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Oct 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1187
Age: 25
#1
Last Updated: November 2, 2012

Yup. I'm just going to continually update this initial post with problems that occur in most mods that we see, why they happen, and how an individual can fix them.

=Way Too Hard=

So anyone who's played a mod here will notice that some of the mods we see are just absurd in difficulty. Even though we want to see challenging mods out there, these tend to not present any real challenge, but instead are chalk full of fake difficulty. Fake difficulty is when something in a game is hard on the player, but is not their fault. Whether it's 100% exact presicion that's expected or things that pop up and attack the player before they can even react, it's all bad and super frequent here. A proper challenge needs to be presented to the player before they need to tackle it. They need to see what an enemy can do before they are forced to attack it, or see that an object will hurt them before being thrown at it. New things must be presented in an enviornment where the player can learn how to approach them without consequence, before being presented as a challenge.

Another aspect of fake difficulty super common here, is throwing a shit ton of high HP enemies at the player at once. You can only handle so much as a player, and if 15 enemies are there at once, they should only take 1-2 hits to kill, or you should have a strategic advantage over them. If it's 8 Guadi throwing swords at you, then the modder should have made them either easy to kill, or given you cover so you have the ability to avoid taking damage.

http://towersdevelop...19-27-50-75.png

Also on this list is save points being misplaced. If you know something is going to be hard on the player, put your save point BEFORE it. If you have learned that the map they're running through always kills players before the end of it, put a save room somewhere in the middle. It's alright to have challenging things, but if you know something will likely kill a player they're first time around, you should A) see if it's fakely difficult and B) put a save point in the area.

This also happens with traps. As a general rule, putting traps that instantly kill the player because they didn't make the game are bad. If only YOU know how to do something, and you EXPECT the player to do it, this is a problem. Fix it.

"Don't worry, jumping over will be fine."

"Ha ha- oh. You made it?"

No health available is also an issue. Cave Story was never afraid to give you health at any point really. Hell doesn't count as it was designed to be fake difficult, but you can't ask a player to go too long without taking damage.

These things happen alot, and they happen because they're the easiest pitfalls to fall into for new game makers. It's easy to justify designing impossible tasks or unfair ones by saying "it's supposed to be hard". This needs to be fixed by carefully planning things out. Don't just make a stage and throw things at it later, get some paper and draw it. Decide where enemies go as you build, not after. Ask yourself if that's fair or reasonable. If your player has enough resources. If they make sense. Approach things in this sort of manner and you'll see some definate improvement.

=ASM hacking is the solution to all lifes problems=

No it's not. If your game is shit, it's not because you don't have the gun you want in it. It's because your game doesn't feel good to play. Your modding Cave Story, an almost perfect game, it has all the capabilities to produce a fun mod without hacking. Saying that your demo is unfun because you don't have a hack there isn't right, it's unfun because it's unfun. Stop using this as a crutch and expect more from yourself.

=Unfinished=

We all know why this happens but I'll say it anyways, sometimes you come in with an idea way to big for it's own good. This is probably your first dip into game design, and it should be treated as such. There should be more mini mods out there where people experiment and learn how to do things. You can tell which mods a person learned as they went with. Like that crappy mod Towers. The designer clearly made everything as he learned and the maps are each based off of some new TSC technique or hack someone made for him. It isn't cohesive, and trying to finish a game that's started off poorly is extremely hard. Also don't ask for help unless you show your capable of producing your half by yourself. Don't ask for tilesets until you've built maps with placeholder art, don't ask for super ASM hacks until you've experimented with what you can do without, and never just drop out of the face of the Earth if you can't finish and someone helped you. If someone did something for you they invested time in you, and if you can't finish they deserve an apology and some explanation.

=Not taking Critisism Seriously=

If you have someone test or play your game, the majority of the feedback you receive will be about bugs and typos. But what I happen to see alot of is the few comments made about gameplay, or difficulty are ignored or thrown to the side. Alot of the times a mod maker will say that, "it's because it's not done yet" or "It's supposed to be super hard" or at the worst, "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!". There is a rule of game design that you have to know when receiving feedback, you are the WORST judge of your own content. You know every trick, secret, strategy and script in the game. If a player tells you they can't figure one out, it's tempting to just say it's because something's wrong with them and that you're doing just fine.

