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How to Release a Fan Mission


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#1 Springheel

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:47 PM

So, you've been working for weeks or months and finally have a fan mission that you're happy with. Now what do you do?

1. Playtest (in private)

You've obviously been testing things yourself as you build, but it's important to get a few fresh perspectives before releasing your mission. Other players will try things that you never thought of, and will help you decide if your mission is too easy or difficult. They can also spot texture misalignments, floating objects, and other mapping pitfalls that we all fall into from time to time.

Don't just post a link to your mission in the public forums, however. Lots of people are bound to download it and play it without realizing it is still in the playtest phase, and then complain about any bugs. We recommend you post a message asking for beta-testers, and then email them a link to your mission.

It's probably also best to handle feedback through private messages; even with spoiler tags, things inevitably slip out.

2. Test the Release version

It's very easy to make a last-minute, minor tweak to your mission, and then upload it, only to find out that you forgot to dmap, and now your aas is out of date. Oops!

If you change anything, it needs to go through a couple of testers. This does slow down the release process, right at the moment where you're most excited. But you don't want to be in a position of dozens of people trying your mission with a last minute bug that slipped through.


3. Submit your mission .pk4 for hosting

Where should you host your pk4? Good question. There are several public sites that will host small pk4 files.

Mediafire
darklurker



4. Post a Release Announcement

Post a new message in the Fan Mission forum with the following title:
"Fan Mission: [mission title] by [author] ([release date in yyyy/mm/dd format])"

The first post should include a short synopsis of your mission, perhaps with a couple screenshots, as well as download links.


5. Add your FM to the Fan Mission List.



Other Considerations

A few other miscellaneous details...

External Material:
If you use external material (textures, sounds, models, etc) that isn't part of the mod repository, and you didn't make it yourself, get permission.

We won't host or link to any missions that use copyrighted material, and it's not a good way to make a name for yourself.

Credit:
Be sure to give credit for anything you use that you didn't make (other than the stuff in the main mod itself). That's just good form. If someone helped you write your readables or made a loading image for you, credit them too.

The TDM Website:
Don't post asking why your FM has not been added to the official FM page on the Dark Mod website the day it is released. As the number of TDM FMs grows, it will take longer to ensure that new missions are copyright-issue-free, so it may take some time for new missions to appear.
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#2 Melan

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:21 AM

I would recommend betatesting on a dedicated forum instead of PMs. Dussander's forum is the perfect place for this; you can ask him for your custom subforum and manage access for people you want to invite. Of course, if the mission is just some small-scale affair, PMs may work. But if the mission is large or complex, forums are the way to go.
Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

#3 SneakyJack

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 11:41 AM

I would also recommend adding a duplicate thread to the ttlg.com forum's fan mission forum as a release announcement for each mission as its posted here - I know there are a ton of folks over there waiting with very high anticipation of new Dark Mod missions that may not even know this forum exists quite yet. Its already been done for the missions released thus far (I think) but for those of you who are making your first mission - this is a great chunk of audience you don't want to miss out on :)

#4 SneaksieDave

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 10:47 AM

Might also want to include "(Mission)" or "(Release)" or some other 4+ letter word in the thread title, as the forum doesn't currently support searching for words less than 4 characters long (e.g. "FM", "TDM").

5. Add your FM to the Fan Mission List.

Edit: list updated

#5 SneakyJack

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:17 PM

Just wanted to add an addition to my post about releasing missions at TTLG.com's forums - they now have a dedicated fan mission subforum for Dark Mod missions!

You can find it here: TDM Fan Mission Subforum

Obviously a good idea for authors to post a release thread there :)

Edited by SneakyJack, 25 January 2010 - 12:17 PM.


#6 Fidcal

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 04:58 AM

It's worth emphasising what Springheel says in the first post about putting a synopsis, a summary of what your FM is about in your post announcement. This is what any player would want to see if they hear there is a new FM right? Also prominent download link(s) and any special info like known issues such as play on Easy on low end machines. Add special credits by all means if you want (they certainly want to go in the readme with the FM.)

What prompted this (and don't take this as a criticism) was just seeing with great interest a new Thief 2 campaign launched at ttlg called When Still... which does the reverse of the above and then throws away the most important thing - the summary! So I have not the slightest idea what it is about after reading though a very long list of credits. It doesn't even say it is a campaign or how big it is. :laugh:

#7 stumpy

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:40 PM

the TDM Fan Mission Subform at ttlg is a dead link.

#8 Fidcal

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:35 PM

The entire ttlg server is down this morning. It happens now and again. Try again later or tomorrow.

[EDIT] Within a minute it is working again or just incredibly slow today. Anyway, I confirm the link is broken. I'll check - it's probably the forum move.

#9 Fidcal

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:40 PM

Yes, it's just a link to the old forum which is now merged into the main Thief FM forum @

http://www.ttlg.com/...?s=&forumid=100

#10 SneaksieDave

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 07:44 AM

6. Don't forget to help keep your wiki entry updated

#11 gnartsch

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 02:13 PM

One thing I would suggest on top of what has been said before:

Authors should provide a readme.txt with version and date !
Some do, some don't.
And from those who do, not everybody provides a 'Last Update'-field.
I would say this should be a MUST !
Otherwise you can hardly guess if the mission has been updated since you downloaded it (which might be weeks ago).


