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Simutrans addons

Started by Sirius, August 26, 2021, 08:49:09 AM

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Sirius

As recently, the "no grf" point was raised, I was wondering if the simutrans addon support might be improved:
I suspect many players don't even know addons exist because it's not at all advertised in the game.
Secondly, if they know those exist, it's not quite simple to find addons that match your pakset.
Thirdly, content creators have to care about hosting their constents on their own.

We could offer an addon repository where content creators can upload their content, so it's easier for content creators and users to use.
Surely, such a hosting is yet another additional resource that someone has to pay.

What about integrating steam workshop support into simutrans? As far as I know, it's free of charge for us, so steam will pay the hosting.
Experiences from commercial transport simulation games show that the workshop will attract significiantly more content creators than any self-hosted community service.

edit:
Picking up the grf aspect from the game wich must not be named,
an ingame UI to remove or add paks and sticking it to the save might be desirable but might as well require too much work.
Setting up a tiny repository index server, the content could be loaded directly from the github of various users as well as from the steam workshop if the user runs a steam installation of simutrans.

prissi

#1
The is the Japanese wiki which hosts tons of addons, and can be used even without understanding Japanese. About 80% of the existing addons are there. https://japanese.simutrans.com/index.php?Site_Map For the rest very few addons were ever made and released, with the exception of ravens stuff for pak128.

Something similar could be also done with the other wiki.https://simutrans-germany.com/wiki/wiki/file10 and we had the site addons.simutrans.com

Roboron

I am glad you bring this up, because it's sad to see the current state of the art, where previous community attempts have failed and many addons have been lost in the process, with the exception of some "third-party" websites like ENASSA or SNFOS.

Not even the forum has been reliable enough to host addons, so I don't think yet another attempt at hosting them ourselves is a good idea.

As the current Steam maintainer myself, I have been thinking on this issue extensively before, since a new Workshop client is in my TO-DO list (planned but not started). One of the things that came to my mind is the possibility on integrating Steam Workshop support for non-Steam users. I will summarize my conclusions.

Good points about Steam Workshop:

  • It's free for us and hosted by Valve, so we can trust it will endure...
  • It's usually the preferred way for Steam users to download mods, and when implemented it usually boost good reviews. Users will get disappointed if no workshop is implemented, as the experience with the game which must not be named demonstrates.
  • It's possible for non-steam users to browse and download workshop mods without the use of Steam* (specially for free-to-play games like Simutrans).

* Expanding on this, I've found tools to do so. For example, this webpage:

==> https://steamworkshopdownloader.io/

And I even found a software written in Python:

==> https://github.com/Astavinu/WorkshopManager

Note that this still need SteamCMD to work - and I suspect that's how steamworkshopdownloader.io works: it's just a server running SteamCMD. We could *theoretically* implement a similar solution that works for any platform Simutrans runs on.

Bad points about Steam Workshop:

  • It's mandatory the use of a Steam account and the Steam client to upload addons. This left out any creator not willing to use Steam, which is a really bad thing.*
  • It's Valve platform, not ours, and they could change their mind about it. Probability of this is very, very low, but not impossible either. (*What if they stop supporting anonymous login?)

* And it is specially bad considering how underused the current Workshop is among creators. Of the 45 items uploaded over 5 years, 10 of them are old paksets uploaded by me and Hayden. The rest are mostly maps. Since I uploaded the paksets a year ago, only 2 itemsmaps have been submitted.

==> https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=434520&searchtext=&childpublishedfileid=0&browsesort=mostrecent&section=readytouseitems

On the other hand, this could be a side-effect of the current workshop uploader barely working, as this review points out:

==> https://steamcommunity.com/id/keroge/recommended/435961/
__________________________________________________________________

However, when investigating about this, I stumbled upon a seemingly superior solution:

==> https://mod.io/

mod.io is a cross-platform solution to mod management, including hosting and providing an REST API to make use of the service anywhere. It is also used by FLOSS game 0.A.D.

==> https://0ad.mod.io/

Seems like a fitting solution. However, the SDK which we would need for integration has one apparent problem I see: support for Linux (Q4 2021) and Mac (2022) is still in the works. Also C++ version needed is 14 (static) or 17 (header), I don't know if this can be a problem for some developers:

==> https://github.com/modio/modio-sdk

But if/when that is done, this sounds like a good idea, specially since only an email is needed for authentication (or Steam, or GOG, or whatever)

==> https://docs.mod.io/#authenticate-via-email

Now talking about costs, it's of course actually free (surprisingly to me). The free tier offer 1 million requests per day and 10TB bandwith per month, which is much more than what we need for Simutrans... Paid tiers increment those numbers, and add non interesting things (for us) such as metrics. Being Simutrans such a niche game, I don't believe we will never have the need for more.

