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DCoder's Coding Realm

Home of DCoder's various tools and editors.

Author: DCoder Forums: Link

Ares

The official home of all Syringe/YR++/Ares development.

Author: DCoder et al Forums: Link

Marshallx Industries

Be it Launch Base, the UMP or Purple Alert, Marshall's developments can be found here.

Author: Marshall Forums: Link

 YR Modding/Resources Give Away
Posted by: Marshall - Sun, 2013 May 05 - Comments: 3 | Views: 616
avatar Sorry this has been a long time coming,

Archives of my various abandoned YR projects and any modding resources I collected over the years (either resources that I made myself or third party stuff that is (in some cases) quite hard to find on the Internet)

Development version of Purple Alert 8 (mod).
Never quite got around to finishing this but there was a lot of awesome new stuff in it. Feel free to develop it further!
http://marshall.strategy-x.com/yr_resources/YR_Dev_purple.7z

Development version of UMP
Some more fixes were coming. This contains the LB mod and the files for the Developer's Pack.
http://marshall.strategy-x.com/yr_resources/YR_Dev_ump.7z

Behind the scenes video of Yuri's Revenge cutscenes mainly featuring Kari Wuhrer.
http://marshall.strategy-x.com/yr_resources/YR_KARIFILM.7z

General Modding Resources, including graphics, sound, code, notes and more. You may have to figure out original owners and what usage rights are implied.
http://marshall.strategy-x.com/yr_resources/YR_ModdingResources.7z

All the development files (including work in progress graphics, sound, code and notes) for my Yuri's Revenge UFO Enemy Unknown total conversion.
http://marshall.strategy-x.com/yr_resources/YR_UFO_DevResources.7z

Enjoy! And I'd love to hear of anything you make using this stuff.

Live long and prosper,
Marshall
Posted in: Marshallx Industries News  
 Bowing out
Posted by: Marshall - Sun, 2012 Oct 28 - Comments: 6 | Views: 1170
avatar Good evening everybody.

Most of you will have noticed my severe absence over the past many months. Some of you might not even have heard of me!

Clearly real life has taken over and I must stop kidding myself about the liklihood of my various projects getting released. So many amazing ideas started and never enough time to finish them.

As such I must officially recognise that I am not an active part of the C&C community any more. I'll still duck in from time to time to see how everything is going 'cause this was a good community that I am proud to have been a part of. The culmination of Ares was just so much awesome, sadly I fear it came too late in Yuri's life, certainly in mine!

I know I promised a few people a Purple Alert 8 and I still intend to release the work in progress version as soon as I can. In addition, my complete collection of resources and notes for planned RA2/YR projects and ideas will be made freely available for whoever wants it.
The source code for Launch Base is already available online thanks to Renegade and I am hopeful that he will be happy to host my works for as long as people want them.

Once again, getting this stuff online and tidying the website for that purpose will take a bit more of that precious commodity, however I have some time off in a few weeks so hopefully it won't be too long a wait.

Thank you all again for being so unbelievably awesome. I pretty much owe my career to Renegade Projects.

If anyone has any questions for me or requests for knowledge from my archive then please don't hesitate to post here or send me a PM for a quicker reply.
Posted in: Marshallx Industries News  
 New Construction Options: Ares 0.2 RC 1 is now live
Posted by: Nighthawk - Sat, 2012 Jul 14 - Comments: 0 | Views: 741
avatar Good evening, everyone.
Slowly, Ares has been lumbering forward. While the number of active testers is nowhere near what we'd like, and we're still missing an official documentation maintainer, progress has been made.

We've now reached the stage whereby we can officially release something with "0.2" in the name. Please note: This is not the final version of 0.2, and simply calling it "Ares 0.2" is incorrect.

What we're releasing is the first Release Candidate of Ares 0.2. For any of you unfamiliar with the software development process, a release candidate is pretty much what the name implies - a version which is deemed complete enough that it could be called a "candidate" for the final release, but it may still contain unreported bugs that a final version naturally shouldn't have.

If up until now you've only been working with 0.1P1 (the last officially stable release), then you'll (hopefully) be pleased to know that this version contains hundreds of new additions, improvements and bugfixes over version 0.1P1. I could list them all, but we have a manual for that.

