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Artemis Mod Loader 3.0

posted Dec 26, 2012 by RussJudge
I was impressed with the Mods that were available for Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, but found the mechanism for installing and switching between them rather cumbersome and clunky, and even dangerous to the Artemis stock install since you had to run with administrator privilege and write over some of the stock files. 

The mechanism involved either copying in a directory with Windows Explorer, or running a command-line batch file. 

I wanted something easy and brainless and involved the least risk to the stock Artemis installation as possible, so I created Artemis Mod Loader (link below) to handle that. It is a graphical interface that works by setting up a copy of Artemis in your user profile directories, so administrative privilege is generally not needed. 

I've predefined a list of Mods already, but adding more is easy. The definition and how the files are copied in are defined in XML files (under "ModDefinitions" folder in the Artemis Mod Loader install folder, for examples), but are not required when installing a new mod not already defined. The simplest way to add a new mod through the Artemis Mod Loader is to put all your files in a zip file with the same directory structure as what the directory structure should look like when installed in the Artemis folder. When you install your mod through the Artemis Mod Loader, it will prompt you for basic information and create the definition file ("*.aml") for you, which if you put in the root of your zip package, Artemis Mod Loader will use this for installing the Mod going forward. 

This application can also be used for managing mission files. 

Latest Stable version: Artemis Mod Loader 3.0.14 

I probably should mention that you should start with a plain vanilla install of Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator. 

I hope you enjoy. 

Latest Changes 
- Added mood music. 
- Further refinement of Xml Editor 
- Some refactoring of the Setup window. 
- Fixed bug for Mod Developer when mapping files--if file being mapped to did not exist, you could not specify it. 
- Added the "Into The Breach Look and Feel" mod by Dean Mallory as a Pre-defined mod. 
- Modified file selection in VesselData editor and file mapping so that backslashes are now forward slashes, per Xml standard. 
- Added Mission Studio. 

- Had settings wrong on two of the pre-defined mods ("Into the Breach Look and Feel", and TNG) so that they did not get included with the installer. They should now be included. 

- Tweaked the download source for "Into the Breach Look and Feel Mod" so that it downloads correctly. 
- Bug Fix: VesselData editor: Turn Rate, Back Shields, and top speed would not get updated with changes. 
- Bug Fix: Vesseldata editor: When the arc width was "1", then the arc would not render. Corrected by "faking" it. Internally, the arc is rendered as just shy of 1 (0.999999) to fix the issue. 
- Bug Fix: VesselData Editor: Previously, if a vessel was assigned an invalid side (hull race), the user would only be told that vessel(s) had invalid data. Now, the user gets better feedback. 
- Added code to ensure user settings gets kept whenever the application gets updated. 

- Added code completion on the Mission Script for named objects 
- Added "Launch Artemis Mod Loader" checkbox on installer 
- Added code to self-update Artemis Mod Loader as updates become available. I just have to remember to update the file that indicates the current version in my DropBox account, or else the self-update won't self-update. 
- Corrected bug with prompt for Artemis Path when it could not find Artemis install path. Prompts displayed funny and were not clear what it was asking. 
- Changed code for rending backgrounds with Artemis skyboxes so that the file would not be locked. if the file was locked, there was the potential for crashing when applying a Mod. 

- Fixed bug where Artemis Mod Loader would crash on startup if it could not find the *.ogg files (which can happen when initially installed). 
- Added in the release date for Artemis version 1.702. 

- Reorganized code to resolve reported crash on initial startup. Due to difficulty in reproducing issue, I'm not certain I got it, but I feel pretty good about it. 
- Set "Stand by" window to always be on top. 
- Fixed issue with self-update process. Version 3.0.3 and 3.0.4 would not auto-update properly unless user had admin access to the C: drive. Therefore, be sure to manually update to 3.0.5 by downloading and re-installing. 

- If the Mod Definition file (*.aml) defined a folder structure that did not exist in the Mod pack (*.zip, *.rar), then Artemis Mod Loader would crash. This fixes that issue by simply providing a warning message instead of crashing. The Mod might not get applied--but at least we don't crash. 
- Added version 2 of Mark Bell's TNG mod to the predefined list. PLEASE NOTE: if you installed version 2 of TNG using the predefined TNG mod prior to this version, you will need to completely uninstall the mod. 
- Added code so that the Standby window would only temporarily be the top-most window. When it was always topmost, information messages would display behind it instead of being visible on top. 

- Downloaded all mods to my Dropbox and set installation of Mods to pull from there. This way I have better control over the mods, though I won't be able to keep up with updates. I have had the problem in the past of folder structures changing, which wreaks all kinds of havoc on Artemis Mod Loader. This way I will be able to note changes in the structure and fix things myself before anyone gets ahold of it. 

- Forgot to include the TNG version 2 in the installer--should now be included. 

