Old 21st October 2002, 21:57   #1
Mr Jones
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Everything you need to know about skin submission at Winamp.com


As compiled by BullGawD & Wildrose Wally, subsequently edited by Jones, with contributions from Ken, Simon Snowflake and Watadoo


General Policy.

Carefully consider what category you want to display your skin in. It is not necessary to publish in both categories, one will do fine also. A skin cannot be both in the Retro and the Futuristic category, they are opposites.

Do not publish too many skins per day. Many ratings tend to get lower and lower as skins come in from the same author. One per day would be almost perfect.

Avoid skins that already have been done by someone else, be it in a slightly different form. For example, there are more than enough skins of Homer's brain, we don't need any more.

When you update a published skin through a new submission, delete the old one. If you don't, people might say they have seen that one before and not give it a second look. Why split the download count anyway between your old and new versions. You can also update your skins by using the Edit function on your skin-publishing page.

The use of multiple accounts to rate your own skins will not be tolerated. If we see anyone doing this to their skins, they will be deleted. It is fine to rate your skin once, however repeated rating of it will eventually lead to it's removal. The use of someone else's name will result in deletion of your skins and a possible banning from this site.

General Guidelines for Publishing Winamp Modern Skins.

Winamp Modern Skins were previously known as Winamp3 skins.

Do not publish Beta versions; discuss them first in the Winamp Modern Skins forum, who want's to see half finished skins anyhow?

Do try to skin as many windows as possible, the current minimum accepted is..
Main player window
Equalizer (Could be part of the main or a drawer)
Control buttons should be visible (or in an easy to find drawer)
And the studio components for the playlist, library, etc.
You no longer need a Thinger, but are welcome to include one anyway.

Do not submit NSIS Installer EXE files. Only submit WAL files, skins files now auto associate with Winamp, those pretty installers are no longer needed to get your skin where it's supposed to go.

Do not submit skins that have been converted from existing Winamp Classic skins, we don't need another copy of it in the database, one is more than enough, thanks.

Do not submit Winamp Modern skins made with a skin tool, such as skinner too, these skins will NOT be published on winamp.com, the skins you make are for personal use only. You can publish on your own site, or any other that will take them, but not here.

Do check all your work thoroughly before submitting it, test every button, flip every switch, if it's broke in any way, it won't be published.

Please ensure your skin works correctly in ALL operating systems, Win98, 2k, XP, just because you use XP dosn't mean everyone else does and we like to make sure the skins we have here work for everyone.

Screenshots, This should be in gif, jpg, or png formats only, with a preferred size of 275 x any height for the large image, and 178x75 for the smaller thumbnail. Make sure that the screenshots and thumbnails are clear and that they adequately represent the skin.

General Guidelines for Publishing Winamp Classic Skins.

Winamp Classic skins were previously known as Winamp2 Skins

Do not publish Beta versions; discuss them first in the Winamp Classic Skins Forum. Fully baked skins are much better.

Do not publish incomplete skins; every skin should at least have the Main, Equalizer, Play List, Video and General windows skinned, The AVS and Minibrowser windows are no longer required, but include them non the less for legacy support, oh go on.

Controls, make sure you put as many controls as you can on your skin, skins have to be functional remember. This particularly applies to the EQ area remember God loves equalizers and punishes those who build skins without including his favorite toy.

Don't submit hundreds of colour variations of the same skin, these will only be rejected.

Screenshots, This should be in gif, jpg, or png formats, with a preferred size of 275 x any height for the large image, and 178x75 for the smaller thumbnail. Make sure that the screenshots and thumbnails are clear and that they adequately represent the skin.

If you are going to use a skin tool to make your skin, then try keep the submissions down to a minimum, we allow 5 skinner skins per author, per day, the rest will be rejected, don't say we didn't warn you.

How long does it take to publish a skin?, I submitted mine last week!

Skin publishing usually takes about 4-6 weeks maximum, but can vary depending on database problems and reviewer availability. Keep your shorts on, and we'll get to it as soon as possible.

