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I guess that is an awkward construction - "apt-get" being the classic "make me a sandwich" command for Debian Linux.

Y'all have a name for it already anyway. :thumb:

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24 minutes ago, CT14 said:

I guess that is an awkward construction - "apt-get" being the classic "make me a sandwich" command for Debian Linux.

Y'all have a name for it already anyway. :thumb:

I would have liked an apt-something too, but this thing could be also useful for non - SC4 things

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@matias93: That tileset manipulation is something highly subjective, I think. For my part, I like to play around the default tilesets: I'll start with wooden houses and old-style stuff in the Chicago 1890 tileset, go more urban / Art Deco with the NY 1940 tileset, and when I want to develop the result into a modern city, I'll switch over to Houston 1990 eventually, with Euro-Contemporary reserved for either central European or HK stuff, depending on the plugins currently installed.

It's hard to tell what your average newcomer would prefer, but many may not even be aware of the different tilesets and the way the game can be set to stick to either single one or either combination of them, or cycle through them in selectable intervals. I guess many just start playing and building, and after a while they notice new stuff popping up as their city is developing, and are happy to see that.

Actively restricting / isolating / managing tilesets, let alone manipulating them to fit into a different system, is probably a technique that only avid custom content users and highly advanced players really need - not least because it requires a huge amount of plugins and some good game knowledge to either fill your custom tileset(s) sufficiently or play around the gaps that you may have in them.

I can envision users lacking that knowledge and that amount of plugins getting frustrated because nothing grows after selecting a custom tileset, and raising lots of support queries. In fact, I've seen compaints/questions along these lines brought forth by users who did nothing more than add a Maxis blocker to an otherwise chock-full folder of plugins. Indeed, even 3 gigs worth of plugins doesn't mean that you have, for example, enough stage 6/7 residentials to grow on the lots that you zoned, effectively stalling development.

I really like that you brought it up, and it can't hurt to hear some more opinions on it. Personally, however, I must confess that I'm rather skeptical about it.

_________________

This thread has moved at mind-boggling speed while I was away... from skimming through it, I gather that there's a chance of automating much of the download ordeal. However, how realistic is that, and what timeframe are we looking at?

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SC4 Plugin Client

What's been said so far has kind of confused me, but I'd just like to toss out there the possibility of the plugin client being a torrent system under the hood. For example, when you get a download from Blizzard's game launcher, you're not downloading it from Blizzard, you're downloading it from other players through their torrent system. This would dramatically reduce hosting costs for the community, because only one server would need to be maintained just to ensure availability of the lesser used files. I have no idea what the programming is like for this though. 

I know there are already a few plugins folder manager programs out there and tbh I haven't used them, so I don't know what functionalities they have that should be included. But I think the basic user experience should be that someone logs into and browses a website, sees things that they like and click on an "add to collection" button, and behind the scenes the client should download the files and dependencies without the user ever having to look at their plugins folder. And likewise on the website a user should be able to view their plugin collection with a similarly visual interface, and click on a "remove from collection" button and the client should remove the files and any unused dependencies automatically. 

Tilesets

Standardization in this area is necessary for making both large packs, and user friendly content. An experienced user will know which tileset individual buildings are in but an inexperienced one won't. 

With only 4 tilesets available, the current arrangement is good, but imo people have been misusing it. The specific names and dates given to the tilesets are meant for people without architecture knowledge to understand the associated clusters of styles, but aren't a literal description. For example, Aqua should not be in the Chicago tileset.

But Maxis themselves didn't seem to fully understand what the difference between the Houston 1990 and Euro tilesets. Many BATers have used the Euro tileset for historical European buildings. imo "Euro" was intended to be "contemporary". For anyone who doesn't know, in the world of tacky American home decor, "European" is synonymous with "modern" "contemporary" "designer" "luxury" (example). When I'm modding, I personally interpret Houston 1990 as being corporate postmodernism and late modernism, because that was the reigning architecture style of that time and place, and Euro as being mid century modern and current buildings which follow in the modernist rather than the postmodernist tradition. It's not perfect but it's what I do. 

