Artpacks (User Created)

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gurgi
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Artpacks (User Created)

Post by gurgi » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:20 pm

Is it possible for a user to create their own artpacks for use in BRPG? If not, is something like this planned for the future? (OR, if not at all, how about nested folders?)

I have a silly amount of RPG related art (~50k) and it just isn't possible to organize it into a simple _single_ folder deep system. And that's just what I have already in bitmap formats. If I ever get around to converting all my cad vector symbols from Nbos and CC I'll have closer to 100k files

As a brandy new user of BRPG, I'm finding that I need to move over what i need into the various folders to make my encounter, save it/export it and then clean out the folders for next series.

While I don't yet own a lot of artpacks, the single file, yet well structured nature of the Vry and DevilDan stuff is just great and moving a single artpack in and out of disabled status is WAY more convenient.

I'm not looking to distribute artpacks or anything like that, I just want a better way to manage what I have. I would love to have single files made from various mixes of my art collection. I'm drooling just thinking of how nice it would be to have an artpack for each Pathfinder AP. Need a Kingmaker encounter this week, enable my kingmaker artpack with all my overland objects/mobs and go..

So, is this doable?

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heruca
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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:09 am

Welcome, gurgi.
gurgi wrote:Is it possible for a user to create their own artpacks for use in BRPG? If not, is something like this planned for the future? (OR, if not at all, how about nested folders?)
User-created artpacks are currently not possible, although I've gotten that request before, once or twice.

Nested folders is possible, but would require a fairly involved rewrite, and thus is more likely to occur in Battlegrounds v2.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by gurgi » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:30 pm

Oh well.
Guess I'll stick with the copy/delete model I've been using and stop fantasizing about having an easier way. C'est la vie.

Is there a particular reason for restricting artpacks? I had assumed they were just VB resource files.

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heruca
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Post by heruca » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:25 pm

gurgi wrote:Oh well.
Guess I'll stick with the copy/delete model I've been using and stop fantasizing about having an easier way. C'est la vie.
Is there some reason that the current system won't support the sort of organization you want?

As I understand, you would like to be able to have a subfolder structure like this, for example:
A "Furniture" folder would contain subfolders for "Chairs", "Tables", "Wardrobes", etc.

With the current system, you could just name your folders like this:
"Furniture, Chairs"
"Furniture, Tables"
"Furniture, Wardrobes"
etc.
gurgi wrote:Is there a particular reason for restricting artpacks? I had assumed they were just VB resource files.
I'm not actively restricting user-made artpacks, it's just that the tools for creating them haven't been developed.

I create artpacks using Adobe Director, which is also what I use to create Battlegrounds. Anyone with a copy of Director could theoretically make artpacks for BRPG. I have no problem sharing information about how to format the files. It's just that, of the thousands of users who post here, I know of exactly two who have a copy of Director, and neither of them are currently BRPG users.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by gurgi » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:17 pm

Heruca wrote:Is there some reason that the current system won't support the sort of organization you want?
It's not a matter of the current system lacking support, it has to do with the sheer number of files and their organization. It was more for ease of overall use with a large media collection.

I currently store all my digital media on a file server so that both of my workstations and my gaming machines can reach whatever I need when I need it.

I don't EVER need all my media at one time and it's not even all useful directly in BRPG. But even just taking into account the relevant assests, I'm still looking at tens of thousands of files. I certainly wouldn't want to browse through those assets one at a time from within BRPG. <shudder>

Never mind trying to limit the contents of each folder in the current archive to only 255 assets.

So what I've done is make micro collections that contain all the art I would need for each of the various on going campaigns. Then I copy these folders over to the correct location, build the encounter and then delete the copy. So I have a clean setup for the next encounter. This is no different really then the setup I use in Dundjinni, Nbos or CC.

Your artpack format gave me an inspiration think in a better way. By turning these micro collections into artpacks, I could make this process smoother. I would then only need to move a single file from the active to disabled artpack folder when ever I need to switch.
Heruca wrote:I create artpacks using Adobe Director, which is also what I use to create Battlegrounds. Anyone with a copy of Director could theoretically make artpacks for BRPG. I have no problem sharing information about how to format the files. It's just that, of the thousands of users who post here, I know of exactly two who have a copy of Director, and neither of them are currently BRPG users.
You can now make that three. So if your willing to share your format and knowledge, I'm willing to learn at your feet.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by gunnarskeep » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:18 pm

Hello Heruca,

This is my first post here, so let me first commend you on the fine job you've done on this program! I am running a campaign right now with a buddy who lives a state away and I can honestly say that this tool is invaluable! Keep up the outstanding work. Your level of support is also top notch!

I think I am with gurgi on the desire to create our own custom artpacks. I do believe it would be a simpler way to manage the ever-increasing number of media assets that continue to bloat my folders, especially when trying to manage those assets across two computers.

I do have a copy of Macromedia Director MX 2004 installed, so if you are willing to share how this is done, I'd be very interested in a lesson.

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heruca
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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:40 pm

Welcome, gunnarskeep. Thanks for the compliments.

I'll definitely give some thought to the matter of how to allow for user-created artpacks. A stand-alone utility is probably the best approach. Feel free to describe how you think it should work. Keep in mind that aside from compiling the assets into the proper format such a tool would need to allow the user to organize items into categories, and probably sort them. Perhaps rename them on the fly, in case the media assets weren't adequately named prior to import? I'm open to suggestions.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by gunnarskeep » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:56 pm

I agree, a stand-alone utility would be best, precluding the need to have Director. As far as how such a utility would work, I think you already addressed the bulk of it (proper formatting, allowing users to organize, sort, and rename). In addition, the utility would have to permit adding and removing of assets readily, essentially allowing the artpack to be opened and modified as needed.

