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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Of furious anger and joyous exultation, the recovery of lost files...

Lost files... It happens to anyone who spends a significant amount of time working on something on your computer.  Sometimes its as simple as not saving your work regularly, and having the program or your computer freeze up, or making a long post only to have the connection time out as you hit the post button, and the entire thing is lost.  The small moments are infuriating, but you can usually live with them... the bigger problem is when you lose a project you have been working months on.  Sometimes it happens because your hard drive gets corrupted or frizzles, and other times... its because like an idiot, you trash it yourself.

So for months now, I have been working on a Gang Sourcebook for Night City, to tie in with the eventual Expanded Night City sourcebook, centered around the new Night City Map I compiled using the map from the latest German version of the Cyberpunk core rules (I won a contest promoting the book, and Games-In were kind enough to send me a high resolution printout of the new map they created).  If you follow the link to see the small version of the map, the dark portion in the upper right hand corner is the German map... the rest of the map was created but carefully cutting and pasting sections of the city using Google Earth.   The German map is the same basic map as the one found in the English core rules, just much prettier looking.  The map that came with the Night City Sourcebook comprises just the top half of the German map... just to give you a sense of scale.  But I am digressing like crazy here, so let me get back on track...

Anyway, this gang sourcebook, I have spent months compiling images... this is the first stage of any sourcebook I do for Datafortress and it can take quite a while before I have enough images to feel comfortable moving forward.  One of the core concepts of DF2020 is that everything is illustrated... some would probably say over illustrated.  But I get much more inspired personally by an image, than I would at any amount of flavor text.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and why talk about it when you can show it right?  Some of the images sit on my hard drive for years before I finally get a chance to use them. 

I had finally gotten enough images (though I am always adding more) to begin writing the sourcebook.  But while writing I have been using the images for NPC's during the one of the Cyberpunk games I have been running which heavily ties in to the gang scene. 

I recently picked up a wireless receiver that allowed me to move my PC from my bedroom out to the gaming room.  Huzzah.  This would save me the problem of having to hook up my laptop, which is kind of a pain, to run games in the gaming room, as well as giving me access to the much larger hard drives in my PC which are full of music.  However, in doing so, it was necessary to move all the files from my current project onto my back up portable hard drive (the HD from my old laptop in a shell, not very much space but more than enough for what is needed.). 

The problem lies in that I already had an old back up on my portable hd.  So I go to erase it, holding shift-delete... cause I roll like that... only to realize that I was deleting the current version on my laptop, instead of the version on my portable HD.  FUCK....

I cancelled the deletion immediately, but the damage had already been done.... half the images were gone.  Hundreds and hundreds of images, and countless hours spent scouring the net, making screencaps from films, scanning images in... gone... because I roll like an idiot...

Eventually, I was able to recover the images from the protected files, but the file names had all been changed, and I was sifting through thousands of files.  Luckily the older copy on my portable HD wasn't that old, and by combining the two I was able to retrieve most of the images, and get them back into their original organized folders.   Also luckily, the images that were permanently renamed, which I had no backups of, were screen caps and film stills... so while I lost the artist name for a few images, luckily I can still provide proper credit.  Giving credit is a big deal for me, and from the beginning one the bottom of every page of every article or sourcebook I have done for DF2020 I try to list the artist or origin of every image I use.  I can't always track down the artist, as some of the images I find have just been posted to forums, or are from newsgroups, or in photobucket or image shack albums, etc... but I try and make the effort at least.

I think I should be ok, its pretty rare that I just find one image from any given artist, so everyone should be credited.

Just glad I was able to recover the images.

And I wish I could say I learned a lesson... Like look before you leap... don't get rushed when trying to make room on a portable hard drive, keep more backups, don't always hold down shift when deleting something... but the truth is, I probably haven't learned a damn thing other than how to recover lost files and what a pain in the ass it is...

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