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Incline Modders: what do you want?

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Craig Stern, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Craig Stern Sinister Design Developer

    Craig Stern
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    Say you've found an RPG you love, and you want to create stuff for it. What is important for that game to have, modding-wise?

    Is accessibility most important: that it come with easy-to-use modding tools? Or does that matter less than having extremely broad modding capability that's not necessarily assisted by tools? Do you mainly want the ability to make changes to the existing game; or is the ability to create and distribute original adventures more important? Do you care about the ability to create and distribute stand-alone assets (like character sprites, portraits, or music) that can be used by any adventure, or are you mainly interested in distributing original assets as part of a new adventure? Do you care about the ability to modify AI?

    In short: what do you consider top priority?
     
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  2. Catacombs Arbiter Patron

    Catacombs
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    Working with a scripting language that makes mods easy to build and good documentation on how to make them.
     
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  3. Craig Stern Sinister Design Developer

    Craig Stern
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    Okay! So: good documentation and a robust, accessible scripting language?
     
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  4. baturinsky Arcane

    baturinsky
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    Most importantly, modern popular language for scripting, not some homebrew crap. Typescript, C#, Java etc. So I can use tools and libraries for that.
     
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  5. Catacombs Arbiter Patron

    Catacombs
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    That's exactly right.

    Is there a game that uses Typescript to make mods?

    I'd also vote for other scripting languages, like Python or Lua, the latter, I've heard, is great for games.
     
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  6. ProphetSword Arcane

    ProphetSword
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    For me, it's easy to use tools and the ability to create and distribute original adventures. I do agree with the idea that the language should be a modern well-known language (like C#, Java, JavaScript, etc).
     
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  7. Alpan Savant Patron

    Alpan
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    I think the single most desirable thing is that it should be easy to create stuff for your game. This can be in the form of an intuitive, well-documented editor.

    People who have no clue about how programming works should be able to mod your game if they have the interest. Some of the best mods and content for games like Neverwinter Nights and Morrowind (both possessing legendary mod communities) came from people who have no background in game design or programming. The more modders your game has, the more it will thrive.

    Modders' time is precious -- because more often than not it is only spare time. So your editor needs to be such that it doesn't waste its users' time.

    Support for an established programming language is of course helpful -- but that should only be the second stage for modders, whether they can program or not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  8. baturinsky Arcane

    baturinsky
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    LUA is not typed and has weird syntax. Though, I personally avoid it. Ditto for Python.
     
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  9. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    Look closely at the Legend of Grimrock games. These came out seven & five years ago respectively. The original game did not have modding tools, but during development they created an integrated level editor for the first game, and added it in [after release] in an early engine patch. This is the single reason that their games are actively modded to this day.

    They included a level editor that allows a complete novice to create a working starter map in minutes. They can test it out in the editor, and/or export the (self contained .dat) map file to play it in the regular game, or distribute it to others, so they can play the custom adventure. The editor uses visual connectors between objects; a lever connects to trap-door, and opens or closes it when triggered in the game. User scripts [objects] allow for more complicated behaviors, and to forgo the need for the visual connections once they are past the basics.

    The community (one fellow in particular) wrote a model importer based on their published file structures. Later (with help) this was expanded to include support for object & skinned animations. Another fellow made a full Blender import/export plugin that allows modders to import / export working model & animation assets.

    Grimrock 2 greatly expanded the scripting capabilities, and made (on the fly) customizing of objects (including monsters) a possibility through user scripting—no more need for fully defined object copies, to make changes, as in the first game. This does mean that the modder can fully re-write the monster AI used in the game by any and all enemies; though the game does provide several specialty AI brains for the monsters. It is also possible to just override the default brain for conditional behavior; letting the default brain handle the rest.

