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On the advantages of having absolute editorial control in mods


SimDing0

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The point about this project being free is nothing to do with us, the modders (why you would even think or suggest it does is a bit of a mystery) but to you, the players.  If a publication is placed on sale, but is continually reissued with new changes and additions, how many people are going to keep paying for it? Very few.  If said publication were completely free, there's nothing to stop people from obtaining every version.

The analogy is a poor one. Think commercial games and patches.

 

You don't understand how being in a continuous state of development affects a mod? You're joking, right? It means the creators can release it, listen to feedback from players, analyze the feedback for stuff that's both useful and they agree with, and use it to improve and update the mod.  Last time I checked, published magazines, books, etc aren't generally updated due to reader feedback.

In which respect, we have an advantage over commercial writers (although some commerical material will respond to reader feedback-- especially in the case of interactive content like games). Great. That doesn't mean we should throw away an established technique.

 

Your reluctance to help raises a major point.  If you can't find the time to simply note a few specific lines and post your suggested changes, do you really think anyone would be willing to go through every single piece of dialogue in the entire project? Even if your earlier proposal of having fewer dialogues had been the way the project had been developed, the very least we could have gotten away with would be two banters between each character and a dozen or so interjections... which would still have been a *lot* of work.

I couldn't care less about BG1NPC any more. Starting fights is no longer my business. I'm arguing on general principle now regarding editing.

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I don't believe destroying the context in which discussions can be taken helps them progress sensibly.

I'd have to agree with Sim. Isn't it a bit childish just to split a discussion just because the specific forum moderator is annoyed? Sends a bad message about discussing, in my humble opinion.

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I don't believe destroying the context in which discussions can be taken helps them progress sensibly.
I'd have to agree with Sim. Isn't it a bit childish just to split a discussion just because the specific forum moderator is annoyed? Sends a bad message about discussing, in my humble opinion.

If its really a problem it should be easy for him to edit a link back to the previous discussion.
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The discussion was no longer about the BG1 NPC Project particularly, and was about general writing and mod philosophy. Therefore, this is the best forum for it.

 

I agree with Domi here. Though I would certainly edit the heck out of her work, or Dorotea's, or Jason's... do you see where I'm going with this? It's not MY work. I would be stealing it and attempting to make everything bow to my own personal ideas of what I like, and eventually my own personal style. And things would get damn boring. Not to mention how utterly unethical it would be to take someone else's work and change it to my own liking and then re-distribute it.

 

There is absolutely no reason for a writer to do anything in their work they don't want to do, especially if they're not getting paid for it. If you want something changed, think up some coherent arguments for it and try to persuade the writer to change it. If you can persuade the writer, then s/he will change it. If you can't, oh well.

 

There is no person whose opinion should always be followed, there is no grand poobah of The Way BG2 Mods Should Be. No one is ever going to like every mod that's made. No one in the world should expect to have everything done to their liking. No matter how great your arguments are (assuming you bother to make them in the first place), that doesn't mean that the writers are horrible for deciding to create in their own way. It's their mod, and the final decision is theirs.

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Not to mention how utterly unethical it would be to take someone else's work and change it to my own liking and then re-distribute it.

 

Please explain to the class what is unethical about an arrangement consisting of "X and Y will write something and Z will perform the final edit on it." Or for that matter, "X and Y will write something, but Y will perform the final edit on it."

 

It's their mod, and the final decision is theirs.

 

Yes, yes, yes. And some people, including myself, think that most people would be better off making their "final decision" to be a Strong Editor model rather than a Weak Editor model. Since they haven't made a final decision yet, and we happen to think that the structure of BG1NPC is a poor model for others to follow because of XYZ reasons that have been spelled out already. So nobody that we seem to be talking about here has made a "final decision" yet.

 

(unless you're referring to Domi's "final decision", in which case we really ARE still just only talking about BG1NPC, but you said we weren't. So which is it?)

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Yes, yes, yes. And some people, including myself, think that most people would be better off making their "final decision" to be a Strong Editor model rather than a Weak Editor model. Since they haven't made a final decision yet, and we happen to think that the structure of BG1NPC is a poor model for others to follow because of XYZ reasons that have been spelled out already. So nobody that we seem to be talking about here has made a "final decision" yet.

 

Your modeling is inexact. Originally, it was to have been a collegiate model in which each writer would be completely responsible for his/her characters; for the banters they initiated and also for their responses in banters written by others in which they appeared. So it provided for strong editing, just not all of it done by one and the same person.

 

That was the original deal. Whether it *should* have ever been so arranged is now beside the point. It was the understanding reached with all the original writers and with all those who have come on board since. So there are two questions: first, is anyone willing to assume the responsibility for sole Strong Editorship? If not, then that is the end of the matter although one might note that it is rather capricious, to use a polite term, to sneer at anyone for "not caring about quality" when the target enrolled in a project with expectations completely different from the demands now being made.

 

If a strong editor were found, then a second question would be: Are all the credited authors willing to submit to the new arrangement? I don't know the answer to that but I do know that it would constitute a pure double-cross if such an alteration were imposed on anyone against his or her will. And I am decidedly of the opinion that such an imposition would make a worse ending for the project than acquiesence in the perpetuation of material that some - but by no means all - commentators have identified as being of less than ideal quality.

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Aren't there some examples of strong editorship out there that some others would consider flawed and bad writing? How do you measure superbly written and flawlessly consistent on an abstract scale (without detailed examples)? Does it boil down to taste and sources?

