Open letter to any user wanting to make their first mod be a character


thunderdome denizen
(some of this applies only to SRB2)
When you're starting out with modding, seeing you can create your own character might greatly compel you to try and make your own.
Fully fledged. All the nuts and bolts. The ultimate finisher move. The.

But wait, lad! Pull the brakes a bit! Have you made any research first?
Yes, making a character is awesome, but creating your first character can, and most likely will, be rather exhausting.

A character often contains lots of things to make it unique.
At the bare minimum, your character might have just sprites and that's it. Vanilla bundles a few of abilities you can use, after all.
But sometimes... you want to make your character more unique than just using what the game comes with. Maybe you want your character to do some funny move or some strange mechanic?
This will then introduce you to having to learn a new, potentially your first, scripting language: Lua.
Then you might even want to have custom sounds, which on top of all this, now you tack on "learn how to add sounds to the game".
Then maybe you want custom music? Or HUD elements? Maybe even bundle your own custom maps?
Not to mention learning the usage of one or multiple tools...

Does this sound daunting to you already? It should, because you're most likely not thinking ahead.
For example, I've seen users struggling to learn Lua, as this is their first massive hurdle they have to cross. I've seen some of these users be so adamant on creating their experiment that they essentially refuse to do something else, and eventually give up as they can't progress past that. This is bad practice.

Do note that the community is not performing a race to see who can make the most groundbreaking mod in the whole forum, nor who can forcefully raise the minimum quality bar.
You have plenty of time to sit down, grab your favourite drink and snack, and start tackling every single aspect of modding one by one.

Let's begin with some points you might want to keep in mind:

> You are in a community!
We're happy to help!
This message board has different places you can go to to request for help.
We also have our own Discord server with different modding channels for whatever you wish to do!

> You are in a community, but...
We are happy to help, indeed. But we aren't a charity...
What I mean by that is that we expect you put your own effort into it. Not everyone knowledgeable on a subject has the time and patience to dedicate their time exclusively to you or make things for you. If someone does, congratulations, you found an unicorn! Treat them well or else.
Some of us don't mind helping out with an aspect of your grand mod provided you do your part as well (for example, one makes the sprites of a character while the other scripts it, one makes the textures for a map and the other puts it together in a map, you get the idea).
This is mostly why sometimes you may be requested to show what have you been doing when you claim you are going to create a something.

An example of bad sportsmanship is this:
Asking a lot for help with scripting is acceptable. After all, hey, you are learning, you don't get to know everything straight away.
What is not good is when you start asking for someone to handhold you through the entire script, for example "How do I make a loop for X?", doing no research about it and then waiting for someone to actually write you a snippet that does what you want. Then repeat for the next step.
This is rather annoying. Avoid this whenever possible.

> Get acquainted to SLADE
You will be using this tool for most of your modding trek, as this is the go-to tool for WAD and PK3 creation and editing.
Learning this particular software should be your very first step into SRB2 modding.
Make sure it is properly set up so it is easy to use: Set up the base resource (srb2.pk3), and if you want, also set up the Run window, so you can launch whatever edits you make near immediately.
Be it to put the mod together, shuffle things around or to use the built-in text editor, get used to most buttons it has to offer.
You never know when you need to YouLost TheGame, so it would be wise to at least know where it is.

Play around with the interface. Create a new WAD/PK3 file and se how much stuff can you add to it, maybe even press ever- actually no, just press most buttons. Maybe even open up an existing mod and get a feel on how some of the tools interact with each file within the mod.
You pressed something wrong and SLADE doesn't launch anymore? Uninstall it then reinstall it again lol

Get the latest stable version of SLADE. Beta software may introduce something useful, but as the name implies and the beta description makes explicit, these features are often unfinished, and the program may contain bugs and other sorts of annoyances.

We have a wiki, isn't that exciting?
About everything that has to do with SRB2 modding can be found here. The documentation is all here.
If you already have a background in programming, you can also check out the source code and cry blood!

Note that you don't need to learn it by memory, we're not high school cringe. Keep as many open tabs as you need, switch back and forth through every tab to find what you need, use the search tool that hopefully your web browser has and the search tool that I know the wiki has. It's helpful!

