(The shell textures aren't that important. People may update them, and they can start working on their shells right now without those anyway)We're pretty much ready [to open the sign ups] the shells are essentially complete, I just need to update the textures.
What I think we really need before we can start the sign ups is:
1) A minimal set of 'rules' so people don't create anything
2) Some technical advices and guidelines so their shells can be integrated easily (naming conventions, export rules etc)
3) A summary of what Ahra Pahts and the shells are and why people should sign up.
4) An updated plan of the city
If anyone think of something else please advise.
A while ago when the project was just starting (february or so) in a couple nights I put together a document that covers most aspects of it, just as an exercise (and for fun as well, I love writing docs). It ended up being over 7 pages long. It is intended for future shell owners so they can get all the needed infos in one document. It covers stuff like: overview of the Age, registration processes, rules of the Age, shell submission process, technical details about shells etc.. Part of it is inaccurate/irrelevant because it was writing either for fun or without restrictions; also it is outdated. Never the less it is a good basis to work from.
It wasn't really meant to be published but if you're curious to read it I put it online here. It might give you ideas and it may fill in some details I may have forgotten here. (It is a Word .doc file; but it can be read with Windows Wordpad if you don't have Word)
Most of what I post here today comes from this document. I tried to make this post as simple and short as possible, but there are a number of questions that IMHO need to be dealt with. At some point (before we start taking sign-ups) these rules should be published 'officially' somewhere else.
I am usually a strong adversary of the whole 'Custom Ages should be reviewed by Cyan' position but here we need to review shells. Because shells aren't stand-alone ages, they are only pages of a larger Age, and if one is poorly done it may not work and it may break the Age. Also, again because they are not isolated ages, we should review content as well (see 'Content' rules bellow).
Shells submission overview
1) Registration - People choose a shell on the plan and register on the forum
2) Shell construction - People build their shell, and when it is ready it is send to the person in charge here.
3) Submission & approval - Someone in charge reviews the shell, and if it is approved it is queued for the next Age update
4) Age Update - Age is updated, new/updated shells are put online.
Who gets to centralize all this and review the shells? (Several people?)
So we can get the shells, do we have a server to host the shells for review before they are put on the actual data server? Or do people have to host them themselves? Or do they send them to us by mail?
Should the Age be updated each time a new shell comes in (or when one is updated) or periodically ?(weekly maybe) IMHO it would be easier to do so periodically, because if we have daily updates we might not be able to keep up. Also knowing in advance when the Age is gonna be updated is nice: more people come to see what's new and it creates anticipation.
I - General Rules
Content: No assets (objects/textures etc) taken from other Ages unless written permission is given. Obviously, no offensive content, adult material etc. Also shells should be kept 'IC'. (Don't build a Mc Donald...)
(IMHO these should be 'absolute' rules.)
Dimensions & Walls: While we should allow people to modify the outside walls of the shell it must stay within the limits of the original walls. Else it could go over the street or go away from the street and there would be holes in the ground between the shell & the street. (Also they must not go over the neighboor shells). There must be a maximum height to the shell but how high? (However I see don't why we should limit people who want to dig underground.)
Polygons & texture limits: this an ongoing concern of mine; performance. Should we limit the number of polygons people can use? So that things don't go crazy and we don't get the awful "Ae'gura lag"..
Kickables: I don't think the subject has been raised, but should we allow kickables? It would bring some life and some activities in the city. One possible problem I see is: if someone loses a kickable because of a bug how could we bring it back?
II - Technical Rules
Naming conventions: all objects names must begin with the shell number. And all objects must be assigned to the shell page. If you use some python coding all your variable must be named with [something I forgot, argh]
Objects positions: all objects in the blender file are at a precise location in space, offset from the world origin, this is the position of the shell in the Age. This must not be changed or the shell may appear at a different position in the city...
Exporting: In the alcconfig.py file the â€˜export texture to page Prpâ€™ option must be enabled so that textures are exported inside the Prp shell and not in some other Prp file. Then the shell can be exported as any Age, with the â€˜Generate Releaseâ€™ setting. (A custom .age file will be given with each shell so that it can be exported)
III - Submission
Once a shell has been successfully exported the owner must send:
- The Prp file with all the textures inside and compiled with the 'Generate release' setting (so that the file is smaller)
- The Python PAK file if there is one
- The Blender file? So we can check everything in an easier & faster way.
Finally, I put an updated plan of the city with shell numbers here.
Critics, comments, and debates are welcome.