I'm an avid FPS player from the desolate state known as Iowa. Currently, I'm attending the University of Iowa as a religious studies major. My favorite games are CSS, CoD4, UT2004, and UT3. If you run across me online while enjoying one of these games (my moniker is usually "The Watchmaker") say hi; I'm friendly... I swear... My most recent single-player game completed is: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (scariest. game. ever.)
ARRGGGHHH!!! WHY CAN YOU PEOPLE NOT STICK TO THE SCHEDULES YOU PROMISE? and (on the flipside) why are people such dicks to the modders who don't stick to their schedules? Addressing the first question; I realize that making a mod is an incredibly tedious process and requires an ungodly amount of time/stress on the part of the creator(s), so here's an idea, don't tell us your deadline until you are 100% sure you can provide us with something playable on release day. Not 90%, not 95%, in fact, I would say that you shouldn't hint at us, the public, anything about a release until you are completely completed with the mod. Then hype the crap out of it for a week to a month or so. Setting yourself on a deadline when you have yet to put the final touches on the mod is setting yourself up to fail. Why not be absolutely certain? My fellow gallery will then judge your work on the mod instead of the delays we had to sit through to get to it.
Speaking of my fellow peanut chompers, what the frick is with you guys? You'd think that the government outlawed Christmas the way you respond to the slightest delay. Let me put this to you straight, the creators of these mods owe you (and me) nothing. They are not getting paid to do what they are doing. They did not personally sign any sort of contract that binds them to giving you your desire. Even if they put a date, it is well within their rights to NEVER give us the mod. They have put hours and hours and hours of work into their creations; you glanced at a screen that displayed some of that work for a couple seconds to check out their progress. Your desire for the finished product does not give you a right to it. Mods are gifts, why do we as the community act like they are owed to us somehow? And then, when they are delayed, we literally post hate in their comments section. Don't get me wrong, it's expected for you to voice your dissapointment, but some of the posts I've seen lately are vicious personal attacks on the creators themselves (for a reference, check the Half-Life 2 mod Curse). This is unacceptable, immature, and so retarded it begs the question, "What the heck gives you the right to say anything you are saying?"
Anywho, that's my take on the several trends I've noticed lately in the release date department. Once again, I don't exactly do much that's entitling me to any sort of meaningful opinion, but I figure that I can sure as heck chew out the other loafers.
Why is it that every mod has to be the next "great new thing"? Whatever happened to the days when I would sit down and play a mod that was, to be honest, just a bunch of really crappy models/decals focused around a central, simple, fun idea? It's like every mod wants to be retail-quality these days, and don't get me wrong, that's a fine long term goal to shoot for, but the vast, VAST majority of the mods that aim for perfection fail. They die, and when they do, they go down hard in spectacularly quick fashion. But at least they leave behind beautiful screenshots of the wasted hours their creators put into making top notch models, textures, and landscapes for us who waited with baited breath at the slightest hint of "release signs" to sigh at heavily over the course of the next month or so and whisper "what-if" questions to ourselves in the dark and friendless night. Beautiful pieces of computer art that will never see the light of day on anybody elses computer because all the development went into making the game beautiful and by the time anybody realized that it had to be functional as well, the driving wind behind the projects gloriously beautiful ship of initial enthusiam had long since left the sails.
Here's an idea for modders, and yes, it sounds crazy in todays age of idiots who go around verbally and viciously ripping apart poor looking mods (ignore them, but I'm sure you already do that anyways), make creating a game that functions and is actually "fun" to play your primary objective. I know that this is the least appealing part of the game-making process, spending hours typing novels of code into your computer, but it is best to get the boring crap out of the way first anyway. Then, when it's close to the way you want it, throw in some cheap crap graphics and release it to the public in alpha/beta form (whatever you want to call it). Don't "pretty-it-up," don't "fine-tune" it, don't waste my time making the fricken thing look better, just release it and make it clear that we, the community, are to try it out and report errors, bugs, dislikes and such. As we do this, begin the process of making it pretty.
Another novel idea, don't try to make games that are incredibly complex in nature unless you have an ungodly amount of free time on your hands or a staff of incredible size. (Inexperienced modders are trying to recreate Zelda, or PokeMon, or other hairbrained ideas without realizing that they are doomed from the start just by the shear enormity of what they are getting themselves into.) Don't promise me the world and then fail to deliver because I, as the person who gave you nothing but my attention span for a couple minutes and am now expecting the world from you, will then proceed to hate you if you give me anything less than the heavenly, jewel encrusted experience you promised me. Start simple and grow from there. Not only will you exceed my (the freeloader's) expectations, but you very well could end up exceeding your own. Start small. My favorite mods that I have come across so far (Garry's Mod, Synergy, Sven, Counter Strike: Source Zombie Mod, etc.) are the ones that ended up giving me the world after first just promising me a cool way to kill a couple hours. Good luck to all of you for you're surely more dedicated and creative than I (or your mod is doomed).