A good thing to consider though, if someone makes a specific suggestion on how to fix a problem, "you should get rid of the bats in this room" they aren't nessecarily right. Those bats may be the only challenge in that room. So what does this mean? It means that even though what they said isn't nessecarily right, there is still a problem. Take a look at those bats, why would someone want them gone? Let's say for example, you haven't given your player a weapon. The issue could be that the bats are frustrating because they are hurting someone who can't fight back. Or that there are too many in a space that you have to move in between. If you have given them a weapon maybe they deal too much damage for the players health, or maybe the bats have too much health. There are alot of possible problems, and these small issues really shouldn't be ignored, as if you keep designing rooms with these problems, they will add up really quick.

=Lack of Atmosphere=

Now only a few mods have done this one right, "WTF Story, anything made by Ralren" but atmosphere is something that makes your mod really nice, and even makes people pay less attention to any flaws your mod may have. Atmosphere is something that makes people lose themselves and get stuck in your world. It's what makes your world believable to a player. Great video games out there that are ripe with atmosphere are Metroid Prime and Batman Arkam City. Alot of mods don't have atmosphere, then tend to just seem like... well mods really. Your're constantly reminded that you're playing a game by bad tile placement, invisible walls, and in general things that only happen in games. Other than avoiding these obvious things, what you need to capture atmosphere is lots of detail.

It's fairly easy to fall into this trap if you don't care for your mod as much, but if you do, add detail. Put in little story pieces, "dead bodies, broken things, signs of past events in general" and don't tell the player about them. Let the player see these elements and infer their meaning on their own. You don't have to tell the player much in a game if your design makes sense, because their imagination is a much more powerful tool than you think. This can be applied to alot of things actually, but I'll get to that later.

Other important details to have are interactive ones. Let the player interact with the environment. Whether it's letting them press down to read about things or letting them destroy weak structures, giving them an environment they can interact with makes them feel like they're a part of that world, which is amazing. This generally requires work, but as you can tell, if you want to make something good, you kinda have to do work.

=Lack of Aesthetic Polish=

Aesthetic polish can be interpreted in many ways, in this case, lets just say it’s visual effort. Now, this is something I’ll need to discuss in detail later, but the first 5 minutes of a game or mod sets peoples expectations for the entire experience, and recently there’s been a trend of ONLY posting the first 5 minutes of a mod. So this should be perfect. People shouldn’t be trying to open doors that don’t have scripts yet, people shouldn’t be subjugated to poor dialogue or art where you didn’t even try because “someone will do it for me later”. If you want someone interested in what your making, you need to put as much effort in making this mod clean before a first release. Even some mods with issues in terms of difficulty or whatever else have received a lot of praise because they were so well polished that players actually judge them less critically. King: Strife and Sacrifice and WTF Story are really good examples of this, “and pretty long standing favorites”. Starting with King: S&S the mod has done an excellent job in providing the player with interactions, such as npcs having lots of optional dialogue or little side quests being available.





There’s so much stuff and effort that doesn’t screw with the actual game that we really like it. We’re pretty sold on it.
The mod also catches players with spectacle, having the 2x resolution hack applied to it. Despite my sentiments on relying on these hacks, they do naturally capture our interest because they’re different from the experience we had in Cave Story. I mean, the mod starts off with this:


That sets some standards.

Now on to WTF Story, which is “fairly” well known.
Yes the mod now has the 2x resolution hack in terms of spectacle, but what’s more impressive is the array of songs that we are both familiar and unfamiliar with. In such high quality and being used in appropriate situations, they sell us some nostalgia while still providing a new experience. This can’t be ignored, especially when we have this:
So let’s talk about polish in the rest of the aesthetics. The mod is way more linear than the previous one, and the art is a lot simpler. The aesthetic touches come mostly from the invisible check points set to prevent frustration, the spikes not doing damage, the challenges hidden throughout each world and everything else. This mod has lots of moments where the creator did NOT have to do something for the mod, and did anyways. The easy mod being a nice touch as well, seeing how the mod has acknowledged and built around it’s difficulty correctly.

http://towersdevelop...11-05-30-07.png

http://towersdevelop...11-06-30-19.png

Otherwise in terms of aesthetics, as the mod progresses you can definitely feel some personality in the mod, which comes from it’s sense of humor and originality. You can TELL that whomever is working on this cares about it by the characters and humor present as time goes on.

http://towersdevelop...11-09-55-22.png

http://towersdevelop...11-10-50-69.png

So to finish on polish, while these mods also have other advantages going for them, the effort put in is definitely what makes them stand out so much in every little aspect. It’s easy to not polish a mod with the urge to release a demo, or being uncomfortable with TSC, but these details drastically improve the quality and opinion of whatever your working on.

=Bad Writing=

This is gonna be a fun one.

So, we've seen mods with some storys and characters that are pretty... interesting? I mean, you can tell when people have put alot of thought and time into an story or idea, even when it comes out poorly. A character meant to play a significant role might be dumbed down by generic dialogue or lack of real development. So I'll do this in two parts, characters and plot structure.

