In the last few days there have been two major mods released; The Citizen and Offshore. When we think about how games are released we notice that they are scheduled to coincide with various events.

One question I am asking is whether major mods should co-operate and agree a release schedule that ensures they all get the maximum attention.

A while ago I wrote about PlanetPhillip being a Mod Publisher. One of the possible benefits would be the scheduling of the release of mods.

One of the difference between games and mods is that they are fighting for players’ cash. In many ways mods are fighting against each other for players’ time. Of course, eventually a player will play all the mods but if a mod can get their mod played by as many people as possible at the same time they can generate a lot of feedback and kudos.

If two mods are splitting the players then they both potentially lose.

Please don’t misunderstand me I am not criticizing the authors of the above mods, just raising possibility of a new system for ensuring everybody wins.

Now, when an author or team spends a significant amount of their free time they naturally want to release it as quickly as possible (Assuming it’s considered finished!) The amount of delay need only be one week and actually may allow websites like PlanetPhillip.com to raise the profile and anticipation of the mod in question.

So, what do you think? I’m especially interested to hear from both sides of the system; the players AND the developers.

Published

23rd February 2008

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10 Comments
  1. I don't think it's possible. As a developer, I wouldn't like to wait for another mod to be released. Imagine someone had agreed to release their mod after The Citizen 1.1 which we had originally planned to have finished by December. They would've had to wait a couple of months more, and I don't think that's acceptable.
    I don't think it would be wrong for the owner of a dedicated site to space out releases, but as mapper I would still publish my work the moment it's ready. Such is the eagerness we have for feedback after months of work.
    As a player, I don't find a problem with releases close together, as a matter of fact, some mods might make you hungry for more gameplay, and it's great to have more quality mods to play. After all, mods are usually not as long as games, and you could take a day to play each. Since money is not an issue, you don't have to forcefully choose between them.

  2. Chris Fox

    23rd February 2008

    Yeah Kasperg has hit the nail on the head.

    Because mapping is a hobby, we can't be held to deadlines. We might well set deadlines – and honestly try to stick to them – but real life gets in the way. This week for example, I planned to map a lot but have not been able to because my car exploded on Wednesday and my house also needs a new roof, which is being put in as we speak.

    If my real life demands that a mapping deadline get put back, then it gets put back. In the big picture, releasing a mod is not critical.

    The only way that would change, is if I was getting paid a reasonable rate to map.

    So, I think the Mod Publisher plan, while worthy in spirit, is logistically unworkable and will only result in broken promises – unless of course it finds some way to actually make a living for the mappers involved.

    How much ad revenue do you think a mod could potentially generate, Phillip?

  3. senator33

    23rd February 2008

    It took Johannes Brahms over 20 years to compose
    and release his 1st Symphony, for fear of being overshadowed by Beethoven.

    Even though many of the mods released and in production are great works, there is no necessity in today's world to do as Brahms did.

    Release when ready…there will be many of us out there ready to appreciate your work.

  4. I agree with release when ready. I try to download the mod as soon as possible if only to have it on my machine when I can get to it. How would free spirit modders(?) be held to a schedule?

  5. WhoZeDuke

    23rd February 2008

    I think your idea is only relevant for multiplayer mods. With singleplayer ones, people that want to play them will play them eventually. With multiplayer ones, if there are two or three released at the same time, one or two of them might be doomed from the get go.

  6. Allow me to clarify some general points before answering some of the points raised in the comments.

    Firstly, I know that most developers would be against the idea, as I probably would if I were ready to release a mod, but I am not talking about a strict published schedule that has to be followed.

    I am thinking more of a limited, private agreement between similar mods.

    Next, I am not suggesting that mods be forced to release mods that are not ready simply to stick to a schedule. What I am suggestion is that sometimes it's better to wait a week or so before releasing a mod.

    Whilst I would love to be the center of all SP FPS releases I'm not but I truly believe that some sort of compromise is possible.

    Now onto your comments:

    Imagine someone had agreed to release their mod after The Citizen 1.1 which we had originally planned to have finished by December. They would've had to wait a couple of months more, and I don't think that's acceptable.

    That's a misunderstanding because I never clearly explained my idea. All I am suggesting is that instead of just releasing a mod without consultation with other teams there is private dialogue.

    I would still publish my work the moment it's ready. Such is the eagerness we have for feedback after months of work.

    I can fully understand that.

    we can't be held to deadlines.

    I'm not asking anybody to be held to deadline. Hell, even professional miss deadlines, especially in the gaming industry! I'm just asking for co-operation.

    So, I think the Mod Publisher plan, while worthy in spirit, is logistically unworkable and will only result in broken promises – unless of course it finds some way to actually make a living for the mappers involved.

    Again, this is a misunderstanding due to my lack of explanation. No promises ever need be made.

    How much ad revenue do you think a mod could potentially generate, Phillip?

    I believe this needs a proper post to explore properly. I'll write it as soon as I have finished replying to this and one other set of comments.

    Release when ready…there will be many of us out there ready to appreciate your work.

    Sorry to repeat myself but I have never suggested releasing early or when the mod is not finished.

    How would free spirit modders(?) be held to a schedule?

    I don't think that being held to a schedule is inherently bad, it all depends on the circumstances. Some people need that time motivation. Anyway, I run this site and sometimes I have deadlines I have to keep. I don't like it but sometimes you can't avoid them!

    I think your idea is only relevant for multiplayer mods. With singleplayer ones, people that want to play them will play them eventually. With multiplayer ones, if there are two or three released at the same time, one or two of them might be doomed from the get go.

    That's a good point and you could be right. From experience I know that I have forgotten to play some mods because I had too many in my list and I got distracted.

  7. I am thinking more of a limited, private agreement between similar mods.

    How would this take place? I can only see it possible if a third person with information on the status of all mods could communicate with them. I just don't see myself giving status updates to all other developers (mainly because it's impossible to always know who is about to release something) and getting feedback on how their doing with theirs.

    You could add some rule to this site explaining that you'll only release mods from the same category (HL1sp, HL2sp) if 5 days have passed since the last release in that category.

  8. Chris Fox

    24th February 2008

    I believe this needs a proper post to explore properly.

    Having thought about the concept a little more, I can see legal problems with it. The SDK licence states that you can't profit from what you make with it – unless of course you pay Valve $200,000 for a Source engine licence!.

    So, while this doesn't stop Phillip making ad revenue for himself by placing ads on mod pages, it probably does have some implication for a mapper if he were to recieve payment for his or her work.

  9. Phillip making ad revenue for himself by placing ads on mod pages

    OMG, I wish this were possible! I did receive about $5 for a few months via the Text Link Ads that has stopped.

    If you take this idea a bit further you could say site like ModDB (That does have proper advertising) is making money off the modders. Although I have to qualify that and say I suspect that ALL the revenue ModDB receives goes back into the site. I don't think "Intense" is that kind of person.

    Anyway, I have used this as the latest Poll Question. Let's post all comments on this topic there. Thanks.

  10. Phillip,
    I was wondering why you eliminated the release dates from the list of released Mods. I have played so many SP Mods I can't remember the story to each and every Mod but if I see the date I'll know if I played it or not since I say current with just about every mod.

    Harry

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