Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WTF? I'm just not getting it...

I apologize if this goes against the new anti-bitching theme, but it's mod-bitching so I figure it's okay.

I was going to post this to the comments section of the NCCS mod itself on the Nexus, but I'm still unsure whether or not this will contain profanity yet I feel the need to say this somewhere in public, so thank you Nos for the invitation to post in the blog.


Is it just me, or do most of the recent comments and even endorsements on the NCCS file entry contain the phrase: "Is there an easy way I can change 'x'?" or some variation of it?

Why is it people just don't seem to be getting what this mod is about? I have no doubt in my mind that Nos is quite capable of creating companions with individual personalities and immersive dialog that would put most other companion mods to shame... but that is not the purpose of this mod. As Nos and I both have attempted to explain on numerous occasions, NCCS is intended to be a plug-'n'-play companion system that can allow players who aren't even too G.E.C.K.-savvy to easily create their own set of companions to drop straight into the game and use without months of trial-and-error script, dialog and quest development.

Personally I think that with NCCS Nos has accomplished that goal quite well. And I don't say that just because it has my name on it too; as I've said before and am not ashamed to reiterate, I didn't contribute squat to the actual companion scripting. I know Nos still has some ideas up his sleeve on how he could further improve the system, but even as it stands now the companion system that he has created puts similar attempts by others to shame.

So I'm just not understanding this sudden trend of folks wanting to come out of the woodwork with all these opinions on what's wrong with NCCS and what needs to be changed about it... especially since a quick check of user profiles will reveal that most of them probably don't even know how to open a plug-in with the editor. The companions don't refer to your avatar by name? They're not supposed to. The companions don't have dialog detailing their backgrounds that will take hours to read? They're not supposed to. The companions don't come with an expansion-pack's worth of extra quests and locations to explore? THEY'RE NOT FUCKING SUPPOSED TO!

What the fuck, people?

As far as I can tell, NCCS does everything it states it's intended to do, and does it quite well. The AI performs efficiently and effectively while the vanilla companion AI is chasing its own tail in circles. Sure, those vanilla companions come with their quaint little quests and all, but apart from that limited diversion they're practically useless when compared to companions running the NCCS script.

There's currently a commercial on the tube for one of the new phones (or networks or something) where one of the actors says: "Hey, sometimes you just have to pay more to be slower. Well, it makes sense if you don't think about it." I'm really starting to think that this is the mentality of a lot of the players who are making these comments on how NCCS needs to be "improved". Otherwise I just can't fathom why anyone would want to take a companion system that's streamlined and efficient and weigh it down with a bunch of crap that's in no way contributing to its purpose. To me that would be like taking one of the popular muscle cars and hitching a camper to the back; that's not at all what it was intended for and it will look damned funny.

So I'd just like to make this sincere request: please read some of the NCCS documentation before you download it so you can have an idea whether or not this is the companion system of your dreams, or in the very least read that documentation and understand the goals of the mod and its creator before you decide to come back and flood the comment thread with all your opinions on how broken it is and how it can be fixed even though you really don't know shit about modding and thus have no clue what it takes to create something like this. If you can do better, please feel free to do so and then come back to show us your fine work.

Thank you.

(We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming. The views expressed in this blog post are the views of Herculine and do not necessarily reflect the overall views of NosCo and are in no way funded by NosCo or any of its subsidiaries.)


  1. Hey! If you're gonna accept the left-open author invitation, at least warn a guy, will ya?

    I opened my dashboard to make a post to the other blog, and saw this one as the most recent posting; and started thinking I had had a blackout or something.

  2. Sorry...

    ...it was just one of those spontaneous things.

    You know how females are...

  3. Okay, I've made my other post, and come back to read this one in full; and may now comment in a semi-useful manner.

    First off: congrats, Kitty: I don't think I've ever seen you swear that much in one post before. It warms the lump of obsidian in my chest to see you picking up my bad habits (though I do weep for your soul; since I'm apparently having that much of an influence).

    That said, I can see this is frustrating the hell out of you. Well, to be honest, it bugs me too... but what can you do?

    People assume for some reason that I (or whoever wrote the system they're using) should just be able to put in some quests for them to use in "their" mods.

    Look at the guy, awhile back, who wanted NCCS companions to be compatible with dying. He posited that I should only have to "tweak a few settings".

    Most players have no idea whatsoever how to script; or what parts of the game even control what parts of NPC behavior. In the above example, "tweaking a few settings" to make the system keep up with dead companions involved something like eighty new lines of code that took a couple days to write and test.

    I've never gone through the thousands of comments to look; but I have begun to idly wonder from time to time if Blackie and crew had to put up with this much crap from CM. Have people been harassing them for the last four years; demanding to have them add "personality" to random companions? Or is this just a symptom of the newer games that have official followers?

  4. "Sorry...

    ...it was just one of those spontaneous things.

    You know how females are...

    Aw, heck: I don't mind. I wouldn't have made the offer if I didn't intend you to use it.