Also there's the Character Creation tutorial in the wiki, you might be interested in it.

> Start small.
Trying to rush the hardest thing you could possibly think of making is the worst idea you could muster.
It works for some people, but chances are it doesn't work for you.

Start small! Create some small mods to test your skills and knowledge.
A character involves both spriting and scripting. Maybe even mapping if you're thinking of making your own map for your character, but this last one is not part of the scope of this letter.
So why not learn a single aspect at a time?
Want to learn to sprite? Replace enemy sprites with your own. Replace about any sprite in the game with your own. Maybe even the textures. If you're also learning to script, make a massive object that covers the entire screen! Screw around with sprite offsets, see how horribly off-center the sprites get. ...I don't really have much for this, I am not an artist. :devastation:
Want to learn to script? Learn how to thrash the player around. Create new console commands. Learn how to spawn a few objects around. See how many insults can you print to the console. Check what while true do end does and then complain that it freezes the game. Spawn explosions at every turn. Create new objects!

You get the idea? Anything goes! Just practice, and experiment!
It doesn't have to make sense, nor something that doesn't exist already, nor do you have to share it around. Just have fun! That's mostly where motivation comes from, anyways!

> Experiment. I mean it!
Learning how things glue together can't just be done by reading about it: You actually have to put practice into it.
Again, practice by creating small mods. Read the documentation and see what do you find that sounds cool, then try using it in a separate mod file.
You will almost certainly fail to use it right for a few attempts, but you will eventually figure how to use it right!

Players have a lot of parameters, objects have a lot of parameters, there are a lot of functions at your disposal that do different things.
Go haywire, break the game!

> Don't rush.
The documentation and the community are going nowhere.
Besides, it is pointless to compare yourself to the ever moving goalpost that is the "best mod" in SRB2.
There isn't a "best mod", okay no I lied there can be, but you mustn't focus on getting there just yet.
You are learning to get somewhere, after all!

> Don't compare your own work with others.
When starting out, it is a given that what you make might not be in par with what others with years of experience can do.
So? Nobody really cares how you do it, as long as effort is being pushed into your work. Do your own best, learn from it, and move your goalpost reasonably!

> TL;DR.
This post boils down to basically everything in text size 6.

Start small, experiment, and work from there.
Don't start with the massive main problem in front of you; work with small problems, learn from them and get enough insight to get rid of the main one.
You have documentation, use it.
You are in a community, don't ignore it.
And most importantly, have fun!

Oh yeah, that's because SRB2Kart's characters are mostly comprised of sprites and vanilla stats. Characters with scripted mechanics tend to break the balance of the game, so those aren't seen very commonly, if at all.
Therefore, Kart characters generally involve just the sprites they're composed of, a name, some stats, probably a few things I forgot... and that's about it!

On top of that, in comparison with SRB2, Kart characters have overall a smaller workload. There is even a piece of software that significantly cuts down the process by (potentially?) removing the SLADE middleman and filling in the gaps for a set of sprites (squish, idle engine vibration, mirroring some sprites, copying some sprites...) - take the kartmaker oven premix, stuff everything you've made into it, bake for 5.3 seconds and you get a fresh character_pie.WAD.
You might not even need to use SLADE since the software already bundles it in a WAD for release.

However, nothing is stopping you from making your character use the power of scripting...

Thanks to Charyb for proofreading it and giving me some input. I fixed some typos and made some sentences not sound über-hostile. :welcometoreleases:
Post will be edited multiple times to change phrasing of things if need be.
(10-oct-21: Rephrased intro and some other stuff)
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never knew, though honestly it makes sense! It's true so it cant stop running, and its doing nothing in that time, boom infinite freeze.
I am not doing a character, but I can say for a fact that while statements are famous for causing infinite loops if not handled carefully (which applies to all languages that have an implementation).

