Thread: [KOTOR] Yavin IV Planet Mod
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:47 AM   #147
vanir
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: south of Gundagai
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I felt compelled to give some feedback, having just run through the mod for the first time. My commments would be fairly similar in a detailed examination to some already given above, so I'll just skip to the conclusion.

Definitely need to mod this mod. Target audience is the "uber power" group (each to their own, just not my group).

Dialogue needs revision, need someone older to rewrite it.
The whole mod needs to be dramatically cut to keep its Yavin IV theme. This mod is the thinly veiled inclusion of a whole new planet/sidequest using the existing nav chart. Two problems with this are continuity (ie. none) and player choice (ie. none). Once taking this sidequest the player is locked into an uber quest for mighty items that makes no sense in any of its details. The conception is good, it was just entirely overdone in screenwriting terms and has no connection with any of the game, though it undoubtedly affects it dramatically.

The mod begins very well, aside from needing the dialogue revision, although all captured equipment needs to be cut by 3/4 to still be a very powerful and exciting addition to player stores (without upsetting a balanced story). The first encounter need not have a repetition of the same powerful items for every dead body, a simple medpack and a grenade would do for most, a nice gun here, one suit of armour there.

The fleeing rodian is good, but mod developers/repackagers need to keep sharply in mind all progression of a module once player choice about being there and embarking sidequests has been removed. Players do not like this typically, it ruins both suspension of disbelief and overall sense of commanding the PC destiny. Forcing player choices, whether to remain on planet or towards the outcome of dialogue must be used very sparingly and for very specific purposes, or the game experience is immediately ruined. Players like to know why their PC is having outcomes forced upon them, so they can understand why their personal choices cannot be reflected by PC choices.

This is not too much of an issue at the start, since the game itself uses this technique frequently, but here a bit of psychology is involved by professional screenwriters and game developers, to distract the player and entice them with other kinds of choices. A romance with Bastila, some humour with Carth, an intriguing story unfolding, a Sith threat tied directly to the primary quest. The game itself uses the enlistment of sidequests to also provide a situation of taking a dollar note and giving back a dollar in change. The good thing about KotOR I is you very rarely feel like you don't have choices.

Like I said, not too much of an issue with this mod at the beginning, because the reason you've been trapped into a sidequest becomes clear soon enough. You discover at the Iridonian base your sidequest is to find your way safely to a transport kept within the base.

This is where the mod should end. Up to here it's fine, aside from that dialogue revision issue and the uber weapons caches behind every tree stump and under every bunk and body. Only one footlocker needs to even be accessible per room, the rest can be just visual props. Only one in three of those needs to have any usable weapons or armour, a simple medpack and stim will do for the rest (but don't be repetitious).
There needs to be a little more serious thought into what level of equipment is to be readily found as well. What's the point of killing bosses when better-than-boss-amour can be found down the hall by carving up some security droids you don't even have to buff to fight? And the special equipment, again far too readily found and entirely too numerous, is ridiculously overpowered. Level 1 items should give one point in one ability or 3pts in one skill maximum, or a basic ability. You shouldn't find anything more serious than a level 1 item unless you killed an underboss or boss and these should involve a lot of work up.

So say this was fixed, since there's no bosses or underbosses in the Iridonian base, no powerful items other than quest items should be there (ie. just one of those nice new enviro-armours delivered back at the landing site is very generous for the most powerful item found in this entire sidequest). Also the dialogue revised by a mature english speaking writer, including the consol dialogue in the base (and for Godsake man, tedium is where you plaster 35 computer spikes in every nook and cranny and then ask for 33 of them to get off the base, why not find 9 or 10 and require 5-9 depending on skill).
Then assuming that is done, the speeder should take you to some kind of shuttle for return to the Yavin Station where you can have a short dialogue with what's-his-face about running like a girl and get back to your mission (for which a voice over would be easy as pie).

The main benefit of this mod is some interesting Yavin IV ground area in the "dark canyon" which suffices beautifully for the entire theme. It has some ruins, you have to run around a base to get back to the Station again, you come back with a nice new battle suit for Carth or whoever, a few more credits and a medpack or two, all is good news.

But this recoloured Dantooine you find yourself still stuck with, Jedi Masters, poorly conceived subplots totally unrelated to anything at all, choices that aren't really choices and the only choices you have requiring full out of character dialogue options. Picture a Jedi Lightsider, the little Yoda dude and another Jedi Master are asking them to perform a task, and you can tell them to go jump off a cliff and your quest is more important than their requests, or get stuck further into the uber power mod.

Great start, nice potential, poorly detailed and terribly finished. I quit after the recoloured Dantooine academy bit. I was already another two levels up by then and becoming concerned how this was going to affect game continuity since it is designed for the PC to make 19-20th in the final Malak confrontation, rather than 2/3 the way through the game.

In conclusion, the choice made in terms of editing is whether this is an uber power mod, or a game mod. Whether it is based on someone else's work being re-released in another language or whatever, the editing responsibility still can't be palmed off. Get their permission, redo the mod. Cut the bejesus out of it. That's my vote.

Last edited by RedHawke; 05-09-2009 at 03:08 AM. Reason: Removed additional post... (that was PM material)
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