What are the skin submission guidelines?, I don't see them posted anywhere.

Though they're not posted, Nullsoft does have guidelines for the skins submitted to their site.

Objectionable Content: Nullsoft are not about sheltering children from the realities of this world, however we have a responsibility at Nullsoft to keep the site clean and free off offensive material. Therefore we suggest that our reviewers deny skins that include the following ..

Animated or simulated nudity
Scenes of sexual activity.
Anything religiously,ethnically or politically offensive.
Skins that advertise tobacco products or drugs.
Messages of hate or images of criminal activity.

Thus it saves us all a lot of time and pain if you simply don't submit skins that contain these types of activities. Just speak to a reviewer if there is a question.

Third Party external links

While we don't mind you linking to your website, blog, latest MP3 from your skin, we do take issue to anything that pushes spam onto our users.

We don't push spam with Winamp itself, so it's not really fair if we give skins to our users that do the opposite.

Skins will be judged on an individual basis by the reviewers and if they are found to contain links to advert spam or external spyware applications they will not be published on the site.

And before you say 'what about all those movie skins on the site' , they are AOL sponsored skin, they pay for the running of the site, so hush now.

What happend to the sports skins?

AOL owns Nullsoft, the company that publishes Winamp and upkeep's the Winamp.com web site. Recently (August 31ish, 2001) AOL corporate notified the Webmaster of Winamp.com that they were very displeased by the fact that Winamp.com allowed major league sport skins to be published on their website. A list of skins to be deleted was sent along with this message, as well as the instructions not to publish any more 'NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL or college team skins' on the site. We of the Skin Review Squad apologise to the authors of such skins, and suggest that you try DeviantArt,1001 Winamp Skins, or any other of the numerous sites that publish Winamp skins.

Who says AOL can keep me from publishing my skin? What happend to freedom of speech?

I say so. Well, not really, but there are two main reasons.

1) Winamp.com is the property of Nullsoft and consequently AOL. Therefore, Winamp.com is technically private property, where the owner can do whatever they want. That means if they don't want your skin, they don't have to take it. They simply do out of the kindness of their hearts.
2) They don't want to get sued. You don't want to get sued. A great many Winamp skins incorporate the property of other people (team logos, corporate logos, copyrighted images, or even that cool GUI you saw over at GUIstuff). By using many of these images, you are technically violating federal and international copyright law. Now, while many of the authors/owners of these properties don't give a whit what you do on your piddly little Winamp skin, some of them do. Winamp.com utilises a fairly lenient policy on this stuff, in that they assume that whatever images you use, you have the right to use, and remove skins only if the author complains. If the owner does complain, the skin is removed, and if the author so wishes no further skins containing his property are supposed to be published. Everybody's happy, and your ass doesn't go into hock.

But you have lots of copyrighted images on the site, why don't you remove those?

Have you looked at the internet lately?, the whole thing is full of copyright infringements, here at Nullsoft we operate a fairly lenient policy, we can't be expected to police the copyright world. We publish, and if there are complaints, we remove, as we did with the sports skins.

What are rip's?

A rip is a skin that copies all of or portions of another Winamp skin. This generally makes the author grumpy. (Though not always) It is Winamp.com's current policy not to publish rips. Rips can be verified most easily by publication dates on established Winamp skin websites. Though this seems rather clear cut, it can get rather messy when the ripper decides to modify the original skin some. Whether or not the skin is then a rip becomes a matter of opinion, and is decided by the members of the Skin Review Squad. Rips can be reported here, and those of you who have had a skin removed may appeal its removal here if you wish. If a skin is a rip, then it's a rip no matter where it is found. If you find a rip on another site, we suggest that you contact the administrator of that website. A more detailed breakdown of what exactly a rip is can be found at the end of this page, or by visiting this Thread in the rip reporting forum.

What the hell!, I got an email saying my skin wasn't published!