I'd like to keep the Chicago 1890 and New York 1940 tilesets the same, and clarify the difference between Houston 1990 and Euro, and tidy up accordingly. My inclination would be to move the historical European stuff to the Chicago 1890 tileset, with some of the newer pre-WW2 european buildings going into the New York 1940 tileset. Someone making a European city is presumably not making an American city at the same time, so their plugins and Maxis blockers would be set up for one or the other, and that way all players could use the more universal modern styles of the later tilesets without conflicts. Plus European players would get two tilesets for differentiation between historical building styles instead of one.

But tilesets is a big can of worms by itself. But if the goal is to really have a completely seamless user friendly experience we'll have to go through and work out as many of our standardization issues as possible. 

Stage Standardization

With our new .DLL abilities, it may be possible to add more densities (for example, "Very High") to the existing ones. My ideal situation would be to do that, and then redistribute the stages across the densities in a more realistic way. Right now low density residential is anything from rural to dense inner city, and medium density is Manhattan. High density residential practically only exists in Hong Kong and a few other places. I'd like the stages to be redistributed so that you can zone medium density and get something like a neighborhood of rowhouses or short apartment buildings, without having to abuse "make historical". If someone was able to make this happen, I would BAT a *giant* pack of growables to fill the new distribution smoothly for each tileset and common lot size. This is kind of a pet idea of mine and a lifelong complaint about SC4, so I'm just tossing it out there. 

I also think that the CAM, or maybe just a CAM-Lite (maybe just the new stages unlocked and stage 8 maxis buildings remodded, but stage 1-7 left as is) should be the standard. I view the CAM as more of a bug fix than anything else, because without it, everything about the building growing/replacement/selection process is broken at stage 8 without the CAM. The CAM is also easy to adopt as a standard because of the PIMX. 

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I couldn't agree more, Jason. But again, this could well be my megalomaniac tendency to oversize every project in which in involving (something that has wrecked havoc on my thesis, honestly). Maybe the sane option would be to define the new standard and to begin the reclassification process with the maxis' files only, to then both encourage creators to follow them for new content, and to recruit volunteers to produce overrides for the already published and inmantained files (with this, a technical doubt: it is possible to release only overrides for existing lots or out its required to modify or redo them to change their tilesets?) 

1 hour ago, Jasoncw said:

If someone was able to make this happen, I would BAT a *giant* pack of growables to fill the new distribution smoothly for each tileset and common lot size. This is kind of a pet idea of mine and a lifelong complaint about SC4, so I'm just tossing it out there. 

This really sounds like an offer we cannot refuse. Sadly I lack the abilities to do that, otherwise I would be starting right now... 

 

And about your tileset classification, I understand that it is roughly equivalent to this:

Chicago =  historical + neoclassical + Beaux-Arts (roughly s. XV to 1920)

New York = art nouveau + art decó + proto-modernism (1920 to 1945)

Euro = modernism at large, including soviet architecture and brutalism (1920 to 1980)

Houston = post - modernism + deconstructivism and anything futuristic and not dated (1980 - today) 

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On 18.7.2017 at 10:44 PM, matias93 said:

And about your tileset classification, I understand that it is roughly equivalent to this:

Chicago =  historical + neoclassical + Beaux-Arts (roughly s. XV to 1920)

New York = art nouveau + art decó + proto-modernism (1920 to 1945)

Euro = modernism at large, including soviet architecture and brutalism (1920 to 1980)

Houston = post - modernism + deconstructivism and anything futuristic and not dated (1980 - today) 

I wouldn't restrict Euro to 1920-1980. Some buildings found in the "Maxis References" thread appear to be rather new constructions from Germany, probably dating from the late 1990s or early 2000s. Soviet architecture and brutalism are hardly represented in that tileset IMO, at least by default.

