View Full Version : Script/plugin management project - looking for input

01-27-2012, 02:19 AM
Together with a mate I've been thinking about making a (free, open-source) script browsing/management tool for 3dsmax. It should provide a standard, central framework for browsing, installing, uninstalling and most importantly updating scripts and plugins. Think Eclipse software update or an app-store with automatic update notifications. It is aimed both at end-users (easily getting & installing updates) as well as developers (easily pushing out updates).

The script hosting itself is not centralised. The end-user has a single place to get updates (the management tool), but the scripts themselves can come from anywhere. The current idea for the 3dsmax tool is as follows:
1. The developer hosts the script/plugin and creates an update site with some version information (through an authoring tool we'll provide, quite simple).
2. The user refers to that update site in the "management" tool to get the latest version of the script.
3. The management tool then periodically retrieves update information from the update site and updates the script when necessary.

In addition to this, anyone can make repositories, which is basically a collection of update sites. So you as a user can make your own repository to bundle your favorite scripts, or a developer can bundle all his/her scripts. These you can publish, or use locally as you wish.

We've been doing some experiments and basically have been pondering it over the course of a year. Now, we think that it would be a good idea to make it multi-platform (or at least prepare it for it). So we could easily make a version for Lightwave as well. Since we've both mainly been 3dsmax oriented in our work, I thought it would be good to ask around for some input. So here are a few main questions!

1. Do you think it would be useful to have a tool like this for Lightwave?
2. What would be requirements and must-have features? (can be specific to Lightwave)
3. What is currently your main source for scripts from other devs?
4. How do you keep track of updates of scripts you use?
5. Any other thoughts on this project?


01-27-2012, 06:13 PM
I like the idea. How do you foresee managing participation from developers?

01-27-2012, 06:16 PM
One thing that has been requested and it seems that you might be able to answer it, is to have the option to assing a Menu location of a Key shortcut when plugins are installed. Right now, it just tells you they are installed and whats they're name and HDD location but then you have to look for them in a big bin of entries.
So, be able to organize them as you add them is a cool plus.

As for the distribution, I don't know. Keep in mind that plugins, specially the free ones are a way to show other things you do, so visiting developers' website is good for them I guess.
If you can distribute them while still giving stage to developers might be good.

Good Luck!

01-28-2012, 01:36 AM
I do like the idea of a plugin management system, and think a LightWave version-aware method would help notify a user of the applicability of a script for their version of LW. I would like to be wrong, but I feel developers may be slow to take up the integration of distribution via your system as they all have their own, sometimes quirky, way of distributing the plugins and the purchasing/registering procedure. The majority of plugins are made aware to other users by users themselves, and therefore I would see the best way to notify new and existing users of an update or new release would be via user input. This would be especially useful for the more bizarre and/or remote plugins, such as those by D-Storm in Japan, where only a handful of users know how to read Japanese. There is a LW plugin website, the address escapes me, that helps, and I see your idea as taking this one step further - good luck :)