Re-enter the Half Life Universe and revisit City 17 in the time before Freeman, in this fan made single-player mod. The Resistance is threatened by a decisive Combine assault, and as a wanted Resistance member you will need to fight to escape from the Combine's clutch. At the same time, a mysterious force is working towards ends unknown...

Report article RSS Feed A Precursor retrospective rant

The woes of a modder, about how unpredictable it all can be. I tell you about what happened with one of Precursors new content and what I've learnt from having lost it; hopefully someone else will also learn from my experience.

Posted by Dvorak on Mar 30th, 2011
Article

Cutting things suck. It really does. When you've worked hard on something just to have it all be cut from the final version really hurts. This is sadly the case with the new weapon we were to introduce in Precursor; a weapon that I spent a lot of time coding for. When it all had to be removed because of unreliable contributors not able to uphold their part of the deal then it's easy to become angry and frustrated, putting all the blame on them. And doing so is not without merit, but I don't want to be the guy screaming and pointing fingers at the people involved; I want to be able to take something away from this and learn from it. Hopefully someone else can also get something from this small rant. But it's not like I was totally surprised by this all either.

I've read before about how unreliable people really can be, especially on non for profit projects like mods; this is NOT unusual. Someone might make a half-assed job, another might leave without saying a word, a third person might just be lazy and keep saying “almost there, just a bit more time” and never get done; there are a lot of plausible situations and if you're relying on people you do not know or haven't worked with before then expect that it is very likely that you will be burned. I would like to emphasize the “haven't worked with before” point also; you might think that just because you know the person pretty well socially that he'll be a hard worker but that might not be the case.

That said, there is no magical solution to all of this and there are a lot of good people that are really passionate and will do a great job. And I think, and this is just my opinion, that people are more likely to finish their work and do it well the more involved in the project they are; just taking on contributors for specific jobs without having them able to give input on the mod makes the project less personal for that person and gives less incentive to work on their part. But no matter the case, always have a backup plan for if your contributors flake out on you; because when it does happen you'll be glad that you have another course of action ready and at the same time it will probably dampen the disappointment.

Finally, I would like to mention that we had several contributors that did a great job and I'm really thankful for all their effort. Cutting the weapon was only made harder knowing that some contributors really did perform beautifully and finish what they started.

Pssst, the weapon is actually still available in the mod using the console, fully functional though without texture. If you would like to try it out type “give weapon_rifle”. Stock up on ammo for it with “givecurrentammo”.

//Andreas 'Dvorak'

Post comment Comments
Velancious
Velancious Mar 30 2011, 7:28pm says:

That sucks you had to cut it. People are unreliable, your right and I hope you learned a valuable lesson from this.

+1 vote     reply to comment
zonbie
zonbie Mar 30 2011, 8:14pm says:

that's totally understandable. I will just look for it in Precursor 2: Revenge at White Forest

+1 vote     reply to comment
Argoon
Argoon Mar 30 2011, 8:28pm says:

The gun seams like a modified AK, is a petty to have it working and have to cut it out the game because the lack of a texture, why don't you make one your self for it? Even if is not very pro is better them no gun.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dvorak Author
Dvorak Mar 31 2011, 2:05am replied:

The problem wasn't with the texture, it was the fact that when the modeler made the model he used some very odd techniques which made it hard to add the texture. And the animator only made it worse with more weird work-techniques... we discussed with a member of the ZPS team and concluded that we would have to remake the model and animations to even be able to apply the texture. Everything else was done so instead of spending several months chasing new contributors we decided to release it.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Degor
Degor Mar 31 2011, 5:53am says:

What a shame, I'm not a specialist but there are texturing techniques where you can paint the model directly in the workspace. But perhaps it's too late now. Now find someone reliable and get that weapon in precursor 2! ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hezus
Hezus Mar 31 2011, 6:14am says:

Surely a shame, but understandable. On the internet there are no obligations, so if your teammembers decide to slack off or vanish without a trace there is nothing you can do.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SPY-maps
SPY-maps Mar 31 2011, 6:22am says:

i know all to well what you mean, this is also the reason why i sp-mod mainly alone for at least 10 years now. although i have 2 good friends who stand by my side with support and input, and one of them always helps out with technical issues. but the main development is all up to me. i too have tried to find reliable people, but it looks like there are only 1 on each 100 of them. problem is that a lot of people see games or mods and thin; i want to make that too. not realising how much work, time and effort it really takes. and they start enthusiastic, but after some weeks or even days they don't want to put in all that effort anymore, and leave the project, or at least don't contribute anymore. this made that i simply stopped looking for new members, although god knows how much i sometimes need new members!!
the best news in you're case is that it didn't damage you're release at all, it was 'only' a weapon that couldn't be used. it would be worse when you couldn't release at all anymore without what was promised to you. it's the main problem of the modding community and it will never get better i am afraid....

leon

+2 votes     reply to comment
jjawinte
jjawinte Apr 2 2011, 1:45am replied:

I can't see how anyone could argue against your frustration Dvorak, but as SPY-maps stated above, the member dropout factor is highly attributed to the fact that the work and responsibilities therein aren't really taken seriously by a large number of individuals who sign on to a project.

I too am also glad that the issue didn't effect the overall quality of the finished work and that's pretty much the bottom line.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Argoon
Argoon Mar 31 2011, 6:03pm says:

Hello Dvorak , i don't work with the Source engine but is very odd that the modeling and the animation had any effect in the texturing of the gun, as a modeler my self this is the first time i see that being a problem, does the modeler even knew how to uvmap correctly?

Can you send the model to me? I would like to see if i can help.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dvorak Author
Dvorak Apr 1 2011, 8:54am replied:

I agree, I personally don't have much skill with the subject but from what we gathered the model created huge problems when connecting the texture to the UV-mapping. The animation-technique used by the animator somehow only made it worse. I'm happy to get any help we can, I've PM'd you info.

+1 vote   reply to comment
adelina1985a
adelina1985a Jul 11 2012, 4:15pm says:

Ah yes, I remember the non textured rifle, didn't like the way it sounded so can't say I miss it in the final release.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Released Mar 28, 2011
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