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Topic Subject: We need a system to make the mods organized
posted 01-28-02 11:31 PM EDT (US)   
First, I want to make it clear that I love the AOW mod packs and this post is not designed to be a rant.

After talking with Chow Guy, I am posting here to talk about a way the mod packs can become more "organized" and "consistent." Unfortunately, the system right now of making mod packs has become very convoluted. The rules2.bat has been altered by each mod maker to make it like the Warlocks install (by adding his own mod pack to it), but there is not enough being done to make the installation easy enough. Any person can figure out how to install the mod packs in the most basic form of using the rules2.bat, but it becomes more difficult when files are moved around. Many of the .ILBs have been copied by multiple mod packs into the UNITS directory, yet there is no centralized form of where to put these files. I am proposing that there be made a standard directory, where all the .ILBS (the ones not defaultly in the UNIT directory) are kept.

Also, the lack of compatibility of the mod packs with existing AOW maps will continue to hamper the popularity of the mods. The only way to fix this problem will be to set down an "untouchable" template of TS136 and/or Warlocks (depending on which mod pack the mod is based off of). What I mean by this is that if a mod pack, let's say Lighthawk ruleset, is based off of Warlocks ruleset, the Warlocks units and buildings must stay overall constant from the new changes of the mod. There can't be a change of unit/building/etc. ID, where there is nothing added. For example, the undead guild swordsmen has been deleted in Lighthawk ruleset and not replaced, therefore causing a crash in any Warlock based map that has a guild swordsmen on the map. This causes Lighthawk to become incompatible with its template, Warlocks. I am not going to say further on this problem or name any other names, except that if any person is making a mod pack and has compatibility problems with its template mod pack, please fix it.

The latest problem in mod pack compatibility is the availability of the portrait inserter. The rules2.bat that has classically handled the mod packs is now becoming inefficient with in not only handling the portrait inserter problem, but also the above mentioned problem of copying .ILBs to the UNIT folder. The best way of correcting this problem, that I can see will be to make a modified rules2.bat for every mod pack. This modified rules2.bat could go under the standard title of rules-[mod pack name]. The contents of the rules2.bat would include a modified version of the TS136 install, a command line that backups all the TS136 files which will be modified by the mod pack, and the command line for the mod pack to install. Anything else added could be optional.

Or the other solution is...

Chow Guy is right now creating a rules2.bat that should fix some of the mod pack problems and make it possible for the mod maker to not ever have to make a *.bat for his/her mod pack. It should be available soon if the mod makers are interested in having it.

The last thing that I can think of that should be addressed is the changing of units in the mod pack. For example, in Heavenly mod the Giant has an evil alignment while in TS136 the giant has a good alignment. This can severely hamper the mod packs, because the races in the maps have become out of balance with the new tinkering. With the hampering of the author's intent, the maps become crazily imbalanced and loose much of their fun factor. However, that does not mean a mod pack can't modify the "normal" units, just that it should be noted that severe changes can hamper the compatibility of the mod pack with existing maps. This also includes level changes of units/drastic changes to the inner working of a unit/the change of costs of the unit.

Now, I am hopeful to hear what all of you mod makers out there think about the things I have mentioned. It would nice if there could become a consensus on these issues of organization and compatibility in the mod packs. And feedback, comments, and suggestions are welcomed.

Replies:
posted 01-29-02 05:57 AM EDT (US)     1 / 7  
"For example, the undead guild swordsmen has been deleted in Lighthawk ruleset and not replaced, therefore causing a crash in any Warlock based map that has a guild swordsmen on the map. This causes Lighthawk to become incompatible with its template, Warlocks."

Well, that has been fixed in v 1.03...

Kris

[This message has been edited by Kris Lighthawk (edited 01-29-2002 @ 05:58 AM).]

posted 01-30-02 09:13 AM EDT (US)     2 / 7  
Well not all mod's are hard ot install my mod is the easyest i made bat file that installs every thing for you in the Update to LoM mod v Dark Lord.

Lord o Maps
Download the latest Dark Lord Mod.

[This message has been edited by LordofMaps (edited 02-01-2002 @ 12:42 PM).]

posted 02-02-02 02:46 AM EDT (US)     3 / 7  

Quoted from LordofMaps:

Well not all mod's are hard ot install my mod is the easyest i made bat file that installs every thing for you in the Update to LoM mod v Dark Lord.

Yours may be the "easiest" to install of the available mod packs, but it could be made even more user friendly if you would care to listen to my suggestions.

First, instead of using the normal extraction process, why don't you use an install maker, like Clickteam Install Maker Pro from www.clickteam.com . It would make the install process a lot easier.

Second, could you move the 13 image libraries you put in the UNITS folder into the directory [AOW Directory]\Images\UNITS\mod ? I would like to see some way the mod making community could reuse a directory in which they append new files to that directory, so that the mods would have a clean place to install. I know this is asking a lot, but if it can be done I think it would be very positive in the direction of making it easier to install AOW mod packs generally.

Also, your mod doesn't seem to be totally compatible with Warlock maps. The Unholy Guild from Warlocks Mod seems to be missing causing some error messages for LOM vs Dark Lord loading Warlock maps.

Of course all the above is suggestions, so if you want to do something else that is good too. I would hope that Kris, yourself, and all the other mod makers could come to some agreement on how to make the mods about the same to install and manage. So whatever is decided is fine by me.

Quoted from Kris:

Well, that has been fixed in v 1.03...

Great! Maybe you might consider trying out some of my suggestions to LordofMaps. BTW when is v 1.03 suppose to be released?

posted 02-07-02 06:34 PM EDT (US)     4 / 7  
Well I did get ride of the Unholy Guild but that does not make the game chash. As I did not get ride of the units.
And in oder to put all of the ILB files the mod/s use all of the mod makers wude have to redo all of the units that use those files as the files thay use are in a diferant place. Otherwise im up for putting all of the ILB files in a folder calld Mod.

Lord o Maps
Download the latest Dark Lord Mod.

[This message has been edited by LordofMaps (edited 02-07-2002 @ 06:37 PM).]

posted 02-07-02 08:08 PM EDT (US)     5 / 7  
Since Tekk Zero has mentioned my name, I feel I ought to say a few things here as well.

I agree somewhat with what you say LoM, it would require the cooperation and input of the various mod makers and isn't something anyone wants to impose by edict. Furthermore it may be too late now to do much about the situation in AoW1 in any case. When I originally mentioned the idea howver it was more in regards to looking into setting up some sort of system that could be used in AoW2 and perhaps trying it out in AoW1. Now I realize that AoW2's not even available yet, and the Developer's have pretty well said that there will be no publicly available DevEd released with it, but enough is now known about the structures that unless there are radical changes it won't be long before a Zippy's Unit Editor at least comes out, and I have little doubt that Warlock, Pug or some of the other talented people around will go beyond that. A cooperative effort among the modpack and mapmakers with a central clearing house would benefit everyone, though who would set it up is a question.

What I basically proposed to Tekk as a first step was a registry data base somewhere where various mod makers could record the index numbers and ID's of units they were adding, so as to avoid conflict at least with existing mod packs. If another mod pack wished to integrate those units then they could do so. This is of particular importance in adding terrain/place tiles to release.hss. Adding a tile at the same table index does not make it compatible with maps made for another mod, rather the tile must have the same resource ID. In fact, one can easily copy and paste Warlock's Guilds into *any* availble slot and have them work correctly.

The question of placement of .ILB files is a separate issue. Most of the mod packs so far released have depending on a customized version of Warlock's Rules2.bat to switch files. In some cases at least, this includes moving of specific .ILB files. When I sent my general purpose modpack / editor switcher to Nojd, he pointed out that I had not included the code to do this for Lighthawks rules. I responded that I could not as there was no way in general to know which files needed to be copied for a specific modpack unless it were re-written for each one. That however would negate what I was trying to accomplish and would effectively require that all previous packs be installed in the correct order if they were all to work. I suggestted therefore that placement of those was best handled by a *separate* installer. Alternatively, if the files for a given pack were to be included in subfolders of that packages source directory then a generic switch routine could in fact handle them as well, and this is what prompted me to mention a "organizition" to Tekk. Note that in this case the existing mod pack files themselves need not change, as any files they required could still be moved to the target directories they were expected to be in, even if those files had been extended or modified (as for example modified versions of ?_FACES.ILB) since subsequent switches to a another package would replace any that were out of sync.

Please note that despite my new status, I'm not speaking here for AoWH or any of the staff and don't know whether such a clearing house is something the board would be interested in hosting, though this is the logical place at the moment since neither Warlock nor Paul are currently active or updating their sites. Personally, I'd think Bluecollarheaven's resource site would be a good place as well, but she hasn't yet announced her intentions regarding AoW2.

posted 02-08-02 09:01 AM EDT (US)     6 / 7  
I did somthing like what you mechented in my mod i have a .bat file that installs the image files needed. And I made a .bat that will intsall the image file needed for all the mods out there in the mics download.

Lord o Maps
Download the latest Dark Lord Mod.

[This message has been edited by LordofMaps (edited 02-08-2002 @ 09:02 AM).]

posted 02-08-02 11:37 PM EDT (US)     7 / 7  

Quoted from LOM:

I did somthing like what you mechented in my mod i have a .bat file that installs the image files needed. And I made a .bat that will intsall the image file needed for all the mods out there in the mics download.

Great! Just remember I was suggesting something to the AOW mod makeing community, not making a demand.

Quoted from LOM:

Well I did get ride of the Unholy Guild but that does not make the game chash. As I did not get ride of the units.

I was mentioning it because even though the game won't crash, the guilds will be useless. Maybe you could just put down a new structure on top of it with an evil bent, so the AOW scenarios with them (unholy guilds) do not become trash on great scenarios. Just a thought.

Quoted from ChowGuy:

I agree somewhat with what you say LoM, it would require the cooperation and input of the various mod makers and isn't something anyone wants to impose by edict.

I totally agree. Because the mod makers aren't being paid for their work, there really isn't an incentive for them to have a system to make mods. When I posted my suggestions, I was hoping to get a dialouge going between the mod makers on what they would decide to be the "best" solution. I know my suggestions are probably not that popular, and maybe not too much more effective, but I would have liked to see what all the mod makers thought. And when I mean mod makers, I mean anyone who is making a mod, thinking of making a mod, or finished a mod. However, there seems to be a general lack of interest in the mod making community to organize an efficient AOW mod making system.

Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW1 Mod Packs » We need a system to make the mods organized
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