I guess the problem is that the three original tilesets follow a timeline in one geography, namely North America. The fourth tileset was added to appeal to European players by featuring buildings they are more familiar with. Germany as one of the biggest markets received much attention here, for example with prominent skyscrapers from Frankfurt being recreated for the game. However, the timeline-based logic used for the first three tilesets was broken up a bit by this.

The problem became really apparent when BATters started making buildings from all the different eras that make up European architecture - a much wider timespan than in the US. Not to mention the different styles that come into play here - from Scandinavian through Central European, typical Paris buildings, and Mediterranean to traditional Eastern European and then, of course, Soviet architecture and brutalism. It's quite a hodgepodge really, and next to impossible to ravel up cleanly.

I kinda like Jason's idea of making the four tilesets timeline-based and distributing European buildings over them in a similar fashion, assuming that most players would play either American or European. Then again, I often see CJ pictures with a wild mix of both, and we haven't even started with Asian or Latin American cities...

Mixing and matching styles is something that should be left to players IMO. It could also help to overcome possible BAT shortage, at the cost of having a mix of vanilla (US-American) and European / LatAm / Soviet buildings.

 

Making a "CAM lite" the default sounds tempting. Right now, buildings that are bigger than the biggest Maxis stuff are impossible to get into the game in a decent fashion. Since Maxis buildings are already pretty close to the maximum occupant/job numbers, there is simply no room for bigger stuff. This means that occupant/job figures need to be tuned down to values where a building will have fewer occupants than a Maxis building that's half its size, or every building starting from a given size would have nearly identical job/occupant numbers, from a smaller 4x4 highrise to a 12x8 city block with a supertall on it.

However, maybe it would be enough if that occupant limit could be lifted. In that case, Stage 8 would mean "Congrats, you are now qualified to grow any building, without size restriction", and only demand would be a limiting factor.

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Hey guys, I'm gonna avoid a lot of stuff being discussed here and say that when I came back to this game a few years ago and binge downloaded, it was a massive, massive amount of stuff.  Then afterwards learn that I want to use LE and PIMX and ended up having just an insane plugins folder that made it basically too time consuming and required too much attention for me to want to bother with.  I had a big problem in overdownloading here as well which didn't help. 

I think more standardization in atleast some stuff would help.  I see how this could be sort of difficult due to some people not wanting certain things but there are a lot of overlapping dependencies.  So I dont know, for example maybe get them all together in categories and have an installer sort of like NAM where you can go through and choose packs/files.  So then I knew for me after assembling this horribly huge and messy plugin folder I wanted to unify all my sidewalk and grass.  When rsc's mods came out this made that a lot easier for me.  What I'm basically saying is, going through 100+ pages of mods without prior knowledge of what can be done in PIMX/LE and the other software used for this game and really not much technical knowledge about the game really screwed me over when it came time to where I wanted to do some custom content of my own.  Ways to reduce the grind of downloading would really be great - and I know that when I see pictures from some of our communities amazing members I sit there and I'm like wow, I wish I had his plugins folder.  Lol. 

I see that stuff being developed by RSC and others looks really promising in getting into one download a massive amount of work on textures and so forth, and I'm super grateful for his work and all the work like this done by others. 

And another thing - I took a pretty good bit of time finding and downloading Japanese files as well.  I tried downloading the Japanese Street mod and failed - couldn't figure it out and it was pretty frustrating.  And I also know that some Japanese content has also been lost from websites your able to download from.  And then the whole thing with Gobias.  I had to wipe my HD sort of recently.  Not thinking I had a backup I then realized Gobias's mods were gone.  If I didn't realize I had a backup I would of probably stopped playing if they weren't reuploaded lol. So the legality arguments are interesting to me - I haven't read through all of the legal stuff but in my opinion from an ethical standpoint, I think if a profit isn't being made off someones content (or your own) then theres no problem.

I think the huge amount of time it can take going through all the downloads and extracting and keeping everything neat and tidy and making sure everything is working is a big barrier. 

