Modding

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
How far will modding go in WC Pioneer? I know I might not be able to edit the random missions, but will I be able to import my own ships?

BTW, please don't throw me into a "Battle of Endor" because I'll get massive amounts of lag.

And also, when you're done, will this game be open-source? freeware? commercial?
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
I believe the game is going to be freeware.

Attempting to create a commercial game from an EA IP is simply not possible, and I believe it was stated some time ago that the game would not be opensourced.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
BTW, please don't throw me into a "Battle of Endor" because I'll get massive amounts of lag.
Buy a new computer. :p

I think Howard said the game would be customizable to work with most computers, so you could probably just reduse graphics quality and such a bit.
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
As far as I know modding and the engine being opensource/freeware are no-gos. Obviously the game will be free to everyone (obviously) but the engine will not be. Least thats what I understood from Joel.
 

Cyberion

Master of Orion
hmmm modding, interesting.

Brad, could you confirm that there will be no editor released for a public? Or better say modding tools. Like model importer and level (mission) editor?

Obviously those tools will be created by Joel to build missions and create some scripting. So the question is, will be those tools released with the game as well? (something like Hammer for Valve's Source engine)

EDIT: I always was in modding, so this question is quite interesting to me. I was a system modder (created star sytems and special effects) in the mod "Excelcia RPG Mod" for Freelancer. As well as worked on the Space Station designs. So having such tools would be really great.
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
I'm really not sure. Because I do believe Joel was planning on (this was a while ago) marketing his engine. Mod tools aren't completely out of the qeustion, but it'd be rather silly to release them prior to releasing whatever the end goal is.

Brad
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
Buy a new computer. :p
I think my computer is just 1 year old, so maybe I won't have to worry about lag as much as I thought. I certainly hope I don't get thrown into one of those situations, unless you're making LODs for the ship models.

I now understand that the game will be free, but the engine won't be.

Also, Cyberion, I sent you a PM at Ranger's Glory forums.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I'm really not sure. Because I do believe Joel was planning on (this was a while ago) marketing his engine. Mod tools aren't completely out of the qeustion, but it'd be rather silly to release them prior to releasing whatever the end goal is.
Well, that's curious - he's planning on marketing his engine, but he does not intend to release modding tools? That's pretty poor marketing - as a general rule, any company that wants people to buy their engine does everything it can to encourage modding. For example, that's why half the Crysis trailers show off the game's level editor rather than the game itself. Modders are hugely important, because they provide proof-of-concept - they show how quickly somebody can start using the engine, they provide a lot of free documentation on how to use the engine (which is important, because the developer usually has no time to write full documentation - I've yet to encounter a licensed engine that actually provides good documentation).

...Of course, this does seem like a strange topic to bring up at this point, given that Pioneer's release seems as distant today as it did a year ago. Would be nice if you guys could let us know about your progress :).
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
Roger, well, I suppose releasing mod tools with Pioneer would work, but...With it not ultimately being the final release. I dunno, like I said, this was based on talks from a couple months ago.

Brad
 
I do have plans on making the engine commercial, but not as competition for mainstream engines like Crysis, Unreal, etc. Rather, I'll be using the engine on a commercial product which would make it unwise to release the engine.

As for modding, I most certainly want to have some modding capabilities made available to the community. I have supported the modding communities for a long time now (mostly with Unreal), so I don't have any intention on abandoning them now. I'm not sure what all will be made available, but there will definitely be scripting functionality that allows you to make your own gameplay modes and the ability to create your own ships, bases, or player models.

The engine was designed around flexibility (which is partially why it is taking a while), so it only makes sense that we give the community access to some of that flexibility. One of our main concerns, however, is giving too much to the community and causing chaos. Power is great and all, but there needs to be boundaries or people will become overwhelmed. There is obviously the danger of giving too little control, but we will make sure that doesn't happen. Please don't let this spiral into a long discussion on where that distinguishing line is---we are quite aware of it and if the community finds it wanting, we can always improve upon it.

