This document thanks to Qadira and S'anne

Greetings & Salutations!

As you no doubt have already noticed, in addition to the web site and this Webboard, the Force Academy also offers a real-time Chatroom. As I write this (April 14, 2003) getting into the Chatroom can be something of a challenge.

For many of us, the "chat" link (Java chat) you see at the top of the Webboard does not lead you to the chatroom... Instead, you go to this link to access the Java chat: *link removed as no longer working

I will explain, hopefully in an easy-to-understand manner, how to use mIRC to Chat. For those who prefer the java, or cannot use mIRC and are 'stuck with' the java, another of our lovely Welcome Wagon crew will take you through the Java version of Chatting.

First, you will need to download and install mIRC on your computer. Go here to download mIRC. I recommend reading the download instructions here before you download the program, especially if you are not familiar with downloading/installing programs on your computer.

For the person new to using mIRC I highly recommend reading the "Intro to IRC" "IRC FAQ" "Intro to mIRC" and "mIRC FAQ" and "Command List" that mIRC.com provides. Many of the commands & such will NOT work in the Novatech Chatrooms... due to differences in protocols. However, they are still worth reading, especially since they guide you through a zillion details on using all the various features.

Okay. A brief overview of the process. You've downloaded and installed mIRC, and filled in the initial details it asks from you. Now you want to use mIRC to connect & start chatting! Note I am using mIRC v6.01

1. Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
2. Start mIRC
3. Click on the DCC button along the top task bar
4. Click on "Options"
5. Scroll through the 'Category' and click 'Connect'
You should see "IRC network", buttons 'add' 'edit' 'delete' 'sort', "connect to IRC Server", boxes to put in name, email, nickname...
6. Type a name in the "Full Name" box, keeping in mind that this name will display when a person does a /whois on your nickname
7. type in an email address. You can make one up, or put one in that you actually use. If you are going to be using mIRC on other networks than Novatech, I highly recommend that you use a legitimate email address (use a yahoo or hotmail acct if you're concerned with spam & such) Other servers have the option for you to register your nickname, so other users cannot use it. You will need an email address that they can send the registering info to, that you can then retrieve..
8. Nickname: the name you wish to use in the Chatroom. If you use your FA login name, then when you connect to the Novatech server you will get a notice to provide a password. This password is the same one you use to log onto the Webboard. To send the server your password, you simply type backslash, pass, space, your password IE, if my password was georgelucas I would type /pass georgelucas and then I would hit the "enter" button. If you choose a nickname that someone else already uses, you will see a message stating such, and you will need to use something else. To do so, simply type /nick newname If you wanted to use JarJarBinks for example, you would type /nick JarJarBinks
9. Alternative: this is where you can put an alternate nickname/chat handle. On some servers if you get kicked/peered or other misc glitches, and you have your settings to log you back on automatically, if your Nickname is tied up, it will log you on with the alternative nick.

10. Now that you've entered the information regarding yourself, you need to add the information for the Novatech chat servers.
11. Click the "add" button
12. In "Description" type #theforce
13. In "IRC Server" type irc.forceacademy.co.uk
14. In "Port(s)" type 6667
15. click "ADD"

Now you should be back at the window where you input your nickname & email address & such. Click the "OK" button at the bottom, to save all your hard work. Do not be alarmed when the window closes. Simply go back up to the top and click the "DCC" button again.

16. Click on "Options" again
17. Click the "plus" sign next to "Connect" in the Category window. You will see a sub-tree, with the following as sub-options: Options, Local Info, Identd, Firewall
18. Click the "options"
19. You can select any of the options you wish to use, by clicking in the box. An item is selected, if you see a Checkmark in the box beside it.
20. Be sure the "default port" says 6667
21. Click the 'retry' button.
22. Decide if you want the program to retry connecting, and how much time etc to allow. Then Click the "ok" button
23. Now clic the "Multi-Server" button
24. The Status Window, is the window which opens for you to connect to any network, and is always open regardless of whether or not you are connected to an actual chat channel. When it says "Show in status window switchbar button" it means the actual button will display the name of the channel and your nickname, if you select both options. For instance, mine displays "Status Qadira" because I have both options checked.
25. The "Show in channel/query titlebars" will display on the button the channel &/or your nickname. IE "#theforce Qadira"
26. For the "closing status window" options, what this does is to ask you if you wish to disconnect, if you have any of the options selected.
27. Once you have selected the various options you choose in the Multi-Server popup window, click the "OK" button.
28. Unless you understand sockets & such, ignore the "Advanced" button.
29. Now click the "OK" button on your "mIRC Options" popup window.

*poof* the window magically disappears again. Once more, you go through the routine of clicking on the DCC button, Options, plus sign next to Connect.

This time, we're clicking on "Local Info"
I highly recommend leaving the boxes blank, and simply checking the box next to "Local Host", and the lookup method as "server"
30. Click "OK"

*poof* DCC, Options, Plus sign next to Connect (getting used to this yet?)

