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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Mods 101 (p. 2)
   

Mods 101: Your Guide To Modification Creation
You've got a great idea for a new mod, but you have no idea how to get started. The process can be daunting, but with the right preparation and abiding by some advice, you can see your project through to the end.
  — by Lee'Mon


Assembling the Team

Now that your project has actually begun, you'll want to begin assembling a team. One of the greatest problems facing beginning mod designers is that they try to make team assembly one of their first steps. If you try to bring a team together before you've verified your commitment and dedication, determined what you'll bring to the project, and begin to produce actual work, you'll have some real troubles finding good talent. Moreover, you'll be wasting a large amount of time for yourself and others. It's critical that you prove the worth of your project and yourself before you try getting others involved.

In order to bring the right talent into your team, you'll have to show that you've already contributed something yourself. People will have to be able to see what your work is like. More importantly, they'll have to see that you're serious about what you're doing. It's only when you can prove your worth that you'll find others to help you with your project.

Here's some advice to follow when trying to bring a full team together.

#1: Keep it small. I learned this one myself during my Generations days. When I moved out on my own project, Blast Chamber, I maintained a very small team (about six people). Larger teams are harder to organize. They also increase the chances of having people on your team drop out, from boredom, apathy, or any of a number of reasons. Small teams are easy to keep together, easier to keep in contact with, and far more loyal.

#2: Find dedicated people. Anyone can say they love your idea and would like to help. Make sure you only work with people who are going to make the same sacrifices you are. Nothing will kill a mod faster than losing your coder to a Final Fantasy addiction.

#3: Only get talent you need. Don't bring on board people who love your idea but can't offer anything significant to the project. You have to bring together people like yourself...those who have already contributed something interesting to the mod community, who have demonstrated useful skills, and have shown a desire to work.

#4: Divide up the work. Make sure that everyone who joins your team has a clear understanding of what his or her role in the project is going to be. Try to keep everyone busy, but not overloaded. Team members that go for weeks with nothing to do and no involvement in the project are likely to begin looking elsewhere. Conversely, those with a large portion of the project plopped firmly on their plate may get frustrated if they feel their workload is not proportional to everyone else's.

#5: Choose your team carefully. Don't accept contributions from just anyone that wants to help. The result is often a mixed-up mod that doesn't seem to have any solid sense of style.

When finding a team, you must be proactive. You can't just post a "Help Wanted" on your site and wait for the floodgates to open; it isn't going to happen. Don't just post a small notice on some messageboard, either. You're going to have to get out there in the thick of it, hanging around on IRC, and asking the help of other people whose work you've seen and enjoyed. Don't get depressed about rejection...many people already have projects they're working on and that they wish to fully dedicate their time to. Overall, assembling your team may be one of the hardest parts of your project, but it's the decision that will make or break the rest of the development process.

Next: throwing things into gear


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