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Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the judge
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:51 am
   Subject: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the judge
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NOTE:

This is an open discussion. No flames or bad langauge. You can disagree with anyone or anything posted here. In fact, we are looking forward to hearing what you have to say on all matters. So please, answer with honesty. Don't be a Yes man. You don't have to agree with what I am saying. I am asking these questions, and posting in this thread to see where others are thinking? Are my thoughts the same or different.

So let's keep this discussion going. Don't be afraid to post your thoughts as they will not be used against you. I ask Chris to make sure of that.

Edited Feb 27, 2004 to include above.
--------------------------------------------------------------------


Any game that has been released, at some point in time, someone, somewhere, has decided to modify it in some way. Is this a good thing?

When the first map editors were released for Wolf3d, this opened up a whole new world to many. People could now create something personal, put their name on it per say. Then came the graphic and audio editors (the originals - which are hardly used anymore) which allowed people even more creativity.

Did this change the quality of the game?

Then came the BBS'ing and the Internet... It allowed people to share these things that they had created. It allowed us a greater audience to share our creativity and expand our knowledge of the game. It gave us the ability to learn from others in those creations. It gave us the ability to compare...

Did this change the quality of the mods/maps?

Then Id released the source... This allowed us to change features in the game, add things, fix things, and change the game in ways that had only been dreamed of.. (of course there were the hex editors who did some modifying before this, but with the release of the code came countless new ideas and inovations).

Was it this that changed the quality of the Mods available?

Then came the power editors like Floedit, WDC (hopefully ChaosEdit in the near future) and IMF tools. These editors allowed us even more flexibility when creating a mod. Now we could change sounds, title pages, fonts, and more....

Is it this, that changed the quality of the mods being released?

Then there were the power tutorials - like Darkone's, Ripper's, MCS's and many others... They allowed us to add a more realistic atmosphere to the game. They gave us Rain, Snow, Textures on the ceiling/floors, a nighttime sky and so much more...

Did this change the quality of the mods being released?

-------------------------------------------------

Personally, I think that all this has added to the game. All of the above has increased the atmosphere of the game. But, in releasing all of this, did it raise our expectations of what should and shouldn't be released? Sure it did...

Isn't it now the features of the game that are drawing people in? The major ones do add a lot to the game.. ie Ceiling/Floor textures, Outside Atmosphere, Shading, Ambient Sounds, Random guard sounds, Armour... etc... They change the atmosphere as well as game play completely. They alter, not only our playing tactics, but our mindset when we played each game.

I think we gained with some things, but failed with others... I mean, how many weapons does it take to kill an enemy... Do we really need 10 different weapons? Features can be taken to the extreme (in some cases people have gone above and beyond).

But again, we come back to quality of the addon... is it the code changes, the editors, or some combination of both, that has raised our expectations? Yes and No.. With the ability to change just about everything, has come a greater expectation of what each of us thinks about a mod release. We compare them to others based on added features, sounds, changed graphics and the like. We raise the bar ourselves.

Then comes personal perception... personal judgement... We each see different mods in a different light because of what we have come to accept as the norm. We raise and lower the standards with our own personal evaluation of each game. Personally, I won't play a game that has what I consider childlike graphics.... I don't play demos... I do play mapsets, and games that have been released as quality. I do use the VSWAPS that were released to change the atmosphere of the game.. ie Pacman, Christmas.... but even those are sometimes sort of cartoony for me. I set my own standards, with my own personal perception and expectations, as to what I like and what I don't, just as each of us does when we download and play a new release.


So I guess the final question is: Is there a minimum standard to which we should hold each mod being release?

I don't think so... it's all personal... it's all your own perception... I'd love to hear your thoughts..

Greg
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Last edited by BrotherTank on Fri Feb 27, 2004 6:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:10 pm
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Personally, I think adding can be used as a cheat to draw people in, only of course when that's all they're done for.

Many of mod's with no added features can be just as good, and some are better, than one's with totally new features. It all depends if you get sick of playing the game after the first few levels or not.

Also, cramming all new and orignal goods in your mod takes alot of time, and this tends to overwhelm people and the projects never finish.

I personally haven't raised the bar, I actually respect people that make mods with no new added features or even art or sounds but still manage to offer a different and fun experience.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:47 pm
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Ringman
Quote:
Many of mod's with no added features can be just as good, and some are better, than one's with totally new features.


True. Most of the best TC's released haven't had Textured floors or Snow and rain etc.

The main element of a great TC as opposed to a good one is a well written and thought-out storyline. Everything else flows on from there...

@ Brother Tank... It's hard to say what was the most important stage of development for Wolfenstein 3d TC's... I have to say the first map editors were easily the most influential.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:32 am
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Hmm... Looks like this tread has evolved from Wolfenstein 3D Plus conversation... interesting, man!

I'll answer your questions starting from the last one. We don't have to keep on any sort of standard, but if we would, then the quality of TC's would probably go higher. Sure, everybody's proud of their creations, as you said in Wolfenstein 3D Plus thread; but sometimes they should pay more attention how it looks from an 'outsider', a person who didn't create it. How the community would look at this. TalentedMrLeo said that he made many Wolfenstein 3D add-ons or TC's, but he didn't release any; they probably didn't match his personal standards. And those two standards exist - the personal standard, and a 'standard', which judges - community will love it or hate it.

All of the paragraphs and stuff you mentioned up there.. sure, it all changed the standards. LOL, it's such an obvious question.. how you can ask - adding sounds and new graphics to the engine raised the bar and the quality of add-ons or not? Sure thing it did... all of the things you said - about raising the expectations of ourselves... I fully agree.

