Smontiel71266 [9:05 P.M.]: I would say both perhaps. I know that SC sometimes restricts ideas inherently, and sometimes developers simply don't want to include a feature, only to realize that it was what the public wanted all along. So, maybe you could present an example of each?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:06 P.M.]: Sure. That's a bit more work on my part, but my fingers ain't sore yet
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:08 P.M.]: What SC prevented me from doing? Well, one thing I had wanted, although it seems somewhat trivial now, is that there would be a Sanctioned ship, the Apostolos, that would repair others just like the Medic does. Well, guess what? Heal doesn't work on air units! And I wasn't about to make these things ground units or they couldn't overlap, and with ranges as short as they are (scale again) that would kill the gameplay.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:08 P.M.]: So no Heal for you, my friends. And if you ever need a religious-sounding name for a unit, folks, feel free to use Apostolos. It's a good one.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:10 P.M.]: As for things I wanted to do but couldn't? Well, I would have liked to include that second race. The time investment involved in it, though, given the race premise, the fact there are very few existing graphics that would fit it well, and the general bother of including it restricted me a bit there. Plus, come to think of it, I'm not sure that I would have had enough unit entries to support the Meryn at all...
Smontiel71266 [9:12 P.M.]: So, once again, it boils down to SC limitations
. What advice would you give to new modders when dealing with these limitations and creating a new mod?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:12 P.M.]: Well, which part of that? Dealing with limitations, or creating a mod? And which part of creating a mod?
Smontiel71266 [9:13 P.M.]: When specifically dealing with SC's limitations -- there are already too many tutorials out there about creating a mod
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:13 P.M.]: Well, but I haven't written any of them
But regardless, dealing with limitations.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:16 P.M.]: Limitations are limitations. You've got to live with them one way or another--this isn't Warcraft III, where the World Editor lets you do nearly anything and is damn near impossible to use because of it. This is Starcraft, and they never meant for people to mod it in the first place. If what you're up against renders your entire concept inviable, then you've got no choice but to drop it. Sorry, kiddos, but that's the way it is. If you really don't want to let it go, however, or it's not integral but would be really cool to have, then sit there contemplating your navel for a while. Think about how SC is restricting you and what the concept is. Think "Can I massage this idea into another form that SC can work with?" Think "If I did this with this unit, then could I do this with this other unit, and then maybe add this trigger here, and then it'd be close enough?"
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:18 P.M.]: Modding SC is, in many ways, like those lateral thinking puzzles I hate so very very much. You know, the ones where you get a problem like "A woman heard a familiar tune. She pulled out a gun and shot a stranger. Why?" You sit there puzzled and say to yourself, WTF? And then you look at it a different way, and you say "Well, maybe if I think about this slightly differently, it'll work out." And then you realize that someone was trying to rob her house and the tune was from her musical jewelry box, and it all makes sense.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:19 P.M.]: Well, except the jewelry box isn't a jewelry box, and the thief isn't a thief. But that's the idea.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:19 P.M.]: And I'm going to stop there before I mangle that analogy any more.