 

I am trying to walk away with some new ideas from this discussion.

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Aren't there some examples of strong editorship out there that some others would consider flawed and bad writing? How do you measure superbly written and flawlessly consistent on an abstract scale (without detailed examples)? Does it boil down to taste and sources?

 

I am trying to walk away with some new ideas from this discussion.

Yes. Saying "Bioware's work is a good standard" is useless unless everyone agrees on what qualifies as "equal to Bioware's work," which they obviously don't.

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How do you measure superbly written and flawlessly consistent on an abstract scale (without detailed examples)?

Firstly, I'd factor in the writer's reaction. If the writer can consistently defend decisions they've made in the face of objection, there's a fair chance the writing has been well-considered and is "good" (and I will maintain respect for any writer who can mount such a rational defence even against an objection with which I might agree). If, by contrast, the writer resorts to the ominous "if you don't like it, don't play it" or "why don't you make your own mod", that tends to indicate that their line of defence is running thin.

Additionally, I'd consider whether it can be distinguished from original game content. Ideally, this might be tested by somebody with no prior knowledge of BG2-- obviously, however, that's not a practical course of action. Regardless, I believe that near any user has a reasonable ability to pick up on things which stand out as "modded". This would cover aspects such as style, characterization, grammar structure, use of language... and so on. Obviously, you then have to return to my previous point, in which the author can potentially defend their decision to characterize and NPC in a certain way, and point out that actually it doesn't create noticeable discrepancies within the game.

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I agree to what you said completely, but there are mods out there (NPC mods being the most virulent species for this case) which are as adamantly praised and defended by their followers as they are rejected and scorned by their opponents. I agree that 'then don't play it' is a lousy argument, but sometimes it is hard to define a valid benchmark.

My main concern is that I consider the 'canon' BG2 game faulty in many ways and would never use it without additions like Virtue, Oversight or CR again. There are many faulty implementations which go against P&P rules in BG2, but I would say fudge the rules, if it benefits the player.

 

Then again many people seem to choose NPCs as their main modding endeavour, because they seem to give the most leeway to personal interpretation in a way that a strict rule- or even a quest based mod may not. Now adding stuff to existing characters is perhaps the trickiest task as every snippet of text in the game, every analogy in other sources may be tested against your assumptions. This is what makes rewriting Edwin something that has to attract a lot of opposition, whereas writing stuff for Safana might be considered very close to a new NPC, because there is so little in the game which predetermines her character. Imoen is probably the worst NPC, because she has been screwed over so badly by Bioware in many aspects that being non-canonical could even be considered praise.

 

I would consider 'because it is that way in the game' the last line of defense, if somebody has to 'defend' their additions at all , they should use the argument of substantial improvement over the previous situation.

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I agree to what you said completely, but there are mods out there (NPC mods being the most virulent species for this case) which are as adamantly praised and defended by their followers as they are rejected and scorned by their opponents. I agree that 'then don't play it' is a lousy argument, but sometimes it is hard to define a valid benchmark.

If their adamant followers can provide logical defence of why the character interpretation/writing style/whatever that they enjoy is the best it can be, then I don't have a problem with that. (On the other hand, "if you don't like it don't play it" is often a point made by such followers.) I can accept that different authors *will* have different techniques and interpretations, and so long as they're conceivable, I don't have a problem with that, even if it might not be how I'd do things. I'd also argue, however, with Attic Evil Aerie as a shining illustration, that there are some character interpretations which are just not right.

As a simple example, some of Kish's alignment choices in Oversight are not precisely what I'd have selected. However, he can provide a defence of many of them at least as effectively as I could object, and as such I'm prepared to swallow my pride and accept that, okay, maybe that character could be that alignment within reason after all. On the other hand, if he'd changed Imoen to chaotic evil, I'd probably be discouraging people from playing Oversight.

 

My main concern is that I consider the 'canon' BG2 game faulty in many ways and would never use it without additions like Virtue, Oversight or CR again. There are many faulty implementations which go against P&P rules in BG2, but I would say fudge the rules, if it benefits the player.

It seems to be a fairly common misconception that I discourage changing anything Bioware. This is not the case. I typically encourage material to conform to Bioware standards and level of quality, but obviously the very nature of modding demands that we introduce features they didn't include. My viewpoint focuses more closely around the notion that you shouldn't be able to distinguish mod content from something that Bioware might have written. Would a first-time player guess that Virtue was a mod? I contend that it blends into the game seamlessly enough to escape such a judgement. By contrast, if we examine, let's say TDD, I think there are a number of areas in which even a new player would be able to identify third-party material.

Internal consistency is also essential. Flirts are the best example here. They were not included by Bioware, so strictly speaking introducing them is not conforming to their exact specifications. If only one NPC featured flirts, I would question the rationale behind this, as it would introduce a consistency issue, giving away the mod content as such. However, the Flirt Packs introduce a new standard: "you can flirt with romance NPCs". Thus, with them, there is nothing to indicate to a player that the game wasn't always this way.

 

 

I would consider 'because it is that way in the game' the last line of defense, if somebody has to 'defend' their additions at all , they should use the argument of substantial improvement over the previous situation.

I concur. Obsession with "quality", defined however, shouldn't impact on the judgement of whether a mod is actually fun-- the latter is indeed a subjective matter. I'd sooner have both than one or the other, however.

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