Author Topic: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10  (Read 12712 times)

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Offline Flipside

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Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« on: February 13, 2009, 10:18:31 am »
Ok, I'm opening this thread to get feedback on ideas for an update to TBP in order to keep compatability for 3.6.10.

Firstly, some ground rules:

1: No Flaming, this is for reasonable discussion, things got a bit heated last time, so lets all try to state our cases here, and respect other people's points of view without getting heated.

2: This update will NOT BE SUPPORTED BY THE OFFICIAL TBP TEAM. They've done their work, now it's up to the fans to maintain the project they love.

3: The primary purpose of this project is to remove problems with the current model set-up that are causing errors and problems for the SCP Team whilst debugging the Source Code related to it. It is not an 'upgrade' or a 're-make', the models themselves will remain the work of the people who worked so hard to create them.

From the feedback I have recieved, the following problems have so far been resolved:

* Several MOI settings that were problematical have now been fixed (but not all so far)

* VE Dreadnought model stability improved.

* Shipset split so that there are two versions, one compatible with the 'standard' build, and an extended shipset which is compatible with the Inferno build.

* Fixed objecttypes entries that were creating warnings.

* AI Profile priority repaired.

* Missing eff frame issues repaired.

* Missing texture issues repaired.

Work still to be done includes:

* Rebuilding MOI entries for ships this has not currently been done on.

* Some LOD issues to be corrected.

* Some turret set-ups to be re-calibrated

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I have been modding Freespace 2 for several years, and people should bear in mind that TBP was one of the first Total Conversions for Freespace, so a lot of these problems are NOT caused by 'bad modelling' or anything else of that ilk, I know from experience, the problems that sometimes arose with older versions of PCS and other conversion programs around at the time, sometimes Lods would swap themselves for no reason, turrets would refuse to work, MOI's would delete themselves for no reason etc, so please no throwing blame around for these problems, it is NOT the intention of this thread to throw aspersions at the vast amount of work done by the Team, it is merely a fact that the SCP, and Freespace 2 is changing, and it is up to the fans, who have supported and loved this mod for so long, to continue to help TBP remain the definitive Freespace 2 experience.

My intention is that this patch will be available in the TBP Forums, thus keeping the entire TBP experience together, but I will re-iterate that this is NOT an official patch, the standard TBP will continue to function as normal under 3.6.9.

Please post any feedback/thoughts/suggestions.

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 10:51:57 am »
Hi Flipside. The rules for modding The Babylon Project are listed in this thread.

Please let me quote the first of those rules (the one in the enormous font):

Quote
1.  TBP is FINAL and the core is to remain as is and not to be modified in any way.

Please let me tell you why this rule exists:

  • TBP Final was extensively beta tested to produce an end user experience which was as stable as possible. Every time you change the core files you risk introducing new bugs into the game. Even if the original change was intended to fix a bug. There's no reason fixing bug A) shouldn't introduce bug B) and bug C). The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  • Changes to the core files might result in broken backward compatability with existing missions and campaigns written for TBP Final. Presently it's simple. Someone downloads TBP Final. They can play any campaign and write campaigns knowing everyone can play them. If you're patch breaks that you add a whole new layer of complexity and headache to the proceedings. With the potential to create a support nightmare for campaign writers and us here in the TBP public forum alike.
So you see, these rules exist for very good reasons.

That said, let's look at your suggestions:

2: This update will NOT BE SUPPORTED BY THE OFFICIAL TBP TEAM.

Who would support it if the patch were to backfire?

3: The primary purpose of this project is to remove problems with the current model set-up that are causing errors and problems for the SCP Team whilst debugging the Source Code related to it.

Ok so this offers no benefit to the end user.

It is not an 'upgrade' or a 're-make', the models themselves will remain the work of the people who worked so hard to create them.

It would not be a continuation of "The Babylon Project" in any way. That project has finished. This is very important. The TBP team have no intention of handing over development of TBP to another team. This is fundamentally against the team's wishes.

* Several MOI settings that were problematical have now been fixed (but not all so far)

Harmless fix.

* VE Dreadnought model stability improved.

Explain. Feel free to be technical. I was "technical manager" of this mod before I was "project leader".

* Shipset split so that there are two versions, one compatible with the 'standard' build, and an extended shipset which is compatible with the Inferno build.

I am vetoing this. The beauty of the present setup is that the end user doesn't need to think about installing a particular shipset. They just run the appropriate build. If there are too many ships it silently throws warnings. Good for the end user. Bad for you. I care about you, but not as much as I care about the end user.

