I have noticed in the past year that the overall quality of contraptions has declined severally. It seems some people think if they make ANYTHING, that it should be posted. This is a section that you post something to brag about, or to show off and frankly a few PHX plates welded together is not something to brag about. Contraptions should show signs of quality and effort and be loaded with detail or something unique.
Now, I’m not just going to rant about how this section has degraded but, I’m going to tell you how to possibly restore it. Restoring the contraptions section would not be that hard… well for some it might , but for the most part it would be easy. There are a few simple steps to increase you contraptions “Awesome” factor and give you more gold stars.
Keep in mind these are suggestions!
PhoeniX - I know what you’re going to say “PhoeniX is a very useful addon, it can be used when normal props do not fit…” but that’s the fun of building, finding a prop that fits that ISN’T a custom prop. Not to mention a contraption made entirely out of PhoeniX is ugly as hell. However there is a place for PhoeniX. PhoeniX is -in my opinion- very useful for precision work, such as an engine, a clock, or anything that requires gears and train wheels. A general rule of thumb, try to avoid custom models.
Wire - Wire can enhance a contraption ALOT… but you need a contraption to enhance. What I’m saying is do NOT post a plate with wire attached to it and say its god’s gift to the world. Instead take the extra time to make a contraption that compliments the wire accessories. BUT! If you use wire please set wire width to 0 unless you are going to route the wires along the contraption with right click. If you do have a wire heavy device, post it here http://www.wiremod.com/forum/contraptions-saves/, they made a forum for a reason you know.
Thrusters and Hoverballs - contrary to popular belief these can work in small numbers. Since hoverballs and thrusters use a power to weight ratio, increasing their weight will increase the power. So instead of using 10X the amount of thrusters… use 10X the weight (on the thruster…)! This will decrease lag and increase the efficiency of your contraption. Also, the color tool’s alpha setting is your friend. A contraption covered in blue glowy balls and random thrusters never looks good. When you have finished your contraption, take the few minutes to make all the thrusters and hoverballs invisible.
A few random tips:
USE SHIFT + E!
Using this nifty little combo will not only straighten the prop your holding to a 45 degree angle, but it will improve the overall look of your contraption.
Not too many welds.
Welding everything to everything generally won’t improve the strength, but it will increase the lag. Instead weld everything to the props that are very heavy and in the centre. Then attach thrusters, hoverballs, wheels etc, to that heavy prop.
Never say never to no-collide.
In my experience you can never no-collide to much (Use some common sense though). Yes this somewhat contradicts my weld statement… but it beats a tornado of props that used to be that nice contraption you were testing out. Also, never ever use no-colide multi… this is the easy and fast way out that makes the ping soar.
SEnts, few and far between.
SEnts can really help your contraption out, whether it is life support for a space ship or the shuttle for a fighter. Although… posting a few fences and a life support monstrosity in the centre won’t get you good reviews. So use some SEnts… just don’t use JUST SEnts.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
Instead of making the “PhoeniX mobile version 16” try making an intricate / complicated contraption out of vanilla props. It can be more challenging at times but it’s better than a PHX box with wheels.
Tips about the Contraption Forum:
Never take someones contraption and “make it better” and post it, unless you have their permission. This also includes copying someones design.
Facepunch loves pictures and videos. When we enter a thread about your contraption, generally people expect some form of media to see and understand what you have created. What I am saying is when you make a thread about a contraption you made take the time to upload a few pictures showing it off. If that does not give it justice then make a small video displaying all of its features.
Brace for Impact.
If you post something, people are going to criticize it. They may hate it, they may love it but generally they will give suggestions on how to improve it. Try to take the advice but do not yell at the people that are trying to help you.
I do realize this does not apply to everyone, many contraptions that have recently come have shown lots of time and effort. Also if anyone has any tips that I may have forgotten feel free to share them.
Well I think that about wraps up my thoughts on this subject so i will give the floor to TomB332 to share his thoughts as well.