But alas, I am spoiled and do not do the work of creating content or running a website with legal issues to keep in mind.  And doing the work of making a lot of these issues easier to deal with is a lot of work in itself!  This is just of what I've encountered with all this.

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I'm creator of SimxUpload (SxU) idea, which any plugin can be uploaded into other exchanges to prevent any future losses. But, the idea dropped due to lack of modding activities in general. Now, I thinking the starter pack. The starter pack should be as compact as possible but contains essential plugins. For plugins like floras, we should make compilation of them and don't forget to include them with links. For convenient sake, floras are grouped by creators & make some warning for some plugins. This is also prevents newbies to download wrong plugins which lead to plugin malfunction or (in worst case) CTD. Dependencies pack is good idea, since the most popular deps collection, Diggis' dependencies list isn't equipped with deptracker and auto-download. These lead to less time in installing and more time in gameplay.

For the idea name, I suggest it to "SimPackage". SimPak, etc is related to a SC2013 plugin tool.

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 Wow what a read. Thankfully my boss hasn't given me anything to do in the office this morning.

I would suggest as a starter the complete BSC downloads in a plugin pack or something, for starters. There's so many countless BSC mods that I feel it's daunting for new players and is enough of a barrier-of-entry to dissaude them from downloading a lot of buildings. A neat pack of plugins so new and returning players can at least feel they're comprehensively protected from the 'Brown-box-of-disappointment' would be a great first step.

Other than that, I (as a returning player who began playing SC4 in 2004) find that a lot of content is hard to find. I spent four hours over the weekend trying to find suitable park downloads, for example. I feel that themed packs with a $5 price-tag each would be a great little feature, especially if it went along the lines of:

  • Parks and Plazas
  • Train, bus, tram, monorail, elevated rail, ferry stations
  • Airports and Seaports
  • Education overhaul (Simgoober's stuff + lots of others)
  • Health overhaul (again, Simgoober + others)
  • Fire, Police and Utility
  • BSC Total Textures Pack
  • Residiental Complete Pack (100s of buildings from each wealth and density)
  • Commercial (basically pack this full of skyscrapers)
  • Farming
  • Industrial - Manufacturing and Dirty
  • Industrial - High Tech

And so on and so forth. 

This is basically a wishlist but a man can dream. I don't mind if the site owners go down the route of automation if that's the most feasible means of accomplishing this, however quality control protocols need to be implemented so packs and so forth aren't diluted by poor quality or irrelevant content. 

 

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  • Original Poster
  • Now that's a good idea for BSC and other groups. If they were to create their own 'plugin pack', that could eliminate a lot of the hurdles a community-made 'starter pack' would have.

    It could consist of one large download offering a selection of buildings to install or several smaller downloads containing similar building styles.

     

     

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    On 09/07/2017 at 0:59 AM, Haljackey said:

    I'm going to spill the beans.

    SimCity 4 has been out for a solid 14 (!) years now, yet we as a community still have pretty good control over this game's content.

    What are the benefits and / or risks if, say I upload my plugins folder somewhere for anyone to download? That would be at their own risk.

    Obviously it's nice to credit the creator, as if everyone downloads files individually they can track the number of people who are using their files. It also lets members rate and comment on them too for good feedback. If rules were relaxed, there's be a big change to this.

    I get asked all the time to upload my plugins folder and usually my answers for not doing so seem to fall flat, especially over the years. It may be a good time for us to refresh our policy around this topic. A change to protectionism could open SC4 to a bunch of new users, but that comes with changes to the use policies we as a community have set up.

    I'd like to know your thoughts. This thread is for discussion only. It is not a means to argue or challenge anything.

     

    EDIT: See a similar discussion on SC4D here: http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=17599.0 Thanks @Akallan!

    I have a good idea that would not need to break any current rules, what if instead of downloading a file, you download a file that download a list of files, you just have to download one file, and that file will do the rest for you, that's technically the same as downloading a plugin file, but even better (no risk of a virus or malware sneaking in).

