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pauldm
August 21st, 2010, 05:07 PM
I suspect the problem of tracking down too many missing dependencies is a controversial subject within the Trainz community but I'd like to give an opinion and throw it out for discussion. Although I'm a relatively new (about 4 or 5 months) Trainzer, I have spent many hours downloading assets and trawling various websites from all over the world trying to get things working, so I feel I'm qualified to have a say.

Would it be possible for the wonderfully, creative people who make routes, sessions and other assets for our hobby to 'package together' in some way, some of the more difficult to get hold of dependencies when they create new routes and sessions especially. I've read in the forums, the arguments about whether this is legal but surely if the assets are free-to-use and in the public domain, what is the problem. I'm not talking about payware here.

I'm not one of those people who produce large lists of missing kuids and expect someone else to do the searching for them. I've registered with a small number of websites and I've tracked down assets on non-English websites by using internet translators. It can be fun for a while i.e. the thrill of the chase, but eventually you lose the will to live and just give up. This is a pity because there are some great looking routes out there and I would love to be able to run them but I'm not sure I'll bother anymore because it's just too much trouble to chase down over 100 missing assets - and then not being able to find many of them because the website is not there any more or the asset is just no longer available.

I make these comments because I was looking at a couple of routes today and they illustrate my point, I think. The combined Ardennes and Summer Lake route and session is brilliant. In TS2010 native mode the session has about 15 consists, all running and I didn't have to chase all over looking for missing dependencies. I just added to Rik81's comments on this route in the TS2010 forum. I was also very interested in Mark Hodgkinson's V6E Mittelstadt route. The screenshots look great. However, when I looked through the thread on the route I could see a large number of non-DLS assets. That's ok I thought because Mark has kindly included links for all of these assets. I then looked further and found that many of these links were 'dead'. Nothing would link in my browser, anyway. I tried looking for assets in some of the sites I could get to, and couldn't find many of them. I eventually gave up.

I'm not trying to centre Mark out because I think he's honestly tried to help solve the problem for people downloading his route and he's spelled everything out upfront. I'm just disappointed that I won't be able to run it, and that's really my point.

While I'm sure many of the 'old hands' will dismiss my comments and say "it's free and you don't have to download these things" or "it's all part of the game to have to spend hours getting a route to work", I happen to think unless we can make things a bit easier somehow, we risk driving away a lot of new Trainzers and you need new people to keep something like this going.

I'm interested to hear what others think.
Regards
Paul

sniper297
August 21st, 2010, 06:58 PM
Not gonna get any argument from me, I've been uploading freeware addons for various games for over 20 years, and my goal is that a mentally handicapped 5 year old should be able to download and install and have it work "out of the box". I have no beef with third party creators that want to keep their stuff on their own website and off the download station - it's their stuff, that's their choice. My policy is I'm not gonna upload reskins, routes or sessions that require the end user to play "google the missing KUID", that's my choice. Obviously I'm missing out on a lot of impressive stuff by eliminating everything that doesn't have ALL required dependencies either built in or on the download station, but it makes tech support a whole lot simpler.

rjhowie
August 21st, 2010, 07:10 PM
I have been here a while (since pre-Forum crash days!). I reckon I am a middle-of-the-road non-techy who enjoys Trainz and the relaxation it brings away from the outside world and health probs. However I have to say that there have been odd routes I was tempted to download and then find piles of kuids to be got elsewhere.

This has occurred yet again recently elsewhere where a looking excellent route has put me off by a variety of places needing to be contacted. Other Trainzers listed large numbers of kuids queries and this led to repeated instructions as to where to get them. I am not moaning at the route builder who has done a great job but it led to a succession of people finding things getting complicated. Maybe it is just one of those mildly routine things in the way we work in Trainz but you are still right to raise the subject as it is a worthy one!

stovepipe
August 21st, 2010, 08:03 PM
I've been mucking about with Trainz for a couple of years now, and have downloaded a few routes with off-DLS assets in this time.

The one thing I've learnt is - get them while they are fresh....
By that, I mean just as they are released - there is little point doing a kuid chase on an old thread three or even six months later, as the links quickly go dead, as you have probably found.

