Can Blackops work without FAF?

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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby PhilipJFry » 26 Feb 2017, 23:18

So what? Should people who make mods/maps on FAF or update them invest time and energy to tailor them to YOUR preferences?
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby Exotic_Retard » 26 Feb 2017, 23:33

exactly what philip says - yes, i guess this is an exclusive community in this sense - i maintain a mod, and as it stands it would require me to spend more effort than i spent on the mod in total to make it compatible with steam. if not outright impossible its an extremely gargantuan and impractical task.

in faf we make mods for faf because its far easier to distribute them via the mod vault and they work in faf. if they dont work in steam its unreasonable to ask to make them do so. its almost easier to rewrite it from scratch for a steam version. dont expect anyone to do that, to please, what is after all a minority.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby Tanksy » 27 Feb 2017, 03:19

Comparing the number of active players and the things I've seen regarding how the FAF community seems to be getting smaller by the day, I wouldn't consider Steam to be the minority here especially considering most people who play FAF nowadays have the game via Steam anyway. That said, outside of the Steam Forums -- FAF is the only real community for the game.

The entire reason your mods only work on FAF is because FAF has been tailored that way, so that they can hold their own monopoly on things. Due to all the outstanding work done -- even the questionable patches -- these mods require a specific setup to work on FAF. Because FAF won't freely host their patches and mods to the wider audience without forcing them to get the Client, you build the reputation as being an exclusive community running exclusive mods and the few people I've spoken to on the subject don't want to be a part of it, merely by looking in and seeing what the community here is like and how they treat others.

The Mod Vault works like any other distribution service and it's not that much "special" or "easier" compared to distributing via NexusMods. ModDB also, whilst not often discussed or used (at least for supreme commander) is a much nicer platform to use for presenting mods than the FAF vault. So, the only real reason I can see to use the FAF vault would be to keep things exclusive. A lot more people would be aware of FAF and use FAF if the patches and updates were made more widely available, and the server/client system was kept separate as an alternative matchmaking service and hosting service for mods and maps. Nothing is really stopping you from uploading the FAF patches and updates to the game outside of the FAF community (thereby making more people aware of the community and the work done here), you just choose to keep it to yourselves.

In an ideal world, FAF could run like a mod collection. The updates, balance patches, etc, could be distributed freely with a special updater that lets you switch from the FAF configuration to the regular, much like the new LOUD mod does with their own updater. The last time I used the FAF client, things were messy and it irreparably changed my vanilla game and I had to reinstall it to revert it back so I could play with a lot of the good old mods.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby IceDreamer » 27 Feb 2017, 03:35

Tanksy wrote:Yes, but I'm also on the only place outside of my group of friends where mods for supreme commander are even discussed. If a mod can be made to work for anyone outside of the special FAF-only group, then I'm all for it because it makes mods look less like an exclusive thing for exclusive people.

As it stands now, FAF is widely regarded as an exclusive group -- You have mods and maps and functionality specifically tailored to your version of the game, which isn't the version that a lot of people are playing. This means up-to-date mods almost don't exist outside of FAF and there's plenty of people who don't want to be forced into playing your ruleset.


I really don't consider FAF to be exclusive, rather that this is the primary continuation of the original community. This is by far and away the largest active FA playerbase, especially once you exclude a little-known group in China who unfortunately can't play much with outsiders because of the government firewall, who number several thousand active users last I checked in with them. FAF frequently hits 900+ users online simultaneously, and something in the order of 10k+ unique logins per month. Steam is about half that, and includes the Chinese group as well as many FAF regulars who have FAF linked to Steam in ways that makes it show up in the stats, and more whos friendship groups force them to play on Steam occasionally.

But yeah, no. Count it an exclusive group if you wish, it's the only group with an active modding and development presence, and one with limited time and a lot to do. No, we're not going to go out of our way to cater to a fileset that is by all objective measures severely out of date.

EDIT: - You posted while I was typing :)

FAF's community is growing, not shrinking. Our average playercount over the last 30 days is 50% higher than Steam's, likewise peak.

The reason the mods only work on FAF has nothing to do with FAF being 'Tailored that way'. The mods only work here because bugs in the underlying code have been fixed, and the mods have to work with those fixes. The way the lua structure works that means some changes kill backwards compatibility, and there have been literally thousands of bugfixes.

The FAF game can be launched without the client (It has to be installed to grab the patches from our servers of course, but you can launch offline and do direct connect games without the matchmaking services).

The reason to use the FAF vault is because it's incredibly convenient for both modders and players. New mod versions can be automatically distributed, and players get auto-download of active mods on joining a game. It's... It needs some work, UI and functionality, but it's a heck of a lot easier than manual third-party mod sites.

Again, yes, something IS stopping mods being made more widely available: Unless you have the FAF core fileset, they won't work. I suppose it is technically possible for us to upload the main patches to third party sites, where players could download and install the files in the right place themselves, but that's a lot of hassle compared to just auto-downloading them and putting them in the right place. Additionally there's an inconvenient fact here: We DO upload everything outside of the FAF client. It's called github. The code is open source. https://github.com/FAForever/fa/tree/master You're welcome.

