So You Want to Help Create Clan Lord...

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So You Want to Help Create Clan Lord...

Post by Ann » Fri May 23, 2003 3:03 pm

This was originally posted as an article on in August 2000, and has been udpated slightly.

If you want to help create Clan Lord, there are several different ways.

1. Play the game. No, really. If everybody builds the thing and nobody plays it, what's the point? People who develop interesting personalities, organize fun events, write stories, post Web pages, run for sheriff, get married, get in fights, run hospitals and con games and religions... All those people are contributing enormously to the community and to the game. Thanks!

2. Make suggestions. We can't always respond, or do what you suggest, but I read every post, and I'm glad to get ideas and constructive criticism. I know it's hard to tell, but Joe reads all his email too, and forwards pieces along to the rest of the GMs for discussion.

3. Make artwork or sounds. Some of the ones I've done are pretty bad. I'm sure someone out there can do better. Again, we can't use everything, but good quality contributions are welcome.

[NOTE: It's probably best to talk with a GM with regard to what you intend to create and how it might be used BEFORE you spend hours & hours creating art/sounds that might not be used. HGM]

4. Make areas. Several people are helping design new areas, as "apprentices" working with a GM. There's a world-building tool that's a little like a drawing program. If you have time and ideas, if you're trustworthy, and if you're willing to work with guidelines and some direction, there's probably room for you to help. (I say "probably" because it takes time to teach someone to make areas, and all the experienced designers may be swamped.)

5. Help develop the client. You need to know C++ well, and have experience programming Mac applications. This is a much more limited group of people, who must be absolutely trustworthy. Bear in mind, it's not open-source, it's "ajar". I don't even know if they're looking for more people right now, but if you're serious about helping, you can write Joe.

6. Write scripts (NPCs, items, critter AIs, etc.). This is probably the hardest of all to get started on, in terms of what you need to learn before you can do much. Scripts are written in a custom language called SOCKS. It started out a lot like BASIC, and has been moving toward C over the years. SOCKS itself isn't too hard to pick up, if you know C, but the development environment isn't entirely straightforward. More importantly, there's a lot of background material on how the world works that you need to be familiar with before you know how to use the language to do what you want. Because of that, you also need to be able to keep secrets.

I find scripting a lot of fun, but it isn't the kind of thing you can pick up casually. Documentation is slim. It will take you some time and effort to figure out what's going on, and it will take whoever you're working with a fair bit of time to teach you. If you don't have the time and dedication to keep at it, no offense, but I've just wasted 20 hours teaching you to script when I could have spent them writing something cool.

- If you know C or something similar (preferably more than one language), if you know how to program, and if you know what I mean when I say that those first two aren't the same thing...

- If you have a fair bit of time and are willing to work through the slow, frustrating part before it gets (a little) easier...

- If you have absolute discretion, understand that game design and balance are not as simple as they seem, and can work under someone else's direction...

- If you're patient, since not many people know the environment well enough to teach it, and those that do are usually busy using it to create new things too...

- If you recognize that scripting isn't the path to being a GM, that there are scripters who aren't GMs and GMs who don't write scripts...

- If you still want to write scripts, please email me -- several times, if necessary, since I'm one of the ones who's perpetually swamped.


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