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Thread: A question about DromEd support in loaders (regarding AngelLoader)

  1. #1

    A question about DromEd support in loaders (regarding AngelLoader)

    As AngelLoader nears its first beta, I got a question about whether it supports launching DromEd. I know DarkLoader, NewDarkLoader, and FMSel all support this, but not having ever used DromEd apart from a brief toe-dipping years back, there's something I'm unsure about. AngelLoader is designed like DarkLoader, in that it's a standalone app where you manage all your FMs at once, rather than installing a separate copy in every game folder. Because of this, there's not really a concept of multiple installs of the same game; you just choose "the Thief 1 folder", "the Thief 2 folder" etc.

    So it would be easy for me to simply detect the presence of DromEd.exe in a given game folder and allow the launching of it with the selected FM. DarkLoader itself does this, from what I can tell. However, as I seem to recall, an oft-given piece of advice is to make your DromEd install separate from your main game install. If it's the case that most people do that, then would requiring DromEd to be installed into your main Thief game folder be an unacceptable limitation? Further, do mission authors use loaders to launch FMs in DromEd often? It seems to me like it's just a slight shortcut and you could just as easily launch DromEd and open a mission from there, but are there more benefits that make it an indispensable feature? It seems odd that DarkLoader didn't support separate DromEd folders even though the consensus seems to have always been that you should have separate folders. I'm a little out of my depth here, so any clarification would be helpful Thank you!

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2012
    Don't sweat it, Fen. Having the option to open DromEd through DarkLoader is nice, but it's not something I ever used due to keeping separate Thief-for-playing and Thief-for-dromeding folders.

    I launch Dromed by opening my Dromed folder on the hard drive and clicking the dromed.exe - some things require you to open the folder anyway, like importing custom resources or writing readables (open the str folder, create new text file), so opening the folder is just part of the Dromed working process. A shortcut in the launcher isn't all that useful since usually you'd have to open the folder at some point, anyway. The only times I use DarkLoader's "open in dromed" function is when I want to look at the currently installed fan mission to see how the author accomplished certain things, like what brushes he used for a certain architectural detail, things like that.

    Does AngelLoader use the NewDark "FM" folder, rather than installing an FM directly into the root folder like DarkLoader did? Because if it uses the FM folder, having multiple installations isn't all that important since the FMs are self-contained and don't interfere with each other.

    It would be a little tricky to have two folders of the same Thief game, one for playing and one for dromeding, wouldn't it? If you're thinking of implementing that, how would you do it? Have AngelLoader install the FM into the dromed folder when you click "open with dromed", and into the normal play folder when you click "Install and play"? Or would you have two separate install buttons (install into play folder, install into dromed folder)?

  3. #3
    Yeah, AngelLoader uses the modern install method with an FMs folder with all the FMs in there, of course. And yeah, supporting multiple game installs would be very tricky, and not just because of the two different install options, but because there would have to be some way to visually distinguish, for example, a Thief 2 FM that's installed in the T2 playing folder vs one that's installed in the T2 DromEd folder. And if you installed one FM to both folders, then there would have to be some way to convey that as well (right now, an FM is one-to-one between its archive and its installed folder because there's only ever one of each), but then if you uninstalled it it would be back to just "Thief 2 (not installed so we can't mark it as DromEd or not)" etc. etc. So yeah, I was hoping I wouldn't have to do that.
    Last edited by FenPhoenix; 29th Mar 2019 at 08:25. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2012
    Yeah, then you can just leave the option of two install folders out. It doesn't really matter that much for the reasons I listed - you usually gotta open the folder at some point anyway during dromeding, and the new FM folder structure means FMs don't interfere with each other and with the main game, so there's no risk of screwing things up when using dromed in your main install. It would've been a more useful feature in pre-NewDark days, but those dark times are behind us :P

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    I've always launched dromed with a desktop shortcut icon and I don't necessarily open Windows Explorer every time I work on my missions. On my old pc I had two installs, one for playing and one for dromed (even though both installs had both thief2 .exe and dromed.exe. My play install has nothing but stock resources, and having the play installation helps me to see if I left out any resources in my mission's zip file before releasing it.

    I never used the dromed launch buttons in Darkloader or any other FM loader because it was easier to just double click the icon on the desktop rather than to double click on the app first and then the dromed button.

    Sometimes I do have several programs running at once while using dromed (explorer, anim8or, winzip, irfanview, cmd window etc.) so having the FM loader running would mean having one more app running that I'm not actually using while designing my mission and onr more item in the task bar. Personally I feel that having a dromed button is redundant.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Quote Originally Posted by FenPhoenix View Post
    So it would be easy for me to simply detect the presence of DromEd.exe in a given game folder and allow the launching of it with the selected FM.
    I think that would be a fair assumption.

    A useful feature would be a setup option to select an alternate installation folder Dromed. I think the assumption should be that the alternate Dromed folder is set up the old way (i.e. with the FM files in the root), because to me it seems silly to have two installations that both use the FMs folder, when a major benefit of the new system is that we don't need multiple installations.

    Quote Originally Posted by FenPhoenix
    Further, do mission authors use loaders to launch FMs in DromEd often?
    I can only speak for myself, but I find the FMs folder very useful as a Dromeder because there are quite a few demo FMs out there, so it's very useful to have them all installed at once, as it is when loading another FM to see how something was done.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    A useful feature would be a setup option to select an alternate installation folder Dromed. I think the assumption should be that the alternate Dromed folder is set up the old way (i.e. with the FM files in the root), because to me it seems silly to have two installations that both use the FMs folder, when a major benefit of the new system is that we don't need multiple installations.
    So, an alternate DromEd folder that's set up like the pre-NewDark way, like with an FM just extracted into the root DarkLoader-style?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Location: Ireland/Poland
    Quote Originally Posted by RSoul
    A useful feature would be a setup option to select an alternate installation folder Dromed. I think the assumption should be that the alternate Dromed folder is set up the old way (i.e. with the FM files in the root), because to me it seems silly to have two installations that both use the FMs folder, when a major benefit of the new system is that we don't need multiple installations.
    I don't really follow that logic. In my humble opinion, the new loader these days should never support the old-school way, which was messy and error prone. We still may need multiple installations with the new system - one for playing only and one (or more) for dromeding, and each of them having multiple fanmissions installed in FMs folder. You may want to separate a clean, play-only installation from a potentially messy and experimental working installation for multiple FMs to work on. I'm talking about messing around with config files in your working Thief folders etc...

    @FenPhoenix
    Having said the above, managing multiple installations could make the UI and UX a bit complex, unless you have a clever way of doing it. I use quite often the 'Edit FM' command for FMs in FMSel, but that's only for peeking and investigating.
    I believe anyone who is doing an actual work on some fanmission would install it manually to have a full control over the process - not rely on a FM loader to install it for them.

    BTW. you know about the -fm command line argument for Dromed, don't you?
    Last edited by PinkDot; 30th Mar 2019 at 18:33.

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