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With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:08 pm
by Himself
Hi peeps and as always, sorry to bother!! ;)

You modders in general and TTW team are amazing and no amount of praising will do justice!

With that said, let me try to propose a change, because 'just maybe' there are cards wich TTW Team and mod scene could be playing better.

Most players stumble upon a barrier when thinking about using mods, for Bethesda games this barrier is a ton higher in the sky and can quickly lead to a shitstorm of complexity.
The average user normally deals with this ordeal by employing the help of 'unofficial guides' and/or large sets of instructions/directions. In a way, guides are the "tool" used by the average player, just like modders use GECK, xEdit and etc. Here lies A problem because TTW has no guides, TTW itself can be intimidating to begin with due to the size of the proposal/undertaking.

Besides my own questions/doubts, there are many others asked over and again at the forums and discord chat. Plus having to "hunt" for all the information wich feels like reading a huge tech book except its pages are scattered across the internet (gotta catch 'em all!), usually ends up taking a long time and often we get kinda drained-out of the will to play before beggining.

So while this may seem unecessary or even a bother (to modders and advanced users wich I guess comprise the bulk of TTW crowd), and the team certainly has no obligation to, putting up a "TTW General Modding Guide" would be amazing for mostly everybody, even advanced users and wise modders will benefit as they spend less time answering queries, and can more widely-easily track mod compatibility all around in a larger scope.

Just a suggestion and dunno if there is internal reluctance from TTW members or other cons against it, afterall the pros should outweight the cons, but heres the suggestion:

Open a new TTW Team spot for "guide writer/maintainer", its probably too late for 3.2, but can do wonders for 3.3.

Obviously such a guide would never be official or an absolutely MUST FOLLOW, but nevertheless a major hub and guideline for installing mods with TTW without breaking it (or breaking it but "for the record", in a controlled environment). Just have that usual disclaimer at top: This guide is unofficial, always a work in progress and, due to the ever changing nature of modding, will never be finished. Guide will also stop and be put aside in favor of a new one if a newer TTW version (3.4 or who knows) comes, or when a big enough time without guide updates occur, hinting that this guide is no longer maintained and thus has become deprecated. Use at your own discretion!

I'm sure there are people who would be willing to take the position of guide creator for TTW + extra mods, and hopefully people with more than enough knowledge to do so, whats better yet is that such a guide would be amazing due to the person in charge having access to top modders, wich may help him/her along.

Another useful feature of these guides is that they usually sort mods in categories:
1 - Core (basic mods that are practically a necessity)
2 - Extras (mods that will add content/change areas in a bigger way)
3 - Optionals (mods such as textures or that alternate gameplay wich may not be to everybodys taste/necessity)
4 - Extreme (mods to be used with care or avoided unless the user really wants it, mostly stuff still in testing stages or has inconsistencies/needs some fixing)

Dunno what would be necessary for a person to be eligible for this TTW team spot, probably free time to constantly write/edit the guide page and expand/keep updated, enough interest to stay hooked at the game and testing/trying new mods, also good and concise writing/explanation skills, a decent (or at least basic) degree of knowledge in using the tools (MO2, xEdit, LODGen & etc)... sorry that at this point I'm trying hard to second guess you peeps wich is rude from me and beyond the scope of this post.

Anyways, pretty please consider the suggestion!!

Guides that I've used in the past:
https://wiki.step-project.com/User:EssA ... utNewVegas
https://wiki.step-project.com/User:Kelmych/Fallout3
https://vivanewvegas.github.io/

Guides that I've tried to use but were unfinished or dropped ATM, yet learned some nice tips there:
https://ttwoee.com/
https://wiki.step-project.com/User:Adonis_VII/TTW

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:38 am
by raedwulf
I fully agree with you ... and thankfully, someone did it: https://thebestoftimes.github.io/core.html

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:38 am
by RoyBatty
His guide is fine, and we link it.

As for any official guide, it's impossible to keep track of the 10000+ mods for NV and make any sort of guide. There's generally no patches for TTW because NV is no longer full of modders since the game is now 10 years old, and the skill level required is more time than most people, including yourself want to spend. Speaking of time, we don't make a guide for the same reason, it's a matter of time and that time is better spent making TTW better. Also if we made such a guide it is only for your benefit and doesn't benefit us, as well as it's just not fun to create such things, rather let the people who enjoy doing so take on such things. Bear in mind we're unlikely to support any guides because we have no control over them nor do we even look at them most of the time. This is not because we are elitist or other nonsense that gets thrown about, it's because there is only so much time in the day for people who live and work, it's a hobby not a job.

There's already the guide for The Method which will help a user resolve almost any conflict one could have with mods, provided they are made well, which a lot of mods just aren't. Also our definition of "working" and "bug free" differ vastly from the general mod user. So it's largely an "you are on your own" thing.

