GBX's Recent Moves Are Killing the Modding Community - Complaints from 9CCN

I (we) post this thread here today simply to “complain”. I know that complaints usually don’t solve any problem, but there’s something we have to say.

What I would like to suggest is that, we (the entire 9CCN Mod team along with some other Chinese modders) think that GBX’s recent moves are killing the modding community.

This isn’t that exaggerative: think about it, what do modders want the most? New scripting systems? Powerful graphics engine? More versatile file formats? Although these stuffs do good to development, according to us, none of those are our major concern. We think that modders want a stable platform most.

I don’t know how much time do active members on the forum actually put into making mods (looks like plenty); as for most of us, we usually have only an hour or two each week for modding. It’s not that easy to make a living, so we all have to spend a lot of time for school or job. I always have a doubt, that GBX might have the illusion that ALL modders have Unbounded energy, just because active forum members here are all those with lots of spare times. In fact, many other modders don’t even have the time to check the forum, not to mention that we Chinese modders tend not to speak if we don’t have to, for it takes a lot more effort to browse and speak in another language.

Considering the current situation, we are expecting a stable modding platform to work with, which means that we’ll have enough time to do actual work with our mods, rather than spending more time keeping up with updates of the game engine which changes how we work. We expect to have enough time to translate and make modding tutorials without the worry that new changes corrupt what we wrote even before the tutorials are finished. We expect each and every update to be as backward-compatible as possible. Fixing bugs wins far more kudos from us than adding new slick features.

But how did it turn out?

I’ll just take two examples:

First, as early as last year (can’t recall when precisely), GBX had made the RODOH tool to convert models into the new DAE format. However, RODOH always suffers from serious bugs, and many models (e.g. ALL 9CCN models) cannot be converted correctly, even though GBX had got in touch with us before the tool is released (we handed them some of our HOD files as well as Maya sources for testing).

“Well, just let it be that way, as long as the old HODs still works, and GBX said that they are going to fix the bugs someday.” We did wait patiently with ideas like this, until one day we suddenly noticed that the upcoming update would discard all old HODs and RODOH would not be updated BEFORE that.

BitVenomDave E. - GBX Programmer
Mar 4
Well, the next patch changes EVERYTHING. So proceed with caution - and USE THE TOOLS. HODOR is your onlyoption after this patch…

BitVenomDave E. - GBX Programmer
Mar 4
I’ve been saying that exact thing since the game came out a year ago. Over and over. How is this news?
RODOH bugs are very serious to me, and post-patch I’ll be working on it quite a bit more. HODOR will also get some new features/tricks.

I know there’s a promise like “post-patch I’ll be working on it quite a bit more”, but considering that this upcoming update has been “coming soon” for months, we can’t trust such promise.

So what does it mean? It means all the HOD files that we made in over a decade of time will no longer work, and it isn’t something that can be fixed by manual porting, since some of our most complex ships took us three months back then to assign and bound all the animation and events. We can’t do anything in front of a situation like this. We can do nothing but to wait until the sudden death is upon us. We can’t start any actual work, for nobody knows when our efforts will become vain. We’ve been waiting like this for months.

People can be passionate about a thing for only so long. As far as I know, some former modders have already chose to leave this community in pursuit of something equally interesting with less pain and waiting.

Secondly, we posted this thread (BUG Report - Vanished Effects) as early as April 2015 to point out a bug that severely impacts effects in MODs, and stated that this bug is closely related to the part of the engine which deals with Hyperspace jumps. A GBX staff back then replied in another thread saying they’ve noticed such a thing. But what’s the truth?

