Author Topic: An Early Discussion About Mods  (Read 6945 times)

Coby

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An Early Discussion About Mods
« on: April 17, 2013, 05:10:05 PM »
Since some questions, both direct and indirect, have popped up about modding, I figured I'd go ahead and lay out the base plan for how modding will work with Delver's Drop. Before I go on, here are two very important things to consider!


1. Everything said here is tentative. The below outlines the current plan, but since we are early in development and even now still working out kinks in our workflow, any of this could be subject to change by the time the game is released.


2. Not all of the modding support may be available right at launch. It is possible that only basic modding is available at launch with more advanced features later or perhaps everything goes well and the mod capabilities are as desired straight out of the box. It is simply too early to tell.


With those disclaimers out of the way let us begin the speculative hi-jinks!


The core goals of the modding system for Delver's Drop are such:
1: Allow users to make modifications to the base game's content to create new, interesting, and challenging alterations.
2: Allow users to create their own wholly self contained extensions to the base game's content.
3: Allow users to create their own wholly self contained projects which do not use the base game's content at all.


To better understand what those 3 goals are, here are some examples of each.
1: A user jacks up the damage, hp, and whatever else stats for all the game's enemies so they are incredibly difficult.
2: A user creates an entire new zone that the player can encounter in the base game. E.g. Simon's Dimension X Zone.
3: A user creates an entirely different game that has very little to do with Delver's Drop other than working within the same framework. E.g. An HD remake of some retro action adventure/RPG game.


The difficulty, and even possibility, of creating those kinds of Mods are in descending order, conveniently. In other words, creating a type 2 Mod is much more difficult than a type 1 Mod, but much much easier than a type 3 Mod.


The system for using Mods will be pretty simple: any Mods you create will live in your user folder (not the game's folder) and you can simply zip them up, share them, and drop them into your user folder. From the game, you will be able to select any Mod living in that folder to play. In this way, it is very convenient for people to play mods and have no risk of messing up the actual game data used. Just as a note, all achievements/trophies/etc. will be disabled when playing a Mod.


What does a Mod consist of? Effectively, any or all of three things:
1: Meta-Data
2: Data
3: Assets


Meta-Data is information that describes overarching functionality of a Mod group. This kind of information would be used for determining things like whether a level (for Type 2 or Type 3 Mods) should be randomly composed or if it is static (all hand made.)


Data refers to all thousands of numbers behind the scenes that drive the game. Modifying data (which for Delver's Drop is all in XML and thus very easy to edit) would allow you to change everything from what properties an item has, to how fast an enemy is, to how many blue particles are emitted in an explosion. This is also where custom enemies, characters, items, etc. would be created. A sub-group of data would be scripts, which control behaviors and conditions of the environment and things within the environment. Virtually all Mods will be manipulating some form of data.


Assets refer to the graphics and sounds in the game. For some Mods, there may be no assets involved, while others (like creating a zone) may contain lots of custom assets. The process we set up for assets to be used in the game will be documented so that this process is relatively painless. Relatively :)


That is a super high level overview of what we are wanting to provide. Here are a few generic question and answers that I will try to predict!


Q: Can I modify character data or better yet, create our own character class?
A: Yes! Simply modifying the data is easy, creating a new class is easy from the data side but quite time intensive from the art side if you want custom visuals.


Q: Can I make new rooms, levels, and zones?
A: Yes! You'll be able to create static rooms or rooms that use the random system, and you can also create the data necessary to have an entire level of custom rooms, and then a zone of custom levels.


Q: Can I modify enemy behaviors or add new ones?
A: Yes! There will be some scripting building blocks that you can use to create new behaviors or modify existing ones.


Q: Can I remake A Link to the Past with HD visuals?
A: Maybe! This would be an incredible amount of work and at this point in time, I don't know if we will have enough scriptable things exposed to perfectly capture all of the things in LttP (or any other game), but I would wager that you could get fairly close.


Q: Can I make a sexy Delver's Drop side scroller?
A: Maybe! Again, it's hard to know right now if enough functionality will be exposed to so dramatically alter the game but it would be a very interesting experiment. And again, it would take a lot of time.


If you have any other questions, please let me know!










« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 05:19:34 PM by Coby »

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Doomspeaker

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 01:45:44 AM »
Will we install these mods the classical way (overwrite the game's standart files, or add an additional files in a resource folder) or will it be possible to select mods we want to use ingame?

Ryan Burrell

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 09:37:40 AM »
We want to preserve the core assets/structure that are necessary for the stock game to run, so you won't need to overwrite anything. We'll have a directory where you can drop packaged mods, and then when you start the game you will have a mod selection menu and you can boot from there. Depending on what we end up supporting, there may be options that can be set per-mod as well.

