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ShortCutMan's Guide to Starting a mod (Forums : Development Banter : ShortCutMan's Guide to Starting a mod) Locked
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ShortCutMan
ShortCutMan ♥ Pure ♥ Bred ♥ Geek ♥
Jan 1 2004, 4:45am Anchor

This is the long-lost sticky post/article that was originally written by ShortCutMan over a year ago. It disappeared during the changeover to v2, presumabley unstickied. It is, in my opinion, a valuable source, so I have re-stickied it. To those of you who read it, I hope it comes in decidedly helpful. If you need further assistance, feel free to post in the Mod Discussion forum. Enjoy. Also, ShortCutMan, I hope you don't mind me updating this for you. Don't worry, you get full kudos!


ShortCutMan's Guide to starting a mod, by ShortCutMan, Thursday 1st, January 2004

Introduction
Ok, to start this off, I am getting extremely sick of people posting help requests, who I know have absulutly no idea. They see CS/Other Mods and go; "Wow! Imagine if I could be like that!" and go off to the big websites and post requests for a whole entire team without doing anything thing themselfs. I'm writing this rant for all to read, and I hope some of the newbies read this, and in the future, when they have became famous because of their mod go; "This article helped me become the modder I am today.". Now I'll start from the start.

I want to make a mod!
Some of you out there may have seen people post help requests such as something like this:

Some wrote:I want to make a mod in future, with aliens and vechicles! I need Coders, Modelers, Sound Techies, Skinners, Texture Artists, Webmasters, Mappers, Beta Testers! If you want to join please email me!

Of course, it may have shorthand spelling, or just plain bad spelling all together. This is from someone who has no idea how to really make a mod. They'll just tell everyone what to do to see their dream come true. I'll put this quite plainly, if you want something you have to work for it. Most of the big mods out there the leaders do quite alot of work. If you want to lead a mod, you'll have to do the same aswell.

Help Requests
My example up there is the perfect example of how NOT to post a help request. I'll post a sample help request, using Counter Strike as the mod I'll be making a help request about:

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Hello, I am ShortCutMan and I'm Team Leader of the Counter Strike mod for Half Life.

Counter Strike aims to realistically portray what the elite SAS and other special services forces around the globe go through every year, in the fight against terroism. We wish to use some special new features in the gameplay however. The main new feature is the buy system. As your progress through the match, you gain money, depending on your teams, and your, performance. With the money you earn, you can buy new weapons and equipment, to make your task easier during the rounds. We hope to give Counter Strike a huge tactical emphasis, and that is probably our greatest aim.

Our team is a little short of staff, and we are sending out a plee to see who would like to help us create this mod. We are looking for a Weapon Modeler and Animator. Experiance with real firearms would be a huge plus. All reference images will be taken care of by our research team.

Thanks,
ShortCutMan
Counter Strike Leader, Coder, and other small jobs.
Counter-strike.net
-

Just remember, I have no affilication with the Counter Strike team whatsoever. The main points of the request are:

  • Introducing myself
  • A round up of what the mod is about
  • The help request
  • Website and my jobs

Always post as close as you can get to those guidelines. Never say the project is 'secret', no one will join that way.

Learning
Learning to do a speafic mod task is not easy. But if you want to start a mod, it is the only way to truely be successful. And, you get an enormess feel of pride seeing lots of other people playing, and enjoying, your mod. Never go full on to a Total Conversion, unless you are extremely confident, even then it is risky. You need to practice your skills. If your a mapper, map for other mods that are already released, there is no need to release your work if you don't want to either. If your a modeler, make some models. Render some pictures, show some forum goers and see what they think. Remember, Practice makes Perfect.

Other reading:

Before you make a mod by aea, Thursday 6th, November 2003
Details: Ask anyone who has made a modification with a team of people and they will agree it is an art. An art form too many people disregard expecting instant fame, fortune and glory. modDB is here to help get you started - and see if you are up to the task!

The Legalities of Modding by jacksonj04, Sunday 4th, May 2003
Details: Ever wondered if what you're doing is illegal, or if you really will get prosecuted for copying that model? This article should cover most eventualities.

