Information similar to the one originally posted here can now be found at ModEnc:Copyrights.
Our proclaimed goal is to supersede DeeZire's Red Alert 2 and Yuris Revenge INI Editing Guide as the ultimate reference in RA2 and YR editing. Not because we're convinced it is bad in any way, but because, as much as we love The Guide, several truths cannot be denied:
- It hasn't been updated in ages
- It cannot be updated quickly to reflect newly gathered information
- It contains several errors and misses a great deal of information (not to mention that the Art Guide is a third party product, so to speak)
- It's limited in terms of content, as it is "only" an .ini flag reference
- Its format (several .doc files) is inconvenient, as it's badly searchable and you need an office application to read it
A modern wiki, on the other hand, is not subject to these limitations:
- It can be edited at any time, and is not only updated almost daily, but also provides detailed statistics about the updates, including the differences between versions and their authors.
- It can be edited by anyone - ModEnc contains information about proper use of Alpha images, has a complete RockPatch section, information about discovered bugs and can be updated within seconds to include information about newly discovered phenomena or techniques, by anyone who wants to. If tomorrow we learned about a newly discovered flag, a few hours later you could look it up here - and even fix our spelling errors, if you find any.
- Since at least every flag mentioned in The Guide has a page on ModEnc in one form or another, and we sport additional information ranging from simple things like the standard flag header to art info and whole tutorials, we're inheritly more complete than The Guide; due to ModEnc's wiki nature, mistakes ranging from typos over misconceptions to plainly wrong data can be fixed by anyone who spots them immediately.
- As noted above, ModEnc already includes dozens of tutorials, information about modders, mods, tools, modding techniques, RockPatch and so on. It can easily, and hopefully will be expanded to not only cover RA2/YR, but also TS/FS, Generals, Zero Hour, and any C&C game that the future might bring. And if there's anybody willing to write about TD or RA modding, the links to the .inis are already prepared. We are more than a flag reference by default.
- ModEnc has an integrated search function, and can, if the native one acts up, be searched by Google or any other search engine as well. All information is in one place, not scattered around several files - looking up a flag is as simple as putting its name in a box and pressing enter, or appending its name to the base URL. If it has several meanings in different files or sections, you'll know immediately. Flags can be categorized and cross-linked. And if you can read this, you already have everything you need to use it.
- The maintainers are still here. We're not going to belittle DeeZire's contribution to the community, but looking at it objectively, you can only come to one conclusion: He's gone. Sure, he's still around in some places, but he's moved on to Generals, and then to BfME. Not only does he not answer to contacting attempts by tradition, even if you got in touch with him, chances are he'd not update The Guide just for you. We, on the other hand, are online on IRC most of the time, on several Instant Messengers, check our forums, and are happy to help you with any problem you might encounter, or listen to your suggestions.
Look at it this way: Back in the day, office files were probably the best way to distribute the massive amount of data The Guide included...broadband hadn't been as established, the concept of wiki wasn't as explored, and many other technologies had yet to be created. However, times have changed - both the internet itself as well as the C&C community and the way it mods evolved. The RA2/YR editing sub-community at DeeZire is as good as dead. We have perfect normals, open source modding tools, a community-driven internet game server, and, last but not least, RockPatch - a way to make all our dreams come true. And what does The Guide say to any of this? Nothing. Because it hasn't been updated since 2002.
The Guide was good, back then. It produced great modders and was an invaluable reference for anyone seriously involved in RA2/YR modding. Alas, "back then" is over. Using The Guide nowadays is like connecting to the internet on a 56k modem - it still works just fine, and you can do almost as much as other people...but you know yourself that it's helplessly outdated, and that you should better get broadband fast.
As modding evolved, modding documentation has to evolve. We cannot use documentation from 2002 to accurately describe the modding techniques of 2007. It is time for us to thank DeeZire and The Guide, and move on. Away from an outdated, author-centric, limited documentation, to a current, community-created, infinitely expandable one.
DeeZire has taught us well. Now it's time for us to pass on that knowledge to a new generation of modders - with a new generation of distribution methods, and a new generation of knowledge itself.