Characters come in a few dimensions. One dimensional characters are characters that can be defined by a single attribute, say the smart guy, or the mean chick, or the tank. These characters usually full small roles in a story or help define an attribute of another character. These charactersare usually either flawed or perfect. 2 dimensional characters on the other hand, have both positive and negative traits, which usually makes them main characters. These include your villains, heros, guides and guardians, etc... and are always the most interesting characters in a story. The pressing issue is that most mods are written with all the characters being one dimensional, which there is nothing wrong with if the game requires it, but since most mods are intending to tell long complex stories, this needs some addressing.

Your important characters don't exist on their own though. One dimensional characters exist to highlight traits in your 2 dimensional characters. A generic beggar on the street may be used to show off how greedy your villain is, or a person hanging from a cliff may be used to show how valiant your hero is and whatnot. What's important to also remember, is that in most cases the main character isn't going to be seen as one you've written, but as the player themselves. No one thinks of Quote as a character while playing Cave Story, they identify him with themselves, and that can be powerful. Forcing that character to do something important really forces your player to make those desicions, and alot of times mod makers will try to write the protagonist out to hell and back and leave the player out of the equation.

Story structure is intersting. A most pressing issue is that people focus too much on the details of a story, and not how it's told, "anyone here watch the movie Avatar?" When telling a story there are several techniques, like In Medias Res where the story starts in the middle and tells you all the details as it goes, or the Epic, which goes back to The Oddesy. No form is wrong, and the best way to treat the issue is to introduce modders to the idea of story telling forms and let them figure it out from there, as this would take much longer to go over any other way.

So I'll go over The Hero's Journey as I can link you to a video that explains it much better than me at the end. Now the hero's journey can be split into 12 steps depending on how you learn it, all lead to the same thing though. I'll use The Wizard of Oz as an example as most have seen it.

1: The Ordinary World
The heros is seen uncomfortable in their home enviornment, longing for change. They are stressed in their enviornment and the audience sees them in their natural enviornment. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy longs to see better places and is stressed over people's way of acting towards her. We can see her issue clearly.

2: The Call To Adventure
This is when the hero recieves notice of the adventure at hand. This can be internal or external but is always caused by a disruption of the norm. For Dorothy this is when she runs after being threatened of having her dog put down and no one listens to her.

3: The Refusal of the Call
Here the hero finds reason to refuse the journey ahead of them and wants to remain home. They always however are forced back into the path. Dorothy meets the uh... guy whose title I don't recall, who warns her of the path she is taken, and convinces her to go back home. Then the twister rises up, forcing her on a journey.

4: Meeting with the Mentor
The hero meets a seasoned traveler of the neew world who gives them the tools nessecary for success whether they be physical or emotional. This mentor also sets goals understandable from the hero's limited perspective. Dorothy Meets the Good Witch, who gives her the Ruby Slippers, highlighting the Wicked Witch at the same time as the villain. Clearly setting a goal for her by telling her to meet The Wizard.

5: Crossing the Threshold
Here the hero dedicates themselves to leaving behind the ordinary world to a new unfamiliar one. Uh... follow the yellow brick road? This is usually a fast step. A key note is the house is left behind.

6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies
A longer part of the story, the hero meets all their new allies and enemies while undergoing some minor trails, all in this new place. Dorothy meets Straw Dude, Iron Man, and Cat, and has an encounter with the witch during this before going to Emerald City.

7: Approach
The hero prepares for a major challenge with their new allies. This is a long one actually. In this step Dorothy and company go to the city, meet the wizard who tells her what she needs to get home, and prepare to find the witch. It takes awhile to develop this step properly.

8: The Ordeal
This is near the middle of the story, where the hero is brought to a central place within the world, and forced to confron tdeath or their greatest fear. Out of this death comes new life. Dorothy is put in danger by being kidnapped and brought to the Witch's castle to be killed for the slippers. Interestingly, she is rescued by her friends, and EACH of them confronts their greatest fears and issues. At the end of this step Dorothy throws water on the witch and she melts.

9: The Reward
The hero takes a reward for facing death, and there is usually celebration, but there is risk of losing this item or it's significance. This step starts immediately when the Witch's former minions praise her and give her the broom, the key to her getting home.

10: The Road Back
The hero takes the newfound treasure and starts the trek to take it where it is needed. They are ready to leave the new world at this point. It should be notted that many stories make this an urgent scene, but The Wizard of Oz makes it a more relaxed scene. Dorothy and company just take the broom back happily.

