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[Article] Mod Spotlight

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[Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 29 Jan 2015, 17:32

Name: Mod Spotlight
Status: Incomplete
URL: http://me3explorer.wikia.com/wiki/Mod_Spotlight

I loved this feature on the old wiki, so thought I'd get it started. I've created spots for several mods, and hope the authors can go ahead and fill in the contents themselves. I've finished ThaneMOD's with the exception of images -- please do provide just a couple images for your mod. I'll get ThaneMOD's up soon so folks can see an example of size and formatting.

If folks also want to add a few others to the mod spotlight page, that's not a problem. We want to keep the list somewhat small and manageable, though. It's a "spotlight" not a place to repeat half the mods on Nexus, lol. Also, the mod must have been created with the toolset, as that's the whole purpose of the page. To highlight some really fantastic mods made with the toolset :)

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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 29 Jan 2015, 18:32

Got the slider/pictures added for ThaneMOD.
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 29 Jan 2015, 22:03

@kinkojiro -- If you read this post, I want to add MapMod to the list, but thought I'd wait for you to get the big overhaul out of beta :)
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby FemShep » 10 Feb 2015, 07:32

Hack All The Things mod is... sort of made with teh toolset, I used the pcc editor on a lot of enemies, but I had to use some coalesced tools to make it work (tankmasters, I don't use gibbed anymore).

Does that count? Also Drivable Atlas uses the pcc editor.
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 10 Feb 2015, 16:59

FemShep wrote:Hack All The Things mod is... sort of made with the toolset, I used the pcc editor on a lot of enemies, but I had to use some coalesced tools to make it work (tankmasters, I don't use gibbed anymore).

Does that count? Also Drivable Atlas uses the pcc editor.
Hey :]

I'm going to respond with a (lengthy) comprehensive answer to your question, since I think other people will have similar questions of what mods can/should be added to the spotlight page. Then, I'll respond with my opinion about the mods you've suggested. You can skip to the bottom if you just want to fast-forward to my opinion. If you want context for that opinion, read the comprehensive answer, too.

Comprehensive Answer
In general, any mod added to the page needs to "fit" the newly-revised purpose:
This article seeks to re-create that page in the context of the toolset's maturity, showcasing some of the more extensive, high-quality mods available for Mass Effect 3.

Disclaimer: This list is obviously not exhaustive and isn't meant to be. It's purpose is to feature a small variety of especially high-quality content and texture mods created with ME3Explorer. Additional mods can be viewed on Nexusmods, ModDB, and other sites.

Sidebar: I should add ME3Tweaks to that list of sites at the end...ok, back on topic.

The reason why I revised the purpose is that it doesn't make sense to "spotlight" small mods that implement only a few changes anymore. That's what was done on the old wiki when the toolset was in its infancy. Instead, we want to showcase the truly amazing things that can be done with the toolset--mods that make lots of changes and use several tools to do so. Exceptional mods. Mods that have been verified in quality and have a significant user base. These latter two points can in part be verified by the amount of endorsements and downloads.

Here's an example:
  • ThaneMOD is on the list. It is a highly-extensive mod -- probably the most extensive story mod currently released for ME3. It changes a large number of things throughout the game. It used many tools in the toolset to create. It's high-quality, works as it should without bugs, has about 4K downloads (nexus + moddb) and over 200 endorsements. It's a fantastic example to showcase what can be done with the toolset. It definitely fits the criteria on the spotlight page.
  • Then there's Better Cabin Music, another mod I've released. It works, is bug-free, and has a decent number of endorsements and downloads; I made it with Soundplorer. It's a nice, simple mod made with the toolset. Nothing wrong with it, but not particularly "spotlight worthy." I wouldn't say it's exceptional.

With all that in mind and a very clear-cut example, the spotlight page should also feature the full variety of what the toolset is capable of. That means story mods, coalesced mods, texture mods, and multi-player mods -- provided they were made with the toolset and are of exceptionally high quality. In the context of what's currently listed:

