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.

Report article RSS Feed Urby's Tips #4

Posted 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

Post comment Comments
Charlie_Calstah
Charlie_Calstah Aug 22 2013, 7:20pm says:

Urby, I respect you so much right now. It's brilliant to know you feel the same about unprofessionalism in/ on MODDB and its MOD pages. I want to know, how do you feel about those who spout about their 'amazing game' but when push-comes-to-shove; they're sitting there (after release) telling people they just 'don't get it', after receiving floods of hate?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Urby
Urby Aug 23 2013, 8:13am replied:

That's kind of a double edged sword. You need to consider both the community's reaction and the developers own sense of achievement.

A lot of the time, when somebody uploads an image of something they produced in couple of minutes, some randomite from the community, who may or may not have any development experience could jump in and say "OMG AMAYZING! MOAR MOAR!"

It's a well known fact that the worst thing you can do to an artist (after all, 'games are art' nowadays aren't they?) is tell them that their work is perfect when it isn't. The second you tell somebody that what they have produced is "perfect," they will immediately stop trying to improve their skills.

That's not to say that the community is the cause of the problem. A competent designer should be able to look at their own work and know whether or not they have worked to the best of their ability, regardless of what other people say.

I'm going to use myself as an example once again. Back in 2008, I released 3 screenshots for The Core's mod profile in order to get the page started. People were kind and praised the images and were generally happy with what they saw. In spite of this, you won't see these areas in the final release. Be that because they have either been massively improved or simply deleted. Nobody TOLD me to do that, I just did it because the rest of the mod began to outshine it as it became more and more advanced.

In an ideal world of course, there would be no bad games or mods because they would each be properly tested and the developers would pay close attention to that initial feedback. You could say that with regards to development, the FIRST impression is your LAST line of defense.

...Man, that's deep. I've gotta make a note of that somewhere.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Charlie_Calstah
Charlie_Calstah Aug 23 2013, 8:26am replied:

Images.wikia.com

I see what you're talking about, which has really answered my question, like, really. - My concept of community changing a game is only in a critic-fashion, I always see a single comment changing a developer's mind, possibly for the worst, all-though, that's more of an opinionated sentence than an infliction.

I Guess you could say I would prefer to be locked in a room with smart people who hate my game, for develop-mental reasons, than locked in a room with people who are stunned, for confidence reasons. That being; I don't think I could handle constant informing by the community of things that could be improved. I've always been a demanding, built-up developer in the sense that I need a room full of people with degrees, a ZR1-X car and a wife, rather than just the community of non-developers telling me what to-do. It's an odd way of looking at the situation and methods of taking criticism, but I believe, to a strong degree, it's helped me be more enthusiastic and allowed more space for a learning-curve, rather than making me eat ice-cream and wonder why 'they're so mean!'

--

How would you react to having 50/100 comments on a piece of media, let's say an environment shot, explaining where you've gone wrong? - Wouldn't be my cup of tea, personally.

+3 votes     reply to comment
iAmaNewb
iAmaNewb Aug 23 2013, 10:28pm says:

Beautiful!
This is exactly what Im trying to say!

+4 votes     reply to comment
BioDestroyer
BioDestroyer Aug 26 2013, 7:55pm says:

Truer words have never been said.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crypt
Crypt Sep 3 2013, 6:34pm says:

My sentiments exactly.
*Slow clap*

+2 votes     reply to comment
TheSleepingObama
TheSleepingObama Sep 23 2013, 1:24am says:

Thank you for showing me this but How do I make my Mod page private for now and have it public when it's ready? Is that even possible?

0 votes     reply to comment
Urby
Urby Sep 23 2013, 10:40am replied:

I don't think you can.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Otter.
Otter. Oct 25 2013, 8:26am says:

Haha, I tried a bit more sarcastic approach in the past ( Moddb.com ) when I was more active around here. Feels like throwing peas against the wall. :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
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