11: The Ressurection
At the Climx of the Story, the hero is tested one last time on the threshold of home. This involves facing a more true form of death or failure, but on a higher and more pure level. This purifies the character and prepares them to go home. Any issues in the beggining of the story have been settled. Dorothy confronts the wizard, finds out his identity, and loses her chance to go home without him. Being purged in the sorrow of this she recounts what shes learned on her journey and is finally purified and made ready. She uses the slippers, the tool given to her by her mentor, and crosses the line back home.

12: Return with the Elixor
The hero returns home with their new knowledge and treasures from the journey, and uses them to transform the world they came from as they have been transformed. This is a bit more subtle, but in Oz Dorothy definately shows a new perspective on her life after the experiance, and the change she has brought it more so implied then shown.

Alright, that was a brick wall of text. I have 2 Extra Credits videos here which cover the same topic and relate it to a modern game.




Now keep in mind what I said earlier. This is just an example to get ideas flowing. Give people ideas on how to change the formula for an idea, or inspiration to research other forms of story telling. I expect differing opinions on this one. Have at me.

=Half Custom Graphics/Music=

So this one is gonna hurt if your a poor artist, which we all are at one point. Some modders really want to have their own tilesets or music in a mod, which is a good sign of ambition, "if not at times overambition" but that's for later. The issue we get the most is when people create about half the art or music in a mod. It's an issue of immersion. If I hear one of your music tracks, good or bad, and am playing a level, nothing is gonna break my immersion more than getting a Life Capsule and hearing the Cave Story theme for it. Because my FIRST thought will be "That's the thing from Cave Story". Another reason not to do this with say art, is that Cave Story has a very specific art style. Trying to throw in some of your own art in there is VERY hard to do without making changes to Pixel's art, "Ralren has done this well". There becomes an inconsistancy on screen, and even still the player has PLAYED Cave Story and KNOWS what does and doesn't belong.

This is something I don't need to go on about, because we all realize it, and just need someone to tell us. Now there are few exceptions to the rule, such as XP chips in some mods or whatever else, but IT is generally good to avoid.

=Lack of trail and error=

I feel we all are a bit irresponsible in this. For many of you new modders this is likely your first try at game design, and hopefully this page is helping you get in the right state of mind, but don't feel empowered just yet. Over ambitious titles happen all the time. You should really not make a mod that requires something unless you can provide it. Need tons of ASM hacks? Save that idea for later. Your ideas are cheap, and you can make more. Those ideas are meaningless until you actually make a mod with them. So you want to try and make your first step into design with something small. This goes back to my minimods comment. You as a designer need to pace yourself. Sometimes a new idea for a mod you made up last night, with new music, art and 4 endings is a bit much. If you want an example of a game that someone new should start out with, look to "Tower of Heaven". A short perfect game.

The idea here is to give yourself room to grow. If you want to take time to get better with a skill, something small is prefect. Just balance yourself, because I know how difficult it is to fight your ambitions.

=Poor Collaboration=

Alright, this has to happen. Collaboration can be powerful. You can be efficient and have multiple people balancing out a game's design. What happens here though is not real collaboration. The majority of people ask for assistance on a project with full intention of never putting in a section of work themselves. They ask for art because it's hard and they want it. Which isn't wrong, but if you think someone can magically make you a great looking game you're wrong. real collabortation happens when people are both interested equally in an idea or concept.

In the event that someone works with you on a game, there are things you need to do as a team and being attached to ideas or other things will quickly seperate you. Another person in your project may change your story, or gameplay, or visual style or even tone of your game. This shouldn't be fought, and from experiance I can tell you the best ideas I've seen have come from an extremely frustrating Skype call. When working with others you should always talk about your mod like its still a new idea. You do not dictate it, it's a living breathing thing. It's good to note that proper collaboration does not come from a post saying "please help" and it happens naturally.

=Poor Level Design=

I've been getting on people quite a bit for this lately, so I'll just write on it. Most maps people make are made randomly with no intent other than maybe a small image in their heads. The worst thing you can do, "and the thing must of us are guilty of" is just going into the map editor, and throwing a map together. There's a few things wrong with that practice, mainly your map seems just as random as it is, but also it's a major loss to something that could have been creative and cool.

So lets step back a bit. Before you make anything, ask yourself what kinda game your interested in making? What is it similar to? Then, tale the time to find some info on games you want to emulate, say I wanted to make something like metroid, I'd google around looking for something like this: http://www.gamasutra.../20120114/9236/
After finding some more similar information, you can get a better idea of how to get started.

