PDA

View Full Version : Do we need an independent Asset Registry - Debate



Johnk
September 6th, 2009, 11:53 AM
In response to a comment made by another member on another thread entitled Rebuilding The New Website (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=45429), I'd like to throw open the subject of an independent Asset Register or Gallery for serious debate. I recall reading somewhere that Auran plans to upgrade the DLS to incorporate an Asset Register with better images and more details about each item available. Because Auran are so tight-lipped these days, I have no idea whether this project is still alive or how long we will need to wait for it to ever eventuate. Prior to that announcement, I had begun creating such a register for inclusion in the Trainz Resources Directory. It didn't take me long to realise how much disk space I would need on my hosting service and how much bandwidth I would require. Any project of this nature is also well beyond the scope of an individual, but I think it is still a great idea.

I eventually refined my Asset Register to point visitors in the direction of web sites that may have what they may need. For example, all ships created by Vulcan of Ianz Trainz were represented by a single image of one ship, along with a link to the appropriate page on his web site. The time and effort needed to list the assets on half a dozen sites was incredible. In the end I decided that the result wasn't worth the effort. As such I removed the incomplete register from my site.

I firmly believe a register of this nature is justified. Many content creators don't have web sites and the small images allowed by the DLS don't do justice to many of the fantastic models out there. I'd really love to create a decent asset register and I certainly have the ability to do it. Unfortunately I don't have the time, nor do I have the money to rent a dedicated server to run the show. Such a register would have to be a team effort, run by Trainz Community members with a little time on their hands and a desire to give something back to the community.

What I perceive, is a single entry for each asset with one or two decent screenshots and a description written by the content creator. This page would be linked directly to the download section of the DLS and to the author's web site if any. It would be a huge project and one that couldn't be taken lightly. For the register to be of any value at all, it would have to contain the bulk of the DLS assets. I was thinking of using a similar layout to the Trainz Resources Directory because it's based on a very powerful and proven catalogue system. The register would not replace the DLS in any way, shape or form.

Of course the entire project would be futile if Auran still plans to start a similar register themselves.

I have opened the now defunct Assets Section on my site for people to view. It was never finished, it wasn't perfect and it didn't do the job properly. Please take a look, but keep in mind that it's not what could be done. If there's enough interest, I'll do a couple of mock-up pages for discussion purposes. Some images are missing, but the whole thing will be removed in a week or so. The Link (http://trainzresources.com)

Please have your say.

Sourdough
September 6th, 2009, 12:19 PM
I don't know if we actually need one....but it would be nice to have available...:cool:

mjolnir
September 6th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Up til now, I've spent my time with TRS 2006 and TS 2009 using routes that other people made, and only recently began my own. There does need to be a better system of cataloging resources. I've spent a lot of time going through the DLS, and the download sections of third party sites of which I am aware looking for specific types of content. In many cases I did not find what I was looking for, and then while looking for something else, I found it.

I probably lean slightly towards the notion of an independent resource, because I prefer open source, and community supported efforts in general, but my preference is not very great, and if something better were come from Auran, that would be just fine.

One idea I've been toying with is the idea of a series of 1-board "catalog routes", containing vignettes, which show various types of content. A mixed urban catalog route might contain a large number of urban dwellings, businesses, vehicles, and people, in location. A railyard catalog route might contain a whole yard full of available railcars and locomotives. All catalog routes would have a list of the items they contain (and where they are), so that a person could look at the route, determine that they like this building, or that car, or that locomotive, or that ...., and be able to find where it is, and how to get it. And seeing it in a catalog route would be miles ahead of the viewer in DLS or even in surveyor.

The downside of these catalog routes, though, is that when one downloads one to examine the assets it displays, one downloads all the assets, too.

ns

johnwhelan
September 6th, 2009, 03:18 PM
Realistically the amount of work involved to keep it up to date is too high.

Even keeping TARL updated proved too much for the community.

It takes time for these things to be trusted, even linking the content to the DLS on the web site below doesn't look doable because of the resources needed even though we know how to do it.

