Life as a part-time Modder

MODDING with a single person working is a HUGE task -even if that single person happens to be proficient in coding, modeling, graphic design, audio manipulation, etc. It takes enormous amounts of time to pull it all together for a finished project.

It is no surprise why game companies spend millions utilizing large teams of people working for years just to produce one game.

So many MODS in modern games with huge popularity never make it to market, so to speak. Not knowing the numbers myself, I can only surmise that it is ever more so with an older game like Homeworld. This does not mean that people are not interested. Try to keep in mind other people’s perspectives. Some people just love to read about it. Some people would love to help but do not have the expertise. Others have the expertise but are already on their own adventures. Some help can be made when the scope is small enough but other efforts involve a scope so large that it is not feasible for them to jump in and help easily. It is a tough decision to want to help, but know it would take such an enormous amount of time to do so --time that one may not have to spare.

Of course, we all know this but sometimes it helps to think about it again… and again… and again.

Here are some words of wisdom I have been given over the years to apply to any project I am working on:

Work toward a deliverable.

This sounds easy enough, but if we look backwards at deliverables we have made in the past, most of us will see more unfinished projects than finished. When I think about this, it forces me to make some decisions. Like, should I go on; or is this project too much work for me? Do I need to scale back to get something delivered? I have a habit of fluidly wanting to add more and more (wife’s insertion here: “and more and more and more…”) on anything I work on. Other times it motivates me to push forward if I feel the effort is worthwhile to me. (That is to say it is something I enjoy doing.)

What is my driving factor?

And I ask this over and over throughout the life of a project. There can be many driving factors but one will always overshadow the others. And driving factors can change over time. For instance, am I doing a project because I enjoy the process? Am I doing a project just to learn some new process? Am I doing a project because I want to share this with the world? Or have I got to the point where I just want to have a deliverable so all the work done prior does not feel like a waste? These are just a few of the questions I have asked myself… and there are many MANY more! But understanding the driving factor helps me make a decision. Sometimes not asking this will propel me to just keep working on something in aggravation not knowing what my actual desire to do with it is.

Am I enjoying working on this?

Yes or No? If No… can I wrap the project up by producing a deliverable now or do I scrap it? In the end, for me, working on something should be fun. Yes, projects always present challenges, aggravation, and sometimes a broken lamp across the room. But I have to be objective and really answer, am I enjoying it?

Making Progress.

If I get past those questions and still want to move ahead, I lay out the problem(s) I am facing. Sometimes this requires setting it all down and sitting in my large recliner with a pen and paper, and brainstorming the things that need to be done. Other times playing my MOD with pen and paper and writing down every single issue that needs to be worked on. It is also awesome to have my gaming wife (@gameg1rl) to brainstorm with. And then I just start tackling the issues I can resolve. In the end of either I should be able to produce a list of problems that need to be tackled and identify the scope of each. Identify the order of all of them. If you know SCRUM, this is my method. Having this list allows me to move forward one block at a time or decided to cut stuff out if I cannot get a block of work done.

Anyway this is my process.

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The old R.E.A.R.M. was all about the infinite curiosity of the beginner and all these cool features to add and play with. So many that it flat out crashed the mod under its weight.

First release of REARM V2 on HWRM is about 16 ships. It takes much more effort to make them, so I can’t and don’t want to improvise anymore. And I don’t play with features either. There’s a narrow focus plan and I’m sticking to it.

Most of the time? Hell no! :smiley: That bloody texturing.
It’s not about the process, it’s about the project.
It’s a masochistic adventure of doing something mostly boring, so at the end of the day you can look at what you’ve done and be happy about it. Looking at the finished things is my only reward.

In my opinion, fun is not the most important thing. This is work, sometimes a hard work. It’s not playing a computer game with flashy lights and earning points that attacks your brain’s reward system. It’s not the easy entertainment.
If you’re on fire and enjoy every minute of it, amazing, I envy you.
But I have the fun at the beginning, designing and modelling. And then I have week(s) of texturing ahead and that’s, well, terrible.

Yeah I’m aware I’m not really selling it and you might be asking why the hell do I even do this and whether it’s remotely worth it to me. (You probably aren’t, because you’re a modder too, so you get this.)
But you know what this all also means? It means that I require no motivation, no immediate reward to continue, I’m not dependent on my brain liking it or not. I won’t stop because it stopped being fun.
I want to have something done and I’ll do it.

The end goal really. I want this thing to exist.

Well the overarching theme is more romantic than that, I do love the Homeworld retro aesthetic, I fell in love with it and I want to enrich this universe, expand it further.
I could talk for an hour about how this affected my life and how I perceive it. It would all be an honest story, insightful to the artistic part my psyche. The art really is the main thing about Homeworld to me.
There’s a whole universe of possibilities in my head, the things I would love to do if I had resources…
But that is not the day to day reality. The reality is a hard work and I have to be honest about it. And most of the time that’s all that I see, not some dream plan ahead, but the annoying patch of texture in the Photoshop file open in front of me.

So basically:
I know what I’m doing, I know why, it mostly isn’t fun, but I’ll finish it, because I love my project as a whole.

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Wondering if I should post a follow-up with the title: Life WITH a Part-time Modder :grinning:

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Please do?

Life, eh? That’s a broad subject… where to even start?

My first memory is of getting hit in the head with a two-by-four when I essentially ran into it with my face… this was probably about age 3. I didn’t remember anything else to speak of until at least 5 though, so don’t think my memory is super special or anything.

Well, that’s about all my life experiences really worth mentioning, so I’ll just skip to the ‘part-time modder’ part. The OP and major response were sort of teaching, after their own fashion, so for the massive droves of people aching to hear my words of wisdom, here goes.

Don’t think.

It’s very important to not think, because if you come around to thinking, you’re often just about sunk. Thinking is the enemy of all progress. The more aware you are of how much work you still have to do, the more suffocating the work becomes. Also, thinking is where all those unnecessary bells-and-whistles and scope-broadening features that Pouk warns of come in.

I don’t mean you shouldn’t think about the ship you’re making, of course. Thinking in order to make the best and most functional ship you can is a necessary evil.

Work on someone else’s project.

This is only necessary if it becomes evident that you like someone else’s ideas way better than you like your own. But it is incredibly helpful, affording you lots and lots of opportunities to learn things, as well as having at least one other person to remain invested in the project when all outside interest seems at its lowest point. Teamwork has many frustrations and can be especially difficult starting out, but given enough time, flexibility and patience, multiple people working together can be an absolutely indispensable edge. I honestly depend on it, but that suits me fine.

Dream with your heart.

This is not actually advice, but is sufficiently meaningless in a sentimental way that it could pass as such.

You’re all welcome in advance, of course… lol…

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My main motivation that I use to complete my HW2 mod is merely the fact that I will not allow myself to play the game until it is finished…sadly I have yet to do more than simply open HWRM…but I am closing in on my goal…if only my perfectionism would allow me to proceed at a steadier pace, but alas my harshest critic is forever myself…

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