Nathan Mates's .plan ArchivesPlan Archives from July 1999.
[visi.com] Login name: nathan In real life: Nathan Mates Directory: /home/nathan Shell: /bin/tcsh Plan:Job: Network Programmer, Battlezone 2, developed by Pandemic Studios http://www.pandemicstudios.com , published by Activision http://www.activision.com [Note: in this, I am *NOT* speaking officially for either of those, I'm only speaking for myself.]
Now, what I'd really like to see is this: a GraviLogitMSOther "larger desk" delivered. [Preferably to home, where I've got barely enough space for my keyboards on my hacky solution of wedging two rather unrelated tables together... I've looked at Office Depot and the like, and new desk sets are like $500 for a few slabs of plywood in the sizes I'd like. (space for 15", 17" and 19" monitors, 3 keyboard/mouse sets, joystick with huge footprint, gamepad, inkjet printer, etc.)]
Also, some ways of better organizing stuff would be nice-- none of the things I've got so far are USB, and my computers sit down on the floor, so it's a major pain to unplug things if and when I use them. I ran into the same thing some years ago at a Playstation developer's conference-- I was given 4 controllers in one day, but nobody handed out those little Multitap thingys.
I don't just want to toss the old cards, but don't want to just give them away to anyone. [Got work phone # on them, and while I'm sure most of you could find that # trivially, I'd rather not have random yahoos dialing me up at work complaining about the color schemes on Scion tanks.] So, any suggestions on what to do with them?
Actually, there's still the chances of filename conflicts, though in a bit more insidious ways. The way we get the ability to throw stuff in subdirectories (folders) is by having our file loader code essentially not care about directories. We've got a nice treed directory structure for all assets, but when the game starts up, it scans that tree and essentially flattens it, so that trying to read the file 'ivtank.odf' (ISDF, Vehicle, 'tank' is the naming convention there) transparently expands to '\data\objects\isdf\vehicles\ivtank\ivtank.odf' (or something like that).
The problem with the above is that "what if there's another ivtank.odf in the tree?" That's where things get nasty: since it flattened out the tree, it can't tell which one to use, and may pick it semi-randomly. [I think it's either first entry or last entry, according to the directory structure on HD, so it'll be consistent on one machine, but a second machine may take the other one.] So, with multiple addon maps referring to custom assets, they suffer from the same thing: two addon maps can't refer to the same file by name, or bad things might happen.
As the names for things have a 15-character limit internally (i.e. 11 characters, a '.' and a 3-letter extension), there's a LOT of namespace to avoid clashes, but it's something that should be considered by mapmakers. If people stick to something of a naming convention (e.g. addon map "bgrounds.bzn" refers to bgr_tnk1.odf, bgr_sct1.odf) that'll solve most problems. I'll see if we can impose some more structures on things, but that may not be easily doable.
This should allow better management of things, as custom maps can be in their own folders, not just dropped into a huge dumping ground of a directory. [And, there's no more netmis.txt file either to add to or tweak each time a map is downloaded, but reading a custom info file per bzn isn't done yet.
And on a completely different note, just finished Might & Magic 7 at home. There's something rather interesting to the gameplay: partway thru, you get to pick which side (light/dark, aka good/evil) you want to side with, and all the quests after that are different. So, in playing the light side (in this, Warcraft 2, etc, I tended to only play the "good guys"), it's not "over." Rather neat gameplay mechanic to encourage replayability, etc. If you're at all into RPGs like I am, I encourage you to check M&M7 out.