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Open discussion on GR4 Modding Tools - what we need!

Mission Modding, Map Modding, Weapon Modding, Skins Modding - what do we need in order to promote a modding community that would create custom content to make sure the GR fanbase stick around for another 8 years?! If it wasn't for Ghost Recon's modding tools the fanbase would have drifted off years ago, bored with playing the same content over and over. With modding tools, Ubisoft have a captive audience generating their own reasons to stick with the franchise!

SUMMARY

  • Ease of Use (ie. Far Cry map editor)
  • Error Checking, De-bugging, error log etc.
  • IGOR on steroids, with ability to do in-depth scripting.
  • Simple authoring tool to get the mods ingame (i.e. not complex/confusing bundling systems)

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Firstly, This is so controvertible where would one start, I know with a PMA (Positive mental attitude), in the spirit of Rocky and the good of GR.net kind, Positive thinking.

:thumbsup:

An editor to rule them all, is it possible, will BIS or CM beat GR4 developers (who every they might be) to it all, the editor and tools have to embrace the past and be future proof to the Nth degree. From previous GR titles I can only say, this can only be an easy concept to envisage.

I like the open source attitude of BIS with their OFP & ARMA Series

I Like the map editor concept principle of Ubisoft Canada Farcry 2

I have never found object making tools good enough.

I would like w simple packing & unpacking process tool, one that does

not require a degree.

Self checking tools like in FC2 from ubi map maker is very clever.

What ever happens, it's the Content tools & SADS that will make or break a title.

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Mission Modding - Something similar to IGOR. It was simple enough to learn to use but had a lot of depth with the script commands. An actual scripting language would be a plus.

Map Making - I'm not a fan of in-house map editors. I prefer to use a 3rd party application to build a level (3ds max). It is a double edge sword here. The in-house editor like what GRAW had allowed a lot of people to make MP maps but they all kind of looked the same to me. 3ds max isn't available to everyone but every map is unique.

It depends on the individual really. What do you want to see as far as mods go? Frostbie, YOTM, and other mods like those or a bunch of counter-strike death match maps?

Skinning - Photoshop anyone?

Weapons - 3ds max

Basically, a SDK that allows the modders the freedom to be creative without the cumbersome process that GRAW and GRAW2 had to get that content into the game.

I don't want to sound like a pessimist here but if Ubisoft is in charge of this product then I have a feeling that they're not interested in creating a product like the [Ghost Recon]. Ubisoft is a business and their sole purpose is to make money. I doubt there will be expansion packs (bad business model IMO) and you'll see an announcement for GR 5 soon after this one is out the door.

If they were really serious about making a ton of cash they could adopt a business model like "The Sims" franchise and pump out an expansion pack every 4 months for the next 3 years.

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I wonder though whether it was UBI that prevented to release of expansions, or the difficulty and time consuming nature of modding for GRAW. It just isn't /wasn't user friendly.

Had they had the use of an editor like IGOR - they could have released an expansion pack every 6 - 12 months easily.

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A decent debugger/error handler/error reporting.

I understand that software crashes - some more than others - eh GRIN :)

It'll crash even more when you have modders from all walks of life releasing content. So, please, plan for this.

1) Make debug tools and deskchecking tools available to modders that allow for checking of code.

2) If the game must abend/CTD, (unhandlable errors), make it do so gracefully - with a comprehensive error log that clearlt details the source of the fault.

3) Better still, do not CTD at all, simply take a default action...ie if a weapon is referenced, but not present, then display an error message, but go ahead and use a (default) replacement weapon. Same for textures etc.

Davros.

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We all buy the games for entertainment / playability .... and lets face it if you got GRAW2 for xmas you could quite easily have finished all the campaigns / SP missions by the end of January and then shelved it.

What has and does keep GR (in any sense) up the top end is the playing over the internet and, most importantly, the ability to create maps, missions to keep us trigger happy folks hooked.

So ... 1. Lets have better connectivity (IP address if required, auto download of maps, missions etc etc..)

2. More stable map editor, with easier to find / define units.

3. Script checker.

Also while I'm here ..... one of the biggest reasons Ghost recon / Graw have been kept alive are the ghostrecon.net forums and the people that administer them and contribute. If Ubisoft were half as good I'd be a whole lot happier in buying GR4.

:thumbsup: to ghostrecon.net

Legacy

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  • 1 month later...

Modding tools should be part of the game, and thought out from the start. Also fully tested.

Tutorials that are pre planned, and released with the game. Woflsong and co, did a great job with what we now have, but still.

Centcom / YOTM / Frostbite. Just examples, but these are the very examples, we would like to continue with. The :AW series has done nothing but stray us as far away as possible from building campaigns. This is a shame actually, with all the single missions and maps that are constantly released, there is room for campaigns, but then we are segregated into the 4 man limit.