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    Commurcializing SC4 content like the steam DLC´s won´t be the way; kill of the starter with stuff they don´t want  ! Sharing invidual plugin folders and regions is fine with me as long as it´s seperate case outside simtropolis or lex not creating any sginificfant data traffic at all harming those site´s Recovering those lost files to the public should be more easy, anyone got a good structured Japanese or PLEX plugin folder, make them available like somekind of Vintage section. NAM and Maxis props a  side a forum section with links to most basic subjects like most basic mod´s, CJ tools and tips, customizing regions, transport mod´s and vehicles, Top 20 Megaprops and for wich there used, A-z member code content explained what most are about and Plugin folder management !  Modular packs for harbours and airports may make them much more accesable to starters like the PEG packs and the RMIP small airports.  STEX search is to much a search in a pain in a haystack; external search request are unnescary blocked, internaly there should someting likethe LEX double normal and category option much better, linking better, merging STEX and LEX is someting a other time and open to discusions !

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    1 hour ago, IL. said:

    I have a good idea that would not need to break any current rules, what if instead of downloading a file, you download a file that download a list of files, you just have to download one file, and that file will do the rest for you, that's technically the same as downloading a plugin file, but even better (no risk of a virus or malware sneaking in).

    That's the basis of the idea of copying the distribution method from Linux: APT metapackages are basically empty files with long lists of dependencies that are automatically installed by the local application. As you can see on the previous comments, this approach has both pros and cons.

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    6 minutes ago, matias93 said:

    That's the basis of the idea of copying the distribution method from Linux: APT metapackages are basically empty files with long lists of dependencies that are automatically installed by the local application. As you can see on the previous comments, this approach has both pros and cons.

    Starter player´s certainly will benefit of a automatic instalation system, given data transfer overlap figures kept to the minimum like the LEX download tracker showing what is downloaded prime example how it can be. LEX doesn´t hae it supported fully so.  Implementing this obviously the biggest headeach as all ST Exchange content have to be adressed. STEX disc aproach obviously the first candidate to go for the modular idea of installing content, Cities Mid-Highrise Business - Residential, Towns Low Business and Residential, Industry-Harbours-Airports such like reorganized with installation scripts or tracker  !

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    1 minute ago, kschmidt said:

    Starter player´s certainly will benefit of a automatic instalation system, given data transfer overlap figures kept to the minimum like the LEX download tracker showing what is downloaded prime example how it can be. LEX doesn´t hae it supported fully so.  Implementing this obviously the biggest headeach as all ST Exchange content have to be adressed. STEX disc aproach obviously the first candidate to go for the modular idea of installing content, Cities Mid-Highrise Business - Residential, Towns Low Business and Residential, Industry-Harbours-Airports such like reorganized with installation scripts or tracker  !

    That reminds me, the STEX discs are against the rules of Simtropolis, because you are downloading the files from sources other than the download link of the uploader. 

    I'm not complaining, they can use as many of BATs if they would like, I don't really care that much, but I just had to note it.

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    Just now, IL. said:

    That reminds me, the STEX discs are against the rules of Simtropolis, because you are downloading the files from sources other than the download link of the uploader. 

    Only all the creators were contacted and gave explicit permission for their content to be included. So this isn't actually correct.

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    2 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

    Only all the creators were contacted and gave explicit permission for their content to be included. So this isn't actually correct.

    Ah okay, I didn't know that. Great to know

     

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    4 hours ago, rsc204 said:

    Only all the creators were contacted and gave explicit permission for their content to be included. So this isn't actually correct.

    I was certainly asked at the time if I was OK with it, I actually felt quite honoured  :thumb:

    EDIT: Found the original email in my email archives sent in 2011 not quite correct about giving explicit permission as it was

    Quote

    I hope you will allow us to include a few of your files on the disc. Of course, I understand if you choose not to for any reason.