==> https://mod.io/pricing

Now talking about bad points: They are still an emergent project, with "only" 77 games on the platform. Now, they affirm to be the people behind moddb.com, which has been up for twenty years, and that is a point in favour of trusting them. But that doesn't secure that this new enterprise will end up well. Afaik, the very same problem of it not being our platform still applies here, more stronger than in Steam's case: What if things start to go wrong and they decide to shut down the free tier...?
________________________________________________________________

Quote from: Freahk on August 26, 2021, 08:49:09 AMSetting up a tiny repository index server, the content could be loaded directly from the github of various users as well as from the steam workshop if the user runs a steam installation of simutrans.

Not a bad idea, an improvement in any case, but a pain to maintain in the long run. I would prefer something less manually intensive. Some other points that come to my mind:


  • Creators might want to use their own sites, but then, sites going down and addons disappearing would still be a problem.
  • GitHub (which will probably be the most used) and other US platforms (SourceForge) are not accessible from all countries (such as Cuba). Therefore, I am firmly against allowing addons to be hosted on those platforms.
  • Ideally we should offer creators hosting of the addons without much struggle, this solution does not improve that.
______________________________________________________________________________

Quote from: prissi on August 26, 2021, 12:45:09 PMFor the rest very few addons were ever made and released, with the exception of ravens stuff for pak128.

Counter-point:

==> https://simutrans-hispano.es.tl/Addons-para-Pak64.htm
==> https://simutrans-hispano.es.tl/Addons-para-Pak128.htm

All essentially lost forever due to them being uploaded to the forum (or third sites).

Ranran(Hibernating)

Quote from: prissi on August 26, 2021, 12:45:09 PMThe is the Japanese wiki which hosts tons of addons, and can be used even without understanding Japanese.
It's very old-fashioned to repeat the process of downloading from the website, unzipping the zip file and moving it to simutrans's pakset for each add-on ... (´・ω・`)
Also many of them are very old. Add-ons paked with old makeobj may lack some parameters. There may also be a balancing problem.
(´・ω・`)シミュトランスのアップデート履歴(日本語) (※更新停止中)
bit.ly/3AuKHHP

Flemmbrav

For Pak192.Comic we host the addons in the very same repository as the main pakset.
That way we have them compiled with the newest makeobj nightly as well as them being integrated in our automated pricing.
I'm aware that some indonesian addons are missing, but most stuff I am aware of is part of the repo.

Downside is obviously, that I do not own GitHub, nor is GitHub globally accessable.

Basically all it needs is them to get some extra exposure to the community (as well as modern versions of the pakset, simutrans.com is laging two versions behind).

Andarix

Addon pages / websites come and go

and there are many pages that are barely linked

Link directory Wiki

not testet all links

Leartin

Quote from: Freahk on August 26, 2021, 08:49:09 AM
I suspect many players don't even know addons exist because it's not at all advertised in the game.
Secondly, if they know those exist, it's not quite simple to find addons that match your pakset.
Thirdly, content creators have to care about hosting their constents on their own.

I think Simutrans actually has/had a splendid solution for showing addons exist: Pak64 comes with the food addon, and every time you start the game, you get a shiny "load with addons" button.
Not sure that still applies, especially for people who get it from steam and start with pak128, and it's certainly lacking that you don't even know what loading with addons does (at least I remember not knowing for quite some time).
This could be solved by some sort of addon management. Could be as simple as using subfolders of the addon-folder to choose from. Add a "go to folder"-button that creates an addon folder if it doesn't exist and opens it in the systems file manager, and you pretty much conquered most hurdles from the "how to do it"-side.

Where to get addons is a different beast.
Quote from: Freahk on August 26, 2021, 08:49:09 AM
We could offer an addon repository where content creators can upload their content, so it's easier for content creators and users to use.
Surely, such a hosting is yet another additional resource that someone has to pay.
Given Isaac has offered to host addon sites in the past (EG: https://britain.pak192.comic.simutrans.com) I wouldn't think that to be the issue due to untapped resources of the server, though depending on how much it would be frequented that might change.

