#escapist Java Chat (13 users online)

Don't want to bother with an IRC client? Fill in your nickname below and begin chatting in #escapist on irc.escapistmagazine.com immediately! Or keep on reading to learn how to download, install, and set up your own IRC client.

Current Topic: Welcome to the Escapist IRC. - Come on in, take a seat on the luge!

The Escapist IRC Tutorial

Welcome to our IRC Tutorial. This document is designed to help you get running and familiar with our IRC channels, hosted by the great guys over at Chatspike.

To connect, just point your IRC client to irc.chatspike.net and log in. We have several channels there, including #escapist, a general chat for anyone interested.

Table of Contents

  1. What is IRC?
  2. How to Install mIRC
  3. Connecting to IRC
  4. Joining a Channel
  5. Nickserv
  6. Other Useful Commands
  7. Automating Your Connection

What is IRC

IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat", and is used to represent chatroom networks where people from all over can get together. Many networks have multiple servers, giving the users multiple sites to connect from. To connect, you need an IRC client, of which there are many. This tutorial focuses on mIRC, a shareware program. So if you don't have a copy yet, or if you don't think you have the latest one, go grab that file now. As of this writing, the current version is 6.17. If you're using the Trillian IM client, it already has an IRC client built in, so you might want to try that first.

How to Install mIRC

Installing mIRC is simple, that's one of the reasons we like it. Simply download the file from www.mirc.com and run it. The install file asks you for the directory, defaulting to C:\Program Files\mIRC, and that's it! Everything else is automated.

Connecting to IRC

Connecting to IRC is almost as easy as installing it. When you first run the program, the options window pops up with a small form to fill out. In the drop-down list, you choose the server. Just change this to ChatSpike: Random server and you'll have no problem connecting.

In the box where it says Full Name, just enter your first name, or perhaps a character name. This isn't displayed, but it's a good precaution to not put much personal information into these windows. The same carries for the E-Mail Address box.

Finally, you have the Nickname and Alternative boxes. These are what control the name you appear as, so pick whatever you want. If someone already has the nickname you put in the first box, mIRC will try to set you to the alternative. If neither work, it will prompt you for a different nickname.

At the bottom of the menu is a checkbox labelled Invisible Mode. Basically, this has to do with people being able to check if you're connected without knowing your nickname, like listing all the nicknames on the server. We suggest you put a check in this box, just for privacy and security.

Now just click on the Connect to IRC server button, and you'll be connected in no time at all.

Joining a Channel

Joining a channel is simple. If you've done everything correctly, you'll be looking at a channels folder list. This list isn't very useful, so I suggest you uncheck the Pop up folder on connect box, and close the window by hitting the small X in the corner.

Now you'll be staring at a window that is prompting you for a command. If you want to see a listing of the channels currently open, type in /list, but since you already know the channel name, you don't have to do that. The command to join a channel is /join <Channel Name>. Try it out by typing /join #escapist.

If you try to join a channel that doesn't exist (has 0 members) the channel is created for you. You can use this to make a new channel to chat in, and invite others to come chat with you.

Nickserv

ChatSpike has a nice feature called Nickserv, which allows you to 'register' your nickname, so nobody else can use it. The command to do this is /msg nickserv register <password> <email>. It's important to use a password you'll remember, and to put in a real email address. You'll need to check your email and verify your address to finish registration, and if you forget your password, they'll use that email address to send you a reminder.

Once you register your nickname, you'll have to identify yourself every time you log in or change your nickname to the registered one. The command to do that is /msg nickserv identify <password>. Once you do that, you'll get a message that tells you you've been identified.

To prevent the nickserv from becoming filled with unused old names, if you don't log on for an extended time span there's a good chance that your nickname will be reclaimed, and you'll have to register it again.

Other Useful Commands

IRC has a vast range of commands and abilities, but most of them aren't needed by most of us. There are a few that are important to know though, and you might find yourself using a lot.

/me <description>
It's like an IRC emote. * Virgil throws a large rock at Marduk
/nick <nickname>
Changes your nickname
/part
Leaves the channel you type it in
/quit <message>
Quits IRC, with the message you specify
/msg <nick> <message>
Sends a private message to the nick you specify

If you need to know how to do something else, the best way learn how is to ask in the #help channel.

Automating Your Connection

One of the most useful features of mIRC is buried in the options menu. Usually when you log into IRC, there's a few things you want to do - set your nick, identify yourself to nickserv, and join one or more channels. mIRC can let you do this automatically, if you set it up.

To do this, do the following steps.

  • Open the options menu, it's under File | Options
  • Make syre the 'tree' under Connect is open, by clicking on the small + next to it
  • Choose the Options category, and do the following things:
    • Check the Connect on startup box
    • Check the Reconnect on disconnection box
    • Uncheck the Pop up connection dialogue on startup box
    • Check the Move to top of list on connect box
  • Now open the IRC tree, by clicking on the small +
  • Choose the Perform category, and do these things:
    • Check the On connect, perform these commands box
    • Fill in the box with the commands you would type at the beginning. It might look like this:
      /nick HiroProtagonist
      /msg nickserv id <password>
      /join #escapist

And that's it! If you did everything correctly, next time you run the program you can just sit back (or wander off to get a drink), and before you know it you'll be identified and sitting in all your usual channels.

The End

And that's it, the things listed here should get you connected, running, and chatting with the least amount of frustration possible. If you have any other questions once you are connected, just type in /join #help to chat with a number of IRC pros who would be more than happy to help you. Or you can go visit IRChelp.org.