And of course, you'll be needing a download link:
Download 0.2RC1

If no bugs are reported, then this may well become the final version of Ares 0.2 in the future. However, nobody likes a buggy product. If you encounter any bugs while using this, please report them as normal using the tracker on LaunchPad.

Additionally, although it's a publicly-announced release, and although it's got "0.2" in the name, this is still officially an unstable version. As such, all previous warnings relating to unstable versions still apply.

Thank you for your continued patience throughout Ares' development. We're getting there.

Nighthawk.
Project Manager.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  
 The Technology of Peace
Posted by: Renegade - Mon, 2012 Jan 02 - Comments: 8 | Views: 3302
avatar Some of you may have noticed a few oddities in Ares and its related technologies in the past few weeks...a bright new message in certain builds of the game, read-only version control, and the bug tracker went down.

These were the heralds of a few of the deepest changes in Ares's development- and community structure so far, a set of changes I will explain today.

Are you unstable?
Our decision to closely guard the testing builds from the public eye has probably been our most criticized; while our reasoning has not changed, it is undeniable that, no matter our good intentions, the community simply refuses to accept the system.
We stand before two choices: Continuing as before, in the hopes that the desire for a new stable release will bring about more testers to finally release Ares as stable as it needs to be, or changing our approach, to see if a new way of doing things will be more successful than the old one.

Looking at these options, an oft-cited quote from our beloved Internets comes to mind:
Quote
Insanity: Repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting different results.


To put it bluntly, if the reasonable approach were compatible with the community, it would have worked by now. Instead, we're pretty much a year late with Ares 0.2.

Therefore, we have decided to change our handling of unstable builds.
If you have been playing with r1168 or newer, you will already have noticed a not-so-subtle message in the corner of your screen, clearly marking your version as unstable. Since this message ensures any and all players understand the stability rating of the version they're playing and cannot possibly (credibly) claim to have been confused about what they're dealing with, from now on, we accept the publication and usage of unstable builds by the general community.
We still maintain that both common players as well as normal releases of mods should stick to the stable versions, but if someone decides unstable is good enough for them, so be it.

Henceforth, unstable builds will be propagated both through Launch Base as well as http://ares.strategy-x.com/unstable/.
The latter location is currently in a "bare metal" state and will be upgraded in the future to include information about the branches the downloads belong to.

Neutral grounds
Another obstacle in Ares's community interaction is that people often equate Ares as a product and project with RenegadeProjects, and thus project their personal feelings regarding our quiet community and its members on Ares and its (distinct) community. This is a historically grown association, since we have been hosting Ares and its predecessors ever since DeeZire's moronic moderators tried to kill RockPatch in the womb, but nevertheless untrue and not helpful.
As a reaction, we have been working hard to move all things related to Ares development away from RenProj onto neutral grounds.

Of the many choices available to us, we have settled for LaunchPad and GitHub.
If you are not familiar with LaunchPad, it is a hosting platform for open source projects, offering everything a project needs to manage itself and its code and to interact with its community:

Bug reports
Bug reports will go through Ares's bug tracker at LaunchPad from now on. Compared to our previous software, it is vastly simpler to use for end users and far better documented.

The bug reports of the old bug tracker have been moved and are available as before. If you were monitoring a bug, that subscription has also been transferred.

Feature requests
Feature requests go wherever the hell you want.
LaunchPad has an awesome facility called "Blueprints", which are essentially static linking points for documents hosted elsewhere.
In essence, you can work out the details of your feature wherever you want - a thread at PPM, for example -, and when you're done, you simply register a blueprint for Ares.
If you'd like to move your feature description, to a wiki, for example, you can simply update the target of the blueprint.

That way, we have a static element we can work with in the system, there is a static link for your feature request you can spread (in the likes of https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ares/+spec/acid-frogs-of-doom), but you can still develop your feature in your own time, in your own crowd, using your own tools.

