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Cipher

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Just now, SeraphimKensai said:

What about the PvP community? Can builds be private? I'd think it be detrimental for someone to inspect a rival's build and then swap toons or builds to counter a particular type of slotting or power selection.

My personal expecation of this would be to have it be "opt in" on a per character basis.  Showing someones builds without their approval would be a no-no.

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4 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What about the PvP community? Can builds be private? I'd think it be detrimental for someone to inspect a rival's build and then swap toons or builds to counter a particular type of slotting or power selection.

 

Otherwise great work.

 

4 hours ago, Caulderone said:

My personal expecation of this would be to have it be "opt in" on a per character basis.  Showing someones builds without their approval would be a no-no.

 

This is correct; you would have to import your build then mark it as public before it becomes searchable.

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Cipher

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10 hours ago, The Philotic Knight said:

*cough*PubliclyAccessibleAPI*cough*

This would solve  lot of issues with fan-made apps, but would such ancient code support this function?

 

Also, please don't give up, Knight! I've seen tonnes (metric) of people show off prototypes and never get around to completing their projects. Cipher's might not go anywhere and then we're all down two projects instead of just one!

 

Having said that, it looks very fancy, but yes viewing and building a character do seem like a hand-in-hand notion to me.

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20 minutes ago, Herotu said:

This would solve  lot of issues with fan-made apps, but would such ancient code support this function?

Yes. Really, "data" in this game is stored in two primary ways - a SQL database, and a bunch of differently formatted flat files. Both sources can be accessed in a standardized way. SQL is already proven, and although there's some exceptions here and there, my project should show that the flat files can also be mined for data in a similar way. Once that data is collected in a relatable way, it can be accessed via an API. Frankly, all an API is is an interface via which programmers can grab and send data in a way that's approved by the people that made that specific API. An API can literally take on just about any form that the creator wishes. 

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If you’re trying to get powers data, bin files are a more reliable way to do it, since the client already has them in order to make the in-game numbers work.

 

Parsing defs requires a bunch of specific knowledge about how they’re used by the game. For example, you need to know what the defaults for every structure field are, since most are optional and the default isn’t always 0. Or how to fill in various things that are determined by context like whether duration, magnitude, or both are resistable/affected by strength buffs, but are encoded into the flags at load time (and persisted in the bin) if the designer doesn’t override it.

 

Since most of that has already been filled out in the bin version, the data there is much more complete and less ambiguous. You have to keep up with it since the format does sometimes change when new features are added, but unless/until something like what Cipher is talking about becomes a reality, they’re probably the most reliable source.

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9 hours ago, Number Six said:

If you’re trying to get powers data, bin files are a more reliable way to do it, since the client already has them in order to make the in-game numbers work.

 

Parsing defs requires a bunch of specific knowledge about how they’re used by the game. For example, you need to know what the defaults for every structure field are, since most are optional and the default isn’t always 0. Or how to fill in various things that are determined by context like whether duration, magnitude, or both are resistable/affected by strength buffs, but are encoded into the flags at load time (and persisted in the bin) if the designer doesn’t override it.

 

Since most of that has already been filled out in the bin version, the data there is much more complete and less ambiguous. You have to keep up with it since the format does sometimes change when new features are added, but unless/until something like what Cipher is talking about becomes a reality, they’re probably the most reliable source.

Is the format of the bin files described somewhere?

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One thing I -will- say regarding feedback; please!  For the love (or hate, whichever suits you better) of all things, Cipher:

Make sure this thing works in all browsers.

 

I mean, I didn't realize that these forums were actually supposed to have a background image until I viewed them on a family member's computer using a browser I don't personally have.  I mean, I'm not complaining; I prefer the background to be pure black, as it renders for me in my current browser.  But . . . yeah.  Please.  Pretty please.  All the cherries that ever were, are, and will be on top:  Use code which will unambiguously render the same way in all browsers.  Please avoid any "short cut" code which only works for certain proprietary brands.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

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3 hours ago, Mikewho said:

Is the format of the bin files described somewhere?

