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Old 04-21-2006, 07:15 PM   #101
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The Dev Journal is now up if anyone wants to read it.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:34 PM   #102
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Hot damn Defrag, that was like a weeks worth of work you could have put forwards to FF. Way to waste our time!
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:36 PM   #103
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A fine article, I thought. Worthy of disseminating to major modding sites.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:51 PM   #104
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Great journal update.

Another reason why it is harder for a third party mod team to breach in the HL2 community is also because an hypothetical release will have nothing like the visibility official mods can achieve. In the latter case, you get frequent weekly updates talking about it, and most importantly the mod appears in your list of games. You pretty much can't not notice it. Even completely computer illiterate people that wouldn't even know how to unzip, let alone unrar an archive into a folder can see what the mod consists of, install and play it in a few clicks.

It is also true that people have no problem leaving a mod that is unsuccessful or that has no reason to be played anymore but it's not far-fetched to say that DOD:S, for example, would be nowhere as much played as it is now if it was developed and released like your typical third-party mod.

Do you have any special plans about mediatisaton and advertising ? I'm sure pretty much all the active and inactive TF community already knows about this mod thanks to word-from-mouth but what about the other people ?
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:03 PM   #105
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Great journal article Defrag, very well thought out and I agree with what you said completely. At least the FF team can take comfort in having the backing of the 'old skool' TFC community and from what I see, a number of other fortress mods.

An additional concern of mine is that the majority of people won't be hit by the 'wow factor' - as I was when TFC first came out. When I first started playing, the whole 'multiplayer' thing was really still its infancy, and people would play against other real people for weeks, no matter how steep the learning curve (or however bad the game was).

Anyways, gg wp!

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Old 04-21-2006, 09:29 PM   #106
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For me it doesn't metter. It's silly to expect the same feeling from FF like you got from TFC (espesially in the early days).
It's going to be a "oh finally for fecks sakes" feeling. I allways wished for a good sequel for TFC and that's what it's going to be. It's all a metter of your approach.
Don't expect magic, you can't turn the wheel back in time. You just hope for something that will do justice to your nostalgy.
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:47 PM   #107
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Primarily yes, I do want a game that does justice to my nostalgia, but a part of me (even if it is silly) does want the old days back but I know this isnít something the FF dev team can bring to the table, itís the community.
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Old 04-21-2006, 10:27 PM   #108
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Well you're not the only dreamer around here
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Old 04-22-2006, 12:05 AM   #109
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Excellent jpurnal article, Defrag.

One thing that was not mentioned is that I believe the mapping community is disabled by the 'wait and release' tactic. I have been around these forums for a while, and I have seen many mappers come, produce quality work, and leave. When you pump out a quality map and get a lot of people hyped for it, and then it just sits there mostly-complete, its discouraging for mappers (myself included). You take time off, and some never come back.

It also makes the problem that those who do stay on all release maps around release, so FF starts out with over two-dozen maps and new gamers' heads explode.

I agree with you 100% on the future death of modding. If you look at the mod community for HL2, there are about fifty bajillion mods in production, but the actual mod community - mods being played - is less than half a dozen. This means that there are many problems:
1. a new, kickass game could come out and destroy HL2's community
2. High quality mods all release around the same time and many flop because there aren't enough gamers to go around, further decimating the mod community
3. When you've played HL2, CSS, Dystopia, and Gary's mod and realize nothing's coming out for quite a while, you tend to wander off to other games and, to use your phrase, don't look twice.

I am excited about many mods coming out - FF, Forsaken, Age of Chivalry and many zombie mods - but I fear that after waiting 2+ years to release, they will be swallowed by the ever-increasing technology of gaming (other games), and the mod community will be destroyed. This is very sad to me because I thoroughly enjoy modding and I think its a wonderful more-or-less free source of gaming. But if I work my butt off and then another game/mod comes out and steamrolls the work I've done, I doubt I'll go back to mapping/modding too much.

