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For those of you with modding ambitions:


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#1
Peregrine

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Note: this is a copy of a thread I posted a long time ago in the Morrowind forums, but every word of this is still good advice. And lately I've been seeing a lot of mod threads with more ambition than common sense, so I think it's time to bring it back.


RULES FOR MAKING A SUCCESSFUL REQUEST:


1) Define your project: nothing is more important than this. Tell exactly what you're trying to make. Show that you've put some effort and thought into your project already. If you don't have this definition, you're going to have a hard time convincing anyone you're serious about it, and you probably won't ever get beyond the initial "hey, I could make a mod" thought.

2) Make your requests specific:
don't just say "I need interior/exterior builders, scripters, modelers." Ask for specific things like "I need a sword model, and a script that does x." You've got a lot better chance of getting the help you want, and you're not wasting people's time by making them guess what you need.

3) Make sure YOU are doing something,
and I don't mean providing an idea: Whose project is going to get more interest, someone who posts a progress list, screenshots, and shows clear evidence of work on it, or someone who just writes a single line idea and expects everyone else to do all the real work. This is especially important if you're asking for major work.

4) Use correct English: I know it's not everyone's main language, and everyone makes mistakes, but there's just no excuse besides laziness for stuff like "u" and 1337ish. If you don't take your project seriously enough to do this, why should anyone else?

5) Nobody owes you anything: We don't have endless free time just praying someone gives us an idea to work on. And unless you're paying us, nothing requires us to help you. So don't complain if your request doesn't get enough interest. Maybe you've got a problem with 1-4 above, maybe your idea isn't that interesting to people, or maybe the help you need doesn't have enough time to work on your project.


These next few are more on project leadership in general. After seeing the failure of Project Phoenix, I have some idea how this stuff works:

6) Don't get too ambitious. It's very easy to start listing all the cool features you want to have and congratulating yourselves on what an amazing mod you're about to make. But be realistic, these things are a lot more complicated than you think. Most of these ambitious mods fail before they really get anywhere, and for good reason. Think very carefully about what you realistically can do, and cut down your ambitions. It's better to produce a smaller mod than to fail at making a bigger one.

7) Use the talents you have. This ties into not getting too ambitious... take a look at the people you have and their talents, and give yourself a sanity check. Can you actually do all these things you're dreaming of? It's very easy to say "I'll have X new models". But do you have someone with the right software and skills to make them? And make them well? Don't count on the miracle of someone showing up to join your team, odds are we won't.

Yes, I have 3dsmax. Yes, I probably know more about it than most people here. Yes, I am capable of doing everything even the most ambitious TC dreamer could ask for. Million-poly architectural models for normal mapping? Sure. Custom animation sets for that crossbow you want? Easy. Baked textures to fake photo-realistic indoor lighting? In my sleep.

But I am not on your team. I dislike Oblivion, my computer can barely run it, and I probably won't do any modding for it until/if the community manages to fix its many flaws. Don't expect me to take pity on you and fill all your modeling needs, either get the software and learn to do it yourself, or do without.

8) Modding is HARD. Like I've said, it's very easy to start a self-congratulatory list of what a cool mod you're going to make. But odds are, you have no idea how difficult a project you just started. Do you know why there were so few TCs for Morrowind? Because they are insanely hard to finish. Take whatever amount of work you think it'll take, multiply that by a hundred or so, then double it, and maybe you'll come close to the real number.

Small-scale mods are bad enough, but doing a TC or other large mod is an entirely different nightmare. Not only will you need those expert modelers/texturers/writers/scripters/etc, but you'll need several of each (at least if you want to be done before ES7 is out). And even worse, you'll need administrators. Leading a team is much harder than it looks... any moron can throw out some vague ideas, but actually managing a large-scale project is far more difficult. Even if the leader doesn't produce one model/script/paragraph of writing himself, he'll probably be investing more time and energy than anyone else on the team. Not surprisingly, you're more likely to either get a poor leader or one who loses interest eventually.

9) Bad things happen. If you start on one of these large-scale projects, bad things will inevitably happen. Your leader will find himself with a sudden increase in real-life committments (me and Project Phoenix). Your storyline author will have to leave for personal reasons (Phoenix again). Your concept artist will forget to pay his internet bills and be offline for a month and screw up all your deadlines. The only copy of your quest-writers work will be lost in a hard drive crash. You'll find after a month of work that two critical scripts (written by different people) have conflicts with each other and need to be redone. Etc... the list goes on and on. Real life will intrude on your happy dreams of modding. Are you really prepared to deal with these problems and keep working, or will the project just fall apart?

#2
Vagrant0

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Yes! 1,000 times Yes... Sticky this, and make it required reading before posting anything, please. I don't know how many topics in the last month have fallen to atleast one of the above situations.

#3
Povuholo

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This should be pinned, or at least have a link to it posted in every unreasonable request thread...
I don't join TC's, not because the theme doesn't interest me, but because, like Peregrine said, they are hard, and most of them fail. I don't want to work on a project for months, only to see it close because of all the bad things that could (and will) happen. I'm not saying that project Serpent will fail, I'm just not going to get excited by TC's, because the chance of failure is big, and I don't want to be disappointed.

I hope I'm not discouraging anyone. I DO want you to make the TC, and you have my support! In ways like "You can do it!" of course.

And hurray for common sense! :wacko:

#4
WarKirby3333

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Agreed. Pin this. I have done my best to use these principles in producing my castle, which is a medium scale project and a lot of work for one person. Luckily I have GBHis for my scripting and Cotel is doing retexturing. And it's the only thing I'm working on.

In contrast, have you seen 'Project Spartan'. Atrodan (of unknown experience) and The Vulture (of no modding experience or talent whatsoever) have started what is essentially a total conversion. It was doomed before it started...

Maybe I'll send them a link to this.

WarKirby

#5
Mercbird

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Pinning this would be the politest thing to do, for the sake of the future mental health of 14 year olds.

#6
Theta Orionis

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Pinned, and endorsed.


It's easy to start a mod... but seeing a project through from start to finish is hard, time-consuming work.

#7
Dark0ne

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Most pinned topics will be taken down when I add the pinning functionality to the tutorial section on the site. Until then it can remain up.

#8
sleaaels

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Pretty wise and very sensible what you wrote, well done. I think people who are about to start a mod (or even request for mods) should at least have those basic points in mind...Of course there should never be a limit to requests and ideas for new mods since, after all you can either take it or leave it.

#9
WarKirby3333

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Peregrine offered his services to project Spartan as an artist, and he's charging them. Negotiations are probably private though. Seems a little wierd to go and do that after such a rant. Or maybe he's trying to teach them a lesson by making them waste money on a mod they'll never finish.

What are your motives, Peregrine?

WarKirby

#10
Peregrine

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There's no great conspiracy at work... the two are entirely separate. This post was made to hopefully beat some sense into the various modders and maybe cut the failure rates a bit. My "application" to Project Spartan was done mostly as a comment on point #7, to highlight how hard it will be for them to find an actual artist to deliver all their promises. It wasn't a serious offer, especially considering their apparent lack of age and therefore extra money to pay me with.

Of course there's also the very simple motive of "get money". If I happened to guess wrong, and they actually want to give me enough money, I'll do all the art they could ever want.

In contrast, have you seen 'Project Spartan'. Atrodan (of unknown experience) and The Vulture (of no modding experience or talent whatsoever) have started what is essentially a total conversion. It was doomed before it started...


They're pretty much what reminded me that we needed this post. The signs of excessive ambition had all been there, but that disaster of a thread made it all clear.




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