Feature requests of the old tracker have been moved to the new bug tracker for reasons of simplicity, but using the bug tracker for feature requests is explicitly discouraged. While the old software, as an "issue tracker", was well-equipped to deal with feature requests, the new tracker is narrowly focused on being a bug tracker, and LaunchPad is geared towards Blueprints for feature development.

To underline this point, all imported (and properly filed) feature requests have been converted to blueprints with associated wiki pages. The blueprints are associated with their respective imported bug, so you can both find the original report through the blueprint as well as the blueprint through the report (right-hand side, box "Related Blueprints").

This also means if you're having a hard time finding your feature request through the search, you can go the path of old tracker → new tracker → blueprint.
Though that really shouldn't be necessary. The search is pretty good.

Answers
LaunchPad's "Answers" section is kind of like a forum crossed with an FAQ section. If you want to ask a question about Ares or find the answer to something not in the manual, this will be the place to go.

In addition, frequently asked questions as well as important answers will be available through the FAQ section it provides.

Code & Contribution
Through our move from our local Subversion repository to a git repository on GitHub, contributing to Ares has become a whole lot easier.
Anyone can fork the project, fix an issue or implement a feature and request a pull of the code, or make his own fork available to the community.

Even if you're not a C++-coder, you can do the same to help with the manual, which has been rewritten to be almost code-free. You don't need to be a coder to help with the manual anymore.


Most importantly, however, all of this happens away from RenProj. Unless you specifically want to visit our forums to discuss the finer details of Ares development or use it to start a blueprint, there is no need for you to visit our evil lair innocent little meadow anymore.

The Manual
As mentioned above, there's been some work to the manual, both to make it easier for non-coders to contribute as well as to make it easier to use for modders.
In the future, the authoritative manual will reside at http://ares.strategy-x.com/documentation/. When in doubt, that manual shall be regarded as correct, and if it's incorrect, that's a bug.

The new manual has three major advantages over the previous one:
  1. Pages.
    While the original manual was appropriate for Ares 0.1, 0.2 is significantly bigger and the documentation has evolved a lot since then, making the one-page & no pre-links design cumbersome to work with and a pain to load.
    The new manual has one page for each topic, in a clear, hierarchical structure, and all items can be linked to: e.g. http://ares.strategy-x.com/documentation...ced-rubble
  2. Separation of content and output.
    Apart from individual text markup like text links or boldness, the actual manual content is completely independent from its output, allowing us not only to update the manual's design without touching the content, but also to export the manual into a variety of other formats - depending on the results of future tests, we might, for example, provide a PDF version of the manual with the release packages, instead of the whole hundred-file HTML folder.
  3. Easy code.
    From now on, manual content is no longer in HTML, but in reStructured Text (reST), making it a lot easier for non-coders to jump in and help. Add to that the fact that all topics are in separate files and that the manual has its own, independent repository, and manual changes are something anyone can do.

At this moment, the manual is still in an intermediate state, where the data is converted and imported, but not cleaned up yet. It should be usable, but it hasn't reached its full potential yet.

We will provide a complete guide to editing the manual in the already-mentioned FAQ section soon.

LaunchBase
LaunchBase will be better.
Busy with real life, Marshall was awesome enough to release LaunchBase's source under the General Public License, allowing us to patch LB on our own.
Currently, due to the big, structural changes we made, LaunchBase-Ares interconnection is broken, but we will correct this as soon as we can, and throw in a little tidbit as well.

Ares 0.2
We are still hoping to release Ares 0.2 in the very near future; in order to facilitate the stability testing of the current state, we are providing a number of testing branches that merge different combinations of the remaining feature branches, including one Fat Man branch, which will include all designated 0.2 feature branches merged into trunk (i.e. it will be an unstable version of what Ares 0.2 will be).

This, combined with liberal spreading of those unstable releases, will hopefully generate enough feedback to find the remaining showstoppers and release Ares 0.2.

You can find the "Fat Man" branch binaries here.
You can find the testing criteria for the actual testing branches here, though binaries aren't available for all branches as of the time of posting. These will be generated as code is updated.

Remember: The more you test, the quicker we can release.

Adapting & The Future
We realize that basically changing everything at once can be a tad confusing for the community, but we are confident that LaunchPad's facilities are easy enough for everyone to adapt quickly.

