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A-6 Superpack Development and Distribution

How Should The A-6 Superpack be Distributed  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Since recent 3W patches outpace my own development, how should I distribute components of the A-6 Superpack?

    • Keep it as is, with the A-6 files along with the common files. Distribute the EA-6B and fictional skins separately.
    • Keep the A-6 with the common files, but separate the enhanced campaigns into a separate download to provide for more enhancements and better version control.
      0
    • Make the "common files" a baseline download, and have each individual module available as a choice.
    • Forget the modules and just do everything in one download every time. I do a manual install.
    • Forget the modules and just do everything in one download every time. I use GME for my install.
    • Another option (please comment below).
  2. 2. Will the distribution format affect your use of the A-6 Superpack?

    • Keep it as a single download, or I won't use it anymore due to its complexity.
    • Keep it as a single download, or I won't use it anymore because I don't want to be nickled and dimed with downloads.
      0
    • Separate the modules, or I will be less inclined to download such a big pack.
    • If you separate the modules, I might give this a look without having to commit to the full package.
      0
    • Why is this rocket science? Keep it simple!
    • Bombs on Target, Baby! I'm launching the Intruder regardless of how it's packaged!
    • I have no intention of installing this mod until its modular nature is removed and it is made as a full-5 merged suck-it-up install.


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All,

 

Those of you who use my A-6 Superpack are doubtless aware of its modular nature. This is unlikely to change soon. However, with the last two 3W patches released before I was ready to release my own updates (both of which affected datafiles I also use) I am considering a modular approach to release as well as installation.

 

Right now the A-6 Superpack contains the common files, the A-6 specific datafiles and skins, and the enhanced campaigns. However, I am considering the following modules as separate downloads:

  1. The A-6 Superpack "common files", which include the SQUADRONLIST.INI, weapons files, pilots/seats, sounds, and decals such as numbers, tail logos, et al.
  2. The A-6 Specific datafiles and skins, including the A-6A/B/E as well as the TRAM and SWIP variants. Both the SF2V and SF2NA modules would be in the same pack.
  3. The EA-6B Specific datafiles and skins, including the EA-6B "Standard", EXCAP, ICAP-I, ICAP-II Blk82, and ICAP-II Blk86/89.
  4. Future development: fictional "what if" skins. Already developed and awaiting final tweaks are the A-6A/E for the IDF/AF, RAAF, and RN-FAA.
  5. Enhanced campaign package. You could install the set of campaigns depending on which modules you had installed (e.g. install the NA1 campaign that utilizes both the A-6 and EA-6B modules).

 

The plus side of this is increased flexibility, as when a new patch comes out I need only update the module whose datafiles have been updated (which in this case would be the common files and the campaign package). I could get the important updates out within a day of the patches and keep the download size to a minimum.

 

Of course, the downside of this is that you would have to do more downloads, and you would need to be more vigilant in looking for updates. Likewise, major updates to the common files would require re-downloading of the other packs as well, so this flies in the face of the "keep it simple, stupid" principle. Likewise, the separate downloads, while minimally inconvenient for people who use Generic Mod Enabler, will add another layer of complexity for people who prefer to do a manual install.

 

Note that getting rid of GME and going strictly with a full-merged, manual install is not one of the options I'm entertaining. Due to the expansive nature of the superpack (i.e. substituting original squadron decals, adding new sets of number decals that can be used by multiple mods), use of the main Decals folder is a design decision that simplifies the superpack, but complicates things for a manual install. GME will be the default enabling mechanism for the foreseeable future, with manual installation instructions provided in the readme.

 

I would very much like your thoughts on the subject. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

Edited by HomeFries
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I must admit I prefer downloads to be for the specific Jet... so my preference is A-6A-E/EA-6A as one download and EA-6B as another if that makes sense... :drinks:

 

Thanks for taking the time out to ask as well :good:

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I hate to say it but the poll is even more complicated than the download instructions! :ohmy:

 

J/K - The Intruder is one of my favorite planes and you're doing a great job with it. Can't wait for your Prowler pack. :salute:

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Too much democracy here :grin:

I'd prefer a single download too.

 

Thanks for paying much attention to details :good:

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Thanks for the input, guys. I didn't realize how many people bypass GME for the manual install.

 

It won't be this coming version, but I'll look into using an installer/uninstaller combo to provide the simplicity of install while still providing a means to remove modified files in case of major changes.

 

This also puts the onus on me to create a different means of using the decals folder so that manual removals are much simpler.

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Real simple just replicate the file structure of the game. A-6A, A-6A_68, etc like everybody else does. Oh in addition, drop the JSGMEROOFRE or what ever you call the mod activator program which is totally unneeded fro SF2 series games.Do not include an installer either. That is also completely unneeded. All you need is a 7zip of the Object, Weapons, Decals folders. We know what to do with it from there. All the geewiz stuff is not needed.

Edited by CrazyhorseB34
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Real simple just replicate the file structure of the game. A-6A, A-6A_68, etc like everybody else does. Oh in addition, drop the JSGMEROOFRE or what ever you call the mod activator program which is totally unneeded fro SF2 series games.Do not include an installer either. That is also completely unneeded. All you need is a 7zip of the Object, Weapons, Decals folders. We know what to do with it from there. All the geewiz stuff is not needed.