Thinking into the future, its also scary for game developers - if fewer people mod, there will be a smaller number of highly-skilled people who may become paid game developers...
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:13 AM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atari
Primarily yes, I do want a game that does justice to my nostalgia, but a part of me (even if it is silly) does want the old days back but I know this isnít something the FF dev team can bring to the table, itís the community.
Yes the community will never be what it was some 5+ years ago. Those were the days when you knew everyone on the server and people were more than willing to download a custom map on their piddly 56k connection.

I would truly love to have the good old days back again. My interest in TFC has waned to the point of not playing at all because there is no public server community anymore. Though there is an enormous tournament scene in this country (Australia) which I am not a part of anymore due to really just getting bored of playing in general.

I think what FF will do is make TF a popular game again. Maybe not a massive community like it was, but a lot larger than the current state. TF is and will always be one of the most balanced MP games ever made, but people have moved away because it does not have the razzle dazzle effects that other games have to offer now. FF will bring TF into the 21st century with an amazing engine and hopefully the same frenetic DM style Team Play that made TF so unique and fun to play.
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:17 AM   #111
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Maybe if other mod makers read what You (Defrag) just wrote, then maybe we will have many high quality Mods in the near future to be a success. Several mods will come out in near future, bug free and no more patches and upgrades.

But Nice Dev Journal Defrag
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:05 AM   #112
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Interesting Dev journal, Defrag. Mod teams are definately becoming more commercial. To be a beta tester for Insurgency, they ask you to digitally sign an NDA. Hype, secrecy, and extensive PR are becoming common tools of professional mod teams.

I think there are two reasons for this new professionalism that you didn't mention in your journal. One is vision - mod makers want to realize some fantastically perfect game that is the sum of all the things they've ever liked in other games, only better. The second is career - an entry point into the video game industry, a job at Valve or Raven or Rockstar, etc.

Like all good things, I think modding started out with good intentions: the gaming community picking up where the professionals left off, improving the game and creating possibilities. Now innovation like this is up for sale ($10 on Steam), and the line is blurred between the community and the professionals.
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Old 04-22-2006, 06:33 AM   #113
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Those are good points. I might update my journal to reflect some of those points and how they affect the mod community. Like, for example, some mods have umpteen highly experienced modders and/or industry professionals, whereas our mod is 90% TFC players and most of us are inexperienced modders. We are lucky to have so many dedicated team members, but in my opinion our status as a non-original mod has limited the spectrum of applicants (the vast majority of our applicants are TFC players or inexperienced or both). People probably don't want a non-original mod on their CV if they can have a new and original mod with established modders working on it. This is both a curse -- can't seem to recruit additional texture and prop artists amongst others -- and a blessing -- I'd say our guys are far less likely to jump ship to other mods because they're generally dedicated to the cause; we're all making something we want to play.

The point regarding trying to emulate the professionals and realise big ideas (as an actual pastime as opposed to trying to get a job off the back of it) is also an interesting one and one that I hadn't really given much thought to.
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Old 04-22-2006, 07:13 AM   #114
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I think due to the massive success of mods such as CS, TF, DoD and DC a lot of mod devs seem to think it's a way of getting a job at Valve or EA. Out of these three succesful mods there has been hundreds, if not thousands of failed mods as well.

I think no matter what you make, whether something new or a remake of something established, it's the love and dedication the devs are willing put into it that counts. You can have the most original concept on earth, but it really wont count for squat if it is executed badly.

I have been following FF for a very long time. The first time I looked at the site there was only concepts and unskinned models to look at. Since then you guys have posted up pictures of some beautiful models and maps that have me reaching for the tissues to wipe the saliva off my chin!

