Successful Mod Team Tips

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This page talks about mod teams are created - what they are, how they are formed, and how they can be run. Though there is no catchall formula on just how to make a mod team, this page should give you some ideas about what works and what doesn’t.

What is a Mod Team?

In the simplest sense, a mod team is one or more developers who create a mod. But a better way to look at it is that a mod team is a collection of skills that come together to create a mod. Coding, mapping, modeling, and of course ideas and vision. Though one person rarely creates a MOD on his or her own, it can and is done. Why doesn’t it happen that often? Simply put, making a mod is a lot of work that takes a variety of skills. Usually a team of developers contributes their skills towards the final project.

What Makes a MOD Team?

What are the basic roles that must be filled to make a mod?

Communications and Work Flow

How to keep everyone talking and working together smoothly so everyone is on the same track. Success, Collaboration and Teamwork Good mods don’t usually happen by accident or from the work of mediocre and uninspired people. Before we get into what goes wrong with mods and mod teams, let’s talk about what goes right. What’s worked and what’s been successful.

Teamwork > Talent

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
Michael Jordan

It’s hard to make a good mod without talent. But it’s about impossible without teamwork.

You're far better off working with people who can work as part of a team than people who have skills, but horrible teamwork skills.

Passion, Commitment, Creativity and Drive

Your team must be passionate committed to the cause of creating your mod. They must be passionate about what they do and the mod they are creating. Passion doesn’t mean fanaticism, but it does mean being there when the mod and the team needs the help. It also can mean a strong sense of curiosity and a desire to explore new things.

You might ask why I suggest commitment and passion as hallmarks of a successful team. Mainly because modding is a job that has long hours, probably no monetary reward, and few perks – and you’re not getting paid a thing. In fact you probably have to use your own money to buy software tools, upgrade your computer, and so on. So something has to drive you to keep going.

Problems, Team Personality, Ego and Other Challenges

The hard and sad fact about mods and mod teams is that most mods fail. They never get beyond the idea stage, or the pre-alpha. There are a number of common themes to what has caused the demise of a lot of mods over the years.

Ego

“A lot of my work has to do with not allowing my characters to have an ego in a way that the stomach doesn't have an ego when it's wanting to throw up. It just does it.”
Matthew Barney

Besides apathy and loss of interest, ego and team infighting is perhaps the Things don't always go so well for some mod teams. Some great ideas have vanished because the team members didn't work well together.

The Good and Bad of Personality

Team members will have personalities, and it’s important that the members of the team

Who Leads?

“It is very comforting to believe that leaders who do terrible things are, in fact, mad. That way, all we have to do is make sure we don't put psychotics in high places and we've got the problem solved.”
Tom Wolfe

Who should lead a mod team, if anyone? How does a MOD team set goals, communicate publicly as one, and generally keep going?

What is Leading Anyway?

Leading is anything that keeps the mod moving forward in a semi-coordinated way towards a shared goal.

Everybody Leads Model

In this model, everyone on the team has an equal voice. It can be successful if everyone both contributes but also most importantly respects the opinions of their team mates. As soon as you begin to resent or dislike the work or opinion of a team mate, you will inevitably begin to see yourself as being superior to them.

Nobody Leads or Creative Anarchy Model

Here, the people with the most drive and creativity (those who crank out the most work) lead by default, simply because they are doing stuff. They are making the mod go forward by virtue of their own drive. If they slack off or take a break, others take up the challenge.

A Leader Leads

One person (or a subset of the team) calls the shots and leads the mod development.