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VP8/9 Dual-Install And The Changes It Entails


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#1 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:36 PM

Hello Everyone,

Some of you already know it from the threads at PinballNirvana; i have recently made a whole new installer package which will install VP8 and VP9 as though they were two different programs which will work exclusively with the tables that have been designed for that particular version. This will give us several important advantages over the existing solutions and should therefore be made the new community-wide standard. But for that we all need to pull together because it will mean a couple of ineviteble changes to what we are used to. Call it the process of progress if you will. The reward is a 100% flawless Dual-Setup of VP8 and VP9 which is version-independent, yet fully integrated.


DualSetup Details:

The mainfolder will contain both VPinball executables, each named after their version number. VP8 can only load files with a .vpt extension, and VP9 will only be able to load files with a .vp9 extension. The former 'Tables' folder will be replaced by two new folders, namely 'VP8-Tables' and 'VP9-Tables' respectively. The rest of the structure stays largely unchanged, however a couple of unused folders have been removed.

[attachment=1743:folderst...ultimate.jpg]

Consequently:

1.) VP8 and VP9 tables can be separated by filetype and stored in the proper folder

2.) VP8 and VP9 tables can no longer be run in the wrong VP version

3.) VP8 and VP9 tables can be file-associated with the proper VP version

4.) VP8 and VP9 tables can be auto-started in the proper version via doubleclicking the table file

5.) VP8 and VP9 can be configured independently. Among other things this makes it possible to have low-demand VP8 tables run in a higher resolution and the more demanding VP9 tables in a lower one. This becomes possible due to the creation of seperate registry entries for each VP version.


In my opinion this is what the setup should have looked like in the 1st place when VP9 was released. After all the two versions are largely incompatible, so where is the sense in having both versions work with the same type of files when it will only lead to problems and confusion. At any rate it is high time we do something about this, and i already did most of the work by compiling the necessary platform. The rest will be up to the authors and table hosters, and, of course, the community. In particular this means that all new VP9 tables will have to be released with a .vp9 extension and all already released VP9 tables have to be either reuploaded with the new extension or be altered by the table hoster. The latter is probably preferable because the extension renaming can by done in seconds via a simple script. New tables made (or edited) with VP9 will automatically save as .vp9 files as this will now be the only extension the program knows. This of course includes the AutoSave feature as well, so the transition should be absolutely uncomplicated for table authors. I did my best to make it as simple for everyone as possible. Other changes are of course still possible too.

But the most important prerequisite for this to work is of course that the community really wants to adopt this new standard. Im sure you realize that. So i for one would really be glad if we could all pull together and make this work. There are absolutely no disadvanages, only advantages, and the package is only waiting to lead this community into a new era of the Visual Pinball hobby. I am looking forward to your replies and comments.


P.S.: I also did something about one of the most frequent problems with VisualPinMAME, namely the 'fullscreen-display' issue. The text is now pretty much foolproof, see for yourself in the below image.

[attachment=1744:vpmfolders.jpg]

Thanks for reading,
Phoenixx smile.gif

#2 bbastyr

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:39 PM

Thank you for your workl!

#3 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:40 PM

Addendum:

Of course this new setup is based on the former VIP, meaning it installs the whole thing with 3 simple mouseclicks.

Installation time: Ca. 5 seconds on a halfways recent PC.

#4 faralos

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:41 PM

that looks to work great! but of course I have all my programs so thoroughly embedded in my computer and they all work ok, so I will say no thanks but it really looks like you worked your ass off on it. I don't use vp man either dueto all the excess crap I'd have to do to get it to work well with both programs. and that one hasd no docs of course. Yours I'll try if I ever have to reinstall windows again (usually 2-3 times per year I must do that) so we'll see...
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#5 ValamirCleaver

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:37 PM

I have a perfectly functioning combined VP8/9 & VPLauncher install. VP9 4:3, Full Screen 16:9, Dual Screen Spanned & VP8 tables in separate folders contained in the "Tables" folder that are accessed by the correct VP executable via configurations in VPLauncher. I prefer the ability to customise the setup that a manual install affords. I don't want shortcuts littering my Desktop & Quick Launch Bar. I never install games in the "C:\Program Files\" folder. I want VPinMAME installed in a "Visual Pinball\VPinMAME" folder. I don't know if this would be a correct assumption, but it sounds like your proposed changes would make things much more difficult for me & potentially for others who has a perfectly functioning VP install.