Through these changes, basically everything a normal player or modder needs is concentrated under https://launchpad.net/ares - downloads of the stable version, bug reporting, feature requesting and questions & answers. Once the current form of the manual is uploaded with the 0.2 package, a user of the stable version generally shouldn't need to visit any page other than Ares at LaunchPad.
All code is concentrated under https://github.com/Ares-Developers, and the last few outliers like bleeding-edge binaries and manual are all children of http://ares.strategy-x.com/.
In other words: Even if you want to use the very latest Ares binaries and documentation, browse all code related to Ares, report bugs, submit feature requests, read important information and discuss implementation intricacies with other Ares users, you still won't need more than three entry points at max.

Out of these three entry points, two are on independent servers managed by large-scale corporations, so even if disaster strikes and STX goes down, code, downloads, bugtracker, blueprints, FAQ and Q&A will all still be available.

Each facility is more feature-rich and easier to use than the one before, improving the user experience dramatically.

All in all, interaction with Ares as a project and with its individual aspects should be better and easier for everyone.

As for the future of the project as a whole, three months of break do help to quiet the mind, so we're not going to make predictions who will work on Ares's code in what capacity after 0.2. We can report, however, that GraionDilach has shown himself quite capable of modifying and releasing Ares on his own, so even after a mass exodus of coders, there should be enough coding prowess left to carry Ares to the next generation of coders.

And ultimately, Ares is open source, and can now be forked with the click of a button. It cannot be killed anyway.

So fear not for the future of Ares, enjoy the unstable builds, and report test results god dammit.



Epilogue
In case you were wondering: The original draft of this post was saved November 6th, 2011, and was always designed to go up after all aspects of it were deemed release-worthy. The fact that it's going up now is related to the fact that the holidays are over and we had time to code, not the recent outbreak of armchair project management on the forums.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  
 Where the Wild Downloads Grow
Posted by: Renegade - Wed, 2011 Sep 21 - Comments: 11 | Views: 4092
avatar
Note: This document has been partially superseded by the announcements of The Technology of Peace.
In particular:
  • Ares has been modified to show a very clear disclaimer in unstable builds, making additional marking of unstable builds as unstable unnecessary.
  • We accept the publication and usage of unstable builds by the general community.

Remember, however, that using unstable builds for general gameplay and distribution is unwise, and that you are still bound by the license.






We have expressed the sentiments of this announcement numerous times over the past few years, but since some people still seem to be unclear about them, I will explain this once more as officially and clearly as possible:
The only supported Ares versions for end-users are the publicly released stable versions.

  • Any version that is not one of the publicly released stable versions is a testing version and only meant for testers.
  • Anyone who is using a testing version despite not being a tester is not entitled to any support from us. If you're not a tester, you weren't supposed to use the testing version in the first place.
  • Testing versions are not released or marked as stable versions because they're not fucking stable. Any particular testing version could unexpectedly and randomly be utterly broken and unplayable. They can be unstable, subtly flawed, features can randomly be broken, they can be slow due to excessive debugging code, or can be built for a very specific purpose only the testers know about. Using testing versions without being a tester is an invitation of trouble and frustration and nothing else.
  • Testing versions can be outdated rapidly. In a development cycle, it's entirely possible there are multiple new versions per hour, each one fixing issues that existed in the one before, or introducing new issues. Picking one at random is akin to Russian roulette. Just because a build is the latest version released doesn't mean it's the most stable build of the past 24 hours. Educate yourself before picking an unstable version.

I will repeat this once more, since certain elements in this community are famous for their dimwittedness and nothing else:
Any version that is not a stable version of Ares is inherently unstable.
If you use a testing version of Ares and complain about any of its properties, specifically in regards to bug counts, stability or feature completeness, you're a fucking moron. Period.

We do not support end users using the testing versions of Ares. We didn't lock them away so far because there wasn't much of a reason to, but if it comes to a point were wide-spread use of testing versions creates problems of any kind for us, we have absolutely no issue with preventing testing versions to work for anyone but testers.