The mod has been in development for a very long time, but looking at the fruits of your labour pretty much explains the reason for the extremely long dev time. Anybody who says they would rather have a buggy half finished release to play now, rather than a completely finished and perfectly running game in the future really are fooling themselves.
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Old 04-22-2006, 08:12 AM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defrag
With greater image resolution comes greater responsibility...
Hah, nice one Ben Parker
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:19 PM   #116
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An extreme example of "getting it right" and then release it would be Insurgency mod - This mod is one of the most expected mod for HL2 and they have been making it almost aslong as FF.
They have already finished a 50 people beta testing, and they are now in the second phaste of beta testing (only about 20 people this time).
Most people would think that is enough?
Apparently they don't, they are planning to put another phase of testing, this time for about 200 people, and only then release it.
-------
Now lets look at Hidden, when they started to work on Hidden they decided to use RERO style, and got thier first beta out pretty quickly, it was fun and also pretty original, but it was bugged as hell, servers and clients crashed every 20 min', the game was totally unbalanced.
But since they used RERO it shouldn't be a problem a soon beta2 was out, and again, lots of improvements (added a very nice tutorial), but still, lots of bugs, unbalanced game, very few quality maps.
And now when they came close to release beta3 they decided to drop the RERO style and to move into more "getting it right" style, and instead of released beta3 3 weeks ago, the release date was delay to "when it's done" date.
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:21 PM   #117
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Well I've tried a bunch of RERO-mods, Hidden is one. And all I can say is that I haven't stuck around for updated releases. All my friends have walked the same path. To many bugs in alphas and betas tend to keep ppl away(me and my friends anyway). So I'm all for the "gettin it right"-model Take the time you need guys and make it work :P Simple
But there are limits... like valve "TF2" and such

//griff, old newbie.
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Old 04-22-2006, 06:06 PM   #118
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I miss the days of the modding scene where people made shit for fun. Like back when quake came out, I remember installing the first mods I ever tried. A grappling hook... that just blew me away for some reason. I played through the game again just so I could swing around the levels. No one does simple little shit like that anymore. One of my favorites for quake was a mod that added a shitload of weapons and all kinds of tools. Wish I could remember what that was called. But anyways, all you see these days are world war themed crap or CS wannabes. And that is growing very stale.
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:28 AM   #119
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Quick note to StrickNine: Yes they do. Smod is one of the best HL2 mods out there, and it doesn't do much more than add tons of cool features to the existing gameplay.

I'm long-time lurker and I feel there's quite a lot to be said on this issue of release schedules. So here goes.

Defrag makes a compelling argument for releasing rarely. He bases it on the fact that buggy releases drive away players, and this is completely true. For the RERO method to work, releases must be regularly once every one or two weeks at the very outside - any longer, and players will start to drift away thanks to all the bugs and lack of balance. Now, I have no personal experience with modding Source, but if Defrag's assessment of the amount of work needed is right, then this sort of release schedule isn't possible in HL2.

If a mod, as he puts it, lacks an amazing or cool idea, there's nothing to hook players in once the bugs start emerging in these early releases. But this is where the flaw in his logic begins to show. If your mod lacks an amazing or cool idea, it will die anyway. The only reason that the rare-release method works for these mods with little originality is because of their hype. The reputation of the mod draws in fans of other games in the same genre, and they'll stay only as long as another game in the genre doesn't usurp them. In essence, there'll be a big spike in players just after release, which will then peter out to nothing (or close enough as makes no odds) as newer games with slightly more shiny polygons or a new sniper emerge.

So how does this relate to FF? FF is difficult to catagorise into "new concept" and "old concept" because it's making what is in essence a sequel (or a remake, even): better looking, better playing, more accessible. It's an old concept done in a very different way - just look at the maps. FF will benefit from releasing late because most of its community is already devoted to TFC and will follow the mod like puppies until release (and rightly so). If the community is disappointed with the buggy early releases of RERO, they'll either drift away or keep following like puppies. I'm more inclined to say the former, with the examples of other mods people are using. TFC is a bit different in that FF is the only HL2 mod of its type, though.

