Just a quick warning; I’m going to ramble a bit before I get to the point…..
I have had this idea in the back of my mind for a long time and I have never been able to articulate it properly. I was wondering what made a good mod. Now I don’t profess to have the secret ingredient and this point may not be very important to you.
I have been playing Offshore recently which is a very long time since its release but I started the final demo but stopped quite early because I didn’t want to spoil playing the complete version. I forgot about it until a week ago and thought I better play it. I’ve been playing since and have mixed feelings about it. I actually believe it’s too long and I kept thinking why. How can a mod be too long? Of course if it was a bad mod then 5 minutes is too long, but it isn’t a bad mod, it’s a very good mod.
It’s definitely too repetitive and it’s clear the author has used sections in more than one place. Although that in itself isn’t a bad thing but in this case it’s happened too much already and I’m only on Chapter Three.
So, there must be something else that makes me think it’s too long. And then I had an epiphany. There’s no story here. Let’s be clear, and I am not just talking about this mod, creating a starting scenario and some background information doesn’t mean you have a story. Things need to happen to the player, details revealed, characters introduced etc.
That’s why mods like Rock 24 and Union get a lot of attention because they are well balanced. They have great level design, visuals, puzzles, action, story telling (Some more than others) and endings.
I now realize why I like the shorter mods because unless they have a story that is actual told via the mod I get bored easily.
Now, for you this might seem very obvious and you had the same thought, maybe 10 years ago, but It has only just occurred to me. What this mod needs to turn it from a good mod to a great mod is story telling, preferably in the form of voice acting.
So, we finally reach this week’s Poll question:
What should be the maximum length of a mod without voice acting or story telling?
You see, playing shorter mods with no story is fine because you play for a short time and then stop and move onto something else but playing a long mod with no story starts to get stale, at least that’s what I now believe.
Story telling in video games consists of many elements, but voice acting has to be the best known. Minerva did it with text on the screen, other mods use cuscenes and messages from notes and PDAs. The point is that great mods give you a reason for doing what you are doing and constantly add more details and the best mods have plots which is more than just a story.