Martin

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:11 am
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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I believe that, due to the fact that just about anyone of us can compile the code and edit it to some extent these days - with or without external help from tutorials - we are more likely to think lighter of implemented features appearing in game modifications brought to our attention. My point here being that, due to the fact that we are familiar with the various aspects of game design in the Wolfenstein environment, we all have - in some way - raised our standards for rating and, finally, enjoying an add-on.

A few years ago, we all stared at our screen that displayed Assassinate Hitler, and reflected our troubled face as we pondered "how in the world did Gary Ragland manage to change those blasted ceiling colors?" Anno 2004, we neglect to even notice such slight modifications in newly released add-ons of any kind. Bluntly put: "Been there, done that."
Divine Prediction: this way of judging a Wolfenstein add-on leads to total ignorance of any add-on that cannot keep up with the newest trends in the Wolfenstein community.

As far as Reivax' explanation that the key factor of making a TC stand out from others would be the storyline...that's an opinion I can agree with - at least on personal experience, for I take it that the gaming experience is different for any one of us. Not just an excuse for killing scum, a real thought-out storyline is in essence what binds me to a game...The sense of being there is developed more adequately with a storyline in mind, if you will.

But then again, that's just my personal view, as is this entire post.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:59 am
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It seems to me that most people are in agreement that we personally set the bar or level to how we compare new mods. It seems that we have all raised the standard by the expectations that these new features designed by the likes of "Ripper, MCS, Darkone, Dugtrio, myself, and many others" have increased the mod creators ability to change everything about a games atmosphere.

Now lets look at the other side.

Should someone change something just because they can? I mean with all the editors available to us, should we make changes just for the sake of making changes? Do these changes really enhance the game?

Lets give a few examples...


  1. I change a font, but I don't change the formatting of the output text that the font change requires to look right on the screen. Should I have changed the font?

  2. I changed the statusbar, but I failed to change the formatting of the numbers/items placed onto it. Or I changed the colour of the status bar to a green, but the numbers are yellow on a red background... I put the effort into 1 change, but not the others that it affected as well.

  3. I added a new weapon, but I didn't change graphics, sounds, or it's real worth in the game. People wanted an ie: Flamethrower, so I added one, but it's effectiveness isn't really that great? Or I added a slew of weapons to the game... one is not really any different from the other in effectiveness, but the graphics changes for them are cool. How many ways to you need to kill an enemy? And am I just adding all this because I can? Did it really add to the strategy of the game? Did it really enhance the gameplay?

  4. I added a new series of walls. They don't match anything in the game, and they don't really fit the atmosphere of the game, but it is surely something I think it neat.

  5. I added a bunch of sprites from various games, and some of my own making. They aren't really to scale, and block both the players view and just plain look bad because the graphics conversion didn't go well.
There are more examples I could give, but I think the ones above do justice to the point I am trying to make. So here are my questions:

  1. Do these changes (and others not listed) add to your (the mod makers) enjoyment of the game or to the players?

  2. Did you do these things to make people want to play your game? or did I just do them because I can?

  3. Does everything I did really fit within the story line or atmosphere I was trying to create? Or did I just add that stuff "ie nude anime walls" where some kid is going to say "Cool".
Ok.. so now we move to the players perspective... They look at the game and judge it based on these changes... and so they ask:

  1. Did I enjoy the game?

  2. Did the game look ok to me? Did it stand out or is it crap?

  3. What did I like about the game?

  4. What did I dislike about the game?

  5. Would I play the game again?

  6. How should I recommend it to others?
Are we giving the mod creator the whole story when we answer questions like "So what did you think"? Are we just being "Yes" men saying things like "Cool" and "Excellent" when there are things about it that you didn't like?

If we aren't being truthfull to the mod creator, we aren't being true to ourselves. If things were out of place, out of sorts, didn't belong in the atmosphere of the game, I'm doing the mod author an injustice by saying things like "Cool" and "Excellent".

Now if we tell the truth... as some do, are we then bashing them and their efforts? I personally think that if you didn't want the good and "Bad" critisism, that you shouldn't be asking for people's opinions. But people are then bashing those that give comments like poor... needs work... and comment that should be about trying to help the author make his mod better. Again, personal opinion comes in.... I must ask though, have you been true to yourself? Have you played the biggies where the author took the time to achieve balance in the maps, visual greatness in the walls, graphics, and sprites?

Now taking that one step further.... People are posting screenshots that show little to nothing... They post demos that are truely incomplete, and need more work (otherwise) they wouldn't be demos.

NOTE: Demos to me are asking everyone to Beta test what you've done so far.

So truely you want comments. You are looking to make your mod better aren't you? If this is the case then why aren't you able to take "Bad" or comments that critique your work? Are all you looking for is a pat on the back saying "Job well done"? I think you should find yourself a group of honest people that will tell you both the good and the bad about your game. And to those people, be completely honest... They have asked you to do a job to make their mod good, better, the best.

Again, I know it's all a matter of personal taste. But when you offer something to the world as a piece of your work, (and I know you want people to like it), can't you understand that while you may be proud of it... others may not be so proud.

I've got more questions... but for now... lets try and figgure this one out... Should we make changes to things that we want, just because we can? Are we just trying to show that we can use one of the editors, or are we really trying to make our release better?

Greg
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:20 pm
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Yeah, that's my train of thought when releasing a "demo." It's more of a "beta." But if you're going to release anything, you've gotta be ready for the critiques.

Now let me answer your first set of questions, because I have some points to make in addition to your own. Razz

1. No, Theoretical Person should not have changed the font. The default one is fine. If you're going to do a new font and don't want to bother messing with the formatting of the output text, make the characters the same size as the original font.

