Probly a dumb question but.... -1 reply

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NX01

The Internet ends at GF

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9th December 2002

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#1 15 years ago

I know I'm very new to modding and I just had a question. I don't intend to do this myself for a while tho. I recently downloaded the bor incursion 2 mod and I had 2 questions. 1. Is it just me or are the borg extremly hard! 2. How the heck do you do a total Conversion mod? Talk about alot of work.:D




Major A Payne

The 6th Day

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7th August 2002

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#2 15 years ago

Well I first took on the operation of putting together the project I wanted something which would resemble strengths of the actual in series races, therefore the borg, whilst having a less amount of vessels that all but species 8472, are possibly the hardest in the mod/game. Also note that whilst my mod took around 12 months to put together I did gather alot of resources from the currently available selection of models. Projects such as a the B5TC, Star Wars v Star Trek 2 or Millenium Project 2 do tend to take far longer as all but a very few models tend to be created from scratch. However, I would say that for a mod, or project to be any good, its got to have several things:

1) Balance: A great mod tends to be balanced in two ways at least - i) Either by having a more realistic feel to the mod to make the ships and stations as close to the series/films as possible, or, ii) To give the sides a generalised feel in so much as its more down to specilised weapons as to generate the outcome.

2) Bug free: Unfortunately even the most bug free mods will still have the odd one or two bugs floating around. The worst thing that can happen is for a mod to be created and to need alot of patches just to keep up with bugs that need to be removed.

To me these two items tend to be the most important, but of a lesser important nature could be:

1) New models: Always make or break a project. Also remember the saying "You can some of the people some of time, but not all the people all of the time". In this case just mod for yourself. If you believe what you've created is good enough or just after your 5 minutes of fame then by all means release your work. Just remember that in releasing your mod you may end up treading on someones toes. I've also come across more than one occasion when a projects mod has been picked apart and something stupid has been moaned about. Still people will be people. Its just one fo those daily facts of life we all have to live with.

2) New ways of Doing things: If you've seen something done in a mod that you enjoyed using but don't want to directly copy it, a method which sometimes catches the players eye is a brand new way of doing something (for example. Everyones played the standard game of A2 with the galaxy classes seperation, so why not remove it from the galaxy class and give it to another vessel?? It may be the same old thing in the end, but its also slightly different. Also remember that the new vessel could have been created for a specifica reason to seperate)

Oh and before I finish remember that if your planning on a mod dev team then you'll probably need to gather people who best fit these ares:

- ODF editors: Simple though it may seem, and yes, they can be 10 to a penny, but how many ODF creators/editors can honestly say they have taken an ODF apart and know EVERY possible aspect of them. I know I certainly don't. - Modellers: New models?? Well you'll certainly need one of these, although you may find that perhaps 95% of the modellers around the community are usually involved in one or more projects already. Also which some are very good at what they do, there are also new modellers comming out every so often, who just need a bit of encouragement. People will get better with practice, experience and a bit of help. - AI Profiler: The AIP files may seem fairly simple to alter. However, there are actually not that many AI editors (I refer to them as a "Profiler"), who can make a hard, entertaining but non cheating AI. (My own BI2 projects AI was, to be honest, no where near as good as it could have been but then I'm not the best AI editor around either) - Texture creator/editor: Its interesting but I've actually come across at least two people in the community who are very good modellers but can't texture for squat. Strange though this may be, there is the flip side of the coin. A great texturer can sometimes take up to a few months to make possibly minor works of art, but not be able to model in the slightest (although plenty of modellers tend to be able to do both nowadays anyway) - Map Editor: Not generally as important as the positions named above. However, there will be times when you may want specific types of maps (for example. One map I was planning to include with my project was the Edo planet with the Edo gaurdian in orbit. This particular planet would have been the only source of usable metal on the whole map, but with the gaurdian close by with would have taken, perhaps, a fleet of ships to remove it before the planet could be mined), and for that it helps to have someone who's pretty dam good with the map editor. - Sound Artist: An interesting job in any mod. The sound artist would possibly find and enable new music, do voice overs for hero ships, and also recreate original weapons fire sounds for new weapons. - Weapons creator: Special weapons, whilst enhancing a mod, can be a bugger to create, especially when they are of a type which no-one has ever made before. This is where this position comes in. - Gui Artists: Eye candy time. *example* So you've got your new race and its currently using the old federation gui, eh?? "Hmmmm, Jim. Do us a favour, would you?? I need a gui which looks like my new organic species but differs from the species 8472 crap." This is where our mate "Jim" comes into play. You've found that he's an expert in all matters concerning the GUI (Global User Interface), and is perfect for this job. - Wireframe/Build Button creator: Although most modellers tend to create there own build buttons, making proper fully colored working wireframes are another matter. (here is one of my downfalls and why my project uses something I refer to as a "reference picture" instead of wireframes. They are something which I fail to ever create correctly. However, I found that one of the community members was an expert in wireframe creation and he did a marvellous job of creating a full set of wireframes for every model (old and new) for my project)

