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Just out of curiosity, what are the reasons given for wanting you to upload your Plugins folder someplace?

A question that needs to be asked is what would you be providing that isn't currently available here, or at SC4D, or other existing sites? 

How about, who would be responsible for support of any content you provide?

Another question would be what would be the benefits of fifteen or twenty people doing the same thing?  If one person does this, others will want to do so as well!

A somewhat valid argument might be made for doing this with content that is no longer available anyplace on the Internet, such as content from many Japanese sites that have disappeared.  I know the admins both here and over at SC4D have been wrestling with this issue for some time. 

Otherwise, in the language of international copyright law, this is known as redistribution, which is considered illegal without the express permission of the person that created the work.  Many of the downloads here include statements to that very fact, i.e. 'You may not redistribute this work without my express permission.'  This is certainly true of 99 % of Pegasus products.  Others have made similar statements. 

I'm afraid that I don't understand how doing something like this would open up SC4 to new users anymore than these same new users coming here or going over to SC4D.

Tim

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23 minutes ago, Tarkus said:

but we need to do something if we want what we've built here to keep going.

Imho - we should separate the discussion about sharing entire plugin folders and how the community behaves on abbandoned content. Abbandoned content most probably could be managed by staff or other users taking also over responsability while on shared plugin folder responsability for the content isn't managrable in the long term - so this would undermine responsability in a very different way.

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Just now, Fantozzi said:

Imho - we should separate the discussion about sharing entire plugin folders and how the communty behaves on abbandoned content. Abbandoned content most probably could be managed by staff or other users taking also over responsability while on shared plugin folder responsability for the content isn't managrable in the long term - so this would undermine responsability in a very different way.

A fair point, for sure.  That said, the reason I brought those two matters into my analysis is that they both fall under the rubric of ongoing accessibility, ease-of-use, and permissions issues.  The abandoned content one is a much more tangible, existential one--the content is literally unavailable or has its availability threatened.  The pent-up demand for full plugins folders is a matter of a segment of the community (much more visible off ST/SC4D) feeling that the content is functionally unavailable, due to aspects of how available files are packaged and distributed seeming to make it difficult to get off the ground and running.  Both are ultimately problems facing community longevity.

I agree about staff taking responsibility with the abandoned content (SC4D staff has been following some conditional guidelines on this front).  I still think the use of smarter exchanges would provide a functionally-equivalent alternative to full plugins folders, without the unintended side-effects of possibly throwing permissions and support into chaos.

-Tarkus

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  • Original Poster
  • 14 hours ago, twalsh102 said:

    Just out of curiosity, what are the reasons given for wanting you to upload your Plugins folder someplace?

    It simply comes down to time and convenience. For someone to 'build up' a plugins folder like mine, it would take an insane amount of time to find and individually download all the files, assuming you can still find them! The thought of this deters many people from going down the 'custom content' path.

    Consolidating 'most' of my files (excluding NAM and possibly some others) into one download would be by far the easiest way to alleviate this problem. However there would be little or no support and downloading it would be entirely at their own risk.

    An alternative could also be presented in the form of a 'best of' package, which could dump all or some of a selected download to your plugins folder. Examples include the NAM itself (contains stations) or the STEX collections disks. Individual creators or groups could upload one file containing all of their work or select downloads to a host and they could also update it with new additions or any changes if desired.

    Heck, I've also been asked to share my cities/regions but that's another discussion. Many other games / platforms have services where users can download addons in bulk or in much more efficient manner. However, I know Simtropolis & SC4D are no Steam, for example.

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    Well, I was about to make a long and heavy comment yesterday about how this model of sharing has its own technical issues that go parallel to the quasi-legal ones, and how smarter distribution methods would be able to emulate the sharing of 'starter packs' or coherent bulks of custom content with minimal difficulty for newer users. But as you see, Fantozzi and Tarkus already said everything important about that. 

    Just two things: if and when those packages are developed, we should take the opportunity to fix most of the clear compatibility issues, at least between the parts of the packs, minimising the risks of problems with just installed packs. 

    And the other issue: I'll miss binge downloading; it's the closest feeling to be a child on a candy shop on the virtual world. 

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    2 hours ago, matias93 said:

    to emulate the sharing of 'starter packs'

    A very skilled person had to do some kind of online installer - that includes already the main patches and fixes and some essential dependencies and some options to click for additional content like a terrain mod to choose and NAM-settings and gathers the files from the STEX and the LEX. This way the starter pack could be always up to date.

