The Pigeon Coop



From the Pigeon Coop, you can send and receive Empiriana email. To compose an email, you must first know the mailbox number of the player you are sending mail to. Each player is assigned a mailbox number when they open an account in Empiriana. Your mailbox number is listed in the Pigeon Coop in the top right area of the screen. When you enter the Pigeon Coop you may check for new mail by clicking on the pigeon cage on the left side of the screen. A pop-up dialog box will tell you if there is new mail. On the wall behind the writing desk is a set of cubby holes that holds your scrolls, or incoming mail. To read a scroll, move your mouse cursor over it. A pop-up window will tell you who the scroll is from along with their mailbox number and date and time sent. Left-clicking on a scroll will bring up the text editor with the message displayed. Messages may be saved to your hard drive by selecting the "SAVE" button on the lower row of the text editor. You can choose the name and path you wish to save the file to.

The mail system saves and imports the text files in RTF or Rich Text Format. This is a common format supported by most word processors as well as the Wordpad program in Windows.

To compose a letter while in Empiriana, enter the Pigeon Coop and click on the writing desk. The text editor will appear. In the "TO:" area enter the mailbox number of the player you wish to send mail to. Next click in the large text entry area and write your message. You may choose the font, text color, size, and style of your text in the text editor. You will find those options displayed on the top and bottom tool bars of the text editor.

You may also compose mail off-line and import it to the Empiriana text editor. Simply compose your letter using your favorite word processor. Once you are finished, save your letter as an RTF file. Then, when you are in Empiriana, import your saved letter into the Pigeon Coop text editor and send.

The Address Book

The address book contains the ability to store the mailbox number, name, and guild for a player along with a comments section. There is also support for a hierarchical mailing list system. This mailing list system allows you to make groups and subgroups to which you can add recipients.

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As an example application of this mailing list system, you could add a group called Guilds and within that group add subgroups for several different guilds in addition to your own guild. You could then send a newsletter to your own guild or an announcement to everyone that you have listed in all of the groups under Guilds. You can also break down your own guild's mailing lists into squads, ranks, or any other criteria. Sending a letter to any or all of these groups becomes as easy as double-clicking on the sub folder containing the desired group of recipients.

To access the address book, simply enter the pigeon coop and click on the stool to sit down and review the address book. The address book will then appear in review mode. There are two modes for the address book, Review Mode, and Select Mode. Review Mode is selected by clicking on the stool in the Pigeon Coop, Select Mode is selected by clicking the "Address Book" button from the upper right corner of the email text editor window. The only difference between the two modes is that in Select Mode, double-clicking on any name or group will return you to the Write Email dialog and automatically use the double-clicked item as the recipient for your email. Otherwise, the two modes are identical and all maintenance features are available.

The address book is divided into two panels, the left panel is the master address list. The master address list contains all of the entries stored in your address book. The list contains columns for name, mailbox, guild, and the first line of comments for that player. The list can be sorted by any column in ascending or descending order. To sort on a column, click the title at the top of the column. Clicking again on the top of a column will change the sort order from ascending to descending depending on the current state. When clicking on another column to sort, items with the same value, the previous order is retained. This allows you to, for instance, sort the list by name, then sort by guild, which sort the list by guild, but leave entries sorted by name with the same guild. The primary sort order is preserved after the address book is closed and reinstated the next time the book is opened.

The right panel contains the tree view of your mailing lists.

At first, both panels will be empty aside from the All Mailing Lists entry on the right panel. Items are added, modified, or deleted by use of the menu commands. Most all of the commands in the address book are accessed by pop up menus which appear when clicking the right mouse button on a panel or item. On the left panel, you may right-click anywhere in the panel. Different menu options will be enabled depending upon what you right-clicked on. If you right-click on an empty part of the window, the only enabled option is to add a new contact. If you right-click on an item, the options for renaming or deleting the item clicked on are shown.

When right-clicking in the right panel, the menu only appears when you right-click on an item. New group lists can only be added under another group. There is an automatic master group titled "All Mailing Lists" that can not be deleted, thus all your groups will be a subgroup of this group. When adding a new group right-click on the group you would like the new group to be under, or on an item of the group you would like the new group to be under. The options for "Add New Group" and "Delete Item" will always be available since the menu only appears when an item is selected. If the menu is activated by right-clicking on a mailing list group, the option to rename the group is also enabled.

Items in both panels may also be deleted simply by selecting the item and pressing the delete key.

Groups can be distinguished from group recipients by the icon in front of the name. If the icon is a picture of a single letter, then the item is a recipient. If the icon is a picture of several stacked letters, the item is a mailing list group. Likewise, when dragging an item around, if the cursor turns into a picture of a single letter, the user is dragging a recipient. If the cursor changes into a stack of letters, the user is dragging a mailing list group.

Mailing lists are created by first making a new group with the use of the menu mentioned above, and then dragging players from the left panel over to the target group on the right. When dragging a recipient from the left panel to a mailing list on the right, the mailing list that will receive the recipient is highlighted. Mailing list groups can be dragged into other groups in order to make them a subgroup of that group. Recipients in the left panel can not be rearranged by dragging in this fashion since they are arranged based on sort order.

When recipients in the left are renamed, the changes are automatically made to the corresponding entries in the mailing lists.

When sending an email to a group it is important to note that the EMAIL WILL BE SENT TO ALL PLAYERS IN THE GROUP AND ALL PLAYERS IN SUBGROUPS UNDER THE SELECTED GROUP. So if you send an email to the "All Mailing Lists" group, every player in all of your group lists will receive a copy of the email. At present, mailing lists do not transmit the letter to more than the first 200 recipients in a mailing list. If this limit turns out to cause any problems, we might expand it in the future. Duplicate recipients are automatically culled from the distribution list when sending an email to a group list (i.e. if the same player is listed with 2 difference character names with the same mailbox # or the same player exists in multiple subgroups, Empiriana will recognize this and only deliver one message to the recipient's mailbox).

When reading an email, you may opt to add the sender of the message to their address book. You can select this option by right-clicking anywhere on the "FROM" line at the top of the email. You will then be presented with a pop-up menu with two options. The first option is to "Add" the player to the address book. This option will check for any conflicts such as the name already existing in the address book with a different mailbox, and then add it if everything is ok. If any conflicts are detected, the user will be notified of the conflict and presented with choices for correcting the conflict.

The second option allows you to "Check" the address book for references to the new player and mailbox. This check will first search for the character name in the address book and if found, inform you of the mail box number entered for the player. Next, the check will scan the address book for the mail box number and give you a list of all the character names found in the address book using that mailbox number.

The address book can be quite handy. With the use of the comments field, guild field, and the ability to organize lists of players into groups, the address book can actually serve as a handy little database of player information.



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