Author Topic: An idea: Modular Package Folders  (Read 502 times)

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Offline Axem

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An idea: Modular Package Folders
I had this idea after seeing this thread and thinking about Knossos and how mod folders have become pretty complicated and full of... many many files. BP has so many more files than retail, its a bit of work to find a ship's files. In Wings of Dawn, Spoon has a giant ships.tbl, that just to find certain ships he has bookmark IDs similar to what you'd find in a complete walkthrough on GameFAQs. It'd be great if there could be some method to organize things a little better.

So here's a rough proposal on my idea of Modular Package Folders.

Basically a package is like a mini-mod that would be a /data/ folder structure inside the parent mod. FS would look in the /packages/ folder and load everything in addition to the mod's root /data/ files. So you could have 1 package per ship, 1 package per weapon, 1 package per fleet, 1 package per explosion pack. You want to release a ship? Just pack it up and release, and someone can just throw it in their mod without any need to edit table files.

There were some interesting comments on discord about making an asset manager and using Knossos as a one so I thought I'd bring the discussion out here to see what people think.

(Also ngld was calling them resource folders which I also think is a pretty nice name. Doesn't really matter what they're called!)

 

Offline Cyborg17

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
I have been wanting to do something like this forever.  This could make modding incredibly accessible.

Also, a good alternative if it's too difficult to code resource folders: a secondary resource mod, kind of like MediaVPs, but for user-created content (UserVPs?) which would have commented out tables.  Want to add x/y/z ship from UserVPs? Include that mod as one of your mod dependencies and just take the table entry from there and put it in your own mod!

We could do periodic releases, too, like UserVPs 2017 being all the user created ships for 2017.  Many different mods could rely on them too, and cut down on FSO hard drive and bandwidth usage.

 
Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
Definitely on board (I was going to propose something like this myself once Knossos matured a bit). All you'd really need, I think, is a way to keep a mod from showing up in the install list. Once a mod is uploaded with such a flag, it can be declared as a dependancy, and blam, resource pack.

The Modular Construction Pack seems like a great use case. Collections of ships built around a certain theme is another one. It doesn't just have to be ships, though - utility scripts would benefit a lot from something like this.

Either way, mods get updated versions for free (particularly useful for scripts), and the end user doesn't need multiple copies of the same models (looking at you, GTC Crethus).
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:25:11 pm by xenocartographer »

 
Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
I think it's certainly worth exploring, the lower we make the entry ceiling to modding, the better. The thought crossed my mind a few times that Knossos could be expanded at some point to include some form of asset management for modders.


Quote
In Wings of Dawn, Spoon has a giant ships.tbl, that just to find certain ships he has bookmark IDs similar to what you'd find in a complete walkthrough on GameFAQs.
Really ? I figured a modern TC would rely on dozens of .tbms rather than haul ginormous .tbls around. I mean just looking at my old dead mod, which has far fewer assets than WoD, I've got 4 different *-shp.tbm and 8 *-wep.tbm, which I thought about splitting further several times.

 

Offline m!m

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
This request should be relatively simple to implement since these packages are essentially just more mod directories. The only "new" thing would be to enumerate all directories in the packages directory and that is relatively simple to do.

I would recommend another location for the directory though. Putting the packages into the "data" directory may cause more problems later on since "data" should only contain actual mod data and not other mods. It would be much better to just put them into a "packages" directory which is located in the "normal" mod root.

 

Offline Axem

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
Really ? I figured a modern TC would rely on dozens of .tbms rather than haul ginormous .tbls around. I mean just looking at my old dead mod, which has far fewer assets than WoD, I've got 4 different *-shp.tbm and 8 *-wep.tbm, which I thought about splitting further several times.

Well I can't speak for Spoon, he may like having a central location for all his ship table stuff, and that's totally fine. My point is more just how much stuff some mods can have and some people may wish to break things up into smaller bits.

This request should be relatively simple to implement since these packages are essentially just more mod directories. The only "new" thing would be to enumerate all directories in the packages directory and that is relatively simple to do.

I would recommend another location for the directory though. Putting the packages into the "data" directory may cause more problems later on since "data" should only contain actual mod data and not other mods. It would be much better to just put them into a "packages" directory which is located in the "normal" mod root.

Yay! Location makes sense I guess, I was just thinking everything had to go in data. It would make more sense so it'd be more separated from the root data file system.

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
I was going to post about how the Wiki recommends merging all tbms and how it suggested there was a tbm limit...

But that limit has been removed. I was unaware. Cool! The wiki also no longer recommends merging all tbms. So, I guess I actually have nothing to add here. :)
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Offline Spoon

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
Really ? I figured a modern TC would rely on dozens of .tbms rather than haul ginormous .tbls around. I mean just looking at my old dead mod, which has far fewer assets than WoD, I've got 4 different *-shp.tbm and 8 *-wep.tbm, which I thought about splitting further several times.
Oh no dude, having so many different tbm's is absolutely an organizational nightmare, why would you ever want that??? I took a lot of the mediavp table structure when I first started modding and its awful to work with. I found myself constantly searching through the tables folder, trying to find little things like a weapon's muzzleflash, or spending far too much time trying to figure out why something wasn't showing up ingame, only to eventually discover some .tbm was overwriting my changes.
Having a single organized ships.tbl and weapons.tbl is objectively the best thing you could ever do to yourself in Freespace modding. And even with all that organizing, there's still 74 seperate table files in WoD's table folder. Less is more yo.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
Single weapons and ships tbl is the way to be, fams. God help you if you have to juggle a bunch of notepad windows trying to figure out which ship is calling which weapon which you deleted.

 
Re: An idea: Modular Package Folders
Well, my job includes navigating through dozens of source files across multiple, so organizing my files and finding/replacing/deleting stuff across multiple text editor tabs isn't much of a problem, it actually feels more natural. I pretty much always know in what file is what (eg. new capships are in cap-shp.tbm, TAGs & SSMs are in TAG_SSM-wep.tbm, etc.).

But whatever setup works for you is fine (& yeah the mediaVPs way is pretty awful to work with, due to the fact that all components are supposed to be optional). Anyway, that's enough about that, let's get back to Modular Package Folders.