Scotch and Coffee founder, level designer, texture artist, model editor and voice actor. I'm always up for a voice acting job and will gladly do any lines you want to send to me. Also, I enjoy making video reviews for mods for Half-Life and Half-Life 2, so let me know if you want me to review one and I'll fit it in when I can.

Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Urby's Tips #4

9 comments by Urby on Aug 9th, 2013

So I already summarised the 3 main things that I see a little too much of (in my opinion) in my three images (Urby's tips 1, 2 and 3) and a couple of members have asked me for #4.

This is where things get a little bit deeper and an image wouldn't necessarily be enough to get my point across and be taken seriously.

Urby's Tips #4

"If you need a team, prove you are a capable leader."

There are so many mods out there where one guy (or girl, perhaps) has posted 3 concept scribbles on scruffy notepad paper that any half-way decent artist could fart out in less than a minute. They then prattle on about how they "NEED A TEAM!" before any more progress can be made on a mod.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO THINGS!

The development of a mod is a time consuming thing, even if you happen to have all the tools and the know how. Rome wasn't built in a day, Black Mesa wasn't built in a month, The Core (self glorifying... sorry) wasn't built in a year.

Some of the following points may be very obvious to a lot of modders, but there is a lot of evidence out there that suggests some people just don't get it.

  • If you're not an artist, don't release concept art.
  • If you're not a modeller, don't post model renders.
  • If you have no experience using a certain tool or engine, DO NOT USE YOUR FIRST, SECOND OR EVEN THIRD ATTEMPT AS MEDIA!
  • If you don't have any media, you don't have a mod so don't make a God damned mod page!

Have you ever seen a mainstream game developer release unfinished media or just a plot summary when promoting an upcoming title? Of course not!
Use what strengths you DO have to promote your idea. If you only have a story, it can be the best story in the world, but people want to SEE what you're capable of. Learn at least one of the tools needed to bring the project to life. Practice until you are happy with what you can produce and ONLY THEN do you start showing that off on a mod page. If people like what they see, the team WILL COME TO YOU! If people don't like what they see, take that on board and improve on what you've learned to make your project stand out.

I am guilty of blindly joining a couple of teams that were both being managed by inexperienced kids. I'm not being condescending about their age here. I am 26 and there are a lot of kids out there who are far more intelligent and talented than I am. Their ability to drive the project was hindered by the fact that they had no experience with any of the tools needed to pull the project together, so they weren't able to designate jobs and everybody was doing their own thing. A couple of models would get finished and somebody would make a track or two within a week and call it done after the first draft and the whole thing would fall apart in less than a month.

Take a Leaf from my book
The Core was a simple project I started back in 2008. By then I had been working with GoldSource for 10 years. I was a pretty good mapper, I knew the very basic minimum regarding editing models and the media I released was polished and got the reaction I was hoping for. 5 years on and the primary team is now comprised of 3 people. A developer, a mapper who is confident with editing sound and video as well as producing textures, and myself, also a mapper, texture editor and model editor. While this is still fairly meager in terms of a "team" the three of us working together have taught one another more tips and tricks we can use when working on the mod and as such many older areas have been enhanced, improved or even rebuilt completely. In light of this, The Core is one of the most popular upcoming GoldSource mods on MODDB at present, with nearly 700 watchers and netting a spot in the top 100 for Mod of the Year 2012. That is the primary benefit of working with a talented team and that is exactly why you cannot rush the process of assembling one.

All the best,
Urby

Report abuse First blog post I guess.

7 comments by Urby on Apr 25th, 2011

You know what ModDB needs less of? Horror mods.

Every other mod nowadays seems to be based on the idea of horror and so far I am yet to see a single one that is any good.

True horror gets under your skin and makes you feel genuinely uneasy. Fear is a very difficult thing to put onto a player and has to be applied carefully. Go to over the top with darkness, loud noises and ridiculously warped models then your attempt at fear suddenly becomes laughable and loses all impact.

Why not challenge yourself and make a horror mod in a brightly lit setting? Rather than go for overly loud noises, why not go for softer, less noticable sounds. Also, rather then getting up in a players face with things like "OH MY GOD LOOK AT THIS THIS IS SO SCARY HE HAS NO SKIN BLUARGH!!!" try and get passing glances instead. Something the player sees out of the corner of their eyes which makes them think: "Did I just see that? What the Hell was it?"

Fear of the unknown is a good one to play with. As soon as you see a monster, in full and up close, it loses it's mystery and quickly becomes another enemy to shoot or run away from.

Examples:

Doom 3 is not a scary game because each enemy has an introductory sequence which shows the demons in full, in a well lit room.

F.E.A.R was good to an extent, with passing glance events and occasional eery moments but lost it's scary factor pretty early in and resorted to the cheap "dark-room-and-loud-noises" tactic.

Half-Life Episode 2 is in no way a scary game, but the introduction of the Hunters is a masterpiece of design. First you hear them and Alyx reacts to the noise (note, this is outside in broad daylight, alongside an NPC character. Not your average scary setting right?). Then you have several chances to catch a glimpse of them. Finally, it attacks in a shock moment. This is perfect and exactly what playing with a players emotion are all about.

Oh, and stop, STOP! with the fucking zombie mods... ¬_¬

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