7 MONTHS LATER

dengun
Dec '15
Also we are faced with this problem.
We pray to be corrected quickly.
Reply
Reply as linked Topic

BitVenomDave E. - GBX Programmer
Dec '15
Hrm… weird. I’ll see what I can find…

BitVenomDave E. - GBX Programmer
Dec '15
No, not forgotten - I think the first version is in our Bug DB. BUT, I don’t think, for whatever reason, that it was clear at that time how strongly connected to Hyperspacing the bug was… I recall the previous version was ‘sometimes all the FX for a ship disappear’. I may recall wrong. Now, knowing it is connected to Hyperspacing - I have a smaller area in the code to go hunting for a reason. We have TONS of bugs - but as we’re busy rebuilding the world, those have to wait… besides, in some cases all of our edits end up fixing bugs without intending to

Well… we’ve made it crystal clear back to last year’s April, that this bug is closely related to Hyperspace. How can you not realize it until December?

As I’ve said before, “we tend not to speak if we don’t have to, for it takes a lot more effort to browse and speak in another language.” It means that to post such lengthy and systematic bug report on the forum requires many of our core members to repeatedly examine, discuss, research, and then draft a report, translate it, proofread a million times, and finally post it here. It seems that all of the efforts we put eventually turned out in vain.

We’re not trying to act unfriendly, but some of GBX’s practices are really heartbreaking.

Let’s look back a little bit about what GBX have been doing. For example, what does the update which splits race.lua into multiple independent files, actually bring to the table?

According to me, it has the following impacts:

  1. Theoretically, we can load races from multiple MODs at the same time and have them battle against each other. But it won’t work at all in practice, for nearly all major MODs build their own gamerules which support only their own races.

  2. We can adjust available races according to current game mode, which is actually pretty nice. However, I think you guys can improve the system in other ways to get the same result without splitting race.lua.

  3. Lots of existing modding tutorials in Chinese are rendered obsolete.

  4. Race-specific audio in data:soundscripts/speechlogic/commands.lua becomes a mess due to different available races in different modes. There’re no fundamental ways to solve it.

  5. Our beloved GBX changed the crate logics in data:leveldata/multiplayer/lib/crates.lua to adapt for the new system, but accidentally added one comma at the end of crate_ships.lua for each race, which makes the entire crate system FAIL.

(P.S.: How can GBX release a product with a lua script that won’t even compile?)

Well, just look at these. They are all that I can remember.

No matter how much we say, it’s all just complaints. We know that this update from GBX is imminent and inevitable, but at least it feels better to speak up.

9CCN MOD Team:
lone_wolf, Unlimited_X, dreadnought9ccn, HW_Lover
Fairy Empire MOD Team:
Fairy Queen
Translated by Kilo19 and Bun

2 Likes
  • This patch has taken far, far longer than initially planned. Placing some smaller/easier fixes before it would have occurred, in hindsight.
  • New RODOH will work with old HODs, that’s the point - so any panic about that is misplaced. Does it process all files? No - because people made them through many different methods (including unsupported tools), and not all variants of that format are going to load 100%. At the same time, RODOH itself will get better at loading ‘weird’ files. There have already been some changes as a result of development on this patch. How many developers have ever released a tool to make the process of porting assets from a 15-year old game easier? Zero. And still, well over a year after release, we are actively supporting development, continuing to make changes, fixes, etc.
  • There are always tons of bugs, big and small, that hang around after a release - not every post about them becomes part of any companies’ working knowledge. Some bugs may never be resolved, that’s the reality of software development.
  • There’s a very, very stable platform for modding as part of HWRM - HW2Classic. It still works, as it did, and is easier to run on new platforms. HWRM contiues to evolve, at no point did anybody claim it was somehow frozen, indeed we’ve gone out of our way to make it clear that indeed it was going to change in big ways moving forward.
  • Art and assets for HW2Classic are NOT immediately supported by HWRM - they are different engines, and as this patch shows, HWRM isn’t a fixed set of formats/systems. These are 2 different games - because one is long frozen does not, can not imply that the other isn’t changing. How many companies write tools to port Mods between versions of their engines/games? Not many, if any at all.

