TOSECdev Forum

TOSEC Project => General Discussion => Topic started by: C0llector on October 21, 2009, 08:25:43 AM

Title: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: C0llector on October 21, 2009, 08:25:43 AM
hmm first post, why not be a bit controversial :)

Well I may not be the first but I must admit I'm probably one of the happiest to say TIM R.I.P. Never did like the idea of being forced to use an application that I didn't particularly like even if you ignored all the bug's. As an original renamer on many different systems I always preferred to rename the files then scan them with CLrMame Pro to create the dat's required. Also preferred the option of generating a container file with multiple files within of different names, Lets face it some systems would be unusable without the files for an individual title retaining their own naming structure EG the TRS80 stuff.

So in some cases with regard to renaming it's not that important to rename the files but more sensible to rename the archive itself and leave the files as is.

Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: TKaos on October 21, 2009, 12:15:53 PM
Seems like I was the only one who liked TIM :D
Well to be honest it had alot bugs and I liked TUGID alot more because it was faster but TIM was/is nice for DAT generating and it was more user friendly than the other option (clrmame).
But now I'm using clrmame too since 2 years and I got used to it, it's also alot nicer due to it's speed. :)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: PandMonium on October 21, 2009, 12:26:50 PM
Hi C0llector,

don't be so happy, we could get back to it just to haunt you :P
Anyway i understand what you said, not that i think there aren't better ways to do our work and so on, but i know having datfiles imported to TIM and then updates released there wasn't great, not because of the idea, since dats could be exported from TIM to romcenter, clrmame or xml but because TIM was really bugged and it kept broken TNC in sets and in the last years started delaying releases because there were bugs waiting to be fixed.

About the 2nd part, there are dats where roms are also renamed and others where roms aren't and keep using original names, the idea is that IF for any reason that wasn't done then the renamer failed there :P
And all failed somewhere, in content, tnc names, this part, the formats stuff or other stuff, you too should have inserted errors even if small and that's what we want to clear now :)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: Cassiel on October 21, 2009, 12:57:55 PM
I liked TIM too, it’s just that the ambitions for it far FAR exceeded the capabilities of those coding it.

I’m not arguing that it was (is) better than Roman’s CMP, but the reasons for it’s existence were solid. Remember when the plan was to have screenshots, links to instruction manuals and other media, ability to check TNC, ability to suppress b's, o's, h's etc? All good stuff….

Don’t be so quick to dismiss TIM (as a principle at least!), it may get resurrected one day…..
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: C0llector on October 22, 2009, 10:55:37 AM
Don't get me wrong I'm not dismissing TIM as such, I just believe it was the wrong tool in the wrong place at the wrong time. At the time that TIM was in development most people were already renaming files manually and scanning directories via CMP there were utils available to compare dats and generate a diff dat so you could easily identify what was added or removed from an update which was very usefull. TIM tried and failed to be the ONE util to be everything for everyone and did delay releases, generate different dats to a simple scan of a directory via CMP and contain quite a few bugs. CMP doesn't try to do everything and does achive what it sets out to do (at least as far as I'm concerned).

Regarding the comments about TIM for integrating the images, Magazines books etc, yes it would have been nice but I think it was a step too far. Yes I would like to see a standalone utility that contains or links into a directory structure containing the neccesary images, documents but not necessarily the game's themselves. This would be to create a universal System/Software encylopedia. Not restricted to a single system and not restricted to software that had been renamed/downloaded from the internet. There are several exceptional sites out there that do an excellent job of covering individual machines and there are some that try to cover multiple machines. But it would be nice to have an offline system that you could browse at your leisure.

Anyway it's nice to see some activity on this site hopefully it'll grow and get a few new members and turn into a usefull community.
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: PandMonium on October 22, 2009, 11:48:02 AM
I tend to agree with you and wasn't a member before, TIM failed due to the fact that it wasn't really well planed, they just throw like all the tools and features they would have ever wanted to a TODO and then someone started coding it right away, to get things worse they did an awful job coding it (lack of plans/designing what and how things would work).
It would be much better if they splitted it out in smaller tools and never enforce them (we try to do this not when needed), most of the renamers never used TIM for anything and kept doing it manually, either renaming files or editing the datfiles in a text editor and then generating them with cmp (idoru for example), unfortunately after this, all dats were compiled and imported to TIM, which parsed the filename (with a lot of errors here) and introduced them in a DB (one of the worst dbs i've ever seen :P), delaying releases/work and inserting even more errors.
The few useful features it offered was creating the folder structure and the mass rebuilder (since it used a full db it had the advantage of not having to run a scan N times (where N is the number of datfiles) but just 1.

It failed to archive the most important aspects and most needed tools imo, having a tool to check and report Naming Convention errors (which would had avoid introducing a ton of the current errors), a small tool that could generate/manage the folders between dat updates, maybe generate cmp configs, and even the renamer tool would be useful in a small and simple app to some new renamers get used to TNC and especially the flags order.

About the 2nd part, off course it would be great but we should think one step at a time, not that there aren't plans and things like that going on, not to create a full offline app currently but some things to help us fixing errors and improve the general quality of information :P
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: wattie on April 18, 2010, 11:11:00 AM
Hello everybody,

as the initial author of TIM I would like to tell something about the idea behind TIM.

TIM originally wasn't ever intended to be a rom manager or being released for public use.
At these times Grendel set release dates for dats to be released to public. Renamers delivered their dats to Grendel where he was going to package everything for the release. It was always alot of work to get this done, because not everybody too care about the headers of the dats, naming of the dat files and so on.
So once I coded a little tool for Grendel which made the process of this a bit easier. Grendel somehow liked the idea and came up with alot of ideas to have a tool for renamers which checks the dat files for validity of the TOSEC standard.
More and more ideas came up till TIM ended up in a renaming and dat creation tool for renamers.
The intention was, that TIM only creates dat files which where valid by TNG, and this was the point where problems raised up.
We saw that alot of dats had alot of errors regarding the naming standard by TNG.
It was a pin in the a** to took care of the many ways files where named in different ways.