* Fixed objecttypes entries that were creating warnings.

Again, please explain.

* AI Profile priority repaired.

Again, please explain.

* Missing eff frame issues repaired.

Harmless.

* Missing texture issues repaired.

Harmless.

* Rebuilding MOI entries for ships this has not currently been done on.

This has the potential to cause all kinds of damage. We are to assume that the new version of PCS won't introduce new problems?  Sorry but I've used too many versions of PCS. Most of our models were saved using old versions of the program and god knows what problems that might cause.

* Some LOD issues to be corrected.

Table entries or model recompiles?

* Some turret set-ups to be re-calibrated

Again, what exactly will change.

and it is up to the fans, who have supported and loved this mod for so long, to continue to help TBP remain the definitive Freespace 2 experience.

Let's get this straight. The TBP team is not handing the project over to the fans for further development. That is expressly against the wishes of the team who worked so hard on the TBP Final release.

Please can you clarify the work you are suggesting where requested above and we will discuss further. Also please can you tell me why since this patch mainly benefits the SCP team and nobody else, the SCP team cannot simply create their own internal patch for their own use? Thanks.
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Offline den5

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 10:54:07 am »
Ok, I'm opening this thread to get feedback on ideas for an update to TBP in order to keep compatability for 3.6.10.

* Shipset split so that there are two versions, one compatible with the 'standard' build, and an extended shipset which is compatible with the Inferno build.

Please post any feedback/thoughts/suggestions.

Probably Inferno build is not required any more. Is needed some time to find out it.

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 10:59:46 am »
Another good point made by Den5. I thought the ship limit had been raised in 3.6.10.
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Offline The E

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 11:16:21 am »
Apparently not. An Inferno build is still required to access the entire shipset. (Using the latest Knightly build, anyway)
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Offline Vidmaster

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 01:18:25 pm »
all senseless posts will be (and have been) removed.

I already stated in various discussions with FUB that I would accept (and like) an "update" VIA A MOD simply because it's a mod not an update. The game was released with the possibility to mod it, so anybody can mod anything he or she wants. TBP is and stays final, the core is left untouched. Easy as that. We refused making patchs (and a mod was out of the question for the SCP for some reason) or a new release. But this would have nothing to do with us, it would not be supported by us, it's just a mod somebody else made.  :)

Now a personal statement:

Of course I'd like to continue the multiplayer support, especially with lobby and all this. Of course I'd like to benefit from neat new updates. The end user would like that too.
-> End Personal statement.
 
But of course, I refuse making any patch.
However, anybody can make a mod. Has nothing to do with me...  ;)  You get me right?

Still, discussing what will be part of the mentioned mod should benefit a potenially released 3.6.10 upgrade mod. I like to compare it to the mediaVPS mod for FS2.
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Offline IPAndrews

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 01:41:10 pm »
Yes there is a significant difference between a "patch" which modifies the default installation without giving the user any say in the matter, and a mod implemented using the mod system which gives the user the option of running a modified installation or not. Obviously I would lean towards the latter. This also fits with our rule #2.

Quote
2.  Anything not already included in the installation should not be placed in the main TBP folder or under it's data folder.  A Mod folder should be used for all changes and additions including but not limited to models, campaigns, sounds, missions, tables, weapons, animations, etc.  The only exception to this is for multi player missions and campaigns using the default tables since they have to be there.   Also keep in mind that there is a 32 character limit (that's name with extension) in FS2 when naming files.

Let us not forget though that we would still be waiving rule #1 with all the risks that poses, as discussed. The question remains: why? You must look at everything on a risk vs reward basis. One thing I disagree with you about Vidmaster is that implementing the SCP team's fixes is in some way a pre-requisite for TBP running with 3.6.10 and you getting the lobby and all the nice multiplayer goodies I would also like to partake in. The simple fact is, TBP works fine with 3.6.9. It should also work with 3.6.10. So we must drop this false assumption that these fixes are required from the conversation and analyse them on their own merit on a risk vs reward basis.

I need to see the details of the changes to do that. So I await more infomration.
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Offline Flipside

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2009, 01:59:33 pm »
Quote
Who would support it if the patch were to backfire?

Depends how or why it backfires really, the whole purpose of the Mod is to repair stuff, so any 'backfires' as you call them, should be code problems, not model problems. That is part of the reason behind the patch, to define which problems are genuinely being created by the code, not by strange values/missing information in models.

