Author Topic: Multiple disk image entries  (Read 1980 times)

Offline IguanaC64

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Multiple disk image entries
« on: December 04, 2012, 03:55:08 PM »
I had a question about issues with TOSEC and multi-disk games.  In my other post, I used the example of Alter Ego Male and Alter Ego Female...I think between these two games I have at least 30 separate zipfiles (and I've barely begun to scratch the library with Romcenter).  I was curious about TOSEC's position philosophically (will TOSEC allow this) and technically (will the dat utility handle this) on making a single zip file entry large multidisk games.  This would require clarification about the TNC as well if this is allowable.

This issue this resolves for me are:

1) It keeps releases together
2) It lowers the amount of files in your directories
3) It can reduce the main zipfile file length by not having the "(disk x of x)" part in your main directory
4) If it can work like MAME dats, you will be able pull in disks that were duplicates of disks in other releases (but keeps the release together in one file)

Problems

1) Does the TNC allow it
2) Will the TOSEC dat utility allow it
3) Issue #4 above would intentionally add duplicates into your main zip file from another collection which would have a name that wasn't release specific.

Another issue, if the above is allowable, is allowing extra files that came with a release in the zip file.  I know we keep documentation separate, but I'm curious about things like the upload templates, instructional text files, boxart, "nfo" files, etc that were included in the release...that if you wanted to keep the stuff from your sources as close to the original release as possible you could do it.  This would not include anything not in the original release on the Internet.

IMO, this would go a long way to making collections more manageable, easier to sort through, and for people, like myself, converting their collections make it easier to rename their files and be confident that files didn't get mixed around.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 08:37:38 PM by IguanaC64 »



Offline Duncan Twain

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Re: Multiple disk image entries
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 06:13:51 PM »
Both are feasible, I've been playing with the idea to have at least disksides combined this way. Any rom manager can handle it.

Good to start this discussion, I'm now adding > 40.000 files to the C64 collection and most of them are just 'duplicates' of already present files. Either allow them in the main collection, or have a seperate set of DATs covering those dups. By duplicates I don't mean cracks (as in your example), but plain simple disk-label changes.

PandMonium can you elaborate on this?

Offline PandMonium

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Re: Multiple disk image entries
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 01:03:16 PM »
Hey guys,

This is a bit tricky as usual, when it involves TNC. Since we cover so much different systems and software there are always specific problems that will arise. Anyway it could be obviously done, after all TOSEC is basically a cataloging project where we identify roms and save that information in a fixed format (the TNC for now) so it can be understood and used later. In the future and with enough time i would like to make it possible to have this information somewhere else too because there are a lot of things that can not be in the filenames.

The main issue is the amount of work needed to change things, because all the collection would need to be renamed. Most importantly, changes need to be careful because you may introduce more complexity and problems, just look to what happened to TNC until now :D

The things i like about following TNC are that, if every set follows the rules correctly, we can parse the fields automatically (which can be done already as you know). From that, with a bit of work one could pick a datfile, parse it and output a different datfile with different naming rules, excluding bad dumps or whatever. Unfortunately this isn't available now but hopefully something will be done in the next years.

Finally, about that specific change of grouping disks, it has good and bad consequences and you named most. Maybe Cassiel or other member (the elderly ones :D) will know better why the decision. Some important examples that may result in problems:
- There are releases (amiga for instance) of multi disk games, where you have 4 original disks (1 to 4), which would be grouped.
- Then, there are cases of the same software released by some group (cracked or whatever) but where only one disk was modified, so they share 3.
- In cases of multi disk games missing some disk (was not dumped yet or only a modified version exists), grouping will make it harder to know.
- The same can also happen with all other flags i guess. Two versions of the same software (Something v1.0 vs v1.1) might exist where only one disk is different. Maybe the same for video modes, languages and so on...

As you see, there are many things waiting to be broken by changing such a thing. Unfortunately nobody know every set/system so we would only found out by trying to use it. That's why IHMO the idea would be to automatize it and check the results for collisions/errors in the major dats. I quite like the idea of grouping it actually, or at least to have that possibility. The MAME dat thing you named is probably the "merged/split" relationship and would be cool too. The problem is playability, in mame it works well mainly because the emulator itself knows this. In this case we are only providing information about sets, users willing to play something would still need to get all the disks required, which in a grouped setup could be easier or harder, varies from case to case.

Concluding, the idea is interesting but hard to implement right away. We have tons of data already and changing it all manually (at once) is impossible - even automatically we can not make the required info appear magically. On the other hand, starting to do this now with future sets would not be a good solution too. IMHO the project needs to evolve in small steps, something that we've been planning for long (but the lack of available time is making it hard) is to create a better way to view and manage our information. This means to be able to view and decouple the information from the filename and add new info too (such as relationships you talked about and so on). Hopefully with that in place, changes like this will be possible and easy to implement.

(Sorry for the lack of organization in this post :P)

Offline Cassiel

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Re: Multiple disk image entries
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 10:58:06 AM »
Sorry for the lack of a long rambling response (or 'gift' as some might say LOL), but not sure this a great direction to be honest. Sounds cleaner in theory, but can be rather messy in practice.

Quote
Concluding, the idea is interesting but hard to implement right away. We have tons of data already and changing it all manually (at once) is impossible - even automatically we can not make the required info appear magically. On the other hand, starting to do this now with future sets would not be a good solution too. IMHO the project needs to evolve in small steps, something that we've been planning for long (but the lack of available time is making it hard) is to create a better way to view and manage our information. This means to be able to view and decouple the information from the filename and add new info too (such as relationships you talked about and so on). Hopefully with that in place, changes like this will be possible and easy to implement.

Agree... haven't really got the time to go into this right now, but "means to be able to view and decouple the information from the filename" bang on.

Offline Cassiel

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Re: Multiple disk image entries
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 11:01:33 AM »
Coming up with 'rules' as to what a valid group and what not gets messy I mean (ala GoodMerge) and not sure they even should be if actual media images anyway.

MAME and (redumped, not from copier) MESS dumps a slightly different situation for example.

Offline IguanaC64

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Re: Multiple disk image entries
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 05:33:16 AM »
Fair enough.  Thanks for the thoughtful answers.