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The LT Mod School

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:02 am
by Hyperion
So now that the LT Mod format is in a pretty solid shape, it seems prudent to figure out how to teach people of varying skill levels how to start modding , here's my initial outline for a possible system:

Part 1: Making the sausage
For different mods, record tutorials and walkthroughs of how it was done.
A catalog of different functions and snippets of code with an explanation of what it does and examples of how the snippet CAN be used

Part 2: Training Wheels
Training modules,
Fill-in-the-Blank pieces of LT code from different mods
Modules give simplified objects and code snippets for the learner to play with
Play in the modules is limited to value changes and selections to eliminate chance of syntax error, the limitations are an overlay which can be turned off

Part 3: Taking Flight
For each training module,
Create Challenge problems to turn those simplified objects into a defined goal object
Create challenges where the goal is selected semi-randomly

Part 4: Writing your Reality
Give Full complexity objects and mods to play with
Show full and thoroughly commented code in background window at all times, comments appear as tooltips when editing the relevant section in the main window
Create challenge problems to make specific changes to the given objects and mods
Have vaguely defined challenges to turn one of the given objects/mods into something else, learner accomplishes this however they like
Links to community help forums with a section for each vague goal, so learners can teach each other.

Part 5: Monthly mod Challenge
Much like the LTFC, a challenge could be given each month for anyone to take a crack at. The challenges could be broad, allowing people to approach it in whatever way they like, or narrow but difficult, trying to get a specific kind of result.

All 5 parts would be open and available to everyone at any time, but parts 2 and 3 are to help people who don't know how to code learn that as well, while part 4 is for people who have gone through 2 and 3 or those who can already code but aren't familiar with the mod format.

So, thoughts? suggestions?

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:46 pm
by vector67
Yes, this sounds like an excellent plan. I assume this will be a mod that is made, that supports teaching mods?

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:49 pm
by Talvieno
That's an excellent idea! Can admins attend too? What about regular users? :ghost:

(More seriously)

I think it's an excellent idea. :P A lot of it will probably be covered in the docs Josh puts together about "how to mod LT", so that will ease a lot of the burden. I'll handle any mod competition, if we decide one is merited. The rest will be pretty easy to sort out too. :thumbup:

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:09 pm
by Hyperion
Josh, Adam, and Lindsey will definitely be the goto people for initial guides, and would have to provide the 1.0 Vanilla catalog of functions and help teach us how to start it, and though not a requirement, if you 3 think this is a good idea as well, it might be worth it to try making a simplified training module for a bit of existing code, maybe the Reticle? Maybe starmap generation? Just to test the feasibility and see what making a training module for a mod will actually require.

But more broadly, My thoughts are for a system that will allow any modder to quickly make a tool for explaining how to manipulate their code so people can play with different settings/parameters in the mod and get real-time feedback on what their changes are doing. I'd like to see a training system so simple my 5 year old nephew could make his own mods.

As for the mod challenge, i would say that it shouldn't be a competition in the sense that there are winners and non winners, though competition is a good motivator, and public recognition of outstanding work is a prize in itself, but that the challenges are more for educational purposes, getting people to expand their modding skillsets in perhaps unanticipated directions and become more familiar with different areas.

So for example
February will be Chinese New Year, it will be year of the dog. If the mod challenge is a broad interpretation of chinese new year, good entries might be making ships that look like dogs, developing shaders that look like Jade and porcelain, lining warplanes with paper lanterns, or whatever broad interpretation of Chinese New Year the particular modder has in mind.

If the mod challenge is narrowly defined, such as Let's make LT Mobile, then good entries might be adapting fighters for touch/voice commands, making Mesh network team formation so you can play the Great Space Race Mod with your friends, and so on.

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:59 am
by Flatfingers
Outstanding, as usual.

Question: any value in a Part 0: Learning LuaJIT?

Tutorials to help people of differing skill levels come up to speed on the coding language to be used in LT would seem pretty useful. Knowledge of this language would seem to be a prerequisite for understanding how to modify the LT-specific features that Josh & Co. build.

And if Lua/LuaJIT is pretty close to LT's scripting language, it's worth noting that this training (and early knowledge sharing) is something we could get started on right now.

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:10 pm
by Silverware
Learn by doing.

Expect a basic knowledge of what an if statement is, how boolean logic works, and what variables are.
These can be learned elsewhere, we are not teaching utter newbies how to program, we are teaching people how specifically to build mods in Limit Theory.

We can however provide links to the more basic tutorials.

We provide a reference API document with every function in the language that's in LT, and every piece of LT that is finalized.
We should also provide documents showing how and why pieces of the core vanilla experience are coded the way they are.
This should cover all the things we need to show people both how and, more importantly, why things are the way they are.

If we can twist Joshes arm, we can get him to sit down and explain some of his decisions and then incorporate that into the documents.

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:57 am
by Flatfingers
"How To Code" is probably outside of what JoshCo might offer.

But links to LuaJIT tutorials they found useful... that seems like something it wouldn't hurt to provide.

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:56 am
by Hyperion
I would have to agree, teaching the absolute basics of coding isnt really something the Mod school would be for, though it would be fine for there to be links to additional resources, and if someone felt so inclined, they could make a code-teaching mod I guess.

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:58 pm
by Flatfingers

Re: The LT Mod School

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:47 am
by Hyperion
That looks like a fantastic resource flat, thanks! I'll explore it myself when I get an opportunity :)