Convince Strangers to Write Scripts for You!

Discussion in 'Non-Maker Specific Tutorials' started by modern algebra, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. modern algebra

    modern algebra Veteran Veteran

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    How to Convince Strangers to Write Scripts for You

    Purpose of the Tutorial

    Scripters, by and large, approach requests wanting to write a script for you. If your request fails to generate a response, you have not just failed to persuade a scripter to accept your request, you have actually persuaded him or her to reject it. The purpose of this tutorial is to teach you how to avoid common pitfalls and write a script request that is more attractive to the average scripter.

    Note: this tutorial should only be consulted after you have already searched exhaustively (see: Script Searching Tutorial)

    Don't Guidelines Already Exist?

    Yes. In the early days of RMXP, when scripting was still a new phenomenon in the RM-o-sphere, it quickly became apparent that there was a massive ravine between what information requesters provide to scripters and what information scripters require in order to fulfill a request. Nowadays, every major forum has tried to address this problem:

    However, and despite the use of heavy terms like rules, guidelines, and templates, I still commonly see requests that are both stupider and less adorable than a penguin trying to square dance, like:
     

    The prescriptive approach simply does not appear to be working, so I propose a principled approach to script requests: the purpose of this tutorial is to hopefully give some insight into how to think about your script requests through the eyes of the scripters you are hunting.

    Why does a scripter take requests?

    This is important because knowing why a scripter might want to take your request should give you clues as to what to include in a request, as you will see in later sections of this tutorial.

    To answer this question, it really requires some consideration of what a scripter's motivation is in taking requests. Since every scripter has different motivations, this is sort of impossible. Still, I think there are some general motivations that are true on some level for all scripters, and these are:

    • Fun - Scripters enjoy scripting; it's hard work, but it's very rewarding to see your creations come to life.
    • Inspiration - Scripters aren't always the most creative bunch. There are a lot of cool ideas out there that haven't become scripts only because no scripter has thought of it, and so looking through requests is a great source of inspiration when wanting to write a new script.
    • Altruism - Scripters are doing work for free; ultimately their goal is to make other people happy.
    • Facilitating Better RPG Maker Use - Scripters want to see their scripts used effectively in cool games.
    Of course, these motives overlap; it's usually a combination of all four, and as I said those are only general motivations. Individual scripters may have other motivations. And if you're offering to pay, then that usually trumps these other more noble impetuses, but this tutorial is designed for people who are not offering money, so we can disregard that for now. Keep this list in mind as you read the rest of the tutorial.

    Why might a scripter take my request?

    Obviously, if the list above were the only factors in deciding if a request is to be fulfilled, then all requests would have an equal chance of being fulfilled and no tutorials or guidelines are necessary. This is not the case. The requests that are most likely to be filled are ones that are designed to appeal to all of those motivations. As such, I will go over each and give specific tips on how to speak to that motivation. Keep in mind that these are neither exhaustive nor compulsory. Depending on the request, some may be unnecessary or there may be better ways to appeal to these rationales. These are just examples of the types of things you can do to appeal to these goals of the scripter.

    Fun

    • Don't give your scripter homework. Scripters have not played every game in existence, and you do your request an immense disservice whenever you write the words "like Random Game X." For every scripter who has not played Random Game X, that language is the equivalent of: "I am way too busy to tell you what I want. Go search Youtube aimlessly for videos of Random Game X until you stumble across what I'm talking about." You should only ever compare your request to a game to supplement a full description of the system you are requesting, or if you link to a short video that adequately demonstrates what you mean.
    • Describe why your script is cool. Don't just describe what you want the script to do - say why you want it and how the system will make your game more fun, more scary, more challenging, what have you. You want to excite the scripter; he or she should read your request and want to see your system in action.
    Inspiration

    • Describe your idea in detail. Don't leave anything to the imagination of the scripter. No one expects you to know exactly how the code should be written, but you ought to know how the player should experience the script. The scripter always has the ability and knowledge to enhance your idea and add in new options, but you should always let him or her know the minimal requirements of the script in detail.
    • Use visual aids. Mockups of graphical elements or videos showing the system in action in some other game are extremely helpful when a scripter is thinking about how to execute your idea.
    Altruism