For better narrative and fictional ideas
Details: An intresting post from a screenplay consultant about story lines. Some very useful tips, espcially if your going to be making a single player mod.

Making Mods: Mod Startups
Details: A rant from a well known coder in the Unreal Wiki community. A must read.

Making Mods: Building A Team
Details: An article about building a mod team. If your a team leader, have a read.

Final Words
In the end, everyone can make a mod, but you have to work for it. A mod is no easy task. If you go badly, look at someone elses work and see how they have done something. But don't give up, and don't jump in too early.


Addendum, by frosty-theaussie
Here are some of the basics to organising a mod; the very first baby steps. Firstly, what is your mod about? You cannot expect people to e-mail you on a whim based on the scant information you managed to post there. What is the mod about? What genre will it use? Who is the target audience? What type of gameplay dynamics will it include? What is the storyline? Does it havea storyline? What is its name? You must answer all of these, and more (detailed below in article by others) before not only will people respond, but then they may actually take you seriously.

Next step. What can you do? What qualifications make you think you are fit to lead the modification team? Modding is a serious and demanding task, and you must show leadership and dedication for your mod to become a success. If you are not up to the job, then its best you not lead. You can always try, but more often than not, it will disappear into vapourware, just like so many other mods that have been attempted. Also, what talents do you have? Can you code, map, model, texture, draw or create webpages? If you cannot contribute to the team, then you're going to find it hard for others to take you seriously as a leader, and you will find that you will not earn the respect you require.

Edited by (in order): frosty-theaussie, frosty-theaussie

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bigthreesix
bigthreesix Get back to work!
Jan 1 2004, 4:58am Anchor

Is there really a point to this? It doesn't even have any real information about "starting a mod."

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modDBOldtimer

ShortCutMan
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Jan 1 2004, 5:01am Anchor

It doesn't explain how to start a mod in the sense of "This is how you code" or whatever, its explaining what you need to do to gather a team, post help requests, etc.

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bigthreesix
bigthreesix Get back to work!
Jan 1 2004, 5:08am Anchor

I see. Maybe I should write my own article about this... Or maybe I'll just write an article on something else/new. bigthreesix

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Krycha
Krycha ♥♥♥
Jan 1 2004, 7:21am Anchor

Hey - that was a pretty cool article, honestly. At least I think so; it may be a bit odd for people that are advanced in modding of games, but for newbies - hey, parts of it should be in the ModDB FAQ's, lol. And those links - very, very nice. C'mon, Izava, it's not about "starting a mod" exactly, it's more about "how to act if you want to start the development of a modification". At least I think so :).

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bigthreesix
bigthreesix Get back to work!
Jan 1 2004, 7:32am Anchor

Yes, I see that. Simma down, now, okay?

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modDBOldtimer

chis
chis Old man.
Jan 1 2004, 11:35am Anchor

Very professional :thumbup:

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Nothing.

ShortCutMan
ShortCutMan ♥ Pure ♥ Bred ♥ Geek ♥
Jan 1 2004, 5:53pm Anchor

I'm just sick of all the mod Help Wanted Requests, and people starting mods up that have no bloody idea. If you looked through the Mod Ideas forum you'd get my idea.

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chis
chis Old man.
Jan 1 2004, 5:56pm Anchor

Is this gonna get pinned and added somewhere for everyone to see?

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BlueWolf72
BlueWolf72 Mod Till Ya Die
Jan 1 2004, 6:00pm Anchor

i like my version and this version!

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ShortCutMan
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Jan 1 2004, 6:01pm Anchor

I've just pinned it, and its going to be added as an article soon.

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PsychoFarmer
PsychoFarmer modDB King
Jan 1 2004, 6:22pm Anchor

*me applauds

brilliant! PsychoFarmer

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Neo-Reloaded
Neo-Reloaded I think i'm BaCk! :) i'm 18 now :P 28/03 (H)
Jan 1 2004, 6:33pm Anchor
ShortCutMan wrote:I've just pinned it, and its going to be added as an article soon.

awesome man gj! :D

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PsychoFarmer
PsychoFarmer modDB King
Jan 1 2004, 7:24pm Anchor

run spell check before you do though, i think youre not affiliated with cs, not youre not afflicted...