Hope that helps explain, at least to some degree, where we are and where we plan to be.

--Joel
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Hmmm well as I see it, there are four main things that Pioneer players/modders will want to do:

1: Build a ship (by importing meshes and textures and then assigning stats to them)

2: Build a ship upgrade (allowed to specify what the upgrade does within the predefined categories--guns, shields, engines, etc.)

3: Build a location (bases or whole solar systems, and place them within the game universe)

4: Build a mission (or a series of missions, with the triggers for starting and winning/losing them, and any storyline text that comes with them)

From a user-end perspective, I think that having script files for each ship/upgrade/system/base/mission/whatever would be the handiest for the users. The .cfg files used to define missions and spacecraft in the Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator ( http://www.orbitersim.com ) are a good example of the sort of thing that I am imagining.
 

Plasteel Skull

Commodore
Hmmm well as I see it, there are four main things that Pioneer players/modders will want to do:

1: Build a ship (by importing meshes and textures and then assigning stats to them)
2: Build a ship upgrade (allowed to specify what the upgrade does within the predefined categories--guns, shields, engines, etc.)
3: Build a location (bases or whole solar systems, and place them within the game universe)
4: Build a mission (or a series of missions, with the triggers for starting and winning/losing them, and any storyline text that comes with them)
I agree with Ijuin.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Why? If I'd like to make a Pioneer mod with the Tiger('s) Claw in it, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to make one.
As a rule, players don't know what they want. When a game is very easy to mod a million stupid people will add a million stupid-but-flashy things... which a million similarly stupid people will add to their games on the faulty logic that a bigger ship or a more powerful gun will automatically make the game better... and then the game will be broken. History's truly great mods are the ones that were so difficult to pull off that the mod team was forced to act like professional developers -- everything else just comes off as pureed crap.
 

Plasteel Skull

Commodore
As a rule, players don't know what they want. When a game is very easy to mod a million stupid people will add a million stupid-but-flashy things... which a million similarly stupid people will add to their games on the faulty logic that a bigger ship or a more powerful gun will automatically make the game better... and then the game will be broken. History's truly great mods are the ones that were so difficult to pull off that the mod team was forced to act like professional developers -- everything else just comes off as pureed crap.
How it would be nice to be able say: "I disagree" and not being banned in the way. Unfortunately this isn't the case, so I agree wholeheartedly, LOAF!
 

Howard Day

Random art guy.
For the record, The Pioneer Team agrees with the basic ideas put forth in Bandit LOAF's response above. I'm speaking for all of us here. We will not be making all the mod tools and content available to the general public. We do leave open the possibility that we could share them with some other *team* with a clear objective in mind, but they will not be made public. Our reasons for this have been made fairly clear, and I'd hope that those watching this thread will respect that.
As an aside - the dev tools in dispute do not in fact exist yet - at least not as a comprehensive package. To argue about the availability of something we haven't even finished yet is premature.
We do hope to have many of these tools in place by Feb 1st - That's Joel's own deadline. That includes a Object viewer/compiler ( which will take all the various artwork I've done over the past 3 years and put it into formats and data structures that the game can recognize and load) and a basic, game play-test-only version of the game. This second item is where we are going to stop focusing on the graphics and just tune the game. That means plugging in all the extensive design stats Brad has put together and linking them all up. There's no focus at all at this point on graphics - the ships will most likely be shown as simple flattened cones for this part of the development. The idea is to skip all the really complex graphics development for the time being, and go right to what's important: making a fun game.
So that's where we are. We've been working on this for more than 3 years - and the end is not in sight. We're only a 3 man team, so I wouldn't expect it to be.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
I'd like to see modding capability as long as it doesn't directly effect the game itself, scenario editors are fine, but (especially if multiplayer will be happening) when someone can make a godship then it ruins the careful balance of every game I have ever played.

I don't want to go flying around and discover I've chosen to bounty hunt another player who modded himself 60k centimeters of hull plating.
 
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