You may get lucky and find that some creators, esp. from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russsia will produce big dependency packs to download - but that is I suppose by agreement with the specific creators.

Overall I would say the most realistic routes I have are these that have off-DLS assets. Many run better in TRS2006 than later versions of the game. Signalling in particular can be a problem in TS09/10.

Some great creators for European routes to my mind are darkdan, zieba111, kilanziom, fredo, ldr. If you want these routes - then a kuid search is necessary. The consolation is that once you have been round the well-known sites, it gets a lot easier. It takes probably two or three days to get round most of the common ones - it is just up to you to make the effort or not.

Charles

george2010
August 21st, 2010, 08:39 PM
There was an excellent Russian site, www.kuid.ru (http://www.kuid.ru) where you could type in the kuid number and it would bring up a list of locations where a particualr kuid could be found. Worked very well, particularly with content developed in central/eastern Europe.

Unfortunately over the past few weeks, the site appears to be down.

paulzmay
August 21st, 2010, 09:01 PM
There was an excellent Russian site, www.kuid.ru (http://www.kuid.ru) where you could type in the kuid number and it would bring up a list of locations where a particualr kuid could be found. Worked very well, particularly with content developed in central/eastern Europe.

Unfortunately over the past few weeks, the site appears to be down.

That's because it was illegal. It upset a lot of creators who did not consent to having their content hosted there.

The problem is that, irrespective of whether an item is free or not, the copyright is owned by the creator, and they have the absolute right to determine how it is distributed. Several creators have stopped sharing their creations (or at least come pretty close) when this has not been respected. Many creators who don't use the DLS to upload do so because they don't like to grant Auran the licence that this entails - they are hardly likely to allow anyone to re-distribute them without asking.

Personally, I'd like to see a number of things, the first of which is for the DLS to show which items need external dependencies before they are downloaded. Secondly I'd like creators to make it clear where dependencies can be found (and check them prior to upload). Finally, I'd like Auran to keep a central database of every kuid missing from DLS content, and allow us users to add direct links to those kuids. Obviously these may change or disappear, but such a database could be referred to by content manager, and make finding missing assets almost seamless.

Paul

RRSignal
August 22nd, 2010, 12:49 AM
That's because it was illegal. It upset a lot of creators who did not consent to having their content hosted there.

I have little familiarity with that site.

However, there's a difference between hosting content, and with linking to content. The latter of which involves no potential copyright infringement.

george2010
August 22nd, 2010, 01:02 AM
Yes, I think it was linking rather then hosting ... as it offered a selection of possible links from which a kuid could be downloaded.

Whatever it was it was good and made many otherwise unsuable works, available.

paulzmay
August 22nd, 2010, 01:14 AM
I'm pretty certain that the Russian site was hosting.

RRSignal
August 22nd, 2010, 01:23 AM
That's the thing, though. A central, non-DLS site can point to absolute download links. Or, at least, intermediary pages.

Johnk
August 22nd, 2010, 02:51 AM
I raised the subject of an independent asset register some time back:

http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=45572

I felt there was a need for an independent register (not to be confused with a download station) where people could list their assets and let others know where to find them.

I even created a sample section on the Trainz Resources Directory to let people know what I had in mind:

CLICK HERE TO SEE IT (http://trainzresources.com/directory/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=10_25)

Note: the sample was just that - a sample. It did not contain any information as to where stuff may be found, except for AmericanConnections stuff.

I wanted this to become a community project, but if you read the above thread you will see that it just died.

Ian Woodmore and myself, along with several others, are trying to establish a Trainz Community and this project may get fired up again. Hopefully you all read the Trainz Community News, our way of getting our messages to you. This is where you'll learn about what we're trying to do to make as many assets possible, available for every Trainz user.

Unfortunately the assets are spread all over the place like a train wreck and many owners are no longer interested in them, or don't care whether you can find stuff or not.

If any of you feel strongly about helping to put the asset nightmare back on the rails, please read the Trainz Community News CLICK HERE (http://issuu.com/trainzcommunity)) or respond to the dozens of calls for help we've made there or on these forums. The August edition of the TCN is due out in a couple of days, but I will encourage Ian Woodmore to write an article for the September edition to spell out exactly how you can help. He's already done it several times before, but I'll encourage him to write something that can be published in every edition as a gentle reminder.