There's the ultimate question. Apparently, CodeWalker from the Titan Network has done this, but while CW has shared SOME code with how they've converted the information into an XML Schema, CW hasn't fully released all of this code, nor explained the logic on how they created their bin dump application. Right now, it's a mystery to us "lesser programmers", and is intimate knowledge to the "greater programmers". And those greater programmers haven't divulged this knowledge in any way that's easy for laymen to understand. I'm not sure what the reason is for this - perhaps a lack of time, more important things to do with their lives, or not having the patience to handhold those that don't have advanced degrees in Computer Science and/or decades of coding experience. Either way, it's frustrating to "newbies" like me that can see the code, but don't quite fully grasp how all of the pieces are working together.

 

For my part, what little I *think* I understand or learn, I'm *TRYING* to share in a way that should be plain and obvious to most people that have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of computer programming, like I've done here with at least a basic description of the powers.def files and how I *think* they work. Of course, even that might be complete humbug, and I might be totally talking out of my ass. This is just the work of one .NET programmer trying to come in from the outside of having no C/C++ knowledge and trying to understand that code in the best way that I can without formal training in the language.

 

When I feel I'm finally able to release my first alpha build of my Build Planner (when it's capable of doing just the BARE basics of what I think a build planner should be able to do), I'll most likely also release along with it a document or web page explaining my logic, knowledge, and how I got to where I got in a narrative form, because "stories" is how I understand and learn things (if you couldn't tell already from the way that I tend to write in whole paragraphs). If those "stories" don't already exist - I try to create them for myself, so that I can better make sense of the world.

Edited by The Philotic Knight
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To make a long story short (too late!), IMO there needs to be a White Paper (or white papers) for the CoH codebase if the community is at all serious about active and open source development. Until that happens, it's not really an active and open source development community - it's a bunch of highly skilled programmers doing their wizardly magic and keeping the secrets of how they do it to themselves. I thought that OuroDev was supposed to BE that repository of white papers, but that hasn't been happening. And I suppose the HC haven't been contributing what they might know due to the NDA and The Negotiations™, which makes sense, but is... frustrating.

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17 minutes ago, The Philotic Knight said:

To make a long story short (too late!), IMO there needs to be a White Paper (or white papers) for the CoH codebase if the community is at all serious about active and open source development.


With the caveat that I haven't seen much of any philosophical nature from any server's dev team... (and am open to linkage and correction)  The whole "active and open source" ideal seems to come from the player community.  It seems to be their desire, not a goal of any server's operators.

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Good point. I guess I was operating under the assumption that the playerbase and the server hosts all wanted the same thing, and had the same goals - but perhaps that's not the case. I hadn't considered that.

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Correct me if I'm reading this wrong, but... I get the impression that @Cipher is just looking to make a web browser of an existing character's build (if the player opts in to publish it, of course), while @The Philotic Knight is looking to make a web browser of a build planner -- like Mid's Reborn.  While the two things might end up looking very similar, they serve two very different purposes.  Or did I totally misread this thread?

 

I'm looking forward to both works, if they ever become available to us mere mortals. 😊

 

@Rathstar

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Energy/Temporal Blaster (50+3) on Excelsior

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@Rathulfr Yeah, they just seem so similar, I mean it's all really just a listing of build elements, the only difference really is that one would be read-only and the other wouldn't. That's really the only difference, so you could see maybe how when I saw what Cipher did, I was concerned that I was working to a goal that'd already been met.

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8 hours ago, The Philotic Knight said:

There's the ultimate question. Apparently, CodeWalker from the Titan Network has done this, but while CW has shared SOME code with how they've converted the information into an XML Schema, CW hasn't fully released all of this code, nor explained the logic on how they created their bin dump application. Right now, it's a mystery to us "lesser programmers", and is intimate knowledge to the "greater programmers".

