While a sallies-only view of moving ropes has been available in Virtual Belfry since 2008, the ropes have become much more interesting since the ringers were added in version 3.4 (the sallies-only view is still available, and does have the interesting advantage of showing the way the coursing order affects the pattern of rope movements much more obviously than by looking at the ringers). The Ropes Window gives an immersive and authentic ropesight experience, with additional features to help teach the concepts involved in this visual skill.

Normally, bells are selected for ringing by choosing preset options on the main control panel (six, eight, etc.), but you can use the Ropes window to select any desired assortment of ropes.

Once ringing starts, any ropes/ringers that are not being used are removed from the scene, leaving the selected ones to fill the window.

If you are ringing a real bell, using Virtual Belfry as a simulator, and you have "Hide Own Rope" ticked on the control panel, your own rope will vanish from the window as soon as you join in, leaving a gap in the band.

Ropesight Aids

There are two specific tools for helping to develop (or explain/demonstrate) ropesight: Flashes. When the option for Ropesight Flashes is chosen on the control panel, a yellow circle is drawn momentarily over different ringers at specific times (on the sallies-only view the highlight is a coloured rectangle surrounding the sally). The timing of the flashes is designed to draw the ringer's attention to a rope at about the time that normal ropesight would do the same job. There is also a delay setting to vary the timing of the flashes. This is mainly for the ropesight "game" (see below) but it may be useful to delay the flashes during ringing to give the ringer a chance to spot the next rope before the computer highlights it.

Cumulative. With this option ticked, ringers acquire or lose big green ticks progressively to show the way in which ropes are "collected" one by one when hunting from the front to the back, and "discarded" on the way back down to the lead (on the sallies-only view the same effect is achieved by changing the background colour). It is best used just for hunting, on six or eight bells, starting on the treble.

Ropesight Game

This is a way to test your own ropesight while sat at a computer, using the ropesight flashes described above. A mouse is essential. The object of the game is to point the mouse at the next ringer before the flash occurs. Your success rate is shown as a blue bar up the left hand side of the window and the final results are shown afterwards in a box on the control panel.

The Control Panel

Options on the control panel for the ropes (see the image at the top of this page) allow you to choose:

There is a button at the top that opens a dialog for choosing the ringers you want from the available selection of ten (a number that will increase at a future date). The default band placement is probably good for most purposes, but if you have an old computer that is quite slow or doesn't have much RAM, you might choose to place, say, only three or four ringers repeatedly. This would make the loading quicker.

The results of the ropesight test are also shown on the control panel.