Not 1 single modded vehicle has made it into the recent titles, why? Are we getting lazy, or is it simply proving too difficult?

GR1 was no fluke. It was a very well thought out game. 10 years later, time to take over.

Personnel request: Give us some Co_Op love and support.

Look forward to what ever we are provided with, wether I enjoy it or not is another matter, I always look forward to a new game. Modding is a full time hobby for me usually, I hope the new game can focus for once, on an extended life.

:)

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Please import the Far Cry 2 map editor. :blink:

This way more people can make maps. :thumbsup:

While I agree that making it easier to do the maps would be great I also think it could mean a bunch of low quality maps unless they are put through rigorous play testing prior to being posted for general download.
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I certainly agree with all of the wonderful suggestions that have been made with this thread. Some of the enhancements that I would like to see in addition to what most have stated would be:

- More robust user portal\control panel

- Allow grouping of objects (like 3d Studio Max) for easier manipulation, movement and duplication

- Allow units, props, etc. to be displayed or hidden by assigned groups. Example is you certainly see latency issues if you have quite a few humans already placed on the map. If you were able to hide patrol groups, you could increase development time.

- Incorporate a stronger environment engine and user interface.

- Performance monitoring tools for streamlining the speed of your maps\missions

- Compatibility testing and\or individualizing bundles so that there are no conflicts between custom maps (due to modder errors).

- Allow custom vehicles, skins, compositions, weapons, etc. to be bundled in missions without having to create a separate mod that all web\lan servers need to install first. Allows for greater flexibility.

Thanks,

Bogie

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Oso, the Farcry editor isnt like a GRAW editor - it can produce all types of maps (not homogenous as in GRAW). Unreal or Crysis v powerful and I personally produced 5 maps which were each vastly different in look, feel and gameplay.

Id like an IGOR and a Crysis Editor - then I'll be happy.

As important - the ability to run/activate multiple mods without having to remove them to enable others a la GRAW.

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As far as included modding tools go, I would be happy with an updated IGOR-type editor that provides access to pretty much all aspects of the game except 3d modeling and skinning/texturing. For these purposes I still prefer external tools like 3ds Max and Photoshop, simply because of the usually far more advanced feature set provided in separate pro-applications. Maybe it would be possible to offer trial versions of required 3rd-party tools like 3DSM and PS with the game? This would be advertisement for them, so it should not be too difficult to get a licensing deal going for the trial copies.

And please create a stable and user-friendly editor! IGOR sure is great, but its shortcomings in e.g. stability (tends to CTD a lot without proper error reporting, doesn't accept large scripts) and UI (no resizable scripting window, no copy&paste etc.) can be a serious deal breaker, especially for someone new to modding. In an ideal world, the modding tools should be the exact same tools that were used to create the game in the first place (except engine and low-level programming), and surely it makes sense to have rock-solid and user-friendly tools in-house during development, so why not pass that along to the customer?

Another thing I want to mention is the bad habit of hard-coding too many game aspects, and thereby making them inaccessible to modding. GR had several hard-coded properties that made it difficult to expand the game beyond a certain point, for example there is a very limited number of weapon motion types that dictate many weapon features like zoom FoV, impact/explosion type and corresponding visual effects etc. - limitations like these force modders to work within hard-coded categories and take away much potential - they should be avoided at all cost.

Please try to keep every game aspect as open as possible, so it can be modified in unforeseen ways - this opens the door to almost limitless future potential of a game title through modding. If the basic structure is good, modders can then take the game far beyond its original scope and may attract a completely new group of clientele to a title.

A solid foundation for modding can go a long way to increase a game's in initial appeal (to modders) as well as its longevity (through mods), which in turn expand its commercial success. If a limited development budget allows to either create additional game content in-house (e.g. more maps and weapons) or to produce better modding tools, I'd vote for the latter, because added in-house content is a one-time thing, whereas modding tools can offer an unlimited supply of game assets in the future.

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  • 1 month later...

3d Content Exporter:

I wish they could provide an exporter other then Max, but this is largerly dependent on what the studio uses in the first place. I use Maya myself, but I think RS is a Max based studio. Unreal and Crysis offer multiple solutions though, some user made like the Maya exporter for Crysis and the SoftimageXSI modtools work with Crysis as well, in addition to their default Max exporter.