The way FAF works at its core is the proper way this kind of total conversion, community-run, living development project should be. LOUD's updater works, but is inelegant for the average user who doesn't know wtf a file system is. And it IS distributed freely with a special updater: It's called the FAF client. You don't have to interact with anyone else, talk to anyone else, or use it for anything other than a download service if you don't want to, but at the end of the day:

No. We will not put development time into making mods for outdated code for players who refuse to use the platform out of mostly spite.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby Tanksy » 27 Feb 2017, 08:30

I don't think people are refusing to use FAF "out of spite", but I think they're refusing to use FAF out of convenience. Baring in mind that nowadays people can't really go out and buy Forged Alliance from the store --They buy and install the game on steam. The "Average user" probably won't want to have to jump through hoops just to play the latest mods (Also baring in mind the "Average user" probably won't even explore the concept of modding the game for a long time, if at all.). Whilst FAF is an easy setup, one of my problems with it is that, last time I used it, it overtook the vanilla game. One thing we have going for the modern world is the vast increase in storage space we have on PCs so mods can comfortably sit side-by-side with the vanilla application and be taken and applied to the normal game as-and-when. Take a look at the Nexus Mod Manager or any mod manager for that matter, and they willy keep the original files in reserve, in-tact, in separate directories and the user doesn't have to worry about a thing.

The one main thing that FAF could do to be more approachable by the majority of recent and future purchasers of the game is to be integrated in a familiar way where they can have the FAF mods be ran when they want to, keeping the original content untouched and still useable. That way you can still design mods to FAF's format, but you're not keeping them under lock-and-key of the FAF client which may or may not still be overwriting the original game files. I can't say that it still does because the last time I used FAF, the project was still with the original team and the website used the old layout with the active users counter still ticking up, not down like the forum posts that keep appearing seem to suggest.

In my opinion; "FAF Mods" can still be "FA Mods", it might just take a little bit of tweaking to make the mod code use the vanilla file structure and methods. I've not looked at what it might be like to modify units specifically, if the blueprint layout has changed, but for example; The MoreUnitInfo mod that has been somewhat integrated into FAF, I have taken and modified to work pretty well with the regular game. Now obviously I can't say how much different this particular piece is to the regular game's code, but I doubt that FAF has drastically changed the code structure to the point of no return. Thanks for the Github link, I'd love to look through some of the code changes and see what's different and where your bug fixes can be applied to the vanilla game.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby PhilipJFry » 27 Feb 2017, 08:46

I find it kinda funny that you mention LOUD as a good example while it installs all its patches/mods in the default install folder while FAF leaves your FA install intact. The only thing that could mess up your install from steam would be a messed up game.prefs file afaik.
And again making mods work for steam is additional work for people who don't use that particular platform so why on earth should they waste time on it?
Also if you take a mod and make it work with eg steam FA be sure to contact/ask the modder for permission and give credit.

Maybe the reason why nobody bothers making a mod for steam is:

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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby KeyBlue » 27 Feb 2017, 09:57

Sounds to me that most of your issues are with FAF touching your original game files.
I don't know how it used to be in the old days, but right now FAF doesn't touch any of the original files at all. (as far as i know)

If you're talking about convenience then FAF is definetly great.
Like mentioned before: if you see someone host a game with some mod or map you don't know then you can simply join that game and the client will automatically download them for you and put them in the right folders. (if they are available in the vaults ofcourse)
This sounds a lot more convenient then having to quit the lobby to search the internet for the specific version they are using and then go back online (hoping the game hasn't started yet) to join the game.

So because it seems you are working with an outdated view of how FAF works, you should give it another shot.


PS: I noticed that FAF doesn't even show up at the top when googling: Supreme Commander Forged Alliance mods
This is probably not great for people that don't know about the community.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby Tanksy » 27 Feb 2017, 12:49

PhilipJFry wrote:I find it kinda funny that you mention LOUD as a good example while it installs all its patches/mods in the default install folder while FAF leaves your FA install intact.


Actually it takes all the original files and stores them in separate directories before downloading the LOUD-specific files after doing a Hash checksum to find changes.

PhilipJFry wrote:Also if you take a mod and make it work with eg steam FA be sure to contact/ask the modder for permission and give credit.


I give credit to the original parts of the work to the original authors.

PhilipJFry wrote:Maybe the reason why nobody bothers making a mod for steam is


What happened to the ticker that counts the players active on FAF? Is there some record that is publically accessible?

Looking at Forged Alliance only; There's on average 19k players per week according to data scrubbing service "SteamSpy":
https://steamspy.com/app/9420
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When running FAF, does it launch using the Steam .exe?

KeyBlue wrote:Sounds to me that most of your issues are with FAF touching your original game files.
I don't know how it used to be in the old days, but right now FAF doesn't touch any of the original files at all. (as far as i know)


I'll have to give it another try at some point. So the balance patches and bugfixes and updates that FAF contains are kept separate and I can just not use FAF if I so choose whilst still having it installed?
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby lextoc » 27 Feb 2017, 13:10

I'm not in the mood to join this pointless discussion. And I believe that if you want a mod made for FAF to work on Steam, you should do it yourself if the mod author doesn't want to add the compatibility (which really is just plain logic sense, what are you trying to do, force someone to work for you?).

But I remember 2 years ago people lost their mind when we almost hit a 1000 online players and now we hit 1100 without anyone mentioning it.
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Re: Can Blackops work without FAF?

Postby PhilipJFry » 27 Feb 2017, 13:26

Last time i heard steamspy gets its data from public profiles and basically guesses a lot so i'm not sure how accurate the data in that graph is.
The CCU might be a more precise value.
FAF Server stats are still available.
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