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a_llama
a_llama Teh moddb llama
Jan 2 2004, 7:01pm Anchor

This really needs to be pinned in mod ideas

ShortCutMan
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Jan 2 2004, 8:29pm Anchor
PsychoFarmer wrote:run spell check before you do though, i think youre not affiliated with cs, not youre not afflicted...

I'm a bad speller. :/

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Jan 5 2004, 6:06pm Anchor

I'm a newb here and thought I'd check out this "helpful" thread. I just came here with a mod idea so I would easily categorize myself as someone wanting to "start a mod" so this thread title seemed right on target –boy was I wrong!

I didn't get to the replies of this thread until after I read the first post. And what I read I thought was completely not for me. I have to say that this thread seems to be started out of frustration and more of a rant about a way that someone wishes people to post than it was any help to me. It kinda gave me a bad taste in my mouth. Are people of this community that anal that they flip out if people come here with a thought or idea and want to gather people?

People who post threads about starting a mod might label their thread incorrectly or sound like they want to lead people through the development of a mod. But in fact might just be looking for people who have a lot of the same goals. The only way you're going to know is to post what you want to accomplish. That’s not a bad thing. I think it’s up to the person thinking about joining the mod to ask questions about past experience of a mod leader. I mean, if you are an experienced modder here, I would think that you would look at a person's resume of work before you go under their guidance through a project. Shouldn’t that be YOUR job no matter what?

I know I do not have what it takes to take control of the whole development of a mod. I mean, without being on a project in my past I have no experience to lead a project.

So I would think that "starting a mod" should be left for people that have been on past projects otherwise, you're probably doomed to failure because nobody will have proper direction.

That should be more of the point here, not some big rant to chase newbs like me away. I mean this is my first post. I'm not a young kid or anything. I'm 38 years old. I just have a story idea I wanted to share with a mod community.

Llama, Having this pinned in mod ideas sounds like a bad call IMHO

Um, BTW, hello... I'm Dino. I’m a sound engineer/designer. I have been one for 20 years and I am looking to do a zombie mod.

-Dino

Jan 5 2004, 6:40pm Anchor

Why aren't there more people like ME who learned EVERYTHING (even if it's not perfect) on how to make a mod for an engine first and then ask for help?

Well ok, im not asking for help cuz im still doing this mod solo... but the point is!...

hum... don't.. be an ass?

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ShortCutMan
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Jan 6 2004, 12:56am Anchor

BlackPanther, I've learned just about everything to do with modding my fave engine (Unreal Tournament). :)

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PsychoFarmer
PsychoFarmer modDB King
Jan 6 2004, 1:02am Anchor

@pangier

i think most of this was directed at those who were coming into start a mod, with only the vague idea they wanted to create a mod, and no ability to do so. instead of essentially coming out saying "i wanna make a mod, but i dont want to do any work," go out and figure out what you are doing before commiting yourself to a mod

(did that make any sense at all...?)

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Neo-Reloaded
Neo-Reloaded I think i'm BaCk! :) i'm 18 now :P 28/03 (H)
Jan 6 2004, 1:18am Anchor

^yes it did and it was what i was going to say :/^

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ShortCutMan
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Jan 6 2004, 3:54am Anchor

Pangier, you are not made a total newbie if you just start coming to the scene. Your thread about a zombie mod was perfect. Plus your experiance as a sound engy makes you not a newbie at all. This is aimed at the people who have no idea what they are getting themselfs into.

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Jan 6 2004, 3:59am Anchor

i am learning to do everything on myself too :) it's a nice thing - you don't rely on anybody:D

ShortCutMan
ShortCutMan ♥ Pure ♥ Bred ♥ Geek ♥
Jan 6 2004, 4:00am Anchor

Bad thing is, its alot of work. :(
Plus, I find myself to be good at one thing, and only average, or just above average for the rest.

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Jan 6 2004, 6:57pm Anchor

Well I've had quite a good welcome here.. Tis good to have a bunch of you youngin's not chase us old decrepid guys off :)

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