Documentation is contained entirely here, the geckwiki or in the guide for The Method and by extension FNVEdit. Myself, I've never needed anything else other than when I first started and watched Gopher's videos on basics of modding and mod management. I do realize not everyone has the same level of patience or drive, but that's a decision you have to make.

TTW is designed to be a full experience without any mods what so ever as well, and we do have suggestions for mods we know that do work with TTW without any faffing about. :)

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:30 am
by Himself
raedwulf wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:38 am
I fully agree with you ... and thankfully, someone did it: https://thebestoftimes.github.io/core.html
A bit minimalistic... but alright I guess xD
Gotta start somewhere eh?

There isn't going to be (soon or ever), a TTW version INcompatible with engine fixes - xNVSE, JIP, NVAC, heap replacer, mod limit fix, etc etc...
Or with mods that are basic in any playthrough - Stevies Tweaks, Just Mods Assorted, UIs, MCM, etc...
Or even an install approach other than MO2.
But there will never be "an official guide" - such a thing in modding doesn't exists.

Altough it is entirely possible to put up a relatively well maintained guide (just not with videos, videos can't be edited on the fly or allow jumping to an exact section, and videos usually become deprecated quickly).

The time that Roy and others spend helping users sort their mess in Discord is (I believe) more than it would take to keep up a half-decent guide, saving a ton of time that goes in answering the usual recurrent problems...

Guides need only cover the most required and popular choice mods -> Document the regular line up following chronoLOGICAL install order, mention optional steps and caveats along the way (extra patches or DO/DONTS for particular mods - EXTREMELY NECESSARY INFO that takes a modder knowledge to provide). And then edit this documentation whenever necessary - Frequently updated mods mostly need no maintenance (their problems are resolved in their own pages) and mods that are hardly/ever updated need only mention incompatibility with XYZ or point when a new/better compat patch with other mod appear.
The REAL PROBLEM is that finding this information gathered, displayed at a nice and objective format simply doesn't exist atm, hence why playing a neatly modded TTW (or FO3/FNV) is a NO NO can't do.
Last guide I tried to follow and still do if only to remind me of some mods I might otherwise forget - https://ttwoee.com/

The Method is nice and all, and although I'm gonna pull this number entirely out of my ass: Likely less than 10% (being generous) do it or are ever gonna do it. Requires a long learning curve wich is why guides exist in first place: End user just wanna play, not learn modding.

If (BIG IF) I had so much time/knowledge invested in this game, would put up a guide good enough to make every other gamer overflow in the joy that is playing TTW ^^.

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:16 am
by RoyBatty
If we made a guide, then we'd get more people needing help that already have issues following the most basic instructions... You think it would help but it doesn't.

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:38 am
by Himself
RoyBatty wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:16 am
If we made a guide, then we'd get more people needing help that already have issues following the most basic instructions... You think it would help but it doesn't.
That depends on how the information is presented. I often have issues with directions given short and in technical terms that assume a knowledge I don't have... but isn't that to be expected?
Most people have issues due to not knowing the basics of windows folder structure and how the game/MO2 overwrites stuff at launch.
Cover that in the guide (or any other help people might need, seriously it can't be that much), and done.
Even stupidity has limits, and I can talk because I'm stupid =P

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:55 am
by Risewild
I think a lot of the help users need over at the Discord don't come from the team, but from helpful community members. So it doesn't take that much time. :D
Also, it's much easier to be modding and from time to time chat on Discord (while still modding), than writing or editing a guide to something and chat at the same time, at least for me.

I maintain this site's FAQ page, and it's a ton of work. :shock: An official installation guide would be even more work to maintain. :?

Also, I think it might have been mentioned before, but it's impossible to test the tens of thousands mods that can or could be compatible with TTW, so having unnoficial guides works best, since then each guide author can focus on the mods they like and know it works with TTW.

And then there's also how most of the team doesn't even play TTW, they spend more time making mods and fixing the game then installing mods and playing. So it wouldn't be an easy task to write a guide about installing mods for TTW without playing those mods too. :lol:
For example, I haven't played modded TTW since 2012 (when I joined the team)... So it would be impossible for me to be able to write any guide for modding TTW. :lol:

Another thing. You saw "The Best of Times" guide that was linked there. You called it minimalistic, but even that guide took days (or maybe weeks) to be written and posted online, and months (or even years) to be put together. A larger guide would take months just to be written, posted and maintained. And that's a lot of time for our team, since we are all quite busy with our RL. As an example just look at the release of 3.3, it's indefinitely delayed, because no one on the team has the time needed to work on the installer. The installer would be much more important to spend time on than a guide. But there's just not enough spare time for that.
That leads to another problem, without time, the guide would be very slow to update. it could go for years without an update, and then it would be outdated fast and create a lot of problems for users following it. It's one thing to make a guide and post it online, it's a different thing to keep it up to date, specially when it's supposed to be a large and official TTW mod guide. :?