Tutorials and Sample Files:

Swat4 had a really good weapons doc on how to get your custom stuff into the game, and not just the mesh but the arm animations too. It took me like two or three weekends to get a fully functional weapon into the game complete with new holding, firing, bring up/down, idle, lower, tac reload, and full reload animations. Mostly because they had good sample files and thorough instructions. GRAW took months just to get a magazine to show up, though it did help when they finally released their sample weapon file, but the tutorial with it was horrendous. For instance, what needed to be skinned and what should not be, what materials src= needed to be called. It's a mess, but if you work with it long enough you start to understand it.

Design around customization:

The one area where GRAW excelled in customization was the weapon attachments. However, that was not without pitfalls and limits also. If the entire game is designed with customization in mind, it's not only easier for them to develop and put their own content in, but makes it much easier for modders to add content as well. For instance, you can add headgear, new camos, etc to GRAW, but there's no elegant way to select it in the game. Instead, we resort to hacking it together and making it locked. Why not make it so you can just add your own onto the game by defining another set of whatever, gear, weapons, camos, etc. Not everything can be modular, but say you want a light, medium, heavy uniform/equipment, make it so you pick that in the game. Then if someone wants to add their own, it can be an addition instead of a replacement. So, if you build this into the game interface you make it easier for players to import and select new things.

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I know I've mentioned this before somewhere.......

Taking my cue from GR1 modding:

Modders sneak things (crates/ sandbags/ radio masts etc) into existing maps by making pseudo vehicles

It would be nice if there were an actual "placeable object category" that can allow an object to be modelled, then added via a script into an existing map.

Such objects could set off triggers, have differing destruction levels, penetration levels, associated sounds etc.

such objects would add to the re-usability of pre-made maps

Of course I'm assuming here that the map and script are seperate entities and not merged as seems to be the case these days <_<

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  • 2 weeks later...

just have them worry about a decent game. There's no point to waste time on modding tools if that takes away one minute of programmer time from creating a decent game that's worth playing. With their recent track record of releasing dumbed down console game conversions, I rather doubt we'll see anything worth buying out of Ubisoft this year. I'm still mad about that GRAW2 dud I paid full price for...

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Right, and why do people play the original GR still? Mods. Sure, every once in a while I enjoy a nostalgic castle run through, but mods kept GR1 going forever.

Not giving players the ability to customize their gaming experience is idiotic, especially with the number of FPS's coming out withing the next year that will have this option.

Tools need to be similar to the released tools for GR1, and preferably someone who will talk to the largest, longest standing GR community there is. That way they can see what we, as modders would like.

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Right, and why do people play the original GR still? Mods. Sure, every once in a while I enjoy a nostalgic castle run through, but mods kept GR1 going forever.

....

Tools need to be similar to the released tools for GR1, and preferably someone who will talk to the largest, longest standing GR community there is. That way they can see what we, as modders would like.

Not only that but the game was setup to install and run mods. Even the expansion packs are more or less "mods." When you design your game in a way that's easy to expand upon, everybody wins. Obviously they can't give away all the tools they use to make the game, but some form of them helps tremendously. Making a great game is "given," really, like stating the obvious mandate, but like Marcinko said, mods have kept GR1 alive to this day.

I think not keeping that in mind, especially with a GR game is a huge mistake. Look at Crysis, you can pick it up, grab the sdk and start making MechWarriror.

Though, I do wonder if we'll ever really see a game like GR again....maybe BFS:GB will be the next one.

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The Crysis modding aspect is really good in my eyes. You can do anything from change ammo amounts, to map making, to new guns/vehicles/people all the way up to a new game if you wanted *Brettzies there pointed out a good example of this* Not to many other games allow you to do this.

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Some would like to build a simple mission. We don`t want to move objects aorund a map, figure out creating colisions and so. Not interested in relighting objects and learing how to become a rocket engineer.

Why do we not just improve on what worked. We had Igor with the first GR, what was the problem with it?

Bring back the floor polys too, ai.graphs are a nothing but a nussience. ###

:shifty:

Maybe it is just a shame we were spoiled rotten with gr1? Glad I still get to play it often. :D

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Right, and why do people play the original GR still? Mods. Sure, every once in a while I enjoy a nostalgic castle run through, but mods kept GR1 going forever.

Not giving players the ability to customize their gaming experience is idiotic, especially with the number of FPS's coming out withing the next year that will have this option.

Tools need to be similar to the released tools for GR1, and preferably someone who will talk to the largest, longest standing GR community there is. That way they can see what we, as modders would like.

if there's basic modding capability, we will mod. I just hope they don't waste a minute of coding on those tools if that means the AI can shoot you from outside the draw distance or through the crest of a hill, like they do so nicely in GRAW2. A broken game with great mod tools is still a dud.

On the other hand - I guess I could care less what they do in the next release, because I won't buy it until somebody else puts up a decent review of the things that matter to me (which is exclusively [GR] coop multiplayer and map modding)

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