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Thread: Do we need an independent Asset Registry - Debate

  1. #1
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    Default Do we need an independent Asset Registry - Debate

    In response to a comment made by another member on another thread entitled Rebuilding The New Website, 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

    Please have your say.
    Last edited by Johnk; September 6th, 2009 at 12:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    I don't know if we actually need one....but it would be nice to have available...

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    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
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    I've found the key to world peace a dozen times. Unfortunately, they keep changing the lock.

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    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

  5. #5

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by obo View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post
    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
    M.U.T.O.T.T.

    I've found the key to world peace a dozen times. Unfortunately, they keep changing the lock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjolnir View Post
    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
    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

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    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.


    70337:
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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnk View Post

    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

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    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..

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    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.


    New "Alberta Run" on the DLS see pictures and more
    here

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    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
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    I've found the key to world peace a dozen times. Unfortunately, they keep changing the lock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyvdb View Post
    ... 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.


    70337:
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