Cheerio John

obo
September 6th, 2009, 04:10 PM
Johnk:

I have a lot of thoughts on this. Hard to decide where to start, but here are a few points.

1. Once in place, who do you see as the main users of this service? Route designers searching for appropriate assets? Regular users searching for missing dependencies? Both? Others?

2. With regards to the DLS, the primary value-add will be better screenshots, yes? I don't think you're going to get authors showing up to elaborate on, say, a bundle of road signs they uploaded in March of 2006.

3. The model you use for third-party participation will be critical. Any further ideas on how it might work? A wiki might be the only way to go.

That's enough to throw out there for starters. Let's see how the discussion evolves.

Regards,

Rob.

johnwhelan
September 6th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Johnk:

I have a lot of thoughts on this. Hard to decide where to start, but here are a few points.

1. Once in place, who do you see as the main users of this service? Route designers searching for appropriate assets? Regular users searching for missing dependencies? Both? Others?

2. With regards to the DLS, the primary value-add will be better screenshots, yes? I don't think you're going to get authors showing up to elaborate on, say, a bundle of road signs they uploaded in March of 2006.

3. The model you use for third-party participation will be critical. Any further ideas on how it might work? A wiki might be the only way to go.

That's enough to throw out there for starters. Let's see how the discussion evolves.

Regards,

Rob.

I like the third point, make a section up in wikibook Trainz? That gets round the the web site might not be there tomorrow problem and lets he community do something useful.

Cheerio John

mjolnir
September 6th, 2009, 06:35 PM
I like the third point, make a section up in wikibook Trainz? T

Well the documentation for TS 2009 has been divided into two parts; one is html, the other is an on-line WIKI, at

game.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php5/Main_Page.


which is accessible from outside the game. Last time I checked, I was the only who had bothered to create a user page.

I am of the opinion that catalog style documentation needs to be done by the community, with the most signficant reason being that it is doubtful that Auran will ever have the staff to do it.

ns

johnwhelan
September 6th, 2009, 07:58 PM
Well the documentation for TS 2009 has been divided into two parts; one is html, the other is an on-line WIKI, at

game.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php5/Main_Page (http://game.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php5/Main_Page).


which is accessible from outside the game. Last time I checked, I was the only who had bothered to create a user page.

I am of the opinion that catalog style documentation needs to be done by the community, with the most signficant reason being that it is doubtful that Auran will ever have the staff to do it.

ns

I was thinking more of http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Trainz we already have a fair bit of information there and the more information in one place the better.

Cheerio John

martinvk
September 11th, 2009, 06:40 AM
All commendable ideas but ...

It would be a job not a hobby to reclassify all of the DLS content. And then there is the question of who's standards. I say huis, you say house, they say casa, etc It would have to be a multilingual list to really be useful.

Not saying it can't be done but it will take more than a few volunteers. :eek:

Johnk
September 11th, 2009, 06:55 AM
Hi Martin,

To enable people to all look at this from the same direction, an independent Asset Register wouldn't get involved in re-classifying anything. The DLS would continue to shuffle along exactly as is, no moving things around, no upsetting the apple cart.

An independent register would simply list assets in a much more organised and user friendly manner, with links to the DLS download site. How the Rigistrars would list things is debatable, but one would assume they would use English and allow Google Translate or some similar translator to do the rest. The extensive use of key words would also go a long way to sorting stuff out.

Finally, the controllers of an independent register may decide to set standards and only list better quality assets.

As I said, it's open for debate and your contribution is important. I also thank you for finding the thread and bumping it. I thought it had died.

John

johnwhelan
September 11th, 2009, 07:02 AM
Finally, the controllers of an independent register may decide to set standards and only list better quality assets.



Unfortunately quality is subjective, is a high poly model with lots of detail that needs a very high end machine high quality or is a lower poly model that runs on most machines high quality?