Anyway, consider there was an official international simutrans addon repository - say addons.simutrans.com.
- No matter how easy it would be to upload there, many people just won't do it by themself. Eg. our indonesian friends still create some stuff for pak192.comic, but I'm only aware from seeing it on facebook by being in an indonesian group I can't understand a word from - they don't post here (anymore), they don't request inclusion in the p192c-addon-repository on github, etc. The more official an addon repository could be (say: directly linked from the game), that might get better, but I still think most stuff would not be uploaded there by the creators.
- If the creator does not upload their stuff themself (and commits to all kinds of "yes, I am the owner and allow distribution" mumbo jumbo), it becomes quite hard to get both permission and certainty there is no rat's tail of other issues. There once was a guy on facebook publishing assets from a commercial citybuilder in Simutrans format - ya know what I'm getting at.
- If it's only the pak without source and permission for alterations, it might not be as useful as one may hope, especially in terms of balance. After all, if you create something, you want it to be used, so you tend to make it better than existing alternatives... But requiring source and permission for alterations again disqualifies a whole lot of people who just "upload the thing they made, hope you like it".


Andarix

#7
Quote from: Leartin on August 26, 2021, 02:48:19 PM
...
Where to get addons is a different beast.Given Isaac has offered to host addon sites in the past (EG: https://britain.pak192.comic.simutrans.com) I wouldn't think that to be the issue due to untapped resources of the server, though depending on how much it would be frequented that might change.
...

There are many sub-domains from simutrans.com.

many of them no longer work

the ones I know are as follows

Quote from: Freahk on August 26, 2021, 08:49:09 AM
As recently, the "no grf" point was raised, I was wondering if the simutrans addon support might be improved:
I suspect many players don't even know addons exist because it's not at all advertised in the game.
....

for german

If it is documented, then the players will also find out.

Only if it is not documented, then hardly anyone knows about it. Unless, by accident, you bump over it.

TurfIt

Quote from: Roboron on August 26, 2021, 12:48:28 PM
However, when investigating about this, I stumbled upon a seemingly superior solution:

==> https://mod.io/

Quote
You grant mod.io and the Relevant Game Developer a perpetual, non-revocable, non-exclusive worldwide right to use, reproduce, process, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, transcode, translate, and otherwise communicate and display and distribute all such User Generated Conten
Nope.

I've seen a few games retroactively try to include mod.io and their draconian terms into existing games. Doesn't go over well....

Roboron

Quote from: TurfIt on August 26, 2021, 07:06:09 PMI've seen a few games retroactively try to include mod.io and their draconian terms

But are they really that unreasonable? I mean, we are already giving users right to "use, reproduce, process, modify, create derivative works from, distribute..." Simutrans and his paksets (under the terms of the Artistic License, when applicable), so it is too much to ask for creators to give those rights back to us when uploading their addons? That could even help with situations like creators disappearing and mods getting outdated, or if we have to switch platforms and migrate the addons.

Furthermore, although such rights are not applicable to the Steam Workshop (only reserved right is the right to remove the content), other similar solutions seems to have similar conditions. This is from Factorio Mod Portal:

QuoteBy uploading a mod to the mod portal, you grant us the irrevocable right to reproduce, adapt and distribute the mod and its content

That doesn't seem to scare the average creator, since the mod count is greater than 3000.

Quote from: Leartin on August 26, 2021, 02:48:19 PMIf it's only the pak without source and permission for alterations, it might not be as useful as one may hope, especially in terms of balance. After all, if you create something, you want it to be used, so you tend to make it better than existing alternatives... But requiring source and permission for alterations again disqualifies a whole lot of people who just "upload the thing they made, hope you like it"

Independently from the above text, I think it would be reasonable (if we host our own solution) to ask for users to license its creation under the CC-BY or a similar license in order to upload the content. Furthermore, to simplify we could ask *only* for source files, then have makeobj generate the addon server-side, in a similar way to how F-Droid or Linux Repositories (at least libre ones) work. If the user doesn't agree with that, well, he can still upload its creation anywhere else. But in the long it would be better than having no policy at all.

I think that having a common place to upload and download addons is only half of the goals we should aim for. Other desirable goals should be preserve and maintain the addons over time, and for that we need some degree of control over the content we are providing. We have failed previously to preserve Simutrans' history. But we can do better this time.

Leartin

Quote from: Roboron on August 26, 2021, 08:20:32 PM
But are they really that unreasonable? [...] That doesn't seem to scare the average creator, since the mod count is greater than 3000.

If I publish content with CC-BY-SA, I already grant the perpetual, non-revocable, non-exclusive worldwide right to use, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, transcode, translate, and otherwise communicate and display and distribute all my stuff. Not sure about reproduction and procession. The reason I'm fine with that, however, is because it's mutual - anyone who uses my stuff has to do the same.
TurfIts quote basically says a commercial game could take user generated content and sell it as a DLC without compensation, and that's problematic. Not all paksets are open source either, and I don't see why I should have to provide my content under a license which allows them to use it so long as they don't do the same.
I wouldn't want prissi to be able to publish pak192.comic under Simutranses artistic license because it's Simutrans user-generated content. Simply because I believe AL1 is a bad license for graphics. So that's what might be unreasonable about it.


