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Vonrd

FC Skins August 21019

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Some inconsistencies in the latest 2 downloads, as posted in our consolidated downloads links:

Naming convention.  The new Alb D5 and Halb CL2 and Halb CL2au files have a "1" prefix instead of the previous or usual "A" prefix.  The other new plane skin files do have the "A" prefix.

In the Halb CL2 and Halb CL2au files, Maus' pilot name is spelled wrong.  There's an extra "c" in there.  In all the other files, it's spelled correctly.  Not sure if that matters to anybody. 

In the new Fokker Dr.1 files, my second skin (J10 skin) is named with the "_B" suffix instead of the "_J10" suffix.  That can stay that way if you guys want it that way, but others should know what the official name is going to be, so those who already have the "_J10" named file should delete that duplicate version.  To complicate matters, I think Larner may have submitted some or all of those files to that guy who keeps a mega download file or files for all FC or maybe even all Great Battles skins, on the IL2 forum.

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3 hours ago, Luftritter said:

Some inconsistencies in the latest 2 downloads, as posted in our consolidated downloads links:

Naming convention.  The new Alb D5 and Halb CL2 and Halb CL2au files have a "1" prefix instead of the previous or usual "A" prefix.  The other new plane skin files do have the "A" prefix.

In the Halb CL2 and Halb CL2au files, Maus' pilot name is spelled wrong.  There's an extra "c" in there.  In all the other files, it's spelled correctly.  Not sure if that matters to anybody. 

In the new Fokker Dr.1 files, my second skin (J10 skin) is named with the "_B" suffix instead of the "_J10" suffix.  That can stay that way if you guys want it that way, but others should know what the official name is going to be, so those who already have the "_J10" named file should delete that duplicate version.  To complicate matters, I think Larner may have submitted some or all of those files to that guy who keeps a mega download file or files for all FC or maybe even all Great Battles skins, on the IL2 forum.

Maybe it should be a wider conversation than just Vonrd and myself?

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These types of errors are going to be chronic problems.  

The easiest way forward (as far as I can see it) is to say that Vonrd's data\graphics\skins\ folder is the folder of record for JG1.  And that whatever he has is what we should all have.  This way, even if there are spelling errors or labeling mistakes, we all  have the same spelling errors or labeling mistakes.

Additionally, I would think that we should stop posting small updates for download.  Yes, post images of the new stuff.  But, every time we update, a link should be provided for the the entire skins folder for download.  With clear instructions to overwrite existing files.  And if the link can be the same as what was provided before, even better.  This way, we can minimize inconsistencies and prevent people from getting the wrong skins by clicking on a necro post.

Just spit-balling.

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Yeah, the skins in BOx are going to be problematic. There are several threads going on in the forum with Larner / SharpeXb and others. There will probably have to be some of us as interested parties to monitor and put together skin packs. Perhaps the Devs could give us Moderator permission. I'm vacillating on whether to volunteer my services. It would have to be spread among several people.

As far as the discrepancies in the file naming, I had noticed when I installed SCGs skins that they were prefixed with a number and the game gives precedence to numbers over letters so I began prefixing with #1 to put our skins at the top of the list. 

I have a program which makes batch re-naming files super easy and I could re-name all files to whatever we decide should be the convention. Of course, all JG1 skin files would have to be deleted and the new universal Skins installed since they wouldn't overwrite different named files. 

I would be happy to discuss this with any and all interested parties. 

I will try to be on TS tonight at the normal practice time.

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22 minutes ago, Klaiber said:

These types of errors are going to be chronic problems.  

The easiest way forward (as far as I can see it) is to say that Vonrd's data\graphics\skins\ folder is the folder of record for JG1.  And that whatever he has is what we should all have.  This way, even if there are spelling errors or labeling mistakes, we all  have the same spelling errors or labeling mistakes.

Additionally, I would think that we should stop posting small updates for download.  Yes, post images of the new stuff.  But, every time we update, a link should be provided for the the entire skins folder for download.  With clear instructions to overwrite existing files.  And if the link can be the same as what was provided before, even better.  This way, we can minimize inconsistencies and prevent people from getting the wrong skins by clicking on a necro post.

Just spit-balling.

Sounds like a good plan. Let's come up with a file name consensus. See post above.

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Our computers use ASCII code to categorize characters.  They do this alphanumerically, with special characters coming first before numbers or letters.  The exclamation point is second only to the space key.  As a result I often prioritize files I want to see with an exclamation point.  And the more I want to prioritize it, the more exclamation points I use.

For example, !!!Klaiber comes before !!Klaiber comes before !Klaiber comes before 1Klaiber comes before aKlaiber comes before Klaiber.

