COMM | Official End of Development for ME3Explorer Feb 1, 2019 22:07:36 GMT crazyrabbits likes this
Post by Admin on Feb 1, 2019 22:07:36 GMT
Hey, everyone. We have some news to share
A RECENT RETROSPECTIVE
Three years ago, back in early 2016, we almost made the announcement we're about to make. It had been close to two years since a stable release of ME3Explorer. Most tools in the toolset had been without a developer for close to 6 months. Bugs were piling up and testers were almost nonexistent. Warrantyvoider had left a year earlier, and while Heff and SirCxyrtyx had filled in for a short while and done some great work, both had gone AFK. Kfreon and Giftfish were holding the fort, working hard to fix the bugs in the texture tools and ModMaker while attempting to ensure everything stayed functional between texture replacement and this new thing called, "DLC mods".
ME3Explorer v2.0 was a long, difficult, frustrating, and draining slog. We figured once it was finished, it was going to be time to call it a day.
And then SirCxyrtyx returned.
Sir's return, combined with the move of the toolset to GitHub around six months earlier, resulted in a brief, but important, rebirth of the toolset. Version 2.0 was finally released in April 2016 with the most stable texture tools that had ever existed--not to mention improvements to many of the other tools. In addition, the toolset GUI, which had been suffering serious neglect since its inception in 2013, finally saw a significant amount of tidying. Things were easier to find, more functional, and the toolset was no longer quite such an eyesore.
At this point, Kfreon felt it was a good time to step back. The three tools he managed were now as stable as they were going to get. Burnout had set in long prior, and due to the underlying code of his tools, any further changes jeopardized the stability of the rest of the toolset. They needed a full rebuild on their own, to be re-merged with the toolset only upon ensuring stability and compatibility. That was going to be a large project he wasn't ready to tackle, yet.
From there, it was full steam ahead, with several more beta releases by SirCyxrtyx. Many existing tools saw drastic improvements, old tools were culled, new ones were made, and in preparation for v3.0, we began transitioning the UI framework from Winforms to WPF. We also sought input from the community and had Giftfish re-design the entire toolset GUI. Version 3.0, released in October 2016, was not only the most advanced and complete the toolset had ever been -- it had never looked better.
After 3.0, development again slowed dramatically. Kfreon had already stepped away, and at that point, Sir went AFK again, as well. Giftfish held the fort for the next year and some change, until a brief return by Sir in early 2018. The final beta release for ME3Explorer, 3.1.2, was released on April 30th 2018.
Almost a year later, Kfreon and Giftfish are now making the announcement they planned on making in early 2016:
ME3Explorer is officially in legacy mode. We're calling an official end to development (EOD) and are closing up shop.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
It means the main repository of the toolset on GitHub will see no further code contributions and people can consider this the end of toolset development. ME3Explorer will remain as is. Modders will want to continue to use the most recent 3.1.2 Beta, and users will want to stick with the 3.0 Stable.
Folks can also look at other "forks" of the toolset that may be under more active development. (All forks are reachable by navigating to the main repository.) It's important to keep in mind that every fork is managed by a different coder. Those coders may have different coding standards, different development styles, and different goals and priorities than we've had. While we often field questions from the coders of these other forks, we aren't directly involved in development. In short, they are "ME3Explorer", but they are, essentially, different versions of the same program. Similar to how LineageOS is a fork of Android, and LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice.
Our ME3Explorer, the parent community and main repository, has a variety of associated websites. Here's how EOD will affect each one:
These forums will remain open for the existing community. New registration has been locked and all users with zero posts have been purged. This will minimize problems with inappropriate usernames, spam and other unwanted posts, etc. Folks who are present and have been participating on the forums are free and encouraged to continue.
If you're a new toolset user navigating here and have located this message, you'll be able to read the forum, but not register or post. If you have additional modding questions, you'll want to pursue them with other communities, such as Nexusmods or more active forks of ME3Explorer.
We'll be posting a brief announcement and removing the Issues tab. Folks will no longer be able to report bugs or suggest changes. Other than that, GH will remain as is. The toolset is open source. Anyone who wishes to fork it and continue development is able to do so.