Anyway. If you take p192c as an example, due to CC-BY-SA most addons are CC-BY-SA by default because they are derivatives of p192c content. Tell any place that offers space for p192c-addons to require CC-BY-SA or compatible for them, and anybody could freely upload them in all the other places. And if there was a new addon-website, it could mirror the p192c-addons-github and vice versa, so long as the licenses work out.
I think what's missing is that license awareness. If every addon MUST be compatible to the license of the parent pakset, it can always be distributed under the license of the parent pakset, can always become part of the parent pakset, and can easily be distributed. Eg. if this forum included rules that "Any post in 'Pak64 Add-ons and Graphics' needs to be AL1 compatible", any content postet there could also be taken over in the pak64 repository without further questions.
And if that's done for all paksets, the Simutrans Addon Hub might just be a mirror of all those contents (and uploading there automatically uploads in all the other places)

TurfIt

Quote from: Leartin on August 26, 2021, 11:30:36 PM
TurfIts quote basically says a commercial game could take user generated content and sell it as a DLC without compensation, and that's problematic.
I believe that's generally the issue with the license. Steam workshop also has this issue, but appears to restrict derivative use to the game in question (IANAL). With mod.io they can take any uploaded content and use it for any purpose - eg. sell it as content in any other program. I've found many artists prefer a BY-NC-ND license which is completely incompatible with commercial mod sites.

Leartin

Quote from: TurfIt on August 27, 2021, 01:21:52 AMI've found many artists prefer a BY-NC-ND license

Naturally, and especially with commercial games, that's fair.
But we are talking about Simutrans here - a free, open source game that can be used commercially (although not sold). Any programmer working on Simutrans has to bend to this mindset, and prissi does not have to ask individually whether a patch published here in the forum can be implemented on these terms. We are not afraid that there are less helpers due to this system, even though there are of course programmers who'd usually publish their stuff commercially or with a BY-NC-ND license who won't work on Simutrans.

I fail to see how it needs to be different for artists. If any code modification published on the forum can automatically be included in the source code, why not have the same treatment for addons? People who don't care about licenses won't care about that, either. People who do care will do their research, check a license primer and then decide whether they want to upload under these conditions. Sure, mod.io is a bit too harsh since they can do whatever they want, but enforcing derivatives like on the steam workshop seems to be a non-issue.

Roboron

I see, you are both right. I overlooked the mod.io part. Although I don't think they may realistically be able to benefit from some old-fashioned pak files (which can only be used with Simutrans anyway). But your concerns are justified in any case and I will take the idea as discarded.

Quote from: Leartin on August 26, 2021, 11:30:36 PMEg. if this forum included rules that "Any post in 'Pak64 Add-ons and Graphics' needs to be AL1 compatible", any content postet there could also be taken over in the pak64 repository without further questions.
And if that's done for all paksets, the Simutrans Addon Hub might just be a mirror of all those contents (and uploading there automatically uploads in all the other places)

I like your idea very much - specially because of mirroring, of course. But the matching license is also one thing I haven't thought of. Only issue I see with it is that addons can be included in paksets with the same size, but different paksets may have different licenses (and the addon may not be a derivative work of any). What would the license be in such a case? Dual-licensing?

So far this only happens with pak128 (AL) and pak128.japan (GPL), so it is really a minor issue. But that could change if/when new paksets are released.

Anyway, I support your proposal. If no better idea is laid out, I'm in.

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 11:13:49 AMPeople who don't care about licenses won't care about that, either.

I agree, and I would argue that most people simply don't care - that's why enforcing a default reasonable license is a good idea...

Sirius

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 11:13:49 AMa free, open source game that can be used commercially (although not sold)
Yes, it is not permitted to sell simutrans.
But it can easily be bypassed: It is permitted to charge a "reasonable" copying fee.
What does that mean? A copying fee cannot be quite much... Well the license is quite preciese about this:
QuoteYou may charge any fee you choose for support of this Package.

Oh, and you can bundle the package (simutrans) in any potentially commercial software as long as you don't claim simutrans to be a product of your own and surely you can sell that bundle.


Btw. Personally I prefer CC-BY-NC-SA on content. I am totally fine with derivates - that's the key idea of free content but many content creators have a different opinion about it and that's fine as well!