Cheerio John

Johnk
September 11th, 2009, 07:19 AM
I think I meant the ones that actually work out of the box. It seems a lot don't. Something that brings the average computer to a crawl could hardly be classed as quality even if it was the most beautifully designed asset in the world..

tonyvdb
September 11th, 2009, 01:43 PM
The DLS as it stands is a mess and very difficult to find items. BUT an even bigger issue is alot of routes/scenarios on the DLS have alot of content that is not available on the DLS and can only be found on 3rd party sites some if not many are payware items. This makes many routs unusable or at least not nearly as good to run (a big pet peeve of mine). I understand that creaters should be rewarded for their efforts in some way but maybe Auran needs to offer them some sort of discount or free first class tickets.

mjolnir
September 11th, 2009, 02:51 PM
I have a different view than Tony. IN my view, most of the DLS is fine as it stands. On the other hand, the USER INTERFACE to the DLS is in need of serious work. The UI in CMP is better, but even there could be improved. For example, it might be worth considering adding a series of visual indexes: these would be screenshots including a list of identified content, for example, city block showing a number of different businesses, with a key as to which each one is. This might allow one to better judge scale, and how something might look in game. I've seen a fair bit of content which looks rather good in the thumbs, but doesn't come up to the level I'd prefer in game, and the opposite, where the thumbs are lacking, but in game the item looks pretty good.

ns

martinvk
September 11th, 2009, 05:29 PM
... BUT an even bigger issue is alot of routes/scenarios on the DLS have alot of content that is not available on the DLS and can only be found on 3rd party sites some if not many are payware items. ... .

Wasn't there an effort some time in the past to classify routes:1) having only built-in content or 2) only built-in plus DLS content or 3) includes 3rd party content. If that was done for all routes it would go a long way to solving some of these issues. It wouldn't even be a manual job. A simple program that would read the config file and classify the assets used into these categories. The route score would be the highest score among the assets used in the route. This would not be an opinion as to the quality of the route or its design, just how easy it would be to use it. A rating of one would run out of the box. Two might needs some DLS downloads if you didn't already have them and three might involve some Internet searching. Naturally each Trainz version would have it's own rating group because of differences in built-in content.

tonyvdb
September 12th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Wasn't there an effort some time in the past to classify routes:1) having only built-in content or 2) only built-in plus DLS content or 3) includes 3rd party content. If that was done for all routes it would go a long way to solving some of these issues. It wouldn't even be a manual job.
Yes but that seems to have been short lived as I dont see that being done anymore. Dont get me wrong, I think the DLS idea is fantastic but with some many routes to choose from and many missing dependancies or content it makes for a frustrating procedure when you want to try one and it does not work properly due to missing items.

Johnk
September 12th, 2009, 12:37 PM
I don't want to get of track here, but can someone please explain why this problem exists? Please remember that I've never used the DLS (successfully) so despite my 8 years involvement with Trainz, I'm still a DLS newbie.

Surely if someone builds a route using other people's assets, wouldn't they list all the assets needed and supply their KUID numbers? And wouldn't that apply to a boxcar or a locomotive? If another person's bogies are used, doesn't the content creator supply the KUID for those bogies?

Where exactly does the system fail? Maybe the answer to that question could be the beginnings of a much needed independent service. For example, PerRock has started a Google Spreadsheet (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=45697) listing all his missing KUID's. Maybe a similar spreadsheet or databse entry could be made for every route, where people could enter the KUID's and locations of Assets if and when they locate them. Even a wiki entry for each route could be the way to go. Are they a silly ideas?

johnwhelan
September 12th, 2009, 01:26 PM
I don't want to get of track here, but can someone please explain why this problem exists? Please remember that I've never used the DLS (successfully) so despite my 8 years involvement with Trainz, I'm still a DLS newbie.

Surely if someone builds a route using other people's assets, wouldn't they list all the assets needed and supply their KUID numbers? And wouldn't that apply to a boxcar or a locomotive? If another person's bogies are used, doesn't the content creator supply the KUID for those bogies?