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Treehouse

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 01:55:02 PM »
A sub-group of data would be scripts, which control behaviors and conditions of the environment and things within the environment.

A rewrite of another game using the Delver's Drop engine would require quite a bit of scripting... I take it that you plan on everything supporting custom scripts that possibly could do so. Some games might have elements to them that may not be supported by the base game, like say a clock and night-and-day shifting, gigantic maps, or oddball spell effects - Just to name some examples. How would some modder start developing a feature that's not really supported in the engine?

Coby

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 02:28:46 PM »
[size=78%]A rewrite of another game using the Delver's Drop engine would require quite a bit of scripting... I take it that you plan on everything supporting custom scripts that possibly could do so. Some games might have elements to them that may not be supported by the base game, like say a clock and night-and-day shifting, gigantic maps, or oddball spell effects - Just to name some examples. How would some modder start developing a feature that's not really supported in the engine?[/size]


Yes, it would be a lot of work. The plan is to expose everything we possibly can up front, in terms of things that can be scripted and the such, but you are correct that certain features may not even have any basis in the existing DD framework. In some cases, very clever hackery could probably get you close but in others there would be no practical way to accomplish it. For the latter, I plan on having a mod feature request list somewhere (probably on this forum) where people can suggest things that would require core game code updates and I'll try to add those in over time.


I am pretty excited to see what people can come up with and definitely want to help facilitate as much as I reasonably can.

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Treehouse

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 07:53:12 AM »
I plan on having a mod feature request list somewhere (probably on this forum) where people can suggest things that would require core game code updates and I'll try to add those in over time.

That seems like the best option to me as well. What language is used for the modding stuff?

VacantPsalm

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 04:42:05 PM »
... What language is used for the modding stuff?
+1 to this question.
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Coby

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 09:50:42 PM »
I plan on having a mod feature request list somewhere (probably on this forum) where people can suggest things that would require core game code updates and I'll try to add those in over time.

That seems like the best option to me as well. What language is used for the modding stuff?


Tis a custom system :) However, it will be really easy to learn and use.

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Vasae

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 09:58:11 PM »
Thanks for the awesome answers! Look forward to delving into the guts of the system when/if able.

Treehouse

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2013, 11:18:31 AM »
Alright. Now we just need more information about the interface, and some examples of simple mods to get things going. :) And what exactly do you mean by 'finishing the game first' ?

Coby

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 12:38:51 PM »
Ideally the game will ship with a couple of example mods. If it doesn't occur at launch it will be a high priority to get some out there as well as basic documentation.


In terms of "finishing the game first" -- I'm not sure where that came from (what context) but I probably either meant it in regards to the following:


1: We are still improving and altering our own internal work flow, so all of the systems relating to modding can equally be in flux until we freeze our processes (which might be quite late in the dev cycle.)


and/or


2: Shipping the game on time is the most important thing, so if there are some mod functions that must be cut for launch or a lack of documentation at launch, that is a price that we have to accept to pay. But if that's the case, like mentioned above, getting the other mod stuff out asap would be one of our highest priorities.

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Treehouse

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2013, 10:54:41 AM »
1: We are still improving and altering our own internal work flow, so all of the systems relating to modding can equally be in flux until we freeze our processes (which might be quite late in the dev cycle.)

That's the point I was trying to give a preemptive answer to myself to. The discussion is pretty much stalled until something concrete can be revealed about the modding system, and by necessity not a lot can be revealed about it until at least feature freeze for the game is reached.

Coby

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 12:16:04 PM »
That's the point I was trying to give a preemptive answer to myself to. The discussion is pretty much stalled until something concrete can be revealed about the modding system, and by necessity not a lot can be revealed about it until at least feature freeze for the game is reached.


Quite true, yes. As we go along, I will post some updates when something feels fairly finalized in terms of how it will work but a lot of discussion/questions cannot be really explored yet.

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Doomspeaker

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 12:19:07 PM »
Treehouse pretty much sums it up, but I still want to ask something thank could be answerable. :D

Will you support something like buffs that allow for temporary (set amount of time, indefinite or canceled by some kind of event) different parameter settings (multiply_by, add_to or set_value)?

Coby

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Re: An Early Discussion About Mods
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2013, 12:33:19 PM »
Treehouse pretty much sums it up, but I still want to ask something thank could be answerable. :D

Will you support something like buffs that allow for temporary (set amount of time, indefinite or canceled by some kind of event) different parameter settings (multiply_by, add_to or set_value)?


Yes.

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