    If you are OK with having your stuff included, you don't need to do anything further!

    If you prefer to not have your stuff included, just reply and let me know! No hard feelings! :)

    -catty

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    7 hours ago, IL. said:

    That reminds me, the STEX discs are against the rules of Simtropolis, because you are downloading the files from sources other than the download link of the uploader. 

    End users are different from distributors. They are at the end of the chain. While the distributor is in the middle, in between the author and the user/player. The contract between end user and author and the contract between end user and distributor are both different from the contract between distributor and author. If Simtropolis would move from US to China it could take all the content and move it too. If Simtropolis hosts the files on different servers around the world doesn't matter. The same the DVDs - as long as Simtropolis is the exclusvie distributor and nobody else distributes the DVD, no problem. Every uploader gives @Dirktator some exklusive rights, some distribution privilegs, making him in sum a more powerful person than the End User is. Basically the same as broadcasting rights. On TV and DVD these are typically different distributors and therefore they have different contracts. Only if the media of distribution is clearly defined you would need different contracts for different media if the distributor is the same. But well, the e-mail @catty-cb posted, that's a contract. The same when you press a button to upload - that's the same as signing a contract. Like you press a button 'buy' when you are shopping online. At this moment a contract exist, no matter if you negotiated the details or not.  This contract hasn't to do with the EULA, with the relation between author and end user. In fact, it's a dictatorship in the sense that all the rules applying to you and me, the members, not automatically applying to the site owner too. 

    There is often this discussion about 'freedom of speech'. There is a site about horses and I post there always about dogs. So I get banned - and I complain, my 'freedom of speech' was cut. No -I was invited at someones home showed bad manners there and got explused. That's domestic authority and doesn't touch 'free speech' at all. As outside the house I can talk about dogs like I want. So we are at Dirktators home with our feet under his table and he rules. If he says - you aren't allowed to eat from someone elses plate, that's the rule. But if he takes something from some plates - well you should never conclude this means the rules don't apply so I can do that too. As he has agreements with the cooks we don't have.

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    I am not interested in any "automated" datamanager plugin get-it-all downloader. While a different thing, it remains me of Steam, and that is something I don't want. :) Then there is the technics. An issue with CAM 2.0. is that Datpacker doesn't not work in many people's computers, because it is based on now outdated system.

     

    Edit: Links do change, so that is why I do not trust an automated system. Yesterday I was going through old STEX uploads and many had errors with dependencies links. Due many changes here in STEX.

     

    However, if there would be teams to make thematic packs, then I would like to join in. I would welcome a ready made and scrutinised Paris or Chicago 1890 theme pack. As a medicore Batter I could even make few buildings to fill possible gaps. One problem with us batters is that we tend to BAT what ever we like and the game play balance is not a consideration. ;) Thus I find a lot of beautiful CO$$$ skyscrapers, but during the game play I sorely miss extra level 8 C$  commericials.

     

    Dependencies. I would love to the theme pack contain all dependencies needed, but that may not be practical. Thus I feel that a theme pack would required re-lotting and keeping the dependencies in minimum. The most popular and best prop packs. Careful vetting should keep the dependencies in manageable number.

     

    I would not touch to the tilesets. As said before, people have different ideas on how those should arranged and what belongs to which timeline. We would need dozens of tilesets and as far as I know there is no way adding those. We are stuck at four. So I would offer the mod packs as some concentrated theme, which could complement Maxis tilesets or played without Maxis buildings. Plus a possible starter mod pack for fixes and / or essential content.

     

    EDIT2: (I want to being a new region with Houston tileset. I have now spent two days downloading and organising stuff and I still have to go trough the stats and lot in PIMX. I would love if there would be ready to go pack, which I know would give a balanced game play. :) )

     

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    SC4Devoton LEX Mega props dependacy packs aren´t evadable, so this is a LEX issue if the authors agree to make them available on dvd some partnership they cold be joined with STEX BAT´s and distributed ias a donation gift, supporting both STEX as LEX !