Current reasons for rejecting skins:

Ripped Off: This skin is not an original. (This was covered above)

Objectionable Content: This skin contains controversial subject matter. (This was covered above)

Duplicate: This skin exists in the same form somewhere else on Winamp.com. This often happens with newbies who think that because their skin didn't show up as soon as they submitted it that they must have submitted it wrong, or when a skinner decides to resubmit the same skin with the hopes of getting a better rating than they received originally.

Broken/Missing Screenshot: This is usually related to either a case of a FUBARed database or you simply forgot to upload the screen shots.If you are uploading a Winamp Modern skin, it's up to you now to upload your own screen shots to the database, and remember if your updating your skin, update the screen shots as well, or you are likely to get the plain old default base skin showing where once your work of art lived. If it's down to the database screwing around with your screen shot, them simply update your skin with new images. Either way, just thank us that we gave you a chance to fix the problem before the general public got to see it.

Improper Installation: Used mostly for plug-ins, but sometimes we get a submission in which the author hasn't read the skin creation instructions closely enough. To have a properly compiled Winamp Modern skin:
[*]You must have a correctly working skin, Guru Meditations, script errors, whacked out colour sets and buttons that don't work will get you no where.
[*] All your images must be present and correct, we see the green X of death where an image should be, we won't publish.
[*] Ensure your skin is packaged correctly in the .wal file, see the attached file for more information as to how a skin should be packed.

To have a properly working Winamp Classic skin :
[*]You must have a folder containing all the files for your skin. There should be as many bitmaps in your skin's folder as there are in the base Winamp skin.
[*]They should be named with the same respective names as the base skin bitmaps. (pledit.bmp should be named 'pledit.bmp' etc.)
[*]If it's a skinner generated skin, then it must have a complet set of buttons and sliders, skinner skins without an EQ will be rejected.
[*]You should then zip all the files you wish to include into a *.zip file, using a utility like WinZip.
[*]Then you need to rename the file from *.zip to *.wsz, so that myskin.zip becomes myskin.wsz.

What the hell!? I got an email saying my skin was unpublished!

It's probably a rip. Shame on you. We might also remove it if it's an exact duplicate of another. This often happens when skinners forget their original account password. We typically keep the newer version of the skin; unless they are exactly the same and the old version has more downloads. It is also possible for us to remove a skin if your screen shot gets FUBARed, though we usually don't.

You keep talking about CID's, what is a CID?

CID = Component Identification Number. Each submitted skin and plugin has a unique ID number assigned to it, if you are reporting a rip, making an appeal against a skin removal, you will need the CID more than anything, we can't do a thing without it. If you don't know your CID then you can find it by looking at the component in your user developer submission area, wave the cursor over the edit link, look in your browser status bar, make a note of the 6 digit number, that's the CID number, write it down.

What is the Skin Review Squad?, who made these people boss?

The Skin Review Squad is a panel of people who were chosen from a group of volunteers by Winamp.com admin. Most of them are veteran skinners, all of them use Winamp, and none of them hate you. We're here to try and help everyone by speeding up the review process, by providing fair ratings and helpful comments and by keeping an eye on the Winamp.com skin world in general.

How can I get rid of the Skin Review Squad?

You can't. If we've done something to piss you off, you can appeal by posting in here.

Well, can you at least tell us what you look for in a skin then?


Originality: Is this a creative design? How far did the designer push himself or herself with the content within the design? Is this submission an original or is it just a rip off of someone else's design? A skin is not unoriginal based on the subject matter. We are looking more for layout and art originality. More points are awarded to those skins that have never been done before. When there are several of the same styled skins, then they obviously are not that original.

Completeness: Is every window skinned? Are all the component windows there?, the more you skin, the more complete your skin will be. We like to see complete skins, we feel all warm and fuzzy inside when all the Winamp3 studio components are skinned, all the extra windows are there. That little extra attention to detail makes for moh bettah scores.

Functionality: This is also gauged in this category. Many skin designers create simply unbelievable skin designs with buttons that have no play, stop, pause symbol. That does not necessarily mean that their skin is dysfunctional. It means that it is not as user-friendly as the ones that do contain those symbols, and thus may detract from completeness.

