No, this isn't a complaint about how many I'm involved in.
Readers at the file comments for the RR Companions Vault (the good one for FO3 that actually works worth a shit sometimes) may have noticed a recent glut of malcontents.
Reading over and trying to solve the issues, I have come to a conclusion. Not quite an epiphany.
There are too many mods. Gamebryo may, in fact, be too easy to mod. Everyone and their cousin can tamper with the game, upload a plugin; and the rest of us are supposed to rewrite our mods to unfuck theirs.
Now, on the one hand, easy modding is a boon. Modding Gamebryo is easy enough and simple enough that it doesn't have quite the intimidation factor of other games. This has gotten me into it, and as I recall did similarly for Herculine.
On the other hand, it's also gotten a ton of people into modding who shouldn't be. People with no attention to detail, no urge to make their mods work; or make them widely compatible.
FOOK2 is a perfect example of this. Not a mod in itself, but a "mod collection"; where the authors take seventy five other mods they like, cram them together into one esp/esm set; and call it an overhaul. Doesn't work on your system? Tough shit. Don't like it? I've heard reports of malcontents on the FOOK forums having their threads locked and even being banned for making waves. You get the whole thing or nothing.
The real pisser is that I can feel where they're coming from with that attitude.
Had a complainer pop into RR the other day, swearing up and down that RR Companions Vault is incompatible with Broken Steel. Well... no, it isn't. I've never played through the MQ to the point he specifies (I maintain that Bethsoft's writers are hacks who need to be flipping burgers and not allowed to touch a word processor), but plenty of other players have. One of them made it a point of testing every facet of the mod last year, and actively trying to break it in any and every way he could. Plenty of bugs were uncovered; but none in that area. With as long as BS has been out, I can't for the life of me imagine that someone else wouldn't have run into it by now.
Of course, I gave my standard response - which is almost worthy of being turned into a form-letter at this point - asking about the usual suspects: Masterupdate, and the Unofficial Patch. I know the UOP caused a shit-ton of crashing events around Rivet City the last time I was dumb enough to run it. I have no reason to believe it's gotten any less sucky now. My questions were flatly ignored, and a reply given that he had fixed it himself in the GECK. Well, whatever. That just means that I'm not going to bother looking into the issue any further - if you can't be bothered to answer questions, and can so easily fix it yourself; I figure you had something to do with the problem and just don't want to admit it.
This morning we had another. This malcontent specifies FWE breaking the bobblehead stand in Vault 1. News to me; I've had FWE running since I got tired of Arwen's breaking the NPC AI - and going out of her way to make it impossible to cull that set of effects from the mod. Six months, at least; probably closer to ten. Never seen a bobblehead issue.
Of course, this malcontent also helpfully notes that he has no issues with BS.
Now, I'm not going to call both players liars. Far from it; I fully believe they have the issues they reported. The problem is what's causing them? Most of you run entirely too many mods. It's not unusual to find most players running in excess of a hundred and fifty plugins and masters in their load order - a not insubstantial percentage of which have directly conflicting effects.
Conversely, I have neither issue. I've said it before, I'll say it again: if I can't reproduce the problem, I can't fix it. I don't have your bash patches or merge patches or personal edits or whatever monstrosities you've been directed by the forums to produce to make FWE, FOOK2, MMM, and Arwen's all run together.
Between the total shoddiness of the game's coding, issues caused by load orders and third party plugins, and players flat out omitting details that they don't think are pertinent... a lot of these problems simply don't occur regularly or in a quantifiable fashion. Thus, they can not be fixed.
When I was still new to being "in charge" (HA!) of RR about this time last year, I made the mistake of taking a player at face value about bugs that I couldn't reproduce. Every version I released, I'd get a PM detailing all the stuff that was wrong with it, and still wrong with it from last version. I tried for months to fix things that I couldn't see were wrong; with predictably little success. Finally got a look at his load order, and he was running a "merge patch" that combined RR with several other mods. "Oh, but that isn't the issue; I know it..." Right, and I'm slated to be nominated for sainthood next fiscal year. After much trying, and many suppressed urges to use the Nexus' block feature, I finally find out two other important details. 1) that he won't update his game past 1.4 (1.7 was already standard at this point) - most of the companion errors he had been reporting over and over were in the engine and had been fixed by 1.5; and 2) that he modified every new version of the RR esm; to "fix" something - I forget what it was, exactly. Also came to learn that he had "helped ttomwv with a few ideas" before I came along, and had it into his head that I'd rewrite the companion system to suit his desires.
And this was one person. Uno. Ein. Drop in the bucket, as they say. So yes, I'm a jaded, unpleasant bastard of a modder; but I like to think I've gotten that way with cause.
I'm not going to do it, of course; but lately I've been entertaining the notion of deleting my Nexus content. All of it. Meditating, if you will, on what sort of neat stuff I could have if I got to actually play my games and mod for them, instead of spending four hours a day answering comments and PMs.
A companion that was alive... who bitched when you did unpleasant things or neglected them; was appreciative when you were nice; shifted combat style based on the weapon they were using; who instead of just "sandboxing" would live when left alone - shopping, eating, going on little adventures of their own...
But, of course that will never happen. None of it would be reusable in other peoples' mods via simple point and click; and we couldn't have that.