Next, get some paper out, and draw the layout of a few maps. Not in detail, just put a few rectangles to represent them with a basic shape. This'll get you used to an idea most strugg;e to grasp on their own, seperate maps aren't very seperate in the player's mind. When they transfer from one map to the other, and the layout requires a completely new way of acting from them, but looks the same, it tends to break immersion. I'm not talking about walking out of a cave and into a castle kind of transitions, but that is an issue as well. Just try common sense on that one.

Finally, once you have decided how your world will look, what kind of challenges you wish to have in your maps, and studied how to actually create them, get started on your actual creation. This becomes alot easier once you have the knowledge going into it. Dubby emulates Metroid style design very well in his mod Cave Story Redesign, with a few exceptions, and the superior level design is the reason that mod has stood out. Please now, go out and try this before you make more maps, even make changes to your old ones, consistency is very important.

=Lack of consistency=

Most common thing here, even the best mods suffer from this. One level I'm rushing through enemies like they're no problem, the next I die alot doing that and suddenly have to be really really careful and conservative, then I gotta platform. It becomes a mess, and no particular style of play is present, the player just has to do whatever the game tells them to do regardless of what they expect or want. This is another sign of not planning.

So Cave Story has about 4 mechanics, platforming, shooting, weapon switching, and XP. Platforming is unique in that you carry momentum and need to be precise in simple movement, shooting is simple enough, weapon switching requires you to think fast, and XP involves risk/reward in collecting fallen nachos. It's important to decide which of these mechanics your going to use the most and stick with it. Don't make the first 4 levels combat oriented, and then suddenly ask me to make really precise jumps for the next few. It makes little sense. Some mods actually remove mechanics entirely, such as WTF story not having any XP.

That's the surface of the issue. The next part focuses on individual mechanic use. Just for example, I'll use shooting. Say the first half of your game has you using the Fireball. It bounces, has gravity, but can be rapidly used, so your player will grow adjusted to it and learn neat ways to play the game with it. Then suddenly, as a reward for beating a boss, they get the spur. Now the fireball has really limited functions and is hardly used, and the game completely changes really quickly. Now you can kill almost anything from anywhere, and have almost no weapon restrictions, whereas the fireball alone presented challenge. Now if you wanted the player to be able to eventually wipe out enemies with varying weapons like Pixel did, you need to to do it slowly like he did. If in CS you could gain the nemesis early, you'd learn to hate XP, and never use other weapons due to it's power. But since you gain it later, you're well adjusted to other weapons and simply treat it as another tool like you should.

Bleh. This is a hard topic to cover, and I may have to find a way to get into it more. But as final notes, this rule of design is not something easy to define, and requires alot of common sense and REVISION. One thing I get really tired of seeing, is a mod that's released twice, and on it's second release almost none of the old content has changed, and the new material is completely different. Another thing to note on that matter is that there are exceptions to this rule. Variety is something you need in your game to prevent repetition, and requires alot of creativity. This is a big challenge for big mods, and takes time to master, I don't expect this to be resolved in too many mods, but as long as it's in your thought process, you should start seeing general improvement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sorry about links instead of pictures, there's apparently a maximum on how many pics you can have in a post.

I changed the thread title to be more appealing.

This post will be continously updated. The modding community here is bad. No other way to put it. BAD. So I want to try and move it in the other dirrection.

Hey, if you are working on a mod or have released a mod, I won't use it for reference without your permission. If you would like to give me permission to use your mod in reference in an above post, please let me know, and I'll be sure to mention the context it's used in to you if it is negative. It would be a good opportunity for you to apply changes to your mod if you so desire. Critique matters, and I'll be gentle. Use ranges from pictures to in depth analysis, regardless, I'll warn you first.
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM
hi hi
"What're YOU lookin' at?"
Join Date: Oct 17, 2011
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#2
Wow. What do you expect. Not everyone is a good modder. And learning by trying is good.
Too hard - players' feedback - FIX

I CAN'T EVEN WRITE WHAT I THINK
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM
Lvl 1
Forum Moderator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
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#3
If you don't take me seriously, I've been studying game design for the past six months in a career college, and have been recieving excellent acclaim from people from the industry that speak at the school and teach on how I approach games. It sounds like bragging but the way I see it, it means I know what I'm talking about. Don't TL;DR this.
I would have omitted this if I were you, since it really does sound like bragging and makes you seem bigoted. Your arguments should speak for themselves, you shouldn't have to bring a reputation into this.