    • Be respectful. Don't be rude, don't type in all caps, and don't get upset if nobody is responding. You are asking a stranger to do a favour for you, and any of those attitudes will convince the scripter that you aren't worth helping. When someone does respond, show gratitude.
    • Use the proper board. Scripters looking for a request will look in the Script Request Boards, and likely nowhere else. If you want your request to be seen, post it in the correct board. Links to the script request boards of the major forums is included in a spoiler at the end of this tutorial.
    • Pick a descriptive title. Your title is what any prospective scripter will see first, so you should use it as an opportunity for a good first impression. "READ ME" makes you look like a brat and "Script Request" makes you look like an idiot; neither has any descriptive content whatsoever. Your title should first be tagged with the maker ([VXA], [VX], or [XP], though this step is unnecessary if it is in a board exlusively devoted to one maker). Next you should be concise and descriptive. Instead of "System where items turned into other items," you could say "Crafting" or "Alchemy" or "Item Synthesis" or what have you.
    Facilitating Better RPG Maker Use

    • Advertise your game. If you can show that you are a competent game maker, then a scripter will be more likely to take your request because they know that their work will be used effectively. As such, a brief reference to the game you intend to use the script in can help, even if all you do is link to the game's topic.
    • Generalize your idea. While you should always clearly delineate the minimum capabilities of the script that you require, it can be a good idea to think of ways that the mechanics of your script could be expanded to serve a wider audience. Scripters want their scripts to be used, and so they will likely be more inclined to make a script that could appeal to 100 people than a very focussed script which could only ever help you. That said, be clear that it is only an option and not a required feature.
    • Use attractive formatting. By making your topic attractive, you signal to the scripter that your request matters to you, which means that his or her work will serve an important and meaningful purpose in your game.
    • Link to other scripts you are using. Scripters want to make sure that you can use the script they write for you. By letting them know what other scripts you are using and where to find them, they can take efforts to ensure compatibility. You don't need to leave every script; just ones that are very closely related to the request (in other words, if you want to add an option to the menu, you'd want to say if you are using any general menu scripts. You wouldn't need to share scripts that affect only the map or some other scene.)

    Why do some of those tips look familiar?

    Caught that did you? It's because they mostly correspond to all the rules, guidelines, and templates you have spent so much of your RM life ignoring. My hope is that by tying each tip to the motives that scripters bring to viewing requests, you will begin to realize that those rules are not just red tape to give moderators something to do, but are actually steel jaw-traps that paralyze a scripter long enough for you to convince them your request is worth fulfilling. In fact, following the specific rules set by the forum in which you make your request is also a gesture of respect which signals that you care about your request, so it is also a helpful thing to do.

    Now, you may think to yourself - time is precious, so why should I be spending all this time searching for and writing a script request? To that I simply remind you that it may take hours for someone to write a script; why should a stranger be willing to spend more time working on your game than you are willing to spend describing what you need? Frankly, they shouldn't and they won't unless you're very lucky. It is understandable that you might think scripters have all the time in the world when they write rambling and directionless tutorials teaching random strangers how to ask questions, but the truth is they don't; they are just sometimes overtaken by a skewed sense of priorities.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. Happy hunting!

    Addendum: Please do not be offended that I say nasty things about you in the second person. It is simply a writing style and is not any sort of comment on you personally. I am sure you are a lovely person. You probably drink tea and speak in a feigned British accent and that makes you alright in my books.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2013
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  2. Blade

    Blade Slicing~ Veteran

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    Felt like reading a guide on luring fishes to bait.
     
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  3. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    Yep, if I see "I want a system like abc in the game xyz" and no description of what that system actually encompasses, I will stop reading immediately and move on to the next topic. Whatever system and game that is, I can almost guarantee that I have not seen or played it, and I'm not going to do so JUST to write a script for someone. I figure maybe someone else will come along who knows what it is.
     
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  4. Skunk

    Skunk Melody Master Veteran

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    This was a good read, I think everyone should read this, as a mock guidline :)
     
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  5. Jens of Zanicuud

    Jens of Zanicuud "A rose, a rose... my sanity for a rose!" Member

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    To be honest, there's even a fifth reason scripters would help you:

    Stubborness:

    Someone will accept your request just to point out they are able to do that, while others don't.

    They actually accept your request if you state that "everyone else failed while trying doing this!"

    Sometimes I've had to do with "fellow" scripters like that... sigh...

    Fortunately, this is just a minor percentage among scripters and most of them (me too) belongs to the four kinds listed above ;)

    Jens
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2013
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  6. modern algebra

    modern algebra Veteran Veteran

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    I'm glad you all liked it :)

    As for stubborness, I think that would be better situated as an element of fun - some scripters like challenging themselves. Maybe some scripters seek status sometimes, but, though alliterative, that is a pretty insubstantial and unrewarding goal. I don't think there are many scripters who will only take a request to show that they are better than someone else.
     