2. A pet peeve of mine as well. It's very easy to fix status bars. Anyway, it sucks even more to see a status bar that looks like it was done in MS Paint and has Arial font on it or something and is made of solid tones.

3. The weapons: This isn't so much a negative thing as it is useless. If there's a flamethrower, it should be very deadly and worth getting. The enemies: It depends. If you're making variations of an existing guard (like the helmeted and capped variations of soldiers in Operation: Heimzahlung), it's okay. If the enemy fits a given environment better than the ones already in existence, it's okay. If you're just adding a bunch of new enemies and not making them any different, then it's not worth it the memory loss.

4 and 5. That's where work comes in. Pixel by pixel sounds hard, especially for a lot of 64 x 64 images. But sometimes, a simple color-switching tool will fix most weird pictures. Sometimes, view-blocking sprites are intentional - but if it's a dead body, it shouldn't be blocking your view. Again, all depends on what you're going for.


Changes for the sake of changes are bad. Changes for the sake of improving the quality of the game are good. If you use them, use them well.


Now, about negative criticism. I received a little bit for early OZ screenshots - the criticism sounded very heated and not constructive the way it was worded, so I overreacted. But the criticism that I got from MrLeo inspired me to make more positive changes and throw out some other ones. As a result, I got overall positive feedback on the first demo (not much feedback on the second). Feedback is important, both positive and not-so-positive. But be warned that when you give feedback that is worded in a confrontational manner or perceived to be so, you're hurting as much as you're helping.

So when you give negative criticism, make it CONSTRUCTIVE and don't word it with words like "suck," "retarded," or "crappy" I know it sounds diplomatic, but "I wasn't quite fond of the use of that texture" and "I don't like that wall" sound a lot better than "ooh, look! a crappily drawn wall!" and "that texture sucks. what the hell do you think you're doing?" It's very easy to just rip into something that someone has worked on - but it takes true skill and tact to tell them what to work on AND tell them what they've done well.

Like BrotherTank said, it's all a matter of personal taste. Everybody's opinions differ. Hell, if you dislike something, say it and say why. After all, there are a lot of things that we all think we can improve with our mods and levels and stuff.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:54 pm
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Sun Ce wrote:
So when you give negative criticism, make it CONSTRUCTIVE and don't word it with words like "suck," "retarded," or "crappy" I know it sounds diplomatic, but "I wasn't quite fond of the use of that texture" and "I don't like that wall" sound a lot better than "ooh, look! a crappily drawn wall!" and "that texture sucks. what the hell do you think you're doing?" It's very easy to just rip into something that someone has worked on - but it takes true skill and tact to tell them what to work on AND tell them what they've done well.

BINGO. To me, this is an excellent summation of my own views... Be negative, by all means, but not confrontational. It won't hurt, I promise... In fact being nice does a lot more good than a lot of people realise. Wink

Also, I'd like to add a couple of things on top of what has already been mentioned:

BrotherTank wrote:
I added a new weapon, but I didn't change graphics, sounds, or it's real worth in the game. People wanted an ie: Flamethrower, so I added one, but it's effectiveness isn't really that great? Or I added a slew of weapons to the game... one is not really any different from the other in effectiveness, but the graphics changes for them are cool. How many ways to you need to kill an enemy? And am I just adding all this because I can? Did it really add to the strategy of the game? Did it really enhance the gameplay?

*cough*Nate Smith*cough*... He sure as hell added a vast truckload of identical weapons to BWSE. What was the point? There wasn't one... But it was quite fun! To be honest, some modern games have a lot of pointless weapons, too. Such as GoldenEye on N64. I just think it might add an extra element of variety and individuality to games. Of course, nothing like adding new weapons that actually have their own point and purpose... But well, isn't it true that MORE is better than LESS!? <Answer: NOT NECESSARILY> Mr Green


BrotherTank wrote:
Does everything I did really fit within the story line or atmosphere I was trying to create? Or did I just add that stuff "ie nude anime walls" where some kid is going to say "Cool".

Yeah, I mean id NEVER added anything that was unrelated to the "storyline or atmosphere" into Wolfenstein 3d! The Pacman ghosts? No, no! It's a well researched fact that Pacman ghosts wandered freely throughout all Nazi castles!... Ok, sorry for the excessive sarcasm, but I hope you get the point. Those sort of quirks add a lot of fun to secret levels and can be really a great surprise. Nothing wrong with adding things that are solely designed to make a person laugh, or say "cool", or whatever. Ladle on the crazy stuff, that's what I say!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 3:14 pm
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Personally, I'd say that new weapons are generally not a positive
addition to a tc. In fact, sometimes, they can destroy a tc.

These weapons really do have to have a point, a purpose other than
"Cool, I can roast this Nazi's digits with my extreme index finger removal
gun", they must have a certain importance in the game.

I have added two new weapons in my game, a new long range and a
new short range.

However, these guns will be the only guns to appear in a mini game included inside.

I had originally thought that it'd be cool to have this or that involved,
but when I thought it over.....what use are they really?

With added features in a tc though, I think that they do not necessarily
have to work on the same basis. Features can be just plain
fun things that maybe the creator has always wanted to put in a tc.
so long as they dont affect the gameplay, I dont think that features
will really change how much value the game is.

After all, does having a paralex sky in doom make you use a differant
strategy? Does having Bj talk (shameless plug here)
make you more careful in how you play or anything?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:00 am
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A very interesting topic worth bringing up again (thanks to Chris & BTank for referring me to this one).

I've heard a lot of people say that without code mods, there wouldn't be much to experiment with in a game as everything that ever could be done with mapping has already been done before. I disagree... I still think there's a lot to be explored with combining floor codes, interesting designs and well thought enemy placement. I'd love to play more straight up level sets like this... Hell, I'd like to make some levels like this!

