Written by MaxOfS2D
April 2, 2013 – 07:19
Yesterday, the Source Filmmaker received an update to add Steam Workshop integration. “Great!”, I thought. But as I took a look at the wiki pages, my enthusiasm quickly faded.
Long story short: as it stands right now, it’s just far easier for everyone involved to just download a .zip file off of a web server somewhere.
Valve went and implemented the workshop in what I could qualify as pretty much the worst way possible to do it. It’s easy to see why they did it; they wanted to prevent conflicts between models and make SFM keep track of the SteamIDs of creators for the new automated credits feature… but the execution leaves to be desired.
First off, SFM restricts you to three folders, where “123456789″ is your SteamID:
If you’re a model creator, this means you have to manually edit your model’s QC and VMTs to use this path. Not very practical when you have dozens of models, each with more than a handful of VMTs… but here’s where it gets really fun: you are not allowed to reference anything outside of these folders.
Want to reference an animation MDL that’s sitting outside of your UGC folder?
Want to reference a shared VMT, like
The uploader will analyze your models and will strictly refuse to do anything with it if anything the model references sits outside your arbitrarily-assigned folder. This really sucks.
You could argue that it’s nice to prevent people to re-upload stuff they got off GameBanana, but decompiling never stopped anyone, and this puts the burden on the uploader… it’s treating the wrong end of the problem.
Second, it’s messy for the end-user; you get a whole new bunch of mod directories that show up in the model browser…
… some of which don’t have anything in by default — so why have them display in the first place? And you can’t really tell where things are going to land when you download them; Valve’s own sample addons seem to fall outside those UGC constraints, which sorta defeats the point of having addons to show off the system.
It would be far simpler if all workshop downloads went into a single folder that overrides what’s below it (whether or not “usermod” would take priority could be a setting, or the file order could be displayed clearly in a window of the SFM UI) and the SteamID string of numbers was not something to be stored in the model itself, but something managed by the Source Filmmaker directly in its file system code.
There are many ways this could have been implemented, and I don’t think there are a lot that could have been more of a let down.
Contrast this with Garry’s Mod’s implementation of the Steam Workshop, where it’s one-click installation, shows up where you can expect it, and doesn’t put such really weird arbitrary constraints on both the uploader & end-user, while avoiding the aforementioned problems.
It’s like no lessons were learned from the automated TF2 item compiler, which is the bane of heavy workshoppers. (it has never worked.)