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RM4DF SigMaster

Part I: Introduction

Introducing RM4DF

Roster Master for Dragonfly CMS, affectionately known as RM4DF, is a module for the Dragonfly content management system. Both Dragonfly and RM4DF are free to download, install, and use; all you need is a webserver running Apache and PHP along with a few other (very common) extras. You can read more about the server requirements for Dragonfly here and the requirements for RM4DF here. Your website host will be able to tell you if they meet the requirements for running Dragonfly and RM4DF.

RM4DF has several bells and whistles, one of which is a dynamic signature image generator. Basically, it pulls the cached character information from the roster database table and spits it out all pretty-like into an image that you can use as a signature on the EQ2 Official Forums, or in any number of other places. The image background can be customized, as well as the layout and appearance of the text on that background. Your sigs can be as simple or complex as you want them to be; you're limited only by the information available to display and your own creativity.

Before we begin...

First of all, I'm going to assume that you've successfully installed Dragonfly CMS and Roster Master for Dragonfly, and that your RM4DF module is otherwise working as intended. (Meaning, your roster is showing your guild's data properly, is updating without a hitch, and isn't spitting out any funny error messages when you try to edit claims or do anything else "normal.")

Second, I'm going to assume that you've never done this before. You are working with a totally fresh new install and you're not upgrading from a previous RM4DF version. You downloaded the RM4DF package for the first time, changed the values in config.inc, uploaded the files, installed the module via the Dragonfly admin panel, and now you're stuck on getting these crazy sigs to work.

Third, I'm going to assume that you -haven't- read the "Dynamic Sig Generator" portion of the INSTALL.TXT file included with the RM4DF package. A lot of the information covered there will be covered here, minus a lot of the technical jargon.

Have no fear! You've actually gotten through the hard part already. :)

Good Things to Know:

  1. RM4DF is pre-configured to use a layout template and base signature image that are included in the RM4DF package. You can base your own layout and image off of these examples, or you can toss them out altogether. I'm going to explain everything in painstaking detail using these files as examples, so you might not want to toss them just yet.

  2. RM4DF DOES NOT COME WITH ANY FONT FILES. The most important reason for this is that redistribution of the vast majority of fonts is a Very Bad Thing. If you want your sigs rendered at all, you have to upload some font files for it to use. I'll explain more about how to do this later.

  3. RM4DF automatically detects the size of your default base signature image and assumes that ALL of your base signature images are the same dimensions. You are no longer restricted to 400x100 sigs! Handy. :)

  4. All of your sig base images and avatars MUST be in PNG format. This means they can be high-quality without having a huge filesize, which will come in handy once our sigs are actually compiled by the code. The script is hard-coded to look for PNGs, so using anything else isn't an option at the moment.
Ok, the groundwork has been laid. Let's get to work!

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