At the same time Grendel wanted to go further than "just" releasing dats. He wanted to set up a website which gives the ability to browse through all the files from the dats and have the ability to include additinal information like screenshots, box art, manuals etc....
Also it should had been possible to generate dat files on the fly from what currently is in the db.

So quickly the idea behind TIM evolved to have a tool which makes it possible to the renamers to submit updates online through TIM to the online db, and users being able to get this updates anytime when using TIM. Also everybody should had been given the ability to submit any kind of additional information to the online db.

So we started to work on the Rommanager part. Unluckily it was just me who had to take care of TIM and the online db and website stuff.
I have to agree that ideas what TIM and all the rest should be able to do was simply too much for one person to take care of. More and more things got added but this is what made the whole code like a whole mess, as the initial idea was something completely different. We tried to add features and functionally to a tool which wasn't "designed" to do things like this.

I agree that many great ideas came up by Grendel and other people, but it was simply too much to get things directed to a good way. At the end it was just adding some code that just does what we wanted to do, but we weren't able anymore to get things to the right way....

It ended up that because of RL stuff I had to give up anything related to it and somehow lost contact to grendel.

Anyway, it was a nice experience and I learned to know alot of nice people involved to TOSEC (idoru is still alive and active?)

By "accident" I stumbled across the new TOSEC home and it's nice to see that some activities are still going on. Also nice to see that still some people active I remember from the past....

BTW, is still somebody taking care of the CPC and C64 dats? That had been the dats I initially got involved to TOSEC as a renamer and they still somehow draw the point of my attention :)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: idoru on April 18, 2010, 11:35:57 AM
lo wattie, long time no see ;)

alive & active (although not very publically lately, lots of stuff to show-off with later in the year hopefully though!) - some related & some not so related to here
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: PandMonium on April 18, 2010, 04:07:14 PM
Hi wattie, nice to have you here :)

Good post with some nice details about TIM history. I've started messing with TIM really late when nobody was around anymore so i didn't know part of that. Like you said, the main problem IMHO was the lack of design/planing, it just kept evolving to something that was needed at a given time. It became very complex (in a bad way :P) and very inefficient for almost anything it was supposed to do well and maintaining it was near impossible so it got discontinued.

Anyway, we still pursue some of those ideas but since most are very time consuming or complex and we lack manpower. Currently we have a small app to check and point each setname for errors (particularly about the naming convention) and with that we've fixed almost all from every dat (there are 5-10 that are related to some unclear points yet).

Other ideas are also alive but going really slow (or halted until i can get a server to play since my other computer is almost gone now). Hope we can get it ready one day :)

As for all other questions:
Most of the old guys disappeared, idoru is still active and working, he also has some stuff going on and i hope he can work it out some day (end of the year it seems)
I'm not sure if TKaos or Cassiel are related with CPC, for C64 there were some changes but for now just some small fixes. C64 dats have some problems according to our naming convention [scene groups separation for example] so they will need to be fixed eventually once someone (TKaos i think) has the time.
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: wattie on April 18, 2010, 04:33:58 PM
yo idoru,
yes some time has passed, nice to see you still around ;)

and hello PandMonium,
sounds like "new team - old problems" ;)

I remember c64 dats have always been one of the bigger problems, not only due the amount of files.
If you guess could still need some help and have some undone renaming job left for an oldtime renamer, let me know and I'm willing to bring in some helping hands....

Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: PandMonium on April 18, 2010, 05:16:40 PM
You got it, we will always have lack of time and this last month and the next 3 will be really busy with me finishing my thesis :(
Some other members are also really busy currently that's why we are less active lately.

Any help is always welcome off course. Also discussion and suggestions around here are already great to keep us improving things :)
As usual, i don't know much details about most of our systems and C64 is no different but in few words:
The part of checking TNC errors, datnames, headers and all that stuff was already done (there can be a few mistakes still). Since there were times of many sets added with little verification we wanted to make the available data more correct instead of focusing in adding new dumps (and dupes :P). This takes really a lot more than what we wished and is not even slower until i can get my computer back up or some alternative. It consists in verifying the used data like invalid scene groups, sceners, titles and publishers that unfortunately are really bad in some areas, from inconsistent names between sets to errors that can't be explained at all ;D

TKaos was working a bit on C64 so i will wait to see what he has been doing and if he needs something, i can't guide you much now (i'm "working" currently :P) because i'm busy and don't have access to something that i need.

Anyway keep around, i might get something running again sooner or later.
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: wattie on April 18, 2010, 07:36:36 PM
Never mind, I will be around again and if you got something just let me know ;)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: idoru on April 19, 2010, 07:09:27 AM
Most of the old guys disappeared, idoru is still active and working, he also has some stuff going on and i hope he can work it out some day (end of the year it seems)

Not just me working on "things", but you really don't wanna see how in-depth some of the research is that's being done to prove/disprove theories/rumours/technical documents/etc..  It makes my heard hurt, just glad some of the team are considerably more advanced than me in this sort of thing ;)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: PandMonium on April 19, 2010, 04:59:56 PM
Yes you've already told me some time ago, i'm really looking for it, sounds really interesting :)
Title: Re: TIM Dead (Hooray)
Post by: Vaxalon on November 23, 2010, 11:27:33 PM
Some of us are still lurking around in the background waiting to see if their is a renaissance :) So..lurking...ex spectrum game!