Replies: 9 (Who?), Viewed: 47156 times.
Née whiterider
retired moderator
Original Poster
#1 Old 30th May 2011 at 1:54 AM
Default Creator Guidelines Overhaul
Hello creators!

As some of you may have noticed, over the past couple of weeks we've been completely redoing the Creator Guidelines pages. I know the Guidelines aren't always popular: they serve a very useful purpose, and contain a lot of useful info and links to useful info, especially for newbie creators. They also let creators know what we're looking for in the moderation queue, so that uploading here isn't a game of Russian roulette - or lucky dip, whichever metaphor you prefer...

However, they have also often been very cumbersome, and overwhelming. There's a lot of information which is repeated in multiple sections, because it applies to multiple sections - but that means that creators who have previously uploaded to one section and want to move to another have had to look through all of that info again, just in case something is different. There have also often been times when we've changed a rule or a policy, but some parts of the Guidelines have been omitted when we go to update them, which has resulted in them being out of sync and inconsistent.

In an effort to change this, and make uploading here a less daunting task, we've completely re-done the format of the Guidelines, as well as made some nifty technical changes which make them easier for us to manage.

The major changes are:

Dropdown Sections
One of the biggest problems with the old Guidelines was that they really were a huge wall of text. There was a reason for this, though - while few creators have ever got everything on the big list wrong all at once, all the items on the list are things that are frequently got wrong by someone. We don't want people to be given a couple of lines of guidance and then be left to make mistakes on their own, nor do we want any requirements to only become apparent once an upload is in the queue and is getting changes required or, unfortunately, rejection messages. But at the same time, we know that the wall of text can seriously put off creators.

So, we've come to a compromise. The new Guidelines are in a much more compact format. Each item on the Guidelines is now a box, containing a short header, which explains very briefly the requirement - for example, "Good default colours", "No pay content in screenshots", etc. If the header is unclear, if you've no idea what it's talking about, or if you just need a reminder, you can click "More info" to get a dropdown, containing the full length explanation, complete with any pictures and links to tutorials.

We hope this will create a balance between providing as much information as possible for creators, and providing it in a format which is easy to read, and not too confusing or overwhelming for newbies.

Section-specific Markers
We always like to encourage creators to push their limits and learn new skills, so we're always very happy to see a creator venturing into a new area of modding. However, doing so is made more difficult by the old Guidelines, and the fact that so much information is repeated. An experienced creator doesn't need to be told that they need to mark the EP requirements for their upload, or that their screenhots need to be at least 800x600 pixels - but they may need to be told, if they've never uploaded, for example, a lot before, that TS3 lots should have both the furnished and unfurnished price included in the upload text. In the past, there were really only two options - re-read everything, or just skim over it and hope you don't miss anything important.

We want to remove this obstacle, so we've marked section-specific items with an asterisk (*).

That means that if you're a complete newbie, you should still read everything - but if you're an old hand and you just need to know the requirements which are specific to this particular type of upload, you can easily pick out the items on the list which have a marker next to them, and know that those are the ones you want to be reading. We're planning to replace the asterisk with a small graphic soon, so it'll be a little more eye-catching.

This is a technical thing which is mostly for our benefit, but will benefit creators too. Previously, the Guidelines were technically very simple - just text. Now, the common items - i.e. those not marked with a section-specific marker - are templates, meaning that we have one page which just contains, for example, the "Zip, rar or 7z" item, and when we edit that one template page, all the Guidelines pages will be updated automatically. Apart from being a lot easier on mod fingers, this means that it will no longer be possible for different areas of the Guidelines to contain conflicting information.

New Front Page
We have a fancy new portal page for the Guidelines. It's pretty! It's also a lot neater and better-looking than the old one, and thus makes it easier to find the right section.

Most of the sections of the Guidelines are updated now, including all of the Sims 2 sections. There are a couple which are still using the old format - they'll be converted shortly! For an example of one of the new pages see MTS2:Creator Guidelines/Sims 3 Lots and Houseswiki - and if you want to see how it looked before, click here. I think you'll agree that it's a huge improvement!

Happy simming, all - and I hope you're suitably excited about Generations coming out in a few days' time. Screw the age stuff, I want the spiral staircase .

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
7 users say thanks for this. (Who?)
Meet Me In My Next Life
#2 Old 30th May 2011 at 4:22 AM
This make things when uploading items very clear and really simple with this revised format. I think even if you think you are an onion or carrot head, if you just take your time and read all correctly and follow the guide lines and steps that fit your uploads there should be no problem.

"Nothing in life is a Surprise it just happen to come your way at the time".
#3 Old 30th May 2011 at 7:24 PM
This is such great news. I really like the new look and the drop down list. Even though I've uploaded some things in the past I'll re-read everything before my next upload - just in case... - You MTS folks must have spent endless hours to redo the Creator Guidelines. Thank you for all the hard work. The new Creator Guideline is highly appreciated.
Née whiterider
retired moderator
Original Poster
#4 Old 30th May 2011 at 7:32 PM
lol, well you don't need to re-read it - we haven't changed much in terms of content, just the wording of some things. It's the format which is the focus of this change.

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 31st May 2011 at 3:56 AM
Great news! Thank you!
I love the new look. Now it will be easier for new creators, awesome!

BRAINSTRIP | The media lab.
#6 Old 31st May 2011 at 6:08 PM
I like how you separated everything, it will make it easier to find what info you need.

Love will humiliate you and hate will cradle you.
Jealousy would be far less torturous if we understood that love is a passion entirely unrelated to our merits.
Forum Resident
#7 Old 2nd Jun 2011 at 2:09 AM
Great job! This encourages me to do some more creating. Being an old lady, I sometimes forget the details and having to search for the one thing I can't remember was a real pain. Thank you much! This will make it much easier for me and everyone else.

Sometimes the Dragon wins and I AM the Dragon!
Test Subject
#8 Old 2nd Jun 2011 at 4:23 PM
Waoooooooo I like this new look
#9 Old 2nd Jun 2011 at 4:28 PM
This is great news to hear; the Creation Guidelines in the past have always been a little confusing and often cause some controversy in the community, I'm really glad that MTS has addressed this and now it's much more clean, lean, and easier to use

BodyShopped /// ShoofleedSims
♦ // Jack.exe // ♦
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