Until you put your hands up to help, this thread and many others like it are really a total waste of time, because nothing will ever change.

pauldm
August 22nd, 2010, 09:51 AM
Thanks to all who replied so far. Sniper, I like the idea that anyone should be able to download and install your addons and have them work 'out of the box'. I'll keep an eye out for your creations. However, I also take Charles' point that the most realistic routes come from creators who are pushing the boundaries with non-DLS assets.

I think your other point, Charles, about getting them while they're fresh, is a good one. However, for relatively new Trainzers like myself, that's a bit difficult. There's a lot of good routes out there that I'll never see totally as intended.

I don't think I came across the Russian site before it went down but it sounds to me as if it was a very good idea, assuming it was just providing a link to the hard-to-find dependencies and not hosting them. I agree with PRSignal that there is no copywrite infringement in this case and therefore I don't understand why any creator would have an objection. After all, it means that more people are directed to their 'free' creations.

On the topic of legality, I can understand creators not wanting Auran to benefit from their free assets but if they put these assets as freeware on a website and they get credit when someone uses them as is on their freeware routes and sessions, where's the problem with the route creator distributing these assets as long as they don't profit from them. After all, we're talking about freeware here. Payware is a whole different kettle of fish and I'll leave that to the lawyers. I'm not an asset designer but if I were to create some freeware assets, I would have no problem if they were used as is and distributed as I have described above.

Paulzmay, I like the ideas in your last paragraph. That would help a lot.

John, I have to admit that I hadn't seen your other thread but, looking at it now, I can see many problems with a central database for non-DLS assets, not least of which is finding someone to manage it. It's not going to happen. I'll take a look at the newsletter for other comments on this topic.

I guess what I really wanted to come out of this thread was a reminder to creators that if you do use a lot of non-DLS assets, please either package them into cdp files for download (I've commented on the so-called legal issue above) or try to make sure they're still available and provide good links for them. Thanks.

Paul

Johnk
August 22nd, 2010, 10:18 AM
Hi Paul, thanks for you detailed and well constructed answer. It was indeed a pleasure to read. My only comment about my contribution is this:

I wholeheartedly agree that it's not going to happen because the people who create assets are probably exhausted at the end of the day and the last thing they want to do is cross the "I's" and dot the "T's". (Or is that the other way around?)

God bless 'em all. Where on earth would Trainz be without them.

However, how difficult would it be for them to send a tiny file to an asset database and have their stuff included?

I'll tell you. Of the 150 plus web sites promoted on the Trainz Resources Directory, only three webmasters have ever written to me to have something corrected. The remainder couldn't care less if I promoted their sites as scamware!

How on earth could I, or anyone else for that matter, ever create an Asset Registry? As you said, it's never going to happen, at least in my lifetime, but it's something we all so desperately need.

The TCN doesn't have further comments on the topic as such. Ian Woodmore and I have been trying to get content creators to contact us, but of the thousands out there, less than a handfull have done so. Fortunately for us, that small handfull constitutes a large proportion of DLS assets and they fully support our project. To learn what that project is, you really need to read the TCN.

tardis626
August 22nd, 2010, 10:40 AM
I feel privileged to be one of those three :)

(even though you haven't modified my site :p)
Didn't you mention something you were making so people created there own? (edit: possibly the "project" you mentioned)- You could add an option to let people say which KUID's are on there site too which people could then search through (or at least show the KUID suffix for the creator)


Regards,
Phil

DonZer63
August 22nd, 2010, 11:05 AM
Moin,

A big help will be a simple list here about the kuids of author and who he place his content, as example:

413760 - ebpy - http://www.trainzdepot.net
71619 - trunda - http://www.trainzdepot.net
514708 - rizzo_the_rat - http://www.rizzos-home.eu
370528 - neoklai75 - http://neoklai.ucoz.ru
...

If you search assets, you can visit this list first to viev if the author there, if so you can go to his site and do your searching.

