to happy, you're actually telling the software to stop looking at image 0 and start looking at image 1. Make sense? Raise your hand if this makes sense. Good, I'll continue.

OK, so now you know where the images are on your computer, you know how to look and see which folder number has which avatar, and you know how the images are named by mood.

Now let's go over how to get the images off Donkavatar and onto your computer.

1) Go to Donkavatar.

2) On the top post, note the slot position of the blogger whose avatar you'd like to save. Here's what I mean by that:

Confused Afro Dude: 0/3 (pvanharibo)

This means that pvanhairibo's avatar should be saved in avatar folder 0 (the one for Afro Dude) with image name 3 (the one for confused mood).

The reason for this is that pvanhairibo has agreed to rock the Confused Afro Dude in blogger tournies - at least if she wants her custom avatar to be viewed. We'll all save her particular image to her particular slot, and then we'll all see her particular donkavatar. That would be Eeyore with a massive chip stack.

3) From the master list on the right hand side of the page, select the blogger whose avatar you would like to save.

4) Right-click on that image and select "Save Picture As." This will open up a window that will ask you where you want to save it.

5) There will be a "Save In" drop-down. Select that drop-down menu and choose your main drive (this is usually the "C" drive).

6) Choose "Program Files" and then "Full Tilt Poker" and . . . you know what? You know the way to the avatars by now.

7) Go to the avatar folder that you made note of in step 2.

8) Save that sucka. Make sure that you save it as the proper file number.

9) That's it. That donkavatar will now display for the selected blogger (as long as they are on the avatar selected). Trust me, after you do a couple of these, all these steps will take about 30 seconds. Personally, I think it would be pretty fresh to have about 50 or more of these going during BBT4.

OK, Bam Bam. Ball's in your court, buddy. You want a Bam-Bam avatar or what?


BamBam said...

First I came.......

Then I made you my homepage!


Donkavatar, here I come again!

Mary said...

My pc at home died and all I have left to use is my macbook. Any idea where the avatars are kept on the mac? I know, I know, I've been really lazy and haven't delved too deeply into the hard drive. Figured I'd be even more lazy and ask first.

Or I guess I could just play on the Windows XP partition. Figured the mac OS partition would be more stable though.

Julius_Goat said...

Mary, I don't have a Mac and thus haven't checked, but I do believe that on Macs the images are stored inside of white plastic shells and accessed by the push of a single button.

Mary said...


I de-lazified myself and figured it out. I have a mouse that right-clicks so when I do that I can browse to the Full Tilt content where I have access to the graphics. I was also able to view the files on the hard disk through my Parallel Windows XP partition.

Funny, both ways involve Microsoft methods rather than the "we're keeping all the system/program files from you to keep you safe" Mac way.