#6 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:08 PM

Nothing would be more difficult, only different.

You dont need to have the shortcuts on your desktop if you dont want them there.

You can install into every directory on every drive you want.

People who prefer their manual installation over the integrated solution can keep them, they merely need to replace their VP9 executable with the new one to be .vp9 compatible.


But then the main thing here is not personal preference of single individuals, its the big picture. What is best for the community and VP hobbyists at large. What is best for new and unexperienced users. What is best for people who are yet to join the VPinball hobby. To keep the flaws and problems for all eternity and work around them or to solve them one for all times by adopting a few little changes everyone can live with as long as they are willing to. To me the answer is clear but of course everyone has to answer it for themselves. I am merely trying to do my best to create a problemless future for the VP hobby, which is now effectively split into two incompatible applications,...

#7 faralos

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 03:14 AM

Oh no offense intended! I think it is great for newcomers! Personally I went thru hell last year trying to get it all to work correctly, so for any new people I'd rather they have something like your installer prog. than for them to go thru what i did. Kudos for your hardwork... cool.gif
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#8 jhoff80

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:26 AM

Ignoring the installer entirely... I have to say THANK YOU to this thread/ poster. Being that VP8 and VP9 tables mostly aren't compatible with the other version, an executable that uses a different extension like .vp9 for VP9 is long overdue. Honestly I don't know how Nanotech overlooked that in the first place.

#9 The Loafer

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 04:17 PM

.vp9 file extension). I think a different file extension IS a great idea, even if it's just to break the mental barrier some users have over the lack of compatibility between VP8/9. However, I think for this idea to really get the support it needs, it must be supported by the developper themselves, which then creates a natural trickle down effect. Hopefully, they'll consider this, and maybe if many respond to this thread, such a momentum can gather the proper steam to make it a reality.

In pondering on the file extension, I would propose a different name though, simply because .VP9 is insinuating there won't be revisions and I think we all hope that's not the case. IF there is a newer version, should we need to go through this exercise again? Maybe something like "VPP" (Visual Pinball Program), "VPU" (Visual Pinball Update), "VPN" (Visual Pinball New), whatever but don't know about a specific number in the extension. What do you think?

It's funny, years ago I had amusingly proposed VPM tables should have had a different extension (.vpm) just to seperate them from the typical VP tables! LOL. There was no real reason technically like your great suggesting Phoenixx, just was annoyed at how I was supposed to sort out my tables LOL

This is a really good initiative Phoenixx, thanks!

#10 destruk

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:02 PM

Oh yeah Phoenixx, this is nearly mindless to 'fix'.
Take all your vp9 table files, put them into their own folder, and from a command prompt, type
ren *.vpt *.vp9

Then you're all done.
VP doesn't care what the extension of the file is - you might even be able to copy the registry file association so VP9 extensions automatically load and play in vp9.exe when doubleclicked too.

And yes, GlobalVR had a UPN extension for their games, so it's not like nobody has ever thought about this issue before.

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#11 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:13 PM

Very good thinking Loaf, cant tell you how much i appreciate your reply!!

Because you are totally right of course; .vp9 might in deed turn out to be a suboptimal choice in case the rev number ever goes up.

But luckily thats not much of a problem because the extension can be anything. As a matter of fact not using .vp9 would even give us another advantage, because any extension that keeps the 'pt' bit would not require any changes to be made to VPLauncher. I have already tested it; for some reason it wont accept any tables with an extension that does not end in 'pt', but as long as the 'pt' bit is intact it can be .apt, .bbt, .cpt, .dpt, .ept, .dpt, you get the idea.

So it is probably best to use an extension that ends in 'pt'. The only such extension we cannot use is .upt [edit: and .fpt) because that is already used for UltraPin/FuturePinball tables. Im open for suggestions!


As for developer support; we already have it, at least indirectly. (Otherwise i wouldnt have made this.)

The Story: A few months ago i have proposed using a different extension to David Foley but he never responded to my email. A couple of weeks ago he responded to a thread at PinballNirvana, so i took the opportunity to ask him why he didnt respond. At first he didnt reply, even though he replied to others. When i asked him why he doesnt say anything he eventually replied that my email was in his junk folder, and that he never read it. Frankly at this point i had the impression that he simply doesnt care because he has better things to do than fixing problems for this community. Hence i asked him whether or not he is interested in this at all and he said yes, he is interested, but he doesnt have anyone who has the time to implement the changes. So since i did have the time (and the motivation) i went ahead and did it for him.