But this list should be placed here in the forum and sticky, must be open for put in the knowledge from all who know anything. Then the list must be moderated because any unnessessary comments will give it the wrong way.
But, who have the time to do that all?

sniper297
August 22nd, 2010, 11:20 AM
"Personally, I'd like to see a number of things, the first of which is for the DLS to show which items need external dependencies before they are downloaded"

Can I get an "AMEN!" from the choir? :cool: The whole point of first class tickets and restricting anyone without a first class ticket to 4 kilobytes per second is because bandwidth ain't free - but whoever's running the download station is contributing to that problem with that one factor. I see a session that looks interesting, download it - and it requires 30 megabytes worth of dependencies, if I had known that in advance I would have skipped it. Okay, it's already started, let it keep going half the day, I gotta go grocery shopping anyway. When it finishes downloading it don't work - unknown KUIDs, faulty dependencies, dependencies with unknown KUIDs. More trouble than it's worth to hunt down 48 unknown KUIDs, especially when some of THOSE will have dependencies with unknown KUIDs.

So I delete the whole smash, I just wasted 30 megabytes of the download station bandwidth which wouldn't have been necessary if there was some way to know exactly what it needed BEFORE downloading it. Multiply that by 1000 people doing the same thing, 30,000 megs of wasted bandwidth. Fix that one issue and it will pay for itself.

Johnk
August 22nd, 2010, 11:27 AM
Hi Phil,

You asked a question demanding an answer! Yes, I did say that, and yes my site has been untouched so to speak for over three months. Putting the second part first, I've only been home for about two weeks after spending several months in Melbourne and the remainder house sitting an old dog and cat. When I arrived home about two weeks ago, I had visitors for 10 days so I've actually had just over a week to myself since mid February. My site and many other projects have suffered including the August edition of the Trainz Community News as a result.

In the meantime, the TRD has been hacked twice. This is NOT a vendetta against me or Trainz, but rather an Asian Hacking group trying to destroy the entire Internet shopping system. Unfortunately for me, the TRD is powered by one of the most popular shopping card programs available and I'm a sitting duck.

We intend to move the bulk of the TRD over to a Joomla site that allows personal interaction (a la you), but with the Trainz Community News of which I'm the editor, growing to 60 plus pages every month plus my time away from home and my personal interests, I've actually managed to run out of time and energy.

The Joomla site is languishing, awaiting some kind-hearted person to step in and get it fired up. Once that happens, yes, you will be able to get on board and update anything associated with you. The Kuid database is also another project in waiting. It's a massive project but once again it won't happen until a few people other than Ian Woodmore and myself step forward and offer help.

Nobody is paying us to get the job done, so I personally feel no guilt in not being able to perform to my max. Anyone who wishes to take any part of the project on is most welcome to do so, but Ian and I would dearly love to see it done as a community project and not some kind of "here today, gone tomorrow" ego trip.

The guy who wrote the song "If I Only Had Time (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBuHp5g-7k4&feature=fvw)" must have been thinking of Ian and I when he wrote it. Nevertheless, it will eventually happen, but it will happen a heck of a lot faster with volunteers.

Regards,

John

Johnk
August 22nd, 2010, 11:40 AM
Sniper297 - Spot on!

Not only the wasted time and bandwidth, but what does it do to N3V's reputation?

It's like going to a site offering free software, only to find it's free to download but $100 to use.

It's difficult to rush back for their next offering.

sparky15
August 22nd, 2010, 12:38 PM
When ever I see something that might interest me I always check it through the FTP site. Actually no choice, my gaming confuser never sees the internet. When you go to the download page it will give a list of required dependencies and if it looks like I'll need to download half the DLS, I'll just skip it. If it's a route I just make sure I have the track and textures needed, the basic infrastructure in other words. If I like it I'll go after some of the dependencies and swap out most of the rest.

For third party site stuff, most of that can be blamed on the if it's on the DLS we can sell it in a release if we want policy. Change how creators and their content are treated and you may draw some of that content back to the DLS. Some think it's great their content is put in a release, others object to it without compensation. That's not even taking into account the up coming changes in September.

I've said before it will cause more content to be spread out to third party sites making CM useless, got flamed for it and probably will again. Not to mention no error checking since who knows what version that content was built on. I see some of the frustrations in errors and dependency hunting getting worse, especially for the new users they want to attract.

