Please discuss at your leisure.... __________________________________________________________________ Hey all! Queeg here! I thought an email would be in order to make sure we were all going at the same speed, and in the same direction. I'm basically going be recapping the conversation that took place last Sunday (since Hewster wasn't online for that) and relaying some things that Hewster and I discussed, during a long Team Speak session last night. As we discussed the other day, we are nearing the final make or break point for most mod teams. This may seem somewhat ironic, as all but one of us has just recently officially joined the mod team, but it is true none the less. The WildWest broke new ground when Hewster and BoltyBoy managed to release this mod, long before any of the other Mod team, and we are still "in business" today, long after other ground breaking mods, such as WolfTactics, have long since fallen away to dust. Some, like the Special Forces WWII mod, never really even made it out of the Gate. Now we are one of the last remaining full mods left (Degeneration withstanding). So, it is now time for us to either step up to the plate or head back for the locker rooms. As we discussed Sunday, each of us join the WildWest team with different expectations and goals.
- For Hewster and Bolty, their goal was to show case their individual talents. For Bolty this was his mapping skills and he has since left us for further horizons. For Hewster's part the mod was to be a platform to demonstrate his skills as a 3d artist, programmer and game developer. (Hewster edit: And create a mod that he enjoyed playing :) )
- Gringo Starr's interest in WildWest hit full stride when he started working on his Battle Creek map. It was a long and arduous task which, in the end, Hewster rewarded with an invitation to join the mod team. Gringo has said that mapping not only became his main motivation to play the WildWest but also WildWest became his main motivation for mapping. No other game piqued his interest in mapping as the WildWest had, and he is now primarily interested in keeping the inspiration alive in order to follow through with the mapping process. He's aspires to be the lead mapper for the Mod team, not only to in order to booster the feeling of importance and the worth of what he creates, but also in order to help the mod move forward. For Gringo, mapping is one of the few things that could keep his interest levels up for 8 hours at a shot. Long term he hopes to use his map creations in the WildWest as a portfolio of his own work. This will hopefully lead him down a trail already proven true, to a full time position as a professional mapper.
- The Dragon is a old school computer geek from the days when you sat down in front of the computer and wrote the programs you wanted to use. None of this fancy windows compiler stuff was needed. That is but one of the reasons why Dragon loves the creation of neat sever and client side scripts used to enhance the game. His detailed creation of a guide website one him a position on the WildWest mod team. He's willing to pitch in as needed whether it is in the creation of custom cfg scripts, or just tinkering with settings and trying to break things during alpha testing. The creation of a complete and detailed online guide to the WildWest mod is a boon to the WildWest users, and won Dragon a seat on the mod team.
- Ignacio is the mod team's most recent addition. His people skills and his years of managerial experience have served him well as he made efforts to reach out to the WildWest community, and bring people in and ensure fair play. He's written new player tutorials and hosted many new player training nights hosted on his own server. For many months Ignacio's server was the only one up and running non beta software. He is currently the judge of player disputes and coordinates the many server administrators. This, I think, is something quite unique to the WildWest and purely due to Ignacio's willingness to step up to the challenge. This indubitably won him is position on the WildWest Mod Team
- Capt. Queeg had been playing Castle Wolfenstein since MS DOS 2.0 days and has enjoyed every release since. It was inevitable that he would play RtCW and eventually find WildWest. Queeg joined the forums during a quiet period and made it his goal to build up support for the WildWest and reply to every thread he could in the forums in order to drum up some conversations. In the early days, this often simply meant posting back and forth with Gringo and Hewster. However, now the forums have come back to life and a slow period is now when there is only one posting a day vs. when there is only one posting in a few weeks. Queeg forcibly became a beta tester by figuring out a where Hewster kept the beta files on line and then won himself a place on the team by recreating the WildWest launch program for the 1.4 beta release and adding support for the WildWest to the QuArK mapping software. His goal for the mod team is much the same as it was for the forums, he is interested in the challenge of taking the mod to the next level. Navigating past the point other mod teams often fall apart is in Queeg's opinion both a technical and sociological puzzle he'd like to solve if for nothing more than the challenge of it.