As we have discussed just recently, the community had chance enough to join the testing crew and get the testing versions in advance, it had no interest in that, so it shouldn't turn around now and try to obtain the testing builds.

If you figure out where the testing builds are, good for you.
If you know how to get them, shut the fuck up. They're not for public consumption.


On the related topic of distributing mods with Ares, the following can be said:
  • In any situation, adhere to the license. To put this simply, your right to redistribute Ares is founded on your acceptance and adherence to the license it is under - if you violate the license, you don't have the right to distribute Ares, legal or otherwise. Before you redistribute Ares with anything, read the goddamn license and act accordingly. It's right there in every release, so don't pretend you didn't know.
  • If you're distributing a stable version:
    • Always make sure your Ares is up to date. We only support the latest public release, and if anyone with an outdated version asks for support, our first and only suggestion will be to update to the latest stable release. Patches exist for a reason, we don't release them for fun. If you're distributing your mod with an outdated version and/or your mod is incompatible with the latest version, you're risking support troubles and you're risking broken games.
    • If you or your users uncover Ares issues, report them to the bugtracker.
    • Make sure you deliver Ares cleanly. Do not distribute a virus-infected Ares.
      (Sidenote: Since a virus modifies the Ares binary, and you would not mark Ares as modified in accordance to the license, you would technically commit software piracy by distributing a virus-infected version of Ares. Just sayin'.)

  • If you're distributing an unstable version:
    • First of all, you're stupid. Plain and simple. Releasing your mod based on and with software that has officially not been deemed stable is in no way smart.
    • If you're doing it anyway, we expect the following disclaimer in very clear view in an unmissable place:
      Ares Testing Version Disclaimer Wrote
      The version of Ares distributed with this mod is an unstable testing version not meant for public consumption. The Ares developers do not support the usage or distribution of testing versions with public mods. This version of Ares has a certain likelihood of being broken in various ways, including, but not limited to:
      * frequent Internal Errors
      * broken features
      * incomplete features
      * frequent Reconnection Errors in multiplayer
      * broken stock functionality
      * degraded performance due to debugging code

      We, the authors of this mod, consider this version of Ares stable enough for general distribution, but we are required to stress that the Ares developers disagree and do not support this move.

    • Do not dare blaming us for your mistakes. Should it turn out that you distributed the wrong version and your mod's players are angry, don't you fucking dare blaming Ares - it was your stupid decision to include a broken testing version with your mod. We told you it was a stupid decision in the first place. It's your stupid mistake, and it's on you to take the blame.
    • Do not advertise the inclusion of Ares any more than required by the license. Do not go forward and boast about all the awesome additions made possible by new and not-yet-publicly-released Ares features. If you want to include a testing build, do it quietly. (Except for the loud disclaimer, obviously.)
    • Choose. fucking. wisely. As said above: Just because something is the latest build available doesn't mean it's the most stable build available. The latest version could introduce horrible bugs or even intentionally be only half-finished. If you must include a testing version, make an educated choice which build to include, and make note of known issues with that version.



tl;dr: Don't use testing versions unless you're a tester. If you know how to get the testing versions, stfu about it. If you distribute testing versions with your mod, accept the consequences.


This post is a living document and may be modified and amended at a later point in time.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  
 Termination of Inactive Testers Strategem
Posted by: Nighthawk - Thu, 2011 Sep 08 - Comments: 17 | Views: 5972
avatar Greetings, everyone.
This is the point where I have to put on my purging gloves.

Following the decision last week to put Ares on a three month break due to a lack of testing activity all across the board, I am now carrying out a complete personnel review of the entire testing group.

Straight away, I can tell you that seven testers (AlliedG, Apollo, Black Shadow 750, Darkstorm, Gangster, sanedisruption and ZombyDragon) have been instantly cut from the list due to serial inactivity. One other tester has also willingly resigned due to inactivity.

The remaining twenty-one testers will all have their activity and willingness to continue testing personally confirmed by myself over the next two weeks.

Do not panic. Here's what you should do.

If you are a tester and wish to continue testing: When I PM you, tell me of this, and ensure that you once again be active in testing Ares. Otherwise you will be dropped.