Giftfish will attempt to finish any articles currently on the wiki, as well as deal with any that are still awaiting editing. This will take awhile, so please be patient. We don't anticipate adding any new articles beyond this.
There will be no changes to Nexus. All stable releases will continue to be hosted there for download.
The Discord server will be deleted a week from today. Activity has slowed dramatically, and it's seeing little use. Discord is also a poor medium for preserving content, following long/detailed exchanges, posting tutorials, and the like. If folks want to continue to converse and ask modding questions, they can do so on the forum. A week is plenty of time to send friend requests and make any other arrangements.
A MOMENT OF THANKS
There are a lot of people to thank, so please bear with us as we take the time to do so.
Warrantyvoider. WV lead the development of the toolset from its inception in 2013 through 2014, and into early 2015. He remains the father of the toolset and it's likely that none of this would have happened without him. Every modder and mod user owes him a debt of thanks.
Fog.Gene. Fog helped erect the initial ME3Explorer wiki, and after we lost our hosting a couple years later, he and Giftfish created the new one. Fog.Gene also contributed code to the toolset.
Heff. Heff helped with the transition to GitHub, creation of the web portal, and worked with Fob on getting texture replacement to work with DLC mods. He also stepped in to lead development for a short time.
JohnP. JohnP figured out that mods could be implemented as DLC. While not a contribution to the toolset, per se, it changed the trajectory of modding for ME3 and impacted how the toolset was developed from that day forward. JohnP also made a few code contributions to the toolset.
MrFob. The toolset's origins are inherently tied to the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle and Fob's drive to create a better ending for the community. Fob also contributed code to the toolset, was integral in getting texture replacement to work with DLC mods, and created the AFC Creator--a tool that filled a major hole in toolset functionality.
Ottemis. Otte has been a moderator on the toolset forum almost since it existed. From 2013-2014, she worked tirelessly to help answer questions, provide support, troubleshoot problems, and work with Kfreon to test and develop the texture tools and ModMaker. While she hasn't been around regularly since then, she still pokes her head in on occasion and remains a prominent modding fixture in the community.
TankMaster. TM did some excellent work on several external tools that were eventually rolled into the toolset to create the Plot, Coalesced, and TLK Editors.
Thanks also to the following folks who contributed code: AmaroK86, Eudaimonium, Saltisgood, Aquadran, BCSWowBagger, ErikJS, Femshep, and Ashley66444.
We also appreciate the following programmers who authored 3rd party code (used with permission): Bernhard Elbl, Eliot, Gibbed, Gildor, DerPlaya, Gocek, Hcs64, Jean-Loup Gailly, Mark Adler, John33, Newtonsoft, Nvidia, Piccolo Team, RS, and TheFeckless.
Finally, thanks to our modders. Without modders, there's no reason to make modding tools. So thank you, especially, to the content modders who helped establish modding for Mass Effect 3 and the trilogy. Texture and coalesced modding had already existed for ME1 and ME2, but it's mesh and content modding that changed the game for ME3 and led to ME3Explorer's growth. A huge thank you to the pioneers who used the toolset to create great things: AVPen, Deager, ELE08, Giftfish, Inquiring, JohnP, Kinkojiro, Mimi, MrFob, and Ottemis.
While there's always a chance that development will resume, we consider this unlikely. If so, it would be at Sir's discretion; the shop could then be re-opened.
It's rare for any community to last forever, and ours is no different. Retaining staff for free, open source software projects is notoriously difficult. People are excited at first, but that enthusiasm tends to dwindle quickly. People scatter, leaving a few others to carry an even heavier load. We've struggled for a long time. 2013-2014 was our most active period, and our most stable period. For such a small modding community, we've had a great run. We created an advanced modding community for a trilogy which had no official modding tools. That's quite a feat.
We wish everyone well and hope you continue to enjoy helping each other and keeping in touch on the forum. If folks need to reach us, feel free to shoot a PM on these forums. We'll be around...here and there.
Good luck and thanks for the ride!
-Kfreon and Giftfish