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Engine tools, docs and modding


Gorth

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Sitting here and looking at the Fallout Mapper (;)), I sort of wondered about the reasons for why, more games never get the toolsets, or even just the documention for the datastructure released.

 

Its perfectly understandable, that new games are sort of shrouded a bit in mystery as to not give themselves unnecessary competion from 3rd parties.

 

But a couple of older engines, like the Infinity Engine, never had as much as a data documention released (to the best of my knowledge), even after the point where it couldn't really hurt sales. Is it because it gives too much away about the design that went into an engine? Is it vanity (:wacko:) because the tools etc. might not stand up to scrutiny by the public? Is it because a lot work went into these things and it feels wrong to just "give it away"? Is it fear of 3rd party violating the IP (like the jokes about "Twi'lek Porn")? All of the above? B)

 

Just curious about why some information and some tools are guarded so well, even after a games primetime... :unsure:

 

Edit: Yes, I know most multiplayer FPS and strategy games comes with level editors etc. I was having crpg's in mind...

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Or could it be that the developers are just busy working on their next game? ;)

 

Any time you are going to release something to the public, even something 'unsupported', it takes someone's time to collect all the bits and put it together in one package. And most developers do not document data structures and the like, as everything changes too frequently during development.

 

Another factor is 3rd party code. Many games rely on libraries or licensed technology (thus do the tools) that cannot legally be released to the public unless they want to pay up additional license fees. Removing such things from the code to replace them with free alternatives would be a very time consuming task, if a free alternative even exists.

 

And more often than not, many of the tools and processes used to create games are built under the pressure of deadlines to get the game done resulting in undocumented, non-userfriendly stuff that would be almost useless to release to the public anyway.

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And most developers do not document data structures and the like, as everything changes too frequently during development.

What???

 

NOoo...?

 

Never B)

 

(Shhh!!!...)

 

Thanks. Makes sense. ;)

 

A lot of conspiracy theories down the drain...

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am not a programmer, but I do script quite a bit. Word docs that detail procedures or details of the game often do fall out of sync with the game. Comments in scripts hopefully stay accurate throughout the process. Commenting script is very handy, helpful, and considerate to yourself and anybody else that is going to look at your script. So those lessons in college are still valuable. Jones or one of the programmers would be able to comment on how important that is on their side, but speaking as a designer it is very good behavior.

 

-Ferret

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So those lessons in college are still valuable. Jones or one of the programmers would be able to comment on how important that is on their side, but speaking as a designer it is very good behavior.

 

-Ferret

 

I definitely believe it's important. Especially if you're the one that has to dig through someone else's code and figure out what is going on! Any guidance/hint will be helpful!

 

However, bad/inaccurate comments can be even worse than no comments at all since they tend to mislead.

 

But that shouldn't be an argument against commenting. Bottom line, I feel it's more about professionalism and discipline.

 

McBaine

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