WAD manager/browser?

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WAD manager/browser?

Postby wildgoose » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:46 pm

I stumbled upon zdoom recently and it has reignited my passion for Doom after 10 years. Thank you Randy Heit for creating the most organic doom source port!

While doing some catch up and downloading WADS from http://www.doomworld.com/10years/bestwads/, I realized I need a wad manager + front end type of software. I tried ZDL (mentioned prominently on the zdoom download link), but found it to be somewhat lacking in feature and usability.

Thinking about this a bit more last night, I realized what I really need is a software to browse through my precious WAD collections and presents information in an easy to use way.

Is there a WAD browser/manager program that allows me to browse through my WADs?

1) some kind of interface like ITune that automatically searches through set directories and find all WADs and list it

2) display information about the WADs, filename, date, size, for the basics, but can also grep through the .txt files associated with the WAD and display more information from there.

3) tells me which map the WAD replaces. It's such a hassle looking at the .txt file to figure out what level the WAD replaces, and whether it's for doom/doom2 or whatever.

4) perhaps a level browser/preview screen? What you see when you load up any WAD editor. Perhaps even the wireframe view of DeeP or the 3D view of doom builder? This would allow you to sort of get a sense of the WAD before running it.

5) last but not least a launch screen that runs my favorite source port with the WAD at the specific level.

My google query hasn't turned up anything useful. Any recommendations?

Thanks.
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby Agent ME » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:54 pm

About sorting the wad for what game its for, you could separate your PWADs into folders depending on what game it's for (doom1, doom2, hexen, strife, etc). Just do this when you download the wad, and you're good.

Generally if you know what game the wad is for, you don't need to worry about what map it is - just do New Game and you should get to it. Any wads that aren't set up to work this way probably aren't worth your time.

If you didn't know, in windows, you can just drag and drop a wad onto the zdoom.exe to have it load. What I would do is open zdoom's folder and my wads' folder, and drag the wad across to zdoom. And most wads come with text files, so if you're curious about any wad, just open its text file next to it.

Not sure about any good launchers, I just run zdoom from the command line now on linux.
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby bagheadspidey » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:20 pm

Would you guys think I was totally nuts if I made a firefox plugin that does this? I've been thinking about something similar to this for a while, plus I want some kind of way to view, download and launch wads I don't have yet all in the same interface.
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby neoworm » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:40 pm

Best WAD manager -> Total commander and few folders.
(or better said Best file manager -> Total commander)

I keep my WADs sorted (even if it means that they are in "unsorted" folder) and I keep active wads in actual ZDooM directories (one for each game plus few testing ones) at minimum. I put aside all interesting WADs (weapons, monsters and other sources) right after downloading and only plain maps ends in the "unsorted" abyss of oblivion. I have like 8gigs of WADs and i can find all significant (=worth sorting) WADs in few minutes.
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby wildgoose » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:44 pm

bagheadspidey wrote: Would you guys think I was totally nuts if I made a firefox plugin that does this? I've been thinking about something similar to this for a while, plus I want some kind of way to view, download and launch wads I don't have yet all in the same interface.


Great idea! I was just thinking maybe I need to write my own. ;) What's the advantage of writing it as a firefox plugin?
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby bagheadspidey » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:56 pm

Advantages would be:

  • Cross-platform
    • XUL is a fully featured cross platform toolkit with a native look on win, lin, and mac.
  • Network enabled
    • All the networking dirty work is handled by firefox.
    • Easy one-click install from within the browser. No new programs, DLLs, installers, etc.
    • User doesn't need to change any firewall settings.
    • Automatic updates managed by firefox
  • Scriptable interface
    • Some of the program can be written in javascript.
    • Most of the interface can be done in HTML.
    • This means many users could potentially contribute to the application...
Disadvantages:

  • Firefox has a large memory footprint for this sort of tool
  • Firefox plugin api seems to be a bit of a moving target, so someone would have to maintain it. Unless this has changed?
  • Not everyone has firefox installed

The big deal with being network enabled is I want the thing to be able to pull info from idgames and other sources to allow the user to quickly view, download and play wads they haven't already got.

Also this could be a standalone app using xulrunner... if you have firefox 3 installed you have xulrunner. This would be a nice way to separate the launcher from the browser and still take advantage of the toolkit and the networking components.

I'd love to hear some opinions about this; I've been considering it for a while now.


edit: wildgoose, you mentioned iTunes; have you seen songbird? It uses firefox (really xulrunner) in the same way as I'm thinking about here.
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby Zaratul » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:01 pm

I registered in this forum because i want to post in sugestions about support for Plutonia 2 and suddenly i find this topic.
F1 for WAD browser.This should be really handy.
Maybe this menu when i run Zdoom(or GZdoom) should detect all WADs?
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Re: WAD manager/browser?

Postby wildgoose » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:23 pm

I just tried Songbird in a VM, nice app. Yes that's what I am thinking. A collection of WAD is similar to a collection of MP3s. I want to be able to find it, browse it, rate it, play it, group it, without affecting how I organize it on the HD. In addition I want to maintain a set of relationships (certain wads requires or best played with certain ports, etc).

I was even thinking about generalizing this app to allow plugins. in addition to organize and manage WADs, one can come up with additional plugins for other games, like Quake levels, etc. sort of like adding a .dll to 7-zip to allow it to handle one more format, but the overall feel and use of the app remains consistent.

I am using Google Chrome at work. I do have firefox running because I really like Chatzilla. I certainly don’t mind a XUL app, my concern is whether I can still run the app 10 years down the road when some new thing has replaced firefox. A native windows app would probably be the most compatible. Some additional random thoughts:

- open source, others can contribute and pick up if the main author decide to have other priorities. ;)

- can be run in portable mode (provide a .zip instead of a setup.exe)

- did I mention level map preview or 3D mode like Doom Builder? :)

One question about WADs. Is it possible to display the map of levels in the WAD without knowing what the corresponding IWAD is? (is it possible to display a map of xyz.wad without looking into doom.wad?) I am thinking about writing a small command line tool to dump the levels in the wad as an exercise..

Edit: found XWE. Exactly what I was thinking, a WAD browser. maybe the tool can just call XWE instead of reimplementing all these features... Would be nice if the map view is embedded inside the app instead of being external.
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