Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sandstorm: Global Repository

The Global Repository (GREP) is an experimental Sandstorm module we've recently completed. It is a feature where users subscribed to Session Hosting on our Sandstorm service, can upload image data found within their framework or campaigns, for Sandstorm to host and disseminate to their players.

Long-time users of Mote know that a repository allows others who connect to a game session to receive game assets a lot quicker. This is because they are able to download these assets directly from an online source, as opposed to getting them from the GM's machine, where the transfer speed is often bottle-necked by the available upload bandwidth of the session's host.

Basically, the system works this way: A subscriber to Session Hosting (usually the GM), has full access to it. They can perform uploads to the GREP, and clients connecting to their game sessions, will be served assets by Sandstorm, if available and as needed.

Beyond just being a content delivery service, the GREP lays the foundation for a browsable library of user-driven, contributed content, that everyone around the world, can access and use for their gaming needs.

Mote 1.11 is the first version of the client, that uses this repository. For a limited time, all users can freely upload image assets, without any size limits. This will allow everyone to test the service as well help us out with ironing out any issues, before Sandstorm goes live.

To begin the process, simply log into Sandstorm via Mote, select any number of tokens as upload candidates, right-click on one of the selected tokens to open the context menu, and select the option to upload the assets to Sandstorm.

Note that all images that are associated to a token, such as the portrait image and the actual token image, will be processed for upload. At the end of the testing period we've set aside for Sandstorm (which is ending soon, by the way), all uploaded content will be purged, and only subscribers to Session Hosting, can avail of this feature for their gaming group. Users should also expect an upload size limit, as well.

Uploads are tagged, according to the genres selected by the uploader. You will understand what we mean by this, when you first use the feature. An asset will be attributed to the user who first uploads it into the GREP (by way of e-mail address), and will be named or identified, by the file name of the image's source. With these things in mind, do name your uploads (i.e. all associated images) with something thoughtful and/or intuitive, as this will be immutable for the entire time the asset exists in the GREP. Attributions will not be made public, but will rather be used to notify an uploader, of any concerns regarding an upload.

We do want to ask everyone to only upload content that is legally permissible to share. For the sake of everyone who will come to use this service, we also ask people to only upload content that is helpful to the VTT experience. Nothing that is not safe for work (i.e. NSFW), please LOL.

Part of our future-proofing for this service, is to have a takedown process, for any content that is reported to be in breach of copyrights, or any other claims of ownership, and you may experience a sudden loss of access to an upload, if we are told to remove it from the GREP. We will release guidelines and fair usage info, once Sandstorm goes live for public use. We ask users to adhere to these policies, as any violation of them policies, will be met with penalties.

While Mote's version of repositories allows the serving of other Mote-specific files (specifically audio and databases), the GREP can only serve image assets, for now. The "lifetime" of GREP and its expansion to allow the other file types is largely dependent on the success of Sandstorm, as a whole. This holds true for the rest of our developmental branches, so please do help us out in growing Sandstorm's subscriber base :D

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