Home » MODDING HQ 1.13 » v1.13 Feature Requests » JA 2 1.13 Installer & Naming Convention "stable/unstable" (Automatic install wizard & getting rid of stable/unstable)  () 2 Votes
JA 2 1.13 Installer & Naming Convention "stable/unstable"[message #352805] Wed, 28 March 2018 14:48 Go to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
I just thought about some nice-to-have addition to get more players to this imho best game out there.

For me and probably everybody else on this forum, getting JA 2 1.13 (or any other mod) to run, is not difficult. Copy and paste this and that and you are ready to go.

Still, there are many casual JA 2 players out there, who once played the original JA 2 or read about it nowadays when it is still referenced as the best tactical turn-based game.
I'm pretty sure a big part of those potential players don't want to - or some probably can't even - figure out how to proceed to play JA 2 1.13, even though there are some instructions out there on how to get things running.

To make a long story short: What do you guys think about an installation wizard (or however these regular installers are called) for JA 2 1.13 and the mostly-used mods?
You download an exe, start it, select your JA 2 path, then check other optional possibilities (e. g. stable/unstable version, mods, Windows 10 Fix, alternate this and that etc.) and hit "Install".
Once the process is finished, the INI editor opens, so everybody can do the resolution settings etc. and that's it.
Easy to use for the masses and providing a high usability with little means.

As for most people, data transfer isn't the problem nowadays, the most popular mods like AR, AV, UC, AIMNAS etc. could be included in the setup or - if this would blow the size - they could be downloaded by the installer if checked.

I know that none of you guys on here have this "challenge", but I try to think out of a perspective from one of the casual JA 2 players.
In the end, more people playing this game and therefore revitalising this forum would be a benefit for all of us, wouldn't it?

http://www.bilder-upload.eu/upload/b937a1-1522237785.jpg

To visualize the need for such a thing, here is an example of how my installation routine goes.

So far:
- Extract, copy & paste JA 2 1.13 7435
- Extract, copy, paste & execute JA 2 1.13 7609
- Extract, copy & paste JA 2 AR 1.4
- Extract, copy & paste JA 2 AR 1.4 Update
- Extract, copy, paste & execute Windows 10 fix

With an installer:
- Execute JA 2 1.13 installer
- Chose options & execute

I am good at marketing (my profession), not developing. Therefore, I have no sense of how much effort would be needed for that, so I'd love to get some feedback on it.
If we could realize such a thing, I'd contribute wherever I could (e. g. setting up a website running on my server, creating the content, instructions and so on etc.).

[Updated on: Sun, 01 April 2018 18:03]




“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352807 is a reply to message #352805] Wed, 28 March 2018 17:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3558
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
As any other package out there, the installer would require constant maintenance and updating to always get the proper builds. Not sure also what it would beside the SCIs, which already have Depri working in his own sweatshop for nothing?


Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352808 is a reply to message #352805] Wed, 28 March 2018 19:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
As far as the casual JA 2 player goes - to which this is directed -, I don't think they would focus on any unstable build.
They'd enter some keywords like "ja 2 1.13" into Google and in most cases end up on http://ja2v113.pbworks.com/w/page/4218339/FrontPage for the current stable build (Google organic ranks 1-3 all finally lead this way).
As the stable is only being updated every couple of years (last time 2014), there wouldn't be a lot of maintenance work, would there?
Just as I mentioned in my post before, it brings a lot more convenience, which is exactly what casual JA 2 players need to not be "scared" away.
This is pure marketing, making installing a game as easy as possible because who would want to read, extract, copy, paste, execute several different files blocks except for the hardcore mercenaries used to this stuff? I'm pretty sure nobody.

Still, I can't estimate the workload for an initial installer of the stable build.
Maybe some other vets on here like Flugente, smeagol, DepressivesBrot etc. could comment on that.




“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352809 is a reply to message #352808] Wed, 28 March 2018 20:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3801
Registered:July 2009
If you wanna figure it out, be my guest. If it was up to me, we'd be steering people well away from that obsolete, unsupported, so-called stable release.
As for my own work, I see no functional difference between zips and an installer and since the current file is already plenty for my shitty network, I sure as hell won't go the bloatware all-in-one-and-the-kitchen-sink route.



Chat with us!
#bearpit on IRC
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Get your latest 1.13 Builds
(Pls don't use my forum PMs for general game queries)


Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352810 is a reply to message #352809] Wed, 28 March 2018 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
DepressivesBrot schrieb am Mi, 28 März 2018 19:05
...since the current file is already plenty for my shitty network, I sure as hell won't go the bloatware all-in-one-and-the-kitchen-sink route.