Flemmbrav

I honestly see no issue with people using the game commercially.
We have it on Steam. Steam is a store that could sell a gaming console with the capability to install simutrans and i totally would not mind that.
We have a service to host network games that costs money. And I don't see an issue with that either.
If someone comes up with a good way to do commercial things with the pakset, I am totally fine with that. And I hardly doubt people will pay a lot for the game, because someone will tell them that it's open source not that long into the sellings.

Leartin

Quote from: Roboron on August 27, 2021, 11:24:49 AMOnly issue I see with it is that addons can be included in paksets with the same size, but different paksets may have different licenses (and the addon may not be a derivative work of any). What would the license be in such a case? Dual-licensing?
So far this only happens with pak128 (AL) and pak128.japan (GPL)
Also, pak128.german (it's just copyrighted and you get to play with it)
But this should not be a matter of size - especially since size doesn't technically matter and all addons can be loaded in all paksets. Addons are created *for* a pakset, and as is, would be posted in a paksets subsection of the forum. Posting in pak128 results in AL, posting in pak128.japan results in GPL, posting in pak128.german grants the right to play with it and the pak128.german team may include it in the pakset proper.
On a dedicated addon upload page, you'd be required to choose at least one pakset tag which similarly defines the license, and multi-tagging creates multiple licenses.

And there is another issue - it might not be sufficient to be in the rules, you might need a checkmark "I accept the terms and conditions" every time.

Quote from: Freahk on August 27, 2021, 12:43:26 PMYes, it is not permitted to sell simutrans. But it can easily be bypassed
Indeed. Which is why it can be used commercially and does not equate to an NC license. If AL was a CC license, it would IMHO be somewhere between CC-BY and CC-BY-SA.

Andarix

Quote from: Roboron on August 27, 2021, 11:24:49 AM
....

I agree, and I would argue that most people simply don't care - that's why enforcing a default reasonable license is a good idea...

I doubt that anything can be enforced at Simutrans. In addition, basic guidelines are not even adhered to. And the Pakset developers in particular should be mentioned here.

If every package does its own thing, how should a certain rule apply to add-ons?

If you only worked a little more together instead of using all your might against each other, many things would be better and easier.

prissi

If full pak file are uploaded, then there is zero commercial value, since I doubt someone would go through the trouble to have an unpacker etc.

However, for us the better solution would be an add-on manager which either has dat+png or pak and in case of the former generates then pak on the fly. Integrating a pak addon downloader would be relatively simple (less than two days I would guess). Doanloading into an active game would be probably harder. (We are already parsing the seerver list, and download save games ... ) In the worst case, one would need to restart simutrans to add (or remove) the addons after downloading via download window into the game.

Heck, one could probably even parse the English part of the japanese wiki as download server for pak64 and pak128

Roboron

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 01:14:31 PMPosting in pak128 results in AL, posting in pak128.japan results in GPL, posting in pak128.german grants the right to play with it and the pak128.german team may include it in the pakset proper.

Ok, that seems good enough.

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 01:14:31 PMOn a dedicated addon upload page, you'd be required to choose at least one pakset tag which similarly defines the license, and multi-tagging creates multiple licenses.

I can see this working for the Workshop, too.

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 01:14:31 PMAnd there is another issue - it might not be sufficient to be in the rules, you might need a checkmark "I accept the terms and conditions" every time.

I agree that rules laid in a post may not be enough - but such terms and conditions could also be applied at forum registration, so the user only have to accept them once.

Quote from: Leartin on August 27, 2021, 01:14:31 PMIndeed. Which is why it can be used commercially and does not equate to an NC license. If AL was a CC license, it would IMHO be somewhere between CC-BY and CC-BY-SA.

IMHO, having an open source project like Simutrans which is freely available under a non-commercial license is somewhat redundant. When the product is free, rules of the market applies: no one will pay for a product you can already get for free. The only useful case I see where a NC license is useful is when you as an author are providing your product in two ways: a paid commercial use/enterprise version and a free non-commercial/personal use version.

Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 01:51:47 PMI doubt that anything can be enforced at Simutrans.

No, you are right, we can't count on everybody following it - there will be always people that refuse. But we can try and get as much people in the bandwagon as possible.

Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 01:51:47 PMIf every package does its own thing, how should a certain rule apply to add-ons?

That is what are we discussing right now - so far I see previously mentioned Leartin's view to be the most reasonable. Do you have any other idea?

Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 01:51:47 PMIf you only worked a little more together instead of using all your might against each other, many things would be better and easier.

Sometimes work for the sake of work doesn't solve anything - we are having this discussion because previous efforts have failed. Trying over and over again without changing the strategy won't likely change the output. Also I don't think we are "all against each other" in this discussion - so far it has been constructive. I can't say the same of your comment.