As far as code mods enhancing the game, they can. Even simple ones such as the heart beat sound in Totengraeber that doesn't seem like much can totally affect gameplay by creating a brilliant, suspenseful atmosphere. I'm sure that other mods, such as textured ceilings / floors, scrolling "skies" and outside atmospheres can also do the same thing. I personally, though, am often just left indifferent to most of the games that use this stuff today.

Personally, (and I know I'm probably about to start a flame war here) I just haven't played many games from the last three years that I really like since SR. The occasional goodies pop up, like The Golden Episodes, HoS, Acktung, and a few others, but I've just yet to play anything that really grabbed me up and took me on an adventure like the older sets did. I don't know... I still haven't beaten the three I mentioned above, and maybe some of the newer sets take time to "grow" on you like new songs do.

Maybe I'm just stubborn or too oldschoolish, or maybe I'm just not "hip" enough, but I still stand by that the real golden age of Wolf3D TCs was in '98 - '01. Of course, that period had its fair share of "junk mods" that were just terrible in every sense, but look at some of the titles: Conflict In The Fatherland, Schabbs 2000, Assassinate Hitler, Chokage, Beyond Wolfenstein II SE, Operation Panzerschiff, Armageddon, The Road To Neuschwanstein, Totengraeber, Spear Resurrection, MPixSoD... For me, those games are essentials, and I think five years from now they'll still be classic. It's not because of the code mods, but how they used them to enhance the gaming experience and add more "depth" to Wolf3D(of course, the applicable ones that actually HAD code mods... The ones that didn't deserve even greater respect I think).

Code mods are a brilliant thing when used right, and I think everyone should play with them at some point. But I do think people often "cheat" with them too much so... Strip away the latest and greatest game of its modded exe, and you're just left with a mess of a game. I often scratch my head here anymore and wonder "how the hell can people like this stuff ?"

If you have a reason to change something (to provide a better atmosphere, gameplay element or an extra level of challenge), then go forth with your source mods I say. But if you're just doing it because "Everyone's doing it", then think twice before you touch your compiler is my advice. Trends come and go, and you're better off not following them I say. Look at Operation Letzerschutz: It's got some great code mods from what I've seen, but it's not shoving them center stage like I see a lot of games today doing. It's using them to tell the story, enhance the atmosphere and the gameplay, which are all the most important things in any mod.

Well, there's a nice, long-winded bunch of random thoughts that I've always wanted to say but never got around to. I hope this topic gets some more posts and some more interesting discussions. I personally am going to go grab a sandwich, smoke one last cigarette and go to bed Smile See you in the morning.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:35 am
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Wow! This thread really got my gray matter churning...and I wish I could remember and respond to every insightful comment made in this thread, but that's hopeless, since there are so many, so I'll just speak my piece (thanks to Greg for starting this thread off with a bang, and to the rest of you who've contributed intelligently to it)...

I'd have to say, as an overall response to the question of features and mod editing, that if you truly loved and truly appreciated the original Wolfenstein (which IMHO is the basis of this forum), then you're bar won't be raised any higher than it was when you played the first Wolfenstein game. Older Wolfenstein fans will appreciate a mod for great level design and good use of the original (or similar) material, and if the mod provides a great gameplay experience, I think that's al that matters. I do believe that there's a newer generation that's been wowed by the bells and whistles of games for modern video game systems, and they visit the forum hoping to find a "freebie" mod that has a lot of cool features and stuff that will make them think they're playing something similar to the "new school" games they love. It reminds me of the neverending arguments we had in the RPG community a while back, about how newer RPG players trash games like Final Fantasy 1 because they're "outdated" and "ugly looking" and don't have any flash to them. FF1 was a very solid game, and the way to tell a true RPG fan from a phony (a lot of the time anyway) is if they dismiss older games like this just because they lack the bells and whistles of newer ones. FF1 is fun and provides a good gameplay experience, and so does Wolf3D and SOD...and that's all that I look for.

To be quite honest, a game with too many features annoys me. This doesn't just apply to Wolfenstein, it applies to a lot of the next generation video games. Games are supposed to be fun. Hell...I don't want to have to remember a zillion different key presses to accomplish a zillion different things I don't really need to do...and I hate having to choose from a buttload of different weapons with similar behavior, when I'm just as happy picking on and using it through the whole game (usually the machine gun in the original Wolfenstein). However, weapons are an exception for me...if they are done well, they will fit a variety of different situations, and be suited to many different uses (rapid fire as opposed to a single silent attack or explosive mayhem against a boss). I don't feel I'm out of line saying that WSJ has shown that multiple weapons can serve a functional purpose...they seem to fit well in all his mods IMHO...and I'm not saying he's the only one...I just haven't played ALL the mods yet.

When I entered this community, I was a cross between an old school Wolfer and a star-struck newbie. My "new school" FPS experience ended with Medal of Honor and it's kin. The reason for this? My graphics expectations weren't increasing like the rest of the worlds', and things were starting to get too complex for my taste control wise. MOH was a fun gaming experience, but it was a lot of work avoiding death sometimes, and I missed the days when games were fun and you could take a lot more abuse before getting killed, forcing you to restart the whole mission. Anyway, I had HUGE coding plans for HOS, and there's no reason why with MCS, Greg, and Chris coding for the game, I didn't have a trillion unnecessary features stuck in ther at my request. The only thing that saved me from doing that is I didn't know what all was possible when making HOS, and at a point, I was worried about nagging my coders for too many changes.