But FF will also benefit from releasing early, because it'll showcase some of the amazing new stuff that's been planned as well as showing off the new spins on concing, pipes, detpacks and so on. This would probably pull more punters in from other TFC mods and reduce the blueballs hype spiral that Defrag describes as causing the mod to collapse under its own hype. Not to mention, of course, that everyone loves playing TFC in Source, no matter how buggy, and the community here is no exception.

I wouldn't like to make the call on this, myself. There's too much at stake either way with the amount of work you guys are putting in. I'll just stick with
I WANT TO PLAY THE GAME RELEASE NOWWWWWW


As they say on B3ta: apologies for length, but the missus likes it.
- Hat.


PS. Defrag mentions how almost all of the applications they get are TFC players or inexperienced at modding or both. I wonder why that is? They just want to play the internal alpha

PPS. I take back what I said above about not making the call. I think that now FF has committed itself to releasing late, it'd be best to carry on that way. As Defrag says, it's what the community expects. And hey, maybe we like having blueballs.

PPPS. God, I hate doing this. I was reading round the forums and found a post from a while ago that gave me another thought on this problem, and that's giving away hints about content. It was reflected in Defrag's comments about making people sign NDAs before they beta test, and it's apt that it was Defrag who said this as well:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Defrag
We unfortunately cannot elaborate on a lot of the stuff that has already been finalised as we're keeping our cards quite close to our chest in that respect.
Now, this is from Christmas 2004 so forgive me if this policy has changed (the existence of the devjournals would indicate it if anyone posted in them), but there is no reason at all for such massive secrecy after things have been finalised. If things are still fluid and it hasn't been decided if a feature is in, then by all means don't tell the community about it because they'll be sorely disappointed when it goes. But if it is finalised, tell them about it! It's like those people signing their NDA to beta test - it means they can say NOTHING. Not even "This mod is going to be the best mod in the world, everyone should play it!" which would do nothing but help the mod. And a similar thing applies to telling the community about features that are going to 100% totally be in the game.

To use a parallel from what we've just been talking about, giving info before the feature is finalised is like the RERO method - it can backfire bigtime. Giving it once the feature is in does nothing but help (unless people don't like the feature, but if it's going to be in there anyway they have no option but to shove it no matter when you tell them about it), just like the release-late model. It's not like it's harder for people to steal your ideas once the game is released rather than when they're just on paper - if they're good enough to steal, they're going to be stolen anyway, so you may as well use them to generate interest.

In short: if you're going to release late, make LOTS of posts in the devjournals and on the site about what's going down!

Last edited by o_hat; 04-23-2006 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 03:18 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Hat
Now, this is from Christmas 2004 so forgive me if this policy has changed (the existence of the devjournals would indicate it if anyone posted in them), but there is no reason at all for such massive secrecy after things have been finalised. If things are still fluid and it hasn't been decided if a feature is in, then by all means don't tell the community about it because they'll be sorely disappointed when it goes...
I would have to disagree with you about this point. Even after their new secret feature is finalized, they shouldn't feel compelled to tell us at all. Why? Because even if they do tell us about it, there's no way that our opinion about it would serve any useful purpose. If its something people don't like, it really doesn't matter because we don't have a copy of the game ourselves to actually test it out. Although people like it, that doesn't mean the feature should be taken out. It could be the case that the feature is actually pretty good and serves it purpose in class balancing issues. If that's the case, why would opinions from people who never played with the feature ultimately trump its entry into the game?

From a different angle, not knowing features also builds a sense of intrigue and suspense for the MOD. It's like your buddy telling you that he/she has a secret but then decides not to tell you what it is for a while. Yes, it annoys the crap out of you, but you'll eventually know what it is. Surprises are a good thing. I mean, I personally can't wait to try out FF and find the new abilities/features. Giving people that ability to discover things also creates a good feeling that can capture the hearts and minds of people - touching on the feeling people got the first time they played qtf/tfc/etc.
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