Also yes the modding community is mostly 12 years olds. I don't see the point of writing a post to the community though. Just deal with the individual cases as they come up.
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM
Tommy Thunder
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#4
The difficulty aspect is my biggest gripe with the mods I have played. The only mods that I have been able to enjoy because of balanced difficulty are WTF, KSS, and The Show. Since cancelled/ unfinished mods are a staple of the community, I would be beating a dead horse if I complained :p
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
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Age: 25
#5
Wow. What do you expect. Not everyone is a good modder. And learning by trying is good.
Too hard - players' feedback - FIX

I CAN'T EVEN WRITE WHAT I THINK
Not everyone is a good modder. Some people can't do it well, the real issue is that there are lots of people who can do well who don't because they don't know certain basic things.
I would have omitted this if I were you, since it really does sound like bragging and makes you seem bigoted. Your arguments should speak for themselves, you shouldn't have to bring a reputation into this.

Also yes the modding community is mostly 12 years olds. I don't see the point of writing a post to the community though. Just deal with the individual cases as they come up.
I probably will remove that. Was rushing at the end and trying to give reason to take it to heart.
The difficulty aspect is my biggest gripe with the mods I have played. The only mods that I have been able to enjoy because of balanced difficulty are WTF, KSS, and The Show. Since cancelled/ unfinished mods are a staple of the community, I would be beating a dead horse if I complained :p
It is a bit beating a dead horse, that's why I spent most of that talking about how people rely on others and how it affects them when it isn't finished.
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 9:27 PM
Professional Whatever
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
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#6
I really appreciate this being put into a thread. I haven't even thought about this, but it makes so much sense. I'm really going to take this to heart when making mods; thanks, Matt.
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 9:32 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1187
Age: 25
#7
I really appreciate this being put into a thread. I haven't even thought about this, but it makes so much sense. I'm really going to take this to heart when making mods; thanks, Matt.
You're welcome. I really want to help people and complain. It's really a win-win for me. More to come. I'm gonna edit my last posts a bit with some images.
 
Oct 9, 2012 at 9:54 PM
http://imgur.com/EuvCtsQ
"In Soviet Russia, graves keep YOU!"
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Age: 25
#8
the only thing that bugs me about the modding subforum is people taking on projects that they can't handle. it breaks my heart to see all these really amazing ideas from users who just don't have the ability or diligance to carry them out.

what's worse is seeing a whole bunch of uninspired bullshit. there are quite a few topics along the these lines:
[FRANCHISE] STORY: you play as [PROTAGANIST]. ughhhhhh

if it were up to me the entire ideas and development subforum would be shut down. maybe i'm just being a bit of a cunt, though.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 3:22 AM
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Posts: 6004
#9
The modding section suffers from a number of different issues, primarily being 12-year olds but also a lack of feedback and not much metric for quality or incentive to improve. If just one person reads this thread and decides "maybe I'll put some thought into what I'm doing" then that would be cool.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 4:57 AM
hi hi
"What're YOU lookin' at?"
Join Date: Oct 17, 2011
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#10
But please don't tell that I am bad. I'm really trying to do something special.
*SILENCE*
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 7:34 AM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
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Age: 25
#11
But please don't tell that I am bad. I'm really trying to do something special.
*SILENCE*
If your mod is bad, it isn't special. We got plenty of those. I really want to see people make better mods, and I don't plan to aim this at anyone or any mod in particular.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Bonds that separate us
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"Life begins and ends with Nu."
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#12
I'm not going to comment on everything right now but IMO the biggest problem with the mods section has for some time been a lack of content. What used to happen more often was that users would up and post a new mod with a bare minimum of questioning beforehand. They would usually be maybe 10-20 minutes long and contain a few neat ideas and level designs. Sure, most of them were/are abandoned, but they had enough substance to keep the mods section from getting stale. As it stands now, there's little middle ground between serious mods that are one person's entire focus and rarely get updated and "oh god how did this get here I am not good with caveeditor". Most of those old mods probably had greater ambitions too, but they were getting abandoned after a release or two instead of during the conception phase.

Perhaps the combination of superl33t mods and the general move toward advanced assembly hacking, along with a place that invites dumping whatever idea comes into someone's head, has something to do with it. It might just be 12yo's, but I'd rather work towards improving the current standard regardless. The older members are just as capable of making some small or medium-sized mods to help pass the time; I'm sure we all have plenty of ideas floating around too :mahin:
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 6:20 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1187
Age: 25
#13
I think we really could do with that system of standards. I mean, there is an incredibly low barrier to entry right now, and I'd like to see some of the better mods out there recieve more credit and the god awful ones see less. Perhaps even a thread foor mods which have proven to be of higher quality as an example.

As for a case by case basis, I hope that these basic ideas I'm posting will occur to people as they play, make, and review mods. It just needs to be generally better.