31. Click "Identd"
32. For many chat networks, if you don't have Identd enables, you will not be allowed to connect at all. Your system may input values for you. If so, leave them. They're correct. I have my Identd server enabled. My User ID is emma_s (original handle on mIRC years ago) My system is UNIX my Port is 113. Your User ID is whatever you choose, your system & port may be the same or they may not. If you have troubles check the mIRC homepage. Their techs are geekier than I am, and will be able to actually help with this stuff.
33. I recommend checking the boxes next to "show Identd requests" and "enable only when connecting" to avoid problems. If you check "user ID from email address" it will use the email address you put in earlier.
34. Once more, click the "OK" button.

go through the *poof* routine. and this time we're clicking the Firewall button

35. If you're using a firewall, I am clueless. Read the mIRC FAQs for help, or post a HELP ME message on the webboard and one of our other brainy sorts who Does have a firewall can guide you through it. *grin* Now you can click the "OK" button again.

*poof* Well, this time we are not going to be in the "connect" section, we're going to be in the IRC section.
36. DCC, Options, IRC
You should see a slew of options, with little check boxes next to them. These settings all affect how you view the chat windows, and which information goes to which sort of window. Anything selected to show in the active, will display on YOUR computer in the chat window. It will not display on other people's computers. If you do not have it selected to show in 'active' it will show it in your status channel. These settings can be played around with. If you are using the chat, and don't like how something displays, simply go into this section and change what you have selected. Be sure to click the "OK" button to save your changes.

37. By now you should be a pro at finding the Options menu, with the Categories.
38. expand (click the plus sign) the IRC section
39. Click "options" -these are more nifty things you can customize. Select what you want, and click "ok"
40. Return to the IRC section and click "Perform" here is where you can input bits of code if you wish to create shortcuts. such as confirming your password. If you use your FA login name, as your NICKname (remember one of our first steps?), then in this area you can type /pass yourpasswordhere and check the box "on connect, perform these commands", and click "OK" to save. The next time to connect to a server, the program will automatically use the /pass command.
41. Highlighting changes the visuals of the actual chat channel. Click on Highlight, and then the "add" button. You will then see a bunch of options & such you can play around with. I haven't bothered to mess with this one.
as always, if you make changes, be sure to click "OK" to save them.
42. Now we're selecting "messages" from the IRC section. I have "timestamp events" selected, it puts a time indicator next to each message in the chat channels. If someone 'fingers' you, an electronic peek at your various information bits, the "Ctcp finger" box is where you can type a message that they will receive. The Quit Message is where you can put something clever as a "last comment" when you quit an active channel. You actually do need to type /quit rather than /part for this message to display in the channel for the other people to see.
43. The section "catcher" deals with URLs and emails. You can select various options for opening browser links, saving urls to a file, etc.
44. Logging... what a lovely feature. I really like this section under the IRC heading. I have my mIRC set to log both chats and channels, to timestamp logs, to include the network, lock my log files, date the filesnames... Later you can access logs by clicking the "view logs" button, or by going into the folder where they are stored. be sure you are clicking "OK" after you make changes!
45. Flood. this helps keep massive chunks of data from overwhelming your chatting experience. Choose whatever you like. If you find you are having problems with flooding in chat, (you will see it as a reason when you get kicked from a channel, etc), then go to this section and make some changes.

Whew! You've done a lot of work up to this point. You're probably asking, "Why can't I just connect to the Chat already, and be done with it?" Well, you COULD. But by going through this painful process first, you take care of some vital things, and learn a bit about the mIRC program you are using. You are saving yourself a major headache later on. If you want to simply click a couple buttons and start chatting, use the Java chat feature offered by this site.

So, brace yourself. Get another can of soda, mug of coffee, bottle of water, some pretzels or jellybeans, cuz we've got a ways to go yet.

Back to the DCC, Options, menu.

46. click "sounds" I personally do not have sounds enabled. I'd much rather listen to my MP3s than a bunch of annoying beeps, boops and other things. If you choose to use sounds, then go to the extra bother of editing the subcategories under Sounds: Requests and Agents. Otherwise, simply move on to Mouse.

47. I left the default mouse options as they were. If you double-click your mouse on any of the things listed here, then it does the action in the box. For example, the /whois displays the persons nick, email, time online, etc type info.

48. Now on to the DCC category. When clicking on DCC itself, I choose to Ignore all send requests. and to 'show chat dialog' for chat requests. To auto-accept/get files & such, you are leaving yourself open to malicious attacks. Use this option carefully if at all. Some networks have more malicious users than others.

