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Manual Opus Magellan Themes

Themes - To go boldly....

In many modern operating systems you can adjust the visual display characteristics of your system to reflect a particular style or 'theme'. Examples of such themes might be Animals, Adventure, Space, Science, favourite TV shows, Cartoons and so on. Many users have asked for better support for configuring the overall visual look of their Amiga display, so to support this, we have added this concept of Themes for all display features controlled within Opus itself. In Opus, a Theme consist of :-

background pictures for desktop, Lister and buttons,
sounds for various events,
user pens and palette colours,
font settings.

Technically, an Opus 'theme' is a small ARexx script file, called the 'xxxx.theme', which references the image and sound files contained in your theme. The theme files are designed to be stored in the DOpus5:Themes directory and depending on whether you have 'built' or imported a theme or just saved the theme, there may also be an associated directory under the same name.

When you load the theme, Opus runs the ARexx script and makes the internal changes to the Opus environment settings for your theme design.

We have provided a few sample themes on the distribution disk but more themes plus other material will be available separately on a DOpus Plus CD, via our web site, AmiNet and through popular Amiga magazines. See the readme on the distribution disks for details of how to install and test these themes.

If you have access to the internet (or CD) you will find that there are literally thousands of themes available for Windows95/98. For copyright reasons we cannot include these directly with Opus but we do provide a special command which allows you to convert these files to a format suitable for Opus.

Themes are accessed from a new Themes sub-menu in the Settings menu or via four new Opus commands for LoadTheme, SaveTheme, BuildTheme and ConvertTheme.

--> Remember that a 'theme' is simply a set of Environment settings. Once you have set the theme you want to use, select Save Environment from the settings menu to have these settings preserved for the next time you run Opus.


Creating Themes

To create a new theme for your own use, configure your Opus Environment and set the desired images, sounds, colours and fonts, then 'save' the theme under a defined name. You may then load this theme to reconfigure your Opus whenever you wish.

To create a theme to give to others, you build the theme. By default, when you save the theme Opus creates a special theme file which references the images and sounds in their original place on your hard disk. This saves disk space on your system and does not require multiple copies of the same image or sound file. However, if you wish to give a theme to others, all the relevant files must be collected into one directory. This is known as building the theme. Once built you can archive the theme file plus its associated directory and give it to others.

We encourage you to build your favourite new themes and place them on AmiNet or our web site for others to access.

Theme Commands

Themes are supported by four new Opus commands:-

LoadTheme

The LoadTheme menu or command is used to load and display a new theme. From the displayed requester, you can choose which elements of the theme to apply to your system. Opus needs to store your favourite theme files in a defined place. By default this is set to DOpus5:Themes and is assigned to the name D5THEMES:, but this may be changed in the Environment / Backgrounds section.

Opus also supports loading themes from places other than D5THEMES: from the LoadTheme requester. Therefore you can load a new theme from a CD or other directory on your hard drive if you do not have space on the partition containing DOpus. However, we recommend that you keep all themes under the DOpus5:Themes directory to avoid confusion.

SaveTheme

The SaveTheme menu or command allows you to store a theme while you are working on it, or to store multiple themes for your own use.

SaveTheme does not copy the actual sound and picture files to your themes directory. Instead, it generates the special Opus '.theme' file in the themes directory. This file references the real locations of the component files on your system and sets the Opus Environment to use these internal settings.

BuildTheme

If you wish to collect all your theme related files into the one directory, install themes from an outside source such as a CD, or prepare a theme for distribution, you should use the BuildTheme
menu or command. This creates a sub-directory in DOpus5:Themes and copies all sound and picture files used in the theme to that directory automatically. It then creates a new theme file which
references the component files via D5THEMES: not their absolute pathnames. Once you have used the BuildTheme command, you can archive both the theme file and the associated directory and distribute the theme archive to other users.

ConvertTheme

or "How to convert a Windows 95 Theme for use with Opus".

Unfortunately, the theme files from Windows 95 are not directly compatible with the Amiga and Opus. But, we provide a fairly simple process which allows you to take a Windows 95 theme file and convert it for use with Opus.

ConvertTheme is designed to read an original Windows 95 theme file and produce a DOpus theme file containing the correct internal references to the images and sounds. You can then use the LoadTheme command to attempt to view the theme. If you like the theme, you can use the BuildTheme command to copy it and related files to your Amiga.

Perhaps the easiest way to run this command is from the Execute Command requester. Select Execute Command (RAmiga-E) from the main Opus menu, and enter "+ConvertTheme" into the
command field. (Note the plus sign, this tells Opus to execute an internal Opus command, not an external AmigaDOS program.) If you are going to be converting a lot of themes, you might want to add the ConvertTheme command to a button or menu.

From the file requester, navigate to the Windows 95 '.theme' file that describes the theme you wish to convert, select it and click OK.

From the next file requester, enter the output name for the converted theme and click OK (the .theme suffix will be added automatically for you). The requester will default to showing the D5THEMES: directory and we suggest you save the converted theme there.

The ConvertTheme process will then convert the theme file - it's that simple. You can then use the LoadTheme command or select 'Load Theme' from the Settings menu to load the new theme and apply its settings to Opus.

--> ConvertTheme simply builds a new Opus theme file containing references to the original files. If you convert a theme from a CD, the new theme file would still point to that CD for its graphics and sound files. If you want to copy the complete theme to your system so you can use it permanently, you can use the BuildTheme command (once you have converted the theme).

--> ConvertTheme does not convert the formats of the image and sound files themselves, it only converts the '.theme' description file. Windows theme files usually contain images in JPG, GIF or BMP format with sound files in WAV format and these can often be used on the Amiga with the appropriate datatypes installed. However, you may find that your system performs better if you convert these to Amiga specific formats before use. For example, many WAV files do not play correctly from the WAV datatype and are best when converted to 8SVX. (There are a number of third-party programs which will do these conversions and many are available from Aminet and the DOpus Plus CD.)