Tutorial So You Wanna Make A Race Mod?

Discussion in 'Starbound Modding' started by ManicRykker, May 5, 2017.

  1. ManicRykker

    ManicRykker Phantasmal Quasar


    So. You want to make a race mod? Cool.

    That's a cool thing to do. Who wouldn't want to expand the large array of content provided by the Starbound Community? Especially in the form of a race mod.

    Maybe you've even gotten some tools set up. You've downloaded a Race Mod Template, extracted the assets for Starbound, and started brainstorming.

    Well good for you!...


    Have you actually thought about what it will take to make a race mod? It's more than just a scenario of "Hey! Look at this human reskin I just made!" you know. Here's some things you need to consider:



    First off, you should take a look at the race mods, already active on the forums (and maybe by extension, the Steam Workshop). Why does this matter?... Well...

    While you can make a race mod out of a straightforward idea, the community would appreciate something unique. Do you really want to end up being that guy/gal that has a new race mod that happens to be in a similar vein to something already on the forums? If you don't distinguish your race's content, it will come off as a copy... and no one wants that. (Especially if you actually end up putting effort into your stuff!)

    So look at what's already been done/is being done. This could possibly give you an idea of what "not" to do. (And could potentially save you a lot of time, and pain.)



    Now as I mentioned before, there's more to a race mod than just being "a pretty looking human reskin". No. At it's core, a race mod is pretty much a content mod... (With the added bonus of a playable race).

    You will need to consider things like

    -The spritework for your race
    -Customization options for your race (Hairstyles, color options, name gens, etc)
    -Custom ship
    -Custom ship pet, tied to your race's lore/culture
    -*Custom SAIL (Depends on if you would rather stick to the standard SAIL form of vanilla, or go with something unique, like the SAILs of beta Starbound)
    -Custom tiered racial armor
    -Custom furniture sets, decorations, and objects tied to your race
    -NPCs (Tenants, Crewmembers, Villagers, etc.)
    -Villages/Places where you can find members of your modded race (This by extension, would also mean you will have to look into the creation of dungeons)
    -Lore (It's what keeps your race from feeling like a glorified human reskin!)

    As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind... There might even be some other stuff you would want to do, that I'm not currently thinking of.

    Now, I'm not trying to scare you off or anything. This is just something you REALLY need to consider.



    Likely, when you start work on your race mod? Custom content isn't just going to fall on your lap. In the beginning, you will likely be setting up placeholders and things, to get your race mod off the ground. Depending on when you want to push your mod to the forums, you'll want to consider this stuff.

    Placeholder stuff is understandable in a new race mod, but it can take away from your mod's "experience"... make it not feel as unique.

    So, as you make progress on your mod, you'll want to clear out/replace all of that placeholder stuff when you can. Will make your mod look much more presentable!



    I know what you're thinking. "Why would I prepare my race mod for discontinuation? I'll be working on this for a long time!"

    Well that's cool... but...

    There are a lot of race modders, that I've noticed, just sorta.... "disappear".

    Can't really say why these mod authors vanish... but, you just really need to consider the future before jumping into your mod work.

    First of all, you should have your assets open for redistribution/alteration, or AT LEAST do it if you feel like you will no longer be able to support your project.

    If some dude comes along, and wants to revive your race mod (or possibly update it to a new version of Starbound), if that's not set? They can't do that... and, by extension, your mod will DIE. It will sink into "Outdated Mods" Purgatory, and likely never been seen or heard from again...

    and no one wants that. (I at least wouldn't want to see my mod work fall through the cracks anyway...)



    Now that that's out of the way, maybe you really do have a unique idea that you want to push, and the tools to do it. GO FOR IT. Variety is always appreciated!

    If you're "really" new, and have no experience? Go grab a Race Template, extract the Starbound assets, and experiment. You may get some idea from the full tutorials that are on these forums... but if you don't actually "apply it" you won't get experience.

    Sometimes? Maybe you won't even need tutorials. Some can figure the stuff out just from trial and error. (Though tutorials, and a few searches do help.... :rofl:)

    Welp, that pretty much ends my little spiel. I might make my own, true tutorial for some stuff one day... maybe even expand this thread for it... I dunno. I just wanted to get this out there, as I felt like it was important. (I'll edit/tweak this later accordingly, if I think of something else, or if someone points something out.)
  2. C0bra5

    C0bra5 Oxygen Tank

    here are some of my recommendations after working on a race mod for around three years:

    Understanding your limits and abilities
    If you are anything like me, you will start as a one man team. While it is true that as a single individual you accomplish a metric ton of work on you own, you sill have to consider how much you can do given a particular period/amount of time. If you have a lot of experience with starbound modding, you can probably implement a new weapon or quest in 10 to 30 minutes. But if you have that kind of experience, you probably won't read this tutorial.

    If you are new to the world of starbound modding, a race probably isn't the best thing to start with, and while ManicRykker made a good list of what you can expect, this list should help make the case that making a race takes a lot of work:

    Minimum to implement
    1. character body
      1. Male
      2. Female
    2. character head
      1. Male
      2. Female
    3. character emotes
      1. Must work on both genders.
    4. character hairstyles
      1. Male
      2. Female
    5. character body color
      1. Must work on both genders.
    6. character hair color
      1. Must work on both genders.
    7. SAIL / AI
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
    8. A ship
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
    9. Teleportation animation
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
      2. Some of them are in a color replacement string in the .species file.
    10. respawn animation
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
    11. Introduction animation
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
    12. flag
      1. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
    13. Lore

