IgdaWiki:Quick Start Guide
International Game Developers Association
This Quick Start Guide is designed to help users new to wiki technology get started.
Welcome! A wiki is a collaborative environment, where many different people can all contribute to the same set of WebPages.
This page that you are reading now will talk you through how to create your first wiki page -- a userpage that you can use as a home base to experiment with how the wiki works.
Also, if as you're working through this tutorial, if you see any typos or any places that are difficult to understand, feel free to fix it on the spot! You can just click on "Edit" at the top of this page, and dive on in to fix things.
Quick Start checklist
Note: It is recommended that you read the rest of this section before taking the next step. You may also wish to print this out or open a separate browser to keep this quickstart information handy while you work through the tutorial.
First, login by clicking on the "login" link in the upper right corner. You will be able to use your standard IGDA login, if it has been enabled for wiki use. If, however, this is the first time you're logging in to the wiki, you will need to enable your IGDA account for wiki login by setting an option at your IGDA Profile page (click on the link for more details). If you are not an IGDA member, you can still obtain a free account.
Examine the wiki format
Take a look at the list of options in the lefthand menu, and click on Recent Changes. You will see that a wiki is a collaborative environment! Many different people are working on it at the same time. Anyone can edit pretty much any page, and then a line item will automatically appear in the "Recent Changes" section which shows which page was changed, when it was changed, and by whom. The name of the person who changed the page is also a hyperlink, and clicking on that link will take you to that person's individual user page in the wiki.
The "Recent Pages" link shows you all the changes that are occurring in the entire wiki. To see just the list of changes that have occurred to a particular page, you would click on the History tab at the top of the page.
Create a user page
Each user of a wiki has a personal page where they can post information about themselves, and/or use it as a "sandbox" where they can experiment with different wiki techniques.
Your user page is in a "user" subdirectory of the wiki, and has your account name as the page's title. You should already have a link to your user page in the lefthand menu, under "Personal Tools", where you will see (if you are logged in) your account name as one of the links. If you're new to the wiki, the link will appear in a different color, which means that the page has not been created yet.
- Click on your account name at the top of the page. Normally this would take you to your userpage, but since the page doesn't exist yet, it will take you into edit mode for the new page.
- Put in some "holder" text, such as your name and email address (formatting is not that important at this point).
- Click on the "Show Preview" button to see how the new page will look.
- Click on "Save Page".
Congrats! You now have your very own user page in the wiki.
Edit Your User Page
- While looking at your user page, click on the "edit" tab at the top of the page.
- Add some more information. For example, it's a good idea to add your full name, company, contact information, and a mention of your company's URL (we'll explain how to set this up as a hyperlink in a minute).
- Preview the page, and then save again.
Creating a link to another page
There are two kinds of links that can appear on a wiki page, and they each require different formatting. One kind is a link which goes to another page inside the wiki, and the other is a link which goes to a page outside the wiki.
To link to another page within the wiki, put the page title inside of double brackets:
- Go into edit mode on your user page.
- To link back to the Wiki's homepage, add a line that says:
- After you save the page, this will look like:
- Add a link to a SIG or your local chapter. For example, adding a link to the Online Games Special Interest Group could be done by typing: [[Online Games SIG]]. If you're not sure of the title of the page you want to link to, go to the wiki section on SIGs or Chapters, and look for the particular topic that you're interested in. You can get the page title either by hovering your mouse over the appropriate link to see where it goes, or by going to the SIG page itself and then looking in the URL window to see its title. For example, if you look at the URL of this QuickStart guide page, it probably says:
So to link back to this page from elsewhere in the wiki, you would use the link [[IGDAwiki:Quick Start Guide]]. (Ignore the underscores. Use spaces.)
- Preview the page by clicking the Show preview button, and if it looks "right", click the Save page button.
- If you want a link to be more descriptive than just its title, its displayed text can be changed. For example, both of the following would go to the same page:
[[Online Games SIG]] [[Online Games SIG|Online Games Special Interest Group]]
And would look like this:
Linking to external websites
In order to link to an external website, use the following syntax:
[http://www.URL.com/ Name of the website]
To link to the IGDA site, the proper syntax would be:
[http://www.igda.org/ International Game Developers Association (IGDA)]
Which would look like this:
- External links require single brackets whereas internal links require double brackets.
- External links do not use a pipe symbol to separate the URL from the link title.
- External link URLs should be followed by a trailing slash.
While in edit mode, try playing with the buttons at the top of the box. Hovering the mouse over each button will give you a hint as to what that button will do.
Another thing to experiment with, is formatting changes such as more complex headers, lists, and other formatting. To learn how to do all these things, one way of course is to read the manual first, or check out one of the other Help files. Another commonly-used way is just to go to some page that has a technique that you want to learn how to do (like this very page that you're reading right now) and then click on the "Edit" tab at the top of the page. That'll show you the raw wiki code behind the page (which is usually quite simple), and then you can just copy what you see, click on "Cancel" from the edit, and then go to your own page, click "Edit", and paste in whatever you want.