Okay, so once your project is complete this is where you can do two things:

- Alpha Test: You would carry this out yourself before any release to any one else. At this point you should also be able to find and eliminate the worst bugs in your project. - Beta Test: For this your best bet is to find a small group of, perhaps, 6 to 8 people who are willing to give your new project a complete test and give you feedback on possible errors of any kind which you may have missed. Also at this point a beta tester can also provide fixes and clean up patches for the mod themselves.

Finally, once you believe that every bug is squashed, your redy to have the mod compiled, which can be done in one of two ways:

- Compressed ZIP: Also you could use a RAR or ACE file, but using this method can seem plain to alot of players. Still, it IS the easiest method, but comes with a price. In nearly every instance of a zipped archived mod you'll find that manually installing/uninstalling the mod can lead to a few problems. One of which means that the player must reinstall the entire game. - Compressed Installer: As you'll have seen with my BI2 project and possibly the Star Wars Fleet Command, they have both been released as a WISE built installable executable archive. To this end it creates a much better method of installing/uninstalling for the player as they can simply make a few clicks and minor adjustments to the install directory, and bingo. Installation is done. Also uninstalling is done much more simply because the installer will backup all replaced files, and also enable whats known as a "roll back" facility. What this does is places the original files back in their correct directories, to make the install as it was before the mod was installed. (BTW. As you may have noticed the installer for my own project carries the ability to auto search for your Armada2.exe file before installation begins, which is an added bonus)

So there you have it. Thats the simple version. Of course there are a few other minor jobs which can be created:

- PR: Generally one person who would control who knows what (community wise), and keeps the public informed of how things are going. They'll also usually be under the most pressure as its their job to give answers to questions concerning things such as release dates. - Coordinator: Okay so you've got 6 team members who aren't online at the same time and live thousands of miles apart. How do you keep them all informed of what the current status of each others work?? Simple. The coordinator keeps tabs and information of how each team member is doing and reports directly to the project head. In this case regular updates are of the upmost importance as well as dealing with the PR person to tell them what they can/can't inform the public of.

Seems easy doesn't it?? Well trust me, when I say sometimes its more of a headache to gather the people needed for a large scale project. Sometimes you could be lucky and grab someone who's best at several aspects, which means that theres less in the other positions which needs filling, but most of the time you may struggle to get those who you need. Thats one of the reasons why I tended to take on a project which remained within the boundaries of the original A2 game.

Oh and finally, one thing I must stress is that when you announce your project you could be creating more problems that you want:

- One the one hand this can be great, as long as you can give the public something new which makes them go "WOW", but, - On the other hand perhaps its better to keep things reasonably quite and make your announcements later when the projects closer to completion.

However, in doing the second one above this can lead to a further problem. Less press generally means less people will actually know about it. Its a trade of that sometimes works to your advantage, but sometimes doesn't work out so great.

Still, its your choice how you continue. You could get yourself tagged onto a project as modeller. Also remember that if you get a project team together you may not want the role of project head. Someone else on your team may fit that position better. Its all down to organising the team well (sometimes not an easy task). Still, good luck in what you choose, and remember to put aside a good amount of time, as TC's and Part TC's do take a substantial amount of time to put together.

:D This post was brought to you courtesy of the EasySoft Direct files network!!!!




Atlantis

The Confused Vorlon

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2nd November 2002

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#3 15 years ago

Yeah, I'd also recommend you join an existing mod, that way you get to see how it works in action, aswell as doing some of it yourself.

ATL/DMobley




NX01

The Internet ends at GF

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9th December 2002

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#4 15 years ago

Ok Major Payne. I understand what your talking about, but how do you form/join a "team" to make a mod? Are they in a section on the site? I'm just alittle confused on this.

Thanx alot for your help and any other input you can contribute.

NX01




Major A Payne

The 6th Day

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7th August 2002

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#5 15 years ago

Originally posted by NX01 Ok Major Payne. I understand what your talking about, but how do you form/join a "team" to make a mod? Are they in a section on the site? I'm just alittle confused on this. Thanx alot for your help and any other input you can contribute. NX01

Hmmmm, that would be best done by checking this, SGN and STGN forums for projects which are being created and approaching the various people who head up these projects. Sometimes they may be looking for people. Some of the time they won't be. Its more pot luck than anything else.

To build your own team, your best bet is to scour the forums again, but this time you