Not sure if this helps. :)

 

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I hope my prior post will not be seen as nit-picking.  My reason for watching that stuff is primarily to prevent all the work done by skinners becoming a complete waste of time.  There are 3 major levels of synchronization we could have when it comes to skin files.  First, a person could have whatever files and file names for skins that they want only on their own computer, and interchange them whenever and as often as they wanted.  Obviously in that case only that person will see those skins and everybody else will only see default skins all of the time.  Second, we could have only people within JG1 have all of the same skin files with common file names.  In that case, theoretically everybody in our squadron would see the "proper" or most correct skin.  However, we now begin to experience the consequences of every single participating squadron member not downloading and installing the absolute latest skin files from our consolidated skins link.  Third, we could have correct synchronization between all players of Great Battles.  This is the level of synchronization that RoF achieved by creating permanent downloads based on categories and time. This had the advantage of limiting download file sizes and of standardizing files such that everybody who installed the files would have the same thing.  Although it can have the same consequence of people not seeing skins from lack of installing them, because it was an all-or-nothing approach, the idea of version changes did not invalidate file names because the submission of files was a one-time-only thing, unless somebody snuck in a same-named file in a later download, but even then the intended result could fail because nobody could guarantee the order of installation of downloads.

So I guess the first thing to decide is what our ultimate goal is.  And as you can see, the higher level of synchronization you want, the more important it is to keep names the same, and files unchanging.  Since multiple people are skinning, this is the reason that having a universal naming convention and sticking by it is so important.

The idea that names must make our "own" skins first in the list is nice to have and makes things easier to find in long lists.  In RoF, personal skins were at the bottom of the list, which is not as easy as being at the top, but is still easier than being somewhere in the middle.  However, IMHO somebody will always figure out a way to make his skins appear before yours; Klai's example above is just one tactic they'll use.  Therefore, I would say not care that "our" skins aren't at the absolute top of the list; instead, it's far more important to make sure that they appear together as a single group.

Whatever the naming convention turns out to be, I think once it's decided, it should be stuck to without exception, and without ever changing it again.  Therefore it's important to use a format that's universal and is going to work for every case.  Then that format should be posted as a sticky or other permanent notification, at the top of the skinning section, or in some other very prominent section of the forum.  I think we had a good standard going.  However it's hard to see every eventuality, and one thing that was left out of that standard was the case of one pilot having multiple skins, which is a case I broached.  Since it's easy to look at things from your own case only, I think I made a mistake in requesting the name I did for my "extra" file.  In order to make things universal for all cases, the  suffix "_(letter)" was actually a better one, since a person could have up to 26 separate files under that convention.  But even then, there is still more clarification necessary.  For instance, should the convention be that all single files have a "_A" after them, being the first of a possible series?  Then any additional skin files for any single pilot would have "_B", "_C", etc.  That's quite logical, but would require a lot of work in changing just about every file already in existence.  If that was not done, would the original files simply have nothing?  What then for the second file in a series...."_A", or "_B"?  Which is more logical?

The point is, all that has to be defined in the sticky, with specific examples given for every possible case.  Once you're at a point where no situation can't be addressed, things can stay permanent and have a much better chance for others to actually have a file that they've downloaded be seen instead of just a default file.  This will also prevent other skinners from creating skins with file names that cause them to be completely separate than our main group of files in our skins installations.

So apologies for what may seem like nit-picking; the goal is to prevent wasted work and that could be defined as people having downloaded skins that fail to appear to them, or also having multiple skin files which are the same file, but with multiple names, which can quickly add up to a lot of wasted space considering the size of these 4K files on somebody's drive.

S!

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44 minutes ago, Luftritter said:

I hope my prior post will not be seen as nit-picking.  My reason for watching that stuff is primarily to prevent all the work done by skinners becoming a complete waste of time.

I don't see it as nit-picking.  This is an important topic for exactly the reason you mentioned.  Vonrd, Butzzell, Hess and Baron have put a lot of work into these skins, and it would be crappy if no one saw them because of confusion within the skins folder.

For me, it's important that we figure out what we're doing in-house first.  Once we have everything standardized and locked-in, we can then push those skins out to the community at-large.  And then be assured that people actually have access to the correctly named files.  They may not use them, but they'll have the ability to should they choose.

44 minutes ago, Luftritter said:

I would say not care that "our" skins aren't at the absolute top of the list; instead, it's far more important to make sure that they appear together as a single group.

I 100% agree.  Someone is always going to try and top ours.  So, just get them near the top and together.

Personally, I think the exclamation marks are the way to go.  

44 minutes ago, Luftritter said:

Whatever the naming convention turns out to be, I think once it's decided, it should be stuck to without exception, and without ever changing it again.

I also 100% agree.

Regardless of what changes, the files should all start the same way and not change.  !JG1_ or something similar would work very well.

44 minutes ago, Luftritter said:

Since it's easy to look at things from your own case only, I think I made a mistake in requesting the name I did for my "extra" file.  In order to make things universal for all cases, the  suffix "_(letter)" was actually a better one, since a person could have up to 26 separate files under that convention.  But even then, there is still more clarification necessary.  For instance, should the convention be that all single files have a "_A" after them, being the first of a possible series?  Then any additional skin files for any single pilot would have "_B", "_C", etc.  That's quite logical, but would require a lot of work in changing just about every file already in existence.  If that was not done, would the original files simply have nothing?  What then for the second file in a series...."_A", or "_B"?  Which is more logical?

