Note: I am not a native English speaker and if something sounds sarcastic in the following article, it is neither intended nor meant to be.
First of all I would like to thank you for taking an official step towards us and giving us the opportunity to comment on the topics. Surely this was also the case before, but rather on an informal level and - as far as my impression goes - absolutely in your spare time. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your off-duty commitment to this community.
Therefore it is a big step that you are now following this path on a higher level. Communication is important, especially since together we help to improve the game and keep it alive.
Therefore more communication is the right way, but … but it should also lead to the fact that finally words also lead to deeds. More on this in a moment.
I’m glad that we will continue to make the DevKit available to us early so that we can adapt and test our mods in advance.
I can only agree with Dr. Nash’s statement. I accept it when something “breaks”, when it creates the basis for things to be fixed. We all benefit when the game runs as error-free as possible.
Now for the points I would like to see personally:
- In the last updates we have been able to find out roughly and in advance what has been changed or what is changing for us. What is missing here is partly even more transparency. For example the change of the item table. For me it is necessary that I not only know: aha, there were changes to this table, but also that a new column is added here (the icon layer; and ideally that the new value in this column is an array of icons).
- If major changes cause (or could cause) problems, hints are good on how to remedy this. With the hints mentioned in your post (e.g. reference as row name instead of an index) it is possible for us to solve it. - But not everyone can see or understand the general problems we will run into, see for example by recompiling the Granite files. Very often we are in the process of finding out things “backwards” by a lot of trial and error, which costs nerves and time. Everything that creates transparency here is most welcome.
- We need a trial live version of the game version that is compatible with the DevKit update. You can’t test everything in the DevKit or some bugs only occur under “live” conditions, especially if there is any time or loading behavior. The deployment usually works, but so far not always and would also be a point that should be (further) considered in the workflow.
- If the cooperation gets more of an official character from your side, I would be happy if we report bugs to you, so that we can get some kind of feedback. Maybe a Trello board would be a good idea for this? That way we could at least track a status. It is certainly frustrating when some modders take the trouble (and I’m explicitly not talking about me) to report bugs to you and analyze them intensively (as good as we can) and the bug is still not fixed by you or on the contrary is partly fixed by modders themselves (return-to-inventory for items with 0 HP). If there are reasons that speak e.g. against a fix (won’t fix), it would help us if we knew them, just so we don’t feel “ignored”. - So also here: Every bit of communication and information helps and can lead to mutual understanding.
- Please check the log files and warning or error messages. There are a lot of messages that could be fixed “easily”. For example, in some table there is an “index” called “we” that does not belong there and spams the log. Somewhere there is also an array that refers to a faulty index. - Between all the “regular” warnings and error messages it is difficult for us modders to filter out (especially after updates) which of the messages we cause with our mods and which are “new”.
Just to make sure it doesn’t slide in the wrong direction: It’s not my intention that the documentation of changes kills everyone (if it’s more than 100 pages, I prefer an audio book, by the way; a little joke in passing). A good middle way should be found to ensure that you don’t have a significant “more” effort, but that we still get the transparency we need. But I think that in general these efforts for more transparency are worthwhile.
Now to pick up the point again when I talked about words being followed by deeds: It’s good to ask for feedback, but it would be a great pity if the suggestions you receive were to fizzle out without effect. Also in the Modders Discord good hints and feedback, but also error messages have been and will be given. As I said, I know that your activity there is rather unofficial in nature, but any official influence, especially in the form of feedback and interaction with us, is very welcome.
Please don’t be put off by those who also sometimes misbehave in tone. Those can be reprimanded and - if necessary - those who do not follow the netiquette can be referred to the discord server.
It is sometimes also difficult for us… there are a few modders, who have a lot of knowledge, a lot of modders, who have a lot of experience in their field and also a lot of modders, who are just starting. Especially if you put a lot of time into modding, it can be frustrating if suddenly your mod doesn’t work anymore and you don’t even know why. We have to download the DevKit update, check the DevKit to see if everything is still working, how it should work and try to find out how we can fix it. The exchange in the discord helps a lot, maybe one of the other modders is already one step further in “finding out backwards” how to fix something. We invest a lot of time in modding, sacrifice free time, sleep and also money (for software licenses, etc) to constantly maintain the mod and make it better. We voluntarily give support to players and users and some of us “get on our gums” (as we like to say in Germany; means: we’re not feeling well and we’re angry, irritated and/or frustrated). If we come to you with high expectations, it can happen that we let you know about our expectations and let our frustration get the better of us.
Of course, this is also unfair to you - so once again I ask you not to be discouraged. Communication is the key - and communication is the right way to continue to work together on our way to continuously improve the game and the game world and to enrich it with new things and functions.
At this point I would also like to thank all my fellow modders once again for their efforts and commitment in the community and your willingness to help, as well as for investing so much work, free time (and possibly money) in the mods to create these many little masterpieces and make them available to the community for free.
Thanks, you all are great.