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Thread: AngelLoader 1.0.14 - an all-in-one FM loader

  1. #1

    AngelLoader 1.0.14 - an all-in-one FM loader

    AngelLoader is a standalone FM loader where you can manage, install, and play all of your FMs in one place. Inspired by DarkLoader and NewDarkLoader, it supports Thief 1, Thief 2, and Thief: Deadly Shadows. It includes many modern features such as rating, game organization, tag management, easy .dml patching, an extensive set of filtering options, and a fast and accurate scanner for detecting FM titles, authors, game types, etc. For taffers who are used to DarkLoader, fear not - AngelLoader detects game types accurately, every time. No more editing ini files for Thief Gold!

    Read this first!

    System requirements:
    • Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 Anniversary Update or newer.
    • .NET Framework 4.7.2 or newer (the Windows version requirements are a direct result of this)


    AngelLoader is a portable app, so it must be extracted to a non-protected folder (so don't put it in Program Files or Program Files (x86)). Put it somewhere like C:\AngelLoader or C:\Games\AngelLoader, etc.

    Updates will not overwrite your user data (settings, FM data, etc). You can safely extract new versions to your AngelLoader folder, as only application files will be overwritten.

    For AngelLoader to work with your games, they must be patched as follows:

    -Thief 1 and Thief 2 must be patched with NewDark (use TFix and T2Fix respectively for the quickest and easiest experience)
    -Thief: Deadly Shadows must be patched with the Sneaky Upgrade (preferably 1.1.9.1 or newer; older versions have not been tested)

    Once you extract the zip file, you'll find a manual in the doc folder - AngelLoader documentation.html. Alternatively, you can view the manual online.

    Latest version: AngelLoader 1.0.14

    Or get the source code

    Mirrors (mirrors may take some time to get the latest version up, so check the version number before downloading):
    -Taffers Paradise

    Changelog:
    Code:
    v1.0.14:
    RichTextBox improvements:
    -Optimize new scrolling for high-resolution mouse wheels and trackpads (Xanfre)
    -Fix the mouse cursor flicker exhibited when entering reader (middle-button auto-scroll) mode (Xanfre)
    
    v1.0.13:
    -New languages:
    
    • German (thanks Maitre Malterre)
    • Italian (thanks Ramone)
    -Size column text is now aligned right -"Show junk" checkbox has been replaced with a button whose tooltip is more descriptive (Show FMs marked as "unsupported game or non-FM archive") -RichTextBox improvements:
    • Mousewheel scrolling now happens in evenly-sized chunks rather than "lines" (where a "line" could be as short as fine print or as tall as an entire image), making scrolling a much more pleasant and predictable experience (fix contributed by Xanfre)
    • Fixed cursor flickering when the mouse is to the left of a non-left-justified line of text (the right-arrow cursor will now appear in that case) (fix found with the help of Xanfre)
    -Fixed when choosing to play an original game and another loader was set up as the FM selector in cam_mod.ini, AngelLoader wouldn't set itself as the loader and therefore the other loader would run in that case, rather than just going straight to running the original game with no loader -Fixed when installing an FM, the progress box might close and reopen between tasks, rather than just changing its display data, causing a noticeable flicker effect v1.0.12: -Fixed flickering during readme scrolling when mouse cursor was over the readme. -Fixed: The listed order of readme files could change when re-scanning for readmes. -Fixed: After re-scanning for readmes, glitchiness could occur when attempting to select a new readme from the dropdown. -Fixed: The selected FM's cache folder wouldn't be cleared when re-scanning for readmes. -Fixed: When the readme chooser OK button was clicked, there was no check to make sure an item was actually selected. v1.0.11: Major bugfixes:
    • Fixed: When importing from DarkLoader (and potentially NewDarkLoader), FMs could be imported twice in some situations (though the duplicates would then be trimmed out, but it wasted time)
    • Behavior fix: During operations where the FMs list was being modified, it could previously be updated in real-time before it was ready, potentially causing events to fire. It's now hidden during those operations and only updated at the end.
    Minor bugfixes:
    • Fixed tags consisting only of whitespace could be added to an FM
    • Fixed some slight flicker when changing between HTML readmes
    Minor features:
    • When refreshing FMs list from disk, game types are now detected for new found FMs
    v1.0.10: Added French translation - thanks Stefan_Key! Fixes: -Fixed regression: preview date label now once again autosizes to prevent cutting off the first checkbox text -Fixed only a maximum of two languages would ever appear -Fixed an extremely improbable situation where FMScanner might return too many items if it's fed bad data (which I don't think can ever happpen for AL, but you never know) v1.0.9a: Fixes: -Rating display style change now works properly with FMs list zoom -Added missing localizable string -Fixed rating display style "Use Stars" wasn't being read in properly. Embarrassing. I should code-gen the config reader/writers to prevent this sort of thing happening. v1.0.9: -Allow zooming of FMs list -ScanFMs updates the source list faster now Fixes:
    • Fixed janky behavior with scroll buttons for filter bar
    • Fixed if an FM's scanned title was blank, the AltTitles wouldn't have the fallback title (archive or installed dir) added.
    • When using archive/installed names as titles, the extension is only removed if it's an archive extension
    • Fixed corner case where changing the rating display style could cause an exception when the Rating column header was highlighted at the time
    • Fixed zero-height column headers when all are hidden, rating display style is changed, and then one or more are shown again
    v1.0.8: -Improved support for manually-placed FM folders -Improved robustness in corner cases when loading and populating FM list -New shortcut keys: when FM list is selected, F5 refreshes and Shift-F5 refreshes from disk. -Fixed: Last Played date was only being sorted to the day, not to the exact time v1.0.7: -Basic support for un-converted FM installed dir names. -Moved install / uninstall button away from play button -Added option to confirm on uninstall -Added option to hide install / uninstall button -Better ask dialogs -Removed troublesome timed-show of progressbox. Replaced with a more basic but reliable check. v1.0.6: -Fixed corner case where scanning an FM could enter an infinite loop when the installed directory name was in an invalid format and there was no archive specified v1.0.5a: -Fixed a race condition that could cause a blank progress box to be displayed with no way to dismiss it B]v1.0.5:[/B] -Added "Refresh from disk" button -Fixed: readme zoom value was read in a culture-dependent way, so "1.300" could be interpreted as "1300" for example v1.0.4a: -Fixed NewDarkLoader's ".fix" folder was sometimes not being ignored in the archive dir search when "Include subfolders" was enabled v1.0.4: Quality-of-life improvements: -Auto-select a sensible folder when you click a browse button -Added autodetecting of other loaders' ini file locations for importing v1.0.3: -Added safe (non-spoiler) readme autodetect, so most of the time you won't have to manually select one the first time anymore -Improved speed of FM scan pre-check when "include subfolders" is enabled -Fixed a couple places where the progress box might not close if there was an error v1.0.2: -Fixed: If FM archive isn't found, skip the differential backup -Fixed: Occasionally, web search would fail for valid URLs -Improved startup time -Improvements to keyboard zooming -.dml patching is disabled for Thief 3 -Readme box fixes:
    • Images are now always displayed
    • Horizontal lines in GLML readmes are no longer subject to glitchiness at the right side
    • Transparent images are displayed correctly
    • Links are clickable
    • Zoom is clamped to a reasonable lower and upper bound
    v1.0.1: -Fixed a couple potential issues with differential backups
    Acknowledgements

