Author Topic: Where did everybody go?!  (Read 24816 times)

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Offline Spoon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Advice from someone who released a mod of some degree of considerable size. if you want to get something done, do it yourself. Don't blame the community.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
No offense intended here, but I don't think that's the problem. A problem, yes. The problem, no.

The problem is that over the last half-decade, the community has stopped holding its breath and moved on with its life. BWO is no longer universally regarded as the elite of the elite when it comes to campaigns, like it was six or seven years ago. You could give the community's modelers and mappers all the creative control they could possibly ask for, and they'd still much rather devote their time and talent to a publicly active project with a resultantly active following and considerable existing acclaim than to a languishing albatross that has spent the better part of the last decade waiting for the rest of the community to drop what they're doing and ride to the rescue.

Do something to get people excited about this mod again, and that's prone to change. I'm not sure what the best way to go about that is, but publicly announcing that you're all but dead in the water barring a radical expansion of the team is probably a very bad start.

A fair point certainly.

That we haven't telegraphed in a consistent manner what the mod is about to the community is certainly a problem. Unfortunately, the problem is also somewhat unique, because we did do just that, but a long time ago. We did have plans to rectify that very issue, unfortunately matters stalled on that front, and I chose not to act but instead wait for the problems to resolve themselves (I won't go into it, but I can acknowledge that I'm aware of the issue). I am hoping that perhaps we would be able to do something about this very issue in the coming few months, though I am reluctant to advertise this fact, because I wouldn't want people to wait for something that may not come.

The problem is as I said, rather unique. There has been much information trickled out over the years, making it in part rather senseless to repeat the process, though it's certainly understandable why that would be necessary, as the prospective talent which might be interested in working on the campaign wouldn't know any of it if they didn't arrive five or ten years ago. The logistics of it are clear, and you are correct. It is a deficiency on my part.

I do admit it is a problem that needs to be remedied, and I do have very specific plans for that in mind. However at the end of the day, if we're talking about actually wrapping this thing up, we're still back to square one. Simply releasing information and marketing what the campaign is about doesn't guarantee anyone would sign on, especially because of the unfortunate fact that the work that remains to be done is raw work. One of the reasons I chose to remain passive regarding the content information flow (and not delivering anything tangible) is because I wouldn't want to give people the false impression that the campaign is progressing, while there is actually no real crew to work on it. In essence, I would be getting people excited, while the project would remain in limbo, and that's just ****ing evil no matter how you flip it. I have found a way around that, to make the release of information right, but again, as I said, problems I can't really go into.

Ultimately, the issue of manpower continues to persist, and it is unfortunately not an easy one to solve. Nobody here is blaming the community, the community did nothing wrong. The community however is going to have to be part of the solution if this thing is ever going to be wrapped up.

 

Offline Water

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Unfortunately Blackdove, BWO will remain where it is.

The pool of people capable of working on BWO is limited. Of them, the ones willing to work on BWO is approaching zero. Also the mod after a decade is now "stale" and has a history of under-performing.

So you really need to ask why this mod is having trouble attracting the necessary people and retaining them? Most of the original staff have moved on leaving you and Raven more or less as caretakers.

For an answer, look to your public forum. Any burst of internal work by artists is not rewarded by publication on the external.

You need to attract talent, yet anyone who turns up won't be able to show off any work they do. It's a small point, but a vital one. It's not like you are Gearbox software and are paying a full time salary or anything. So what other ways can you pay the artist? Future fame? BWO has been stalled for so long that's an unlikely option.

It's a negative feedback cycle. No posted work gives the impression of no activity. No activity gives the impression of a dead mod. Less chance of attracting new people. Also it de-incentivises the artists. About the only way you can pay them is public promotion of their efforts. Yet by keeping the work hidden they have no reason to produce more work.

Back when I started with BWO I just wanted to help with a few ships. Wasn't expecting a whole fleet. The reason I switched to working on the Valkyrie was to get my work out in public while helping BWO with a ship you didn't have. Unfortunately this had the effect of reinforcing the realization that any further BWO work I did would not see the light of day for a long time. It then became harder to motivate myself to do more. So trust me on this, if you lock down what they can show off, then you aren't going to get continuing work out of them.

A positive cycle is where the artists get something and BWO also wins. 
 
You may consider the voice acting to be a minor issue, but it does have an unintended side effect. Your inability in getting it sorted falls into the negative camp. Effectively telling any newcomer that you lack the passion to drive the mod forward. If a mod head can't lead by example by doing some work and takes several years to not do it...