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    4 hours ago, T Wrecks said:

    - some packs are thematically coherent, others not so much (overhead)

    Well, me, I would ask lotters first - this means how you f.e. grouped dependencies for your residential/commercial or industrial lotting projects or for your farming projects. This means we could look on the STEX and the LEX for this.

    To me most of your suggestion (you made some earlier in this thread) make much sense - and if people say we chose T-Wrecks as a director for this project to group dependency mega or giga packs, I would be more than glad.

    Therefore I officially vote T-Wrecks for director of project.

    And we really should start this!

    If we just would group girafe's flora into a mega pack etc. (me I'm thinking of the wmp stuff too), if we just get the amount of dependecies reduced by 30 to 40% it would be a big success. Also if we could group/integrate some smaller dependencies there would be more use of them and so they will become more common and so usage will become more effective.

    You know, many newer and smaller prop packs get rarely used in favour of those mega packs that are of older date, but they offer a broader use and so we can do more with less dependencies. Basically we have to update our standards to include more of the newer props together with the older ones.

    By the time of BSC team often there was first a big prop pack released and then many single lots to download refering on this pack.

    To me this is the ideal to go for. Not a lot pointing to 5 dependencies but 5 lots pointing to one dependency.

    If we keep that in mind, it's not that difficult to find what we want to pack together. It's not only cars in one pack and only trees in one pack. But instead going to the STEX and see what lotters use in combination and to find the intersecting set between lot projects of a similar kind. 

     

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    Hahaha, lots of enthusiasm! I also like your idea of bundling girafe's flora (might as well throw in Orange's flora, too) - why didn't I think of that? Looking at frequently used dependency combinations in the uploads is also a great idea IMO.

    Nonetheless, for now I'd like to move away from the particulars for another summary. Before we appoint anyone to be anything, we need to be clear about what we're going to do, after all.

    __________________________________

    So, from what I've read in this thread so far, the general direction and broad consensus seems to be:

    • We should loosen our copyright policy to allow a more user-friendly (re)distribution of files.
      At this point in time, the community must take care to conserve what might get lost otherwise. The greater good of creative works being maintained and kept available outweighs a highly restrictive copyright culture that was OK while we could afford it, but has slowly turned into a liability. The free-for-all and all-rights-for-the-creator approach may well have contributed to making the SC4 modding community big in the first place, but now the difficult handling as well as dying links endanger the impressive amount of assets that this community has brought forth. We may have to adapt to survive.
    • In light of the overwhelming and complex download offer, assorted and curated "ready packages" of tried-and-tested downloads would be appreciated.
      Not a new idea, really (think of the origins of BSC), but it would be transferred from a "one item at a time" approach to entire compilations of download items. A "starter pack" that would bundle all the bug fixes and essential downloads would be great, and thematic packs may also be worth having. Dependency packs could also work.

    What I think is missing at this point is:

    • some top-level approval, for example by our benevolent Dirktator or his representatives - I guess we shouldn't make such fundamental changes right under his nose, but without informing him and without his consent!
    • an official announcement - provided Dirk is in favour of the change - to get people involved and give everyone a chance to speak their minds (maybe a poll?). Only few members of the community may have seen this topic so far, and even if we end up deciding "no matter what, let's do it", it would probably be fair to at least inform everyone and give people a chance to voice any concerns before we implement the change. Anything else might feel to others - mostly our esteemed content creators! - like sneaking a hidden clause into their contract after they have signed it. It may feel like betrayal and dishonesty, and since financial benefits are out of the equation for all parties, I guess it's that feeling of support, appreciation, and mutual respect that keeps the creators here. I wouldn't want to undermine this foundation of our community. Being honest and up front is the least we can do.

    Going forward, another important topic may be cross-site cooperation. Unless I misinterpreted Alex (@Tarkus), SC4Devotion would be open for such a project, is that right? This would be an important piece of the puzzle, really, because many key dependency packs are hosted there exclusively. Could we and should we reach out to other sites like toutsimcities.com, simcitypolska.pl and simcityplaza.de, for example?


