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 Post subject: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:16 pm 
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Hi everyone, time for a number of poll questions to determine the future of the forum.


What suggestions or ideas do you have for the forum, what are your thoughts in general?
This is an open topic.

Also make sure to answer the following other questions:
Question 1: How often do you come here?
Question 2: What age are you in years?
Question 3: Why do you come here?
Question 4: Should the forum continue?
Question 5: Do you give credit to the forum?

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:46 pm 
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I think the fact that there even exists a forum dedicated to the research of game file formats is amazing. This forum is like an oasis in a desert.


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:16 pm 
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33% of my programming knowledge is based on the posts from this forum. It is wonderful place for begginers and professionals too. Things should stay as they are in this moment. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:22 pm 
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I've definitely put <insert Xentax related forums/apps/stuff here> to the test on games in the past, but frankly have found it somewhat lacking in terms of resolving my issues with newer games. Modding in general is catching on, so a lot of newer games come with tools to do just that.
Where Xentax could still provide useful help is in the exceptions - pulling models from Mass Effect to use for cosplay templates or the like.

One thing that always comes to mind when I read the words "Game Research Forum" is the idea of research into the more abstract aspects of gaming and video games. Forward-looking research into what games actually mean and do and how they can be improved and leveraged for particular purposes. As a developer - I want a "Game Research Forum" where we study and discuss and research things like improving player involvement, emotional or psychological investment, avoiding the uncanny valley in graphics quality (or the importance of graphics quality in the first place). What are games going to look like in 5 years? What should games look like in 5 years? How can we develop those games?

I suppose that's a bit too far away from what Xentax was created for or what most people use it for. But those three words kind of inspire that in me. I would LOVE to be part of a forum or "think tank" that ontologically brooded over the nature of video games and their relationship to the human condition.


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:32 pm 
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All I can think about is doing something about this antiquated Subsilver look that looks too much like a vanilla phpbb installation with a duke on top

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean a photoshop filter style with gifs and outdated modern looks tacked onto it standard for "cool theme skins", and I don't mean a mobile-focused web 3.0 site excising functionality and having javascript ajax popups demanding your email obscuring everything, either.


I don't go here much anyway so take this with a grain of salt. I'm only here occassionally for exporting pipeline issues (with original work) which I haven't really ran into much of lately. Xentax is the only forum I get emails from.

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:43 am 
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Just based on question 4 I get the feeling that the interest in maintaining the website is waning. But, it does have a rather unique place in the internet, being focused on reverse engineering existing game files. I don't know of any other site that is remotely comparable.

I'm probably one of the older members on the forum, but one thing I noticed is that the information people have on reverse engineering is pretty tightly guarded. I understand why; it takes a lot of time and effort to crack these nuts sometimes. I ended up learning and creating my own tool to get Cryengine files as a result of not getting very far asking others for help (posted under the general tools section!). And then I posted it up on github so everyone else can take a look, extend it, etc. Not that anyone has yet, but in theory it's there! Most of the other tools people use here aren't shared as freely. Just the tool itself, and none of the parts that could help people learn.

I get it. We spend a lot of time and want credit for what we've done. But there does seem to be a silo mentality around this information, and to just give it away to someone who doesn't know the difference between a pointer and an int... yeah. You'll always run into those people; they don't want to learn; they just want to do. But they are an essential (and inevitable) part of any group.

I don't know... I haven't been here long. But this site gave me the encouragement to develop my own tool. Not because people were willing to teach, but because they weren't. It would be a shame if it went away.

It probably does need a rebranding and a look refresh. Maybe make this the go to place for mods like Skyrim, Kerbal or Fallout type games. The programming side, to complement the data side. A whole new audience of people looking to figure out how to make useful mods on top of accessing game files.

There is no easy answer, but I'd consider it a big loss if the site went away.


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:23 am 
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If you're looking for a community based around this kind of stuff, Xentax is really one of the only places for it. I mean, between the collection of very talented and knowledgeable people in a setting based on helping each other out and sharing knowledge, there is something extremely valuable here.

If nothing else, just the information and work done here in these forums are extremely valuable, if Xentax was to ever go and no backup/archive was left in it's place it would really be a very sad loss..


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:07 am 
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Xentax is a wonderful place I would hate to see it go.

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:51 am 
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I'm a translator, and I translate games as a hobby and to help others play the games they love, or to introduce them to awesome games. Sometimes it's not easy, because I need new tools, programs and such to even be able to edit a game's files.

When I first came here it was about some PSP stuff I guess, back in the days. Then I first posted on how to extract XNB font files from Magicka. Lots of people were helpful, and even I learned a thing or to, but sadly I'm not a coder, and I find it hard to learn. That's why most of the time I create topics to ask people to help me.