Also, how do YOU keep this list in sync ?
You rely on somebody in your team scanning for new posts ?
And also requiring him/them to scan the posts later on for updates on these missions being published ?

No matter how you do it, the list in general seems fairly accurate.

Nevertheless it would be a great idea to add a field 'Last update' to the Mission download-page on TDM as well.
Otherwise people might not notice that a mission has been updated - and maybe worth a second look.
E.g. in case they had problems or feel like replaying after a couple of months.

How about asking authors to fill out some web-form (date, [release|update], author, missionname, part X of campaign Y, ...) or send an email to someone about releases/updates ?
I think this might benefit you, the authors and the players off course as well.

Or maybe entirely reroute authors to the Wiki instead, so they are asked to care about their missions in one place and where they can provide all essential info themselves ?
Probably it would involve less time for your team to observe *that* list and mirror the changes to the 'official' FM page ?

Just my 2 cents.


As for the Missions page on TDM itself : at least 2 missions from 'stumpy' never made it to that list:
'Illusionist's Tower'
'Lord Dufford's'
Both can be found on the Wiki, however.
Seems like they slip through without being noticed ?

EDIT: a few more additions:
'Swing' by Komag is missing, too.

The following missions are newer on the Wiki (by looking into the thread-postings & comparing the PK4 contents of TDM- vs Wiki-links):
'Betrayal' v1.1 by Fieldmedic
'Somewhere Above the City' v1.1 by Grayman

Sincerely,

gnartsch

Edited by gnartsch, 08 September 2010 - 04:45 PM.


#12 aidakeeley

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 06:53 PM

Authors should provide a readme.txt with version and date !


This should be a rule throughout the world, in every field, in blogs and blurbs and blathering blusterful bloviations.

At the very least with the date.

Stamp!

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Edited by aidakeeley, 08 September 2010 - 06:54 PM.

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#13 Fidcal

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:11 PM

There are a few team members who can add FMs to the official website but mostly it's me. Basically to get on the official page it has to be roughly assessed by a team member for copyright (eg, a Garrett FM with assets from Thief 2) and that it is at least generally speaking a true Dark Mod FM. In the case of Stumpy's FMs I never got very far so could never assess them and sort of forgot about them. But if any team member can assess them then they can go up.

Komag's Swing is a complete oversight by me. I'll try and add it tomorrow.

Updates are more difficult to keep up with. I don't keep reading all FM threads once I've played through simply because of lack of time. Authors should contact me or a team member I think of any change. But please make sure it is fully tested. We don't want to update then have to change it an hour later then the next day and so on.

#14 LEGION

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:08 PM

Stumpy´s missions are 'clean of Garrett' or Thief2-assets, as far as I know. Stumpy should know... :P
His missions are even in their/his own universe, though Bridgeport was mentioned it drives on the road to Fantasy/LOTR much faster than TDM-setting does.

#15 gnartsch

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 05:24 AM

6. Updates
In case of updates to the mission, EDIT your initial posting on the forum
(instead of posting this at the end of the thread) to reflect this in an obvious way.
Add date of update and updated download links well visible.
Do the same on the Wiki.

Edited by gnartsch, 10 September 2010 - 01:12 PM.


#16 Springheel

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:11 AM

His missions are even in their/his own universe, though Bridgeport was mentioned it drives on the road to Fantasy/LOTR much faster than TDM-setting does


Yes, that's why they're not up there. The website isn't meant to list every mission ever made (that's what the wiki is for), just the ones that are "officially endorsed".
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#17 gnartsch

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

A question comes to my mind:
how should authors announce updates to their missions?

Sometimes the update seems to be overlooked, because no one can expect the TDM team to read each and every update in the mission-specific thread.
Or authors assume the TDM team is reading every post and will pick it up sooner or later.
Or do not know whom to send a PM.
Would it make sense to have a special sticky thread reading like 'Mission Release & Update Announcements'?

That would have multiple advantages:
- the TDM team could check that specific post instead of trying to identify which mission thread is new (or announces an update)
- players would know which mission got released in the meanwhile or received an update - even if they were away for a few weeks (and therefor would not be willing to scan the forum for any announcements in various threads)
- in case the author missed to post in that thread, other people could do so on his behalf

Everyone posting made there would need to include a link to the post where the new mission or the update is announced.

Edited by gnartsch, 28 October 2013 - 03:28 PM.


#18 Springheel

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:47 PM

Yes, some of the info in that original post is out of date. It's something we'll have to discuss.
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#19 NeonsStyle

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:47 PM

Fan Mission link is broken



#20 pariah

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 08:13 PM

Yes, some of the info in that original post is out of date. It's something we'll have to discuss.



#21 nbohr1more

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:07 PM

Fan Mission List:

 

http://wiki.thedarkm...or_The_Dark_Mod


Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

http://www.indiedb.c...ds/the-dark-mod

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)




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