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So few NPC mods...


Kulyok

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I've just been thinking: so many, many, many NPC mods around. Ideas, romances, forums... well, there have always been, whether in 2004 or now. However, upon closer examination and browsing the modlist/IER site/IE Annnouncements forum, I have noticed that the last new full-fledged released NPC was... Gavin for TUTU, in February 2007.

 

And before Gavin, it was... Amber for SoA, in July 2006.

 

(I'll mention Tiax, Touchstone and especially Taim here, but just in passing :) ).

 

I guess while it bears a pessimistic, "not all mods make it to completion, and sometimes it takes a long time" message, it also bears a more optimistic one: "phew, so it's not that overcrowded here, after all. I think I'll squeeze my NPC here, after all." :)

 

Yay?

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Judging by my PM box, I'm rapidly raising someone else's blood pressure - I'll give you a full list, if you are curious.

 

But in this case, I was honestly simply curious. Kulyok's NPClogical study, if you will. :)

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Lots of people start. Not all finish. Kind of like the NYC Marathon, and probably for the same reasons.

 

Regardless, just because someone else flounders is no reason not to give it a shot. Unlike the marathon, you can finish any time you like.

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Keep in mind that 99.999999999% of noobs come here attracted by the idea of making their own PnP character into a BG2 mod, write all the dialogue, and then drop dead because nobody is going to code their mod for them, meaning that NPC mods have a higher perceived rate of failure than other types. Only the most code-minded / persistent NPCs actually make it to release before their author gets uninterested, be it in writing phase, coding phase, or shortly before the first public beta. The popularity of drive-by NPCs made by famous authors only worsens the fact, with noobs releasing their mod with 2 banters before disappearing forever and people asking three years after for a copy 'because the concept was so cool' or something.

 

However, as I recall, three years ago the rate of successful mods wasn't too different than nowadays, whereas the rate of ideas and dead-before-release mods was much higher. Which is a good thing, because it means that the skilled people have remained, while the noobs have moved on :)

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Eirik's Top 10 list of "Reponses that experienced modders give to a noob's question."

 

10. "Generally, you use (fill in variable name)..."

9. "Avoid using (fill in variable name)..."

8. "This is too complicated to explain at 9pm on a weeknight."

7. "if it was developed for BG2, most of it should be relevant to Tutu (and BGT)"

6. "Offhand, it could probably be BGT compatible without too much work."

5. "I'm no scripting guru, I must admit, but isn't the following check extraneous?"

4. "Are those shell scripts cross platform in any way .... You may need some"

3. "Ahhh. Good thing there's a new version coming up."

2. "I'm just going to post (fill in blank)'s file, because it's easier than explaining every step." (followed by code a mile long).

1. "Is your brain actually bubbling out your ears yet?"

 

 

And you wonder why not all mods make it to completion? I did not make these up, BTW. :)

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Eirik's Top 10 list of "Phrases that experienced modders say to a noob's mod question."

<...>

And you wonder why not all mods make it to completion? I did not make these up, BTW. :)

Then you're asking questions to the wrong people / communities. While I might very well reply like that to newbie level questions (since usually the same questions have been answered 50 times and searching the forums is going to be faster both for you and the replyer), I know that many modders will either skip the thread (like I do), or reply for the 50th time to your question in whatever slow-motion, uninspiringly detailed manner you require.

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Eirik's Top 10 list of "Phrases that experienced modders say to a noob's mod question."

<...>

And you wonder why not all mods make it to completion? I did not make these up, BTW. :)

Then you're asking questions to the wrong people / communities. While I might very well reply like that to newbie level questions (since usually the same questions have been answered 50 times and searching the forums is going to be faster both for you and the replyer), I know that many modders will either skip the thread (like I do), or reply for the 50th time to your question in whatever slow-motion, uninspiringly detailed manner you require.

You're probably right, but a noob isn't going to know which community is the right one to ask; or even know what to look for. Anyway, the list was a humorous reflection of my own experience, nothing more. :)

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Oi, I recognize myself there :) (I found it very humerous - and I bet some of those are actually from me)

 

Yep, it is a Catch-22. Steep learning curve. If you know how, you are on the top of a cliff looking down, if you don't, you are looking straight up the same cliff. Luckily, there are still tons of folks who *want* to help - you just have to train us how to respond without handing you a helicopter or dropping a set of climbing gear directly on your head from 85 ft. up! (and the heavy duty serious modders will drop in from time to time and help get everyone moving).

