Having just experienced this issue yet again, I have decided to start a discussion about a recurrent problem which I feel needs to be seriously looked at by the members of this community and this forum, one which should have raised concern and should have been addressed long before now. Each time a game is released, or is modified to allow us to enjoy aspects of it, etc., access links are initially provided. However, invariably, when time passes, those links die, usually by the choice of the original poster. So many times I've browsed through threads, found a game I wanted to try, only to find out that the original link for download given by the poster is no longer valid because (in most cases) the file was removed (again, in most cases, by the original poster). Which begs the question: If you're going to remove the file, then why is it so damn difficult for you to edit your post to reflect that and to provide new, valid links for download? It seems like common sense would dictate this, like those actions would go hand in hand, especially since you've got to be aware of the fact that unless you actually update your post, the community that you are a part of will not be aware of this change until someone tries to click your link, only to discover that it is dead. Along with the download links no longer working, usually any associated instructional podcasts/videos/walkthroughs, etc., are removed as well, which means that even if the person trying to acquire the game manages to do so by other means, their ability to configure things properly has now been compromised. Podcasts are great tools, but they are only good for anything if they can be accessed. However, since the links associated with games here on this forum are so transient and so unreliably, infrequently updated, in a case where multiple steps are involved with properly setting up and configuring things to get a game to work correctly, it seems prudent to create a written guide in the articles room with detailed instructions at the time of original posting, especially if you know that you are not going to leave your podcast available for others to download; at least someone who comes along later has a chance at getting it to work if he or she has written instructions. (And guess what...that's also a great place to update links as it becomes necessary...what do ya know??). And as far as the podcast, if you don't want to keep it available for download because of space reasons (which is frightening to me in this day and age; your podcast cannot be more than a couple hundred megabytes of space at most, which should not be that taxing to anyone given the size of the average storage drive nowadays), then why not just upload the damn thing to YouTube and provide the new link? Then anyone can watch it, and it's not hurting you for space at all. I mean no offense, and I apologize if anyone takes any from this post; I don't mean to be disrespectful or harsh, but come on, guys. This sort of thing happens way, way more than it should. I've seen post after post lamenting the fact that this or that game has been lost, etc. And this is part of the reason. There has to be a better way of doing things. Let's work together as a community to improve this.
Part of the problem is that a lot of these links point to a file on DropBox, and DropBox will actively block a file from being downloaded if they see the file being accessed by too many different IP addresses.
A good and relatively simple solution is to submit games to the audio games archive, then post a link to the archives copy of it. That way, even if you can't keep hosting the game for whatever reason, it is where anyone who might want it can find it.
Orco's right, and might I also point out that the Audio Games Archive, for the average audiogame, is in no position to be out of space or anything of that sort. We have tens of gigabytes of games as well as recordings, and while it'd be nice if you can at least try to host the games yourself *it costs next to nothing to get an Apache server running if your isp allows it*, we would rather host your game than watch it inadvertently virtually go down the shitter thanks to a dropbox link outage. Barring Dropbox's persistent public link problem, this isn't the early 2000s - bandwidth constraints, file size and the like are concerns that are next to nonexistent if you are using a reliable host, or you're running your own server.
Dropbox is not the only option out there. If you know that you're only going to host a file for a very short duration, then first of all, make that clear in your post, and secondly, if it's such a big deal to host it yourself, then find another location for it that is dependable, so that when someone sees the game several months later and wants to try it out, they don't click your link, only to find out that it points to absolutely nothing. Then, take 2 minutes and update your post accordingly. If setup is complex enough that you have associated podcasts or instructional recordings, then create an article for the articles room with the same information in the podcast, just in case something happens to that file. In terms of the podcast file itself, instead of hosting it at all, why not just upload it to YouTube? That way someone who comes along down the road that is interested in the game can listen without having to worry about the associated link being dead. I don't know. These seem like reasonable, common-sense considerations, especially given how many times I have seen post after post communicating disappointment and sadness that game x, y, z, etc., is lost. But maybe that's just me.
To be honest, those who say "game x" is lost forget the fact that nothing is truly "lost" on the internet; a few bits of digging in the internet wayback machine will pull up the missing file. But no one should have to dig around in the wayback machine and attempt to remember the date the game was first released, then figure out the last update to it, to be able to pull it out of the merck that is the internet. Seriously...