Here is what any prospective is going to see, (unless progress has been made in the last two years)
(unwrap caps x4 + texture x5)  -then- (Voice acting process) = not finished this year.

BWO is a dinosaur. It's glory days have faded. Open source it and it might have a chance, keep the secrecy and you guarantee oblivion. Unless of course you manage to find a hidden reserve of passion. But even that won't help without introducing positive feedback cycles, and that requires you to change. Not the community.

Anyway, this thread will die down in a few days so you'll be able to go back to normal shortly. Most of the audience you are concerned about letting down have moved on and no longer have any interest in FreeSpace or an old mod from when they were younger. You're part of a world that exists among people who were part of VBB? and the early days of HLP. Look around, several waves of modders have been through HLP and for a growing proportion, BWO has always been a stalled mod. To get new staff you are going to need to make big moves without any guarantees that it will pay off. That's a tough position to be in. The easy option,  the default option is to sit on BWO until it's relevance fades completely.

Sorry if this seems harsh but with the last recruitment drive you're pretty close to being out of time. Plan around not receiving much help. You no longer have a functioning modding team so you're going to have to get creative as well as shifting where you stand. It won't be easy but good luck.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
I think that BWO should be released (or cleared for beta) as-is. If it has good story, good gameplay and memorable characters, it'll be appreciated even without a few hi-poly models. If it lacks these things, few hi-poly models won't save it. BP: AoA had all it's fighters and an entire new race lo-poly, and yet it was regarded as one of the greatest campaigns ever made practically from the start. This is because story and characters matter much more than models.
Also, you'll most likely become a laughing stock if you'll not release BWO before Duke Nukem: Forever, which has appearantely been revieved and now is nearing release.  :)
I can see all these jokes that would appear in such case.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Quote
Also, you'll most likely become a laughing stock if you'll not release BWO before Duke Nukem: Forever, which has appearantely been revieved and now is nearing release.

DNF has been out for a few weeks now, you know.
If I'm just aching this can't go on
I came from chasing dreams to feel alone
There must be changes, miss to feel strong
I really need lifе to touch me
--Evergrey, Where August Mourns

 
Re: Where did everybody go?!
Also, you'll most likely become a laughing stock if you'll not release BWO before Duke Nukem: Forever, which has appearantely been revieved and now is nearing release.  :)
I can see all these jokes that would appear in such case.

Duke Nukem Forever was released a few months ago, actually (in the US, anyways; not sure what the release schedule is elsewhere). It was mediocre at best, and the fact that it had twelve years worth of built-up expectations to live up to didn't help matters.

Keep that in mind: if BWO spends another five years on models and voice acting, they will need to be the best models and voice acting this community has ever seen, and by a very wide margin. And at that point the missions, unless heavily revamped, will still be the very best that could be made with FRED in the state the program was in ca. 2006.

 

Offline Raven2001

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Re: Where did everybody go?!

 but I think I kidna categorize BWO with MT in my mind...

They are not the same thing, trust me. The state of MT is much much worse, and dare I say it is effectively dead. BWO is not.

For an answer, look to your public forum. Any burst of internal work by artists is not rewarded by publication on the external.

You need to attract talent, yet anyone who turns up won't be able to show off any work they do. It's a small point, but a vital one.

You have a good point, but that's not entirely true:
http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=61539.0

Also, I know that very soon (as soon as I get them done in fact), you will be able to see and play with 2 ships that this community already knows about, but never seen in HTL format. I might not be able to show new stuff everyday, but I'm more than happy of being able to show something once in a while (and I do).
Yeah, I know you were waiting for a very nice sig, in which I was quoting some very famous scientist or philosopher... guess what?!? I wont indulge you...

Why, you ask? What, do I look like a Shivan to you?!?


Raven is a god.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Quote
Also, you'll most likely become a laughing stock if you'll not release BWO before Duke Nukem: Forever, which has appearantely been revieved and now is nearing release.

DNF has been out for a few weeks now, you know.
Ah, right. I must have been at that military camp then. I have to check Steam more often.
Then congratulations. Even DNF got released before BWO did and at this rate, it'll be out even in Poland before you're done.

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: Where did everybody go?!

 but I think I kidna categorize BWO with MT in my mind...

They are not the same thing, trust me. The state of MT is much much worse, and dare I say it is effectively dead. BWO is not.