    Otherwise patching the base game and keep the 'starter pack' up to date will remain an issue for new users.

     

    But there's another thing to consider in my opinion.

    When I was a new user I was overstrained by all the stuff and I was confused and the game crashed and I had redundances and missing dependencies and so on. This made me willing to get a better understanding. And as I'm a slow learner this took me years.

    Now practically the idear is to circumvent this painfull process of learning the 'inner secrets' of the game - to make it as painless as possible to play with custom content.

    IMHO - this will also effect a) the interest to get into modding b) the overall knowledge of the community.

    In other words: if everthing works perfect there's no need to become inventive, to gain inside.

    So maybe taking away the pain of learning at the end you not getting the desired effect of gaining more users. As you may create instead more desinterest for the greatness of the 'sc4 universe' and how all those small elements and relations make it up.

    It took some years - but today I'm also interested in the 'making off' - those members that passed away, the history, the people 'behind the scene'. The history of the community itself. All this interest in the people behind the mods may be gone if you make this anonymous. So with whole plugin folders to share - to talk to single modders to browse for their single content may become obsolete. They won't get much attention anymore. The social dynamics of the community might change. 

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    28 minutes ago, Fantozzi said:

    When I was a new user I was overstrained by all the stuff and I was confused and the game crashed and I had redundances and missing dependencies and so on. This made me willing to get a better understanding. And as I'm a slow learner this took me years.

    Now practically the idear is to circumvent this painfull process of learning the 'inner secrets' of the game - to make it as painless as possible to play with custom content.

    Yepp, the same was here. Several crashes and Prop Pox, and texture failiure etc... And this continued when I started to make my own lots, simple copy and rename and modify stuff by LE, and than I realized that it's not enough and during the process more problems and issues... It was a really headache period.

    I wouldn't support uncontrolled full plugin folder uploads the above detailed technical reasons by others, and it's hard anyway, because now I'm playing different plugin folders in my cities, but I explain: every city has its own plugin folder with the lots/builings, with a "style". For example North-Harbour Distric was the first city and that one is using a lot of different building from polish w2w residentals sets, Simmer2 railway stuff, Tonkso highrises and w2w, some BSP and mipro stuff to japanese and chinese commercal urban malls, MattB325's gems etc... Counterpoint District is using mostly Jenx's and Porkissimo's Paris sets, Madhatter's commercial stuffs Matt's stuff are always returning as Simmer2 railway stuff as well, DiegoDL's commercial landmarks now conquer my cities rapidly etc... And this two city tiles are using the same so called Plugins WORK dependency folder. Well my third city is Suburbiana and it has a totally different pluging folder for the lots/parks/buildings and it got a reduced size totally new Plugins Work dependency folder. And most of my stuff is datpacked and after that modified by Reader (tilesets, density etc) anyway. And it's still the same region and 3 different cities, and I just opened the 4th-5th-6th city around these and started to build seperatelly the plugin folders for every each of them... It's hard to managed these for me too, what is supposed to do with this a newbe? And I haven't mentioned my unreleased lotting/relotting work for personal use... I had to write a dependency list for them, because I couldn't follow, which is where and how... :D:D:D

    Why I would download such a plugin folder is actually the unreleased modified gems. For example @rsc204 showcased once a very nice tram/bus terminus and he shared some part of the project, but half of the lot-set wasn't shared because of "legal" Brown Sauce, due to using modified props and tweeked models etc... And from shared plugin folder you can dig out some very rare and long forgotten gems. For example I'm hunting for the original Ill Tonkso depenency of this modified upload NDEX ITS NAM Terminus modified by Gitbi for a while, but no positive response from anybody so far. And the original model hasn't been available since 2012 or so... Or my latest "fight" for some of the SimPEG files which couldn't make it here to the STEX however I sent every piece of information to the staff who is responsible for the SimPEG legacy files. Whatever....

    For the legal side of this whole topic is Brown Sauce IMHO, because all of these stuff are free of charges anyway. That's why I don't understand the lack of progress to collect and redistribute the long lost chinase and japanese BATs and LOTs onto the still existing exchanges. OK, it's a time consuming thing, but I would willing to re-organizing for upload those stuffs with pictures etc, but I don't have them, I do not even aware of what I'm missing to. 

