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[Article] DLC Tools

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[Article] DLC Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 17 Jul 2015, 14:45

Article Name -- DLC Tools
Status -- Incomplete
URL -- http://me3explorer.wikia.com/wiki/DLC_Tools
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby giftfish » 17 Jul 2015, 16:39

This looks really good, Creeper. It needs some tightening up on the formatting and verbage, and I see quite a few other small improvements/changes to make but overall, nice work. I appreciate the obvious effort you put into the formatting already.


Some specifics on a couple of your questions:

1. Shortcode to another article on the wiki should work just like you've already specified. If you want a link the DLC Tools article to the word "here", then it would be [[DLC_Tools|here]].

2. Any tool menu options (or whatnot) you are unsure of, just post your questions in this thread and hopefully more knowledgeable folks will jump in and answer them. I've had to do that several times, but I also often just tried the menu options myself -- as long as I was 100% certain it wouldn't create a problem with the game.


It'll be much faster for me to go ahead and tighten up the article myself, rather than give you a long list of changes. I can point out a few specifics, though, that way you can keep them in mind for future articles you put together. Since you're also the first person to really create a new article, this is also a learning experience as far as the contents of the Wiki Editor's Guide go. Inevitably, I've missed certain things and will need to amend the article to make sure they're clear :) One thing I'll make sure of is that there's a link to a solid "example" article for any type of article an editor wants to create.


Here's some of the main things that don't include grammar, punctuation, usage (in the language sense), etc:

1. Formatting. When it comes to tool articles, I'm trying to keep the format as consistent as possible. Most of the time it should be: opening blurb about the tool immediately under the article name, a Background section, a Usage section, FAQ (if necessary), and Related Tutorials last. At the very bottom of the article insert a "credit box" if appropriate.

Sections, of course, will have their own subsections. When multiple tools are grouped into the same article (as is the case here), then that format gets modified a bit. The TOC Tools/Utilities articles are most like the DLC Tools articles, but even they don't completely apply since they're less complex. I'll need to play with it a bit and find the best format to blend aesthetics and ease of reading. I'm guessing there will be fewer subsections and more bulleted lists. Use bulleted lists whenever possible. They help keep articles clean and concise. If several subsections are only a line or two of text, then a bulleted list will work just as well. If there are multiple images that do with the bullets, then put up a slideshow to their right.


2. Prerequisites. I like the box you've placed at the top, but, it should be relocated to the tool's Usage/Functionality area. Also, not all articles listed need to be read and understood beforehand. DLC Editor is used by many folks who have no knowledge of the technical aspects of PCC and SFAR file structure covered in those articles. Those articles are highly technical and outside of the purview of DLC Editor's functionality. It's likely that DLC Editor and DLC Ed2 need different "prerequisites", as well.

Also, remember that not all players want to mod textures. Reading the Texplorer article shouldn't be necessary to use the DLC Editor tool (reading Getting Started is). BUT, I do think a TIP/Warning box should be inserted to bring attention to the fact that if using Texplorer, that tool will extract all DLC for the user, rending the DLC Editors relatively useless. That last particular detail should actually be in a box at the top of the page.


3. GUI Overview. Always try to have a subsection for this so it's easy to navigate to via the TOC. It will also help you to "find" the organization of the article as you create it.


4.Images. If images are not the full width of the article, then they should be right-justified, with wrap-around style text.


5. Paths. Path conventions are laid out in the Setup Guide article and need to be consistent across the site. Instead of "{Location of ME3}\BIOGame\DLC\" use "..\BIOGame\DLC" or "..\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC". Good job on the template usage, though :)


6. Related Tutorials + Resources. I don't expect any particular tutorials for this tool, but adding this section at the bottom with links to: the DLC Content article, and the Mod Formats article, and the SFAR article would be a good idea. I might go back and do this for the other tool articles, just to the associated resources are even easier for folks to reference. Links in the text when relevant to the discussion are always good, but a set of links to other wiki Resources (not tool articles) is even better.


I won't start editing anything until I'm sure you're not. Don't want to overwrite each other's edits, lol. Just let me know :)
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 17 Jul 2015, 17:12

Wow, that's a lot of stuff to keep in mind ! I fixed some of the things you point out, you can begin working on it. I found the option to wrap text around the image but it isn't working for me.

As for the missing information, I'd need some clarification on 3 points :
  • How does the Rebuild SFAR work ? Does it recompresses the SFAR using all available files in the same folder as the Default.sfar file ?
  • What is the meaning of the information shown in DLC Editor 2's left pane ?
    Spoiler:
    Image
  • What is shown in it's right pane ? I guess some decryption, but I don't know what the three rows represent exactly.
    Spoiler:
    Image
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby giftfish » 17 Jul 2015, 17:48

CreeperLava wrote:Wow, that's a lot of stuff to keep in mind! I fixed some of the things you point out, you can begin working on it. I found the option to wrap text around the image but it isn't working for me.