Dave......

wmm1216
August 22nd, 2010, 12:50 PM
It would appear that another database is not likely to happen for all the "other" assets needed for many routes - so does anyone know about - or able to build - an easy to use Asset Substitution Utility that will either delete or "sub" one asset when one is found missing? Maybe even offer suggestions for similar assets from the Railyard content?

I am not comfortable editing some of these config files and guessing whether the line I am deleting is going to affect other areas.

Thanks to all who have developed this TRAINZ software and created assets, but unfortunately I agree that there is far too much technical knowlege & time spent looking up missing KUIDs - everywhere.

Just a thought....

Johnk
August 22nd, 2010, 01:10 PM
Dave, you raise an issue that's been bugging me for years. I've actually never downloaded anything off the DLS after running into trouble with the UP Gas Turbine model. I did download it, only to find I had to download bogeys from here and something else from there. In the end I gave up.

In some respects, Auran shouldn't accept an item unless all the dependencies are on the DLS. There's nothing worse than walking into a store and purchasing something, only to find out you need another component from somewhere else. Electronics are a good example. You always worry that the items you want from St. elsewhere may not be available, or even work with the thing you purchased.

Third party purveyors always start off with good intentions, but it doesn't take long for them to (a) lose interest, (b) modify their web site and forget to redirect, (c) forget to pay for their URL, etc. As an example, I ran the first Trainz Community Web Ring which listed well over 100 sites, many of which contained assets. After three years all but a dozen of those sites were defunct. Then take all the sites hosted by GeoCities. They were all wiped out when Yahoo pulled the plug. We can't blame Yahoo as half their million plus sites were dead. Despite notifying everyone a hundred times over, hardly anyone bothered to move their site to other servers. We lost dozens of great Trainz sites as a result.

Time is our enemy. many of the great assets out there are/were stored on private sites owned by people who have now moved on. Once you lose interest, it's difficult to be concerned about the people who are interested in you.

There is no solution. Attrition is guaranteed. The DLS for all its faults, is the only safe haven for assets, but it now faces pressure to support current versions of Trains and let anything that doesn't work with 2009/10 fall by the wayside.

R.I.P.

P.S. There may be around this problem. N3V (Auran) could stipulate that any third party item built for Trainz other that certified payware, is open source. (Public Domain) That way people could store stuff on other sites so that the item would at least be available from somewhere. Too many people have walked away and dumped their stuff, but the do-gooder's are all screaming "Copyright!"

zuluking
August 22nd, 2010, 01:28 PM
When Trainz UTC came out, there were very few 3rd paty sites around.
At the time I thought Auran had cornered the market to prevent Pirates having access to their content.
The simple solution is to check content coming in against the database and if there are items not on it, then reject the item. This would of course cause outrage from creators.
It is a catch 22 situation.

paulhobbs
August 22nd, 2010, 01:30 PM
The daft thing is the thing you are all asking for has been available for years and hardly anybody uses it. You can upload to the DLS and then specify a link to your own web site to download the asset. It looks as though it's on the DLS but is actually hosted somewhere else. I've no idea what CMP does when it finds one of these links though, but that's hardly a content creator problem.

Paul

RRSignal
August 22nd, 2010, 01:39 PM
Third party purveyors always start off with good intentions, but it doesn't take long for them to (a) lose interest, (b) modify their web site and forget to redirect, (c) forget to pay for their URL, etc. As an example, I ran the first Trainz Community Web Ring which listed well over 100 sites, many of which contained assets. After three years all but a dozen of those sites were defunct. Then take all the sites hosted by GeoCities. They were all wiped out when Yahoo pulled the plug. We can't blame Yahoo as half their million plus sites were dead. Despite notifying everyone a hundred times over, hardly anyone bothered to move their site to other servers. We lost dozens of great Trainz sites as a result.

...

There is no solution. Attrition is guaranteed. The DLS for all its faults, is the only safe haven for assets, but it now faces pressure to support current versions of Trains and let anything that doesn't work with 2009/10 fall by the wayside.

