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Dark Side/DNSPU confusion

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Ironword
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
Posts: 69
Joined: 12 Mar 2016, 20:17

Subject: Dark Side/DNSPU confusion

Post Posted: 20 Mar 2016, 14:32

INTRODUCTION
============

The intertwining confusion of these two packs can really throw you for a loop before you finally sort out what seems to have happened. We have before us two separate archives, one entitled "DNSPU" and the other entitled "Dark Side", both obtained at http://www.oldunreal.com/maps/single/. It's the same series of maps, one with maps compiled in 2004 (darkside.zip) and the other with most (but not all) maps compiled in 2006 (dnspu.7z), as indicated by dates of files within each archive. However, these releases appear not to represent a clear-cut case of straight-ahead improvement from 2004 to 2006, for there are several points of confusion between them.

DATA
=====

Here is the way the maps fall out according to the UnrealSP review of this pack (legacy/community/reviews/darkside.html):

DNSPU1 - The Skaarj Castle
DNSPU2 - Temple of Pain
DNSPU3 - Research Facility
DNSPU4 - The Beginning of the End (a 3-pak; dnspu4 starts it out)
DNSPU5 - Temple of Rashig (2-pak)

The series of files in the main directory of the 2004 archive (darkside.zip) correspond to these as follows:

Dark_1.unr = Skaarj Castle (date: 2004)
Dark_2.unr = Temple of Pain (date: 2004)
Dark_3.unr = Research Facility (date: 2004)
Dark_4.unr = Beginning of the End 1 (date: 2004)
Dark_4-2.unr = Beginning of the End 2 (date: 2004)
Dark_4-3.unr = Beginning of the End 3 (date: 2004)
Dark_5.unr = Temple of Rashig 1 (date: 2004)
Dark_End.unr = Temple of Rashig 2 (date: 2004)

The contents of the 2006 release (dnspu.7z) are both somewhat different, and differently named:

dnspu1.unr = Skaarj Castle (date: 2006)
dnspu4.unr = Beginning of the End 1 (date: 1999)
dnspu4-2.unr = Beginning of the End 2 (date: 1999)
dnspu4-3.unr = Beginning of the End 3 (date: 2006)
dnspu5-1.unr = Temple of Rashig 1 (date: 2006)
dnspu5-2.unr = Temple of Rashig 2 (date: 2006)


DISCUSSION
=========

The 2004 pack is temporally consistent: all maps have the same 2004 date. Presumably they were all therefore updated and improved from the original piecemeal releases, as described in the UnrealSP review. In addition, this is a fuller release, with two more maps than the 2006 version.

The 2006 pack has two fewer maps: the ones that the 2004 release called "Dark_2" and "Dark_3" (Temple of Pain & Research Facility) are missing in 2006. Not only that, but unlike the previous release, two maps in this pack (dnspu4/Beginning of the End 1 & dnspu4-2/Beginning of the End 2) revert back to their original date of 1999! Presumably the 2004 versions had bugfixes--that's why the maps were recompiled for the 2004 release, one hopes--fixes which the 1999 versions obviously will not have.

So why would the maps be re-released in a 2006 pack with some of them further updated/upgraded from 2004, while others revert backward to presumably worse 1999 versions? WTH is going on?

ANALYSIS
=======

There are two clues to what happened here:

1. First, all the original early (1999) releases of these maps had names which are repeated in the 2006 release--"dnspu[X].unr". The original author (or whoever released the 2004 maps) renamed them. It seems unlikely that whoever did that (original author or not) would revert back to his old naming scheme in a subsequent release; ergo, the person who created the 2004 pack did not release the 2006 version.
2. The readme to the 2006 release, an extremely brief document, reads thus: "Fixed by Hyper[.] Teleporters to link maps to each other. Last map links to 'Nyleve'...."

Given these two factors, it looks like this is what happened: as the review here says, the author originally released these maps as standalone levels, only later releasing them in a single compilation, represented by the 2004 pack. And apparently this "Hyper" was a big fan of these maps; after he became hooked by dnspu1.unr, we may imagine him eagerly awaiting the next installments. Unhappily he failed to get his hands on dnspu2 & dnspu3 as they came out; and he never found out about the 2004 collection. That was something akin to a tragdy for such an enthusiast, because while he may not have had dnspu2 & dnspu3, what he did have he liked, and liked it a lot. So much, in fact, that he wanted to make the maps load into each other like a real pack should. So he recompiled the ones which needed to load the player onto a subsequent map (the maps which didn't have loaders at the end). As he carried out this labor of love, Hyper was fortunate enough to have two maps already in possession of working loaders--dnspu4 & dnspu4-2--because they had originally been released together with dnspu4-3 as a working three-pack. Therefore he didn't need to recompile them, and they stayed in their 1999 state. But all the others needed help. So he recompiled those. Finally, once again, the two maps he didn't have obviously could not be part of the project.

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONS
============================

That's my hypothesis, anyhow, and I hope it helps anyone else who comes across these two packs and starts getting puzzled. As to how to play these, if my hypothesis is correct, one should completely ignore the 2006 release. It seems to be a wholly fan-created pack, one which--unlike, presumably, the author's 2004 release--almost certainly has no bugfixes at all. We may confidently assume that it was created both in ignorance of the author's 2004 release and in contradistinction to the author's intentions. [Edit: well, maybe that last is not quite true in a legal sense, as Hyper did distribute the original readme's with with the files he included, and the readme's give permission for noncommercial distribution as long as the text file accompanies them. So maybe the recommendation at the end of this post ought to be viewed as more of a rant than a serious piece of policy. Nonetheless, Hyper has created a useless and timewasting archive which really should be taken down, as we have a fuller compilation by the author, and Hyper's competing and incomplete pack offers no compensating benefit such as the backward compatibility of the 2005/2015 Attacked pack (see viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3953).] If the administrators of this board have any influence with OldUnreal, they may wish to consider contacting the site and suggesting (in a friendly way, of course) that the administrator remove the dnspu.7z download.

FURTHER EDIT: The plot thickens. It has just struck me that neither of these packs may have been released by the original author, as the 2004 pack doesn't have a readme. It does have all the maps and so is better in that sense than Hyper's archive. But I have been assuming that simply because the 2004 pack, darkside.zip, contains all the maps and is the archive that was reviewed by UnrealSP (see the review's download, bottom of page), it is the original author's. Yet the absence of a readme may suggest otherwise. And if that is the case, we must ask why all the maps were recompiled. Without a readme, we have no idea--or at least a non-UnrealEd-using player like me has no idea, and no way to find out. If the 2004 archive was compiled to be backward-compatible, for example, it may well not play on my 227i install, and the Recommendation I made that the 2004 pack is to be preferred is negated. Caveat Emptor all 'round!

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Nali Priest Nali Priest
Posts: 7592
Joined: 11 Nov 2007, 21:00
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Subject: Re: Dark Side/DNSPU confusion

Post Posted: 20 Mar 2016, 19:29

Was there a proof that Jago himself released all the maps under Darkside?
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