    I stood on the shoulders of giants to make this. I'm indebted to the following people for making other loaders, all of which I've used, and all of which inspired and helped AngelLoader come to fruition:

    Björn Henke and Telliamed for creating DarkLoader
    R Soul for creating NewDarkLoader
    potterr for creating GarrettLoader
    Le Corbeau for creating FMSel

    Thanks also to EnYB0La for providing the impetus to write what became FMScanner, AngelLoader's scanner module, which notably pushed me to figure out how to accurately detect game types for NewDark. Without that, I couldn't have made a standalone loader in any case.

    And a special thanks to Dahenjo for helping me hunt down bugs and suggesting a few good features.

    Screenshots
    Last edited by FenPhoenix; 13th May 2019 at 19:08. Reason: version 1.0.14

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    Well done! An FM loader that is both easy to use and quick has long been desired. Perhaps this will finally get those who are still using Darkloader to adopt a more modern and compatible solution.

    I have been closely following AngelLoader's development and compiling the GitHub commits periodically. It is fantastic to see the official release after so much progress. I plan on using this for all of my fan mission needs in the future, and I hope others look toward it as well.

  3. #3
    Thank you! So you're my mystery github cloner

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2012
    Woohoo! Finally something to replace my old DarkLoader with!

    Been looking forward to this one, Fen.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: CT, USA
    Look here fellow taffers... it may be divinely inspired, it may be geekishly attractive, and it may be the closest thing to a perfect mission loader we’re going to get, but even so I’m very disappointed!

    You don’t even hear Fen’s voice guiding you while playing FMs, or going off on wild tangents so you miss half the loot. Nor would he implement any really valuable features like displaying social media feeds every 30 seconds or feeding your nagging cat. Instead, he stubbornly stuck to this ridiculous objective of developing the best FM loader in every way an experienced taffer could possibly imagine, which I gather wasn’t so easy under the hood, so he spent several months only doing that. What a waste of time!

    Yeah, it did get all my previous data so I could see it there right away and continue with missions I was in the middle of playing, and everything is laid out about as well as you could want and seems to work flawlessly, but I’ve about had it with these well-meaning new-fangled advances. After all this hassle I’ve decided to revert to Windows ME using DDFix and Thiefloader.

    Now where did I put that friggin 14.4k modem……….
    Last edited by Dahenjo; 8th Apr 2019 at 13:24. Reason: just cuz...

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Awesome, can't wait to try FenLoader!

