View Full Version : Starting a mod? General tips.

04-04-2002, 09:50 AM
I think it might be kind of useful for people who are in search of team members or are already working on a mod. I am not THE SPECIALIST, but I do have some experience.

First of all, make sure your project has a decent name, and a kickass website. Without that, you are gonna miss out on a lot of talented people. Why? Because they aren't convinced of the fact that you will actually go on with the mod. Don't take this wrong, but there are more mods that don't finish what they start than mods that actually finish it. Your website is your first proof that you are serious about it. Make sure that it looks stunning, that you can show that you have put quite some effort into it. If you are not good at it, try to find a webdesigner. The name of your mod is important, because it shows that you can take decisions, and that you can work out stuff that is "final". This doesn't mean that it cannot change, but it is a start.

Secondly, don't post a thread with : I have an idea for a mod. Everyone has ideas, everyone thinks of kickass mods. You have to make sure that you have something extra, something that can attract people.

The design document, which is actually VERY Important. Make sure you have some rough version ready when you start recruiting, that way you can share your idea with the rest. And you don't have to explain it to everyone in the team over and over again. Refine it to a definite version, and once that is done, stick to it. Changes in design will cost time. If you have this document when you are recruiting, people will know that you are determined to get it finished, to create something substantial.

Alright, you got 3 people in your team, 2 of them have a kickass website with their stuff on it. USE IT! Don't hesitate to brag with your team members. Talent attracts other talent. Suppose I would get requests for 5 mods, and they all have the same beautiful design documents, but one of the mods has 2 magnificent texturers/skinners in the team then I will join that one. For the reason that I know that the skins of the mod will be ok, and that there must be something more to this mod since they joined as well.

Don't give up too quick, and think : when we released some stuff our needed skinner will present himself. Keep searching, trust me, there is a lot of talent out there and a lot of that talent isn't skinning for mods. But you'll have to go looking for it. If you don't find it there, look at web developers, look on digital artists forums, you might find someone interested.

So now you got your entire kickass team. If you don't have a design document by now, I suggest you get to it right away. How can you put someone to work if you haven't defined what you really want? Don't panic, we are in this stage at the moment at WLS and we see that we have quite some problems in this area to get everyone at work. Why? How can a modeler create the main character when it hasn't been completely defined? How can a skinner skin if he has no model, ... But don't worry, you'll learn fast, work quite some time (NEVER UNDERESTIMATE Project Lead)
to get everything right, and your design document is ready. People can get to work.

Make a list with everything you want to be finished within lets say the next 2 months. I use excel for this, and I assign every task to one of the people in the team. That way you always have an overview of what needs to be done and what will be finished.
Plan your stuff, coordinate your team, communicate. Don't hesistate to ask your members to do this or to that. Don't wait until they propose to do it. YOU are the one telling people what to do. Communicate with your team, show them stuff that is finished, there is nothing more frustrating than thinking that you are the only one working for the mod. If you can see that others are working, you'll get motivated yourself.

This is not THE KEY to success, but it might help you in actually getting there. I hope it helps.

Mapper 4 Wired Lamp Studios

04-04-2002, 05:32 PM
*starts a slow clap*:p

04-04-2002, 05:48 PM
i 101% agree...if the site isn't good, it's not something i'd LIKE to do, and there is no work done, why bother?

i mean i will not apply for a mod that shows me that their not a bunch of no-talent 13yr olds :|

04-04-2002, 06:30 PM
Sounds good :D - Do you have a basic design document around that could be used as a reference? to the sorts of things that should be included... I've got a few ideas myself I just would like to see if there is anything I've missed.
Thanks :D

04-05-2002, 02:56 AM
I'm sorry, but I cannot give you any basic design documents from Wired Lamp Studios.

Basically, what it should contain is the following :

SinglePlayer :

The Story Script : Being the story AND the camera movement.
World Description : Description of all the rooms in the single player that people can walk through. It is best to design some floorplans => makes it easier.
Character Description : Description of all the main characters ingame
Weapon Description : Description of all the weapons in the game.

When you have this, it is easy to see which models are needed and which maps. The level designers then have a very good idea of what you are trying to achieve, and you also give people the general idea of what the story should be like.

Multiplayer :

Character Descriptions : not really necessary if you rather give your modellers explicit freedom. Depends on the type of mod
Weapon Descriptions : see single player
Abilities : The abilities the player will get during multiplayer (quad, haste, ....)
Sphere : You can leave your team pretty free if you can define the general look and feel of the mod, without having to define every character and every level. If you tell your mappers you need a medieval look, they'll know what to do.
Level Description : is more used for the different gametypes and the number of levels you want for it.

Hope this clarifies it.

