It seems that the quality of readme.txt files has become quite bad. Sometimes a zipped map file doesn’t even contain one!
Dougjp recently sent me an email which discusses the read me files in map downloads. He’s a quote:
“This was brought to light recently with a HL2 map which could not be played based on all common sense guessing…. This is based on the fact that once a map or mod is released to the public, all recipients are not mappers ;)”
I agree with him, sometimes it can be really difficult to work out what to do with a file/folder once you have downloaded it, especially if you are new to gaming!
As you can imagine I’ve downloaded a LOT of maps and mods, and the quality of readme.txt files varies from almost useless to fantastic. I remember there used to be a template available but lately I haven’t seen any read mes based on it.
I propose that we create a new template. Below is my starting draft of headings. After a little discussion I will create a text file and make it available for download, but to be honest it isn’t exactly hard to create a fresh one from the list! Anyway, here my starting list:
- File Version:
- Released Date:
- Game Version:
- Author Website:
- Author Email:
- Installation Instructions:
- Load/Run Instructions:
- Difficulty Settings:
- Known Bugs:
- Development Notes: (Compile timne etc)
- Previous File Versions:
- Beta Testers:
- Other Maps by the Author:
- E.U.L.A. (Permissions etc)
- Disclaimer – Should this be part of the E.U.L.A.?
- Final Notes:
When I received Dougjp’s email it also made me think about how it would be useful if filenames were standardized. I don’t want to limit creativity, just make it easier for people like you and me to know what we are downloading!
There was a time when I used to download Unreal Tournament files, not just SP maps but all gametypes. Often then would have prefixes that made it clear what type of map you were downloading. Things like DM-house.zip, CTF-house.zip and AS-house.zip.
I don’t see why that couldn’t be extended to all games? Of course this would require a community effort and agreement, which is probably almost impossible. If a few of the big sites got together and a agreed a format (After consultation with the community!) then everybody would benefit.
I propose we start the process now. Being the Know it all, here are a few ideas! I suggest that the name starts with a three or four letter code for the game. Something like:
HL2, followed by a hyphen. Next comes the gametype, again with an agreed code, another hyphen then the map/mod name (limited to 10 characters) and another hyphen. Then comes the version: 1.1, hyphen, next the language: eng. hyphen once more and lastly the date released, using three letters for the date to avoid confusion!
Here’s an example:
Not exactly the shortest filename but probably more useful than some of the crappy readme.txt files that I’ve seen!
What are your thoughts?
Thanks to Dougjp for the post idea.