 

Totally agrees +1

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Real simple just replicate the file structure of the game. A-6A, A-6A_68, etc like everybody else does. Oh in addition, drop the JSGMEROOFRE or what ever you call the mod activator program which is totally unneeded fro SF2 series games.Do not include an installer either. That is also completely unneeded. All you need is a 7zip of the Object, Weapons, Decals folders. We know what to do with it from there. All the geewiz stuff is not needed.

 

Agreed.

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snapback.pngCrazyhorseB34, on 29 June 2012 - 12:33:19 PM, said:

 

Real simple just replicate the file structure of the game. A-6A, A-6A_68, etc like everybody else does. Oh in addition, drop the JSGMEROOFRE or what ever you call the mod activator program which is totally unneeded fro SF2 series games.Do not include an installer either. That is also completely unneeded. All you need is a 7zip of the Object, Weapons, Decals folders. We know what to do with it from there. All the geewiz stuff is not needed.

 

 

 

 

Crazyhorse is right, we do all know what to do with those folders, and when I first started using JSGME a couple years ago (in Silent Hunter4), that's why I used it, I didn't know where all those folders went and it did. But, that's not all it does...For instance I just updated to June 2012, normally I'd have to update the main ini.s for all my non-player flyables. With JSGME I don't have to, no renamed ini., no dance, no nuthin'. Just disable the mod, update, and re-enable; done. One of the other things it can do is enable/disable different mods in the same folder, for instance there are three pretty good speech mods available; ones been available for a couple of years (the SFG Gold speech mod), the other two are pretty recent (Skatezilla's Hawkeye mod and Romflyer's ATC mod). Now suppose you had the older mod installed and liked it, further suppose you installed one or both of the others and didn't. Ordinarily you would delete the speech folder and re-install the one you liked, with JSGME you just mouse-click the one you don't like and disable it. In this for instance it may not seem like a big deal but if you want to try, say, multiple enviornmental mods to see how they interact with each other and run on your machine, you can do that too. For instance, you can have Stary's SARCASM 1.2, SARCASM 1.3, Unified Effects, I don't remember who's Sky Mod, and whatever else you want in the Mods folder and enable them one at a time, all at once, or anything in between. I'm not saying it's necessary, but if you give it a try you might find it more usefull than you might have thought. Oh, almost forgot, the file structure is replicated, if you go into each of the modules you'll find Objects, Effects, Flight etc., inside them. You can just drop them where they're supposed to go just like usual.

Edited by SupGen

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Thanks again for the great feedback. Perhaps I will reconsider doing a "straight-up" mod for the next release after all.

 

Here's another question: If all A-6 variants require SF2V and SF2NA (SF2V for A-6A/B, SF2NA for A-6E/TRAM/SWIP), is it worth having separate folders for both installs. Even if I don't build-in the GME structure and just make folders that say "Common Files (add first)", "A-6AB (for SF2V users)", and "A-6E (for SF2NA users)", is this ok with people, or should I just integrate the file structure ahead of time since those without merged installs just won't get the added features? I'm trying to find the proper balance between flexibility and complexity.

 

For GME users, I will still create separate folders for optional mods (e.g. restricted modexes, flares on the A-6A, etc.) that can either be dropped into an existing install or dropped into the existing MODS folder for GME integration. I will also provide instructions for GME integration in the readme.

 

Finally, I think the smart thing to do is to put the campaigns in a separate download. This is quite simply because I will be releasing the EA-6B pack either concurrently with or shortly after the A-6 superpack, and I would like to include the new prowlers in the campaigns as well (esp. Linebacker II and the updated carrier-based desert campaigns). For KISS reasons, I don't want multiple versions of the campaigns floating around, so version control via separate download makes a lot of sense.

 

One last thing: the storms this weekend knocked out my power, which is still down and will likely be down until at least the end of the week. This will obviously delay my release, although thankfully I was able to save all of my work on the new low visibility skins before the lights went out.

Edited by HomeFries

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Just downloaded the whole thing and wondering what's a recommended cockpit for this?

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Either the Razbam or the Thirdwire one extracted from WOV

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All,

 

Here's a proposed excerpt from my upcoming A-6 Superpack Readme file. Please let me know if this clarifies things for manual installations.

1.2. Installation

The Superpack is divided into three sections: the Primary Components, the Campaign Mods, and the Optional Mods. There is also a folder for widescreen users that replaces the existing 1024x768 aircraft and campaign screens with 1440x900 images.

 

Primary Components

There are three primary components of the Superpack , separated by which SF2 game is required for its use. In each folder is nested the standard SF2 mod folder architecture (e.g. Objects, Sounds, Campaigns). Copy the contents of these folders to your SF2 “Mod” folder (e.g. c:\users\<username>\Saved Games\Thirdwire\StrikeFighters2 <xxx>) in the order listed:

1. 1_Common Files for all users

This includes decals, weapons, and an updated SQUADRONLIST.INI. Copy the contents of this folder first.

