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PC Games (Games) Games

How PC Game Modders Are Evolving 98

Lanxon writes "Wired has a lengthy investigation into the state of PC game mods, and the amateurs keeping the scene exciting in the wake of draconian DRM placed on many PC titles by major studios. It highlights a number of creative modders, such as Scott Reismanis, founder and editor of Mod DB, and his community-driven alternative to Valve's Steam — Desura — which is 'a distribution system, and, like Steam, will sell games and champion indie titles. But the way it handles mods makes it even more exciting.'"
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How PC Game Modders Are Evolving

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  • by shawn(at)fsu ( 447153 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:38PM (#32260438) Homepage

    My nephew wants to start doing game modding (He actually wanted to make maps for a halo title but it looks like you need one of the expensive 3d molders). What would be a good title to get him that has a good sdk? is source sdk still a popular path?

  • by Winckle ( 870180 ) <> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:59PM (#32260558) Homepage

    Source SDK absolutely. Get him a copy of TF2, which will come with Valve's Hammer software. Valve are quite supportive of their community and highlight the best new community maps on their tf2 blog. There are also DVDs in valve's shop on how to create maps.

  • by fake_name ( 245088 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:59PM (#32260560)

    Grab the source SDK and have him make up a few Portal levels; it's quick and easy to start because you can make a bunch of box-like rooms and ledges. You don't feel bad that your levels are all rectangular to start, because that is how most of the actual portal levels are designed.

    And it's really fun to use portals to fling yourself around a 3D world that you created yourself.

  • Woa No gmod mention! (Score:2, Informative)

    by BlackBloq ( 702158 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:03PM (#32260578)
    This is a very lame shallow attempt at an article. They ask one guy who is a modder about a few things. No mention of Gmod for steam? What a joke! Gmod is way better than ANY system in place. My kid was modding to build a car out of parts of games he owns. Sliding box car doors, Giant looking people with small buildings! He got counterstrike for the new mods, buildt upon the parts of counterstrike. Last time he played G mod he made a sign , wrote "Fight Club" on it made a town square area for it and people joined and fought. Then the "cops" came (characters spawned as swat guys using the Cstrike Swat character models). Fun shit! Dedicated servers should be what PC gaming is about. They should just keep these games PC only. So to shut up the PC world they could have skipped it all together, hell they should have since there was no dedicated server. Games now are coming out with VASTLY superior editing kits. Check the new Starcraft game editor. One guy FPS'ed it one guy makes a racer, another a RPG...OUTTA STARCRAFT! The game companies just need to make the tools in house and not a wackjob hack tools splatter fest of tools the modders use. Then the mod is uploaded and put in the community like Gmod.
  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:05PM (#32260586) Journal
    If he likes Halo, try modding for Marathon, the older Bungie fps game. Or the Bungie Myth series.
    Both have free tools and active communities.
    The learning curve is interesting but fun can be had mapping and using textures in Marathon.
    freenode IRC network, #alephone for Marathon, [] for Myth.
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:49PM (#32260814)

    To the console player, it's incomprehensible!

    Not if the console's a PS3!

    After all, you download something from PSN. Then you click the little bubble to "install" it. Up pops an EULA you have to right-arrow through (easier than clicking next, but you still have to do it), then look at the pretty progress bar while it installs.

    If it's a system update, you click the update option (a la Windows Update), then it asks if you want to update with the new version, then it gives you a nice EULA. Press right again and it'll download and install automatically.

    Some games on Blu-Ray require installation as well, so you run the game, which starts the installer and more EULA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @12:09AM (#32260952)

    A lot of games have no supported install method. The player must manually copy replacement or new folders and files over -- if they are lucky. Mods for these games are typically packaged in a custom installer.

    Naturally, in the coming decade, as more and more games converge onto the same 3 or 4 different underlying engines, the modding process will be made ever simpler. Source is probably the finest when it comes to this, in that mods reside in their own exclusive directory, and can be non-specifically loaded from any one of the dozens of Source games.

  • Doom (Score:3, Informative)

    by Windwraith ( 932426 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @02:09AM (#32261524)

    I am amused no one mentioned Doom here, it is definitely a stepstone in game modding.
    True that most of that modding came after source ports were made, but making a Doom mod is a process that takes relatively little time, and has potentially good results with not much effort.
    There are mods that, using ACS scripting (a few kilobytes of human-readable code), change Doom gameplay radically. There are bigger mods such as ZDoom Wars (combining FPS + strategy) or All Out War 2: The Second Coming (a team based mod heavily inspired by C&C:Renegade) that put the fun levels up enough to make them "games on their own right" while running on the Doom engine.

    Current games never feel as easy to mod as Doom was, even games fully designed to be modded. Just the requirement of 3D modeling limits the possibilities for many potential modders. You can literally make fully featured and beautiful maps/mods in 24 hours.
    (And, despite kids in general being annoying in games, at times... give an annoying kid a very easy to mod game, and you might be surprised with the results. I only saw such a thing in Doom...and perhaps Dwarf Fortress)

  • by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:58AM (#32264438)

    There are things like Prop Hunt (already mentioned), Zombie Fortress [], etc... There are also frameworks for writing server mods for Source games, such as SourceMod [] (which in turn uses MetaMod: Source [] as a base). Zombie Fortress is built on top of Sourcemod.

    Honestly, though, if you really want to get into modding with the Source engine, consider getting Garry's Mod []. The catch is that Garry's Mod requires you to have another game on the list linked from its Steam Store page [] (which I can't access from work). I know Garry's Mod is also sold in several game bundles like Garry's Mod + Team Fortress 2 [] or Counter-Strike: Source + Garry's Mod []. It is not part of the Valve Complete Pack, as Garry's Mod is not actually by Valve. If you are going the TF2 route, wait a few weeks as it tends to get its price slashed in half (or more) around major updates, of which one is coming soon []... but that price cut is not always reflected in game bundles. Right now, half-price TF2 ($15) plus full price Garry's Mod ($10) is the same price as the bundle ($25).

    In theory, if you have any valid Source game on the list I mentioned earlier, you can make a mod that just uses the base game engine. This is what Garry's Mod is, despite that it is essentially a framework for writing other mods.

    The catch is that people wanting to play said mod also need to own the applicable game, or in the case of the Source engine, one game from the list.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.