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  7. Tsukihime

    Tsukihime Veteran Veteran

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    I typically only take requests that enhance the RPG Maker editor itself; the stuff that are categorized under "creator's tools" or "utilities" with no particular audience and provide generic building blocks that anyone can use in any type of project.


    So when someone makes a very detailed request that specifies exactly what they want for their system and must work with a whole list of scripts, while that would be a good request, it also suggests the script is probably only going to be good for one person and probably should look for someone to commission it.


    Of course, that is how I pick and choose what I want to do. If an idea is interesting, then I'd probably do it as well.


    Some questionable terms that people use are "simple", "easy" or "quick", especially when reading the details (if details are provided in the first place), it only shows that the requester either didn't think enough about what they want, or just think saying it's easy will encourage people to look at it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2013
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  8. modern algebra

    modern algebra Veteran Veteran

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    Yeah, I was a little uncertain whether to leave the tip about including other scripts you're using. On the one hand, it can be necessary when a person is using scripts closely related to the request (like a battle system when the person is requesting something related to battle). On the other hand, most scripts being used would be very unlikely to interact with the requested script, and seeing a long list of scripts to test it with may scare off some scripters (like me). I decided to add a caveat that only related scripts should be shared, though there may be some related scripts which a user wouldn't recognize to be related.

    Also, I had originally said to avoid words like "simple" because generally, most non-scripters can only poorly evaluate the complexity of a script request and it is often misused as a whiny way of saying "this should be so easy and you all suck for not taking this request!" On the other hand, requesters are able to tell whether they want the operation of the script to be simple, and then it is a helpful word as it circumscribes the amount and type of customizability appropriate for the script. In the end I decided not to caution against it since I couldn't think of a way to condemn the first use without unduly condemning the second use.

    My own preferred requests are ones that are challenging and/or math-heavy. I really hate making scenes and windows these days.
     
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  9. Tsukihime

    Tsukihime Veteran Veteran

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    That's a good point. I didn't think of simplicity as referring to the actual concept.

    I should probably at least read the request before judging it based on certain words in the title lol
     
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  10. Seriel

    Seriel Veteran Veteran

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    This just confused me more than I was before.
     
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  11. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    I don't understand why that would be at all confusing. Perhaps instead of just making a statement, you could indicate which parts are confusing, and someone could reword them for you.
     
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  12. Brillenpinguin

    Brillenpinguin Veteran Veteran

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    This is actually a problem I run into on other forums often. In the end you are just frustrated because people expect you to make them scripts without anything in return even though they could have just as well Google it.

    It's nice to see someone actually sat down and wrote a few lines about that.
     
     
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  13. GreenBanana

    GreenBanana Active Chain and Combo Input Skills plugin Veteran

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    Demanding that others persuade you sounds really selfish, especially when requests are made on behalf of the community.
     
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  14. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    Actually, that comes across as really selfish. Your tone seems to imply that all you have to do is "put it out there" that you want a script made, and someone should do it for you.

    That's not the case at all. And this applies to EVERY request, not just scripts, but resources, requests for help in the support forums, everything. You can make your request, but every single person who reads it has the choice to accept it or reject it. Not one person is under any obligation to do it for you. And if you take a glance through the script requests forums (or resource requests forums), you'll see there's no shortage of people asking for things. There are not enough hours in the day to do them all, so you are competing with others for our time, and we get to pick and choose which requests we will accept.

    So yes, you do have to persuade people to take on your request - you have to write it in a way that will make it appealing and interesting to the reader. The first post has a list of things you can do to achieve this - written by a scripter, who has obviously taken a lot of time to help everyone who reads it and who knows what kind of requests get actioned and what kind don't.


    Also, as you made it a special point, requests are never made on behalf of the community. They are made on behalf of the requester, who thinks "because I want it, everyone should want it" (which usually is not the case), so they say the community will benefit, as if that holds any weight at all. It doesn't. A request on behalf of an individual and a request on behalf of the community will get the same response from scripters, based on how much thought and effort the requester has put into their post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  15. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    @GreenBanana as someone who can't do anything himself except comming up with ideas for stuff I have to fully agree with
    Shaz . Your statement sounds rather selfish and with little regard to the fact that these people are doing you a huge favor (for free I might add unless commisioned ofcourse) and you are not the only one out there asking for stuff.

    Even if one would want to help each and every person on the forum there would be not enough time to do so and some ideas are better, or at least are more inline with what said scripter feels good about, then others. especially if a request you make is already out there but you just need to search a bit harder this can be very annoying.

    My advice to anyone looking for help with any part of game-making is this : Be respectful and grateful and realize that they are doing you a favor.
     
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