 

For recreation, follow the back posts at PPG, back to when a neophyte CamDawg, Icelus, Andyr, Grim Squeaker, the bigg, et al. were all pestering Weimer for fixes and explinations on how WeiDU works. It is not only entertaining, it is enlightening - and also lets you know this is par for the course. The Big Modders (well, some of them are actually smarter than us, but most are just very experienced because they had to learn the hard way) started doing this by actually *building* the IESDP, *testing* weird scripts and actions, and *inventing/proposing* the shortcuts we now put into tutorial form. So us Second (Third?) Generationists have it wicked easy, comparatively. Just tells you how hard the "glory days" really were...

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Oi, I recognize myself there :) (I found it very humerous - and I bet some of those are actually from me)

I'm glad you took it the way it was intended. Of course, at the time, I was scratching my head. :) But I'd feel worse if nobody said anything at all. :)

 

Yep, it is a Catch-22. Steep learning curve. If you know how, you are on the top of a cliff looking down, if you don't, you are looking straight up the same cliff. Luckily, there are still tons of folks who *want* to help - you just have to train us how to respond without handing you a helicopter or dropping a set of climbing gear directly on your head from 85 ft. up! (and the heavy duty serious modders will drop in from time to time and help get everyone moving).

Thinking about the bigg's comments. A FAQ at the top of the Mod Q&A forum *might* reduce the frequency of related questions.

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So us Second (Third?) Generationists have it wicked easy, comparatively. Just tells you how hard the "glory days" really were...

 

Fourth, at least.

 

First generation: The original file format hackers. Created the basis of IESDP (BGFFHP) and created the early tools. Item hacks and hexed-together mods (DSOTSC.) Roughly speaking, 1997-2000.

 

Second generation: The group trying to push past just the +12 hackmasters. Tool-developed mods (TDD.) Baldurdash probably spans First and Second gen. 2000-2002+ (there's still at least one modder I would call fundamentally Second Generation hanging around.)

 

Third generation: Early WeiDU stuff. 2001-2004.

 

Fourth generation: Postmodern WeiDU. I draw the line at the point when I had no idea what the hell was going on in TP2 code anymore, which was probably in 2004 and is certainly true today.

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Eirik's Top 10 list of "Reponses that experienced modders give to a noob's question."

10. "Generally, you use (fill in variable name)..."

9. "Avoid using (fill in variable name)..."

8. "This is too complicated to explain at 9pm on a weeknight."

7. "if it was developed for BG2, most of it should be relevant to Tutu (and BGT)"

6. "Offhand, it could probably be BGT compatible without too much work."

5. "I'm no scripting guru, I must admit, but isn't the following check extraneous?"

4. "Are those shell scripts cross platform in any way .... You may need some"

3. "Ahhh. Good thing there's a new version coming up."

2. "I'm just going to post (fill in blank)'s file, because it's easier than explaining every step." (followed by code a mile long).

1. "Is your brain actually bubbling out your ears yet?"

And you wonder why not all mods make it to completion? I did not make these up, BTW. :)

:) Well, I for one thought these were a riot.

 

I'm not too surprised by the result of Kulyok's "NPClogical study", and believe that Berelinde's marathon analogy is quite appropriate. I mean, just look at the sheer amount of writing and coding, to name just those two, it takes to complete a mod. I, for one, have decided that I'm very happy having other people do all the hard and just plain enjoying the fruits of their efforts! :) (yes, I know, I'm lazy, but I'm also realistic. There's no way on Earth I could even a tenth of what you modders do).

Anyway, I guess this is an appropriate place to congratulate all those modders who completed their NPC mods (or other types of mods for that matter), and wish the best to those working on a mod! Cheers!

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"phew, so it's not that overcrowded here, after all. I think I'll squeeze my NPC here, after all."

 

Well, I don't know. I think if you have a desire to make an NPC, you should make one. But for me for the last couple years it was more of a "I am so very tired of BG2", than "so many NPCs are out there..." thing. The problem is that with every NPC you make you have to replay BG2... and that's the last game I want to play atm. I just can't face it without groaning. I am tired of its music, of its characters, of its story, of its setting... basically of everything BG2 related. I am so happy I quit BG1 when I did - I kept fond memories. But not BG2. I mean even my wet dream of 4 years ago, a full party of elves doesn't make me jubiliant.

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Fourth, at least.

 

First generation: The original file format hackers. Created the basis of IESDP (BGFFHP) and created the early tools. Item hacks and hexed-together mods (DSOTSC.) Roughly speaking, 1997-2000.

 

Second generation: The group trying to push past just the +12 hackmasters. Tool-developed mods (TDD.) Baldurdash probably spans First and Second gen. 2000-2002+ (there's still at least one modder I would call fundamentally Second Generation hanging around.)

 

Third generation: Early WeiDU stuff. 2001-2004.

 

Fourth generation: Postmodern WeiDU. I draw the line at the point when I had no idea what the hell was going on in TP2 code anymore, which was probably in 2004 and is certainly true today.

 

You need to promote "Biased History of Modding" mod more, you know. :)

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