What Makes a Good CTF Mod? by Vopiscus
Starting this editorial off, I’d like to disclaim that the views here are only mine. All of these sentences should start off with: In my opinion, as they all are. Don’t also expect to read this a make a mod. CTF is a balance of perfection, and this will tell you what that balance is, but not how to do it. Thank you. And ENJOY :)
CTF play has always enthralled all types of players. Threewave CTF, by the same creator as that of the excellent Q2CTF, started this rage. But, Threewave does not have things perfect either. CTF has two basic additions: Teamplay, and The Requisition of Teamplay. Yes, there is normal teamplay, but CTF has the fact that it FORCES you to behave like a team, or else become fully, and completely walloped. All good CTF Mods will have to remember that Capturing the Flag is the goal. I’ve seen too many a mod with a few added features: ala Jetpack, or some “Super” powerup, that eliminate Capturing the Flag. If you want a deathmatch mod, than adding some play features will help, but remember that too many drown out the basis of CTF. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid! I actually conducted a test, with a current CTF mod author, on his server. We recruited 8 people to join the server, and played about one hour of the game. The rounds went slowly. We had only 5 captures over the hour. I then told the author to take out one half of the features, bringing the game back to a more simple, less console-specific mod. We played another hour with this new .DLL, and guess what? Yep, 28 captures in the hour! This was proof in my mind that having tons of features ruins the game. As long as you pick 1-3 really outstanding features, and leave the rest at home, the CTF Mod will 1. Be simple, 2. Have more Capture the Flag emphasis, and as proven 3. Be much more popular. Keep to Capturing that Flag, and you have a fun mod on your hands.
Second, humans don’t like to do homework while gaming. Evaluate your mod. If you’ve got more than 3 console commands that are needed to be binded before playing, you’ve got to many. I don’t like having to open up Quake2, and type: bind q *1, bind w *2, bind e *3, bind r *4… and so on. This can be solved by either having only 3 console commands, or by pre-binding! Wow, what a neat thought! Pre-binding! It may take a whole 5 minutes out of your time, but it will help your popularity. Set up an autoexec.cfg for your mod, that binds the grapple to mouse2, and “sonic-vision” to spacebar, and “homing-missile” to F3, or whatever. Of course, remember to include a Readme that gives all the commands, and their meanings, so advanced users can set themselves up. But it is quite fun to be able to jump into a game and start playing directly. Remember, homework is not good. Have easily accessible help, and readme files, and… believe it or not: Your E-mail, and Your URL!!! Some CTF mods forget this, and think everyone knows THEIR URL. That is not the truth. Think of your users, not of yourself.
Third, the functions of CTF: On the market currently, there are an assortment of add-ons to add-ons. I’d say that it is good to stick with the best. Use VWEAP (The visible weapons patch), and have support Shirt and Pants Teamplay. These two are the best mods which you can add to your CTF game. Do not require other mods which are not prevalent. Yeah, there may be a really, really, really, really, cool new Server-Logging program, but if it is not used by tons of mods, people will be hesitant to download it also. There are some features which must be in CTF to create something on par to the normal. First of all, actual CTF Scoring… Wow! Without the fact that you get points for capturing the flag, you don’t have CTF. Second, a cmd id command will help your mod out, and third, something elaborate and new. The grappling hook was this case in Threewave, but it doesn’t have to be. If you can think of a quality weapon that will help in all cases, it will be the one for your mod to rock.
After you’ve gotten the basics, there is actual creation. Creating the mod requires perseverance. For one, never just add things to an existing mod. Sure, you can use a (knock-on-wood) CTF engine, but make (da*ned) sure to overwrite everything. CTF mods are not popular if they just add a bit onto q2ctf for example. You must make totally new level, new models, new art, and last of all, a new storyline. Since there are so many mods, distinguishing yours from many requires having a good storyline, simplicity, and 1 or 2 new things that blow peoples socks away… not 75 that all suck. Quality makes CTF. CTF is phenomenal.
Well! That just happens to be about it, maybe later I’ll make an editorial on creating good CTF maps. But for now, mail all responses to me. -Vopiscus
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