  • We pretty much have good examples of story mods covered. MapMod and MEWAM should likely be added once they are released, though. Mapmod as an example of overhauling the galaxy map, and both as examples of adding and overhauling war assets. ThaneMOD adds new war assets, but it doesn't overhaul them.
  • There's no MEUITM for ME3, which sucks a bit. This is why after searching through Nexus I selected a couple of very high-quality texture mods by ELE and Ottemis. I selected these two, specifically, b/c one overhauls player face textures and the other, a squadmate texture and mesh. Both get significant "face-time" in the game when used. More so than changes to the Normandy, armor, clothing, weapons, etc. I wanted to include ELE's Ashley overhaul, but it looks like she's taken it down for now. Boo. If she puts it back up, it should definitely be included, imo.
  • I would have added MOAM as an example of a coalesced mod, b/c it certainly fits the "extensive" part, but I have no idea if it was created with the toolset or not. I'm doubtful. It might be that we don't spotlight any coalesced mods. The Coalesced Tool is not the toolset's strong point, so that might not be a bad thing.
  • I didn't set up the page to feature any MP content b/c I'm not personally familiar with it (I don't play MP). Therefore, I couldn't vouch for the quality of any MP mods out there and didn't know what to include. More on this below.

In relation to MP mods, I think the community also needs to have a dialogue on if we want to feature them or not, given some of the inherent risks with MP modding. The wiki will be used by folks who have zero modding experience and they might assume if it's on the "spotlight" list, that it must be "safe" to use. I'm not saying that we shouldn't (I don't care), but I think it warrants a discussion.

Ok, comprehensive answer over :]

-------------------------
@FemShep -- Both of your suggestions are pretty narrow in scope. This may be the nature of the beast for MP, though, I don't know.

They also seem to have some inherent issues with functionality ("Known Issues" at the bottom of the mod's page)--the Atlas mod more so. The Hack All Enemies mod is restricted to a single ability (Sabotage), so it's extremely narrow in scope. Assuming we decide to include MP mods in the article (see comment above), I don't think either are good candidates to be featured. It's especially important that spotlight mods are without issues, as that's part of the high-quality aspect. It's part of what makes them exceptional.

Looking at the rest of the mods on the page, "Insanity Challenge" seems much more exhaustive. It also has one small issue, but it seems like a better candidate for a spotlight. Was it made with the toolset or is it another coalesced mod?

Keep in mind that these are my opinions. I'm putting a lot of time and work into the wiki, but it's not "mine." Other's opinions matter too, so folks need to discuss.

--------------------------
As a final thought, one thing that might be fun to add to the wiki is a "Mod of the Week/Month" box on the right side of the home page. It could include an image, a few sentences about the mod, and link to its download page. We could start a forum thread and people could pop up suggestions. Then we just pick them as we go. No criteria need to be met besides the mod not being X-rated, lol.

What do folks think?
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby The Fob » 10 Feb 2015, 18:52

First of all, nice article giftfish. Hell of a job you are doing on the wiki.

As for mods, I do think we should have at least one mp mod on the page because there is a lot of cool stuff (mostly by Femshep) out there and there is also a huge demand as far as I can see. I also think that the first thing to mention in the text for any mp mod should be that BioWare did not endorse mp mods and people run them at their own risk, as opposed to sp mods which are fully and officially endorsed by BW. That is the main info people need to know. The second info should be that BW apparently doesn't really care anymore since (to my knowladge), no one has been banned from mp in over a year or two (I don't actually play mp though, so someone who is better acquainted with the scene should confirm that). Just stating my opinion though (Joker voice) no need spreading it around. :)

On a side note, I am gonna update the info on MEHEM as soon as v0.5 is out. BTW, check the dev group on BSN gift, if you haven't already. :)
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 10 Feb 2015, 19:03

@Fob -- Cool, thanks for the feedback :) I'll add that info to the disclaimer at the top, as well. It's on the home page, too, but it can't hurt putting it in both places. And, I agree, I don't think BW cares at this point, but should be stated nonetheless.

I'll also ask in the MEHEM Dev Group for suggestions on standout MP mods. I remember some MP-related thread in there...

Yes, please update the MEHEM section. I'm not sure how many folks are paying attention to the new Wiki section on the forums, so it looks like I might need to start PMing people. Or...maybe I'll make a thread in the Dev Group for taht, too. Just for some exposure.
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby FemShep » 11 Feb 2015, 06:41

BioWare does not endorse MP mods but they haven't done anything for years. I started MP modding in may 2012 and they never once cared, though back then I did private only. If you want people to use them as cheating stuff they'll likely just use my modmaker (I have quite a few "easy credits" mods, but I've never seen a report on BSN about people using mods except mine, and I keep mine beatable. Not to say my anecdotal evidence means anything though.