If you are a tester and do not wish to continue testing: Let me know, and I will remove you from the list. Otherwise, you'll just be dropped at a later point for inactivity anyway.

If you are not a tester: Ares is on a three month development break, therefore version 0.2 will not be released before December. And even then, a release afterwards will be dependent on an increase in testing activity, unless you would rather have a return to the buggy times of NarfPatch.

If you would like to help: Active and dedicated testers are a necessity if 0.2 is to be released. We also have some other PR-related positions still open. If you have the time to spare, and know what you're doing, PM me.

The future of Ares (if there is to be any future at all), is contingent on fixing these problems. It is, as the old cliché says, in your hands.

Nighthawk.
Project Manager.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  
 The few...the proud...the MOs [aka. Ares development on hold]
Posted by: Renegade - Thu, 2011 Sep 01 - Comments: 11 | Views: 4325
avatar Let's start this thread with something positive: Ever since my announcement of a potential break, Graion Dilach, Speeder and a few others from the Mental Omega camp have been trying their best to help, test and overall support us as much as they could with their own development.

Unfortunately (but not entirely unexpectedly), that's about the only testing activity we got. And while we value our fellow MO users' help and participation, we cannot rely on them alone to be responsible for the thorough testing of the products of half a dozen merges and the RCs.

Since this lack of testing power means we are likely looking at several additional months of development, we will take this opportune moment in development to take a break from it all, to relax and recharge for the final run.

Official Ares development will resume on December 1st.




On a personal note, I would also like to say that this outcome has cemented my impression that the community at large does not care about Ares, and that the time and work required by it are better invested elsewhere.

I know there is a handful of people that does care, and I am sorry they have to suffer from the majority's apathy, but I'm sure they, too, seeing situations like this, understand the feeling of pointlessness one can get from Ares development.

I cannot and will not speak for the others, but, personally, I will focus on other projects after 0.2 is released.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  
 Upcoming Server Move
Posted by: Renegade - Sat, 2011 Aug 27 - Comments: 10 | Views: 4858
avatar Since last night's maintenance didn't exactly go satisfactorily, I have ordered a server with the upgrades already in place, and we'll be moving to that server ASAP, probably on this weekend. (I already have the login data.)

In the ideal case, users will not be affected save for a few lock-down measures right before it happens.
Posted in: Propaganda Tower  
 Scheduled Maintenance
Posted by: Renegade - Fri, 2011 Aug 26 - Comments: 1 | Views: 1710
avatar Sorry for the short notice, but our server will be undergoing some maintenance at 20:30 CEST, that is, in 23 minutes.

This is a routine upgrade that I expect to go automatically and painlessly, but even in that case, there will be a server reboot and the associated few minutes of downtime.

Should shit happen, this will take longer. Grise mine
Posted in: Propaganda Tower  
 As Time Goes By
Posted by: Renegade - Tue, 2011 Aug 16 - Comments: 6 | Views: 2743
avatar Blablabla inactive testers blabla delayed release blablabla...

There's really no point in posting the same text yet another time, so I'll skip the obvious part and go straight to the message: Five months ago, I talked about the inevitable fatigue of eternally walking the soon-to-be-released-treadmill. I have made clear that we need a break from working on Ares "full-time", and I even went as far as planning to have that break be over by July.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Development keeps dragging on and on, and Ares- and inactive-tester-fatigue keeps building up. We have tried our best. We have cut down on features, we have stabilized what we could, we made clear what kind of tests and what information we need to push forward with Ares 0.2.

And yet, here we are again.

In the exact same spot, stalled by the exact same people, reliving the exact same scenario.
We're tired of it.

Therefore, we have come to a decision: If we don't have very clear indicators that the crew of testers is active and will stay active enough to facilitate a release within the foreseeable future by August 31st, 2011, we will begin a three month development break on September 1st.

In other words: You can either get off your ass and help us release Ares by fall, or you can wait until winter.
We have tried often enough, and we're simply done being trapped in 0.2 development because every time we're trying to go for a release, the testers walk away.

If we don't get reasonable, sustainable testing activity by August 31st, Ares development will be on hold until December 1st.
Posted in: News from the Battlefield  

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