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Spaceempires.net :: SE4 Editor Pro/Con comparison and wishlists :: View topic
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SE4 Editor Pro/Con comparison and wishlists

 
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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:59 am    Post subject: SE4 Editor Pro/Con comparison and wishlists Reply with quote

What are peoples opinions good and bad about existing SE4 editors, and what features would people like to see added that the existing editors do not have?

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ekolis
Virtual Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DavidG's SE4Modder - *Very* useful, you can mod almost anything in the data files, and it's graphical too - only problem (and the reason I don't use it) is that you have to enter all the data values manually - there's no way to use formulas Sad

Krsqk Modder - Very intuitive, though a bit slow (you have to wade through a bunch of screens to create a component family). Lets you use simple formulas, which is usually good enough. Only works on components, though - no facilities - and it doesn't support the latest abilities added in 1.91.

SJ's Tech Gridder - Completely unintuitive (to me at least) - what's this, by default it *overwrites* your template file??? And what are all those goofy fields for? Very powerful, though, if you know what you're doing! Wink

Templatizer (Python version) - This is the one I wrote, so of course it's the one I use Wink Very powerful, especially if you know a little Python, but the error messages if you forget a closing curly brace or something can be a bit hard to follow! Works for components, facilities, mounts, hull sizes, whatever.


That's no space station - it's a spreadsheet!


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Black_Knyght
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Location: Dark side of the Moon

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where would I find these various modders?

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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, do you mind shareing the python code for your editor?

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ekolis
Virtual Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course - it's in the standard templatizer zip file; I haven't done anything silly like compile the Python code Wink
My server seems to be down at the moment, but here's the SEwiki link at least for a bit more documentation... perhaps someone else who uses the templatizer can mirror it?

http://wiki.spaceempires.net/index.php/Templatizer

Note that it's not really an editor, more of a "transform tool" - that is, you still have to use notepad or whatever your favorite text editor is to edit the template files; the templatizer program just reads in the file you create and writes out the final Components.txt or whatever Wink
Remember not to put in the same filename for input and output, though - I haven't tried that yet but if it doesn't give you an error it will probably clear the contents of your file!!! Shocked


That's no space station - it's a spreadsheet!


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Fyron
Galactic Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BK:

Did you check the downloads section? All of the tools, except sadly the templatizer, are available there.

=0=

DavidG's SE4 Modder - Doesn't provide any functionality beyond visual display of data. Copy-paste for the next level or another component in a text editor is very fast, as is ctrl-f to jump directly to specific components. Navigating through the SE4 Modder interface is slow and cumbersome by comparison. Creating components field by field is as well. Combined with the lack of ability to do find/replaces with regular expressions, I find using this tool to be very slow and fairly useless overall for my methods of work. It does not do any work for me, but instead creates extra work through it's abstracted interface to the data.

Any tool you make should do real work for you to make modding easier and more efficient. Visual display has it's role, but it doesn't really make modding easier or faster on its own.

Krsqk Modder - I haven't used it, but I suspect it would be much the same as DavidG's.

SJ's Tech Gridder - Extremely useful way to build up component families. Could have used more in-program help (tooltips?), but is not too hard to figure out if you are good at math. Another issue is that you can't store the formulas used for each family, as they are done on the fly in the interface rather than in a text file that gets parsed. Also does tech grids, but those can become crazy in-game at times. Overall, this tool is useful because it does actual work for the modder.

Personally, I don't find any fields to be goofy, but that might just be because I am an engineer by education. Smile

Templatizer - Haven't used it much, but mostly because it was created after the bulk of my modding work was completed so I didn't have need of it at the time. Seems like it would also be useful though, as it does actual work for the modder. I suspect it has potential to be better than SJ's Tech Gridder by virtue of only needing one base template file for everything and putting the formulas in the template file, rather than separate files that have to be done via a gui.


Smarter than your average Texrak.


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ekolis
Virtual Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, wait, I remembered where you can get a copy of the templatizer... Download the Low Tech Mod from PBW; I think I left it in there Wink It's not the latest version but the only feature I added in the latest version is pretty useless (you can now autogenerate family numbers from strings, woohoo - even more pointless if you want to make scale mounts, as every time you reorder the families the family numbers change so you'd have to modify your mounts as well Rolling Eyes)

That's no space station - it's a spreadsheet!


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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently I almost have the infrastructure in place to read in all the files in the Data directory and then write them back out with the wonderful carriage return - line feed that windows likes. Right now, I may just create a CLI but I would like to eventually have a feature set that is the union of Templatizer and SE4 Modder. Since I am reading in the contents of all the data files into memory I would like to be able to keep the various cross references straight weapon, component, or facility families are renumbered.