If you wanted to avoid writing up some of the "tutorials" you have in your section you could just link to some of my guides, I walk people through coalesced modding from start to finish explaining things along the way. I won't be a lot of help on the wiki though, I barely use most of the tools (I never cared for SP content, or graphics) so pretty much all of my focus is in PccEd2 (which I barely understand... can't figure out if you can add a property to a object in interpreter, etc) and the DLCExplorer.

I do have a *lot* of knowledge on coalesced though, but I don't see a lot of that on the wiki. Are you looking for information on the tools or information on modding? My site doesn't really focus on the tools like the wiki is, but more of the things the tools can be used to do.

The mods like drivable atlas are ones I've seen a lot of requests for, but some of the bugs are just impossible to fix (I can't make variables replicate) and the narrow scope is on purpose, because Mod Manager uses a module-concept that lets you mix and match mods. For example I like to mix my hack all the things with my zombie mod, so you can have all the buffed powers and fun in zombie mod, but if you want to show off you can use sabotage and have praetorians kill everything for you. If I had a "big" mod it wouldn't be that good in MP, it'd be kind of not flexible.

I have mods on my site showcased in the Mods section, most that I made, a few others made. http://me3tweaks.com/mods.

I feel the ME3 modding community is severely hindered by the fact taht in the game there are "mods" (weapon mods) that makes visibility for modding really constrained. Both my site and the forums/wiki/old wiki are pretty hard to find on google without very specific searched and you'd be surprised how few people even know this game is moddable at all.

Last part of my wall of text, I don't get how bioware can say SP mods are OK but then use the "we aren't allowed to have people modify our licensed engine" to try to discourage MP modding. That makes no sense at all.
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby giftfish » 11 Feb 2015, 19:15

FemShep wrote:BioWare does not endorse MP mods but they haven't done anything for years. I started MP modding in may 2012 and they never once cared, though back then I did private only. If you want people to use them as cheating stuff they'll likely just use my modmaker (I have quite a few "easy credits" mods, but I've never seen a report on BSN about people using mods except mine, and I keep mine beatable. Not to say my anecdotal evidence means anything though.

Yeah, I know. We still have to state the disclaimer though. We always have to assume the "lowest common denominator." We have to assume folks are coming onto the wiki with no modding experience or knowledge, so everything has to be very explicit.

FemShep wrote:If you wanted to avoid writing up some of the "tutorials" you have in your section you could just link to some of my guides, I walk people through coalesced modding from start to finish explaining things along the way. I won't be a lot of help on the wiki though, I barely use most of the tools (I never cared for SP content, or graphics) so pretty much all of my focus is in PccEd2 (which I barely understand... can't figure out if you can add a property to a object in interpreter, etc) and the DLCExplorer.

I do have a *lot* of knowledge on coalesced though, but I don't see a lot of that on the wiki. Are you looking for information on the tools or information on modding? My site doesn't really focus on the tools like the wiki is, but more of the things the tools can be used to do.

I agree, your tutorials are very good. But, your comments here suggest 3 things: you perhaps aren't very familiar with the original ME3Explorer wiki, you haven't read the sticky post here on the forums explaining what the goals of the new wiki are, and you haven't read the "Wiki Editor's Guide" on the wiki itself. All three of these explain the goals of the new wiki and were drawn up precisely so folks understand the scope and intent.

For clarity, the goal is three-fold:
  • Transfer the content of the old wiki and remove deprecated information
  • Assimilate all the information on the ME3Explorer forum (this forum) that mod creators/coders have learned over the last 3 years to create a comprehensive knowledge base. This is what should have been happening the whole time on the old wiki, but people are busy and it basically got lost in the shuffle. In short...we are simultaneously transferring the the wiki and updating it with all the correct information to create a reference for toolset users.
  • Teach players, especially those installing mods, how to use the toolset. Using the toolset is still very intimidating and while there are some tutorials and forum users often have to dig through posts for information. Information needs to be easier to find and reference.

What the wiki is not, is an all-purpose, "ME3 modding wiki." It is a wiki that focuses on the toolset itself, and in order to use the toolset effectively, a knowledge base of technical game file information must also be provided -- information that's contained in posts by this forum community. Many tutorials published on the forums will eventually be updated and transferred to the wiki as examples of how to use the tools to do certain things.