    But as I mentioned I wouldn't use everything or only such a shared plugin folder, rather pick the interesting stuffs up from it and build my own folder using that one.

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    @Haljackey

    Well, 

    36 minutes ago, Haljackey said:

    To boil it down, this is almost like an expansion pack. Rush Hour added new content to the game, so consider a base plugins pack simply as a foundation that can be built upon.

     

    The '2017' core version of SC4 could comprise of:

    -SC4 Deluxe or Rush Hour, fully patched

    -NAM (latest version)

    -Base plugins pack

    Oh, I see... Well actually this is a great idea, it's good for start and it can be developed freely :) I like it! :)

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    Posted (edited)
    15 hours ago, Fantozzi said:

    A very skilled person had to do some kind of online installer - that includes already the main patches and fixes and some essential dependencies and some options to click for additional content like a terrain mod to choose and NAM-settings and gathers the files from the STEX and the LEX. This way the starter pack could be always up to date.

    Otherwise patching the base game and keep the 'starter pack' up to date will remain an issue for new users.

     

    But there's another thing to consider in my opinion.

    When I was a new user I was overstrained by all the stuff and I was confused and the game crashed and I had redundances and missing dependencies and so on. This made me willing to get a better understanding. And as I'm a slow learner this took me years.

    Now practically the idear is to circumvent this painfull process of learning the 'inner secrets' of the game - to make it as painless as possible to play with custom content.

    IMHO - this will also effect a) the interest to get into modding b) the overall knowledge of the community.

    In other words: if everthing works perfect there's no need to become inventive, to gain inside.

    So maybe taking away the pain of learning at the end you not getting the desired effect of gaining more users. As you may create instead more desinterest for the greatness of the 'sc4 universe' and how all those small elements and relations make it up.

    Indeed, that is one potential pitfall here.  I actually made the comment to that effect in my editorial: ". . . the ease of simply and indiscriminately dumping a whole giant pack of files into your personal plugins foments a state of perpetual newbiedom, and sustains illiteracy about how to properly install and use mods."  This does, however, beg the question--are the types of users who are interested in these sorts of packages going to have the interest in becoming literate in mod usage?  

    I suppose if we were to go to more of a "starter pack" sort of setup, as Haljackey's most recent post suggested, users looking to add a certain elements to their cities would still have to learn and see those smaller elements, and if things are being done above the board, we can ensure that ample credit is in fact part of the equation.  We'd still have a potential gateway there.

    15 hours ago, Fantozzi said:

    It took some years - but today I'm also interested in the 'making off' - those members that passed away, the history, the people 'behind the scene'. The history of the community itself. All this interest in the people behind the mods may be gone if you make this anonymous. So with whole plugin folders to share - to talk to single modders to browse for their single content may become obsolete. They won't get much attention anymore. The social dynamics of the community might change. 

    This is also a concern I share, and I think it's probably an unspoken part of the root of some of the policies.  The users who are picking up plugins dumps out of the seedy underbelly certainly aren't getting that information, in large part because the seedy underbelly has at least some degree of contempt for the people and policies that have shaped our community, and their means of distribution make that sort of thing difficult as it is. 

    The need for an easier entry point, however, is definitely a real thing.  We just need to find a way to do it that isn't fraught with unforeseen side effects.

    -Tarkus


      Edited by Tarkus  

    Too many howevers

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    4 hours ago, Tyberius06 said:

    every city has its own plugin folder

    Yes. Several times I made an approach to write a tutorial for beginnes - what stuff they need. I realized that is almost impossible to write this from a 'neutral' point of view but it can only reflect my opinion, my needs etc. Even if I tried to limit it to the very basic things - I had to realize It's up to me what I put in my plugin folder. Ask 5 people and you get five different answers what are the standard plugins. SC4 custom content has grown to far to fit a standard taste but the miracle is: it can fit almost everyones taste. You can make your environment even for planet mars. 

    There was a famous literary critic in germany. He was quite obsessed to create 'standards' and he made compilations like 'the most important german lyrics'. And so on.

    But at the end all he did is to hide some of the very talented - but not so mainstream - poets from public eye.

     

    I can imagine some kind of 'starter pack' too.

     

    But it would only reflect my view. It would be some kind of politics, a statement about the content all others should use. A discouragement for newbies to make their mind up by their own.

    Should we include hospitals and police stations? Which one?