When I move towards a GUI layout I will probably post several prototype GUIs to get a feel what users think is most intuitive.


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Fyron
Galactic Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
weapon, component, or facility families are renumbered.

Your program will renumber them on its own?


Smarter than your average Texrak.


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ekolis
Virtual Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only if you call the family-number-generating function in the family field - if you don't use it the program leaves them alone Wink

edit: oops, I thought you were talking about the templatizer Razz


That's no space station - it's a spreadsheet!


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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea would be that if you wanted to condense or reorder the current family namespace, you could, and if you did the program would update all the other related references to that particular family number. This is one of my further down the line goals after basic editing works, since it may require the addition or a lightweight relational DB to be added such as sqllight in order to do the search and changes in a reasonable amount of time if there are a large number of objects to update.

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Fyron
Galactic Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds dangerous. It will break AIs if you don't also edit them (though they only use weapon family numbers in DesignCreation.txt IIRC). Definitely should be an optional feature. Smile

Smarter than your average Texrak.


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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the prerequisites to doing that would be the ability to edit the AI files enough that those references are changed automatically also.

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Kana
Space Emperor


Joined: Jan 15, 2005

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It all sounds great, and a little greek...but keep up the good work...

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SuicideJunkie
Leaky Guru


Joined: May 28, 2005
Location: Canada!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The true SE4 editor is simply Notepad.

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eagle
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While, notpad (or Emacs), are very good for simple editing, they are not quite as good for mas changes to a particular subset or elements. They also lack the ability to see all the component families at once and find simple errors such as typos. Technically it would be possible to make an Emacs script or mode for editing the files, however I think that if you are going that far you might as well go all the way to a GUI, or at least a dedicated CLI tool.

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Black_Knyght
Space Emperor


Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Location: Dark side of the Moon

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a simple and straightforward question - If you're a bluntheaded novice like myself, with no experience at modding beyond tweaking the General AI files, what is the best tool to recommend for a modding attempt?

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Urendi_Maleldil
Space Emperor


Joined: Apr 10, 2005
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DavidG's SE4 Modder - Great for viewing information and making small edits. Large-scale modifications are cumbersome. Mods just about everything except the AI. Loads slowly and has some UI quirks. No support for a few weapon damage types that were added to SE4 after the Modder's last release. Editing Intel Projects doesn't work.

Krsqk Modder - Haven't used it much, but it fills in some of the gaps in DavidG's modder.

SJ's Tech Gridder - Great for creating families of components based on mathematical formulas. Not particularly useful if each component family only has three levels.

Templatizer - Looks very powerful, but it uses python-based scripting. I'm not a programmer, so I haven't even touched this thing. Looks complicated.

Notepad - Great for editing everything. Find and Replace is invaluable. Poor for organizing file entries and component family numbers. No image and sound preview.


Ken vs. The City


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Fyron
Galactic Guru


Joined: Aug 04, 2003
Location: CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Find and Replace is invaluable.

Just wait til you look into some basic regular expressions. Shocked


Smarter than your average Texrak.


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VRider
Space Emperor


Joined: Mar 16, 2005

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to use 1st Page 2000, which is a general HTML editor, (it's free), but what makes it work for me is that you can save any portion of text, say all organic weapons, as MyCode fragments, that you can then move or paste anywhere. Also once you have the code fragment working and saved you do not have to worry about messing it up.

ed


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Dekazingy
Space Emperor


Joined: Nov 16, 2006

PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Never knew about most of this stuff, other than the Tech Gridder (which should really ship with a manual - without directions the average person can't use it). Someone should really sticky this info.

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Wlerin
Space Emperor


Joined: Nov 08, 2008

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hrmm. I'll definitely have to try that templatizer. But wait... is it for SEIV or SEV?

As for a plain old text editor, check out the Scintilla Text Editor (SciTE for short). It is available for all platforms and seems to have a minimal performance impact (especially versus Notepad). The only problem I have with it is that the preferences have to be changed by hand in a text file, rather than through a menu, and the default highlight colour is practically invisible on a laptop screen.

If I ever get around to it I'd like to put together a script (either python or bash) to compile several files into a single data file, i.e. take an include file and then a number of partial components.txt files (divided into different component families to more easily manage each group) referenced in that file, and combine them in the order specified in the include file.

Then again, using templates might remove the need for separate files.

edit: example include files
[components.include]
#include components-header
#include components-defense
#include components-weapons
#include components-small
#include components-movement
#include...

[components-weapons.include]
#include components-weapons-missiles
#include components-weapons-beams
#include components-weapons-organic
#include components-weapons-psychic
#include components-weapons-endgame
#include...

The main problem with such a system is that each component would still have to be created by hand. But perhaps if it were combined with the templatizer... hmmm.


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