Where exactly does the system fail? Maybe the answer to that question could be the beginnings of a much needed independent service. For example, PerRock has started a Google Spreadsheet (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=45697) listing all his missing KUID's. Maybe a similar spreadsheet or databse entry could be made for every route, where people could enter the KUID's and locations of Assets if and when they locate them. Even a wiki entry for each route could be the way to go. Are they a silly ideas?

When you build a layout it's very easy to use anything you've come across. It takes effort to restrict yourself to the DLS, I think TS2009 allows you to do it but not the earlier ones. Trouble is many of the layout designers work in TRS2004 and see no need to use TS2009. After all it works on their machine.

The layouts themselves list all the kuids required by the way, it's just that not all of them are readily available. TS2009 dump the layout in the download tab and if its on the DLS even hidden CM2 will download it for you.

Cheerio John

American_Connections
September 12th, 2009, 02:00 PM
...It takes effort to restrict yourself to the DLS...Cheerio JohnAnd just why should it be restricted to what little is on Auran's DLS when there is so much more out there! And many of the assets available elsewhere, like on the TrainzResources Directory can acually have better imagery that what is allowed on Auran's DLS.

clam1952
September 12th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Yes but that seems to have been short lived as I dont see that being done anymore. Dont get me wrong, I think the DLS idea is fantastic but with some many routes to choose from and many missing dependencies or content it makes for a frustrating procedure when you want to try one and it does not work properly due to missing items.

Well I haven't uploaded any routes or anything else yet for that matter, long work in progress, however my plan to check if every thing is on the DLS, is to use a copy of Trainz with no extra content and then import the route and check the dependencies in CM2, should be a fairly quick way of finding what's not on the DLS, if you have the spare disk or PC capacity to have extra copies of Trainz lying around that is. :D Then it's just a case of either giving concise instructions as to where to get any content from that isn't on the DLS or replacing them with ones that are.

johnwhelan
September 12th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Well I haven't uploaded any routes or anything else yet for that matter, long work in progress, however my plan to check if every thing is on the DLS, is to use a copy of Trainz with no extra content and then import the route and check the dependencies in CM2, should be a fairly quick way of finding what's not on the DLS, if you have the spare disk or PC capacity to have extra copies of Trainz lying around that is. :D Then it's just a case of either giving concise instructions as to where to get any content from that isn't on the DLS or replacing them with ones that are.

Problem with items not on the DLS is that web sites come and go. Some content creators delete older items off their web site because they aren't personally interested in them any more.

Cheerio John

johnwhelan
September 12th, 2009, 03:11 PM
And just why should it be restricted to what little is on Auran's DLS when there is so much more out there! And many of the assets available elsewhere, like on the TrainzResources Directory can acually have better imagery that what is allowed on Auran's DLS.

Probably because its reliable, the content is error checked, if there is an update available it's in one place. I have content onthe DLS and some the same in other places, the other places doesn't get my updated and corrected content. It's too much hassle to go through the upload process.

Also I can get an idea of what is popular on the DLS and knock a few more things out that are along the same lines.

Cheerio John

clam1952
September 12th, 2009, 03:30 PM
Problem with items not on the DLS is that web sites come and go. Some content creators delete older items off their web site because they aren't personally interested in them any more.

Cheerio John

Good point and duly noted, don't think I am actually using anything critical that can't be substituted, if anything crops up that there isn't an equivalent for I'll just have to build a suitable replacement myself.

American_Connections
October 4th, 2009, 08:20 AM
Probably because its reliable, the content is error checked, if there is an update available it's in one place. I have content onthe DLS and some the same in other places, the other places doesn't get my updated and corrected content. It's too much hassle to go through the upload process.

Also I can get an idea of what is popular on the DLS and knock a few more things out that are along the same lines.

