I suppose there are two camps when it comes to modding, one which likes to dive head first into the foray and start producing lots of shiny things and seeing where it leads to. The other side of the argument is from the organising everything so that you can see the whole picture group. I do like pretty pictures. Neither are particularly wrong. I suppose it all depends on the scale, motivation and how self organising people are. When developing any mod though its good to know what the overall direction is, the context to why you are developing in the first place and the overall scope is something that should be decided in the early stages of the production cycle. There are certain things that get concreted to avoid confusion amongst developers. None the less it is still important to leave room for discussion as development is often an iterative process and rarely do people foresee every minute detail. In terms of the mod I was helping to develop we didn't have a strict direction but rather we had an area we would be working on.
With all that philosophy out of the way I suppose this blog should probably get some direction of its own and get around to actually doing something; something interesting or relevant, hopefully both though interesting is relative i suppose. Im in way too much of a philosophical mood at the moment which really isn't helping with where im to go with this.
I suppose this all started with some idle discussion over on the IRC channel. I think that I brought up about direction and scope because one or two members on the forum had started a role-playing topic. Personally I have little interest in this aspect of the genre, every developer has his likes and dislikes but being able to understand and embrace those areas to see what they they contribute makes for a better designer. So drawing from these areas came up as a conversation topic and what the genre was like as a whole.
This got me thinking about how there are many people have played most of the games within Final Fantasy series and yet who I would not necessarily put under the umbrella terms of hardcore gamers. Living with six people at the moment I was surprised that three of them have played much of the series to the point that various discussion have arose on a wide variety of topics because of their own in-depth knowledge of the series. This all started out with just asking if people played Final Fantasy and subsequently led to alot of the series being replayed for nostalgia sake and serious completionist sessions ensued.
It is important to realise that its not just the hardcore gamers that play games every waking second of the day but there is a much larger audience out there. This lead me to question the stereotype have been associated with gaming and particularly both the RPG genre and Final Fantasy series. Needless to say I got a sudden moment of inspiration and a terrible joke was born in the process. Sometimes in order to solve a problem you have to work backwards and in this case it was the punchline of a bad joke I had reverberating in my head based off of the stereotypes being discussed that led to inspiration. Needless to say the joke was pretty tasteless and went something like this.
How do you make a fan boy drool? To which I was going to replay by sending this image followed by the punchline - A Really Big Sword.
This was just a generic sword which changed the scale on. Nothing fancy but I quickly decided that I wanted to start working on proving the concept of getting swords working in-game. I modelled out the sword and unwrapped it properly. I wasn't patient enough to produce my own texture just to prove the concept so generated a normal map from the base texture. The sword was imported in-game and got all the additional data associated with swords working too. Not bad for a an hour or two of research and development. And for those of you curious to know the joke turned out it was well received.