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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:52 am
Posts: 1015
Forum rules here mean we can't post direct links to instructions, but on both the Guild of Writers and the Guild of Maintainers sites there are wiki articles explaining how.

From either forum, use the wiki link at the top of each and every page.

If you have any further questions, people on either forum are sure to be able to help.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:06 pm
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Location: Houston, Texas
I put a ton of work into my first age... and I recognize firsthand how hard it is, and how much time it takes, to even approach Cyan Worlds' standard of quality and detail.

I will note here that my first fan area took me somewhere around 100-125 hours of work from start to finish... and that's for an environment with no audio, no journals, no animations, and no puzzles... just a nice-looking little static space to walk around in.

Look at MO:UL. It ran for over a year, with 37 people paid to work full-time making it... and look at the amount of content that resulted from what was probably over 100,000 hours of work...

It wasn't that large an area that we got from that 100,000 hours... I'd even venture to say that Cyan Worlds usually put 2-4 hours' total effort into each square foot of explorable space... modelling, texturing, modelling again for the invisible collision mesh,
adding sound effects, background audio, adding interactions, particle effects, adding a meticulous amount of detail to everything...

We can learn from that. We can put hundreds of hours into each room we make, absolutely loading our worlds with detail and richness and complexity... it isn't impossible for us to do, but we'll need a degree of patience in our work that goes well beyond the typical modder's.

The bad news is that we have only unpaid fans working in their spare time.

The good news is that there are over 700 such fans who are registered on the Guild of Writers website.

I'd argue that the deficiency in time available per person we're facing is made up for by the sheer number of people.

What we've done in the last year is, instead of making a few excellent ages like Cyan Worlds did in a year with MO:UL, we made about 40 mediocre ages... including some which are absolutely massive in size but frustratingly low in detail. We have ages like mine that look pretty good but lack audio and interactivity, and ages that look terrible but have functional puzzles or beautiful music...

What we need to focus on is well-rounded, "Complete" ages which are good in every respect (graphics, sound, story, programming) - and doing that requires a team because no single person is good at everything.

I'd advise two things generally to improve the situation:

1) I advise we treat each age as a team effort; with at least 2-3 people involved in creation of each age... and each person focusing on the areas they're best at. No more artists trying to write code that doesn't work. No programmers sculpting ugly-looking cubes. If you are making an age and there's some part of it you are terrible at and can't do well, hand it off to someone who can do it well, and in exchange take what you are good at and offer to do that for them.

Artists and programmers and musicians can swap projects... help each other on their respective ages, and not waste time working in fields they have no skills in.

2) These things take time to do well. It's worth it to take that time. I am not a fan of RAD (Rapid Age Development) contests. I am a fan of QAD. (Quality Age Development)... take your time and get your age right before moving on to the next one. Make every part of it as good as it can be... if it takes a year or two to finish, that's fine. Don't rush it. I think a single awesomely detailed age (like Breldur) is better than 3 or 4 half-finished ages that look like bad Quake mods.

We shouldn't ignore how hard it is to make great, near-Cyan-quality ages... It is hard. Very hard. But we should try to do it anyway. We shouldn't accept the status quo. We need to raise the bar, individually and collectively... we can do better and we should do better. (Cue motivational cliches and mindless chanting of buzzwords.)


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