    *This expanded scripting model was a double edged sword for them, though. It was in many ways not compatible with the earlier, simpler version that most people (who did learn) had learned, and in a way that was not obvious, and broke working scripts from the first game.
    ___________
    So... The key points I look for are easy basic mapping, user scripting, model, sound, video, and animation import/export possibilities—if not full support for it, and of course... entity editing, to allow for monster customization; [hitpoints, string data, attacks, special attacks and other abilities etc...].


    Grimrock 1 & 2 use Lua [5.1], but the game does restrict [omit] support for certain (most?) os functions. Mods are intended to only interact with the internal game, not the OS platform. This does make the limitation that Grimrock mods are not intended to make use of loose files; and thus user mod patch releases must be a re-export of the entire mod. :(
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  10. Catacombs Arbiter Patron

    Catacombs
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    True. But, both languages are much easier to learn than C# or Java, especially for beginners.
     
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  11. Craig Stern Sinister Design Developer

    Craig Stern
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    This is useful, thanks! :salute:
     
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  12. Terra Learned

    Terra
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    Use a known programming/scripting language rather than some bespoke solution. I really wanted to make some mods for D:OS 1 & 2 but never could be bothered to get around to watch 3-4 40 minute videos of someone taking way to long to explain SwenScript to me (sure, I can fumble my way through but that's not the point). If it must be bespoke, have a succinct tutorial (text ideally) that assumes programming knowledge.

    Secondly, and this probably trickier to find a solid solution for, something that can streamline the creation and placement of art assets. It's an unfair example but, say NWN was (to my understanding) tile based so you could snap pieces together fairly easily and have a passable environment pretty quickly. Attempting the same in a more modern crpg editor (again, gonna use D:OS) and it just takes way longer to achieve something that looks decent within the game's aesthetic (even with hundreds of premade assets from the existing campaign). I recall reading that CDPR made some type of tech that procedurally created convincing forests/wilderness areas, I'd also ideally be looking for type of similar functionality.
     
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  13. Alpan Savant Patron

    Alpan
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Out of curiosity, why did you call this an unfair example? This is the single most important reason NWN has endured to this day. Also see the Grimrock example above. Being able to rapidly tile-brush one's way into prototypes is the difference between one creator retaining interest in a project and another creator giving up due to it taking too long to get anywhere. One does not need to go all the way up to D: OS for a comparison -- just look at NWN 2 which has by all accounts a more powerful game engine and toolset, except tile-brushes are replaced by terrain sculpting, greatly increasing the time needed to prototype areas. It has a tiny fraction of the mod community of the first game.
     
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  14. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    Ah... I forgot to mention that Grimrock 2 includes limited terrain sculpting; by way of height-mapped ground, done in the editor by placing elevations from -3 to 3 on any tile, and it handles the incline transitions, and their effect on placed decorations and dropped items.
    --

    Modding-wise, here is something a distant friend of mine made in Grimrock 2, possible because the community had the right tools for it:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
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  15. Craig Stern Sinister Design Developer

    Craig Stern
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    Here's another question: do you care about having an in-game mod browser? Or are you content to download zip files from the internet and put their contents into the correct folders yourself?
     
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  16. Alpan Savant Patron

    Alpan
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    I don't care about a mod browser, but I'm always interested to know if the mods I'm using are in conflict with each other.

    More generally I would venture to guess that any player invested enough to seek out mods for a game wouldn't mind following some basic instructions to manually download and extract zip files.
     
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  17. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    I'm perfectly capable of installing mods myself, but an option to disable individuals mods without removing them helps when there will be conflicts.
     
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  18. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    If a game will have multiple [concurrent] mods running, then it should have some way of inspecting their effect on other affecting mods. I am fine with manually installing mods, but a mod-loader is nice to have; especially one that can return the game to its default state.
     
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  19. adrix89 Arbiter

    adrix89
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    Git Integration.
     
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  20. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    Mod merging tools. At hundreds of mods, that every mod-friendly game eventually ends up, it's a major bitch to say what conflicts with what and where. Ideally, at the game start/parsing stage it should keep track of each entry origin like version control does, and give verbose info when conflicts arise.
     
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