Gallery Basics: The How and the Why
Phew! I had finally gotten the pack rat avatar and now it was time to clean out the good ol' safety deposit box and start building a gallery. Why not? I had some spiffy items, they weren't exactly being shown off in my inventory, and, let's be honest, it does not take that many neopoints to keep our beloved pets content. Now, I am not one of those people who have lots of web design/artistic talent. To be frank, HTML scares me at any level over the basic bold, italic, etc tags. So, what to do? Why, plow ahead of course!
Galleries have changed since I first started playing over 6 years ago. In that ancient past, they were nothing more than a shop that had items priced as unbuyable. (This is not to say that some did not look really good!) Thankfully, in all their wisdom, TNT decided to create a new format, a better format, a... more confusing... format. Categories? Rankings? Eh??
So now I was completely lost. Blindly I just started putting items into the gallery, laboriously I worked out the HTML of a description, and finally I ended up with something that looked like a glorified safety deposit box. Er... that's no good.
So I took an afternoon and worked a few things out. To my surprise and delight, making a decent gallery is not nearly as difficult as it may seem. Here I share my efforts with you, my fellow Neopians, so that you too might be able to create a gallery worthy of the items you put in it. (Unless those items are dung – then I can't help you. No one can. Did I mention I don't understand all this fascination with dung?)
Some tips and tricks:
1)Categories are good. Create several. They are extremely useful in keeping things organized and simple to use. Basically, they work like this: say you have a rainbow collection. You could then create categories for rainbow foods, rainbow petpets, rainbow toys, and so on. Just because your gallery might have one main theme does not mean that you are limited. And if you want several themes for your gallery, so much the easier for you to organize those themes with categories!
2)While still building and filling your gallery, use the preset themes for each category. The form is simple; there are lots of great images to choose from; and if you decide to change your mind on a theme, it's easy to do. This way your decision to go from rainbow to gloomy will not cost you tons of coding time.
3)Keep earning those neopoints! This sounds basic, but remember, galleries can get expensive. There is not only the cost of the items in your gallery (and everyone loves those hard to get ones!) but also the cost of upgrading so that you can put more items in. Do your dailies, play all the games on your favorite games list (they're there for a reason, right?), restock, whatever. Just build up that bank account.
4)Be creative. Some of the best galleries are the ones that are a little bit different from the rest. How about one that is only foods containing body parts (mmm... tongue with veggies and eyeball sushi) or one that contains everything that has the word “wheel” in it? Whatever you can do to make your gallery stand out and that interests you.
5)Use that search bar at the bottom of the page! It is a great way to find some items that you might not have seen otherwise. Type in something simple (rainbow, etc) and see what comes up. Likewise, the trading post might have items you've never seen before. And don't forget, common items might fit your theme – Darigan seaweed for example fits several themes: an underwater one, a Darigan one, a purple one, a plant one, and so on, and so on.
6)Rank in your categories. It's that organization thing again. This allows you to group all of one type of item near each other or put your most impressive items at the top. The ranking idea is simple: just click the rank items in categories link and start numbering 1 to whatever. The lower numbers show up higher on the page. Also, when you add more items to categories already ranked, the decimal system TNT has set up is extremely useful in getting items where you want them.
7)The boards are a good place to get input and help. Use them. Most people are very nice and give pretty good feedback. There are those for whom this is not true here, but, hey, that's ok. It's not worth fussing over when you could be hunting down that last elusive item that will make your gallery complete.
8)The Neopets HTML help (the help link is at the bottom of every page) is absolutely wonderful for teaching you the basics and more of HTML that you need to jazz up your description (take note, this goes for shops and lookups as well). You can look up just what you need, like how to change a background color, or go through the entire thing to learn all of the ins and outs of HTML.
I hope my little article here has helped with at least getting started. There are so many things that can be done and I'm just a beginner myself. Just remember to start basic and work your way up. When you finally get things the way you want them, there is a feeling of pride as you look over your gallery. Too, there is always the thrill of the chase as you hunt down items that fit, save up neopoints for that extra-special item, and many other rewards associated with a good gallery. You could win a gallery spotlight, make some neofriends with the same interest, or just finally have a place to put all those things that have been gathering virtual dust in your safety deposit box. Hope to see some good ones!