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Thread: Preview: NewDarkLoader - testers required!

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Constantly losing tug o'war

    Preview: NewDarkLoader - testers required!

    I recently began working on a new FM loader. Since NewDark came out I've been using FMSel, which has a few features I really like, but I missed Darkloader's interface, which shows the readme.

    So I decided to have a go at writing something that does what FMSel does but with the look and feel of Darkloader.

    Here's a preview:


    Darkloader scans the mission archive to work out things like mission title, game type, release date etc. NewDarkLoader does that too, but with one difference. When an FM has multiple missions, there's no guarantee of displaying the correct title. Authors can specify a campaign title, but if it's not there Darkloader will use the name of the final mission. That can lead to spoilers if that title refers to something the player shouldn't know about at the beginning of the FM. NDL looks for the campaign title but won't risk spoiling things if it hasn't been set.

    Users can edit the displayed details of an FM by right clicking:


    Current status:
    It can get and set FM info. You don't have to edit the ini file yourself as you see in the above screenshot.
    Darkloader-style setup window with a date format option:

    Support for .7z and .rar files in addition to .zip. Other archive formats may also be supported but I haven't tested them.
    It reports whether an FM is installed or not.

    Planned features:
    Add buttons for Play FM, Ignore (e.g play the regular game but keep the FM installed), Uninstall or Edit (via Dromed). Most of the work is done (getting the right directories etc).
    Add support for DML Mods. Some FMs don't work properly under NewDark, so voodoo47 has been working on these little files that rectify the problems without modifying the FMs themselves. I haven't thought much about how it will be set up but the result will be a set of DML files being extracted/copied to the FM's folder before starting the game.
    For the FM list, I might have the Difficulty checkboxes and the Comment box visible at all times. Or I might expand the table to include things like tags (an FMSel feature).
    And you'll be able to use a copy of your Darkloader.ini file with this. I'll probably add an import feature, then you won't have to re-enter too much.
    I might add a feature that imports data from an FMSel ini file too.
    Handle savegame/screenshot backups.
    Import previous backups from Darkloader/FMSel.

    Possible planned feature:
    Support for T3 FMs. I'm told quite reliably that the installtion procedure is similar, but I'm only going to look in to that when I'm happy with what NDL can do with Dark Engine FMs.


    What do you think?
    Last edited by R Soul; 18th Jun 2016 at 18:01.

  2. #2
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Bohn Museum
    It looks wonderful, thanks for taking this on. Will it install each FM into its own folder then, like FMSel?

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Constantly losing tug o'war
    Yes.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea
    Thanks, R Soul...I can't wait to try it out...

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 0x0x0
    Ooohh..me likey. Darkloader is like a trusted old friend.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2011
    Location: Montpellier, France
    Looks amazing!

  7. #7
    That's what I'm talkin' about! Best of both worlds

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    Excellent, I can not wait to try this out!

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: France
    Looking awesome. Back in the day, my favorite FM loader was Garrettloader. I loved the look of it and also the little thumbnail you could include.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2007
    Location: up the hill
    On board.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Washington
    I am definitely interested in trying this.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    This is very much appreciated and will be hugely popular, if you need any beta testers I'll help

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Jafaville New Zealand
    Can I make a suggestion?

    Separate the FM's by games in tabs?
    Sort of how a modern web browser handles multiple pages. One tab for Thief 1, another for Thief 2 and so on...

    It's the one thing I've sorely wanted for aaaages.

  14. #14
    Zombified
    Registered: Sep 2004
    I've been going through the ND docs and I think it's possible to set up a folder where all FM dmls would reside, and the engine would be able to activate them when a matching mission is launched, this means there would be no need of manual patching on the user side. I need to test this but I'm short on time (as always).

    also isn't the FMsel source code available? one could simply have a look at that for reference (pretty sure that the new loader should not reinvent the wheel as far as priorities and paths are concerned).

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Location: Slovakia - Zemplín region
    Nice effort, but speaking for myself, I'm perfectly content withFM Sel.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob_doe_nz View Post
    Can I make a suggestion? Separate the FM's by games in tabs? Sort of how a modern web browser handles multiple pages. One tab for Thief 1, another for Thief 2 and so on... It's the one thing I've sorely wanted for aaaages.
    GarrettLoader had that feature too, so this is definitely a good idea.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Albertslund, Denmark
    Nice, looks interesting.
    Like some already suggested, please split the FM's by game in tabs.
    Also a search feature would be nice, it should search title and archive name and list any FM's that contain the word searched for.
    Some filtering would also be nice, for instance on the finished column, so it would be easy to find any FM's that you haven't finished without having to sort on the column.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: CT, USA
    Duckin' A Foodle!

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Sweden
    Sounds super. I never liked FMSel.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 1999
    Location: Texas, hhhwweeee hawww
    Awesome! I wonder how the memory will be used... I hate how FMsel will hose my old system until the extractor is done.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2008
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    So I decided to have a go at writing something that does what FMSel does but with the look and feel of Darkloader.
    That's perfect even as an idea already!

  21. #21
    Moderator
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: Thunder Bay, On., Canada
    Fantastic! I still prefer Darkloader to FMSel so an updated version would be very much welcome.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Planet Crazy Pants
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert View Post
    This will perhaps sound like a strange idea, but I've been wondering about the possibility of using RAM disk storage for FMs/campaigns. On systems with enough RAM and processing power, it would potentially make for a non-trivial method of keeping the HDD space used up by FM collections low. Admittedly, this idea would probably be good only for large FMs/campaigns, and I don't know how easy it would even be to implement such a storage management system.
    I looked into this some years (and Ram chips) ago. TG and T2 would have to be installed on the RamDisk since the FM resources go into the install folder with DarkLoader. FMSEL, I think, puts them in the FM Zip folder which would require much, much more space. Let us know if you tinker around with it, but I think it'd be best to put it on a new post.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Constantly losing tug o'war
    Enough of this RAM disk talk; it's nothing to do with what NewDarkLoader is being written for.

    I've set up a filter. I've incorrectly set some game types just to demonstrate. The game checkboxes should be a good alternative to tabs for each game.


    I'm open to suggestions about the presentation, but let it be known that I'm not a fan of the current trend of hiding everything.

    There's also a button for viewing the readme fullscreen.

  24. #24
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Between a bed and a machine
    I may say, that's no that bad!

    The best could be to do an interface similar to the game with metal frames but I know how it is hard to code such a thing in C or C++ so don't mind about this idea if it's too hard to do!

    The most you could is to do like FMSel (by modifying DarkInst.cfg or Install.cfg) to make sub-directories for the fan missions instead of extracting it directly in the main directory. It could set something more clear as FMSel and why not placing in this main directory all stuff that cannot be placed elsewhere (as the LUA scripts).

    I obviously don't know how DarkLoader is coded or what are you limits in matter of coding but if you think you can do this, do it with no hesitations!

    Ho! And last thing: Could you add it a function for TDS FM ? Because GarrettLoader don't works properly with non-english speaker games...

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Planet Crazy Pants
    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    Enough of this RAM disk talk; it's nothing to do with what NewDarkLoader is being written for.
    It's not nothing. Getting resource heavy FM's to load and run quickly on starts, reloads and ingame, etc. Is worth a consideration. Flash/solid state storage is much quicker and less stressful on disk drives. Functionally, an FM loader could zip sav files in a prefixed/paired bundle for future use next to the source FM.zip before finalizing FM un-installation. I'm no developer either, so don't take offense: this ought to be more than the GUI of surrogate decompression.

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