    Minimum for originality
    1. Custom armor.
      1. Graphics
      2. Recipes
      3. Stats/Balancing
      4. Might differ on gender.
      5. Starting with a vanilla one and making your own later, is an option
      6. If your body shape doesn't fit the human one, you are in for a hellish ride
      7. tails will be a problem if you have some
    2. Custom style clothes.
    3. Custom weapons
      1. Graphics
      2. Recipes
      3. Stats/Balancing
    4. Custom ship
    5. Custom quests
    6. Custom NPC
      1. I hope you like writing, you either use the terrible default one, or make your own and here are all the options for text used for a simple villager:
        1. your race -> human
        2. your race -> glitch
        3. your race -> avian
        4. your race -> floran
        5. your race -> hylotl
        6. your race -> novakid
        7. human -> your race
        8. glitch -> your race
        9. avian -> your race
        10. floran -> your race
        11. hylotl -> your race
        12. novakid -> your race.
      2. consider having a minimum of 5 unique lines for each type of interaction.
    7. Custom tenants
      1. recommended to at least have a custom and random variation for:
        1. Villager
        2. Chef
        3. Merchant
        4. Guard
          1. Tier 1
          2. Tier 2
          3. Tier 3
          4. Tier 4
    8. Custom furniture
      1. Graphics
      2. Recipes
      3. Stats/Balancing
      4. beds
      5. chair
      6. tables
      7. lights
      8. spaceship equipment

    I'd recommend you start your work using one of the templates available on the forum like Race Base
    FULL DISCLOSURE: I made Race Base, I know there are more out there, but I can't seem to find them if you know of any other I'd love to list them too if you can name them.

    They will have most of the essentials covered and will be of help to anyone starting a new race mod.

    The rule of the 4 S

    These four qualities are needed to make a project easy to work with and easy to maintain.

    Ever heard of the KISS? Not the 70's the band. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. Making your work easy to read and understand is key, if your code is a mess or your file structure makes no sense, you'll most certainly end up doing extra work fixing your mod instead of doing the fun things like adding new things.

    Being standardized also helps. If you ever need to fix something in a file, you can just open the file, and you will know exactly what you need to do and where to do it, no searching, no monkey and typewriters, just easy to do things.

    Being sensible also helps. If you ever need some help and get someone to help you, having easy to understand code that makes sense to anybody helps a lot, in this case, make your work conventional to the one present in the game's assets. For example use a similar file structure for where you store your items, or how you write the files, name the things, etc...

    Being searchable also helps. If you ever need to search for an item's file, having the same file name as your item name will help you find it quickly, f3 is your friend, don't by shy of using it.

    make sure your work is compatible with other mods, name things in a way no assets will collide with yours,

    Use the vanilla assets to your advantage:
    Need an invisible armor? The game has one for you already built in (don't quote me on that, I'm 99% sure, but not 100% sure).

    Don't use names that are too generic:
    Here is something you can do that will help a lot on that side, everything you create if it has an id add a prefix or suffix to it that will be unique to your mod. For example, my modpack uses the prefix "tpm" before almost every id.

    Don't overwrite, patch, and test
    Use the patch system to your advantage, just overriding a file is bound to cause problems. If you are not familiar with the patch system, I STRONGLY recommend you take a look at it. Link to a guide http://community.playstarbound.com/threads/basic-patching-now-with-path-guide-v1-9.84496/
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
    ManicRykker likes this.
  3. ChatNoir

    ChatNoir Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Interesting. Specially because you made some points of things I'm actually wondering about. Currently, my race is an avikan-like species, in looks of course. I'm trying to make it as unique as possible, which means I literally want everything to be unique, including minor things. If any of you guys are interested, it will be also rich in lore and basically in every little area of the mod since I consider myself a creative guy and I have lots of free time, since I'm just a random teenager. Anyways, do you think it'll cause too much hate because of minor appearance (only including the race, other things will be completely original) things? I feel like I'm spending too much work on the mod because of these things. I don't even know of people will like it. What do you think?
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  4. C0bra5

    C0bra5 Oxygen Tank

    To quote sir lebouf, JUST DO IT, DON'T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAM

    but also take your time, you can always release an early just to prove the interest, but be sure to read all the feedback you get.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
  5. ChatNoir

    ChatNoir Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Early? How much early? :p Currently I have two basic things I would like to point out: my race (currently called the thrumbos) have their tech based on their social hierarchy. The species itself is very new, and evolved relatively fast, due to a fallen colony of a long forgotten empire on their homeplanet. For armor and the everyday tools, they use scavenged tech from this civilization, and as I said, tech is distributed based on your social hierarchy, which means if you're low on the social hierarchy you will most likely use rusty, broken old armors and weapons. If you're high on the hierarchy you will mostly use almost perfect tech and such. And wow I just got off topic. Dammit. Is it good? I might change some things anyway, I have ALOT of ideas going on here. Sorry from saying this on this post just thought it would be cool to share some basic lore.
  6. C0bra5

    C0bra5 Oxygen Tank

    This discussion is there for that.

    As I said plan things out, make em, and once you feel ready to show everyone that your concept is as awesome as you think it is, JUST RELEASE IT, don't forget you can always update a mod.

    I myself am literally re-writing most of my modpack right now, because planning was not something I did at first.

    You got plans, write them down, make em a reality, and publish when it works well enough that you'd think someone would like it as is.

    PS my modpack currently contains 7238 files, that's a lot, but since I like working on it, the size of the task at hand isn't much of a problem.
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  7. ChatNoir

    ChatNoir Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Cool, I think it requires you alot of coffee huh? I think it will be a nightmare to me to make even the smallest details for the mod. Seriously, I can't even draw a line. Good luck anyway dude! Also, I appreciate your motivation. Thanks.
  8. C0bra5

    C0bra5 Oxygen Tank

    Graphics aren't my strong point either, tbh most of it was made by someone who helped me at some point or by working at it until it looks good enough.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
    ChatNoir likes this.

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