Smontiel71266 [9:19 P.M.]: Are there any questions that you wish I had asked?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:20 P.M.]: Hehe, I was wondering if you'd ask about balance.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:20 P.M.]: Or unit degisn.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:20 P.M.]: *design
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:20 P.M.]: (The two are closely related)
Smontiel71266 [9:22 P.M.]: Then I'll ask: Why is it important to balance a mod, and how would one go about balancing? Should one unit's purpose be to beat another unit? And how does one take into account all the different variables in SC such as health, shields, cost, sight range, damage and usage?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:23 P.M.]: Whew, big question. I'll start from the end here.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:27 P.M.]: Taking things into account? Well, sight range isn't that big of a balance factor in most games. Your biggest problems boil down to cost vs. utility. Say that Unit X is meant to counter Unit Y, and that Z counters X. If 200 minerals' worth of X can beat 200 minerals' worth of Y without problems, you're doing good. And they should lose to 200 minerals' worth of Z. Generally, given the way modders play (at least when I was still playing mod nights) mins vs. gas isn't that big of a factor. Population is something to worry about, though. And health or damage? Well, those depend on what the unit's role is. Shields, again, can be pretty much treated as health unless you're going for something that's a "hard counter" against something else specifically because of its size. Generally, the best thing you can do is just develop a sense of what's balanced and what's not and wing it from there. Throw out your ideas and then playtest them, both in special test maps and actual gameplay, until it's balanced.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:29 P.M.]: As for purpose, I got a good deal of my start on balancing from an excellent essay by Hercanic which DiscipleOfAdun reposted on SEN v3 a long time ago. To summarize: Every unit should have a distinct purpose. If it's doing things other than what that purpose is, it's going to be imbalanced. And make sure that everything has at least one counter. Preferably more than one, since rock-paper-scissors is no fun.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:29 P.M.]: As for why balancing is important? I could write an essay on that.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:30 P.M.]: People will like anything with pretty graphics and big explosions. But they won't keep playing it if you can just spam one unit all the time.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:31 P.M.]: It's just not fun unless it's balanced. Balance ensures that different people can try different things and that it'll remain fun. It keeps the game from turning into an orgy of "Who can rush to X faster?" or "Who can spam more Y?"
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:31 P.M.]: And that sort of mod won't stay around for very long.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:34 P.M.]: I'd also like to throw out something that I call the "Mad Elephant" problem. This is what happens when every side has an imbalanced unit. This is not balance. There's external balance, which is balance between different races and is usually harder to get than the other kind, which is internal balance. That's making sure that all the different units within a race are balanced in terms of cost vs. utility. The Mad Elephant Problem solves the first at the cost of the second. In particular, I found that Starcraft: Field Command suffers from this. No offense meant to you, Voy, but I've told you before
I call it the Mad Elephant Problem because if you have a lion, you can get rid of it by siccing a mad elephant on it. The only problem is that then you've got a mad elephant on your hands.
Smontiel71266 [9:36 P.M.]: I've noticed this problem a lot in mods. Would a proper solution be creating a unit whose sole purpose be to beat this "Mad Elephant," but it still easily beaten by other units?
Smontiel71266 [9:38 P.M.]: Oops. "...whose sole puropose *is to beat*..."
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:39 P.M.]: That would be a good solution--but a bit specific. Tut the best solution is not to have that mad elephant at all. In general, make sure that everything has some limiting factor. This unit does good damage--but only against infantry/buildings. This unit has high damage and range--but very low health. This one's pretty good overall--but slow and expensive. Be careful with that last one, by the way, because expense isn't always as limiting as you may think, particularly in the end game. Supply can be, though, but make sure that whatever-it-is can be beaten by something (or some two things) cheaper than it.
Smontiel71266 [9:40 P.M.]: What question are you glad I have not asked and what is the answer to this question?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:43 P.M.]: "How many letters are in the answer to this question?" There are, of course, many answers, such as "Four", and "There are ffiteen," but my favorite has to be "Why, there are thirty-seven letters, of course"
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:43 P.M.]: *fifteen
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:44 P.M.]: Count 'em
Smontiel71266 [9:45 P.M.]: And now, my final question: Who do you consider the greatest insipration to your work, and who would you like to thank after this long period of modding?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:45 P.M.]: Who? Gosh.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:46 P.M.]: I can't name anybody as my greatest inspiration as such. I get my ideas from all sorts of places.
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:47 P.M.]: The people I'd most like to thank, though, are three. Firstly, Hercanic, for his help with the concepts of game design and balance. Secondly, Voyager7456, who has been a great friend and provided many lulz. And lastly, my father for playing Starcraft with me, helping me test, and (along with my mother) putting up with his son's weird obsessions.
Smontiel71266 [9:48 P.M.]: Thank you Lord_Agamemnon for your time and patience with all my questions. It's been a pleasure getting to know you more. Are there any last things you want to add?
Lord Agamemnon23 [9:49 P.M.]: Never split the party, kids. It never ends well. Fact.