I'm a man that dabbles. A little mapping here, a little modeling there, with some sound, music, acting, 2D design, photography, along with a plethora of other talents all thrown in. Sadly with this vastly spread skill set, I am, by far, a master of none. If anything, I'd say that I'm most experienced in mapping in Hammer/Source, though I'm always working to get better at all of the above when needed. Always learning, always finding new ways to learn, and new things to learn. Since 1997.
Alright, so I've decided to go back to the drawing board, literally. After having little direction, motivation, and a big lack of time recently, I've decided to come back and start over completely. This time, however, I'll be doing what I should have done in the beginning. Being that I should actually write a story, storyboard and concept art, and then follow the project through, proper.
A lot of my major frustrations, and then all together abandonment of my project was due in no small part to a sevre lack of planning. To all those reading this now, heed my words: plan ahead. When you're done with that plan some more. In fact, make plans to plan. It'll pay off in the end...and you'll save your hair, to boot.
"Let me push my pen to create..."
So, it's been a bit since my last post, but trust me, the silence was a good thing. I've been growing, learning, and improving. I've started to learn Modeling in Softimage Mod Tool (modeling tool of choice from what I can tell) with a lot of help from the Digital-Tutors video tutorials for XSI 7 that came with it. If you are interested at all with the how of modeling, I highly suggest those videos. They aren't terribly in depth in all the areas I need, but definitely a great jumping off point. The finer points (such as adding fine detail) I'll either have to learn by trial and error, or by looking it up. I almost have my first model done (though it's very, very rough, and also very, very simple). I've got a preview of it along with some questions: "How does one make it so that both ends come out the same? Also, how do I add spiraling that forms the threading at the ends?". I'll have to post the question on the forums as well.
Sigint Later Wrote:
Doh! I also realized that most scaffolding aren't made of pipes per se, so I may not need to make them with threading, and I'd probably be safer using something simpler.
As far as the story/script is concerned...well, that's not going as well. I've yet to settle on one idea. I know that every new modder tends to get over detailed/too concerned on one thing or another. Normally it's feature list, but mine is much worse:mine is scripting and story. It's one of the first preliminary projects that I need to get done before I can officially call the mod started. I need at least a solid game flow diagram, along with a setting and style before I can even begin designing levels. The one level I'm currently making is sort of a "here's my skill level, and this is what I can do" sort of thing, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be in the finished project (as I started the level before the writing, and I'm not sure it will fit in).
Well, back to work for me...
This will be the first entry that is just for my ModDB blog, and doesn't go on my Other Blog. Feel special.
So, I have, indeed, hit a few hurdles that I've yet to overcome, that I'll have to be able to work through before I can continue with the map. It's all a matter of experience, and my lack thereof. A list of things that I'll need to learn/accomplish before I can continue (along with answers and resources as I get them):
Major Issues (Those directly effecting gameplay):
Minor Issues (Those effecting minor gameplay elements or aesthetics):
This is an expanding list the more I get into it. If you have any insight or advice, I'd love to hear it, just drop it in the comments below.
I've made a few changes to the map since last writing about it. I've found a way to expand it beyond a mere 5 to 10 minutes to a good 15 to 20, I believe, but I won't be sure till I get it into a playable state. Unfortunately, it's still a ways off from that, but I've been making some, albeit small, progress. My biggest issue with it so far, and why my mapping progress has taken a nose dive is due to the fact that the story grew from something that was relatively simple, into something far more complex by trying to add in morality, a subject that has yet to be accurately explored by the medium up to this point. It certainly isn't easy to tackle for a single writer/mapper trying to write something that tackles a subject that the professional developers have yet to. Ambitious, sure, but not easy considering I'm trying to make this my first public release.
I will be spending the next few days going over and rewriting what I can, so that it will be a little more open ended. Perhaps I'll return to my original story arc, and leave this heavy issue for a later release, maybe after I've had the experience of released something...
I can say that I finally, fully understand this quote. The shear amout of frustration that goes into making a seemingly simple map is mind blowing, as just making simple things like bathrooms, vents, windows that break when shot, exploding doors, areas of construction, etc. is a huge time sink. I spent the better part of my Sunday, adding the above, and I'm not even got all of the *walkable sections* finished. I'm about 2/3 done with the walkable sections, but I've still got a substantial amount left to do, as the last third is the biggest, not to mention the detailing, texturing, and lighting that I've still got left to do on all of it. All of which will be for ~5-15 playtime on this map.
I am making progress on my project. I've finished the writing on one level, and a Prologue that I have added on to give some back story into the character and his past, as well as creating a "training" level to help learn controls. The level is almost presentable. I'd love to put some screens up, but I don't want to show anything publicly until I get done with the lighting phase, which is still quite a ways off. Then, when the level is in playable form, I plan on posting it on ModDB, and then start looking for a team. Honestly, though, I have to say I'm quite afraid to start looking for a team, due to issue that could arise when working with other people. I'm not sure if the slightly shorter development time would be worth the headaches and hurdles I'd have to overcome. I guess I'll find out when I get to that point.
*The walkable sections are all the areas of the map the player is able to travel to.
The following comes from my regular blog, "The Wonderful End of the World". You can go there to see regular mod and personal updates. Regular updates won't occur here until I've finished the design doc (that will be posted when I got it) or until I find an interested team. Since this post, some details have changed.
I've finally settled on a final mod project idea. I just kind of came to me, in a way. It's to involve a bright, clean art style, reminiscent of Mirror's Edge, but it will contrast highly with some of the "underground" areas which are to be far more grittier. I plan on creating an over arching story involving one main character, code named "able" and his handler "fish". I plan on releasing it in episodes, with the first few (more or less) to be written and produced by me, with subsequent chapters written by other writers (yet undecided).
More details to come, when I get them. I'm in the midst of writing the design doc and will have that available when it's ready (promise). Once the design doc is out, I'll be looking for interested parties to man the different positions in the team, but more on that later...
Back to work.