This upcoming patch is a MASSIVE delta. New tools, new systems, tons of stuff. Why? Because we wanted to do more, expand and refine the game mechanics, behaviors, and even options for Mod groups. These changes are in service of our goals as developers, and that’s hardly a surprise - until a game isn’t touched by the developers any longer, it is going to change, and people attempting to Mod it are tracking a moving target. This is an inherent risk of Mod development, not a liability thrust on to the original developers.

Is the delta from this patch more to ‘complain’ about? Maybe from some perspectives, sure. Others see these changes as opportunities. If avoiding deltas to the base systems was the goal from day one, this patch wouldn’t exist, likely HWRM wouldn’t exist.

Many, many Mod groups have been happy with the new systems, interfaces, options. Indeed more than a few Mod authors have been part of the review/testing process for this patch. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Is everyone happy 100%? Certainly not. Mod authors have a wide range of perspectives, wants, preferences. Evaluating success as ‘everyone is happy’ is an immediate failure.

As stated earlier - we’re now a year+ past release. Still working. Still offering to support the Mod community, evolve tools, provide assistance.

9CCN is a team that’s created UNBELIEVABLE work - without any doubt. I genuinely hope you look with fresh eyes at what exists after the patch.

14 Likes

New RODOH will work with old HODs, that’s the point - so any panic about that is misplaced.

So, can we get a promise that the new RODOH will work with our old HODs, and the tool will come soon after the big patch?
(I hate the phrase “come soon”, but I know you won’t tell us an exact time)

I’m not saying it’s your responsibility to make it work with all the weird old files, but we just want the answer since it will determine what we should do know.

I can not, EVER, promise anything not released. That is a very, very serious rule around here. I can talk about what is planned, etc. So that word, ‘promise’ - is an issue.

That said, RODOH/HODOR will be updated very shortly after the patch. Both have updates. There are some files that RODOH processes that either create DAE files that can’t be read (even though the output seems valid), or it just crashes processing them. I’ve improved some of the processing, though why Max hates some DAE files is still a mystery. I’m not equipped to do much about that. Max is it’s own pile of crazy, and thankfully not my problem.

The whole point of RODOH - the ONLY reason it exists at all, is to help move pre 2015 HOD files to DAE for updating and re-translation to ‘new’ HOD. A HOD format update as in the patch has zero to do with RODOH - it won’t even load the new format HODs, isn’t concerned with them.

With the patch out of the way I also have more bandwidth (including my own personal time) to look at issues and files that don’t work - so people should still pass those along, if they’re troublesome.

I also have to create a whole bunch of documentation, examples for the new shader systems, ship patching tools, etc.

9 Likes

Hi to everyone in 9CCN MOD Team.

Before the release of HWRM more than a year ago, I got in touch with Brian (@Burly) to help reach every active modder back then. Since then I’ve been witnessing the support of GBX team. Unfortunately they have few time to explain to us all the potential of their work. It’s up to us to figure out what else the game can do.

It’s also unfortunate that the changes they are doing affects directly the “foundations” of the engine. We tend to see them as engineers when they are also geologists, because we will need stable grounds to build our mods. So, we have to wait, we are all waiting. It’s frustrating, but that’s what it is.

The only thing I criticize GBX is to put this next patch in the level of NEW CONTENT, because that’s the only thing the casual player understand. They won’t understand the possibilities and the stability of this new version and we the modders are the ones to show these possibilities. But, mods don’t come out in a week, so I think that this project might get criticized by the average player because of the things they have done right. It’s always a risk and the mod community have to understand it fast to translate it to the players in order to grant support (years) after the patch as we have been gifted in the last months. This last sentence is one objective for the modders as a community.

So, although we are all stopped, we are all in the same drifitng boat and we are about to get an engine.

The patch is new content though. Not all of it but some. I’m thinking of formations here; at current they can’t really be considered a feature of the game, but post patch, they will be, as I understand.