Cheerio JohnAuran, reliable! really John, think about this! As for keeping things updated, I had to do over and over again with the DLS, and old versions were still there, even they were outdated. Error checking should be done by the creator before submission anywhere, and we all know not everything on the DLS is error free! Using the directory and my personal site, updates are sure to replace the old and is much simpler! Not that the DLS is not good, just better to have more than one source available. I like what John King has done with this (to the point) directory!

johnwhelan
October 4th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Auran, reliable! really John, think about this! As for keeping things updated, I had to do over and over again with the DLS, and old versions were still there, even they were outdated. Error checking should be done by the creator before submission anywhere, and we all know not everything on the DLS is error free! Using the directory and my personal site, updates are sure to replace the old and is much simpler! Not that the DLS is not good, just better to have more than one source available. I like what John King has done with this (to the point) directory!

I think it would be useful if Auran and yourself could come to some sort of agreement whereby your content was available on the DLS.

Reliable, well the DLS has been around for ten years now, how many Trainz web sites are still going? New versions, CM2 indicates when new versions are available on the DLS, there doesn't seem to be a way to check for new versions on other sites other than go through a list of 93 Trainz sites that have items for download available every week. Not my idea of fun.

I'd rather put my faith in content from the DLS having fewer errors than content from a third party site.

Cheerio John

Johnk
October 4th, 2009, 09:36 AM
Snippet: . . there doesn't seem to be a way to check for new versions on other sites other than go through a list of 93 Trainz sites that have items for download available every week. Not my idea of fun.

I'm my opening remarks for this debate, I asked if there was a need for an independent Asset Registry, not a new and competing DLS. The idea of such a registry was to give content creators better exposure, allow them to display their models better and to use a different and hopefully more user friendly indexing system than the DLS for the registry's visitors. I envisaged that such a registry would have direct links to the download page on the DLS, plus provision for content creators to advise of any updates. The software I use can easily be changed with the flick of switch to advise people via email if a particular page has indeed been updated. I'm not suggesting that the registry would run under that software, but it does show that the technology is there to keep people informed.

American_Connections
October 4th, 2009, 11:31 AM
#1("I think it would be useful if Auran and yourself could come to some sort of agreement whereby your content was available on the DLS'...).
#2(..."my faith"...).

Cheerio John#1- I think it would be good if Auran could come to an agreement, first with itself, and more so with the creators that give thier product 90% of it's content, by listing contributors sites and links as they said they would eight years ago! Even a Wiki does this better! That is all the Resource Directory is doing, just to aid Trainz (key word).
#2- Good that you believe in something man! Sure hope ya'll got your money out of your lifetime FCT, they will expire by the end of 2012!

johnwhelan
October 4th, 2009, 11:34 AM
Snippet: . . there doesn't seem to be a way to check for new versions on other sites other than go through a list of 93 Trainz sites that have items for download available every week. Not my idea of fun.

I'm my opening remarks for this debate, I asked if there was a need for an independent Asset Registry, not a new and competing DLS. The idea of such a registry was to give content creators better exposure, allow them to display their models better and to use a different and hopefully more user friendly indexing system than the DLS for the registry's visitors. I envisaged that such a registry would have direct links to the download page on the DLS, plus provision for content creators to advise of any updates. The software I use can easily be changed with the flick of switch to advise people via email if a particular page has indeed been updated. I'm not suggesting that the registry would run under that software, but it does show that the technology is there to keep people informed.

Need to me means cannot do without.

On that criteria you have to look at what the requirements are. Do all content creators wish to promote their content or do they just make it for their own pleasure and drop a copy on the DLS? I don't think there is a single answer. Users, do they care if they have to play hunt the asset on many web sites or would they prefer to just done load the route? From what I've seen in the forum most prefer to get it all from one place. I think there is even a thread about layouts with all the assets on the DLS.

Is the Trainz Resources Directory reliable and actually contains links to everything you need to know?

Well I followed a link and got "Yahoo Sorry this page is not available." For research US yes it contains a fair bit of information.

Routes - UK "There are no listings available in this category". Ever looked here?http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=3301&highlight=layouts

for UK it is sparse to say the least so it isn't a one stop shop.

