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BEFORE you post a topic in this forum, LOOK HERE!

Postby Teancum » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:50 am

Formerly "Tips, Tricks and advice from the Gametoast Staff"

**NOTE: This topic is locked so that only staff members can edit this post. If you have a really useful tip please contact a moderator so they can add it.

Teancum's Tips

-NEVER stop a munge
You'll hear me say that a lot, but when you do it it creates files that are only 1/2 written, causing lots of problems. Plus often times a process keeps running when you stop a munge that will not stop until it's done doing what it's doing, which sometimes can be a very long time. If you end up stopping a munge be sure to check out the How to do a Manual Clean thread as that's the only way to get rid of the bad files. Also, if you happen to stop a munge and your computer is going slow, simply restart it and it will kill all those processes that were still busy, THEN manually clean.

-Test after only a few changes
Trust me, this one'll save you lots of trouble. A lot of times new modders will make 50 changes then go in and test in-game only to find a crash. Well, now you're stuck, as there's 50 different things it could be, as opposed to you making 5 changes and only having 5 things to check.

-When you're stuck on a crash, work backwards. For example: You have a custom side. It worked the last go-round when testing, but you added another unit and now it crashes. Well, logic would say to remove that unit from the LUA so it's not loaded, then test. If it works without that unit, then you know where the problem is.

-Have a 'Test Only' map
It's really a great thing for testing out random ideas, new units, learning the ins and outs of the editor, etc. Don't ever release it, just use it to learn and test with. That way when you go back to work on the map you want to release you already know how to do something. Yes, it takes a little longer, but you won't screw up your map, and you'll learn the tools much faster.

-Re-read the docs, the tutorials, and the FAQ every once and awhile
You'll find as a new modder you have no idea what you're doing. We've all been there. When I opened ZeroEdit for the first time I couldn't figure out how to move up and down for like a week, and I almost gave up. But you'll find as you learn more stuff that the tutorials and docs make more sense.

***STAFF, feel free to add to this, just make a section for yourself, and follow the same format. (feel free to choose a different color for your name)

Maveritchell's Tips

-Take a break
I can't count how many times I've had a problem I'll literally stare at the screen for almost an hour trying to figure out - only to just be more frustrated. Take a step back, move away from the computer, and leave it be for a while if you've got a seemingly unsolveable problem. Every single time I've solved something really frustrating, it's been after I let the problem go, left, and came back with a fresh head.

-Bigger is rarely better
Just because you've got a big 'ol square of terrain in Zeroeditor doesn't mean you have to use it all. Don't believe me? Open up some of the stock maps, like Tantive 4 or Polis Massa and see how much space they take up. A really tight map is - nine times out of ten - going to be better-looking than a map spread out over lots of space.

-Know your audience
Do you know who's going to play your map? I'll go so far as to say never design a map with multiplayer as the primary focus. Almost all of the playtime your map will recieve will be by a single user, offline. Don't leave them out. Consider that this means that you'll want to make it accessible and fun even if you're the only one on the map. This ties in nicely to making smaller maps, as mentioned above - larger maps mean more walking around doing nothing if you're a single player.

-Polish your map
So, you've made your map! You're excited and it works and you just made the unit with the most incredible weapons ever. Woah, there. Before you get all trigger-happy, be patient and play through your finished map a bunch. Do things that make an ordinary map stand out - don't be afraid to do small stuff like adding loadscreens, adding boundaries, checking all your objects, feeling out the gameplay. I've seen loads of new maps with potential only to have them feel sloppy because the creator (almost certainly) did their final munge and was in such a hurry to publish that he forgot to make sure everything was perfect.

Penguin's Tips

-Ideas, The Process.
First of, when you have an idea for a map, spend some time thinking about it before starting the process of making it into reality. Ask yourself some basic questions;

1)Is this an idea that's developed enough to create something from?
2)Is it doable? Will I be able to create this? Will the games engine support and not limit my idea?

If you've decided that you idea will work in the game and your confident enough that you can create it, then its time to translate those ideas into reality. If you feel confident enough you could start creating the map/mod straight from there. But I recommend planning it out further first, sketching map layouts, expanding on previous ideas (Brainstorming or free writing is great help for expanding ideas.)

-Mod Teams
I have seen many, many Mod Teams be created, then die or fall inactive shortly afterwards in many modding game communities. Mod Teams are often underestimated, they can be a real challenge to work with.

Mod Teams have to be extremely well organised or they will fall apart. Everyone should know their role, all plans and ideas should be well thought out and discussed with everyone so everyone has a clear understanding or there may be conflicts of ideas later on. A tasklist, procedure, working order, etc should be created, so everyone once again knows what they and everyone else are doing. How they are doing it, and when it should be done.

Many mod teams loose a lack of interest in the mod, or become inactive etc. Everyone apart of a mod team has to be dedicated to it.

FragMe!'s Tips

-Starting a New Map

Something you should do when starting a new map, especially if it is your first attempt at modding.
1) Do the initial world creation Munge, this is the one where you enter your world's Name and Modes you want.
2) Go into your newly created map folder and run the Munge that is there in the Build folder.
3) Start up Battlefront II and see if you new map is there, start it up and run around on the flat ground for a while then quit.
4) This may sound silly but it accomplishes a few thing. It lets you know that the munge processed worked, that the game will open and play it so now you can go back and start creating your map.

And as Teancum mentioned, test your map often. It will make it easier to find errors if there are any and will actually help you build you map as you can see what works together before you get to far into the build.

Zerted's Tips

-Read everything
Read the mod tool docs, read people's additional docs, read as many GT SWBF2 Modding and General Forum topics as you can, review the mod tool's files and directories. Read everything. Yes it initially takes time. Yes it's worth it. You'll make better mods and do it faster with less mistakes.

Jedi Admin
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Re: Tips, Tricks and advice from the Gametoast Staff

Postby Teancum » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:16 am

-Use the search function here on the forums
Might sound like I'm chastising you, but I'm not. Use the search function when looking for an answer to a problem. You'd be surprised what you can find. Sometimes you may not find the answer to your question, but might stumble on the answer to another question you had, or maybe an answer to a question you haven't even thought of yet.

Another tip is to add the word solved to your search. Lots of times when the answer to a question is figured out, the staff (or the author of the thread) adds SOLVED to the topic title. Also, if you used that trick, plus select 'Topic titles only' in the Search within: option you'll sometimes get exactly what you need.

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