View Full Version : Documenting the Modding Process

06-06-2003, 05:49 AM
I've been thinking. Since I'm basically done with MotF for now, I actually have some time to do some documentation work on the JK2 engine.

It's been a problem since "the beginning" that modders manually learn the system, leave, and then all that knowledge has to be manually relearned by the next generation of modders.

It would be nice if we could break the cycle.

I'm thinking a bunch of us modders could come up with a fancy website with a simple-to-modify/add system to organize and get our collective data on modding out there so others don't have to "reinvent the wheel" like Wudan has stated in the past.

To do this all we need is...

1. content submitters
2. a good organizational layout
3. neato website
4. automated system so submiters/webmaster doesn't have to do much to get data up where everyone can use it.

Now, I can do a lot of technical writting on the engine/code and help with the layout but I don't code websites/databases worth crap.

Anyway, the idea here is to setup a system where modders can add information as effortlessly as possible (since if it's a hassle, people won't do it). Personally, I think making everything concept based (instead of tutorial based) is the way to go. You can find specific data much faster that way if you can reference information by function/purpose/system.

Plus,this database will save us a lot of time by only having to answer questions once and then just say "READ THE WEBSITE SMACKTARD" the rest of the time. :D

Let me know what you guys think. :)

06-06-2003, 06:28 AM
The Thief editing community has something like this for DromEd (the Dark engine editor).. it might be good reference as far as the layout/interface goes (certainly, i hope, not the repulsive colour scheme though). Users can just upload short tutorials on how to do simple, specific tasks at will. Though i don't know how well that would work out for this kind of community, it might get out of control.. but, anyway, here's the link: http://www.thief-thecircle.com/dromed/.

Oh, and yeah i think it's a great idea. :)

06-06-2003, 08:45 AM
This is a GREAT idea Razor...

I will contribute what I can myself once my mod has most of it's functionality in place - which isn't too far off...

...and yes, it will be VERY important that this site is easy to add stuff to. Writing up tutorials is hassle enough as it is. (Which is why most of the time I'd rather just exchange code and say 'Here ya go, work it out yourself'!).
So we DO need someone competent to create this site for us...

Another good result of getting this kind of site up and running would be that it would already be in place to help modders when JA is here. (I guess I'm assuming we'd also extend to JA as well...)

We would want a seperate JA section, but much of the stuff we put up for JKII could very well end up being applicable for JA too...
But we'd only move (and in many / most cases, modify) existing JKII stuff to JA ONLY once someone (ideally the original author) has looked through it and verified that it is ALL thoroughly compatible with JA.

Anyway - I'm not a website guru at all! So I can't really help there. But I will contribute whatever content I can...

06-06-2003, 10:57 AM
This is great.

I'd like to make a suggestion. Why don't you structure the site in the following way.

Maps and Lighting
Textures and Shaders
Static Models
Player Models
Mod Building

Yes you could hide some of these in larger catagories but these are the main area's that people are looking for.

Then under each section just have FAQ's on each.

E.G. under maps

How do I build my first map?
What is a Detail Brush?
How do I make a lift?
How do I make a door?

This way people can get straight to the info they need without having to know the technical jargon in order to search for answers.

Might I also suggest an idea I had a while back but never got going. Why not create a prefab directory for standard items you would find in every level.

For instance. All imperial consoles look a certain way. The textures define the look of the console.

Door buttons should look a certain way depending on various locations.
The Idea is to put together a building set to decorate the interiors of the players levels. I know I've spent a great deal of time having to recreate Imperial doors and switches. I then use the same switch or door through most of my level in order to keep the feel right. Obviously more complex items the mappers should do themselves however it really bugged me that standard items wern't available to download in prefab form.

Just a thought.

06-06-2003, 11:02 AM
I too notice that we all basically tought ourselves to edit for this PITA engine. I think most of the reason no one's done something your speaking of Razor is because we all know you'd have to be F'ing nuts to WANT to edit for JK2...at least from a modeller's perspective.

I agree though, a doc site would clean up some of the repetative posts and questions that have been creeping up lately too. Not to mention it'd be a nice site to have in place once JA is released and we have to learn a few new editing tricks.

*sigh* sadly, I'm no webmaster either. Simple site design yes, but no fancy scripting or databases. Maybe put it in the request forum and someone else will take the challenge. Of course they won't be alone because we would contribute help along the way. A wavelength.net comes to mind as the exact type of site you're reffering to; you should all check that out.

I hope Psych0Sith is reading this and that he'll contribute all of his tutorials.

06-06-2003, 04:31 PM
Well, I can see things being cross references (as much as possible) in the follow catagories:

1. Tutorials (How do I do this?)
2. Code based (What does this function do?)
3. System Based (How do the Force Powers work?)

I'm thinking that we could post the whole code using a code organization system (like Oxygen) and then have our system allow modders to add comments to that code.

Then the tutorials/System information link to the relevent parts of the code.

Of course, we'll need a good webmaster to pull it off.

06-08-2003, 02:59 PM
Get a TikiWiki:


It's the best system for sites such as this

I am willing to help in any way that I can by the way
Razor, scarlett and probably renegade know where to reach me

06-08-2003, 03:22 PM
anything me and my Team can offer we will this is something that will help everyone and help keep everyones sanity at times one important thing for modding is coffee or esspresso maker even better

06-08-2003, 06:12 PM
By the way, what I was referring to is something like


It's an online encyclopedia, created entirely by it's users, using the WikiWiki system.
I believe that this is the way to go in sites like this.
(Not my idea, there's a site that documents Unreal technology, it uses wiki as main engine)