Also I’d like to say I really like the complaints here. It’s clear you worked very hard on them because they read very clearly and for the most part you were willing to concede counterpoints to your concerns. It’s clear you’re passionate but at the same time reserved enough to not go crazy and just spew hundreds of insults; I hope that by expressing yourself you do in fact feel a bit better. All the modders feel the same frustration of course, if only to varying degrees. I can’t claim to really be able to comprehend the full difficulty of overcoming the language barrier, but I am sympathetic, since most of what BitVenom says about actual technical stuff may as well be in Lingonberese as far as I’m concerned (no offence BitVenom, I just don’t understand anything).

I guess the only counterpoint I can make to it all is to remind everyone that modding is always the long game. If people aren’t vested enough in modding a game to stick with it for very long before trying something else, no amount of intuitive tools and stable conditions will fix that. Personally I think GBX is doing as much as they can to help us even if and when they can’t always do it very gracefully, and like everyone else sometimes they unwittingly put the cart in front of the horse. But the one thing they absolutely can’t do is make people more focused and determined, and unfortunately that’s what a modding community really depends on the most. But as long as Homeworld remains the best game ever, I’m confident people will keep coming back to it.

I doubt if you’ll find my rhetoric very helpful, but it’s the best I can do!

2 Likes

To add a point here re: modding an actively developed game, this is a problem that Paradox is also dealing with for their game Cities Skylines. It is unavoidable, and in the process of some minor updates they are constantly breaking their community’s mods. Even so, their modding subreddit has over five thousand subscribers. So, Homeworld is hardly unique in that respect. :slight_smile:

At the risk of having some anger directed my way I’ll add one thing.

After a year of seeing frustrations, both on this forum and outside of it. It is my opinion that a lot of the expectations and frustrations from modders and gamers, and heck even developers in some cases from having to answer the same question a dozen times, could have been avoided.

How?

Homeworld Remastered Collection is a video game that is in early access on Steam. To some extent this was indicated by the multiplayer BETA on release. However, with core changes coming to both multiplayer and single player, as the engine itself has evolved reveals that HWRM has been in major active development since release, and not receiving mere bug fixes but new features.

For everyone who is still reading these forums with frustrations I suggest you think of HWRM as a game in early access. Doing so will make you look at these issues in a very different light. If you don’t want to deal with mods breaking, missing features (formations) and balancing/bugs issues then just don’t play. Wait until the developers finish their work, which hopefully will not be much longer now.

This is good news for the future, but for the present presents problems that you need to be aware of.

Speaking personally, I would rather have a developing platform than a static one. The long delay from promised features and warned compatibility breaks is indeed a negative, and has definitely impacted my motivation to work on certain things, but that’s only due to the delays experienced by the patch. If we’d been able to get the improvements of the patch incrementally,that’d have been preferable, but I’d rather have this than no patch at all. And for the record, I see the past changes like the race.lua changes to be overall positives, though they obviously have draw backs.

And though it’s a lot to hope for, I do hope support and updates can continue past this one. There’s a lot of potential still there to be tapped, in my eyes.

Things to consider:
The game came to us extremely fast. It was on our doorstep before we were even expecting it. The dev team took the initiative and put the game into our laps as fast as humanly possible. Why? Because they are passionate about the game. They have a lot invested in it, monetarily, physically and emotionally. The game means more to them than just a game. It means a dedicated past, just like it means to us here on the receiving end of it. They gave us a platform within months of acquiring the rights. Now! With the game released and the community pacified, they start to sculpt the game to the requests of the community. They’re goal is to create a platform that will stand the test of time and satisfy all the community. This means not only the players but, more importantly, the modding community because the modding community is what is going to give this game a long lived future and continue the HW saga into the future. While all this is going on the devs are also working on a stable future for this franchise. With all the input from the modders and the fans they are able to deduce what will be needed for a successful expansion (HW3). It all makes sense if you look at the overall picture and the end goal of GBX. In this light I would say we all are extremely short sighted and very impatient. We lack the foresight to see the big picture.