04-05-2002, 03:23 AM
Thanks very much :D

04-20-2002, 09:17 AM
BTW, this should be compulsary reading for all budding mod/tc makers... Read carefully and understand. It could save you a lot of trouble in the future!


08-14-2002, 03:59 AM
large bump :)

08-14-2002, 11:21 AM
A great site for design tips, 'by the experts for the experts' is www.gamasutra.com. they have several great articles, espcially the Postmortems, where they dissect when when right/what went wrong.

It's important to maintian the philosophy that, yea, fundementaly you are making a game, Jedi Outcast itself could be considered a Quake MOD.

It's also important not to forget the whole 'fun' aspect.

08-14-2002, 01:51 PM
JK2 can barely be considered as Q3 mod, because of the heavily modified engine. Mod is usually new content for the same engine. JK2 however has a very advanced engine compared to Quake's, that's why you do not get the 200 FPS that you are used to get in Quake :)

08-14-2002, 03:46 PM
Yea, I understad that technicaly, I was just trying to prove a point.

You have to rrmember any modification that you release is ultimately for entertainment use and, as such, follows certain rules. Mainly the more you want out of it the more work you have to put into it. You want to be famous you'll have to market yourself. You want to be repected remember your PR. You want talent

There are some mods that created by pure genious, but 99% of it is still work... hard work at that. Not that you can't still enjoy yourself. Game modding is one of those wierd phenomenon where 'Work', 'Art' and 'Fun' seem to blur.

08-14-2002, 11:03 PM
Cool...a mod for jk2 is actually a meta-mod :)

Covax->if you find something you like, you won't work a day in your life :)

UniKorn->good advice for n00bs and not-n00bs alike. If you plan right, you can save yourself MAYOR re-work, too. And that's a fact.

08-15-2002, 02:21 AM
so, is this gonna be stickity stuck, or what?

08-16-2002, 03:40 PM
Very true things, Unikorn. I wish I had know those things when I started my mod :)

If I may add two additional points: When choosing the aprx. setting I'd suggest not straying two far from the general theme of the game. So if you want to make a mod set in WW2 you shouldn't use EF or JK2, but some other game that already has a certain amount of models, textures and similar things you can use and don't have to create from scratch.

Also, I've found out that it's also good in addition to having a good homepage that you release a preview version as soon as possible. This will attract attention and talent to your mod and will give people a better idea on what your mod is all about.

08-20-2002, 07:30 AM
True words indeed, I was thinking of Dark Horizons, and we are rebuilding everything, so it actually didn't matter that much which engine we chose.

08-20-2002, 11:08 AM
Ok, but you had a cool team before the game was even released. Usually one person has an idea and if he can use resources that are already available and create something he can show around that's a pretty good start.

09-18-2002, 11:52 PM
I'm not trying to be rude here, I just really am unbelievably clueless...What is a mod? A model? and if so, a model of what?

09-22-2002, 05:48 AM
A mod is a modification for a game. Most are multiplayer (e.g. Counter-Strike) , but there are some singleplayer ones out there too (Half Life's 'USS Darkstar' and 'They Hunger' are probably the best known ones)

01-11-2003, 06:54 PM
hi im usually known as GA/V/VON but what i want to say it this,

i couldnt help notice above about some 13 yrld webbing thats takin the bleep piss aint it, i started webbing at 12 and im not a professional i could do a web site in a text document i know that mitch i wounder if html works on this or even perl
but im 15 and im a web master and i was woundering if anyone know's a good company i can sign onto so i can get payed

because i love webbing so much its a hobby but when im board i mek jk2 maps and skins and missions

Vykk Draygo
01-11-2003, 08:55 PM
I have to wonder if you webbing softwhear has "spelling and grammer check"

Dark Reaper
01-12-2003, 11:13 AM
Wo the hel niets gremmar sheck thees dais, theer iz scool

robbie mcm
05-16-2003, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by Necro
i 101% agree...if the site isn't good, it's not something i'd LIKE to do, and there is no work done, why bother?

i mean i will not apply for a mod that shows me that their not a bunch of no-talent 13yr olds :|

I'd just like to tell you some 13 yr olds can do some pretty good stuff! I'm 13, and I've learnt PHP and SQL. I can create some dam slick website designs. I also used to own a very popular site that had hacked objects for the sims, which was when i was 12. So don't doubt the intelligence of young people these days!

05-17-2003, 08:40 PM
Hey, great thread. I especially agree with UniKorn's comments about design docs. Even if you don't have your idea 100% set in stone, just keep refining and refining. It will save you a ton of time in the long run. It's good for your team (for focused direction) and also good if you're working alone (to keep you on track). Also very satisfying to cross off features off the list as you complete them. :D