The later half of 2017 was rife with real life craziness, mostly centered around my household improvements and now I finally am to a point where things are starting to settle down. Yes there are more projects to be had, more walls to plaster and paint, more rooms to detail, but no more massive construction (thank the divines).
Coming back into the fray of modding I found myself working again on a Legacy patch (yeah I know, so shoot me). This new patch should see release in the next couple weeks and then it is back to full focus on Odyssey.
During this interlude over the holidays I haven’t been away from Odyssey of course. During the last few months we have had several weekly meetings to discuss story planning in great detail and continue to do so, soon shifting into general planning coordination. We’ve ironed out the overall plot, figured out the major sub plots and some nice twists and developed some key characters to a great level of depth. We’ve determined how we want to structure many of our side quests and how we want to treat player controlled choices to give multiple paths or at least the illusion of choice, all with the strong driving force that the Last Dragonborn is the only protagonist who could play out this story (sorry high level mercenaries).
During the process of this story planning I have been mulling over in my mind my role in all of this and the roles of others involved. With Pickysaurus’ scripting skills now surpassing those of ‘the master’ I am assigning a more prevalent role to him by appointing him the chief quest programing lead and lead script programmer, a role I previously was going to spear head. I will of course still design scripts and mechanics that Picky can later flesh out and optimize and will lay the basic groundwork for standard flow of main quest scripting, but the big picture and detail work of scripting will fall largely to him.
Seeing this transition coming to be is difficult, because it’s always a challenge of your own worth as a creator to admit that someone on your team has surpassed you in an area, and that you are once again a fish in a pond where there are always bigger fish. I’m never the biggest fish in any pond I’m in, but I do tend to know quite a bit about every pond I am in and can jump between many, which is my real skill in the end; jack of all trades, which is why my role of general organizer is so important. It allows me to continue to steer and aim the overall project and maintain full knowledge of how things are developing and how they work. That’s always been one thing I always have told would be “shoot the moon” mod authors who are new to the game who want to make a massive project right off the bat and strive to build a team; you have to know how to do everything at least a little bit if you expect anyone to follow you. In other words, ‘proof is in the pudding toots’.
So knowing that I can give some slack to the scripting reigns I turn my focus to other critical elements like the stage we play our game on; Balfiera. Looking hard within myself in regards to giving up some responsibility and control in the area of scripting, prompted me to take a look at the broader picture and I began to admit that I hate worldspace development, or rather I hate the prep work involved in getting a worldspace ready for LOD building. This is another area that I’ve decided I am going to strive to find someone to aid with rather than fighting my way through it tooth and nail.
Ultimately giving up some control to folks better qualified in specific areas allows me a better means to seeing the big picture and helping to coordinate that development to greater efficiency. Overall it means assigning the best people to the job, which means a better product in the end or at least a more efficient development. Being a knowledgeable modder and assigning people to tasks that they are better at than yourself requires a lot of pride swallowing, but at the same time allows me to take a certain amount of pride in the skills that they have developed with some of my help. It’s like Yoda says in The Last Jedi “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” A great quote to be sure, even if it isn’t in Yoda-syntax, but we’ll forgive that for now.