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PSA wrt custom textures:
In case somebody asks how to include textures into their wads, it might be a good idea to ask why these textures need to be included in the wad to begin with. Or maybe just mention that it is entirely sufficient for a first or second ever map to point out that the map in question needs to be loaded alongside a texture pack like cc4-tex, for example.
I have had several cases in the last two weeks, in which a single map came with a whopping filesize of 13MB-14MB, because someone just slammed the entire cc4-tex into their wad for reasons unknown.
Eventhough we live in the era of fast internet and seemingly infinite space on harddrives, this is something I find to be rather annoying. Not only do some people not have infinitely large hard drives, some also have not so fast internet. Not to mention how pointless it is to download a texture pack several times over, just to be able to playtest and provide feedback.
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^None of this makes any sense in regards to texture packs.
When you grab stuff from realm667 and you toss like a dozen or so textures in when you probably only need 3, that's one thing. When you slam an entire exture pack like cc4-tex in, which basically everybody has, it's another.
There is no scenario in which cramming a texture pack that everybody has in a wad, prior to it being at least a release candidate. Since there's still tweaks and edits etc, you go through various iterations over time, and downloading something I already have like 8 times over is wasteful. That also counts for the mapper, in case there's backups of previous versions of a map etc.
When you're nearing release, or you have like a "public beta", I'm all for having the textures which are actually being used in the wad, because it's more convenient, until then though, there's no reason for single map (in boom format, mind you) being 14MB.
I don't have cc4-tex... I've heard about it just a handful of times and never had a need to look for it or download it.
That said, I didn't see anything about the level formats in the original post, nor about a texture WAD that was decided on ahead of time. In those particular cases, I can see where some frustration might come about. What's the speed of your connection that 14mb is a pain to download? I haven't worried about downloading that size of file since I was on a 28.8K and AOL.
It's not the speed that is the issue here for me in particular, eventhough my connection can be finnicky at times, it's the notion that my PrBoom+ folder almost doubled in volume in the last two months or so, if I look at wads alone, and most of that volume stems from stuff that was/is to be playtested. Which makes it so I constantly need to weed out older versions of wads, if I want to keep things in check there. That's a two sided issue, in case mappers keep former iterations of maps archived as well, doubly so if versions don't even have a date added, so you can tell what's what.
High download speed basically serves to amplify the actual problem, because at some point you wonder how your 0.7GB folder, which you kept relatively clean and primarily used for demos, could get close to 1.5GB or so. That's when you take a careful look around and wonder how a single map is larger than entire megawads. Then you open that wad in an editor and see like 1.4k different textures in it and realize "Oh, cc4-tex", and this is coming from a person who doesn't map that much or uses custom textures alot, if at all to begin with.
Wrt cc4-tex, maybe you should have a look at it, since you're working on things at the moment. Not sure if there's anything in it that you'd actually need, but just the different marble colours it has justify a brief glance, in my opinion.