See what I mean by that is that BWO, like MT, has just lost interest for me. It's been in development for so long that I've just moved on...  :doubt:
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Offline Gloriano

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Quote
The state of MT is much much worse, and dare I say it is effectively dead

Yep it is completely dead, which is shame actually it could been so good.
I hope I'm able to play BWO in few years but it is shame that the HTL stuff has taken so long.
You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.- Nietzsche

When in despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won; there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.- Mahatma Gandhi

 

Online Mongoose

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Don't make me attempt to learn modding skills in some hopeless quixotic attempt to revive dormant projects.  I can promise you won't enjoy the results. :p

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
MT is dead as a doorknob and TBH, discussion is going on about releasing a modeldump (in fact, this "discussion" consists of Gloriano agreeing with me and me waiting for response from anybody who was on the project from the start).

 

Offline Commander Zane

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
That's good at least if the ships can find use in another campaign so the previous work wasn't entirely for nothing.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Or somebody may pick the project up again, like it happened with 158th (nevermind it's terrible results, there's a chance MT remake would have better FREDing).

 

Online Mongoose

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
I'd hate to see MT just go the way of a modeldump and abandonment, especially since it's always seemed like there's a whole lot of work story-wise that's already been implemented.  There have to be a couple of people around here who would be interested in taking the reins.

 

Offline Water

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
You have a good point, but that's not entirely true:
http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=61539.0

Also, I know that very soon (as soon as I get them done in fact), you will be able to see and play with 2 ships that this community already knows about, but never seen in HTL format. I might not be able to show new stuff everyday, but I'm more than happy of being able to show something once in a while (and I do).
I hope it's not lost on you that the thread is from a non BWO forum. There is a BWO thread referencing it but contains no pictures. The last BWO posted WIP image I'm aware of is the ship rear end in the four year old Cheese thread. It's possible I missed some?

That sounds like good news,  hopefully one of them is a cap ship to develop expertise in that area.

 

Offline bigchunk1

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
From the perspective of someone who joined in February 2010:
When I dusted off my fs2 disks and installed FSO for the first time I found out about HLP and started looking around. I quickly discovered that people were forming teams and making mods. This was encouraging to me and I assumed many of them were active. I was learning FRED at the time and somewhat fanatically eager to lend a hand to some project. I was very interested in campaigns such as NTV, but to my astonishment the most recent posts in these threads were months back. Many of the most recent posts were threads of the "Is it still alive... hello?" variety. Then I went to the websites of these threads and when I saw the date many of these mods were founded, I was disheartened. I decided then and there I would rather work on projects/campaigns by myself on my own terms rather than toss it in some dormant lockbox one day hoping for someone to come back from vacation and help out.

I see BWO as another one of these mods. I read the website, thought the writing was decent, and shrugged it off the day after. I honestly was not expecting this mod to ever be released during my stay here.

I think one of the fatal flaws of campaigns such as these is they perpetually let their ambitions outweigh practicality. You have dreams, big awesome dreams for a mod so big, so well written, so well engineered, and so beautiful that it will blow people away. It's your baby, and if you compromise even one bit to give way to reality it will be a tainted half-work or something similar. Especially after so many years working on and off... it's become too important to simply give up on the dream. It's easy to just give things another week another month or hey what's one more year, but people move on and lives change. I think that's what's happening now.

Water's got a good idea. Release the work as a beta/demo or something similar and let the community chew on it. If you've got something worth the time, people will help out.

Can't help but agree with Spoon too. A single motivated individual working regularly goes very far.

Really consider user made models as well. Good models take months of dedicated work, and there is a lot out there. I'm sure if you stretch it you can find or have found something. Doctor it up in pcs2, give it a retexture, consider your tabling options. You've got a lot to work with.

Bottom line, you can have the best mod in existence, but if you never release it, no one will ever know. Least of all the people who only recently started paying attention to FS modding. It will remain what it was when it was founded: a dream.
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Offline Dragon

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
BWO did release a demo, it was quite fun, but certainly not the greatest campaign I played.

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Where did everybody go?!
Maybe release another demo, such as the first few missions of the actual campaign.  End it on a cliffhanger or a "wham" mission.  That'd certainly drum up interest.

 
Re: Where did everybody go?!
I was going to suggest that, but I didn't want to push too hard. Basically, if you want to reclaim your old reputation, you need to overcome some concerns about what state FREDing was in five years ago when you mostly wrapped up your missions. Prove that you've got a few Forced Entries or He Who Rides the Tigers or Delenda Ests in those fifty missions, and the community's givea****ometer is prone to return to prior levels.