    But you should know by now that I doubt my own sanity quite often, and sleep-posting is exactly the sort of thing I think I might do. I'm always worried I'm going to screw up while totally out of it and post something incredibly inflammatory and/or threatening.

    And yes, audience at home: that does mean that there's way worse bouncing around in my head than the horrible things I do post.

  5. I have mentioned before that I have very little experience with modding, and the idea of scripting right now scares me. That said, I know enough about programming/scripting to know that adding something like PC name recognition to a program like RR Vault or NCCS wouldn't involve just "a few tweaks". It would be nice to have, but I wouldn't be so rude and thoughtless to ask someone to add that in after a release. Both of you have seen the horror that is my load order, and amongst that mess, there are only two mods that actually have Name recognition. I can live with that. If I want that changed on the other mods I use, I will have to be a more proficient modder and do it myself.

    Oh, and Herculine? I had to cringe at the mention of a muscle car pulling a camper. Some one actually tried (and failed) to attach a trailer hitch to my 1971 Javelin... :(


  6. "That said, I know enough about programming/scripting to know that adding something like PC name recognition to a program like RR Vault or NCCS wouldn't involve just "a few tweaks". It would be nice to have, but I wouldn't be so rude and thoughtless to ask someone to add that in after a release."

    As far as I know, name recognition of the PC is impossible in the base engine.

    It may be one of the things they added in FOSE/NVSE; but I've never seen any script functions that would allow it in the base game.

    Which kind of sucks; in Aurora, you could use FirstName and/or LastName tokens in the dialog to have a character refer to the PC or any other character in the conversation by name.

    Alas, 'twas not means to be in Gamebryo. Slackers left all sorts of neat shit out...

  7. Meant to be.

    Holy fuck I have got to start looking at the keyboard when I'm typing...

  8. I think there are some people out there that have totally missed the point of what NCCS was intended to do. It's a FRAMEWORK that allows you to create a working companion quickly and painlessly, nothing more, nothing less. This framework provides the basic foundation for YOUR OWN creativity to build on. If you want to impart a "personality" to your companion with immersive custom dialog, special quests and the like, it is extremely possible to do just that within the NCCS framework. Just fire up the G.E.C.K. and let your imagination take over. Expecting the authors of NCCS to do this for you is bordering on the ridiculous.

    (The opinions expessed in this comment are solely that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NCCS or its affiliates.)

  9. "Slackers left all sorts of neat shit out... " Agreed, but some of what I would have liked to have seen, aside from multi-player (grrrrr!), might have been missing due to issues with Havok. I'm refering to the ability to have creatures "wall-crawl". That would have made things a whole lot more interesting. But that's just me *shrugs*


    "Keyboard...how quaint"-Scotty

  10. @Nos:

    That's funny because I've never learned how to type without looking at the keyboard!


    Yeah, I have that same fear of scripting so I totally relate. Oh, I've figured out how to do a couple of quaint little things like my companion recall items, but apart from that it all looks rather intimidating. This is one of the reasons why I give Nos such enthusiastic support.

    I haven't forgotten about that interface problem of yours; I'm just simply at a loss as to what's causing it. I'm keeping my eyes peeled on the Forums though, and if I see something similar I'll be sure to let you know.


    Exactly what I was trying to say... but much more concise than my ranting.

    It doesn't bother me so much that people have ideas and suggestions -- that's constructive; what bothers me is the ones who want to tell us the mod is flawed because it doesn't do everything they want it to do and we really need to fix it -- that's like borderline flaming or trolling in my opinion.

    Oh, and nice disclaimer BTW. :D

  11. @SuperseldgeNY:

    Someone give this boy a prize. I wouldn't be as annoyed that so few get it, but I say in several places that the mod is, as you say, a framework. It's just for creating a companion without learning to script.

    Yeah, it's missing cool backgroundy stuff... but I can't really write that sort of thing for your companions, you know? Whatever story I wrote would end up being wrong; and everyone is going to want theirs to be unique... it just doesn't mesh with a create-your-own system.


    I'd agree with you on the keyboard, except that I've used voice-recognition software. Even the worst is my caffeine-bender-induced typing is more reliable and efficient than trying to go hands-free.

    As for wall-climbing: I see that like bullet-time. It's neat, until the novelty wears off, and then it's just a gimmick designers use to keep from having to write an engaging storyline.


    I've heard it referred to as "touch typing". I basically type based on my fingers knowing where the keys are. I normally type while watching the screen to see the results; rather than looking at the keys directly. Trouble is, when distracted and looking at something over my shoulder or holding a conversation while typing, I can easily screw up if the keyboard isn't exactly where it's supposed to be.

    Once, years ago, I was typing to a friend over ICQ in the dark, and my keyboard was about an inch to one side of where it normally was, and I wasn't watching the screen. I typed an entire sentence (ten plus words) one key off. Total gibberish; almost worthy of being a cypher - move everything one letter to the left based on a QWERTY keyboard's layout, and it was perfect again.