Professional Mod Makers

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

There seems to be a new trend of "Professional" mod makers at the moment. Mod developers that work on their mod for 5 years before actually releasing anything (if they ever do).

After typing 4 lines about one of these mods in a chatroom their over-zealous mod leader took the time to look up my phone number and gave me a call demanding that I do not say negative things about his mod (I basically said that I had seen the beta of this mod and it definitely wasn't going to be released when the timer reached zero, it was a dicktease).

In the 33 minute call he explained that his plan was to hype everyone up with media for a year before releasing (he made it clear that it wouldn't be released for at least year). It became clear that he didn't really have any design docs to accomplish this, but he did have cool concept art, a team of artists and some cool scenarios in his head.

He noted that one of his worries with the CS style "community involved" beta system was that they might release their first beta and everyone will think "it's a load of shit" and never play it again. Yeah, of course this is a risk, but with it comes benefits.

Hyped up single release system

  • + Hyped up community looking forward to release
  • + Internal beta - stronger community/team?
  • - Unbalanced in public servers
  • - Stagnant community
  • - Demoralised team
  • - Bored community (How much fun can you have with screenshots)
  • - Over-expectant community
  • - Release date extended because it doesn't live up to the hype
  • - First release will definitely not live up to expectations of hardcore community
  • - Constantly worrying that you've wasted your time

Classic Mod Release

  • + Thriving Community
  • + Gameplay Tweaking
  • + Faster bug finding
  • + Faster development
  • + Motivated Team
  • - First release may not be received well if the mod has been hyped
  • +- Can tell if you're wasting your time almost immediately

You see, with the classic mod releasing method the first release is a base. Any releases after that are really appreciated by the community because it's an upgrade - and people love upgrading stuff. People will be more likely to join your community if it's going somewhere and they have something to look forward to.

That's why CS grew from what it was to what it is. They didn't try to compete with any other mods and hype it all up. They just added new stuff and people loved that. New weapons, new maps, new scenarios. The guy that phoned me said that the CS way is dead because gamers are fickle now. I don't think that's true, GMod proves it isn't. The first GMod release was just a simple base that I built upon, if I didn't use the CS method it would only have half the stuff I have in it now (with 5x the bugs (yeah, 5 million bugs)).

If you keep stuff locked up and dicktease your community they will get unrealistic expectations that you will never be able to fill - and it will all end up in tears.

Update 1: PM on IRC from 'Mod Leader X' demanding the removal of this blog entry
Update 2: 3 Missed calls on phone from 'Mod Leader X'

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