      Edited by T Wrecks  

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    1 hour ago, T Wrecks said:

    an official announcement - provided Dirk is in favour of the change - to get people involved and give everyone a chance to speak their minds (maybe a poll?).

    Yes. Along with a re-write of our STEX policy that states the new method. (If you upload it, it is community property and you are always given credit when it's re-packaged, etc.)

     

    1 hour ago, T Wrecks said:

    cross-site cooperation.

    Definitely a good idea. I'd even suggest cross-site hosting of the major files.

    Additionally, what about a Web Ring idea?

    Quote

    A webring (or web ring) is a collection of websites linked together in a circular structure, and usually organized around a specific theme, often educational or social.[1] They were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly among amateur websites.

    To be a part of the webring, each site has a common navigation bar; it contains links to the previous and next site. By selecting next (or previous) repeatedly, the user will eventually reach the site they started at; this is the origin of the term webring. However, the select-through route around the ring is usually supplemented by a central site with links to all member sites; this prevents the ring from breaking completely if a member site goes offline. A webring is managed from one website which is able to omit the websites that have dropped out or are no longer reachable. The advantage of a webring is that if the user is interested in the topic on one website, they can quickly connect to another website on the same topic.[2] Webrings usually have a moderator who decides which pages to include in the webring. After approval, webmasters add their pages to the ring by 'linking in' to the ring; this requires adding the necessary HTML or JavaScript to their site.

     

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    3 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

    If you upload it, it is community property and you are always given credit when it's re-packaged, etc

    Imho, to make it 'community property' is too much. Because I think end users shouldn't be free to upload different versions where they like - this would create chaos instead of reducing it. Most probably we would see even more faulty mods. Means - authors should grant rights only to the site (its owner and his staff). If they grant such rights to community (end users) they loose control completely. Me, I don't like this idear.

    Instead, if rights are between author and site only (owner and distributor), this would mean if me, the end users, does a fix or a repack of content, I wasn't able to redistribute it on my part (as I wouldn't have the rights to distribute but only site), so I had to hand my fixes/repack to site staff. As if we change rules not consider only the positive state but also the negative, that there will be bad repacking and bad fixing on bad purpose. So site staff (or a team linked to this site) would always approve the fixes and repacks. I couldn't do that on my own. As also - you had to edit the readme and the description and if we are talking about fixes, the original upload had to be blocked and the fixed version had to be linked.

    Again, imho, it helps to think how museums work. This mean we had to think of a system that archieves original files - you can't simply delete them. It's a decision what you show to the public and what you keep in the repository (not shown in exhibition). One could think of the STEX as a public exhibition. But that's only the visible part of the tasks a museum has.

    So what we need - imho - is the uploader to grant to the site:

    for reasons of keeping compatibility with future developments and to keep usability of custom content, you grant site staff or an assigend community member to do fixes and to repack the data into larger collections (reducing dependencies), without touching the creative content and without touching authorship.

    Some wording like this, my proposal.

    I think this is sufficient. I wouldn't feel comfortable if we touch ownership. We need only the permission to reorganize and to fix, like a garage repairs a car and exchanges parts that got broken. One could say, the car is a public service vehicle and we are the car garage. But still it isn't owned by public and not by the garage but still has a specific owner. This is possible on property. There is no need to touch ownership to do the garage job nor to run a public service with it. For both you don't need to be the owner.

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    2 hours ago, Fantozzi said:

    Some wording like this, my proposal.

    ...<snip>... We need only the permission to reorganize and to fix, like a garage repairs a car and exchanges parts that got broken.

    Sure, that works for me. The specific wording and whatnot needs to be worked out such that the end result is we don't lose stuff and the stuff works and is efficiently presented. (Coming up with the exact wording and rule changes isn't something I'm good at so whatever encapsulates the concept is what someone else can write.)

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