It’s cold out in the garage, the central heating is on the blink again, the harsh glare of a flickering flouro throws a pool of light onto your workbench and chases shadows up the walls; you’re just about to embark on your latest modyssey and thoughts of glory about being featured on the front page of bit-tech are filling your every waking moment.
You don’t have an idea yet. You’re at the genesis of…of…something. It’s the moment when the world slows down and the primitive modding instinct takes hold. The moment when you pick up the largest screwdriver you own and throw it into the air, slowly spinning it ever upwards end-over-end-over-end, as the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey fills the air around you. Oh the possibilities; oh the things that could be!
And then that very screwdriver comes down and hits you on the head. Ow! There’s no Newtonian revelation and no incredible case mod magically appears. Just a painful lump, that cold garage with its creaky, little workbench and a black well of despair opening before you. Why-oh-why-oh-why-oh-whyyyyyy!
Because you don’t have a plan! You crazy foo'!
A history of plans: Orac³ in 2003 (top) and WMD in 2004/5 (bottom)
Cliché #1: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
There is little doubt that the best modding projects in the world are the ones with the best planning. From idea to execution the modder knows exactly what they want to achieve, and the roadmap used to get from the idea to the finished mod is called planning. It might seem to be stating the obvious, but too often I’ve seen projects that have come to naught through poor (or no) planning, or from over-ambitious plans that leave the modder foundering (and often disappearing without trace from the forums). Many projects don’t even pass the planning stage – consigned to the realms of the ‘vapormod’.
To assist those who find planning a struggle, I have put together some points to consider when planning your next creation, from the initial idea, to plans you use when you’re out bashing metal in the workshop. But before you plan, you need an idea…