49. Expand the DCC category. You will see 'options' 'folders' 'Fserve' 'Server'

50. You can browse them all, the pertinent things I want to mention are:
under Folders, I selected "DCC Ignore" - Ignore al except. This is just an additional level of security on the machine. Under Server, I do NOT have the DCC server enabled. Some people do. If you're wanting to send & receive files, you're going to have to alter settings to allow these kinds of things. I prefer to use email etc, for file sharing, as opposed to doing it via a chatroom. More secure.

51. Let's go check out the Category section "Display"
Here is where you change the visual effect of your personalized mIRC, colors of toolbars, buttons, and so on. Line spacing, frames, etc. Take some time to poke around in the various sub-options and buttons & so on. This is completely personal and up to you on how you want things to look. You can check out the effect by logging into chat.

52. The Last section under Options is "General". Clicking on "General" gives you a few more basic layout options.

expand "General"

53. Click on Servers. You may want to Not enable the DDE server if you are concerned with security. If you want people to get your Ctcp Finger message... here is where you enable the Finger server.

54. Click on Lock. Here is where you disable Fserver. Good idea. Good idea to disable Get while you're at it. Excellent idea to disable the /run and /dll commands. The things people can do to your computer if you have those enabled... eek. Here is also the area where you can set a password on the entire Options area, effectively locking it from being altered. Great for parents, or to keep siblings or roommates from wreaking havoc.

Have you been clicking the "OK" button to save your changes? :)

At this point, the vital stuff is all set. You are now ready to Chat! (You're probably saying "It's about time. I was starting to wonder if this isn't just some elaborate geek version of Chinese Water Torture")

To CHAT!!

1. Go to the Options. In the IRC Network section, select "all". In the box underneath it, use the dropdown menu and scroll through until you find "#theforce". Click on that.

Now you should see "all" displayed next to 'IRC Network' and '#theforce' in the box underneath it.
Your Name, email, Nickname, etc should display in the boxes on this popup as well. If they are not, it is because you forgot to click the "OK" button earlier when we were adding this information. Assuming things are as they should be:

2. click the "connect to IRC Server" button.

(alternatively, you can click the Lightning Bolt icon in the tool bar, or click "file" and then "connect")

3. You will now be connected to the novatech.net server. If you are not, it could be due to the Novatech services being down. Or you could have made an error in your data entry. Retry connecting a few times, then go double-check your data. If you did Not make an error, it means the server is down, and simply try again later. 15 minutes, an hour. Some days the servers are VERY slow. Persistence & patience are the keys here.

4. If you are using your FA login name, and did Not choose the "perform on connect" option with the /pass command... you will now need to type

/pass YourPasswordHere
and click 'enter'

OR
use a different nickname. Type

/nick YourNewNameHere
and click 'enter'

Assuming things are now settled in regards to your password/nick, you are ready for the next step.

5. type
/join #theforce
click 'enter'

A new channel window will open, and you will now be in #theforce. If you are the only person in there, you will see Only your name in the list of names. If other people are also in the chatroom, you will see their names And your name.

6. You type your messages in the text box at the bottom of the window, and click the 'enter' button to send the information to the chat channel.

7. To quit the chat, you can simply click the 'x' button, you can close mIRC, you can stay connected to Novatech's server, and leave only one chat channel by typing
/part
and clicking 'enter'
or you can type
/quit
and clicking 'enter'


There are other channels besides #theforce on the Novatech server.
#gen_chat
#lounge
#yakchat
to name a few. Some are oriented towards collecting StarWars 'stuff', others for Roleplaying, some for simple recreation/relaxation.

You can be in multiple chats at one time. Simply type /join #lounge and a new channel window for #lounge will open.


Other mIRC features are things such as Aliases, and popup commands. These are advanced toys & gizmos. I recommend perusing the mIRC website, or using a search engine, if you are interested in pursuing them.

The "Tools" option on the main menu bar is where you will find "colors" and "fonts" if you wish to customize the appearance of those. The "Window" option is where you can choose how to display all of your channels & such. Do you want them to cascade? Tile?

If you are truly stuck, check the "Help" section. And if that does not work, check the various FAQs on the mIRC site. If after all of that, you're still stumped, post here at the FA, and if anyone knows the answers, they'll help out.

I believe that covers a significant portion of mIRC procedures. Definitely you have the means by which to enjoy the chat at this point.

One caveat...

You cannot connect to Novatech server AND for instance, the DALnet server, at the same time, unless you do something tricky. Some servers get upset if you do this trick, and retaliate by banning you or other unpleasantness... With that said, however, what you do is simply open the mIRC program multiple times. If you want to be connected to Novatech, DALnet, and StarChat, you would need to open mIRC 3 times. One for each server.

When you are connected to a server, though, you CAN be joined to multiple channels On That Server. So you can open mIRC one time, connect to Novatech.net, and then join any & all of the available channels currently open on the Novatech server.

Hope that is more clear than mud.

Happy Chatting!

Orginally posted by ~Qadira. 14-04-03
Updated by S'anne. 24.01.05