Adding more to that post later today.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 9:32 PM
Senior Member
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Join Date: Jun 28, 2010
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#14
Pfft i don't see much of a problem. Generally speaking you can see bad mods from way off. Chances are if the person typing the mod description cant get through that single post without making a dozen spelling or grammar mistakes, it isnt going to be good. Other tell tale signs include the premise being beyond stupid, asking for substantial help in the project and the number after the word "age".

When we're not talkign about the complete shit, but nevertheless badly flawed, yes we have that in spades. It's all down to tunnel vision i think. When youre making a game, or art it's almost impossible to see the big picture when your writing code fragments and picking out mimiga noses. You absolutely require consultation from someone who is not involved with the project, reguarly. Even then it can be very difficult to see the problems in your own game at all, even if they are highlighted.

Also, as a dude whom your last section refers to directly, people who stop makign a mod, I'll have to say a little something on that. In my case, I bit off more than i can chew. Or rather, that i wanted to chew. I spent between one and two years on every little thing and had a great time making it. I however never claimed to be a specialist, and i doubt i ever will be. Finishign the project probably called for another three years or so. I made the call that i did not want to be spending all of my creative time coding for that long. I like drawing, I like animating, I like writing, I like blogging and i have a bunch of hobbies and a craving for the odd bit of gaming. Not to mention i like to indulge in lazy consumerism like the rest of my fellow mortal men. So i simply couldn't let it dominate my life anymore, because at the end of the day it isn't me. I very much like the characters and scenarios i made, even if my game had shortcomings and i don't see it as a failure. It's another thing i've tried and had a blast doing.

Then theres people who start up projects for about a week or two then give up. I don't think i'd like to be categorised with what are simply quitters.

You want to solve the problem, reward users for providing meaningful criticism. Other people are required to help a busy artist see sense, even if it was futile, as was the case where my difficulty was concerned. Yes i admit it. Don't worry i plan to lets play that shit so you guys can get your revenge. Only playing it now do i realise how teeth shreddingly hard it is.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 9:47 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1187
Age: 25
#15
This isn't exactly relevant to everybody. If your proud of your work that's totally fine, but recently there's just been an influx of really bad mods and I think keeping a list of common pitfalls and traps people fall into is a good thing for those with less experiance.

Few people give really contructive critisism. Most people just take it poorly and drop what the person said. I'm actually about to write about that.

EDIT: Okay it's updated with two more topics. Will see about getting visuals to break up the text.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
The Preacher
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#16
The problem is, people making awfully bad mods usually are coincidentally the same people who are awfully bad at reading tutorials (and rules in general) and at using the search function.
I don't think repeating the same kind of advice over and over again is the right way to make the situation better.
But even though I'm saying this, I have no better idea... The best thing to do, imo, would be to progressively remove SW and CE from the download page (or at least to actively say they are BAD), and promote BL as the only good modding tool. Since it has tutorials inside (and since it's basically the best modding tool anyway) it *might* help a bit.

A bit.
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Only Love, Maximum Love, Forever
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
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#17
Wow, this is great Matt!
These are sentiments I've been mulling over for a couple years now.

I think it is true, however, that we suffer from a lack of new intelligent users coming here to mod. All the people who have the skill and intuition to make a mod are already doing so, so the modding section is slowly filling up with "help me on my pony/metroid/yugioh mod, I don't know how to make."
 
Oct 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1187
Age: 25
#18
The problem is, people making awfully bad mods usually are coincidentally the same people who are awfully bad at reading tutorials (and rules in general) and at using the search function.
I don't think repeating the same kind of advice over and over again is the right way to make the situation better.
But even though I'm saying this, I have no better idea... The best thing to do, imo, would be to progressively remove SW and CE from the download page (or at least to actively say they are BAD), and promote BL as the only good modding tool. Since it has tutorials inside (and since it's basically the best modding tool anyway) it *might* help a bit.

A bit.
The tool doesn't matter if people don't know how to use it. The problem is that concepts like this are things that don't come to people naturally. If they never think about balancing a game, it's unlikely they'll do it. These thoughts should be in peoples heads. Plus these are totally just issues and complaints. Totally not a long tutorial on game design 101 in disguise.
 
Oct 11, 2012 at 12:22 AM
The Preacher
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#19
That's why BL is better, because tutorials inside.
Now if people don't use said tutorials, what can we do? They are dumb and they aren't going to make any progress. Even if you wrote more tutorials since they wouldn't read them anyway. And as cultr said, "all the people who have the skill and intuition to make a mod are already doing so".
The modding community is bad, and we can't do anything about it.

