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Report article RSS Feed The Dillema in Modding

Posted by ÐiamonÐ on Apr 4th, 2011

Usually, in order to do a full fledged mod or video game production, or quite frankly any major project whether it be for school or work, requires the total potential of all people in it. The role of the leader is especially challenging, however.

When I started a Natural Selection High-Definition pack three years ago, I was naive. I had very little experience in a big group of 10+ people, all with unique talents to achieve different goals. Textures, modeling, UV mapping, animating, sprite design, compiling... the works. I gathered a very good group of people who were at the time, and still are, incredibly skilled at what they did. Eventually, it came to the point where I felt as though I was... useless. Tom was doing arm hacks (at the time, I had no clue around arm rigging), Kevin and Ben was modeling, John and Matt was texturing, and Bradley and John was doing sprite work. It came to the point where I became that annoying small man, pointing fingers at big, skilled people who were so much better than me in every way imaginable. I wanted to do something, but my skills were overshadowed to people with greater experiences.

My naivety crawled up to me, of course. My organization skills were poor. I made a thread for models, a thread for sprites, etc. My desktop was a total mess of things. I lacked the capacity to give a constant slew of media releases to motivate my team. My powerlessness became overpowering. Quite frankly, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into.

What really bothers me is that I never really was focused to the goal at hand. Usually, when we gathered in a single Steam group chat, we'd just... have a good time. A nice conversation, a nice game, great laughs. Eventually, the only thing we really ended up enjoying is... being together. Friendship is a power figure, and I feel like I've made great friends in modding.

However, friendship got in the way of overarching goals of our Natural Selection project.

As the naive, powerless, inexperienced and small leader, how am I to ask others what to do? For example, how can I possibly ask a friend to remodel every Natural Selection NPC? That's a hefty demand, even for our pack. What ends up happening is that instead of asking people to do things for me, I hesitantly back down in asking altogether, and we end up getting nothing done. Asking people to do all the code, or do all the sounds, or do all of anything really, puts pressure on me because I hate being that guy to ask major things from people. I don't want to give people trouble/stress. I just want to be their friend.

What ends up happening is that things fall apart. Most of the team leaves as I lack in motivating everyone to do their job, which wasn't even clearly addressed to them to begin with. The project is no more. In time, I am forced to gather what resources we developed in an incomplete Winrar file, and call it a day.

What was the purpose of me writing this? Well, I feel as though I'm in the same position today. I do indeed have ambitions for a total conversion modification, but I feel powerless in that I lack to capacity to produce such works of art and motivate others to assist me in my goals. In my current project, Blue Shift: Reassignment, I have taken the same role as I have in my Half-Life pack; I don't like asking people to redo all the models for me, so I gather resources from sites, rig our new arms on a unique skeleton, and produce something fresh without relying on someone to produce models from scratch. The only reason I do this is due to the fact that I am inept in motivating others in doing their task, and I willingly choose to replace all models, sounds, and sprites for Blue Shift on my own. I don't like asking people to do all the code for me, because I hate putting people in a obligatory position to do enormous tasks for me. It gives undeniable stress to the other person, but also to myself because I hate putting people in this sort of position.

Being a leader is very challenging. I still don't know if I should be doing this, but I haven't exactly lost hope in this. Part of the reason for my hiatus in the community is due to this feud with myself: should I pressure people into doing things for me, or should I maintain long-term ties with good people? I just... cannot compromise both simultaneously.

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Swaggletooth Apr 7 2011 says:

I know that feeling man. I kind of feel it may be worth getting a full time manager for some mod projects - someone who can respect the creative vision of the project, manage people in a good way and throw out all that cool media **** which takes so long to arrange when you're doing other stuff too.

But yeah, pretty much every project I've worked on (IRL and online) team conversations always turn to fun stuff :P

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