Help:Resources

From Alternate History
(Redirected from Help:References)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Any registered user is free to edit and expand upon this page.

Here are some useful resources from around the Internet that you can read to help you get started on your new alternate history timeline!

See also: AltHist FANDOM's guide to newcomers.

Wiki Editing

Before you start working on your timeline, it's important that you first learn how to create and edit pages on any MediaWiki-based site if you have never written content on wikis before.

To view the source of a page, click on "Edit" on one of the upper tabs of the page. It will bring up the editor, and you'll notice that it reveals the Wikitext source code of that page. If you choose you can make changes to the page and save it to apply those changes and rerender the page as it appears before. If the page is edit-protected and you do not have the permission to make changes, you can still view the source code for the page by clicking the tab "View Source" which replaces the "Edit" tab.

MediaWiki-based sites use a markup called Wikitext. It is easy to learn and non-intimidating to use, as it is a lightweight markup language so it's mostly just plain text and there's no need for full HTML or nested elements wrapped around over each other. Here are some guides that you can follow to get started.

The editor has two modes, the Wikitext editor, which is default on this wiki, and the VisualEditor, which is a WYSIWYG editor and requires JavaScript. The editor allows switching between the two modes by clicking the pencil icon on the toolbar which opens a drop-down menu to select between the two, and you can set your default mode in your user preferences under the Beta Features tab. Note that the VisualEditor and the 2017 wikitext editor requires JavaScript and an up-to-date browser in order to be used.

Although the VisualEditor formats the page as you edit, we recommend using the Wikitext editor as it allows you to actually see the markup how the structure is laid out just by typing without the need to use tools.

All editors also include a toolbar, in which you can insert example markup and edit them to your liking.

There is a demo you can use to practice using the VisualEditor.

If you use an older browser that does not support the VisualEditor or have JavaScript disabled, the site will revert to use the older wikitext editor. Mobile users use the editor from MobileFrontend.

Check MediaWiki's compatibility page to check if you web browser and version supports basic features of MediaWiki including rendering pages, searching and editing. Also check out the browser support matrix for the VisualEditor.

Below are links to guides on Wikitext markup and how to edit a MediaWiki page:

While we recommend using the Wikitext source editor as it is more powerful and lets you compose and structure the pages the way you want, you might prefer using the VisualEditor if it's your personal preference and you find it easier to use for your workflow. It is still important however to be familar with Wikitext markup in order to understand how the source translate to the publish content you see on the page, and it will be much easier to use the source editor once you learn it.

If you want to try it out, or if you know how already and want to test your editing skills, then you can practice on the wiki sandbox, or create your own sandbox as a subpage to your user page.

Also, you can use this online MediaWiki table generator to help create tables more easily and you can just copy/paste the generated Wikitext for your table and insert it in your page as you edit.

Introduction to Alternate History

Vexillography and Heraldry

Vexillography (flag design) and heraldry can be used as important elements to your alternate history timeline in representing countries, other political entities, companies, families, etc. and its various conventions for use. Generally you can use OTL current and historical flags and symbols for equivalent entities when appropriate, but you would also want to make your own custom flags and symbols to reflect the changes made in your timeline. Using good flag and heraldic design will help make your timeline more plausible, more content rich, and more immersive.

If you want to start creating your own graphics, you would want to get some of the graphics editing software. You would also want to take some time learning about vexillology, and proper flag and heraldic design and conventions. Below are some guides:

Vexillology and vexillography

Heraldry

Maps and Cartography

Free media repositories

When using a medium from an external source, please make sure to look for and understand the copyright and licensing terms of the medium as well as the names of the creator, and make sure that its licensing allows for republishing before uploading the medium to this site while following its terms or your use of the medium falls under fair use.

The media that you will find in the links below should be under free licenses, meaning that the publisher or copyright holder have waived some of their rights over the medium to allow it to be legally republished by persons other than the copyright holders without explicit consent or permisions prior to its use, as long as they at least give credit to the original creators and follow the terms of that license.

Most will use the Creative Commons licenses.

Libraries and General Topics

While Wikipedia is a common source of information about history of various topics, I don't recommend its use as your only source or even a primary source.

You should diversify your information from other sources, and I recommend looking for primary sources on the history you are researching.

Also, be careful not to plaigarise other people's works. If you are going to include information from these sources in your articles, be sure to cite your sources. Don't just copy-paste or paraphrase from Wikipedia.

Encyclopedias

Free online books

Other Libraries with Free Access

Specific Topics

Includes English, non-English and multilingual sources:

Latino American History

Western History

Slavic History

East Asian History

Middle Eastern History

African and Caribbean History

Political history

Religion

Linguistics

Statistics

Video Channels

Software and Tools

Here's a list of software and tools which are free to use that can help you make custom content for your projects. You may also want to look for tutorials on how to use these software. Most of these software are also cross platform and able to run on multiple operating systems.

Graphics

Desktop applications

  • GNU Image Manipulation Program, raster graphics editor that is a free and open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
  • mtPaint, much more lightweight than GIMP and can run on older computers and operating systems including Windows 9x, but less user-friendly.
  • Paint.NET, freeware program for Microsoft Windows, using the .NET framework. More user-friendly than GIMP but less powerful tool set.
  • Pinta, a cross-platform Paint.NET clone that uses the open-source Mono framework instead.
  • Krita, open-source digital painting application.
  • Inkscape, a free and open-source vector graphics editor. Images are saved as SVG, and can also export image as PNG.
  • sK1, another open-source vector graphics editor.
  • XFig, very basic vector graphics editor for X11. Good on ancient hardware.
  • FlagMaker-2, A Java-based program that can be used to easily design flags, which can be exported as either SVG or PNG.
  • Inkwell Ideas Coat of Arms Design Studio

Online

Color Palettes

Markup

Miscellaneous

  • dCode, generate and decode ciphers, solve messages, calculators, and more.
  • Fake Name Generator. Self-explanatory, useful for creating names for characters when you're too lazy/undecisive to make one up in your head.