In addition, the ME3Explorer wiki needs to stand 100% on it's own. All information on how to use the toolset should be on the wiki itself to ensure longevity and integrity of information. Articles shouldn't ever direct users to other sites, in lieu of placing the information on the wiki. Developers and users alike need to be certain that all information on the wiki is current and correct (unlike forum posts). Generally, there will be relatively few outside references linked on the wiki short of probably various pages from the UDK Web Resource in articles in the Developer's Resource section. This is because the vast majority (if not all) relevant information about the included content has been published on this forum. In short, the toolset and related information are pretty "contained."

Coalesced content is the single exception to this, and that's b/c there's many tools available to edit it. So, information about what parameters do what is more widespread.

FemShep wrote:The mods like drivable atlas are ones I've seen a lot of requests for, but some of the bugs are just impossible to fix (I can't make variables replicate) and the narrow scope is on purpose, because Mod Manager uses a module-concept that lets you mix and match mods. For example I like to mix my hack all the things with my zombie mod, so you can have all the buffed powers and fun in zombie mod, but if you want to show off you can use sabotage and have praetorians kill everything for you. If I had a "big" mod it wouldn't be that good in MP, it'd be kind of not flexible.

I have mods on my site showcased in the Mods section, most that I made, a few others made. http://me3tweaks.com/mods.

What you say about flexibility makes sense and the page you linked is the one I've been looking at. My impression from MP mods from the examples on that page, though, is that modding MP sort of comes with inherent issues. Things work, but usually there are "side effects" which isn't the case with SP modding.

So which mods aren't exclusively coalesced mods and were made with the toolset? What about the Insanity Challenge mod I asked about?

FemShep wrote:I feel the ME3 modding community is severely hindered by the fact taht in the game there are "mods" (weapon mods) that makes visibility for modding really constrained. Both my site and the forums/wiki/old wiki are pretty hard to find on google without very specific searched and you'd be surprised how few people even know this game is moddable at all.

Again, I want to reiterate that the ME3Explorer wiki isn't for "ME3 modding." It's for modding ME3 with the toolset. There are plenty of web resources for using various coalesced tools to mod the game. Similarly, there are plenty of web resources for modding textures and using the coalesced/gibbed to change the appearance of your character. These are outside the scope of the wiki, since they don't involve the toolset.

The old ME3Explorer wiki is not difficult to find on Google -- when googling "ME3Explorer." It's the second search result on the page when doing that. We aren't really trying to spread the word too much about the new wiki quite yet, b/c it's important that the User Tools section is finished before we start telling users to go there. Once it is, I'll put up a forum announcement that's visible on every thread. That said, it's already on the first page of search results on Google.

As far as overall visibility of modding ME3, the addition of the ME trilogy to Nexusmods.com--and ME modders placing their mods there--is one of the best things we can do for visibility. In fact, when you google "ME3 modding" ME3 Nexus is the first result. Nexus gets an insane amount of web traffic and is very, very popular with modding communities for a lot of games that ME fans play. The more ME mods that appear on Nexus, the better.

Finally, remember too, that the ME series is incredibly popular on consoles. It's not like TES, for example. The ME modding community is small, b/c there are relatively few PC players. And, fewer yet are willing to deal with the hassle of modding. And even fewer are un-intimidated enough by the toolset to try to use it, considering the lack of organized documentation. The new wiki can only help with that last part, lol.

That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to put the toolset up on Nexus as a download. It's where a lot of mod management/creation tools are hosted for a variety of games. But, that's up to WV and Kfreon. It might also be that the "forum description" text for this forum could be edited to try to get more effective search results -- and I can double-check the description on the new wiki's home page, as well.
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Re: [Article] Mod Spotlight

Postby FemShep » 11 Feb 2015, 23:51

I think the wiki and my site have different goals I suppose, where mine teaches modding and the wiki teaches the toolset. I see how they dont really fit. But I do think at least one MP mod should be spotlighted cause I know lots of people who don't play SP at all. If you're trying to engage people who hit the page at least one of both will cover both userbases.

One thing I have noticed is that finding tutorials for modding ME3 is pretty difficult. While you are a forum veteran, most new users are not. The PHPbb software this forum uses... Not going to lie, its incredibly difficult to use. It makes it difficult for me even to use. And it makes finding tutorials hard because its a turn off to use the forum (as a web developer these things are important to keep an engaged audience). Unfortunately things aren't free, I understand.
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