Does it let me know if someone has updated a kuid I have to a new version number on Trainzproroutes quickly? I couldn't spot how to do it. CM2 I think it's selectable.

Does it add value, yes it's somewhere to start but only that.

Cheerio John

Johnk
October 4th, 2009, 12:12 PM
Now, Now John, I think the prospect of long Canadian winter is starting to get at you:

Snippet: Is the Trainz Resources Directory reliable and actually contains links to everything you need to know?

Is anything that reliable? Who knows what you need to know? My crystal ball is a bit fogged up right now.

Snippet: Well I followed a link and got "Yahoo Sorry this page is not available." For research US yes it contains a fair bit of information.

Any chance you can share that dead link with me so I can fix it. It would seem that you didn't read my concerns about broken links on the home page.

Snippet: Routes - UK "There are no listings available in this category".

Just in case you didn't read the home page, here's a snippet about Routes:

Routes section to be removed
None of the route builders have shown any interest in displaying their work either, so that section gets the chop also.

Snippet: Ever looked here?http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showt...hlight=layouts (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=3301&highlight=layouts)

I have actually. It's the greatest load of mumbo-jumbo I've ever come across in my life. It looks like all the words fell out of an upturned truck. No wonder the server spat the dummy. What is it anyway?

I don't sit here and criticise your beloved Trainz Wiki, or your personal site, but it may pay you to sometimes look in your own backyard?

martinvk
October 4th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Need to me means cannot do without.

On that criteria you have to look at what the requirements are. Do all content creators wish to promote their content or do they just make it for their own pleasure and drop a copy on the DLS? I don't think there is a single answer. ...

Cheerio John
Just to let you all know that the above describes me very well. I made and make objects because I need them. Some are then shared on the DLS and at a dutch site for others to play with too, if they want them. :)

American_Connections
October 4th, 2009, 02:53 PM
I agree with Martin in that many of my assets are things I need or at least wanted to build for Trainz, some I have done just from requests. But the biggest problem for me comes directly from Auran! Why make assets if they will not be usefull for users in future editions! Just the act of making existing conponents of the program unusable is the biggest mistake any business could ever make. Pretty much put a stop to my energy of making anything new for Auran! But for those that keep with the older versions that they like, outside sources seem to be alot better that what Auran presents anymore.

johnwhelan
October 4th, 2009, 03:40 PM
Now, Now John, I think the prospect of long Canadian winter is starting to get at you:

Snippet: Is the Trainz Resources Directory reliable and actually contains links to everything you need to know?

Is anything that reliable? Who knows what you need to know? My crystal ball is a bit fogged up right now.

Snippet: Well I followed a link and got "Yahoo Sorry this page is not available." For research US yes it contains a fair bit of information.

Any chance you can share that dead link with me so I can fix it. It would seem that you didn't read my concerns about broken links on the home page.

Snippet: Routes - UK "There are no listings available in this category".

Just in case you didn't read the home page, here's a snippet about Routes:

Routes section to be removed
None of the route builders have shown any interest in displaying their work either, so that section gets the chop also.

Snippet: Ever looked here?http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showt...hlight=layouts (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=3301&highlight=layouts)

I have actually. It's the greatest load of mumbo-jumbo I've ever come across in my life. It looks like all the words fell out of an upturned truck. No wonder the server spat the dummy. What is it anyway?

I don't sit here and criticise your beloved Trainz Wiki, or your personal site, but it may pay you to sometimes look in your own backyard?

The snow hasn't landed yet.

It appears you have an issue with keeping things updated as I suspected you would. I play with UK stuff mainly so went to UK steam loco plans. That is where the Yahoo dead link turned up.

The thread on UK layouts has some 200 layouts listed by name that are on the DLS. Scroll downpast the first screen and they are simply listed in alphabetical order. So for UK layouts just drop the link in I update the thread from time to time.

wikibook Trainz is not just me, I think some one else started it and there are a few others who add to it and amend it. In fact it might be a good place to hold what you are trying to do. That would allow others to keep it updated. I agree it could do with reorganisation if only to get a bit of consistency in it but it works reasonably well.