Like I said, I am not trying to be disrespectful or harsh, and I mean no offense. But come on. As I said, these considerations should just be common sense. If I know that I put a link to a game in my post, and then I stop hosting it, but I don't update my post to reflect that, doesn't it occur to me that people who see the thread down the road and want to try it will click the dead link? If it doesn't, it should. And it's not that difficult to edit a post. If I change where I am hosting a game, or if I upload it to another hosting location, then it is quite easy to go to my thread, click edit on the original post, find the form field, and enter that information; it would take 5 minutes or less. Now, let's say that someone manages to find the game by some other means, in spite of the fact that my link is dead. And let's say I made an instructional recording showing how to install and configure the game to work correctly, and for whatever reason I decide to stop hosting it. If I don't edit my post to reflect a valid download link to the recording, this person is just going to click my dead link, and be shit out of luck. Isn't this just logical common sense to everyone?
Again, in today's world, I am not sure what is causing this problem to occur so much. Space should not be an issue at all. Most audiogames are not that big. Of course, there are some that are, and for those, put them somewhere dependable if you can't host them on your own PC or server, and just point to that in your post. With respect to recordings, space is irrelevant...just upload the shit to Youtube, and it will never die.
@6... well, it won't ever die... unless Youtube makes it die . But yes, I do agree with you. It seems like people are losing common sense these days... as I always say, the newer generations are getting dumber and dumber.
If I am being totally honest, I believe that it is less a case of intelligence, and more a case of laziness, not wanting to take a couple of minutes to edit a post to reflect valid information. The effort that takes is minimal, but it's effort all the same. Another example that parallels nicely here is the way posts on most forums nowadays are written...no punctuation, fragmented sentences, etc. I have to believe that comes from laziness, not wanting to put forth the effort to type a few more keystrokes, rather than a lack of intelligence. The alternative means that we really, really have a serious problem.
@8, True. People are starting to rely more and more heavily on artificial intelligence systems like dictation to do everything for them -- something I'd consider a bad, bad practice, although I do do it myself to set alarms on my phone and things -- but I at least learn those extra shortcuts and methods in case AI systems somehow go offline. Most people forget that those systems use the internet to function; without them, they won't even work properly, if at all. Sirie, for instance, uses the internet to communicate with apples' remote voice input systems to process your requests. Google voice uses google TTS, or something like it, to process your requests, and Amazon Echo uses Amazon Lex to receive input, process voice commands, etc. And I don't have to go into the security implications; companies who say that anything you say using a product like Sirie or Google Voice is 100 percent secure and can't be accessed by anyone is only lying to themselves. The only way to know that anything you do is absolutely and totally secure is for you to host all those services yourself. But not very many people are that technical, so they'll rely on other organizations to do the dirty work for them. When it comes down to it, it's all blind faith in the organization your working with, nothing else. And for all of you who are reading this in Central time (UTC -0600), it is approaching Midnight, so happy Veterans Day!
10 (edited by john 2017-11-11 22:24:32)
As Jack said earlier, addressing both of your concerns is exactly why the audiogames archive was created. Games that are no longer available from the developer are often submitted to us and then added to the archive, and anyone who has made recordings is welcome to submit them for inclusion in our recordings section. This, of course, includes podcasts or instructional materials, and in several cases we've included such alongside a game.
We also provide some information in cases where getting a game up and running is confusing, such as TDV, or those games that were distributed in source-only form.
In a few cases a developer has contacted us and requested that we not make a title available for download. If this is the case (regardless of whether there are people who wish to play it or not), it seems only right that the developer's wishes be respected. It is their creation, after all.
[Edit - amazing topic title, by the way.]
11 (edited by JLove 2017-11-12 00:54:28)
This will work fine now that the AG archive is up and running. However, this problem has plagued us for years, long before the idea of the archive was ever conceived. I just have to wonder why no one who posted links to games ever realized that just taking them down without notifying the forum was probably not a good idea. For that matter, given that space and bandwidth concerns are pretty moot in this day and age, why take them down at all? And more than that, why not edit your post? Seriously, is it as simple as sheer laziness? And this doesn't just apply to games. It extends to special scripts/mods that are created which make already-existing games (in a lot of cases mainstream ones) more accessible to us...and those probably would not fall under the auspices of the archive, and therefore, could not be hosted there. The audiogames archive is a wonderful thing to have. It's the mindset of not wanting to put forth a little effort that concerns me.
Regarding the title, lol, thanks. Seemed rather appropriate. Blame the tech in me. Smile.