-Bug fix: Adding a race to the vesselData file in the Mod Developer crashed the application, trying to split the parse out the type keys ("Friend", "Enemy", etc.). Thanks to Kacie Stevens for reporting this. 
-Bug fix: clicking "New" for a new vesselData file in the Mod Developer crashed the program. 
-Added code to make sure Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator executable is found before trying to start it. Had an occasion of people telling me that Artemis Mod Loader was blowing up when trying to play Artemis, when the log file said it couldn't find the Artemis executable, which is why it crashed--the only reason it won't find the Artemis executable is that Artemis isn't installed. 
-Added code to check that the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator is no longer installed and offer the user to remove the copy used by Artemis Mod Loader--so that they can remain within License restrictions. 

- Adding a new vessel to the vesselData file in the Mod Development editor failed to add an Art definition, so the Art definition list was empty. Since the Art definition was not blocked, changes would not get saved, until an Art Definiton was added. Also added code to disable entry if there is no available Art Defintion, since even one Art definition can be removed. 
- Bug fix with the self-update process. If an update was detected, the process would crash once the update was downloaded. This is fixed, so that when the update is downloaded, the installer is run to install the update. However, version 3.0.9 and prior will require manual update. 

Updated Into the Breach Mod to the latest, version 1.702. 
If you were on version 3.0.9 of Artemis Mod Loader, it should automatically update. 

If you already had the old version of Into the Breach installed through Artemis Mod Loader, you only need to uninstall and reinstall from the web (or download it from the link and install on PC manually). 

- Added "Flight of the Artemis" fan music mod. 
- Fixed bug--if Mod Loader was playing music from the Artemis install folder, it would not be able to replace that music. Solved problem by stopping all music when activating mods or updating the Stock version. Also prevented crashing if a file copy was unsuccessful. 
- Added code to prevent crashing if for some reason it is unable to play a music file (possibly due to file corruption?) There may be a bit of quirkiness with the music playing at this time--but at least everything else should function fine. 
- Fixed an issue with Star Trek: The Motion Picture Mod. Activating it would cause Artemis to crash after starting the server. This is now fixed. 
- Updated Into The Breach to indicate that it does now support Invasion Mode. 
NOTE: to see these changes to the MOD definitions, you MUST completely uninstall the MOD, close and restart Artemis Mod Loader, then re-install. Updating an already installed Mod is on the To-Do list. 

Fixed the Mod Definition for Star Trek: Into the Breach. Should work good now. NOTE: to see these changes to the MOD definitions, you MUST completely uninstall the MOD, close and restart Artemis Mod Loader, then re-install. Updating an already installed Mod is on the To-Do list. 

Added The TSN Overhaul Mod from here 

Added code to check for updates to installed Mod Definitions and automatically apply them. If the Mod is Activated, simply deactivate and re-activate to apply the changes (no longer need to uninstall the mod). This check will only occur after the first run of an update to Artemis Mod Loader. 

Changed References to "Android Client" to "Unofficial Android Client". The Official Android Client cannot be modded, but Thom gave his blessing to the author of the Unofficial Android Client to continue his work--and the Unofficial Android Client can be modded. The term "Unofficial" is added to differentiate the two versions. Code to mod the official Android client will be added once it is possible to be modded. 

- Updated the link to the TSN Overhaul Mod. To pick up the updates that the author of this mod did, you will need to uninstall and re-install the mod. The update from 3.0.13 should allow for the automatic update of the download link of the mod definition if you have installed this mod, but this will be the first time it is in action, so any bugs in this function might crop up. 

- Updated the definition file for TNG V2, provided by Mark Bell. Again, this uses the new definition update feature, but the TNG V2 package was also updated, so it should be unintalled and re-installed to pick up the updates. 

- Improved performance of activating a mod by only copying files into the Artemis copy that are not specifically defined in the baseFiles mapping. This will prevent duplicate copies of files and copying files twice, so that the process should run faster on certain mods, plus the amount of disk space used is reduced. 

- Strange and unexplainable error received on the file listing under Mod Development that crashed the application. Added code to prevent crashing, but due to nature of error, was unable to fix root cause. 

- Updated the version stored in modified vesselData.xml files to 1.702, from 1.66. 

- One last tweak to TNG_V2 Mod. 


Readme.txt contains full details of changes. 

Please note that Google Chrome may warn you about the download being possibly dangerous (it did for me). You can ignore that.
[Last edited Jun 27, 2013]
Author of Artemis Mod Loader

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187 replies
JanxJelantru said Jul 02, 2013
Thanks for the info Russ. I was suspecting the modloader was using a different directory than the initial install I copied from on my PC. I was expecting it to make backup copies, but with the original directory being the "modded" version. Now that I know, I can deal with it. 

My plan for next time is to setup the mod/missions on my PC, then copy that "c:\users\<your username>\AppData\Roaming\Russ Judge\ArtemisModLoader\ArtemisCopy" to my USB sticks for the other stations. 

