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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | July 28, 2000
   

PQ Mailbag

Post-Post-Holiday Mailbag

Yeah, so I couldn't come up with a better title than that. So sue me. Anyways, we've got an interesting PQ Mailbag for you this week, as there wasn't a whole lot of feedback, except for the mail on Lee'Mon's editorial. We'll try to make the best of it, however, so.. um.. read it, I guess. Thanks a lot!

Where They At?

Lee'Mon struck a chord this week in his editorial "Where, Oh Where...". He laments on the dearth of cool, original mods for Q3A, and gives a helluva lot of background on the subject. Lee also hypothesizes as to why there aren't any cool mods yet, rounding out a fantastic editorial. Check out the wicked feedback we got!

From: DragonFyre Jones
Subject: LeeMon's editorial

Just a thought that wasn't mentioned in this week's editorial...

People make the mods they want to play, or that they wish to inflict upon others. Lee'Mon rightly notes that many mods in existence or in development for Q3A right now are sequels of Q1/Q2 mods. In my humble opinion, people loved those mods so much that they wanted to bring them along into the prettier, sexier world of Q3A. Wouldn't you want to bring something as sweet as Rocket Arena into your new world?

Bearing that in mind, it's probably only a matter of time before we start seeing wierd new mods that are totally different from anything that came before. Perhaps newcomers to the Quake scene may be more wont to work on completely new mods, while the old-timers who've stuck around since Quake1 days wax nostalgic over bringing back Get Rich Quake. You know what I mean.

Speaking of nostalgia... is there such a thing as a DOOM mod?

D.

From: Essobie
Subject: Mod Pitfalls

I hope that Lee'mon is correct in that there may be more "wacky" or "unique" mods coming out soon... but mostly I am hearing the cynical/pessimistic voices in my head saying things that lead me to believe otherwise.

Things like...

Lots of press and hype has become more important to most mod developers than actually finishing a mod. Seems like if the end result isn't an obvious large dose of fortune and fame, people don't want to risk the possibility of wasting their time.

Players expect all the best features from every currently existing mod to be included in anything that comes after them... like map voting, multiple chasecams, a grappling hook, 10+ runes, some sort of CTF gameplay as an option to straight FFA, etc.

And one thing that Lee'mon pointed out early... if there isn't some sort of organized teams playing your mod on a regular basis, it's probably going to be doomed to have a day or so in the limelight on PlanetQuake or somewhere, and then disappear forever.

Luckily I've already seen a number of very entertaining mods come out that didn't have to worry about any of the above things... they just made something that I thought "hey cool... I'd like to play that at a LAN". Notably I'd say that some of the coolest ones were the simplest to jump into: Voosh... Speed Quake... and even though it's a sequel, TargetQuake by Avatar is BEGGING to be played at every LAN across the globe.

I won't give up yet... but then again, I'm also a sucker for a great sequel to a highly successful mod or two as well. ;)
(http://www.planetquake.com/arena/ )

Essobie

From: Matt Loh
Subject: Lee'Mons Mod Editorial

I am sure that Lee'Mon is correct in saying that there are many people out there with good ideas for mods, and that it takes time to understand, and then master someone else's code, especially if that coder in so insanley great that the code is so tight and efficient that it's crazy. I have had that kind of trouble myself, in learning how to program. Now, though, I feel that I can do fair enough work, and need a challenge.

I, the loving Quaker that I am, decided to embark upon a journey: making my own mod. Alas, Woe is me, Oh lamentable day - where the hell do I start off? I sat, with my C For Dummies in hand, then more advanced books to learn, once upon a time, and I have learned. But knowing how to type some commands and compile is surely not enough to create a mod. There must be some black art, some secret guild, that holds the key to creating a mod. But where is it? Searching for it using Yahoo and the like doesn't work: you only find the finished produnct, not the assembly line. Where might one go to take knowledge develop it. Where can you go to learn how to create a mod?

-SwiftyPants

From: Aubrey 'PainBerry' Hesselgren
Subject: Come on, people. Originality doesn't come like the thunder (err)

Spykey baybeee!

Gee whizz and good show to LeeMon for another Editorial that's on the ball (and not about Mynx being an assassin when she's meant to be a porn star. Grr.)

I think an adaptation of one of Tyler Durten's speach says it all (and I know spyke's gonna love this :) :

[Spyke takes the liberty of cutting out PainBerry's nonsensical rant that is way too long to keep here]

Anyway, what's the point in making a mod that does nothing new, or does one single thing extra than the next (more popular) mod?

All these mods boasting "50 new weapons" miss the fact that most of their weapons are going to be far too similar (ie, they're all machine guns, and thus are all rapid fire hitscan weapons). If a weapon has a different fire rate, or different damage, or different random offset (spit), you can hardly justafyably say "Yes, this is a weapon in it's own right". I mean come on... there's only so many ways in which one can balance a weapon up differently before the weapons themselves become indestinguishable from each other.

Quake 3 has about the best weapons definition around. The most imporatant 2 facts are that they're all very different fuctionalities, and they're all well balanced. I say, let's forget making "new" weapons, which are either just derivations of the Quake 3 refined models, or overly gimmicky cop-outs that you need to draw a Wyle Coyote blue-print in order to use properly. I say, let's forget making new game modes, which from here on in are mainly going to be mis-mashes of exisiting ideas. I say, let's use the more than flexible SDK to create new genre types. Like Action Quake, you too can create a game that inspires commercial developers to do something different from the norm. I know for a fact that a couple of things I've done are making it into commercial games since they've never been done before.

Modders don't have restrictions on censorship, or cost, and can often get away with copyright infringements (although I don't recommend it... producing games to a theme is artistically restrictive and more importantly, you run the risk of foxitisation). We don't have the huge amount of drawbacks that come with creating a commercial game.

Many commercial studios don't have the guts/originality/skill to pull off things that modders can do. We have such freedom and power over professionals, and we're just throwing our efforts into the next mod that gets a five minute play after a five minute pimping, then gets chucked with similar mentality to the console gamers' playing habits.

Make something new, and people will remember the first time they played the genre. Make something old, and they'll only remember the inadiquacies this mod had over the next worst thing.

A Haiku to finish:

Modders are many,
If we want we can dictate.
That power is ours.

Oh no, Brad Pitt! Don't stick that there! That is rude!

Bezzy.

If there's one thing you can always count on, it's a long-winded rant from PainBerry. :) Anyways, time to comment on the editorial. It's true, it's true. There are very few innovative mods for Q3A. Why? Because it's always easier to rehash someone else's idea. Why do you think movie sequels are so common? Because you're taking the same thing as the original, but giving it a little twist. Most mods, however, ignore the "twist" part. Some mods that are sequels are spectacular, like Rocket Arena Q3A; it's amazing because a lot of time and hard work went into it, something that many people can't give up. This is precisely the reason why there's no innovative mods yet; people are still working on them. This seems a little incoherent, but Lee'Mon hit the nail on the head fairly well.

On Page 2: Generations & Leftover Gibs!


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