In a nut shell what I’m trying to say is… Chill and be grateful. We’re seeing a commitment to this game that is unprecedented. Open your eyes and stop whining… It could be a whole lot worse.

3 Likes

I’m sorry but what’s “Lingonberese”? I can’t find the word in dictionary.

1 Like

It’s an imaginary lenguage that he just invented. What he is trying to say is that even if he can’t claim to really be able to comprehend the full difficulty of overcoming the language barrier for you cinese modders, he his however sympathetic with you cinese modders about this language barrier because he doesn’t understand technical stuff.

Even if it is for different reasons, there are many things he can’t understand when BitVenom talks about technical stuff (because he lacks the knowledge to understand it), so because he can’t understand certain things, he can be sympathetic with you when you can’t understand something (because of the lengague barrier). He is trying to emphasize the fact that there are certain things he too is not able to understand, just like you guys… Even if the reasons are different, the situation is somewhat similar.

Back on the imaginary language, since Kragle can’t understand them, it’s like technical stuff are written in another language.

I hope now it’s more clear ^^

1 Like

It’s like echo7 said basically, Lingonberese is some fake language I came up with on the spot. Since it’s not even a real language, it’s sort of like saying that technical coding jargon is so far beyond my comprehension, that it is not only something I don’t know, but it is also UN-KNOWABLE.

But I have to go just a bit further and say that there is something incredibly hilarious - ROFL-worthy almost - about coming to your desk and seeing that somebody has taken a good three paragraphs to very kindly and frankly explain to everyone how much I don’t understand things :smile:. @echo7, you are okay in my book, and I mean that sincerely! You may have inadvertently made my day.

1 Like

I guess people could stop modding right now until the updates are released. But in the meantime is GBX going to use the lack of active modding interest as an excuse to drop support for the game entirely?

They’re not going to drop support. There’s too much invested in it.

You couldn’t be more wrong about the amount of modding interest out there…

As one of the mod groups who have been part of the process all I can say about my observations of how the modding interest is at the moment is that we’re all just… poised. Poised and ready to hit the ground running :smiley:

I wonder if other MODs are facing the same problem but, for FX:Galaxy(which has most subscribers among all HWRM MODs for now), as well as the other 9CCN MODs, most of their HODs cannot be converted by RODOH correctly. Once this patch is out, all these mods will be dead. We took 10+ years to make all these, and trying to do it again is impossible, UNLESS GBX FIX RODOH.

However, as BitVenom has said, GBX can’t promise a 100% working RODOH. And this is where all our panic comes from. It seems that we have to wait until the updates come to get the answer. And we sincerely hope that day will be the time 9CCN gets its rebirth rather than death warrant.

lone_wolf & HW_Lover

@echo7
@Kragle

Thanks for your explanation, so it’s basically the same meaning with the Chinese phrase “his face rolling on the keyboard”. :wink:

4 Likes

I prefer to re-create my HODs brand new instead of fussing with whatever quirks or oddities might be hiding in my old HODs, but for the ones I’ve used RODOH on I’ve had a 90% instant success rate, and I suspect the remaining 10% only need some touchup.

Why not post two or three of the trouble HODs for the rest of us to take a look at and see if we can help?

The reason why we don’t want to rebuild them is that, for example, our Kadesh Mothership has more than 50 ship meshes, nearly 20 goblins, and who knows how many (maybe 100+?) joints… They are really crazy HODs…

And this is a small bomber:

And after using RODOH to convert it:

I can confirm that ALL of our hods end up like this after converted by RODOH.

You can get the hod of this bomber here:
https://mega.nz/#!08AylCia!vQlWfO3mQAn7rOR8f2yFU_H5cFKXpbRBezZGo2l3JME

(P.S. All these hods were built with Maya3 and Relic’s official tool.)