Recently I bought a lot of books written by Richard Dawkins. I have already read The God Delusion, and seen the 2 documentaries that make up The Root of All Evil, shown on Channel 4 a few years ago.
So I decided to refresh my memory, before delving into The Selfish Gene and its successors. That’s when I noticed alarming similarities between religion and the institution of the primary mod in the spring community, that distortion of Total Annihilation that everyone plays until its maintainer flees for his life and a new guy further muddles it up to take the reigns under a new name, usually incrementing the first letter (AA,BA,CA,DA,EA,FA, GA next?).
The primary mod ends up pushing out all other competition into the fringes, causing untold damage to the spring projects ability to spread, since it’s always a TA based mod. By using Atari copyrighted material and infringing upon Atari Intellectual property, nobody will touch spring with a barge poll when it comes to advertising free games. Lists and advertisers fo free software conveniently leave out spring, for fear of incurring the wrath of Ataris legal department.
“Hail thy God for he hath giveth spring”
Of course the spring community is deeply rooted in this predicament, and the developers are praised as gods, and their crown jewel is XTA, the first primary mod that was knocked off brutally by the AA community. XTA is guaranteed a continued place with spring, and the association with TA is continued unabated.
Now this alone doesn’t really indicate fanatical religious zealots, if it weren’t for the mere suggestion of change. XTA players want XTA to remain. BA players want XTA ditched in favour of BA. CA players are tired of waiting for BA to fall down on itself and want CA bundled. Other non TA based mods have resorted to insisting that no content at all be bundled directly as their own mods arent popular enough. That may be because all the games in the lobby are primary mod games, and any attempts to deviate the trend incur their wrath, such as the debacle over the XTA auto hosts and how some of them should be switched to BA, the main mod.
Of course this is all further pushed forward by an army of fanboys who puff up the whole hot air baloon around the mod untill one day it bursts, as it did with AA.
“And looketh forth upon thy kingdom for god hath giveth forth BA”
And so as any setup reaches that point where the user base gets tired, and the userbase drives the maintainer mad, he gives up and leaves. As caydr did with AA, albeit he came back alter on to reclaim his mantle of the mod king unsuccessfully.
Everyone changed allegiance suddenly for the gods had hailed BA as the sacred truth! It did not matter that there were glaring flaws, for blind faith and conviction fixed them! All these bugs are utter nonsense! BA is great! oh look a new version!
“And the demon shall beckon thee to thy death with lies!”
Of course, not everyone bought the BA message, and the holy doctrine of Noize was not heard by all believers. The heretics demanded AA, and the heathen proclaimed CA! Using their new ‘intelligent unit roles’ methodology the CA heathens peddled an old idea made new, to save the souls of the damned under their false god!
CA had good intentions to begin with, mixed with the usual world domination agenda. Somehow it faces the danger of being toppled by infighting over controversial subjects that for the most part are insignificant and trivial disputes.
Of course for all its wonderous improvements, CA has yet to really make a dent as people are still blindly following and supporting BA, saying nothing is wrong with the current environment, affecting everything from lobby progress, to site redesign.
“The Church shall be Re-Born! Again! And again and again and again and again………”
The CA heathens worked tirelessly bringing forth new innovations and developments. The New Church of TA had begun! And things looked good. If only because now everyone had new models and sfx to loot.
This exposed a gap as it was proven that there was room for another micro community, protected from the main BA mod by yet more blind faith and conviction, hell bent on dominating the lobby and reclaiming the promised land from the other heathens (mods).
Thus came the new mods. DA, EA, even TA (Tired Annihilation). Eager to cash in on the widening instability caused by this influx, forum goers tried to spawn new mods so that they could claim expert knowledge and get kudos, by launching their own heavenly abodes, and cash in on unsuspecting players, perhaps drive their rivals mad with jealousy.
“The parasites shall be cleansed! We shall retake the promised lands!”
And yet again they all complain that the other mods have too great a share of the lobby, while admitting that given the chance they would do exactly the same if they had the chance.
You shouldn’t even attempt to compete with the main mod of the time. It will never work, the dynamics just wont let it happen.
And if you want to make a mod to show your skills, don’t work with a TA mod or fork. It’ll earn you very very little respect and teach you only a little. Starting a mod from scratch and making something simple but eye catching will earn you a lot of respect and you’ll learn a lot more skills from it, skills that if cultivated into a portfolio, could even lead towards a accepted entry into a University course or a job.
For those wanting to ensure the very survival of their project, I say again, do not compete with the main mod. This means do not demand that the game be played in the same lobby server alongside all the other games, because a player is going to see the main mod and none of your games, and they’re going to download and play it because they cant play yours and they’ve made an investment. Its free advertising too!
Start your own lobby server, or share it with other none TA games in a similar predicament (recommended). A one lobby rules them all, one server binds them just won’t work here. I know a lot of people prefer this but its not possible at the moment and its a pipe dream, a utopian fantasy that just wont happen until the sum active player base regularly exceeds a thousand players,
And most importantly of all, release early, release often, and make it easy for the end user. Keep on moving forwards, because nothing is ever perfect, and there is always room for improvement. If you don’t move with the times you’ll get left behind