I am guessing this utility would save the artpack in the .cxt format (same as all the artpacks I've seen). Given my limited understanding of how Director works, this is not a directly editable file format. So this utility would need some way of preserving what was originally created prior to exporting or "Publishing" to the .cxt format. That way, the artpack could be edited in the future without the need to recreate it from scratch.

Let me ask you this . . . Can artpacks be saved in the unlocked cast file format (.cst), and more so, could BRPG read them? If so, then maybe editing artpacks with this utility is not such a big deal. Additionally, if this utility could save as both file formats (.cst and .cxt), users could still create locked artpacks for sale, while others could freely distribute their own and allow other users to edit them.

Not a bad arrangement, if you ask me!

Those are my initial thoughts. I can share more as they arise. I am excited at this prospect! In the meantime, is it a simple matter to create artpacks with Director, or is it too involved (or proprietary) a topic to discuss?

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heruca
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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:04 am

gunnarskeep wrote:I am excited at this prospect! In the meantime, is it a simple matter to create artpacks with Director, or is it too involved (or proprietary) a topic to discuss?
I'll see if I can compile some sort of instructions or reference document explaining the layout and formatting of artpacks using Director. I will contact you via email when I have something ready.

Are you at all proficient in Lingo programming? Not required, but handy if you already know how to format nested lists (i.e. a list of lists).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by gunnarskeep » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:12 pm

That's great! I'm looking forward to it. I have dabbled a little writing JavaScript, which from what I understand is similar to Lingo. I have a strong enough understanding of scripting languages to be dangerous, and I think I would prove to be a quick study in getting up to speed with Lingo. Thank you for the support!

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heruca
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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:01 pm

gunnarskeep, check your email. :)
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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heruca
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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:20 pm

Could you acknowledge that you received my email?
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by gunnarskeep » Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:25 pm

Hello heruca,

I did receive your e-mail, and your instructions were perfect! I was able to successfully create a sample artpack, just throwing some random assets in there to test it out. It worked beautifully, and the artpack for "A Simple Job" was a great example! The Director cast file template you provided was extremely helpful too. I can see now why a healthy understanding of nested lists is beneficial.

I do have some questions, though, pertaining to the map graphics. You stated that one should, "never include the actual map graphics in an artpack" and to include small thumbnails instead. In addition, you indicated that "the big map graphics themselves should be uploaded to a server, and the URL to each map needs to be included in the content of castmember 10". Is this an absolute requirement? Is this in an effort to keep the artpack's file size to a minimum?

I see this as a potential source for artpack failure, given the dynamic nature of the web. Servers come and go, or more often, contents and file structures changed. This could quickly render an artpack obsolete if the map graphics were moved or deleted. I suppose you could generate a new artpack with new links if that were to happen. And not everyone has access to server space, but with more and more server space becoming freely available in the "Cloud", maybe this is not a big concern.

Anyway, thanks for providing that. Your support is outstanding!

You asked that I be willing to share my artpacks with the rest of the BRPG community, and I'd be happy to. My only concern, and I guess I would have to work through this with you before posting them, is the proprietary nature of what I'm working on. For example, I am currently working on a Settlers of Catan conversion and I plan to include all the assets in an artpack to simplify things. Any other artpacks I might create would most likely be of other copyrighted material, and thus would probably need to be taken under careful consideration before posting freely on your site. If I ever do get ambitious enough to write an original adventure and create all of the associated assets, or even create a game of my own design, I would most certainly share them!

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Thu Oct 23, 2014 11:52 pm

I don't think I've ever heard of an ISP that didn't provide webspace for their customers, even if it's only 10 or 20 MBs. But many folks are unaware that they've been given that, or simply don't know how to access it.

I don't think it's a strict requirement to only include map thumbnails in artpacks and not the actual full-size map. Try one and see.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by Omnidon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:45 pm

My offer of free webspace to BRPG users remains in effect. If you need somewhere to upload your maps I can arrange it.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by rochambeaux » Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:42 pm

heruca wrote:
gunnarskeep wrote:I am excited at this prospect! In the meantime, is it a simple matter to create artpacks with Director, or is it too involved (or proprietary) a topic to discuss?
I'll see if I can compile some sort of instructions or reference document explaining the layout and formatting of artpacks using Director. I will contact you via email when I have something ready.

Are you at all proficient in Lingo programming? Not required, but handy if you already know how to format nested lists (i.e. a list of lists).

Can you share the art pack instructions please?

I'm looking at the same issues as I build my digital versions of my game library. Some games, like Thunderstone Advance, would require a crazy amount of folders for the assets - T-Stone Adv alone probably has 100 different decks that it might draw from to crate a game.

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Re: Artpacks (User Created)

Post by heruca » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:14 pm

I've only played the original Thunderstone, but I don't imagine the advanced edition is all that different, mechanics-wise. Set-up for it would be very similar to Zombinion (a Dominion re-theme). Such a setup lets you easily chose what cards will be played with, or even randomize card selection for you. There is NO need to prepare 100s of decks in advance. Nor would you be able to, before hitting the max. component limit.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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