My personal web site well its a group one really that gets added to from time to time. I think we simply accept we don't have the resources to clean it up so we just add a bit more in from time to time.

Cheerio John

martinvk
October 4th, 2009, 04:46 PM
... the biggest problem for me comes directly from Auran! Why make assets if they will not be usefull for users in future editions!

The only way to guarantee it will always work is to never correct past mistakes in the program and never add anything which conflicts with old functions. In other words, stop improving. I don't think that is a very viable thing for Auran to do if they want to stay in business.

But even that is not an issue if you stay with an older version of Trainz. If you never upgrade, all of your existing objects will continue to work just like the day they were made for as long as you want. Of course you won't have any new functions or objects that use them either. :o


... for those that keep with the older versions that they like, outside sources seem to be alot better that what Auran presents anymore.
?? The DLS still contains lots of older version objects, some even say too many. :hehe:

Johnk
October 5th, 2009, 03:43 AM
Snippet: It appears you have an issue with keeping things updated as I suspected you would. I play with UK stuff mainly so went to UK steam loco plans. That is where the Yahoo dead link turned up.

I have this old saying: If you don't vote, don't blame the government! To put that into context, If you can't be bothered reporting a dead link, then don't complain! As far as keeping things updated go, take a look at the phone book - any phone book. It's a bit hard to keep things updated when a web site owner decides to shift a few pages around to make life easier for himself. Little does he realise that hundreds of search engines now have dead links, dozens of Trainz Community web pages have dead links, and my directory also develops dead links.So who do you blame? The web site owner or those out there trying to help him? Why blame one person when you can blame hundreds?

Now that you've bought me slightly closer to the problem page, I will try to rectify it. In the meantime, I will still direct people to your beloved WIKI, despite you having little or no confidence in the Trainz Resources Directory.
------------------
Edit: There were three listings for a Trainz Community web site called Content Creation Resources which was hosted by Geocities. The owner has obviously pulled the pin without letting anyone know, but he may pop up again. I accept that as being the norm around here, so I'm not getting stressed out about it. Geocities is closing down shortly, which means dozens of sites will eventually disappear for a while, or for good. In the meantime, all references to that site have been removed from the directory.

If you want to know about dead links, there's a site called Hotscripts (http://hotscripts.com/) which lists all the PHP scripts available out there. This is a professionally run site with dozens of staff, yet almost half the links to the scripts are dead. Reason: People move on and just plain forget to let others know. Even professionals who make a living selling their scripts forget.

johnwhelan
October 5th, 2009, 07:55 AM
I think the thing that grates is the tag line

"Trainz Resources Directory (http://trainzresources.com/) - Everything for the Trainz Modeller."

Basically it isn't, there are some useful links but there are some big holes to be filled before it actually is everything for the Trainz modeler. It seems to be especially weak for people interested in the UK. I suspect that other countries such as Poland, Russia maybe under represented as well.

Modify the tag line and I'd be a lot happier.

Cheerio John

Johnk
October 5th, 2009, 08:15 AM
You really have to be kidding me! I've never heard so much garbage in all my life. Any chance you can leave this thread and go peddle your wares somewhere else?

Alternatively A.J, or Zec, can you please close the thread and give us all a break from this nonsense.

jrfolco
October 5th, 2009, 12:57 PM
I think the thing that grates is the tag line

"Trainz Resources Directory (http://trainzresources.com/) - Everything for the Trainz Modeller."

Basically it isn't, there are some useful links but there are some big holes to be filled before it actually is everything for the Trainz modeler. It seems to be especially weak for people interested in the UK. I suspect that other countries such as Poland, Russia maybe under represented as well.

Modify the tag line and I'd be a lot happier.