Quote
Ok so this offers no benefit to the end user.

It offers considerable benefit to the user, it is a repair, the reason behind that statement is to point out that the intention is not to recreate hi-poly models etc, it is purely to repair the current problems on the models. You could have asked this kind of question when I PMed you a copy of the original post to make sure you were ok with the wording,

Quote
Explain. Feel free to be technical. I was "technical manager" of this mod before I was "project leader".

I can't explain in detail, I didn't do the fixes, but apparently the VE Dreadnought would cause crashes, the objectypes, I'm not sure about, and the AIProfile was set to a lower priority to the standard FS2 AI.

Quote
This has the potential to cause all kinds of damage. We are to assume that the new version of PCS won't introduce new problems?  Sorry but I've used too many versions of PCS. Most of our models were saved using old versions of the program and god knows what problems that might cause.

These are ones that would not open in the newer versions of PCS, I'm not sure what is planned for these yet.

Quote
Table entries or model recompiles?

Recompile for most models by the looks of things.

With the turrets, there are apparently some problems, and one model has managed to get one of it's own LODs assigned as a turret model.

Quote
Please can you clarify the work you are suggesting where requested above and we will discuss further. Also please can you tell me why since this patch mainly benefits the SCP team and nobody else, the SCP team cannot simply create their own internal patch for their own use? Thanks.

Because of the possibility for creeping errors caused by problems with models, the chances are high that 3.6.10 won't be able to support them unless they are repaired, the debug errors are there for a reason, even if it is moderately safe to ignore them on most occasions, the odds are high that 3.6.10 will have a much lower tolerance of model-setups, since this will help reduce those creeping errors. This is as much to help people to continue playing TBP on 3.6.10 as about the SCP Team fixing stuff. As I stated in my original post, 3.6.9 will continue to work as always with the original files, but for it to be compatible with 3.6.10 onwards, it will have to be patched.

With regards to the Patch vs Mod thing, well, that's up to the guys who create it, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be put in a VP of it's own and selected as a mod, but it's been a while since I modded FS2, so they'd know better than me.

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 02:15:58 pm »
Okay. IPAndrews, Vidmaster, would you support a patch if it was deployed as as mod?

Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2009, 02:21:58 pm »
I've already stated my opinion on this many times.  I have nothing against fixing bugs as a mod.  This is the way I think of it:

TBP 3.4b = FS2 Retail

Mods are fine.  I have even stated a willingness to have a MediaVP style mod that would both contain fixes and new material.  It would also be validated for multiplayer.  It's something I wanted to put off for the future (Like 3.7) when more ships and the new pilot file code was implemented but if we have to start it sooner then I don't have a problem with it. 
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2009, 02:23:16 pm »
Fantastic. FUBAR, would you be willing to speak to the other team members and see if they'll agree?

What about the SCP side of things? Is a patch-as-mod for multiplayer support acceptable, Goober/Karajorma?

FUBAR, in the other thread I floated the idea of doing a 'TBP Director's Cut' or special edition at some point in the future. Maybe that would be a good reason to make an exception to your (otherwise excellent) commitment to keeping 3.4b final?

EDIT: to centralize discussion, I'll repost my suggestion from the other thread:

Quote
Okay, at the moment it looks like there mayyy be the potential for a consensus to emerge.

1) Would both parties be willing to work with an update if it was delivered as a mod, rather than a change to the core engine?

2) Would both parties be willing to consider the option of a 'Director's Cut' or 'TBP Special Edition' in the future, updating the core engine to 3.4c? This could come much later.

It would be great if TBP could continue in its position as one of the SCP's flagship total conversions. Although I think your commitment to finalizing TBP springs from the same commitment to reasonable milestones that made TBP so successful in the first place, we shouldn't let it stand in the way of a final step towards perfection.

As IPAndrews said, we've got to weigh the risks and rewards, and if at some point it seems like a rerelease of the core files wouldn't be too much of an issue -- it might even drum up new publicity! -- maybe the TBP team should do it.

In the mean time, we can deliver the patch as a mod in order to maintain multiplayer support.

Is that generally reasonable?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 02:27:21 pm by General Battuta »

Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2009, 02:26:32 pm »
As far as I've ever understood it while 3.4b is final the DVD's will continue.  New content and the mod could be included in the next DVD. 
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2009, 02:28:21 pm »
As far as I've ever understood it while 3.4b is final the DVD's will continue.  New content and the mod could be included in the next DVD. 