Another thing about official guides is that each TTW user is a user. What I mean by this is that each users prefers their game to be or have different things than the next user. So it's impossible to have an in-depth, large TTW mod guide. Since having a smaller and more focused one is better for the community, because then each user can just get the essentials described in the guide and then add whatever they want for their game. Having a large TTW mod guide will just end up in most of the users to ignore steps, skip mods from the guide and add different mods, which then might create a lot of incompatibilities and create a lot of problems for the majority of users. And then they would blame the guide and the team, because "I followed their guide and then my game was broken. I recommend using this other guide made by someone else instead".

Another point I want to mention is that the team would get a lot of "disdain" from people who would read the guide. You should see how much of that the team already gets from all over the place just because of the "Recommended" and "Incompatible" lists we have here on the forum.
I browse the Steam forums and the Fallout subreddits from time to time, and there's so many people that think because we recommend "this mod" and say "that mod" isn't compatible, we are a bunch of elitists, and that we hold a grudge against some modders and mods. That we put on the incompatible list mods we just don't like, because "these mods work for me" or "I love these mods, so they have to work", "The team are a bunch of liars", etc.

If we made an official TTW modding guide, we would be flooded with people like that, that would be complaining about their "favorite" mods not being in the guide, and wouldn't accept that those mods are broken. They would also not agree with some mods being on the guide and then complain about it. We already get enough of those without a guide, we don't need more. :lol:

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:40 am
by Himself
I get you guys, and that you (as a team) have to draw a line somewhere.
In this matter the line was drawn at seeing more cons than pros in keeping some sort of guide. Fortunately, since you're all reasonable folks, matters are always up to debate if valid points rise along.

Despite how I may have phrased in 1st post, never truly meant that TTW should "create an official guide" (such works are never official) or sponsor it as if belonging to TTW, what I tried to meant there is that TTW has enough strength and means to endorse/help/rally the (lovely) community into an starting effort towards such a guide.
Theres no pleasing everyone, and to those who can't recognize hard/work of love where it is, a shame to them, but that should't stop anybody from trying, heck it didn't stop TTW from happening.

Main point of the topic is that I/we as a community mostly fathom how hard it is to keep a worth guide (specially as it grows), so the effort and responsibility is too much to fall on 1 person alone, instead should be a spontaneous colaboration from a group, probably better if they're not full fledged modders (since modders rather mod than play, also they use tech language wich is not good for the general public).

Could I try to come up with such a guide group effort? Certainly, but I'm a nobody with little free time. Comes again to the main point of the topic: If Roy/TTW team were to rally a group (and no need for TTW to oversee or 'captain' this group in any way, just rally the initial effort) of trusted/interested contributors -by the looks of discord, there are many, even I would try to help- to manufacture an ongoing guide, that would rock. For the end user it is as necessary (no, more so) than any must-use mod in existence. What if a channel suddenly opened in Discord intended for users to form a group and create a Guide in community effort, just needs a few responsible faces taking the helm for it to flourish.

Looking at old STEP guides for FO3 and FNV (https://wiki.step-project.com/User:EssA ... utNewVegas - https://wiki.step-project.com/User:Kelmych/Fallout3) its hard not to reckon how much work it must have been for authors to build/maintain, but they also didn't do it alone, countless extras and fine tunning provided by contributors.
Wich is also a major point: If somebody wanna criticize how it is done or that ABC is missing, they're more than welcome to create/improve upon that section and submit. If criticizing in a way that doesn't contribute they better keep shut or be recognized as asses.

Again and to reiterate, I fully get you guys standing and line of thought, just hoping you also get why it could be benefitial to try a different approach at this ;)

Re: With advent of TTW 3.3, suggestion for TTW + mod paraphernalia guide

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:01 am
by RoyBatty
STEP is crap, not even going to discuss that. Hardly aimed the beginner either, they are just mod lists with a bunch of mods in them, largely incompatible with each other and little instruction, if any on how to get them to play nice. Those are exactly the kind of thing I go out of my way to tell users not to follow.

Beginner guides from Gopher are fantastic, we can't create anything better.

Learning the basics of modding is not for us, especially since TTW is a complex mod. It has a beginner mode that just installs into the game, and we did leave out the fact you need to launch the default launcher and click on data files and enable the plugins (which will be rectified). But this is intended to be played vanilla, and not with mods or with limited mods in our recommended list. That's as far as it goes I'm afraid.

Users tend to want everything handed to them on a platter, so they don't have to actually learn anything or take responsibility for modding their game. This is not something we subscribe to. It's DIY hobby that needs you to learn what you are doing if you want a decent experience. There's just no amount of hand-holding that can get around that. It's a waste of time for us, and the user.