The Stages Menu
The Stages Menu
Each course can have one or more stages. Each stage has its own graphics, rules, and target. The stages submenu provides commands for setting rules, countdown options, and scene lighting. Use the stage navigation bar at the top of the screen to move between stages, add and delete stages, and edit stage order. This makes it easy to move between stages from any screen in DART Creator. Remember, any changes you make using the Stages menu commands will be made to the currently selected stage.
Each stage has its own set of rules, for example, the maximum number of shots allowed. Rules are important because they determine when a shooter advances from one stage to another.
The Rules command panel contains two limiting options for a stage – shots (ammunition) and time. Reaching the limit of either of these will advance the shooter to the next stage or end the course if the shooter is on the last stage.
The Shots Allowed slider moves from 0 to 50 and sets the maximum number of shots allowed in a given stage. Moving the slider to 0 provides the shooter with unlimited shots.
The Time Allowed slider moves from 0 to 120 and sets the maximum amount of time (in seconds) in a given stage. Moving the slider to 0 provides unlimited time.
Note: Creating a stage with unlimited shots and unlimited time creates an endless stage with no trigger event to move to the next stage.
Because each stage can have different goals, rules, and requirements, it is often necessary to provide instructions to the shooter before the stage begins. The Instructions button provides three options for instructions: None, Text, and Image.
When None is selected, no instructions will be shown.
Selecting the Text option opens a dialog window that will allow you to enter a set of instructions which will be shown prior to the beginning of a stage. The text dialog has two options indicated in the lower left corner of the window: Text and HTML.
When in text mode, you are able to enter text simply by typing in the window.
In HTML mode, you can use rich text tags to alter the appearance and layout of your text. These tags work like HTML or XML tags but have less strict syntax. This allows you to adjust the size, color, and position of text among other things. For a full description of acceptable rich text tags, please refer to the guide here.
Selecting Image will open a load dialog that will allow you to select an image that will be displayed as instructions prior to the beginning of a stage. Instruction images are created outside of the DART Creator program and must be located in the DART Data\Instructions folder.
The Instruction Time slider moves from 0 to 30 and sets the time (in seconds) that the instruction screen will be displayed. A setting of 0 means that no instructions will be displayed, even if text or image have been selected.
Before the beginning of any stage you can choose to add a countdown so that the shooter has time to get ready. The Countdown options include a timer, which can be set from 0 to 10 seconds, and a multi-select button with three options: Audio Only, Visual Only, and Both.
A setting of 0 means that no countdown will be shown. A setting of 1-9 will cause a countdown between 1 and 9 seconds. As you move the slider, you will see the main display update in real time.
Note: The background will blur slightly during a countdown in order to hide the exact nature of a target from the shooter until the stage begins.
When the Audio Only option is selected, the shooter will hear a series of beeps during the countdown, but no numbers will be displayed.
When the Visual Only option is selected, the shooter will see large numbers counting down on the screen, but no audio will be heard.
When Both is selected, the shooter will hear and see the countdown.
Setting the countdown slider to 10 creates a special instructional break. In this case, a graphic is shown on the screen and will remain there until a mouse button is clicked, a keyboard button is pressed, or a shot is fire from the training weapon. This provides an extended pause that can be used as coaching time between stages.
Note: The instructional break graphic can be changed by replacing the file called break.png in the root of the DART Data folder. The file must be in PNG format and should be 1024×768 pixels in size.
The Time of Day slider is used to increase or decrease lighting in the current stage. The default setting of 0 simulates lighting at midday. Moving the slider to the right moves into afternoon and evening, while moving the slider to the left move through morning hours.
Just like real world lighting, the time of day affects shadow direction and intensity, light color, and overall scene brightness.
Try It. Try moving the Time of Day slider back and forth. Notice the effect it has on the direction of shadow, color of light, and overall scene brightness.