Since I don't need to install to the PCs, I can control licence count by controlling the USB sticks (nobody needs the game installed, so our original licence is protected). 
Using USBs also lets me control versioning and mods, because they go home with me, I update them, and ensure they are all copies of my environment. 

Overall, I am happy with AML, you did a good job of simplifying the process of applying the mods and looking for the mods. The built-in mod browser that had a bunch of them really streamlined my effort. I'm technically savvy, but at this stage in my life, messing around with shuffling files around is no longer fun. 

I suspect there's no way for the mods to work on the iOS client. It would be swell if only the server PC had to be modified and the clients all just downloaded the assets and from the server.
RussJudge said Jul 09, 2013
I was able to confirm that the official Android client cannot be modded, so I suspected the same will be true for the iOS client, but I can't be sure since I don't have a device I can test. 

It should be pretty simple to confirm, however--basically we need to look for a folder where the Artemis data files that match the files on the PC. There is no such place on the Android--best I can determine it is in some kind of library file (like a zip file or something) which I cannot access without risking corrupting the file and bricking the Artemis application on the device. I suspect it'll be pretty much the same on the iOS version. 

I'm hoping that when version 2.0 of Artemis gets released, then Thom will look into the iOS and Android versions to make the mod-able.
Author of Artemis Mod Loader

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timechick said Jul 12, 2013
Thinking of mods, I've been trying to get the mod developer you have built to work right, it does some weird stuff though. It keeps adding in more art entries when I save the mod. Is it supposed to do that? They are empty too. How much playing around with that has anyone done?
JanxJelantru said Jul 22, 2013
I had a new idea for this tool: USB Copier 

One of my strategies to manage licenses and simplify replicating stations is to use USB drives to hold the game & mods. I just plug one into somebody's laptop and launch the game off the USB drive. no install, and I take my drive back when the event is done. 

Given my boo-boo setting up this the first time around, it might be handy if there were a button to copy the "effective" files to a drive letter. So I just setup my mod, insert drive, click the Copy button, and let it grind. Yank the drive, and repeat for the rest of my USB sticks. 

anwoke8204 said Jul 22, 2013
hi, I just tried to use AML to install the TSN overhaul and it gave me an error saying it couldn't find it via web, it goes to this link and then tells me I have to manually download it and install it
RussJudge said Jul 23, 2013
@anwoke8204: Looks like the developer updated the mod and changed the link in the process. The next update to AML will include the new link, but in the meantime, you can use Download it manually, then install from the PC. 

@JanxJelantru: Yeah, I can add such a function--will be pretty easy. I've got a few things to do with it over the next couple of weeks and add that in, unless Thom has issues. I will add a clear disclaimer to remind the user of license issues. The design I will follow will be to first require you to apply any mods, then it will copy the Artemis copy with the mod to the USB drive. 

@timechick: I'll have to check that out, but I hadn't experienced that nor have I heard of it from anyone else.
[Last edited Jul 23, 2013]
Author of Artemis Mod Loader

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JanxJelantru said Jul 23, 2013
Thanks. I think license management is always up to the user to enforce/comply with in this game. Having a reminder will at least keep it in their mind. 

I figure I could setup a robocopy to sync up my USB drives, but your program is in a good position to manage the whole problem. 

Captain -  TSN Belisarius BS-108
"Pax per consilia et maxime armis." -  "Rescindentes venator ad venationem." 

(Deane Geiken)

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for porting this over.  I'll have an update on August 15, so I'll start a new topic at that point, carrying over the important points.
Author of:
Artemis Mod Loader.
The Big Red Button of Death!
ArtemisSBS-Protocol Sharp
DMX Commander
(contact me to become a contributer)
(and all are free)

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Posts: 209
Reply with quote  #3 
After reading the FAQ for Artemis v. 2.0, I want to add a word of caution about Artemis Mod Loader:

Don't try to mix v 1.7 or prior with v. 2.0; at least not until I've had a chance to play with it myself to see what happens.  Be aware that the existing Mods may or may not work with v. 2.0, and we are unlikely to know until we've had a chance to play around with v. 2.0 ourselves.  I'll have an update available when Artemis v. 2.0 is released, so that Mod developers can take advantage of a few changes, but there may be issues even there.  I'm just warning you--take care and be aware there may be problems.  AML won't damage Artemis, but you might find that things don't work right if you try to revert to v. 1.7 from version 2.0, or if you apply Mods to version 2.0.

Once I've purchased the update and had a chance to play around with things a bit, I'll make sure that AML is also updated with any new changes.  And hopefully, I'll soon be able to spend some serious time getting the Mission Studio finished.

Author of:
Artemis Mod Loader.
The Big Red Button of Death!
ArtemisSBS-Protocol Sharp
DMX Commander
(contact me to become a contributer)
(and all are free)
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