I agree that there should be standardized suffixes to identify multiple skins under one pilots name.

I think _A, _B, _C, _D, etc. works well.  You could also use _v1, v2, v3, v4, etc.  I perfer numbers because there is no cap, unlike the 26 letters.  However, if a pilot has 26 different skins for the same aircraft, they have bigger issues. :P

So, personally, If I was going to name the skins for a united JG1 pack, I wouldn't use: A_FDr1_JG1_Luftritter_J10.dds

Instead, I'd go with !JG1_FDr1_Luftritter_v1.dds.   And your second one would be !JG1_FDr1_Luftritter_v2.dds.  With version 1 not deleted.  Rather, retained in the pack for future use.

Regardless though, I think since Vonrd is the primary skinner, his skin folder should be the folder of record.  So whatever he goes with is what we should as well.

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S!

I spoke with Vonrd and we came up with some suggestions.

A naming convention is the first step. As said above, no mater what is used, someone will figure out a way to get there skin to the top. Better to be sure to just use the same convention and have all our skins in a group. That said, Klaiber's example works well especially for someone with multiple skins. Unfortunately there are no thumbnails available when you choose a skin in game. v1 and v2 have no universal meaning except to their owner.  Vonrd and I discussed naming conventions. The prefix just needs to be decided. We discussed numbers and he still liked the "a_" prefix. The "!JG1" looks very good and is simpler than "a_"  As long as the same prefix is used for all JG1 skins, they will be in a group so the actual prefix is irrelevant. Whatever Vonrd wants Vonrd gets.

There are two real problems: suffixes and multiple skins. These actually come is several flavors with their own problems. Easiest to look at is the FC/ Richthofen name. "prefix_Pd3_Hotlead_J10" looks great but do we need the J10 on the end? He knows what jasta he is in. When he plays, his in game name will have the J10 on the end. By getting rid of the J10 you basically have the pilot name. So Hotlead gets a transfer to the Russian front and is now in jasta4. His in game name will change to "JG1_Hotlead_J4" but we need a new skin. A new skin with the original name "prefix_Pd3_Hotlead" will overwrite the existing file and prevent multiple skins. So we get rid of jasta suffixes. The WW II planes are a bit of a challenge. First is the use of winter skins. It is hard to imagine a battle for Stalingrad and not see snow. Sooner or later you will be on a winter map and need a winter skin. The easiest is a plane name change: "prefix_Bf109f4_Hotlead" to "prefix_wBf109f4_Hotlead". You know you are selecting a 109 because that is the plane you selected on screen. This is the custom plane list and you get to see the "w" first. This will put all of the winter skins in a group bellow the summer planes.  No need for a "_w" suffix. Multiple skins as discussed above have no meaning except to the owner. This then becomes a name change for the pilot instead of the plane "prefix_Bf109f4_Hotlead" for plane 1 and "prefix_Bf109f4_Hotlead2" for plane 2. No need for a "_v2" suffix. I have tested this and it puts the second plane with a 2 on the end after the plane with no number on the end. The other consideration for the WW II planes is the pilot number. Re-skinning planes to change numbers creates a lot of work and multiple skins. With the naming convention,and no staffel suffix, new skins will over write the old ones. That helps reduce multiple skins. It was suggested that once you get a number, it is your number. You may change staffel but your number NEVER changes.

 

Well now that we have our planes named, what do we do with them? The solution was to follow the 777 RoF system. An initial volume 1 followed by new planes and updates in volume 2, etc. I suggest Volume 1 be divided into an "A" and a "B", splitting the WW I and WW II planes and creating smaller initial downloads.  Later volumes  will have both WW I and WW II in them. Later volumes are expected to be smaller and it was felt that it was best to have a simple pathway. Updates to pilot planes overwrite existing files and keep the storage space small. All skins are reduced or done in 2k mode, again to reduce storage space. The download links can be listed in a thread and we can post the links on the IL2 forums. Others that want our skins can download them at their convenience.

All of this re-naming and volume compilation means that we have to delete what we have and install the skins with the new names so that we are all on the same page. The volume system is meant to make it easy to see the pathway for exiting members and new members as they are enlisted or for others that want our skins.

People will need to be careful downloading skins from other sources. It is easy to download a pack of skins and find that you are filling up a all your storage space. Personally, I do not want every skin made by every Joe Shmoe out there. I will probably download most of the skins for the pilots in FiF. This means my list of custom skins is not very big and it is easy to find the JG1 section.

 

whew!

 

Time for another meeting?

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S!

The big thing is for people to realize that volume 1 is the starting place. All following volumes will not be entire plane folders. They will be a variety of plane skins. After download you will have to unzip and move the skins into the appropriate folder.

 

We can shorten plane names. No need for using the long folder name like AlbatrossD5. AlbD5 works.

 

Once this is set up and ready to go, we will have to give a good explanation of  how the whole meal deal works

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