Addon Overview – Bongos (Part 1)
I’m going to write my long-promised overview of Bongos in two parts. Bongos is an action bar modification addon that gives you virtually complete control over your action bar setup. It is not tha only mod out there. It is the mod I selected because it offers fairly a good amount of action bar control, with fairly ease of setup. There are other mods out there offering more functionality, but from what I read they require much more setup and maintenance.
That being said, action bar modding is not for the faint of heart. After all, you are playing around with the very mechanism by which you tell your character and the game itself what you want it to do. The first time you install an action bar mod, login and see all your bars totally screwed up, it can be a bit unnerving. However, using a well-established tool like Bongos, and about 30 minutes or less of configuration time, you will be rewarded with a custom action bar setup, giving you:
- More screen real estate to see the action
- Better performance due to these addons being coded from the ground up to be more efficient than the standard WoW interface
- An action bar setup customized to your playstyle
- Automatic bar switching based on your current form (supports Caster, Bear, Cat, Aquatic, Moonkin/Tree of Life, Flight and Prowl)
In this first part, I plan on giving you the “real-world” overview of what you will be getting in to if you want to setup Bongos. One of my big complaints with Bongos used to be the lack of documentation on how to use it, and the relatively complexity of the addon, even though it was one of the simpler action bar mods out there.
Well, much of this got addressed in the latest release of the addon. Some overview documentation, although condensed, has been posted along with the addon on all the major UI download sites. Also, with the last release, the author has done I think a great job updating how Bongos is setup and configured to be much more understandable.
So in this post I want to do two things – give you a very overview of the basic concepts of Bongos and respond to the documentation posted on the UI sites with some real-world observations having setup and configured the mod.
Bongos gives you total control over 120 action buttons. You could create 120 one button action bars, 10 twelve button action bars or any other combination. On each action bar, you can control size, scale, button spacing, opacity and location.
Bongos downloads with the following modules:
- Bongos – The core addon
- Bongos_ActionBar – Breaks up the main action bar into movable parts
- Bongos_Stats – A display for latency, framerate, and memory usage
- Bongos_RollBar – Makes the frame for rolling on items movable
- Bongos_CastBar – A movable casting bar, with the ability to show cast time
- Bongos_XP – A movable experience/reputation bar
- Bongos_MapBar – A customizable minimap
- Bongos_Options – A dynamically loaded options menu for Bongos
So not only do you have complete control over your action bars, but you get access to some of the other bars as well.
Bongos also has the concept of “paging”. For each action bar, you can define which pageset it is part of up to 6 pages. Pages let you do things like define actions bars that only display for particular forms. So you can have an action bar for Cat that only shows when you are in Cat form.
The new release of Bongos also supports action bar “docking”. This allows you to drop one action bar on top of the other to dock the two bars. You can dock any number of bars together. The docking effect along with paging allow you to have different action bars show onscreen, in the same location, based on your various forms. The two effects together give you a lot of flexibitliy in what appears on your screen. You can also therefore have some action bars that stay on screen regardless of which form you are in.
Bongos Documentation and “Real-World” Comments
So here I’ll post the documentation that the mod author has posted on the UI sites. Most of it is self-explanatory and works. After the documentation, I’ll give some of my real-world comments based on my experiences with Bongos.
- To bring up the options menu, left click the Bongos mini map button, or type /bongos
- To unlock bars, uncheck the lock bars option in the main options menu, or right click the mini map button
- To hide or show a bar, unlock bars, then middle click or shift right click it.
- To move a bar, unlock bars, and then click and drag it with the left mouse button.
- To bring up a bar’s configuration menu, right click it
- Bindings for the Bongos action bar should only be done via the bindings menu in Bongos.
- To bind keys, open the main options panel, and select the bindings option. Hover over a button, then press a key to bind it to that button
- To access general action bar options, like enabling right click self cast, hiding hotkeys, or showing empty buttons, open up the main options window (/bongos or left click the mini map button), and select the action bars panel
- To adjust the layout of a given bar, or reduce its size, unlock bars and right click the bar you want to adjust to bring up its configuration menu
- Moving buttons: Hold down the key for moving buttons (shift by default), and drag a button. Alternatively, unlock button positions by shift right clicking the mini map button, or unchecking the option in the main options menu
- Making a bar bigger: You can increase the maximum size of a given bar by reducing the number of action bars. To do so, adjust the action bars slider on the action bar panel of the main options menu. This option will reset the settings of your actionbars
- Its possible to make a bar switch to another set of buttons using the stances panel in the Bongos Options menu.
- To do so, open up the stances tab of the options menu. A list of current bar transitions will be displayed on the screen. Follow directions from there.
- Enabling paging on a bar means that pressing the appropriate key binding (shift+1 to shift-6 by default) will cause a bar to switch to the next bar.
- To enable paging, either right click a bar and check the paging option, or check the option for the bar via the paging menu
- Its possible to adjust how many bars are jumped when paging by adjusting the skip option on the paging panel. The default is to skip 0 bars, meaning going to page 2 will go to the next bar, whereas setting skip to page 1 would shift up two bars.”
Okay, now that I read back through all this, only two real world comments:
- Pay close attention to the comment in red. If you go into the options panel and adjust the number of action bars, for example from 10 to 15 because you underestimated the number of action bars you needed, Bongos more or less completely throws out your bar configuration. Yea, most if not all of your buttons will have the action you place there still in place, but things like sizing, location, docking, etc. will need to be completely re-configured. This is really a hassle and I hope this is addressed in future releases.
- Basically ignore all the stuff in Stances and Paging. That applies to previous releases and is configured differently in the newest release.
In the next post, I’ll give you step by step instruction on how to setup Bongos to support your Druid forms. I’m using Bongos for both my Druid and Hunter so everything I tell you is applicable for other classes as well. Interestingly, Bongos doesn’t give you Hunter aspect options on action bar configuration menus, but you do get all Druid forms.
Of course, Burning Crusade is out in two days and I did pay for overnight shipping so don’t hold your breath on a detailed configuration guide for Bongos once I get my expansion disk. However, I will be taking some screen shots and hopefully posting pics of all the cool new gear I’ll be getting once step through the portal.
So parting shots on Bongos – if you’re looking for a performance boost and want some better control over your action bars, but don’t want to go crazy setting it up, Bongos may be what you’re looking for. It has some quirks, but from what I’m reading in the mod forums, most of the action bar mods do. You can always not load it and you’ll be back to your standard Blizzard bars. So, don’t be scared – give it a try. I’ll try hard to get Part 2 of this overview written soon and give you some guidelines on getting it setup.