Cheerio John

My interpretation of "Trainz Resources Directory (http://trainzresources.com/) - Everything for the Trainz Modeller." is that everything contained in that site is for the Trainz Modeller. It seems obvious to me.

mawilson
October 5th, 2009, 02:27 PM
johnwhelan - I resurrected the Trainz wikibook in the interest of gathering methods beyond the "which button to click" approach of the manual. Then life caught up to me and I wasn't able to contribute as much as I had hoped. Contributing/editing is still on my to do list.

We have to be careful about what we put in the wikibook or at least how we label it. The only way we could get away with adding a catalog of assets would be to call it an appendix.

On the topic of an asset catalog: The idea of a wiki is quite good. I could envision a collection of templated wiki pages each describing an asset and using catagories to assist in cataloging. Mediawiki has some interesting capabilities we may be able to exploit including fairly easy to build extensions. The other nice thing is that storing data in a database and serving it dynamically is fairly easy on server resources. Wikipedia runs on Mediawiki so scalability is not an issue.

Regardless of engine, this would require a community (authors and users) effort to create and maintain. I think it would be a great idea as long as it had better cataloging than the DLS. Given the nearly unsearchable condition of DLS thanks to poor to non-existant metadata standards, that wouldn't be all that difficult.

martinvk
October 5th, 2009, 04:43 PM
I think the thing that grates is the tag line

"Trainz Resources Directory (http://trainzresources.com/) - Everything for the Trainz Modeller."

... It seems to be especially weak for people interested in the UK. I suspect that other countries such as Poland, Russia maybe under represented as well.

...
Cheerio John
Just about every area of the world where there are real trains is under represented except for a few minor exceptions. That's just an incentive for content creators to get to work to fill in the gaps and not a excuse for people to complain that their area of interest isn't as full as they want it. :)

Johnk
October 5th, 2009, 11:26 PM
Just about every area of the world where there are real trains is under represented except for a few minor exceptions. That's just an incentive for content creators to get to work to fill in the gaps and not a excuse for people to complain that their area of interest isn't as full as they want it. :)

Any web site, be it the Wiki, Directory or the DLS is only as good as its contributors. Where would the DLS be if nobody contributed? Also, compared with today, how far advanced were the Wiki and DLS six months after they were started? I think the Directory has come a long way in 6 months. Although I'd love to see more contributors now, the day will eventually come when I won't be able to handle the rush.

But this thread isn't meant to be about the benefits of the directory or lack thereof, it's a question as to whether an independent Registry is feasible to overcome many of the issues encountered at the DLS.

A user contributed site as Mark Wilson suggests would be the perfect answer if it was a perfect world. Unfortunately it isn't. Without a bullet-proof templating system, image resizer and spell checker, the site could, and probably would crumble into an unusable mess very quickly. How do you think this forum would go for example, if you took away the moderators and rude word blocker? It would be chaos.

Going back to my site for a moment, all a contributor has to do is send me a few photos, some text they may have used elsewhere and a few links. I do all the hard work. A similar appraoch would be required for the Registry or it would be doomed from the outset.

Such a project would need a team of volunteers, but not a big team.

mawilson
October 8th, 2009, 11:53 AM
The strength of a wiki solution is that the heavy lifting is spread out to the entire community. Like Wikipedia, it will still require some effort from moderators but, also like Wikipedia, the community can also provide corrections. The history capability in Mediawiki provides a quick reversion in the case of a big oops. Even deleted articles are not really deleted and can be recovered by the Sysadmin.

That said, a wiki may not be a good long term solution. The right answer is probably an AJAX powered web app with fixed fields for metadata and content and a shopping cart style catalog view. But, that calls for at least semi-custom code and, therefore, code maintenance. Lots of possibilities to go along with the effort. The programmer in me likes the idea. The IT manager in me sees the pitfalls in long term code maintenance.

I found out long ago that content maintenance done by one or a few gets to be a real pain for the maintainers. Finding a way for almost any one to add content in a structured way (for searchability) and for the interested community to assist with corrections go a long way to alieviate the pain.