Post news RSS Introducing the content downloading system (DL) for UG-MP in 4.2

A lot of people who played SA-MP may recall a special version which allowed server developers to make their own custom assets which players will download automatically when connecting to said server. This content management system is widely known in the SA-MP community as DL, and it’s coming to UG-MP. We personally have received a lot of requests to bring this feature to UG-MP, and also contemplated introducing the feature for quite some time.

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Introducing the content downloading system (DL) for UG-MP in 4.2

A lot of people who played SA-MP may recall a special version which allowed server developers to make their own custom assets which players will download automatically when connecting to said server. This content management system is widely known in the SA-MP community as DL, and it’s coming to UG-MP. We personally have received a lot of requests to bring this feature to UG-MP, and also contemplated introducing the feature for quite some time.

What does DL offer?

Simply put, with DL you can offer the following content via DL:

  • Custom (map) models
  • Custom (map) models which only appear during a specific time
  • Custom skins

In order to avoid unnecessary downloads, a caching layer exists so players only have to download the files once. Rather use SA-MP DL directly, we built our own DL entirely from scratch. We did so for technical reasons.

Furthermore, scripting functionality exists which allows you to host the assets on a CDN for higher download speeds.

Advantages of using UG-MP DL over SA-MP DL

We offer the same features as SA-MP DL, but also allow server owners to add entire maps. This is something SA-MP DL simply was not designed for, as SA-MP DL simply loads all models in memory and keeps them loaded until you stop playing. This of course results in high memory usage, and you still have to use mapping to place down your map. Furthermore, functionalities offered by SA-MP are simply not designed to handle entire maps.

In short, if you, on SA-MP, decided to load in the GTA:VC map for example, you’re going to have a hard time. From a development perspective, it simply isn't worth it. Fortunately, on UG-MP, you will not run into the same problems. Heck, we even took things a step further:

  • UG-MP DL can work with the exact same files the GTA games use to store their map data in. Adding maps from existing mods such as Gostown Paradise, Criminal Russia, Alien City, or VCS:PCE thus becomes incredibly easy as you don't have to edit the mod files. In most cases they will work out of the box.
  • The game will only read the files when it needs to. This results in very little RAM usage.
  • You can even add garages, interior entry exit markers, audio zones (such as the ones within the stadium interiors which play a certain radio station). How cool is that?!
  • Take full advantage of LODs - low quality versions of your models which appear in the place of the high quality of models to make your map visible from a distance without negative performance drawbacks.
  • You indirectly benefit from our years of experience in working on this mod. UG-MP is able to detect a lot of common modding problems and point them out to the server developer.

DL in action

In order to properly test DL, we loaded in the Gostown Paradise mod. Keep in mind that we don’t plan on including this mod into GTA: Underground; we simply use it for testing purposes.

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Future expansions of DL

The fun doesn’t stop with bringing SA-MP DL to UG-MP and let people add entire maps of their own. We are kicking things into overdrive with numerous expansions which are coming in future updates. Here are a few expansions we plan to add:

  • Vehicle DL - it will allow server developers to add custom vehicles for their servers
  • Timecycle DL - ever since Snapshot 4 it is possible to add your own server-side weathers, but the feature hasn't been used much in part due to the learning curve. Now, what if we made things easier and let you create your timecycle.dat file on singleplayer with fastman92's in-game timecycle editor, and allowed you to load that file directly, rather than use the more complex natives? This is what timecycle DL would be.
  • Handling DL - or server-side vehicle handling, has been on our backlog for a long time. It is an idea that would let server developers customize vehicle handling data as they see fit. This means they can change the top speed, drag resistance, which tuning garage type is needed to modify it, and so on. The idea is to let you maintain your handling.cfg file for your server and let the players download it.
  • Water DL - would allow you to map out areas you can swim in, and where boats can travel. Instead of simply controlling the water height, the idea is to let you customize a water.dat file and let the client download it. Existing water mappings which are there by default could also be customized.
  • Object DL - is all about props. If you want to make breakable props of any kind, they need to be configured using Object DL. It would involve the ability to edit object.dat on the server side and would allow server developers to customize object configuration data as they see fit.
  • Vehicle audio DL - as the name suggests is all about the ability to customize vehicle audio. You would be able to change the audio track of a vehicle to another pre-existing track, again via a text file you could edit on the server side.
  • Weapon DL - would give server developers the ability to add their own weapons and configure them using several files which the client can download. It would also allow existing weapons to be customized.
  • Animation DL - would allow server developers to add their own unique animations which their gamemode can use.
  • Emergency light DL - which would exploit a modification to the game engine UG makes to allow more control over the flashlights emergency vehicles use.

A release date for Snapshot 4.2

In other news, we are proud to announce a release date for Snapshot 4.2 - specifically the 20th of July. That's right - the release is but a mere two weeks away. We will put up a new article when the new update goes public.

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