I know that people do this on their own free will, but I've made topics noone answered, so I've put a little incentive saying I'll pay them for it. Not so long after a new rule came out stating you can't ask for money or pay people to do these programs. I know it's illegal, but giving something in return is in my nature, and I think it will drive the community forward. Yeah, it may be a small amount, but giving appreciation other than a little "Thank you!" might be good for some people.

With that being said, I still visit these forums weekly, looking for new methods on newer and older games, too. I create topics asking for help, and I get help most of the time.

In general, I love this place, and it helped me out a lot, and I learned a thing or two with game translations. Thanks guys! :)


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:14 am 
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You ask about the future, but you aren't just asking out of curiosity... Ain't no fortune teller around i fear, but let me tell ya my personal thoughts...

If Money is a Problem then maybe the Hosting is too expensive? I used to have a Forum with well over 20,000 members hosted on lunarpages, costed me 4.95 USD per month and i got actually much more donations from users.

If time is a Problem as in doing phpbb updates, backups, etc - then i suggest ask the users, I am sure you could find a Veteran user who would gladly take over.

Xentax is pretty unique, there's no other Forum or Website that could fill the gap if it closed down.


Whatever your reasons are to play the "might give up" Card - I'd really appreciate it if you would give the Forums into "Good Hands", i.e. someone here who is really "dedicated" to what we do here and Long enough here and well respected by the community.


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:40 am 
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I.

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Last edited by zaykho on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:27 am 
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People come to xentax for model extraction scripts (32,000 and 26,000 posts in Game Archive and 3D Models respectively), and the releases here have really slowed down a bit. I don't really post any tools anymore because I've seriously gotten bored of the "find vertex buffer," "find index buffer," "find bind pose matrices," etc. routine. After a while it gets really boring and then you ask yourself, "Why are you wasting your life away like this?" I think even Chris has gotten bored too. Don't you have a PhD in Biochemistry or something like that Mr. Mouse? Don't you ask yourself when you make those MexScript (or MultiEx or whatever it's called) Youtube tutorial videos on extracting data from archives, "Why am I doing this simple shit when I have a PhD?" and "Why am I sitting here finding offsets in some hex file and dumping its contents to a file, for which any CS201 student can do?" Don't take this the wrong way Mr. Mouse, as I have a lot of respect for you, Chris, Rich, and all the other guys who do stuff here, but when I watched you on that Neptunia extraction video I cringed thinking this guy has a PhD. It was like seeing a doctor (who is supposed to do surgery) doing the job of a nursing assistant (cleaning up poop from some fat patient's ass).

So the site needs some new blood, some new people every once in a while, and the forum really hurt itself with the donation paywall and the mass deletion of links (which also deleted some tools too). Also, the removal of Noesis, for which Rich used to come here often enough to give people good advice. The site can't stand with a few active members writing all the tools, as this site has become dependent on the same few members who are willing to work on multiple games (since there aren't enough new people who come here to do just one game). Also, the loss of Luigi too maybe could have been handled better and in a more friendly way as well. Well, a lot has happened here the last year or two, and I'm not sure how the site could be made back to the way it was 4 or 5 years ago, but I'd start with getting Rich and Luigi back on the site he he he.

Meh, I'm rambling now.


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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:31 pm 
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Last edited by zaykho on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:45 pm 
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yeah, I've had this strange feeling from the very beginning of this year that 'something' is going on.
Too few members who contribute too many who only come to have some of their wishes fulfilled.

Too many of them seem to expect it as 'a service' that they are entitled to.
It's a 'spirit of age' or of a new generation, I guess.

I'd like to thank Mr.Mouse for his tremendous efforts to keep this forum going on all these past years.

But if you feel 'done' then your done. That's my only advice.

Though I'd feel very sad to see this forum closing down.
There's no similar place in the web for me.

And though my spare time is a little bit limited I've often tried to share my (poor) knowledge with newcomers.

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 Post subject: Re: The future of the forum: Ideas, suggestions and general.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:01 pm 
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Perhaps reaching out for a greater amount of media attention. Game file research is controversial, in a way you are breaking into files which for a reason are encrypted, but controversy is also a great way to get heared. I think that many modding communities which are desperately trying to mod a game would greatly prosper from knowing better that this forum is out there. If you can, in example, have your forum connected to some breakthroughs in a game with a big title, say Grand Theft Auto or a difficult-to-mod MMORPG, the internet will not only flock to this forum, but you'll have a strong position for financing aid, reaching out to potential modders and even media coverage when need be.



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