One of the tent-pole addons in the addon customization realm is kgPanels, a simple and incredibly versatile tool that allows users to create dynamic panel art and cosmetic accents to any user interface. The concepts may look tough to deal with, but in reality, the addon is simple to learn and offers endless possibilities. People have created some pretty impressive setups using kgPanels as the back end, and this article aims not only to get you interested in working with kgPanels but to understand how to create the simplest piece of the puzzle: the simple bottom box.
What is kgPanels?
People like to throw around the label of "Best. Addon. Ever," to a good number of addons. Recount, for instance, could be seen as one of the most functional and important addons WoW has ever seen. kgPanels is addon salt, bringing out the beauty, texture and flavor of every other addon that it touches. You can make your user interface pop with kgPanels, as either a tool to introduce some artistic elements into your UI or to separate addons using user-defined borders and boxes.
That's kgPanels in a nutshell. It's more of a utility than anything that can enhance your gameplay. But it is one of the most awesome and important utilities you could ever use.
The focus of this Addon Spotlight is to give you readers out there something to start with, much like how we did a very basic Power Auras set-up a little while ago. Readers seemed to very much enjoy the Power Auras discussion, and kgPanels seemed like the next best step. And yes, more Power Auras is coming. I promise.
Many readers emailed me asking how to do the most basic setup in kgPanels, asking for a simple box at the bottom of their screens that they can load addons into. I am happy to oblige. For those veteran UI designers out there and others who are very familiar with kgPanels, your help is always appreciated and needed in the comments. I know the readers and I greatly appreciate all the awesome discussion.
Creating the simple bottom box
For this exercise, I only had a few addons enabled. Only Chatter, Dominos, kgPanel and MoveAnything were enabled, allowing easy flexibility with no other addons hanging out in my way.
The first step, as usual, is to download and install kgPanels. Once you've done that, open up the addon using the text command /kgpanels config.
I am a fan of the profile system, if only to allow me easy access to different setups that I am working on at once. kgPanels, thankfully, has a simple system for layouts that can be turned on or off at will. The first thing I did was create a new layout to work with.
Think of the layout like the profile. This profile will contain panels that we will manipulate into whatever we want. Activate this layout by selecting Set as Active Layout when on the layout tab of the options. We will be working with just one simple panel, but it's still a good idea to have everything saved in its own layout.
Now that we are in the layout we have created, let's create the panel that will serve as the cosmetic "dock" for our addons at the bottom of the screen. Select Active Panels, and create your panel. Here, I've given the panel the name "BottomPanel" so that I know this is the main panel going on the bottom of the screen.
The panel is now able to be moved, resized and manipulated. Position the panel in the bottom-left-hand corner of the screen, and drag it so that it expands across the entire bottom of your screen. It is that simple. Don't worry about the border yet. We will take care of that in a second. If you want to keep the border, by all means, do.
Color selection is easy. While under the BottomPanel tab, select BottomPanel > Color and Opacity Settings. Here, I have selected a dark grey color that is still just a bit transparent.
So there you have it -- the simple bottom box kgPanel creation. Just for fun, I thought it would also be cool to show everyone how to make a seamlessly integrated chat addon into this setup. It's easy, fun and looks pretty clean and cool. Here's how to do it.
Clean chat integration
I used Chatter, but Prat and other chat addons have very, very similar options. The basics still apply, no matter which addon you use. First, I unlocked my Chatter chat box and moved the edit box (that's the bar that appears when you hit enter in which you input text) to free-floating. You can accomplish this in Chatter by going to the Edit Box Polish tab in the configuration menu. Second, position the chat window in the bottom-left-hand corner, over the kgPanel panel we created. A little bit of resizing may be necessary. Make sure to fit the top tabs just above the top of the panel, as they will disappear when not hovered over.
Here's the finished product:
Download kgPanels at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].
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