Well, that's basically who we are in a nut shell. Now where do we want to go? All of us have expressed interest in continuing the development of the mod, while realizing that we are also at a point where we could do one more release, then let the mod stand as it is, in order to eventually become just another piece of legacy game-ware. Those are the main options on the table since time and dwindling players will eventually eliminate all other options. Hewster and I discussed both of these. At this point, I think we should consider out path ahead of us as if we were to be moving forward. Now, here's the deal. Hewster has been in contact with other software developers; he asked what to expect from a contract, and his was told that you would be expected to sign contract and walk away with a drop dead date, perhaps 3/4 of a year to a year and a half later, and 1 million pounds in your pocket ($2.8 million) for expense. Obviously there would be some pretty stiff penalties for missing the release date. We should also be inspired by dev teams such as SplashDamage, who have done, what I think, would be our holy grail, a contract for a retail package, and endorsement from a major development company. They followed a path that we should try and emulate; The way this works is a mod team proves its worth by first releasing a popular mod, that has a life and community of its own. That team then has to be able to stick together and demonstrate lasting power. This is to wash away the hobbyist and the dead wood from the teams. It seems there is some invisible wall around the two year time frame that actually seems to be the magic trigger for teams to fall apart. (It probably has something to do with Moore's law. ) If the team has made it to that point, it becomes serious. They put together their plans and approach a company for a actually contract. If this is something we might be interested in doing, we are going to need to put some serious efforts into cleaning up our appearance and professionalism. Basically I proposed to Hewster that we have a three month plan. At the end of that three months, we will have a radically transformed product and presentation. The goal will be to have a full beta release of a 1.6 (perhaps 2.0) product to the testers on that date (estimated at this point to be between June 20th and June 30th). This is not going to be easy because we will also be developing some of the infrastructure that we've been missing up to this point and some innovations that will truly demonstrate our skill. Some of the requirements will include things like the following: 1. New maps 2. New weapon(s) & several other advancements of current product 3. Integration with the opensource AI bot project (details to follow) 4. With the bots, the development of a single player level using the WolfMP code 5. Press Releases (Current and retroactive) 6. Formalized beta testing procedures, plans and documentation. 7. Complete clean up of existing website and guide. 8. A manual (PDF) for the mod 9. Full and detailed documentation of existing source code 10. Formalized and regular communications 11. Development of a complete product plan for a retail version 12. Prototype 2d artwork and story boards. 13. Further research and communications with teams like Splash Damage who have actually reached the goal. Once we have reached our goals of the beta, and released it, after sufficient testing, we would take the full proposal to a company and pitch it. Essentially at that point the mod team would come to an end. Some, or all of us, would then reunite as a development team with new roles, positions and responsibilities as we add the new members. Assuming a contract is signed, the team, by necessity will be restructured as needed to meet the target date set before us. If we cannot get a contract, we would be in a situation to simply enjoy the fruits of our labor on the servers while they exist in the end say so long and thanks for the fish. We can formalize these roles over the next few days as we discus how best to move forward but this is one possible configuration:
- Hewster - Lead Designer, Lead Modeler, Programmer - Responsible for setting the goals and directions we are taking. He will work with all the other positions to come up with designs that are both attractive and plausible. In addition, his designs will need to meet any requirements identified by the business manager.
- Capt. Queeg - Programmer, Coordinator - Responsible for adding new modules like the AI bots. Responsible for coordinating the communications between all team members and tracking progress toward the goals set by the Lead Designer.
- Gringo Starr - Lead Mapper - Responsible for all new map creation, possible adaptation and optimization of existing maps, to utilize new features in the code, and meeting the goals within the parameters set by the Lead Designer. This is glitz and glamour position, but it will also involve a good bit of low level planning in order to utilize new features planned by the Designer, and implemented by the Lead Programmer.
- El Dragon - Lead Tester, Lead Scripter - Responsible for coordinating the testing of each alpha release, and being certain that the testing is target and specific. He will also be developing scripts to help enhance game play and adding to the scripting in the single player level and other maps as needed by the Lead Mapper.
- Ignacio - Business Manager, Documentation Lead - Responsible for not only the content and presentation of the documentation online, and communications with, and between, the players and server admins, but also for the development of our business plan and supporting documents. Along with the Lead Designer, Ignacio will be identifying what must be done, and adjusting the plan as need be, in order to reach our goal. He will work with the Lead Tester to make certain that we are releasing a stable product in the needed time frame.
- Artist A - Concept Artist - At this point this role is unfilled, but I know someone that I have worked with in the past who might be interested in this position. It is a position that we must fill in order to meet the goals Ignacio will help identify.
I could probably go on typing for another couple hours, but I think this is sufficient to get the ball rolling. There is a lot to talk about here and it is something that I thing we should probably keep a log of. So I'll create a thread in the forums for us to use. Likewise we can log into TS some time and hash it out then. If we do get on Team Speak, and I'm not around, it would be great if some one could keep notes. Your Humble Servant, Queeg PLEASE READ THROUGH THIS LENGTHY E-MAIL MORE THAN ONCE :0) THERE WILL BE A QUIZ!