Anyhow, the point of the last paragraph? Simply put, I realized as I got each new exe that, while the changes being implemented were beyond cool, they did very little to change the overall gameplay experience (though the ceilings and floors had a profound affect on the atmosphere). What really changed the way I felt about the game more than anything was each new set of levels I got from ack, and getting to see the game's material used effectively in very cool maps. The levels made the game here more so than the features or the graphics or anything else, and that's what drives an excellent mod in my opinion. The verdict? I appreciate a good levels only mod as much as one with lots of features...I occasionally shun mods simply because the list of features is too long...but not all of them.

*whew* Boy, I do ramble on, eh? But I feel better...that's my piece...not saying it's right or wrong, but it's how I feel. Oh yeah...and my last point is this...DON'T make demos of your game...all it does is spoil the beginning of your game, gives folks a chance to rip off your material before the game comes out (Weapons of Vengeance Demo), and gives the finished mod a "been here, done this" feel when we start playing it. Save yourself the work, and wait till the mod's finished. Okay...that's my piece! Ciao! Cheesy Grin

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:40 pm
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Reading Monkee's post, I really am reminded of myself in some ways. All these new games leave me cold; they mostly have little character, or funness. Whats so good about true 3d again? Bring back the old days! Lets have 2d again (whatever you say, Wolf3d is just a different spin on an old formula). Games were just better back in the day, I think because people couldn't just blind gamers with super-flashy 3d effects... They had to think about the gameplay and really craft the game (there's only so much you can do with the NES in terms of graphics and sounds). And anyway I can never think in 3d on a game, I always get confused and die in about 5 seconds. Just give me a Wolf3d and a 486, I'll be happy!

And yet... I really like code mods. Ack already said that often these code and graphics changes take away the original atmosphere; but, to be honest, I don't really see the point in playing hundreds of different versions of Wolfenstein 3d original. Mapsets are all great to play, but games like End of Destiny will push Wolfenstein into whole new areas that I'm going to love every minute of exploring. Coding can also add just an extra bit to a mod, especially if original ideas are used. Wolfenstein wasn't the perfect game, and it can be enhanced. Obviously if your coding and/or graphics makes the game worse, then you've FAILED. But I'm not sure there's any real point in making Wolfenstein 3d again... and again... and again until we all hate the game and want it to just go away! Ack, your levels do change the atmosphere of Wolfenstein 3d just as much as someone adding a new weapon. To be perfectly honest (and I hope you won't take offense at this) I don't really like that many of your maps because, at least to me, they don't seem to fit in with the experience I associate with Wolfenstein. However, I really love your levels in HOS, and even in Operation Letzterschutz. Somehow the new game, with code and graphics changes, alter the feel of the maps subtley and seem to make them... better.

Anyway, what the hell am I actually trying to say? I forgot ages ago. Oh well, I like code mods, I like original stuff. For me, pointless code mods can still make the game better as long as they fit in with the atmosphere the game was trying to create. Can you really imagine Operation Heimzahlung with that stupid Krazzy Chokage robot with the zoomed-in postbox view and ridiculous controls and the bitch key and... I think not, somehow Wink. But I don't really like games with an excess of ripped graphics, which means I'm probably missing out on a treat in terms of levels (by ripped I mean graphics taken straight from other mods with no credit, not graphics taken from other commercial games... because at least then you looked around, took the graphics, and did some work to import them into Wolfenstein). As long as someone's game is an original creation, then it's definitely Really Cool in my book, and maximum respect to the creator. So, in conclusion: Originality is the best thing to make your game noticeable. Even if you SUCK at maps, CAN'T code, FAIL whenever you try graphics, at least give it your very best shot; nobody can ask for more (and if they do they're not even worth bothering with, frankly). PLEASE, don't rip graphics, levels and other things. Please? You'll get much more respect, even if your game (on a mere technicality) is "worse".

Damn, I just changed the subject again. Oh well, I'd better shut up before the lynch mob come. Mouth Shut

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:23 pm
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Heheh... Sorry for the confusing messages. What I meant was that, if you were going to make maps for the original game, I prefer them to be similar to the original atmosphere. However, if you change all the graphics you can use whatever the hell maps you like; you're creating your own atmosphere! Not that I expect people to agree, but heh, that's the fun of life.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:26 pm
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i agree with you ack, i like the feel of the original game, but i like new graphics and sounds, i really dont give a [Censored] about coding, all i want is a game i can play with good graphics, sounds, atmosphere and levels, which is what i enjoyed with Sogd, i see these graphics that are extremely cartoon MSPaint drawn things with black outline, i like quality and effort, but still in the original feeling, thats why i enjoy SR and WSJ's games. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:29 pm
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but i like basic coding like an extra weapon, added graphics and different messages, ammo maxes etc. ive never played any of your maps , ack. i heard they were good, i like maps that get you thinking. Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:21 am
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I think cool new graphics are a big hook for me...I'll play through half a dozen boring levels to get to a boss just to see what it looks like...when I played WSJ's brother's TC, Batman (which I'm not saying was boring or sucky), most of the levels weren't very challenging, and some of them felt rather repititious, but the artwork in the game kept me playing through to the very end, just to see what all had been done with the enemies and environments. New visuals help convince me I'm seeing something new and exciting, and I'm much more likely to play a well done level set with new graphics than a well done level set with just the original art. Not saying I wouldn't play the one without the graphics, just saying my preference leans toward new artwork (in the context of an otherwise well done project).

ack has a wonderful gift for being able to tailor his maps to whatever style he's trying to fit. For all of my projects he's helped with, he's had no trouble fitting my twisted "vision", usually even better than I had imagined to begin with. He basically developed the style for HOS based on some ideas I had of what I wanted to see, and arguably, developed a totally different mapping style for that mod. ack's work may not be everyone's taste, but I guarantee this...you won't be saying "hey...I've played something like this before" when you dive into his maps, no matter what project it happens to be in... Cheesy Grin

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:27 pm
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One of the reasons (imo) why Wolfenstein has a community, is due to the problem solving involved, the quest to 'modernize' the engine, the pure challenge of pushing the envelope. Without people willing to try to add modern features, and people like me and Kyo, who constantly beg for help, Wolf would have been dead long ago. We'd all be playing countless HalfLife addons, or other games which have scores of generic medival/fantasy TCs. Now when I say 'dead' I mean in the mod/tc sense of course. Before Doom had open GL and other ports, there existed millions of user maps. This is true with Wolfenstein and it's levels, and many of them are very enjoyable.