    The NAM - with what kind of settings? Including the traffic controller? How - which settings? What is right and wrong on this?

    But why including the NAM within a starter pack? The NAM was the most easiest thing to install of all to me - no external dependencies, already a pretty detailled installer explaining every step.

    Problems on the NAM are the use, not to install it I guess?

    We had to include a new Graphics Rules.sgr instead. And rules for the executable.

    We first had to think of all the settings and fixes and patches and how to include them - otherwise the starter pack won't do much about the most common problems.

     

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    My understanding from the context of Haljackey's post is that the NAM's installer would be included as part of the download (and the pack would be updated when the NAM was), or there'd be some other sort of linked setup (which we could actually do right now with the LEX over at SC4D).  Including a pre-installed NAM, aside from perhaps a very basic install, would be problematic for all the reasons you indicated.  Our biggest concern on the NAM Team is always technical support liability. 

    -Tarkus

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    For the NAM I believe a linky to the current version would be the way to go. For the download plugin packs or whatever y'all decide to call them, how about having an illustrated step-by-step picture manual of what options to select when installing NAM to correspond to the theme of said pack?

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    15 hours ago, Tyberius06 said:

    For example @rsc204 showcased once a very nice tram/bus terminus and he shared some part of the project, but half of the lot-set wasn't shared because of "legal" Brown Sauce, due to using modified props and tweeked models etc...

    I will reply more completely in this thread at some point, I'm sure a lot of you know this is a subject I'm quite interested in debating.

    But I quickly want to point out that in the instance you mention, it wasn't so much legal issues preventing me from releasing the model for the tram depot. I didn't do so out of respect for the author. My access as a member of the NAM team allowed me to download an in-development model. Whilst it is against the rules to distribute that, even if it wasn't, I still would not have released that model publicly.

    Whilst I do agree we need to try and find solutions to accessing no longer available content and making it easier for new users to play with custom content, a free for all would be a total catastrophe IMO.

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    8 hours ago, Cyclone Boom said:

    Having said all that, perhaps a smaller-scale concept may indeed reduce the extent of these issues, making them more manageable.

     

    I feel doing so would absolutely require careful thought, planning, and control. Where each pack is scrutinised through a rigorous testing procedure, ensuring compatibility with each item included. The other key ingredients need to be balance and instruction. Aiming to make it easier to use content for both members new and old, without disrupting the existing flow of creativity. Describe all content included, in a clear but concise way. Also refer back to the individual items so the user can follow-up should they wish.

    Much like the NAM is the mega pack for all things transportation, a plugins set needs to target specific identified needs. While at the same time, not being a complete encompassing solution. That is not possible, since filling a plugins folder is a puzzle which has no uniform solution, but endless ways of solving.

    This, to me, sounds like it could be the most workable solution, and one that could definitely help users getting up and running easier with certain styles of building and playing the game--for instance, a plugins set designed for building Paris-style cities, one for building US-style suburbia, and so on.  It wouldn't be feasible, of course, to have them include absolutely everything in those genres, but we could certainly give the users a sizable assortment to whet their appetite, and use the packs as a launching pad toward further exploration of the exchanges. 

    It is, most likely, going to require some repackaging of existing content to ensure quality and ease-of-use, particularly when we start getting to the matter of dealing with cross-site dependencies, which are very commonplace with many popular files.

    -Tarkus

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    Do you want to install the CPR13-turbo or do you wan't to install the MRN72-turbo? Please select.

    It seems to me almost every installer tries some kind of interrogation on me, to trick me into a final question I can't answer anymore. What's this? How should I know? Now ... which option should I select? And at the end I click just something to proceed.

    What @Cyclone Boom wrote made me wonder if a STEX DVD wouldn't be the best place for a 'starter kit'. You could make a menu giving pictures and description.  Also from what @Tarkus wrote I think a 'starter pack' had always to be a blend of files and tutorial.

    When I think back to the times when I got into SC4 - the problems did occur in some kind of steps. First was I did see cool CJ and people having spectacular intersections or this smooth slopes etc. Now the real problem was: how do I achieve the same? It really took a while to figure out which plugins I need to achieve that and where to get it. So first step was: to understand what I need. To be able to make decissions. An installer can't circumvent this. Prefab plugin folders instead - they can do.

    But having the right plugins didn't mean I get the same results as seen in CJs. Next step of the problem was: how to use them. F.e. it's not done when you have downloaded a slope mod and the digger lots (now included in NAM) - you have to learn how to combine both to get the desired results.