 

2. 2_for SF2V users

This includes the A-6A and A-6B. Copy the contents of this folder if you have SF2 Vietnam installed, as it requires the 3W A-6A LOD.

 

3. 3_for SF2NA users

This includes the A-6E, A-6E_79, and A-6E_90. Copy the contents of this folder if you have SF2 North Atlantic installed, as it requires the 3W A-6E and A-6E_79 LODs. This now includes Wrench’s skinpack by default (was an optional component pre 1.5).

Campaign Mods

These files modify the existing campaigns other than Vietnam or North Atlantic (which were included in the primary components).

4. 4_SF2 Campaigns for Full Merged Install

This is a slightly modified version of malibu43’s SF2 campaigns that integrate naval operations into the Desert theater. In addition to adding the A-6, the campaigns add other USN/USAF aircraft of the period. There is also an additional 1979 campaign called Desert Blaze, which adds the later hardware from SF2E and SF2NA, as well as incorporates Wrench’s F-111B Fleet Defense Fighter for people who have it installed.

The original SF2 campaign updates require a full 5 merged install.

 

5. 5_SF2E Campaigns for SF2E, SF2V, and SF2NA

This adds the A-6 to the original SF2E campaigns dated at least 1963. The campaigns add two USMC A-6 squadrons to the NATO side, as well as the requisite number of Su-7s to the OPFOR.

 

You should have at least SF2V and SF2NA installed with SF2E before adding the SF2E campaigns.

For Widescreen Users

Copy these folders if you have a widescreen monitor. These folders should be copied after all desired optional campaigns have been copied over, as this will overwrite campaign graphics as well as aircraft hangars and loadscreens.

 

Optional A-6 Mods

These are tweaks to the A-6s themselves, and are here to personalize and enhance your gameplay. Copy the contents these folders to your SF2 “Mod” folder. Order is not important, but some of the mods directly conflict with others and will not work properly if “stacked.” Using conflicting mods requires manual datafile manipulation which is covered in Section 5 (Manually modifying Data INI files). Compatibility issues are noted in each section.

 

6. Restricted Modexes

This mod limits the player-selectable USN modexes (side numbers) to 500-524 (400-524 for experimental green skin, per historical record), and USMC modexes to 00-24. I did this by making adjustments to the TEXTURESET.INI file. This does not appear to affect the modexes selected by the Campaign generator.

This mod has no compatibility issues with the other existing optional mods.

 

7. Pre-TRAM Anti-Collision Light Removal

The original A-6A did not have rotating anti-collision lights, as the first production aircraft pre-dated the FAA mandate for anti-collision lights in controlled airspace. To comply, the Navy and Marine Corps added a tail light (already modeled in the LOD), and for the ventral light they attached a light to the starboard side of the nosegear door. However, the lights were easily removed and pre-TRAM A-6s often flew operationally without them. This mod allows you to remove these anti-collision lights.

This mod should not be used with the A-6AB Flare Dispensers mod or the Robo-BN mod without manually modifying the A-6A_Data.ini and A-6B_Data.ini files.

 

8. A-6AB Flare Dispensers

This mod puts flares on the A-6A and A-6B. Original specifications called for only chaff, but Vietnam late war doctrine often called for the dispenser loadout to be one flare for every two chaff packs (as was documented in Stephen Coont’s Flight of the Intruder). This mod is highly recommended with the SF2E campaigns, as the A-6A would have likely been fitted with flares for a theater with such a heavy CAS role and increased air threat.

This mod cannot be “stacked” with the Pre-TRAM Anti-Collision Light Removal mod or the Robo-BN mod, but requires manual modification of the other mods instead.

 

9. Robo-BN (not for RAZBAM cockpits)

As seen in the Vietnam Air & Ground War Expansion Pack by eburger68 and malibu43, this mod drops the BN in the right seat. This mod requires that the cockpit.ini have the following line in the [CockpitSeat001] section:

OpenCockpit=TRUE

Due to the additional interior cockpit detail of the RAZBAM series of A-6 cockpits, this mod is incompatible with the RAZBAM cockpits. This mod cannot be “stacked” with the Pre-TRAM Anti-Collision Light Removal mod or the A-6AB Flare Dispensers mod.

 

I'm looking at a folder structure like this:

 

1_Common Files for all users
\Objects
\PilotData
\Sounds
2_for SF2V users
\Campaigns
\Objects
3_for SF2NA users
\Campaigns
\Objects
Campaign Mods
\4_SF2 Campaigns for Full Merged Install
\5_SF2E Campaigns for SF2E, SF2V, and SF2NA
Optional Mods
\Restricted Modexes
\Pre-TRAM Anti-Collision Light Removal
\A-6AB Flare Dispensers
\Robo-BN (not for RAZBAM cockpits)
For Widescreen Users

 

BTW, I'm also including a simplified text file for full-5 merged users. It will basically say to install each of the components in order.

 

Or would you prefer that the primary components all be integrated (which shouldn't have adverse effects on non-merged installs, other than wasting HD space)?

 

Please let me know what you think.

Edited by HomeFries

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