The woes of a modder, about how unpredictable it all can be. I tell you about what happened with one of Precursors new content and what I've learnt from having lost it; hopefully someone else will also learn from my experience.
Posted by Dvorak on Mar 30th, 2011
Cutting things suck. It really does. When you've worked hard on something just to have it all be cut from the final version really hurts. This is sadly the case with the new weapon we were to introduce in Precursor; a weapon that I spent a lot of time coding for. When it all had to be removed because of unreliable contributors not able to uphold their part of the deal then it's easy to become angry and frustrated, putting all the blame on them. And doing so is not without merit, but I don't want to be the guy screaming and pointing fingers at the people involved; I want to be able to take something away from this and learn from it. Hopefully someone else can also get something from this small rant. But it's not like I was totally surprised by this all either.
I've read before about how unreliable people really can be, especially on non for profit projects like mods; this is NOT unusual. Someone might make a half-assed job, another might leave without saying a word, a third person might just be lazy and keep saying “almost there, just a bit more time” and never get done; there are a lot of plausible situations and if you're relying on people you do not know or haven't worked with before then expect that it is very likely that you will be burned. I would like to emphasize the “haven't worked with before” point also; you might think that just because you know the person pretty well socially that he'll be a hard worker but that might not be the case.
That said, there is no magical solution to all of this and there are a lot of good people that are really passionate and will do a great job. And I think, and this is just my opinion, that people are more likely to finish their work and do it well the more involved in the project they are; just taking on contributors for specific jobs without having them able to give input on the mod makes the project less personal for that person and gives less incentive to work on their part. But no matter the case, always have a backup plan for if your contributors flake out on you; because when it does happen you'll be glad that you have another course of action ready and at the same time it will probably dampen the disappointment.
Finally, I would like to mention that we had several contributors that did a great job and I'm really thankful for all their effort. Cutting the weapon was only made harder knowing that some contributors really did perform beautifully and finish what they started.
Pssst, the weapon is actually still available in the mod using the console, fully functional though without texture. If you would like to try it out type “give weapon_rifle”. Stock up on ammo for it with “givecurrentammo”.