This is why I wish creators, upon leaving the development community, to either make your stuff freeware and put it on the DLS, or at least allow others to handle your content for the rest of the community. I understand life gets in the way, but, unless you are physically unable, at least turn your stuff over to someone else to handle or put it in the public domain. I've already put a notice in my Main Street route that if I should leave the community, my creations will revert to public domain and may be put on the DLS (though I intend to do so anyway, of course!) I can only imagine how much excellent content has evaporated into the ether. Considering how much time I've put into my route, and into learning Blender, I sure wouldn't want all that hard work going to waste.

sparky15
August 22nd, 2010, 02:00 PM
John,
Not accepting an item because all the dependencies are not on the DLS just puts MORE content on third party sites. In a way, it makes the dependency hunt worse.

Attracting more content to the DLS is the only real answer I think, where CM can do what it was designed to do. Like Paul said you can link to a site from the DLS, but the content still isn't there. You can do it from the FTP, but I don't think CM will redirect automatically to download the item. You also have the problem of that site going down, creator leaving, etc.

Less people using the DLS in favor of third party sites is just going to make the matter worse. A change in policy may benefit the end users Auran wants to attract. Attention spans aren't what they used to be and user frustration may hurt the bottom line more than a change in policy.

Dave.......

tardis626
August 22nd, 2010, 02:15 PM
I know that I would defiantly think about putting my content on the DLS (I already do If requested to) if Auran upped their game, sorted out Content Manager and hopefully changed the look and feel of the DLS (It's looks old and unattractive now doesn't it!)


Regards,
Phil

sniper297
August 22nd, 2010, 02:27 PM
FTP don't do it either.

http://img839.imageshack.us/img839/7129/46224363.jpg

Note that says "multi number library" for dependencies, where does it list other dependencies? Clueless newby downloading that six months from now will get this in the content manager;

http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/3615/44907638.jpg

Ridiculous part is I didn't know any of this when I uploaded those engines, and the first email I got said it's on hold because it "requires dependencies that are not on the DLS. We are contacting the authors of those dependencies, until then this is on hold." A few hours later I get another email saying the upload has been approved and will appear in a few hours - which naturally leads one to assume that they got all the dependencies uploaded. Obviously not.

Again, I got no beef with anyone not wanting to upload stuff to the DLS, but if something requires dependencies that are not on the DLS it should say that somewhere before you download it. Meantime I gotta fix it by creating a new version with KUID numbers and URL links added to the description, AFAIK that's the only way it can be done at present.

robogo
August 22nd, 2010, 02:33 PM
I would like to see all Content OpenSourced and to download all Routes with all the Content included with that Route, same goes for Locos, Rolling Stock and all multi-part Content. What will happen if Auran/N3V/Trainz ever go bust ?

russellwhite2007
August 22nd, 2010, 04:09 PM
I've given up spending hours looking for assets not on the DLS now if google don't throw up anything I chuck the item....

What I have started doing though is making a spread sheet up with the asset kuid author name link to the site pack name if it's in a pack.

That way I can quickly look at it and know what asset the person is after and can provide them the link.

It takes time but when I upload something I know that I can tell people where an asset is withing seconds...

Rusty

narrowgauge
August 22nd, 2010, 06:52 PM
What seems to be forgotten is that the creators email address 'should' be in the config, if it is, then that is where the user should go. My email address is there but I can count on less than two hands the queries I have had as a result.

Anyway to add to the list

kuid 44700 go to www.trainzone.co.nz (http://www.trainzone.co.nz)

Peter

matruck
August 22nd, 2010, 07:24 PM
Great idea for a thread Paul and there are sum great points here and i hope it gets us all a system we can use and rely on for finding missing Dependencies but here is sumone we can learn from.
http://www.checkrail.com/

Have a look down the bottom of the page for the part about missing content.Now I'm not saying we should all make our own Websites for hosting our own routes and stuff but if Andy can go to all that effort for his Routes,Sessions and Rolling Stock and a couple of them are very big Routes,If sum body finds a missing link then Dermmy tracks it down and adjusts his site accordingly.
It is a pleasure to download stuff from his site because of the effort he puts in.
Cheers Mick.:D