Quote from: prissi on August 27, 2021, 02:30:42 PMHowever, for us the better solution would be an add-on manager which either has dat+png or pak and in case of the former generates then pak on the fly.

Yes, I agree. That's a wonderful idea.

Andarix

Quote from: Roboron on August 27, 2021, 03:40:07 PM
...
Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 01:51:47 PM
...
If you only worked a little more together instead of using all your might against each other, many things would be better and easier.

Sometimes work for the sake of work doesn't solve anything - we are having this discussion because previous efforts have failed. Trying over and over again without changing the strategy won't likely change the output. Also I don't think we are "all against each other" in this discussion - so far it has been constructive. I can't say the same of your comment.
...

I've been following Simutrans for a long time. And the same things were discussed over and over again. There was discussion, discussion, discussion ... and it petered out.

Quote...

Quote from: prissi on August 27, 2021, 02:30:42 PM
....
However, for us the better solution would be an add-on manager which either has dat+png or pak and in case of the former generates then pak on the fly. ....

Yes, I agree. That's a wonderful idea.

This idea also existed years ago.

And in principle it already exists, see OnlineDat

Roboron

Here you have, "work done", your request has been fulfilled:

==> https://simutrans-germany.com/wiki/wiki/en_Addons

Can we move forward now or is there anything more you wish I work on before?

Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 04:07:43 PMAnd in principle it already exists, see OnlineDat

Nice, then it is just a matter of polishing it and adapt it to discussed requirements, then we can integrate it into the game. Can you point us to the source code?

Flemmbrav

The GitHub actions of Pak192.Comic generate addon-nightlies as well.
The british addons are parts of these as well.
You might want to link the generated addons on the wiki too?
Link to the whole generated files is this one:
https://github.com/Flemmbrav/Pak192.Comic/releases/tag/Nightly
Just the addons for standard are these:
https://github.com/Flemmbrav/Pak192.Comic/releases/download/Nightly/pak192-nightly-addons-datconverter.zip

Roboron

Yes, of course. Your comment came just in time as I was finishing a second edit. Now added.

Yona-TYT

I'm going to take the penguin as a reference, they have a repository for their addonds with an interface integrated into the game itself, it has worked very well for them and in my opinion it is a good example to follow.

Why not do something like that for yourself? Maybe we can steal some of your code hehehehehhe.  ;D

https://github.com/SuperTux/supertux


Andarix

#25
I'll list what you will probably need


  • Storage of the dat
  • Storage of the graphics
  • Notes for adjustments to the respective package
  • Notes for adjustments to the respective version
  • Integration of a translation
  • Creation of pak files
  • pack as zip
  • Adjustments to Simutrans itself, if the installation is to be done inside of the game

In addition, there are single object addons and addons that contain several objects.

Add-ons with several objects such as industrial extensions are usually adapted to specific paksets. It is time-consuming to adapt these for other paksets, since the goods objects already different within one graphic size (64, 128).

The goods objects are such a point. If the object names were the same for the same goods, no adjustments would be necessary. And translating would also be much easier. The same applies to industries and other buildings.

Sorry if I say that now, but it takes a lot of effort for something that is probably very underutilized.

Because look how many addons have been published in the last 5 years.

Another example of an idea that fell asleep is the Simutrans blog. There was also one in German once.

Leartin

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMpack as zip
I wonder. Simutrans does not read zip files, and in most cases, a screenshot of the addon content is already larger than the addon itself. Might just be another source of error when users don't know they need to unpack manually.

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMIntegration of a translation
Good point. A central addon hub could share data with the simutranslator such that addons can become part of the translation efforts.
Makes one think about naming requirements though, to avoid multiple "myfirsttrain" objects. (Sure, you can probably link to some obscure source that states naming conventions, but it's pointless if they are not known)

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMAdd-ons with several objects such as industrial extensions are usually adapted to specific paksets. It is time-consuming to adapt these for other paksets, since the goods objects already different within one graphic size (64, 128).
It's actually better that they don't work, since paksets also differ in game balance. If the goods had the same names, you might be able to load the addon, but it wouldn't improve the gameplay. Simutrans Paksets are not just visual skins, after all.
But it's certainly true that some addons have good requirements or reference other vehicles, and those could be part of a different addon. Ideally, there'd be a way to mark dependencies, but practically, it probably doesn't matter for now.

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMBecause look how many addons have been published in the last 5 years.
Okay - where tho? I know in the last 5 years addons for p192c were published on Steam, Discord, Facebook, the German forum, this international forum, and directly on github. No idea if there was someone active on Reddit or Twitter or tumblr or whatever, since I don't use those. Plus, I know I started out when I saw Flemmbrav and Ramagani at work, so those single sparks spread apart on different platforms might have a better chance to catch someones fire if there was a central location to go to.