Aesthetics: This is where your skills as an artist come in. You are reviewed in two other categories, but this category pertains to how 'good' it looks as a whole. Is the composition strong throughout each window design? How did you utilise the space throughout the picture plane? Is it cluttered? Is there too much dead space? Does the colour scheme match? Do the patterns coincide with each other? If the intention was to be a three-dimensional design, does it really give that illusion? Does each window play an important role in the whole design, or are they all quite separate from one another and therefore do not work well as a whole? This aspect is most up to individual taste, but those are some of the things we look at.

That promised elaboration on skin rips.

100% straight rips - removed with no qualms.

The second kind of rip is the rip in which someone has modified some tiny aspect of an existing skin (Text colour, background colour, etc.) and submitted it. These changes are fine, and likely look nice, but we do not accept these skins either. They're not your work, and even if you give the author credit, it's not quite fair to him/her. Closely related are those rips where someone has found a skin (or skins) they liked, and used it as a base for their own project. (Matra II is a good example of this if you remember it - it used 3 different skins by other authors, and melded them together.) These are usually not published either.

Regardless of how clear-cut a rip is, keep this in mind:

Applying a colour filter is not tangibly improving it. Skinning additional components or fixing co-ordinate bugs would be, and even in bug fix cases, you still may not get published.

Are base skin variations (colour filters) rips then?

No. But you're only likely to get half a star for it, and if someone else has beaten you to that colour, we won't have any problems removing it as a rip.

I submitted a Winamp Modern skin and got all kinds of wierd error messages.

Ahhhhh haaaaaaaa, the new Winamp skin submission page now checks your files to see how well they have been put together, if it doesn't like what it sees, it may reject your skin, but it's a decent database, and at least it will try tell you what's wrong, here are a few of the most common faults you may come across when submitting a Winamp modern skin...

a) "File does not exist! ..DEFAULT/XML/STUDIO-ELEMENTS.XML"
You might want to refer to XML file from another skin (often the Default skin). Please use the following convention:

@DEFAULTSKINPATH@ - Dafault skin's path (ie: "C:\Program Files\Winamp3\Skins\Default")
@SKINPATH@ - current skin's root path
@SKINSPATH@ - Skins directory (ie: "C:\Program Files\Winamp3\Skins"); NOTE: it has a "s" for skins

For this example, the correct way to refer to it is:

Example 2: Refer to Simple.xml file under Simple skin's XML subdirectory ("C:\Program Files\Winamp3\Skins\Simple\XML\Simple.xml")

b) "File in line: Not Found! "

This error occurs because in that line of XML, you're calling for file: "window/window-elements2.png" that the system cannot find. Steps to fix this problem:

1) Find this line of code in your XML
2) If you use it, find that file and put it in the correct directory.
3) Most likely you used that element before and now you don't need it now. If you don't, then go ahead and comment this line out.
c) "SAXParser Exception, line 1558, uri null Next character must be ">" terminating comment."

First, notice that the line is 1558. The reason for the large line number is that all the XML files are reconstructed back into a single file by the XML parser. So don't get scared.

Now back to the bug. The cause of this problem is that you're using a single comment tag for multiple lines of XML code. Often you might comment out multiple lines of XML code with a single tag like this:

While this is fine in HTML, each line of XML needs its own comment tag or otherwise it is considered bad-form. Comment out each line like this and it will solve the problem.

Above all else, remember to package your skin correctly....

You have to be inside your skin directory and package all the files and subdirectory in it. If your skins is called "Simple," don't package the "Simple" directory in the zip file.

For example, it should not be like this when you open the skin in Winzip:

It should be like this:

See the attached file for more information.

I've got a question you didn't answer hotshot!

Then feel free to talk to us in either the Winamp Modern Skins forum, or the Winamp Classic Skins Forum

Last edited 22.18.04 2321hrs - Jones
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File Type: txt how to package a wamodernskin.txt (694 Bytes, 4065 views)
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