Lol, yeah, I know it is. This wiki stuff is a lot of work. But, the whole goal is to have a system where anyone with the knowledge can sit down and write an article that conforms to all the established standards. And, while the "standards" are a pain, they keep the wiki from turning into an unreadable mess. I just need to do a better job to making sure everything is clearly laid out in the Editor's Guide :)

Thanks for working on some of the stuff. I'll take a look at the picture, fix it, then let you know I did so you know how to do it in the future :)

CreeperLava wrote:How does the Rebuild SFAR work ? Does it recompresses the SFAR using all available files in the same folder as the Default.sfar file ?

As far as I know it incorporates all the file modifications you've made with the tool (replace, delete, etc) and then recompresses the SFAR. It would be like the "save modified" option in DLCEd, I think. Anyone reading this should correct me if I'm wrong, lol.

CreeperLava wrote:What is the meaning of the information shown in DLC Editor 2's left pane ?
Spoiler:
Image

That stuff is the technical information covered in the SFAR article, so you can reference that. Most mod creators who might use the tool won't even care about it. DLC Ed2 has 3 main advantages over DLC Editor: 1- it can unpack the full SFAR, 2- it can delete files (probably a bad idea), and 3- it has modmaking functionality (which I used for TMv1.0). With the changes to Texplorer/DLC unpacking and the advent of DLC mods, pretty much the only modders who will use these tools are ones who don't use Texplorer and just want to extract a DLC file here and there.

CreeperLava wrote:What is shown in it's right pane ? I guess some decryption, but I don't know what the three rows represent exactly.
Spoiler:
Image

The right pane just contains the hex for the selected file on the left; you don't need to explain what it is beyond that. Though, that's a good point that we should probably link some basic hex code stuff on the wiki in the yet-to-be created PCCEd2 article.

FYI -- I'll be working on some BackOff stuff today and won't be tinkering with the article for at least a few hours yet in case you want to make any more edits to it :]
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 17 Jul 2015, 22:04

Thanks for the info. I integrated what you explained above in the article, and removed the "Incomplete" flags.
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby giftfish » 18 Jul 2015, 14:20

@Creeper -- Safe for me to work on the DLC Tools article for a bit?
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 18 Jul 2015, 15:48

Absolutely, yes. I won't touch it.
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby giftfish » 18 Jul 2015, 16:23

CreeperLava wrote:Absolutely, yes. I won't touch it.

The wiki is weird sometimes. There was a message saying you had made an edit 34 minutes prior -- which is why I posted to make sure you weren't still working on it. But, once I logged in it said the last edit for the article was 16 hours prior, lol. ...And my PC was not on overnight. Weird.

At any rate, clean up is almost done. I just need to finish the Functionalities section for DLCEd2 (I'll do that over lunch).

Generally, your writing is very good, but you have a tendency (like me) to get overwordy. When I write an article myself, I end up reading it over many, many times to strip out as much of that wordiness as possible, which helps keep things clear and concise. So, besides formatting, that's most of the changes you'll see :]

FYI, the gold italics text is specifically to reference Menu options in the toolset.
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby CreeperLava » 18 Jul 2015, 16:44

I tried to make a balance in the writing, to allow both advanced and normal users to understand the article, especially for menus. It's interesting to have the opinion of a third party on that subject. Thanks for the tips.
Which editor do you use ? I noticed that you heavily used formatting options like italic, bold etc. I found it tiring to find them in the visual editor and tedious to write them by hand in the source editor. So you are either very courageous to write them all by hand, or you found some dark and forgotten secret I don't know yet about^^.
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Re: [Article] DLC Tools

Postby giftfish » 18 Jul 2015, 17:29

CreeperLava wrote:Which editor do you use ? I noticed that you heavily used formatting options like italic, bold etc. I found it tiring to find them in the visual editor and tedious to write them by hand in the source editor. So you are either very courageous to write them all by hand, or you found some dark and forgotten secret I don't know yet about^^.

Almost exclusively the source editor. It's just easier. The only time I switch to the visual editor is to insert certain templates, since there's menu options there that strangely disappear when in source editing mode.

The italics and bold are easy in source mode. Italics is creating by flanking the text with two pairs of single quotes (''X''). Boldface is created with triplets ('''X'''). The real pain is colored text, since that has to be done with span/div tags, which is why I've created templates for instances of those. Generally, I don't want a LOT of colored text, just b/c it becomes distracting if every other word in the article is a different color. I've created templates for the colored text that I think is most useful to have colored. Everything else can get emphasis through bold/italics/underline.

Any template can be inserted just by knowing its name and by typing it in source mode: {{Filename|The file's name here}}. A little menu will even automatically pop up to help you.

As I edit/write, I use the Preview buttons to see what the article actually looks like, since even the visual editor doesn't display templates. It's still not perfect, but it's better than the VE. Really, the VE is pretty useless, imo.
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