If you're feeling adventurous, you may also wish to try adding a picture to your user page. For an example of a more elaborate user page, check Elonka's page at: user:DuninElonka.
No matter what, don't worry too much. Keep in mind that wiki pages are really amazingly forgiving. If you don't like the way something looks, you can just dive right back into edit mode and keep tweaking, or leave it be and then someone else can come and modify the page later to add their own flourishes. There's also a great "history" function in wikis, so if something goes horribly horribly wrong, it's easy to revert a page to an earlier state.
Learn to use Recent Changes and your Watchlist
Think of Recent Changes as a type of CHANGELOG for the IGDAwiki. Every addition to, edition of, and deletion from the IGDAwiki is logged regardless of the scale of the change.
Another really useful tool in the wiki, is to set up a watchlist. They perform a function similar to the Recent Changes log, but instead of seeing *everything* that is being changed in the wiki, you can specify only certain pages that you are interested in.
Add a page to the Watchlist
There are two ways to add a page to your Watchlist:
- While looking at a page, click the "watch" tab at the top of the page.
- While in edit mode for a page, check the "Watch this page" checkbox that is above the "Show preview" button.
Viewing watchlisted pages
In the "Personal Tools" menu on the lefthand side, click on "My Watchlist".
Removing an article from the Watchlist
To remove a page from your watchlist, click the "unwatch" tab at the top of the page.
Each page in this wiki has an associated "Talk" or "Discussion" page. A talk page is a special kind of page containing discussion about the associated "subject" page.
- To view a talk page, click on the "Discussion" tab at the top of a page.
- To go back to the original page that a "Talk" page is talking about, click on the "Article" tab at the top of the page.
The flow on a talk page runs from top to bottom. If you would like to add a comment, add it to the lowest part of the page where it is appropriate. (you can just click the '+' sign next to "edit this page" to automatically have the text you entered show up at the bottom) Also, be sure to include your name next to any post that you make. As a shorthand, you can do this by adding four tildes (~~~~) at the end of a message (the button with the image of a signature above the edit box will also insert this for you). This will automatically insert your hyperlinked user name, and the date and time, in the following format:
DuninElonka 02:34, 16 Sep 2005 (EDT)
For more information on using Talk pages, please see the following article: Wikipedia Talk Page Guidelines.
Adding wiki content
Once you've gotten comfortable with how to edit a page, feel free to add more information to any section of the wiki. This could be anything from something on your own SIG or Chapter's page, to even the Wiki's own Help pages! For an example of what other groups are doing with their own sections of the wiki, check the SIG or Chapter indexes, and click on any of the blue links to see sections of the wiki that are already in process.
You are welcome to add content or editorial changes to any page that you see.
Creating a new page
If you would like to add a completely new page, decide what the new page's title should be, and then just add a link to the new page, from some other already existing page. For example, if you were a member of the Online Games SIG, and you wanted to add a wiki page about Company Valuations, then you could go to the Online Games SIG page, go into edit mode, and add a line somewhere that said:
Important: Be sure to prefix your new page name with a slash: (/). This ensures that the new page will be a subpage of your SIG or User page. That helps keep things organized. The leading slash is a shorthand way of specifying a longer path. For example, from the Online Games SIG page, both of these links would go to the same page:
The first link is called a "relative" link which could only be used from the Online Games SIG page itself. The second one is an "absolute" link, which could be used from anywhere in the wiki.
After you saved your change, you'd see the new "/Company Valuations" link in a red color, which would mean that it was a link to a page that hadn't been created yet. So you could then click on the link, which would take you into edit mode for the new page, and away you'd go!
If this is confusing, do not worry too much about whether or not you are giving a page a "perfect" title or formatting. That's the beauty of a collaborative environment. Some wiki contributors are better at organizing, some at adding content, and some at editing other people's content to a consistent style. For example, you might be most comfortable just setting up links to pages that you feel should eventually be fleshed out. Or, you might be the kind of person who wants to look for pages that have been labeled but haven't been started yet, so you can go in and start adding information. Or, you might be a good "data" person who wants to add tidbits of information about our industry. The most important thing is to contribute, so feel free to add whatever you think is appropriate, and it'll all sort itself out in the long run!
How to ask a question or post a comment about a page
If you'd like to talk about something on a page, but don't want to actually change the page itself, you can use the "Discussion" page. For example, if there's something in this tutorial that's confusing, or that you'd like to suggest to make it better, click on the "Discussion" tab, and then add your comment to the talk page. You can also click on the "Discussion" tab to check that page, to see if anyone else may have already asked the same question that you've got in mind!
Collaborative wiki databases are a new and fast-growing phenomenon in cyberspace. The ultimate goal for this IGDAWiki is to have it be a collaborative environment for the various IGDA Chapters and Special Interest Groups, with lots of different information that is useful to the International Game Development community. This wiki was just created in mid-2005, so you are in on the ground floor. Welcome! Once you get used to it, it'll be one of those things that you say, "Wow, how did I ever get along without it?"
For any other questions, feel free to contact the following users: