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Migrating SDT Mods into Resources

Discussion in 'Super Deepthroat' started by stuntcock, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. stuntcock

    stuntcock Club Regular Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
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    History
    As veterans of the SDTMods forum may be aware, we began in 2011 by posting PNG files on a booru site. That particular site no longer exists; a modern successor can be found here. It is not up-to-date and we advise people not to use it. However, it illustrates a few of the advantages of an imageboard system (such as the ability to quickly find all of the long-haired hairstyles) and some of the disadvantages (limited filesize which can't accommodate high-detail hairstyles; inability to handle SWF files; lack of context information such as charcodes).

    As the SDT game attracted a few skilled artists and modders, we found that it was more useful to share files via forum attachments or upload them to filehosting websites. Users could visit a modder's thread in order to see all of his work. Checking for new posts on the forum would guide a user towards new content (so long as the modders and artists diligently bumped their threads when posting new files). Each content file could be accompanied by a preview image, and Spoiler tags could be used to group the content (e.g. one group per character or series).

    This system worked reasonably well for veteran users, but it was very opaque for new users. A newcomer would essentially need to explore dozens of separate threads and expand every single Spoiler tag in order to see all of the available content. If a user sought a particular type of content (such as "monstergirls") for which there were few search results, it was difficult to determine whether the negative result implied an actual lack of content or merely a poorly-worded search query. Many users were overwhelmed by the task and simply posted a Request thread. They knew that such threads broke the rules, but hoped that a veteran user might point them in the right direction before the banhammer could strike.

    The opacity of the system even took its toll on veteran users. We occasionally saw duplicate copies of hairstyles created - by artists who were not aware that the desired content had already been created months or years prior.

    The SDTMods forum software used a very silly numbered-attachment system, which made it difficult for content-creators to effectively manage a "megapost" involving dozens of attachments. Many content-creators chose instead to host their content offsite. As a consequence, some SDT content was lost when major filehosts (such as megaupload) went out of business.

    The "megapost" approach was never an effective means of storing or presenting information. It was "good enough" for most purposes, but it occasionally caused headaches for administrators and content-creators. A BBCode tagging error could cause cascading faults throughout a post. A mistake during an Edit operation could wipe out major sections of content - requiring a lot of slow and painstaking repair work.


    The Status Quo
    • We have a lot of "legacy" content in Spoiler tags and forum attachments.
      • It is usable in its current state, but it is not discoverable or accessible to newcomers.
    • There is no obvious way for newcomers to distinguish a valuable and reliable mod (such as Animtools) from something outdated (such as TwiceTest).
      • Loader bundles don't actually solve this problem; they merely allow newcomers to bypass it.
    • Some SDT content is hosted offsite on major filehosts.
      • The content itself is somewhat vulnerable to a sudden takedown.
      • Accessing the content may expose users to inconvenience or malware. (*cough* solidfiles *cough*)
    • Users are working with old files.
      • Sometimes this is intentional (e.g. because a few mods are incompatible with the latest Loader version) but it often occurs because users simply don't know that updates exist.
    • Contextual information is often separated from the content to which it applies.
      • Feedback and troubleshooting information may be buried on page 17 of a thread, while all of the mods appear in the first post.
      • Mods which are intended to complement each other (such as a hairstyle and costume for the same character) must be associated manually via hyperlinks. At present, many of these hyperlinks use SDTMods.com URLs; they are therefore useless until they can be manually fixed.
    • We have a Resource Manager system which combines the best features of the old and new systems.
      • Like an imageboard or booru, it treats each Resource as a standalone item. The item can be edited, reviewed, criticized, and (if necessary) deleted without disrupting any of the author's other work.
      • Like the forum-post approach, each Resource can be accompanied by preview images, usage guides, compatibility warnings, etc...
      • Like the forum-post approach, Resource files can be stored as attachments on the Undertow fileserver - which provides excellent long-term availability and immunity from frivolous takedown attempts.
        • The Resource Manager also allows offsite links. If users are comfortable keeping their files on existing filehosts, then they can enjoy the benefits of the Resource Manager system without actually migrating their content files.
      • Feedback, criticism, and troubleshooting information can be kept local to the Resource itself. A user who arrives many months afterwards can benefit from the prior conversation -- without hunting through dozens of pages of unrelated discussion.
      • Each Resource can link back to its author's general thread, in case users wish to offer general feedback, make requests, or propose a collaborative project.
      • Like an imageboard or booru, each Resource can be assigned Tags. Tags may help a user to find content which interests them, avoid content which offends them, or quickly discover content related to something which they enjoy.
      • Each Resource has a version history. Most users can ignore this feature and simply grab the latest version, but advanced users may wish to peruse the patch notes, and modders might deliberately download an older version for comparison-testing purposes.
      • Users retain the ability to browse through all of the Resources submitted by a particular author.
      • Whenever a particular item is updated, its users can be automatically informed of the update and advised to download the new version.
      • Users can sort the entire Resource collection in order to quickly find the highest-rated or most popular material. Users can similarly find the most recent material, without the need to actually dig through recently-bumped threads.
    • A small sample of SDT content has been migrated into the Resource Manager.
      • This sample should suffice to demonstrate the advantages of the system.
      • I have included some material which is marred by scripting or layering errors. I intend to resolve these issues on behalf of the original modders (who are no longer active). If you download one of these mods, then you will automatically be notified when the updated version becomes available.
      • In order to really deliver value to SDT users (especially newcomers), the Resource Manager will need to be populated with much more content.


    The Task at Hand
    • Existing SDT content must be migrated into the Resource Manager system.
      • It is hoped that some active content-creators will recognize the value of the system. Hence, they will post their new work as Resource entries and will gradually migrate their existing work as well.
      • Some content-creators may dislike the new system and choose not to participate. We will respect their wishes and leave their work alone.
      • Some content-creators may accept the system but refuse to migrate their old work (e.g. because the work is tedious and they're busy). In such cases, forum members can volunteer to handle the data-entry tasks.
      • If a content-creators has been inactive for many months, then we will use a presumed-consent policy and migrate their portfolio. The workload will be shared between moderators and volunteers.
        • Please contact @stuntcock if you would like to get involved.
      • I'll try to setup some kind of bragging-rights reward for volunteers who assist with this work. Maybe an "Archivist" custom badge.
    • Resource entries must be tagged so that they can be effectively discovered.
      • The initial sample applied a few basic categories of tags. More can be added.
        • Hairstyles were tagged by color (blonde, blue, brown) and length (short, long, very long).
        • No attempt was made to distinguish between curly and straight hair.
        • Some hairstyles have been tagged with hat, but I wasn't very thorough and probably missed a few.
      • Each Resource entry should indicate whether it can be used with the vanilla game, or whether it requires ModGuy's SDT Loader. If neither tag is present, then someone ought to test the file and find out.
        • In a few cases, older mods will misbehave when used with the SDT Loader. Such Resources should be tagged with SDT Loader Compatibility Errors so that they can be reviewed by a veteran modder.
      • Currently, normal users are able to add tags to Resources (and threads). Please do not abuse this privilege or it may be revoked.
      • Please tag only the actual content of a mod.
    • The Resource system will be unable to distinguish good and popular files from bad and obscure ones ... until it has actually been used. So please use it!
      • If you see a mod which you use every day, then click the Download button. If you already possess the latest version then you can immediately cancel the download.
      • Each Download click informs the system about the popularity of the Resource, and it allows you to leave feedback. It also ensures that you'll be notified about any updates that occur in the future.
      • Use the Rating system to show your appreciation for your favorite mods. You can also use this opportunity to complain about mods which are out-of-date, unreliable, crashtastic, or simply ugly. It's okay to be blunt, but please try to be constructive as well.
        • Please remember the website rules. Do not downvote a mod merely because it involves fat girls (while you prefer fit girls), or because it includes a loli character (which you find morally repugnant).
      • If something doesn't work (such as a broken download link or a missing preview image) then please say so. Don't just leave a 1/5 rating without any explanation.
      • If you see a completely inappropriate Resource entry (such as a random dude reposting one of sby's mods and claiming to have created it, or a zip file full of malware installers) then please click the Report button.
     
    Macnagum, nox, NoctSoul and 5 others like this.