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Platform Editor 2022 ideas


TonyE
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We have two main database authors, CV32 and Divefreak who have led two streams of platform database curating for public consumption.  As you can see from this sub-forum's threads, neither of those masters are active presently which severely limits the attractiveness of the game to scenario authors.  For many, if they can't put the latest platforms in a scenario, they will turn to a different simulation.  

 

Being inclined toward writing code I tend to try to solve with technology, in this case writing a new Platform Editor (PE) and the littany of associated changes to the other game components.

Benefits:

1. Make the number of entries in the database nearly limitless, up from roughly 4096 per annex today.  This 4096 limit, despite being doubled from 2048 is a limit that has been reached in the newer databases.

2. Eliminate dependency on Microsoft Access which few people have and despite free MS Access Runtime being available, installation of it is fraught with difficulties (mismatched Office versions breaking other apps, Access not working, etc.).

3. Allow additional fields and features.  Think finally being able to associate URLs to photos, articles, videos to a platform's record.

4. Allow more collaborative editing with attribution.  User 1 creates a platform, User 2 makes it faster, User 3 gives it more damage points.  The scenario author could choose any of the 3 versions of the platform and you could track back to see the platform's editing lineage.  Lots of questions and potential complexity here if an author wants to share a platform for use but not allow further modification and other similar use-cases. 

 

Challenges:

1. Would want to start with a web-based editor for simplicity meaning the website would have to be alive and working for database editing.  The exported database could still be distributed as a file so would not be lost to websites crumbling.  We would also use an open format (JSON, XML, ...) where someone could more easily write another editor as compared to the current binary format.

2. Not a small undertaking, other flashier changes would be put on hold for let's say much of 2022.

3. We'd need a authentication provider.  It is easy enough to use the forum software here but worth a discussion if people would prefer using a different identity provider (Google, Facebook, etc.)

 

Thoughts?  What additional information do you need in order to formulate thoughts?

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4 hours ago, eeustice said:

Tony,

I had a thought as I was reading your post.

How feasible would it be to use LibreOffice for the Platform Editor.

It is compatible with both Microsoft and Linux and it's free to everyone.

Eric

Thoughts are good, keep 'em coming.  To use LibreOffice would require a re-write of the platform editor anyway and would not have the collaborative editing features so I don't view it as a leading option.  

It does prompt the thought of the power of GoogleDocs, Office 365 collaborative editing, etc. to consider a spreadsheet solution rather than a full development effort.  That raises the barrier to entry for successfully editing the database but would decrease development effort.

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I've not idea on programs, but as I usually keep updated for my personal use the previous DBs, if you provide me with a adequate tool with infinite and indefinite possible new entries I don't see great problem in create and keep update a DB with my personal values (in fact my month long interval between scenarios is because I'm researching and updating every platform present in the scenario. As example my Word files with weapons and other generic data is 296 pages long, and that of radars 99 pages long, to mention only two).

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Also, in the current world the number of platforms and system is probably reduced the last 10 years, and easier to start the DB (I only hate to change the values from one to other when we reach the entries number limits!). Also, I hope to be retired in 14 months (crossing fingers!) and to have more spare time.

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15 hours ago, broncepulido said:

Also, in the current world the number of platforms and system is probably reduced the last 10 years, and easier to start the DB (I only hate to change the values from one to other when we reach the entries number limits!). Also, I hope to be retired in 14 months (crossing fingers!) and to have more spare time.

Oh, I'm looking forward to more spare time on your part!  That sounds like a good timeline as well for a better platform editor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What logins would you be willing to use to identify you to the database editor?

  1. HarpGamer forum
  2. Google account
  3. Facebook account
  4. Wordpress account
  5. Microsoft account
  6. ???
  7. How dare you try to associate my database edits with me as a real person?

I happen to have all of the above types of account.  Neither of my top two choices are in the list above.  First would be one of the big name identity providers like PingId, Okta, Auth0.  However, they are expensive except for a limited free plan from Auth0.  My second choice would be a free solution such as a containerized implementation of LDAP + OIDC.  However, I haven't identified a mature and well-maintained solution in that space.

 

Desires:

  • An approach that can stand the test of time.  This is a 30+ year old game.  The lifetime of Internet properties is much shorter without significant investment.  
  • Something users will use.  I doubt we'll get many Millenials using Facebook accounts.
  • Wider integration, seamless sign on would be great with other properties (like multiplayer HC someday, right?)
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23 hours ago, TonyE said:

What logins would you be willing to use to identify you to the database editor?

Thank you for your input, I hope more will answer.  Now can I work up a proof of concept showing a "hello world" screen of a new editor leveraging your HarpGamer logons to show at the Friday Zoom meeting?  That's the goal!

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As I have said many times, probably ad nauseum, the only true reward of writing DB content is if others are going to write and (more importantly) share scenarios they have created using the DB.

Some scenario creators, like Enrique in particular, have been stalwart in producing new scenario content.

Otherwise HCE is largely absent of new scenario content.

A DB platform editor that removes the annex limits would be truly excellent, but again it is lost effort if the scenario content does not follow.

I am looking forward to attending the Zoom meeting this evening.

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On 11/12/2021 at 6:49 AM, CV32 said:

A DB platform editor that removes the annex limits would be truly excellent, but again it is lost effort if the scenario content does not follow.

Agreed.  I choose not to give up and instead help build a platform editor that encourages newer platforms that lead to additional scenarios.  It is a reprioritization from saying an easy to use game launcher is most important to saying a platform editor is most important.  A 'modern' platform editor won't solve the problem, there has to be a vibrant community around the game which doesn't exist right now.  People are out there and someone inevitably needs to rebuild the community for any tools to be put to use.  I have the desire but not enough time to rebuild a community and build tools.  Maybe someday I will but not right now.

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On 11/16/2021 at 9:41 AM, TonyE said:

Agreed.  I choose not to give up and instead help build a platform editor that encourages newer platforms that lead to additional scenarios.  It is a reprioritization from saying an easy to use game launcher is most important to saying a platform editor is most important.  A 'modern' platform editor won't solve the problem, there has to be a vibrant community around the game which doesn't exist right now.  People are out there and someone inevitably needs to rebuild the community for any tools to be put to use.  I have the desire but not enough time to rebuild a community and build tools.  Maybe someday I will but not right now.

If I can beat my Scenedit into submission I plan to start writing some scenarios. Having said that, someone will have to a) point me to the latest/most used Db and b) show this hammer swinging old yardbird how to install the new Db without breaking everything. I do have time and a vicious imagination :)

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