Andarix

#27
Quote from: Leartin on August 28, 2021, 10:27:41 AM
I wonder. Simutrans does not read zip files, and in most cases, ....

You don't seem well informed. Simutrans saves the savegames zip / bzip compressed. And can read it again.

And in the dependencies is the zlib, libzstd and libbz2. And these are the components that are required to read and write zip files.

https://simutrans-germany.com/wiki/wiki/de_simuconf_tab_system#saveformat

Leartin

Well, if you place a zipped addon in the addon folder, does Simutrans read it? No? Then, in the context of what we are talking about, Simutrans does not read zip files.

But that's how it always is with you - I'll now ignore you, and you'll whine nobody works with you.

Roboron

Quote from: Leartin on August 28, 2021, 10:27:41 AMI wonder. Simutrans does not read zip files, and in most cases, a screenshot of the addon content is already larger than the addon itself. Might just be another source of error when users don't know they need to unpack manually.

I also don't see the point of zipping pak files. But zipping sources (dat, png, license) for distribution is obviously a good idea - maybe Andarix was referring to that.

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMSorry if I say that now, but it takes a lot of effort for something that is probably very underutilized.

Because look how many addons have been published in the last 5 years.

Huh? How do you know? Do you really know how many third party addon sites are out there, and how many addons are published? We did not even have a documented list (which is still surely incomplete anyway) until yesterday. I wonder how you know the numbers now. Indeed - I believe you don't. I have been doing extra research today - mainly searching for simutrans on twitter, since I know a good amount of japanese players use that. I've found many sites and such an enormous quantity of content, I couldn't have never imagined before that there was such an active community developing addons under the International radar!

==> https://wikiwiki.jp/twitrans/addon - A wiki similar to the japanese.simutrans.com page. But with much, much more content (I don't know if there are shared addons between both, probably). Just look at trains for pak64, 39 pages (15 addons per page) versus 14 pages (20 addons per page).
==> https://ahozura.kasu.me/portal/?cat=5 - AhozuraNS Simutrans Laboratory, a small team of modders.
==> https://rapidbeta.wixsite.com/rapidbeta/addon - Another creator's site
==> https://rapit-simutrans.seesaa.net/ - A blog with a bunch of addons, seems abandoned
==> https://atelier.kasu.me/simutrans/ - Katsumi Ateliers' Addons

I had to stop  because it was consuming my time - but surely there more hiding out there. Furthermore, I can see the japanese working on his own version of the addons repository. I thereby present you the "Simutrans Addon Portal":

==> https://simutrans-portal.128-bit.net/

It can host the addons or link to third-party sites, and a good amount of them even are properly licensed licensed (CC-BY-NC-SA usually). The portal gives a good perspective of how are things going. Only for pak128.japan alone a ten of addons have been uploaded _this month_. If you start counting from the start of the year and include other paksets, more than one hundred of Simutrans addons have been uploaded. And yet, here you are, suggesting to the broader International Community that a similar solution is not worth the effort because it could be "very underutilized". **** it, if we just could have 1/10 of the activity the japanese portal has, I would call it worth!

Maybe we can learn something from the japanese community. I would like to hear if they had something to say about this topic. By the way, the Simutrans Addon Portal also has the code available (MIT Licensed), if someone is interested in doing something with/upon it:

==> https://github.com/128na/simutrans-portal

Quote from: Andarix on August 28, 2021, 08:20:02 AMAnother example of an idea that fell asleep is the Simutrans blog. There was also one in German once.

I actually requested an account to revive the blog a week ago. I've been writing posts on the Steam Hub since I took control of Simutrans on Steam - so I may very well post them on the blog since I already did the effort. None of the Web Team has replied so far... At this point I would've has asked personally, but I don't really know what active members are part of the "Web Team" since the forum software does not tell (there's a post with a list somewhere but it is obviously outdated), nor do I want to disturb Isaac - he seems to be busy now.

Quote from: Leartin on August 28, 2021, 11:44:19 AMBut that's how it always is with you - I'll now ignore you, and you'll whine nobody works with you.

And yet another non-constructive, openly hostile comment. Although this one confirms the first:

Quote from: Andarix on August 27, 2021, 01:51:47 PMIf you only worked a little more together instead of using all your might against each other, many things would be better and easier.

I am a patient person but I am getting on my nerves. I wonder why it is SO. ****. DIFFICULT. for you guys to work together for a common goal if only ONE. ****. TIME. I am getting tired of this.