    Meanwhile the dependency tracker on the LEX is a great help for linking necessary files there's nothing similar to link information with the files. Mostly you have links in the forums pointing to the files but you have no links from the files to the forums. But me I didn't start downloading by using the forums and the links there but I went right to the download sections where no links are given to the tutorials. So search is tripled: what do I need? Where do I download? Now ... where is the damn tutorial?

    One could say: the problem for newbies is, they start with the wrong question. If they would start with searching tutorials they would find the links to the stuff they need. But as they start searching and browsing the download sections first for the stuff they might want - they miss the links to the according 'how to'.

    Making a tutorial or maybe to think of some kind of eductational software with included installers is much more work than a prefab plugin folder. Making a prefab plugin folder, I think the idear isn't really for the scholar - to make his life easier - but instead for the teacher - to make the teacher's life easier. He missed the point. He gave homework first but missed to explain the needed grammar. 

    To me it's a little bit like a language teacher telling the scholar: "I'll give you a set of prefab sentences, so you don't have to learn grammar."  But this way the scholar won't be able to use language anyway. It seems the teacher is doing a favor to the scholar avoiding the grammar. But instead it's the teacher - he messed up with the order of his instruction. 

    A newbie looking for a terrain mod - starting with @CorinaMarie's catalogues on the forums will have a good way. First downloading from the LEX and STEX, installing geting confused then browsing for information and finding her cataloges at the end - he will have a suboptimal start. Funny thing - as far as I can tell from post, most of us, did take this, the painful approach.

    A prefab plugin folder will prevent taking this 'painful' way but also taking the 'better' way.

     

    An installer is a guide offering options. NAM installer is a good example: Euro textures or north-amercan textures, with or without tram in street, LHD or RHD, canals?

    A tutorial is a guide on making decisions: to get this you have to do that.

    Obviously you need to be able to make decissions to use an installer. And I think we all made the experience that once an installer came up with a question we don't have a clue what he's talking about. Therefore installers can't replace tutorials (like a prefab plugin folder could do).

    To make the decission I need to know what's the talking about. 

    So I have to learn about that. But I don't want to learn now - I want to play.

    It's squaring the circle.

    But to me it seems, it's about bringing teaching (tutorials) and playing (downloading files) closer together.

    You wouldn't need a simple installer giving options - you would need some kind of educational software you're going through and at the end you have created a plugin folder you are familiar with the content.

    13 hours ago, Cyclone Boom said:

    I always believe a common mistake for newcomers is starting out too quickly.

    But gaming is like sex. Who wants to wait till he's old and wise if he's full of energy now?

    There's a theory that every human being has to go throught the history of evolution therefore embryos show webbing between their fingers. Meanwhile I'm in doubt on this theory regarding human physis - I think it's true on playing sc4. Every newbie has to go through 14 years of development - but in a couple of month. That's hard. When I was a newbie I had to go through 8 years of development and @Tarkus... well he doesn't count. He's the incarnation of the development itself. But for those coming later the process obviously is harder. I can't compare their situation with mine. 

    But if students fail - it's always the teacher to blame.  He doesn't have to create students that fit his method - he has to figure out a method that suits his students.

    Therefore we have to help them in their needs - and if their need is to get into the game quickly, well ... then this is the given task (if we think we are the teachers).
     

     

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    20 minutes ago, T Wrecks said:

    I also like @Cyclone Boom's idea a lot. I'll try to avoid writing a wall of text, so just some summarized points:

    • Sharing full plugins folders may make sense for a handful of individual cases. For example, I remember one guy used to ask me something about his city, and in the end we agreed that he'd send me his city, and I'd try to take a look even though I lacked several dependencies. This made me think that sharing a city together with the plugins used for making it may be an interesting scenario, but not on a large scale (think of the file size!).
      Likewise, both of these ways of sharing are something that I believe should happen between experienced players who know how to handle plugins and what implications such a "jump start" would have.
    • Making a catch-all starter pack for the average user interested in custom content seems like a bad idea to me. Continuously updated content like the NAM is the worst possible candidate for such a pack, even though it is one of the most sought-after download ever.
      Some compilations of similar downloads, though, could make sense. A few examples
      • A compilation of @madhatter106's office building packs for those who wish to get some more variety without necessarily altering the game too much
      • A compilation of VIP @Girafe's and Orange's HD trees and other flora for those who wish to get their flora game on a new level - it would be possible to offer a choice of either seasonal or non-seasonal, too
      • A bunch of NYBT Art Deco skyscrapers (maybe with @Reddonquixote's Chrysler Building and some mipro and other Art Deco highrises thrown in?) for those who are going for that 1920's - 1940's US big city look?
      • A compilation of @Aaron Graham's NYBT mid-rise apartment blocks? Here, the difficulty would lie in balancing wealth levels, as these buildings are often modded as R§ and R§§, sometimes even as CS alternatively.
      • A compilation of @CycleDogg's old wooden homes (and/or the old-style civic facilities, possibly also the thematically matching ones made by @mattb325?)
      • A compilation of all IRM W2W lots I have ever uploaded, condensed into one file (here, we'd have the issue of third-party BAT models)

    As seen in these examples, some problems may arise. The most prominent one would be dependency handling. Including common prop packs may be possible, but could lead to duplicates. If only SC4 had some solid packet management...

    I support this 100%.

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    It's been a long time since I wanted a topic like this to open.

    On 09.07.2017 at 10:30 AM, Tarkus said:

    It is worth noting that the SC4 Devotion staff has also been approached by another prominent CJ/MD author regarding the permissions aspect of distributing their full plugins folder.

    It's me, I think?

    I have never dared to talk about it again since the time I opened the subject on SC4D: http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=17599.0

    For me, it is essential that ModPacks be open to the public. Many players no longer want to play SC4 because the download of all Plugins is too long to do, but thanks to ModPack the problem is quickly fixed.

    Now I will talk about my ModPack a bit. Since the Francophone community is aware of my ModPack, I received several requests to share my file, I let the users play with my ModPack for several weeks and I went to sound them. All, yes, all told me that my ModPack is very good, I had a few remarks but not on the basis of the ModPack itself. My plugins are organized as well as possible, and everything is explained in the PDFs I have done.

    I have two ModPack, one with all the files and one without the NAM and all the mods related to it. You can read the PDF here, if you understand French (or with the use of Google Translte):

    "Plugins Akallan" (3.33 Go), file PDF "Read Me"
    "Plugins Akallan Light" (2.41 Go), file PDF "Read Me

    As far as I'm concerned, I shamelessly claim that I will continue to share my file, I am always listening to the players if they need information about my ModPack. The francophone community is getting small, so in my own way I try to keep it.

    You can banish me from the SC4D and ST forum, but that will not change anything.

    Aka

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    On a related note, I'd like to see any starter pack be trimmed down for file size efficiency.

    Background: For instance back in June of last year I had installed the PEG-MTP Fire Station and all the (then) listed dependencies. There were some weird colored shadows under the fire truck. The posts with that convo have gone missing or I would provide a linky (and I've reported this in the Bug thread). Edit: Found the post. Seems the thread ID got changed. Anyhow, the short version is @rsc204 found that I needed the CSX MEGA Props - Vol03 and that would fix it. (Which it did.)

    Spoiler

    As a side issue while researching for this post I discovered there is already a fix: PEG MTP Fire Station Patch, but let's get back to the point I want to make in this post.

    So, my point here is that I needed an additional 5.5MB zip file (don't know the installed size since my comp bogged down under the load of too many plugins). What I'd like to see in a starter pack is to have the actual needed dependencies parsed out and included. Adding a few thousand textures simply to get two or three that one item needs seems overly bloated.

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  • Original Poster
  • On the subject that the NAM would be included in any base / starter plugin pack, let me specify that this would not include the NAM. The download page itself could include a link to the latest version however. I think that's the best way to go.

     

    Looks like we've got a good discussion going here, and I am glad I made a thread for this. Was skeptical that it could go badly when I first thought about making it.

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    52 minutes ago, Haljackey said:

    Looks like we've got a good discussion going here, and I am glad I made a thread for this. Was skeptical that it could go badly when I first thought about making it.

    I agree about the first part, and as for the second part, I guess the community has dwindled in numbers and matured in age (and character) far enough to avoid the worst kinds of bickering and team rivalries over general matters.