Theoretically though, you can get more performance out of such a loop compared to an 'if' statement, but then we get to another practice in programming, which is get it working first, make it pretty later. Do not begin the optimization process until you have a working base to start from (or otherwise you won't have a reference to test against).
I don't know if this is the correct thread to post this, but well. I'm trying to create my first character, but when i try to open it in game it crashes with an error that says ''R_AddSkins: syntax error in S_SKIN lump# 0(S_SKIN) in WAD D:\ Downloads'' Some of you may please explain to me why this is happening?
The fact even i is stuck to the
WHY THE FUCK THAT LUA BECOMES A SOC state when i just edit a single line of code while i had fully understood how the fuck slade and srb2 handles it is fucking stupid
like everytime i go touch legit just touch the lua file it becomes a fucking soc
and me who is already a quiche to lua (legit cant even make a menu on roblox :/)
it is kinda annoying
atm on my side when i draw like those fucking snicks like this one:
Yellow snick.png

its just my broke ass trying to do bigger stuff and go smaller and smaller till i get the good enough spriting skills
so sometimes ill make so facing snicks
sometimes like the one i shown
but i still cant pull it off when i go to small spriting
It was just the site doing an equivalent to Ctrl A

By the way, while you could extract a pk3 file (pk3 files are just renamed zip files)... it's kind of irrelevant to the thread starter.
This is just for telling newcomers to avoid making character mods as the first thing they do, not to explain how to take files from zip files.

Also you usually want to use SLADE to do things with (Doom) pk3 files instead of a zip manager, since it's suited for Doom stuff.
Well, it depends.

SLADE bundles a bunch of Doom specific tools (for viewing graphics in raw Doom format (flats or gfx), or listening to sounds in Doom format (which aren't being used much tbh), for converting graphics and making last minute edits, for mass renaming with a particular format, for sorting entries in an arbitrary way instead of being forced to have it be alphabetic, and a bunch of other ones if you're actually playing Doom), plus you can screw with the assets right then and there and instantly press a button to run the game, but the UI can be a little weird if you're not used to it.
Of course, making sprites, music and whatever else must be done with external tools anyways since SLADE isn't exactly designed for that (for now?).

Conversely, using solely whatever file explorer you use means you'd be at home, but you would be missing several useful features for modding (see above).

However, while typing this, I just remembered that 2.2.10 features the ability to load a folder instead of a packed mod :knuxsmug:
You can have the best of both worlds by laying down all the files and folders in some directory. Since SLADE can open directories as an archive, you can have both your file explorer and SLADE play around with all the files in that folder. From there you can make changes directly with whatever tools you want and do SLADE things almost immediately without having to repack things again.
You lose the ability to order entries though, but shouldn't be too bad of a tradeoff.
The SRB2MB is an English-only forum.
puede pasar el link de discord por favor
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El hecho de que incluso yo esté pegado a la
POR QUÉ COÑO QUE LUA SE CONVIERTE EN UN ESTADO SOC cuando solo edito una sola línea de código mientras había entendido completamente cómo lo maneja el puto slade y srb2 es jodidamente estúpido
como cada vez que voy a tocar legítimo solo toque el archivo lua se convierte en un puto soc
y yo que ya es una quiche a lua (legítimo ni siquiera puedo hacer un menú en roblox :/)
es un poco molesto
cajero automático de mi lado cuando dibujo como esos putos snicks como este:View attachment 56148
es solo mi roto tratando de hacer cosas más grandes e ir cada vez más pequeño hasta que obtengo las habilidades de salpicaduras lo suficientemente buenas
así que a veces enfermo hacen que se enfrenten a las risas
a veces como el que mostré
pero todavía no puedo sacarlo cuando voy a una pequeña salpico

como ocupas ayuda con los sprites?
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can you give discord link please
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how do you occupy help with sprites?
You're in a message board where all members share the same common language: english.
Please speak english so everyone can understand you.
I translated your message to english the best I could.

SRB2's Discord server invite is in the main homepage. Look at the sidebar.

No idea what do you mean with the last sentence though.
You're in a message board where all members share the same common language: english.
Please speak english so everyone can understand you.
I translated your message to english the best I could.

SRB2's Discord server invite is in the main homepage. Look at the sidebar.

No idea what do you mean with the last sentence though.
sorry was not my intention

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