Andarix

Quote from: Roboron on August 28, 2021, 02:01:33 PM
...
Huh? How do you know? Do you really know how many third party addon sites are out there, and how many addons are published? We did not even have a documented list (which is still surely incomplete anyway) until yesterday. I wonder how you know the numbers now. Indeed - I believe you don't. I have been doing extra research today - mainly searching for simutrans on twitter, since I know a good amount of japanese players use that. I've found many sites and such an enormous quantity of content, I couldn't have never imagined before that there was such an active community developing addons under the International radar!

==> https://wikiwiki.jp/twitrans/addon - A wiki similar to the japanese.simutrans.com page. But with much, much more content (I don't know if there are shared addons between both, probably). Just look at trains for pak64, 39 pages (15 addons per page) versus 14 pages (20 addons per page).
==> https://ahozura.kasu.me/portal/?cat=5 - AhozuraNS Simutrans Laboratory, a small team of modders.
==> https://rapidbeta.wixsite.com/rapidbeta/addon - Another creator's site
==> https://rapit-simutrans.seesaa.net/ - A blog with a bunch of addons, seems abandoned
==> https://atelier.kasu.me/simutrans/ - Katsumi Ateliers' Addons

I had to stop  because it was consuming my time - but surely there more hiding out there. Furthermore, I can see the japanese working on his own version of the addons repository. I thereby present you the "Simutrans Addon Portal":

==> https://simutrans-portal.128-bit.net/

It can host the addons or link to third-party sites, and a good amount of them even are properly licensed licensed (CC-BY-NC-SA usually). The portal gives a good perspective of how are things going. Only for pak128.japan alone a ten of addons have been uploaded _this month_. If you start counting from the start of the year and include other paksets, more than one hundred of Simutrans addons have been uploaded. And yet, here you are, suggesting to the broader International Community that a similar solution is not worth the effort because it could be "very underutilized". **** it, if we just could have 1/10 of the activity the japanese portal has, I would call it worth!

Maybe we can learn something from the japanese community. I would like to hear if they had something to say about this topic. By the way, the Simutrans Addon Portal also has the code available (MIT Licensed), if someone is interested in doing something with/upon it:

==> https://github.com/128na/simutrans-portal

....

See, that's the first problem that needs to be addressed. Everyone knows a small part of the very scattered activities. Preferably where the person in question is active.

So the first step should be to collect all the links in one central location. And the link directory from the wiki is ideal. Even if one person is no longer active, others can take care of it. This is not the case with many other websites. Even here in the forum, maintenance is hardly possible as soon as the poster maker is no longer active. And that's the problem with documentation in forums in general. If the creator is no longer active, changes and corrections can only be made cumbersome.

It may be easier and more convenient to post in forums. In the long term, however, this is the worse choice for documentation. Also because forums have a search, but no structured navigation.

Leartin

Quote from: Roboron on August 28, 2021, 02:01:33 PMI am a patient person but I am getting on my nerves. I wonder why it is SO. ****. DIFFICULT. for you guys to work together for a common goal if only ONE. ****. TIME. I am getting tired of this.
I very much believe in discussion and collaboration as a group of individuals of equal standing. Andarix has stated before that a leader should decide, and others merely follow. It will not be possible for me to blindly follow a leader. Maybe if I trusted in them completely, or maybe if I only cared about payment. And I don't want to be such a leader either, so I'm not compatible with his philosophy. I'm not alone with that, either.
While I dislike him as a person due to history, that would not dissuade me from working on a project he is working on as well. But you see what happens: My post was not hostile and simply adressed some of his points, even in agreement, but he chose to pick raisins and misconstrue what I said. I simply don't have the mental capacity to deal with him, and so my options are somewhere between ignoring him, ignoring the whole thread, and ignoring Simutrans.

If that's not enough for you and you want to know more, I can tell you my side of the story in private, but I'd prefer not to roll out the drama once again.

prissi

If one want to do this proper, then integration into simutrans should be also a goal, i.e. a easy (probably CSV based) interface with structured information and the pak, and an API to the search on the server. I know there is bananas on OpenTTD, but I have never ever tried it out.

Sirius

I tried it out as a user ages ago and for me it simply worked back then...

Technically, it seems to be a mod/grf repository index, not hosting content by themselves.
Contents link to github, reddit and more.

https://bananas.openttd.org/package/newgrf

Edit: Since 2020, the index "database" seems to be a github repository by itself:
https://github.com/OpenTTD/BaNaNaS

Interessting approach, but given the above discussion about github availability, I am not sure if that suits our needs.