  7. #7
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jan 2008
    Location: The lovers the dreamers and me
    Thank you for this, Fen! Can't wait to play out of the new loader. Makes me want to replay every FM so I can make comments/ratings, etc.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2015
    Is this the final release or the beta version?

  9. #9
    It's the release version. Of course, if any bugs crop up, I'll update it.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2011
    Thank you, Fen!

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2015
    Cool, I'll check it out then.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: CT, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by mcmike1489 View Post
    Is this the final release or the beta version?
    Quote Originally Posted by mcmike1489 View Post
    Cool, I'll check it out then.
    It's super easy to update:
    Just unzip into your AngelLoader folder and let it overwrite everything, but all your player content is retained in files that aren't overwritten.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2015
    Actually, I have not installed AngelLoader yet. It will be a fresh install for me.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Jafaville New Zealand
    You're going to hate me... But System Shock 2 support?

    So far, I'm liking it.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bob_doe_nz View Post
    You're going to hate me... But System Shock 2 support?
    And here I was hoping no one would ask...

    I considered SS2 support early on, but decided to prioritize the games I'm most familiar with first, and put off thinking about SS2 till later. Then when nobody made a peep about it throughout the whole development, I figured, well, maybe nobody's really clamoring for it. I guess I was also hoping that would be the end of it, because SS2 doesn't really float my boat and I was hoping I could just forget about it and not have to research, implement, and support it.

    Still, I'll... I'll think about it.

    So far, I'm liking it.
    Thanks!

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Jafaville New Zealand
    I also did notice an oddity but seems to have self corrected itself.

    I'm testing a new FM in beta right now. When I loaded the list of FM's it showed up as a Thief 1 mission. After clicking the show/hide T1 & T2 missions, it seems to have resolved itself.

  17. #17
    Hmm. Could you give me more details:

    -Were you using game tabs or "one list with filters" (with the three game buttons)?
    -When the FM showed up as Thief 1, you mean it was in the list even though T1 FMs were supposed to be filtered out? Did it have the right game icon, or did it have no game icon? After you fiddled with the filters, did it have the right game icon then?
    -Your beta FM, did you put its archive in one of your normal archive folders? Was it installed at the time? Was this FM installed or listed with another loader and did you import data from that (or any other) loader?
    Last edited by FenPhoenix; 10th Apr 2019 at 15:35. Reason: typo

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    I have, so far, been thoroughly impressed with AngelLoader's utility. Especially on an SSD, the file operations are very quick.

    I would like to give some other feedback, however. On two separate machines running the latest version of Windows 10 and the listed prerequisites, RichTextBox does not seem to be displaying some embedded images, similar to how Wordpad acts when the user opts to not run potentially malicious code. This is evident, for example, in the readme for Lord Alan's Factory for Thief 2. Other special formatting, including GLML, is displayed correctly.
    Additionally, the option to load DMLs in the "Patch & Customize" section should probably not be available for Thief 3, since it cannot load dbmods.

  19. #19
    Okay, got both issues fixed. I'll wait for bob_doe_nz's reponse to see if I can fix his issue and then I'll release an updated version.

    Thanks for the feedback, it's very helpful!

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    My, you certainly waste no time. After cloning and compiling, I can verify that both of my points have been addressed. I figured the RTF issue lied in the ReadOnly content, and it seems that it did indeed.

    Thank you for taking note of these!

  21. #21
    The Windows UI is a barrel of fun ain't it? There's more hacks than regular code!

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    Ha, that is certainly true. I have heard of, and been in myself, quite the variety of Windows UI horror stories.

    I noticed you are are now using an older version of RichTextBox as well which makes some RTFs from older missions display properly. While this is very nice, it seems to have had an effect on the horizonal lines used to separate sections in GLML texts, which are now garbled near the right side. I seem to remember you saying something about them being stretched images, which is likely the reason for this change.
    Last edited by Jax64; 10th Apr 2019 at 18:35.

  23. #23
    Argh. I can't win with this stuff. If I use the latest version, then transparent images don't look right, they're displayed with a black background. But only on Windows 10.

    I implemented a hack to mostly fix the garbled right sides of lines. It should now only happen at unreasonably high zoom levels. That should work while I see if there's a better way.

    The need to support RTF files is a huge liability what with the Windows rtfbox being really the only choice, but it has to be done. If it were up to me, I'd just write my own RichText reader and displayer, but the spec is longer than most novels and I don't have much experience in full-on parsing or rendering.

    Jank hurts the pride, is all. So I'll see what I can do to really smooth this junk out.
    Last edited by FenPhoenix; 10th Apr 2019 at 19:15. Reason: typo

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2015
    The hack works well for the time being. Unfortunately, you seem to be correct about the Windows RTFbox being the only realistically viable solution, since it is not especially good, but I imagine it is possible to remedy some of its more irritating shortfalls, albeit using disproportionally complicated methods.

    Unrelatedly, I also noticed it is impossible to follow links in a readme. Unlike the above, this shouldn't prove to be terribly difficult to fix.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Texas
    Let me add myself to the list of hate. I would love System Shock 2 support as well. Please!

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