QUOTE (destruk @ Aug 22 2009, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh yeah Phoenixx, this is nearly mindless to 'fix'.
Take all your vp9 table files, put them into their own folder, and from a command prompt, type
ren *.vpt *.vp9

Yep, a .bat with this command is already included with the VP-9Tables folder. (See thread at PN.)


QUOTE (destruk @ Aug 22 2009, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
VP doesn't care what the extension of the file is - you might even be able to copy the registry file association so VP9 extensions automatically load and play in vp9.exe when doubleclicked too.

Already implemented. .vpt's will properly auto-load in VP8 and .vp9 (or whatever ext we will use) will auto-load in VP9.

QUOTE (destruk @ Aug 22 2009, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And yes, GlobalVR had a UPN extension for their games, so it's not like nobody has ever thought about this issue before.

I know. Thats why this is the only 'pt' ending ext we cant use. Otherwise it could lead to problems and confusion.



EDIT: Question: Is it by design that this board auto-merges consecutive posts? I posted the reply to Loaf first, then the reply to Destruk. The latter got auto-merged into the reply to Loaf and i cant seem to split them into individual replies. Normal or problem on my side?

Edited by Phoenixx1771, 22 August 2009 - 05:43 PM.


#12 destruk

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:20 PM

Yes it automerges posts within a set response time limit. I'm not sure what they limit is, but it's intended to prevent people from bumping their post count, or spamming replies separately. I don't care for the feature itself because when I update a table I need to make a new thread if nobody has replied.

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#13 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:24 PM

Ah, i see. So its by design after all.

Thanks Destruk.

#14 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:52 PM

Does anyone see any problems with .!pt ?

It doesnt seem to be used by any other application yet, meaning it is unique and will therefore not cause any problems with other programs,...

#15 Bob5453

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:22 PM

QUOTE (Phoenixx1771 @ Aug 22 2009, 01:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone see any problems with .!pt ?

It doesnt seem to be used by any other application yet, meaning it is unique and will therefore not cause any problems with other programs,...


I had to put my glasses on to see if it was a exclamation point. I like the "9" even if you have to change it later..... 9pt

It only makes sense to use the "9" for now and worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Personally, I want to see VP8 or VP9 in the filename of the tables when released, but everyone does whatever they want and that is their choice to make.

Nice work Phoenixx....

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#16 Phoenixx1771

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:45 PM

I liked .vp9 too because it makes perfect sense now. But Loaf was absolutely right; we had to go through the same again if/when the version number of VP ever exceeds the 9.

So its probably better to plan ahead and be prepared for future events. Because in the end it does not matter in the least what ext we use for VP9 tables as long as its not .vpt, which should be exclusively for the 'classic' VP8's.

I like .!pt for its uniqueness, but im of course still open for other suggestions. If something else makes better sense then we will use that. Its all the same to me.

#17 Noah Fentz

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:18 PM

The board only auto-merges posts for 10 minutes, then you can double post, if necessary. It's designed to prevent double posts in rapid succession, and you don't have to start a new topic on table updates.

I think .vp9 is a fine extension. If there is another update, it'll be to VP10, and it'll be a godsend from Randy, as he hinted to in our interview. I'd LOVE to see .vpx used in that event!

Overall, my opinion on this whole idea is that it's great, with one exception, and I've already expressed my opinion on it to Phoenixx....

Changing the folder structure obsoletes every post, doc, or mention in tips and support since the beginning. Anyone who Google's for help will find numerous guides and support topics. I don't think this aspect of the change is wise. You can't even tell someone to "go to your Visual Pinball folder" with this format.

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#18 JoeM

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 11:30 PM

Maybe i don't understand the mentioned "technical problems" (if they are such) in detail but
i am sure, all in all the weight of the advantages is heavier than the weight of the disadvantages.

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#19 destruk

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 12:31 AM

I like .FUN That way we can tell the fun vp9 tables from the un-fun vp8 tables.

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#20 Liteuser

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 01:00 AM

QUOTE (destruk @ Aug 22 2009, 08:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I like .FUN That way we can tell the fun vp9 tables from the un-fun vp8 tables.



rofl.gif @ .FUN

Maybe .upt - Ultra Pin table? If I can open a vp8 table in vp9 then I can convert it to vp9. So If the vp8 table will not open in vp9 then I have to rename the table with the new extension to convert it to a vp9 table right?

VP10, lets hope so. wink.gif

Later