Yeah that's something that personally bothered me when I was looking back through the history of tools created by the CoH community. It seems everyone wanted to keep their sauce secret. 🙄 As I alluded to in other threads, I'm working through bin parsing myself. It will all be open source and permissively licensed. I even *gasp* comment my code so others can figure it out. The only way the tools get better is if people share instead of keeping their toys to themselves.

Edited by RubyRed
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"We're out of options, I'll have to use the jetpack," I said, strapping on the jetpack and ignoring the many non-jetpack options still left.

Having trouble deciding your next alt? Just need a cool name? Try out City Suggests

Looking for powers data? Try the Powers API

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12 hours ago, VileTerror said:

One thing I -will- say regarding feedback; please!  For the love (or hate, whichever suits you better) of all things, Cipher:

Make sure this thing works in all browsers.

 

I mean, I didn't realize that these forums were actually supposed to have a background image until I viewed them on a family member's computer using a browser I don't personally have.  I mean, I'm not complaining; I prefer the background to be pure black, as it renders for me in my current browser.  But . . . yeah.  Please.  Pretty please.  All the cherries that ever were, are, and will be on top:  Use code which will unambiguously render the same way in all browsers.  Please avoid any "short cut" code which only works for certain proprietary brands.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

What browsers do these forums not work properly on?

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I think for this tool to be more useful would be an upvote system or a ranking system so that those people searching for builds can easily identify which builds are better than others. 

@Vea/@Vae/@Vew - You can call me V.

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9 hours ago, Vea said:

I think for this tool to be more useful would be an upvote system or a ranking system so that those people searching for builds can easily identify which builds are better than others. 

 

Agreed! This is being worked on right now as part of the searching functionality 🙂

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Cipher

Homecoming Team

 

If you need help, please submit a support request here or use /petition in-game.

 

Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master!

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On 2/23/2020 at 6:33 PM, Number Six said:

If you’re trying to get powers data, bin files are a more reliable way to do it, since the client already has them in order to make the in-game numbers work.

This is the approach I've taken for Index Obscurum, I actually felt like it was the easier approach than working with the defs (parsing custom text formats is a pain in the ass).

 

On 2/24/2020 at 8:20 AM, The Philotic Knight said:

To make a long story short (too late!), IMO there needs to be a White Paper (or white papers) for the CoH codebase if the community is at all serious about active and open source development.

Now that I finally stopped being lazy and implemented the last missing feature for being able to parse the powers.bin (100% coverage now!), I intend to write down what I've learned on how to parse the format. I'm not sure if anyone else would be interested in my parser's code, since I don't think anyone else is working with Rust.

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I appreciate the work others have done with the various tools and mods for our amazing game ,  and there is no reason multiple people can not make similar products. I know at least 10 others who are working on online or/ an app versions of a builder too.   Not just those who have posted or mentioned it.

 

Personally though I love the idea of a build bin with a builder as part of it. Having an import function from whats in game would be great but also being able to directly make a build to share would be the best.

 

  I'd also prefer if this was done by Cipher and the Homecoming team for the Homecoming servers because then the data would be correct and could be updated  as changes are made and released ( since most know that when you work on a project you're always waiting on someone else so you have some downtime to do other things )  

Edited by Snow0wl
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2 hours ago, Sif said:

 I'm not sure if anyone else would be interested in my parser's code, since I don't think anyone else is working with Rust.

Actually I find that interesting, I work in Rust as well.

"We're out of options, I'll have to use the jetpack," I said, strapping on the jetpack and ignoring the many non-jetpack options still left.

Having trouble deciding your next alt? Just need a cool name? Try out City Suggests

Looking for powers data? Try the Powers API

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2 hours ago, Sif said:

This is the approach I've taken for Index Obscurum, I actually felt like it was the easier approach than working with the defs (parsing custom text formats is a pain in the ass).

 

Now that I finally stopped being lazy and implemented the last missing feature for being able to parse the powers.bin (100% coverage now!), I intend to write down what I've learned on how to parse the format. I'm not sure if anyone else would be interested in my parser's code, since I don't think anyone else is working with Rust.

Yes, please do share what you found about parsing bin files! 🙂

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