With regards to the misuse of code changes and childish graphics, I'd say that they are sometimes necessary for providing new features and ideas which 'good' developers can borrow and continue to modify, and all around make something truly original and great. 30 shit mods for every good mod?? Not a bad ratio, besides there are always screenshots to evaluate beforehand.

From what I've seen from this community, there is a ton of variation is style and story. Almost all mods I've downloaded (quite a few now) all have some degree of quality, and I try to refrain from judging anyones work. How do I know how long it took someone to draw that orange tube with green fire comming out of the end?? I looks stupid and ridiculous, but to the author, It may have taken a day. or two, and the thought behind it may have been very cool, just a bad representation. There are some I've played which are truly wretched, but for the most part I appreaciate the energy and intent that went into a game, regardless of the visual quality.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 10:29 am
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Ok... I like where this discussion is going... but lets not start using names of mods and stick to a more general type of discussion. We aren't here to bash any persons mapping style, coding choices etc...

So far we have most people in agreement that our standards to which we judge mods has increased with the advent of new game editors, and the code tutorials along with the ability to compile the code. This makes perfect sense, but we're getting away from answering the questions:

Should something be added to a mod - just because you can?
ie: Do we need 5 or 15 weapons? How many ways do you need to kill a guard?

Should we hold these mod makers to our own standards?

How does one determine which is better than the next? (ie: what are you personally looking for in a mod - or what makes it great for you?).

How have your own personal tastes/choices been affected by changes in graphics/sounds/code?

Are we looking for innovation over substance?
ie: Does the storyline, maps, graphics, sounds and general atmosphere of the game mean more or is it all about innovation and taking the game to the extreme?

This one is the biggy.. but lets not point fingers at specific mods.. answer in general terms (as there are plenty out there that have done the same things as the one you might want to point at specifically).

Are we more inclined to like a mod because of it's author, rather than it's content?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:17 pm
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First of all, BT - Thank you for pointing this thread out. Even though you were speaking to Possum Trot in the tread, you'll find get some answers to the questions you have here. Smile

Should something be added to a mod - just because you can?
ie: Do we need 5 or 15 weapons? How many ways do you need to kill a guard?


I think 15 weapons would definitely be overkill. On the other hand, having a weapon that launches fireballs that sail across the room would be good, but it adds variation to the types of fighting you can do in the game. It enhances the gameplay.

However, if you have a three-barrel gun and a four-barrel gun that fire the same shots at the same speed, using the same ammo, and the only difference between the two guns is that one is weaker than the other, there's no point in having both guns there when one will do just fine.

Should we hold these mod makers to our own standards?

I'm afraid the question is a little *too* general. Different people have different standards.

I can say that if someone wants great graphics, 40 frames of animation for everything, ultra-realistic sound, but isn't concerned with gameplay at all, he's better off just sticking to running graphics demonstrations. There's no point for him to play games in that instance, because gameplay isn't what he's looking for. I think a lot of people don't realise that.

How does one determine which is better than the next?

That's easy. A TC is successful if it's entertaining. Because entertainment is what games are all about.

How have your own personal tastes/choices been affected by changes in graphics/sounds/code?

It took a while, but I'm a bit more open to multiple ammo types and changes to the game's atmosphere than I was two years ago. But entertainment is still a first for me.

Are we looking for innovation over substance?
ie: Does the storyline, maps, graphics, sounds and general atmosphere of the game mean more or is it all about innovation and taking the game to the extreme?


Definitely the former.

Are we more inclined to like a mod because of it's author, rather than it's content?
Again, the former. But I'm more likely to *try out* a Mod if it's done by particular authors. Still, content takes precedence to me over everything but gameplay.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:30 am
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I think many, including me, like to jump in to mods because they have an "idea," but that's usually where it stops. The "idea" seems to be the curse on new mod makers, one can get so wrapped up in it that they forget what it takes to make that "idea" into a full blown mod. Further more, I've noticed, that some people seem to think that they are the only person in the world who has "ideas" and that if they could get them out they'd be rich, but I've learned this the hard way at a young age: everyone has ideas, and they are usually more concerned with their own then others so they're not likely to put money in on yours.

Ideas start things, but hardwork and dedication finishes them, so [you] think to yourself, do you have what it takes to make a mod? Cheesy Grin

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:32 pm
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Very sensible post, Ringman.

Actually, my mod doesn't require quite as much work because all 60 levels are already done. It's an "Add-on to TC" project. I just have to enhance the levels with a few more walls, an extra type of ceiling light, and ammo boxes for the last thirty levels. I'll need to make a few more wall images, and do new title screens, ART files, and story pics too, but the graphics part will go quickly once my graphics utility is in the Beta phase.