Awesome, I like the way this is headed.

IPAndrews and Vid, what do you think of this?

As for the SCP guys, I know that a patch-as-mod is not as ideal for you as something placed with the core files, but would it be an agreeable compromise for now?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 02:42:35 pm by General Battuta »

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2009, 02:53:58 pm »
Awesome, I like the way this is headed.

General Battuta. You're avatar says BP. Unless I'm mistaken that's Blue Planet. You are not the UN. We do not need your help to "move things along". Your comments are not helpful. I respectfully request that you leave us to it. Thanks.
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2009, 02:55:56 pm »
Actually I think he's doing a heck of a job mediating.  An impartial 3rd party might be a good thing. 
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2009, 02:56:19 pm »
I tend to agree. A 3rd party not connected with either project is useful. I can't mediate cause I'm on both projects. :)


Patch as a mod makes absolutely no difference to the coders from a straight patch for FS2 and only a minor difference for FRED. It's perfectly acceptable to me

I've already told FUBAR over a week ago that I supported a mediaVPs style patch.
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Offline IPAndrews

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2009, 03:01:15 pm »
He's not mediating Kara. He's not impartial in any way. He's already stated he's happy with the way things are headed which has revealed his preferred outcome. Besides we are all grown ups here we don't need to be hand held by some random bloke off the street. Now stop encouraging him.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2009, 03:16:28 pm »

* Several MOI settings that were problematical have now been fixed (but not all so far)

Harmless fix.
Harmless it may be but the fact that the sheer amount of ships which were/are lacking MOIs makes it unlikely that anyone with a debug build would run tbp given the amount of warnings

Quote from: IPAndrews
* VE Dreadnought model stability improved.

Explain. Feel free to be technical. I was "technical manager" of this mod before I was "project leader".
Stock VE Dreadnought crashes the game as soon as game tries to load it. So there kinda seems to be a problem in it...

Quote from: IPAndrews
* Fixed objecttypes entries that were creating warnings.

Again, please explain.
Several of the used objecttypes were referring to objecttype names which were via hardcoded compatibility fixes (fs1/fs2 compatibility) changed. In effect making several of the TBP objecttypes unused. (repair_rearm vs support, super cap vs supercap)

Quote from: IPAndrews
Again, please explain.
..
Harmless.
..
Harmless.
All causing warnings to appear when trying to load a mission with the models in question in it. And as they are rather trivial to fix then why shouldnt they?

Quote from: IPAndrews
* Rebuilding MOI entries for ships this has not currently been done on.

This has the potential to cause all kinds of damage. We are to assume that the new version of PCS won't introduce new problems?  Sorry but I've used too many versions of PCS. Most of our models were saved using old versions of the program and god knows what problems that might cause.

* Some LOD issues to be corrected.

Table entries or model recompiles?

Problems vary greatly.. Some fixes will require reconverting the models while others may be fixeable with various pof file editors.

Quote from: IPAndrews
* Some turret set-ups to be re-calibrated

Again, what exactly will change.
For example... Ï presume drakh mothership is not supposed to use the main ship model as the 2nd turrets base submodel... which may be fixeable with pof file editor or it may yet require model reconversion.
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Offline DaBrain

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2009, 03:17:50 pm »
Patch as a mod makes absolutely no difference to the coders from a straight patch for FS2 and only a minor difference for FRED. It's perfectly acceptable to me

I don't agree. A patch as an (inofficial) mod may be good for the SCP, but is not as good as a real patch for all the players.
To be blunt: A half-assed solution, that mainly helps the SCP isn't good enough imho.

We shouldn't forget that this isn't just about helping the coders making the debugging easier, but more important, about fixing problems/crashes for TBP players.


No "optional" and "inofficial" mod, will ever be spread as far as an official patch.
And how would you handle multiplayer once the 3.6.9 server is down?
Drop the official TBP version from the support and only support the inofficial patch?

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Offline Angelus

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Re: Concepts/Rules for fan-created update to TBP for SCP 3.6.10
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2009, 03:29:14 pm »
...
And how would you handle multiplayer once the 3.6.9 server is down?
Drop the official TBP version from the support and only support the inofficial patch?




Good question.

Would a "unpatched" version of TBP be compatible with a patched in multiplayer?
While the models shouldn't affect anything, my guess is that different tables could cause some problems
( hacked tables for instance ).
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