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 Post subject: A Note from TCDale
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:16 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:30 am
Posts: 1
Hi guys,

Couldn't remember my old password, so... re-registered. And to be honest, I'm not staying very long. I'm up late, and it occurred to me that I hadn't heard from Lord M since our last exchange where he mentioned taking up the mod again, and that Sarevok / vanatos had asked me to rejoin the team. So I came to see what was going on.

I also wanted to address two things. I'm going to be polite but blunt, but I imagine people are curious / would like the explanation, and I'd feel better sharing it.

What happened? Why did you [TCDale] abandon the mod?

After I re-wrote the SOA part, what I needed was a coder. Kat (theacefes) volunteered and took a look at the files I sent her, and was very optimistic about things. I think this was back in 2012? Kat told me I'd done most of the 'heavy lifting' on the dialog coding and that putting together a working beta would be very quick -- likely during the summer of 2012, and if not, definitely before Christmas.

And then I stopped getting any updates/responses. I think it was late December 2012 / early January 2013 that I finally managed to get Kat to compile the beta, which she said was working and ready to be tested.

It wasn't. I'm not even sure it installed, but it certainly wasn't a working, testable beta. When I looked at the source code, 90% of the dialogs weren't even there. It was basically an install file and no content. I was very disappointed.

At that point, I moved from the United States to Germany for six months and things lapsed. I advertised here for another coder, but didn't receive any bites. I asked around on Gibberlings 3 and (I think) Spellhold Studios as well. No one expressed any interest in coding the mod, and Kat never (that I remember) responded back to me after that December/January.

While I can write, I can't code. And so a mod with no coder... well, after a few months of failing to get a coder, I gave up. It seemed everyone else had.

I moved on to another game and other writing projects, which I've been very happily involved in since 2013 and which takes up most of my time, and I just never came back.

But Sarevok08 and vanatos and Israel invited you back to finish it?

They did, and I turned it down.

Sarevok08 (I think) contacted me first, and said they were finishing the mod. I thought this was great, and was very tempted to rejoin the team now that we had a coder. However, I do answer emails very slowly -- often a week between getting them and answering them. In the meantime, the new coders had also reached out to Israel to get ahold of him to ask him to write it as well, since I was not responding very quickly.

I like Israel and have no problem co-authoring with him. We tossed around the idea of me doing part of TOB and him doing the other part, to split the work and make it go faster. The coders coded. Things looked good. I was just about to say "yes, let's do this."

Then it was revealed to me -- quite by accident, as part of a quoted email message -- that the coder(s) had made a LOT of changes to the SOA version to get it into beta. They'd removed the Kindness Counter (which I'd redone significantly to make it much, much easier to complete the mod, but kept for story reasons -- it controlled a number of other variables and subplot throughout the game) was taken out. The Corruption Counter (you could, in fact, attempt to -- and succeed -- in corrupting Imoen) was apparently taken out.

Those were the big ones. There were other counters, other dialogs, other branches, that I don't know if they're still present or not. I hope they are.

Israel asked about these missing things, and I wrote the following:

I'm disappointed it was taken out, since it eliminates any type of personality growth for Imoen over time. (Apparently no matter how much you try to corrupt her, she just ignores it and never changes? No matter if you're a jerk or not, she reacts the same in the long term?) My main interest in the SOA part was making sure that the writing was high-quality and consistent (eliminating anachronisms, nonsense responses, etc.) and making sure that Imoen as a character was complex and believable (which you did most of already). Given that for most Imoen fans, she's been with you since BG1 non-stop, NOT giving them the depth and replayability of such long-term options seems a bit of a cop-out.

So yeah. I suppose to be blunt: no real interest in sinking a lot of time and effort into a project that someone else (you) can do just as well, when I'm aware that things I put a lot of effort into crafting into the system may or may not be deleted, without or without informing me, because the coder thinks it's silly/useless. At that point it's not "my" mod, it's the coder's mod, and I made a bunch of suggestions that did or did not make the final cut.

Much kudos to him for completing it at all -- I'm sure people are enjoying it, and will enjoy the TOB version once it's complete as well. But if I return to Imoen TOB at all in the future, it'll be as a player, not as a mod-maker.

I never heard back after that.

I realize that some of what I tried to implement might have just been too hard, too complex, or maybe just outright impossible to code in. Maybe there was no way to do it. But I felt (and feel) a little... let down that I was invited back because of my writing and crafting in these types of things... when they had already been removed without asking me or informing me when I was invited to rejoin. But since Israel had already expressed his dedication to getting it done, whether I joined or not, I saw no need to come back.

So that's the story. That's why I gave up, originally, and why I haven't returned to the Imoen Romance mod as a writer. I have the utmost respect and appreciation, as a fan of the mod, for Israel continuing the TOB part and for vanatos and Sarevok for taking the reigns as coders to make it a reality at long last. And I'm amazed at the fans who have stuck around this long; I hope the finished product is everything you've been waiting for.

In the meantime, I'm still on the internet, still roleplaying, and still writing fiction. Fanmail/hatemail (or just 'oh hai!') can be sent to spellsmith@tsw at gmail dot com (Only take out the @).

And, again, I answer emails slower than dirt, just FYI.

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 Post subject: Re: A Note from TCDale
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:06 pm 
Priest(ess) of the Pink Mage

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:06 am
Posts: 280
Hi TCDale!

It seems you got some people and events mixed up.

It was me who contacted you to ask you if you'd like to be involved again at the beginning since i was gonna finish the mod, the whole email exchange where you said you didn't want to get involved because of your past bad experiences with coders bailing on the mod, you were talking with me.

The reason why all those components were removed was because i was working off the leftover developer notes from V2 which only had general notes about them and were buggy/incomplete in how to implement, and since you had said you didn't want to be involved i couldn't clarify exactly how you wanted them to be done.

Israel actually posted on the forums to offer to complete the TOB long after the mod had been finished and released publicly, so essentially after you said you didn't want to be involved i spent 2.5 months coding it alone and finishing it.

Personally i think you missed out and continue to miss out on a huge opportunity, since the mod is finished, structured well and tested thoroughly, any changes you would have like to be made would be trivial to do now.

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