Coding the EXE just requires a few bug fixes and putting in some map-defined level settings. Also haven't gotten the Jukebox or digitized sound working in the Main Menu yet ...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:05 am
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Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to tell if you have what it takes or not is to just try it. I posted stuff about my first mod before I'd even fired up Flo Edit for the first time - I had the games I planned to take the graphics from, the storyline, the editors, and the idea, but for all I knew, editing might not even have been possible on my crappy PC. Anyway, I got lucky and with a little (lot) help, I managed to crank out my first mod. I would hope that anyone that things about doing a mod thinks it through all the way first, though - it sounds like fun initially, but anyone who's turned out any kind of worthwhile mod can tell you that it's work, work, and more work (and then some more later because no matter how hard you beta test, something always creeps through). I'm sure there are times when every serious modder has considered throwing the whole thing out the window and giving up modding once and for all, but you don't always hear that, and it never shows in the finished product. I think it would be helpful if every aspiring modder would ask themselves the following questions before beginning a mod project:

1 - do I have a solid idea for a mod, something that hasn't been done a million times before? Am I making this mod because I want to make a great and original project, or am I just trying to showcase a couple new graphics or some new coding trick?

2 - do I have the time and energy (or another source) for the aspects that I plan to change, such as graphics, sounds, maps, exe changes, etc?

3 - do I know how to take all that stuff mentioned above and turn it into a unified project that will do justice to all the seperate elements?

4 - am I willing to accept constructive (and otherwise) criticism during the creative and testing phases of the project to make improvements when needed?

5 - am I ready for all the above steps to take about ten times longer than I initially planned, and for every step to be fraught with unforseen frustrations and annoyances?


Anyway, I'm no modding master, and if I sound like I'm on a soapbox here, you can feel free to knock me off it and tell me to go to hell, but I think these are the reoccuring questions I've asked myself whenever the itch to create a mod has struck me. If you wonder why CTC and SKUNKZ are still sitting out there, apparantly fossilized, it's because the answer to one of the above questions was "no", meaning I probably shouldn't have started. I just want others to learn from my mistakes...I've made plenty of em... Embarassed

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:38 am
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You did a good job of making Wolfenstein modding out to be the greatest chore known to man there Majik Wink

Personally speaking, whether you finish your project - or give up - is NOT the point of modding. As you don't get paid for modding, I assume that people do it because creative activities are FUN. All I should say is don't announce anything until you're certain you're going to finish it, no matter how long it takes from there! The only thing that matters is that you love your own work and it meets the standards you would expect from others. As soon as it stops being fun, just stop (but don't delete the thing as you'll probably be in the mood again someday).

Even if everyone hates your mod and thinks it's the stupidest thing ever, as long as you think it's good and you enjoyed making it then... so what? Of course there are people who release mods they actually think are bad, which is plain silly - if you think your own work isn't up to scratch, what was the point of doing it? Do you enjoy making worthless rubbish which could be created simply by a combination of the copy-paste tool and a chimp with a mouse? (arrrgh, there's animals everywhere! NOOOOOOOOOO!) All that says is: "I are a fool who he know nothing! Ug!"

Maybe I'm alone here, but the whole idea of modding is to have a good time creating something original which you would think was great if someone gave it to you. If you release something (which shouldn't be the point of doing anything - chores are things you do specifically to finish them and get them out of the way) then let it be because you're really pleased with what you've done and want to share it with people, perhaps to give them some pleasure and let them see your new take on the game you're supposed to love. Doesn't that make sense?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:17 am
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Wasn't aiming to sound like I was setting standards for mod making there...I've only been with the community a couple years myself. Just some suggestions for folks who are unsure about whether an idea should be made or not (if you're not unsure, go for it...don't listen to me).

A mod being "stupid" (or crazy might be a better word) can be a good reason to release it - I can speak from personal experience with Hundscheisse, though it didn't get the greatest response (it was dumb, but the gameplay etc was still meant to be done well). Poopdeck Willie might be an example of a mod meant to be crappy that just frustrated and annoyed people, which probably is NOT a good goal for a mod.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:39 pm
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Actually, there's yet another reason to make Wolf mods, whether or not you release them to the general public. That reason is code experimentation.

One of the most fascinating things about doing that approach is that you might have done Mod #1 with a unique code change that doesn't work with the gameplay, then Mod #2 with another code change that doesn't work with the gameplay. Then the idea comes to you to put the two code changes into the one mod, and all of a sudden everything fits into place.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:02 am
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Yeah, that could work, although if I'm experimenting, if what I'm working on doesn't appear to be headed in the direction of a decent full fledged mod, I don't consider the unfinished product to actually be a mod. When I started working on Uranus Attacks, my main motivation was to see what the Corridor 7 graphics would look like in the Wolf engine. Well, they looked okay, and I went to a lot of trouble to convert them and choose the ones I wanted for the game, but in the end, there was no solid idea there, so it never became a full blown project. I'm sure a lot of folks play around with Wolf in ways that are never released, and again, I'm not saying don't do that. I don't really consider those to be mods so much though (although the release of the C7 alien patch that resulted from the cancelled Uranus Attacks probably qualifies as an add-on, which is something different).

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:41 pm
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ack wrote:

Hair Machine wrote:

Even if everyone hates your mod and thinks it's the stupidest thing ever, as long as you think it's good and you enjoyed making it then... so what?

Amen

Tricob wrote:
Actually, there's yet another reason to make Wolf mods, whether or not you release them to the general public. That reason is code experimentation.


First let me say I agree with ack... Amen.... Personally I agree that it doesn't matter "why" one mods, other than it must be because they enjoy doing it (reguardless of code experimentation or not). I can't even imagine that anyone would mod a game (of any type) if it wasn't something they enjoyed. I mean who except maybe a masochist would do something that they didn't enjoy in some form. But this is taking the topic down a different thread.