Sticking to the idea of an executable installer, it probably should only contain all necessary files but offer additional files (e. g. fixes or mods) to download during the installation process in case a checkbox is activated.

DepressivesBrot schrieb am Mi, 28 März 2018 19:05
If it was up to me, we'd be steering people well away from that obsolete, unsupported, so-called stable release.

From what you are saying, it sounds like the unstable build is preferrable in almost every way, but still it is called "unstable", which keeps me (and probably many others) from using this release. Do you know why this naming convention is still being used, if the stable release is outdated, unsupported etc.?



“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352814 is a reply to message #352810] Wed, 28 March 2018 23:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3295
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
Builds are labelled 'unstable' because they contain the newest features (and thus the newest bugs too happy, but also new fixes for old bugs ). The 'stable' didn't get the at-the-time newest features and was 'tested' 'extensively', and was called 'stable' to, dunno, get people to like it?

Stable 2014 wasn't in any way more stable than newer releases. Personally, I hope nobody ever gets the idea for another 'stable'. For a year we committed everything to two separate branches - instead of being smart and creating a branch based on an older revision a year later and then merging in the bugfixes. It was tedious extrawork, with now real gain in my opinion.

It is the base for several mods because those modders decided to. It is outdated because by definition it doesn't get new stuff (and I have no interest in merging fixes into a 4-year old branch all the time). The only reasons to use stable are

  • a mod is built on it
  • You wan't to use sevenfm's AI and other additions, as he bases it on stable 14

As to the idea of an installer itself... I don't have anything against it. Depri's SCIs seem pretty simple to me, but if a flashy installer helps, why not.
Of course, with such an installer one would expect any mod coming along with it to be updated to whatever 1.13 version comes with it, not sure if that is always the case.

[Updated on: Wed, 28 March 2018 23:39]




Saren threw his head back and screamed in impotent fury, before falling to his throne, head in his claws, trembling in horrified disbelief.

Then he heard a faint chime as Sovereign subscribed to her ECHO channel.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352824 is a reply to message #352814] Thu, 29 March 2018 11:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
These insights help getting the big picture. In this case developing an installer would be rather a second step. I now see the challenge in other places.

I don't want to stir up too much waves, as I'm not as dedicated as most of you guys but as I mentioned in my first post, I view this from a marketing perspective, because this is what I do as a profession (product marketing for a software product).
So, there are a couple of questions coming to my mind. All of this of course with respect to the rightful creator of JA 2 1.13.

1. Does anybody know who is in charge (creator) of the stable/unstable build and http://ja2v113.pbworks.com/w/page/4218339/FrontPage on which most of the players are landing when looking for JA 2 1.13?
I would like to get in contact with the person/team.

2. Wouldn't it make sense to change the naming convention with the stable/unstable build as this has a solely negative impact on JA 2 1.13?
a. The current naming convention leads most players to use the obsolete, unsupported stable build.
b. The unstable build might have some new bugs due to new features, but also fixes many old bugs and therefore unstable doesn't actually fit anymore.

Proposal: Remove "stable" and "unstable" and just have a regular release. Old mods relying on the stable would then just be "only working with release 7609" for example.

2. As http://ja2v113.pbworks.com/w/page/4218339/FrontPage doesn't seem to be too much up-to-date, wouldn't it make sense to initiate a relaunch of this site (best case: with a new naming convention)?

Proposal: Set up a simple WordPress installation with only the mandatory content for a first step (e. g. latest release, installation instructions etc.) to start fast.
Once done, additional information could be added step-by-step, but all with respect to a high usability for the casual visitor. If this is ok with the copyright owner, I'd commit myself to this.




“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352825 is a reply to message #352824] Thu, 29 March 2018 13:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The_Bob

 
Messages:384
Registered:May 2009
Location: Behind you.
silversurfer and RoWa21 are the keepers of the code, so I guess they're in charge of making any kind of releases happen. I don't think there's anyone actively maintaining the wiki or any sort of documentation so if you or anyone else can bring that info up to date, I think the position's open, and it would definitely do the project some good.

Sevenfm's builds are what could be considered the currently maintained legacy version, win10 timer fix is reason enough to promote his current "7609+fix" release over the so-called stable release that probably won't even work for most people nowadays.
The current 1.13 SVN versions are also pretty stable, it's not like people commit broken code all the time, and even when that happens it gets fixed relatively quickly. It could probably use a balance pass though, some features need their data files updated, also I don't think there's any one manual that lists and explains all features currently in 1.13.

I think an installer could simply be a program that lets the user pick a JA2 directory (maybe tries to find it in the registry) and select one of 1.13 releases, I mean either one of sevenfm's versions or whatever the current SCI is. Then it downloads+extracts the package and optionally adds a desktop icon, opens the manual, and opens the .ini editor.

Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352826 is a reply to message #352825] Thu, 29 March 2018 14:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2281
Registered:May 2009
Thanks for the "promotion" but I'm not the keeper of the code. ;-)
I merely help people integrate useful changes from time to time, people that don't have write access to SVN.

To be honest, I don't see much use in an installer. Coders and modders are spending enough time on coding and modding as it is so a new tool that needs to be maintained will mean even more work for them so it's unlikely to happen. I'd rather see the time spend on the product itself or the tools that help with modding (anyone wants to update the XML editor? ;-) ).

An update to the wiki would also be nice so players don't accidentally try that outdated "stable version" anymore.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352827 is a reply to message #352826] Thu, 29 March 2018 14:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3558
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
The bottom line of this is maybe we should drop this unfortunate Stable/Unstable naming convention? The idea behind Stable worked when there was a core team of 10 people and 100 contributors working like mad bees with code bits coming from everywhere.

Now there's only a handful of devs and all know their stuff.

And yes, we should start with the Wiki. So who has access there? Roman only?


Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352841 is a reply to message #352827] Fri, 30 March 2018 13:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
That sounds like a good plan.
Changing the naming convention wouldn't be too much of an effort would it?

When you guys are talking about the "Wiki" are you talking about http://ja2v113.pbworks.com/w/page/4218339/FrontPage?



“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352875 is a reply to message #352841] Sat, 31 March 2018 21:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
RoWa21

 
Messages:2049
Registered:October 2005
Location: Austria
We already have a "professional" installer project build with Inno Setup. I compiled that years ago for older stable releases.

If needed we can reactivate it. I still have it in SVN.

If anyone is interested, PM me.

[Updated on: Sat, 31 March 2018 22:01]



Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352877 is a reply to message #352875] Sat, 31 March 2018 23:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
townltu

 
Messages:129
Registered:December 2017
Location: here
RoWa21 wrote on Sat, 31 March 2018 21:56
We already have a "professional" installer project build with Inno Setup.
...

Reminds me of an issue with Kaucukovnik666`s Wizardry 8 Enhancements mod ~4y ago,
it was also packed with inno setup, caused a "floating point division by zero" error on XP when executing setup,
culprit was the format of inno setups background picture.

So in case you may want to ensure compatibility with outdated(&superior;) OS


Besides i generally prefer zip/rar/7z compatible archives,
especially if the installers archive can not be extracted with common program like win-zip/rar or 7zip.
Also install routines which dld files from web drastically incease suspicion lvl of paranoid users like me;)
Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352884 is a reply to message #352877] Sun, 01 April 2018 18:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Even though the discussion on here started with my suggestion of packing everything into an installer, it finally led to the fact, that the unstable build actually is the stable build (supported, bugfixed etc.) and the stable build is obsolete (unsupported, missing many bugfixes etc.) and isn't liked by too many anymore (except for old mods depending on it).

Due to this fact, the idea came up to redefine the naming convention and get rid of the unstable/stable naming like Shanga said.

I wouldn't throw the idea of an installer over board, but rather focus on this task firsthand, of course in a combination with an updated website to make it easy for everybody else to get this game running (whether or not with an installer and/or zips).

So, what do you guys think about this and who can decide about it? Who needs to be asked?



“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352885 is a reply to message #352884] Sun, 01 April 2018 18:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3558
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Flugente, Depri, Rowa, etc... whomever releases builds can easily adopt a new naming convention cause it's them who put them out there. Some naming variants could be:

periodical builds: JA2 1.13 Dev Build v.XXXX or just JA2 1.13 v.XXXX

old "stable" builds can be renamed "201x Anniversary Build" or left alone.

[Updated on: Sun, 01 April 2018 18:33]



Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: Re: Aw: JA 2 1.13 installer for the masses[message #352886 is a reply to message #352885] Sun, 01 April 2018 22:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3801
Registered:July 2009
Alright, I've changed my script to call them SCI_JA2v1.13_Revision_${revs}_on_GameDir_${revg} instead, effective as of today's build. I'll update my post to be a little less threatening soon, probably tomorrow.



Chat with us!
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Get your latest 1.13 Builds
(Pls don't use my forum PMs for general game queries)


Aw: JA 2 1.13 Installer & Naming Convention "stable/unstable"[message #352921 is a reply to message #352805] Tue, 03 April 2018 14:29 Go to previous message
ATigersClaw

 
Messages:152
Registered:October 2014
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Awesome, sounds like a step into a good direction.

To follow the idea of relaunching the wiki/website please take a look at this topic: https://tinyurl.com/y73kc6zy

[Updated on: Wed, 11 April 2018 09:28]




“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
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