DevBlog: Custom Content Nexus

ioncore

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Hi,

There're some interesting features in development and a lot of plans for Command Ops in 2017. As soon as these will become shaped enough to see what they will be like, they might appear in our dev blog posts. Thus we could get your feedback and change/fix/improve stuff before the final release. Here's the first one.

While Command Ops offers a set of advanced editors, there's not so much of a custom content because of two major reasons:
- first is the complexity: we all know CO requires lot more effort to create a decent map, estab and a scenario than many wargames;
- second is the content maintenance: user content is often scattered across different blogs, forums and threads, it is often difficult to submit, to find and to support.
We will try to address both these problems eventually. Today we give an overview of a new feature that is supposed to ease the process of content sharing (that is - creating, finding and installing) community-made content. This feature will only be available with the Steam version of the game, as we're going to use the Steam Workshop for this.

Some of you might know already what Steam Workshop is - a cloud storage with some nice and easy-to-use web interface. Provided an appropriate software implementation, this storage could be used by any CO user to put their custom stuff to the cloud. Then it could be easily found and accessed by any other user.
Another interesting feature here is the subscription. When you subscribe to the user-made content - would it be map, or scenario or estab - you can get updates automatically. When there are any changes, bugfixes etc submitted by the author, the subscriber will always get the most up-to-date content immediately.
To summarize, Workshop offers:
- an easy way for a developer to publish, host and update their custom content;
- a convenient way for a developer to link their content to others' content - that is, John might create a map, Jane might create and maintain an particular estab, while Peter will create a scenario that will "link to" (depend of) both John's map and Jane's estab. So Peter won't need to do all the work by himself and everybody could concentrate on the stuff that they want to do, and that linking could be done in few clicks;
- finally, it is now a whole different - and easier - way for an end-user to get the content. They don't need to browse forums and blogs, instead they could use a Steam Workshop search engine to find the most interesting scenarios (or maps, or estabs). Then they will subscribe to these and will be automatically getting the most recent version of that content from now on.

Of course we understand that we won't get hundreds of good custom scenarios right there, out of the thin air. Our current CO community is just not big enough to provide a wide selection of high quality user-made content. However, this feature will make it much easier for developers to deliver their content to users (and, vice versa, for users to get the best custom content), so we hope that, over time, this will encourage more people to develop their own stuff and eventually make the entire community happier.

By the time of initial Steam release (which is, btw, is really nigh) we expect to have map publishing feature available. If that proves to be stable and work as we expect (there's still a lot of stuff to handle like conflicting files, local modifications etc), scenario and estab publishing support will be added soon after that.

Finally, there're few screenshots of how the feature looks like (of course, the final version of the feature and GUI might differ from these).
Publishing map is really easy - just make sure that you're connected to internet and logged to Steam and hit the appropriate menu item in the Map Maker, everything else will be done automatically:

76294_900.jpg


Once published, the item appears in your personal workshop:

76712_900.jpg


There's some description auto-generated and preview images both for summer and winter terrain (again, the title and comments might change by the time of final release):

76902_900.jpg


Once you find the appropriate item (map in this case) and hit "Subscribe" button, it will be downloaded to your PC. The only thing you have to do then is to sync your local copy: that involves re-generating cache for all the new items and so it might take a while. But cache re-generation is only required:
- once upon a map's installation;
- every time a map designer publishes updates to the map, and you've decided to upgrade your local copy to the most recent one, naturally, the cache have to be re-generated again.
Of course, publishing a complete scenario (with a map and an estab) will require few more actions, but we'll talk about that in due time.

That's all for now, let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Best regards
 

rocketman

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Jan 6, 2016
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It looks like a pretty cool tool (hey, that rhymed ;) ). Anything that makes community made stuff easier to make is a good thing. Don't think I've seen a definitive statement, but will existing customers get a Steam code for the game?
 

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