This thread is not "why" we mod, but "what" we expect and "how" we judge the work of others.
I hoped that people would explain what they were looking for in a mod/add-on and give the reasons why they felt that way. I hoped that this could be done without pointing the finger at specific mods and that this thread could be used as sort of a primor to someone modding the game.

The questions I've asked have been to stimulate the topic and hopefully provoke more of a response than the usual "Yeah... I like that"... I don't mind talking about specific code tutorials and how we percieve they change the gameplay or atmosphere. ie: If someone added "xx" tutorial, did they make it realistic within the game... as you wouldn't see say a raygun in a WWII based storyline.

The questions I asked were to hopefully make some people think about things when they start modding... ie: Should we change things just because we can? That question came from seeing many mods and then a single mod that included nude wall graphics when they had no perceptual relation to the storyline the author was trying to follow. When asked about it... the answer was basically "because I could and I thought it was cool". To me this showed two things... Immaturity (because he was young and got off on seeing nude graphics in the game) and a lack of judgement/respect to realism. I don't want to sound like some prude, but the game was not like "Duke Nukem" where you have to kill the aliens that have taken over a modern city (and one must enter the strip club).

So with that in mind, lets take the thread back to the discussion of standards.. and how we the community judge the mods released to us. Personally I think anything can be added to any mod, but it's not what they add, but rather how they added it. Does it fit the storyline? Does it add to the game? Is it realistic? Did they spend the time to make it the best they could or is it just another quick release to try and make a name for themselves? Are we as a community looking for quality rather than quantity (this also spawned the question of "Do we rate a mod due to the author rather than the quality of the game").

Anyhow... that's where I hope we can go with this topic. Please don't (or at least try not to) use specific game names or authors. Lets try to keep it more generalized... Everyone's thoughts are welcome and everyone is encouraged to participate.

Greg
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:15 am
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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Wow Ack.... I enjoyed reading that...

I had to read your message a few times to take it all in, and your views almost mimick mine 100%. And, I hope you would post something about the "Beta-Testing" thread.... As to the demise of the "Advanced Mapping Guide" idea... I don't think it's dead, but I do think that we need to encourage people to participate. Anyhow, with that said I'll put myself back on topic... lol..

I do think that GamePlay is the biggest contributer as to whether I like a game or not. I prefer games that are challenging but not what I view as over the top. It's like people seem to forget that there are 4 different levels of difficulty available and there is no real purpose/relationship behind guard/item placement in these games. I don't think enough can be said about gameplay (I guess this goes hand in hand with Map Making - So why not start a good thread on teaching people the art of good gameplay??).

Please don't get me wrong when I said that I looked for "realism" in the game, as I know that games like Chokage were innovative and expanded our ideas on what could be done to the game and where it could go (and yes, you really can't say anything about that without mentioning the game name in specific). But even with all the crazyness that we've come to expect from Chris, his maps did provide us with a challenge - thus going back to the big requirement - Gameplay.

And yes, I agree that we don't want to see a bunch of (as you put it) "Walley/Ragland/Rowan" clones. People should be encouraged to use their own immagination when creating a mod/addon. I agree with this completely. I want to see an authors own personality come forward when I play their game. I enjoy seeing where they were at (mindset wise) when I play each game they release. I prefer to see growth from each successive release, but only until they reach their own plateau of personal limitations. But with that said... I can't say enough that studying the great artists of the game (you included), would be of benifit to those just starting out modding the game. There is nothing like learning from those that have mastered the art.

I guess the problem that I have is that too many times I have seen people boast about what they plan to do, but the final product either never sees the light of day (I usually refer these as "Vapourware"... ) or doesn't stand up to what they boasted about in the first place. The ones that usually don't stand up fail to achieve that balance in gameplay and in this, they drive away many people from playing their future releases.

I'm not trying to say that all mods should meet a specific standard - because my standards will be different than the next persons... But with this I'm trying to understand the standards that each of us uses to rate/judge a mod. And yes, while this could be used as a primor to someone just starting out or entering the scene/community, I would hope that they would read through and hopefully take something from reading all of our comments which will make them better, but not the "clones" per say. I hope this doesn't stifle creativity and immagination, but rather gives them a greater understanding of what they may or may not want to do when making a mod/addon.

Lastly, I will say that everyone should participate and start different topics that encourage people to participate in the discussion of these ideas. I hope people aren't slamming one another because I firmly stand behind the right of everyone: "To Agree to Dis-Agree"... lol.. But in saying that, I also firmly stand in everyones right to voice their own opinion. Again, we may not agree with them, but they do have the right to speak their piece and in the end, again, everyone has the right to "Agree to Dis-Agree" lol...

So with all of that said... Lets see the rest of the community step up and give their opinion...

Greg
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:48 am
   Subject: Re: Discussion of Addons & Mods Standards - You be the j
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I agree with both of you wholeheartedly. I started typing out my thoughts, but they were too similar to what was just said (twice). I believe that it's important for mod makers to know where they want to go before they begin, figure out what they need to implement to make it happen, and then go not further. I'm not saying that modders shouldn't give it their all when making a mod, but I remember a lot of folks saying they were afraid their mods would be considered crap when EOD was coming out because they had fewer features. Well, that wasn't the case - mods that had effort put into them since then have still been well received, thus proving there are people out there who appreciate substance and gameplay over flash.

In regards to my statement about figuring out where a mod is going from the start and going no further, I know many awesome mods that came out after textured ceilings and floors, rotational sprites, and other features were fairly common, they used almost none of the popular "advanced features", and they were still great contributions. Folks just have to decide what they want and then do it for their own reasons. Trying to implement every code tutorial discovered to date into your game just because they are there will not only take forever and create some huge game files, but a little of the substance of the game is bound to get buried in all the features...just my humble opinion.

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