That said, a big "The One And Only Complete Cave Story Mod Design Tutorial For Beginners" would be awesome, I would surely participate in the project. Even if it's useless in the end. But then at least, bad modders wouldn't have any more excuses and we could cheerfully redirect them to the exit for being too moronic for modding. *cough*
 
Oct 12, 2012 at 8:56 PM
gigantic immortal dog...?
"That dog!"
Join Date: Apr 18, 2006
Location: Forever wandering the tower...!
Posts: 1714
#20
On unfinished business~

I wanted to make a real mod for years. And I still entertain the idea of seeing it come together... But, the greatest issue I've always contended with is motivation. Whenever it comes to working by myself, I end up doing enough as a hobby just long enough to satisfy that desire, and then something will come along and steal my attention away. (Meow.)

I always believe that if I was able to interact and create bonds with people with similar interests; people who would continously check-up on how I'm doing, prod me to keep moving along when I get distracted, etc... Then maybe right now I'd have a long history of mods from various games, and even a few commercial projects to show off right now lol. That is not the case; instead, relying on my chaotic impulses, rallying up some kind of will to keep pushing development of mod... only lasts until the breaking point. When something bothers me enough or looks enticing enough that it changes priorities.

I do return time and time again to continue work, but there is also the Curse and the Blessing that is the Internet. Boundless information, new and old, continously being released, translated, discovered, etc... So, you have to have the right conditions to keep yourself focused. Whether it is by denying yourself something, or having someone help you keep focused, or mind control (hyponotism...)...., something...


I suppose everyone suffers these issues to some extent... Though I've yet to find my solution.
What is your solution?

More specific issues with my Cave Story mods :

New Game +, I worked on it until I took a break and got a PM that someone else would take over if I wasn't going to continue~
So I jumped on that :D Except, nothing happened after that :p

Cloud Story, fitting name, for a game that has not been released ever! Gah!
Issues with this are, trying to figure out the REAL™ Cave Story prequel events, that would make Pixel proud. Everytime I think I've got a grasp on what might be just the right ideas, I may read theories that paint a very different picture... So I feel hesitant about my current idea, and try to think if there's another way to have things play out.
Also there's the fact, I try to have a theory on every single thing that happened before the Ballos' Kingdom all the way up to Cave Story.
I'm quite hopeless!

When I think I have things planned out, I have other issues to contend with... My poor writing ability. In the time it takes me to write this post, someone else will have written 20 posts, and had lunch. lol So, having trouble finding what the characters say also throws a wrench in the works. Level design... well, I was moving along with that sorta. But, then my harddrive was reformatted... xD I always thought people who didn't backup data were fools.... Ha.... Now I'm one too.... ><

Then there's the fact that ideas I want to pull off, aren't coming along so well. And actually, I've been seriously considering creating Cave Story's engine [or another engine] from scratch... The main issue is, no new bosses. No new enemies... Alternatively you can be clever with scripting and reuse existing enemies, or amazing with ASM and create new enemies... But, to create the right experience, you need comfortable familiarity with being able to create. (I don't have that with ASM). I had been really hoping that Agora's Legends would have reached a good stable state so I could use that as the new platform... But alas, it's my fault for just waiting and not jumping on the wagon and seeing if I could help out and maybe continue it.

Every thing I don't know how to do (or should I say I've never done from scratch), adds to the weight of the rock called stagnation/motivation. School helps push you along quickly, though if you're doing your work, just because you're supposed to; then as in my case, you'll end up making the grade, but not really taking away much from it.

Blah blah etc etc, I can list too many issues that have held back getting the mod going.

What I have done :
Written and brainstormed countless ideas. Sketched out the flow of the game, and most of the characters and events.
Some preliminary art.
Started sketching a comic describing the game.
Basic experience with TSC, map editting, music creation/editing.

What I need :
Take control of my life, and find balance in all aspects.
Either rely on TSC and create the enemies using existing AI in Cave Story+, or hit GameMaker Studio hard... [wonder what would happen if I made a mod using the GameMaker on Steam and release it there?]
Record/make brand new songs.
Work on my ability to create art/sprites.

Fun fact : Jenka's Nightmare was announced about the same time as Cloud Story lol [actually the topic was created even before Jenka's Nightmare... Too sad... -_-]
http://www.cavestory...story-projects/
http://www.cavestory...nkas-nightmare/

As for modding resources :
I found a ton of information written by the community on TSC, and the basics to modding. I suppose the only way to make it easier, is to make a Let's Play Cave Editor / Booster's Lab
Video the basics, and explain and show* how it's done. End up with a nice little sample and tada, that should be the final answer.
 
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