    Including dependencies in a starter pack is a nice idea, of course (in lieu of a proper packet management system), and a very tempting one for newcomers. All the downloads! All the dependencies! None of the hassle! What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, as @CorinaMarie explained above, this would bloat file size. That's one thing. Another problem is: What if a user already downloaded that dependency pack? Will they be left with multiple copies flying around? This would blow up plugins folder size AND cause problems in the event that a pack is updated. The user may update one of them, but forget the other copy buried somewhere. This copy, however, would load after the other one, overriding the updates made to the props/textures inside... not a good situation.

    Alternatively, users could be forced to stick to fixed and predetermined folder structure, but will this work? Or will it be an annoying hassle for seasoned players and ultimately fizzle on newcomers because they don't stick to it for long with their individual downloads?

     

    Pruning dependency packs for the content that's actually used, now that means opening a whole new can of worms. It is tempting, yes. I have done it myself, too. However, if used on a broad scale, it will lead to duplicates galore and, thus, make the whole dependency strategy kinda moot. After all, dependencies are supposed to avoid duplicates and reduce the amount of files you need by consolidating frequently used items into one pack from which zillions of downloads can draw. I fear splitting that up would result in a chaotic and uncontrollable situation in the long run.

    The underlying problem is actually that some dependency packs are such a terrible hodgepodge of totally unrelated stuff thrown together, both items that are actually repetitive (ancillary objects such as lampposts and trees) and others that are absolutely not repetitive (larger main buildings). This was made worse by pretty much the same user wish we are dealing with now: I want it all, and I want it fast and without clicking many times! This is how mega packs were born. Now that they are in existence, the chances e.g. of separating SimGoober's park and flora stuff (the formerly independent BSC SG Flora Packs) from SimGoober's Mega Prop Pack (where they now reside, alongside farming stuff, industrial props and other unrelated things) are rather slim, I'd suppose.

     

    Is there a better way, though? Well, as I said I'm against the idea of a catch-all starter pack. For thematically organised packs, it may be possible to keep dependency count low. If modifications are made, these could also be made to the lots (rather than the dependency packs) to prune some sporadically used dependencies that would only result in the dreaded additional 6 megabyte download just for that differently coloured trashcan.

    There, I'm writing walls of text again. Look what you did. Just look what you did!

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    2 hours ago, Akallan said:

    As far as I'm concerned, I shamelessly claim that I will continue to share my file, I am always listening to the players if they need information about my ModPack.

    I'm afraid, what you call 'my file' isn't your file. I'm afraid, when John Le Carré writes a book and me, I translate it and wrap a new cover around it it still isn't Fantozzi's book.

    Nevetheless I think it is possible - under certain circumstances - to hold in trust content the original creator left in public and for reasons of maintenance and distribution (also for translation in different languages) to repack and reorganizing it. But this must not touch authorship and original copyright notes have to be kept (especially when repacking).

    My five cents.

    The problem for @Tarkusis a different one then for you. With uploading files you make a contract with the site owner - you give him permission to redristribute the files. This permission only one single person can give - the owner or author of the file. You can't make a contract with Tarkus on a file by girafe. Only girafe can do this. Only girafe can give Tarkus the permission to dristibute his files (it's the same with selling things: you can only sell the car you own. You can't sell my car, the contract would be invalid). So even community can't give Tarkus the permission to do so. Only the owner. And for Tarkus to be shure he don't violate girafe's rights he needs this permission only the owner can give.

    So one has to think of a workaround - as this won't change. And imho - as you can't change ownership only way is protection. Basically we protect someone elses posession to get lost, to be deleted, to be harmed.  We keep until he comes back (or the legal owner). Practically we treat these files like an umbrella we found on the street. We keep it for the legal owner. But for this to work - we can't say 'this is my umbrella', we always have to make clear this is the umbrella of xy, we just keep it for him/her.

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    I've been in and around SC4 since it came out.  

    The community has always been insane about content protection.....that goes back to the EA mod site.  The problem I have always had with the protectionism is that it is unfounded.

    Content should only garner protection if it has the potential to become a wealth engine in and of itself.  I have held the position since then and still hold it that the only 2 mods I have ever seen that I felt could have been monetized where NAM and CAM.  No other mods have ever held significant value.  

    Even if the concept of micro-transactions had been around when the game came out, very few would have paid $0.99 for each download.   Part of the reason Maxis crashed and burned is they held the firm belief that people would do it just a few years ago....news flash....they don't...and won't.  

    Trinket content can catch fire....but it rarely does.  

    Trinket content that is as much as a month old that hasn't caught fire never will.

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