Alt Mod Idea: Crowd Control

15th January 2012

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

How people behave in small groups and large groups is very different from how they behave when they are on their own.

Even if you think of yourself as an intelligent and independent person you can sometimes find yourself manipulated.

The story I am about to tell you really did happen to me.

I was walking along Oxford Street in central London with a friend of mine. We passed one shop that had almost no doors and windows (they had folded them all into the side. In the back, on a raised platform, was a man selling electronic equipment. It was set up like an auction where he was shouting out the prices.

Once enough people were in the shop they closed the doors. Leaving was strongly discouraged.

Now, older readers will immediately know this is a complete con and even I knew that something was not quite right. He shows a product and sets a price and asks who wants it. Stuff like an MP3 player for 2 Pounds. Of course, he only has a few and the people at the front who get to “buy” these things all work for him.

It goes like this for a little while and then he says he has some special stuff and asks for 50 pounds. Now this was nearly 20 years ago and 50 pounds was worth more than it is today.

I was stupid enough to put my hand up. I was angry that I hadn’t got the cheaper stuff and wanted to get a bargain. Yes, I was being greedy. Now, when you get your “item”, you can even say you don’t want it and get you cash back. I received a SLR camera. Hell, I didn’t want or need a camera but I was so wrapped up in the feeling that I accepted it.

Only ten minutes after I left the shop did I realize how I had been cheated. 50 pounds wasted on a camera but a good life lesson.

My apologies for the long intro but I wanted to give a real and personal example.

Now, this idea revolves around YOU manipulating a crowd. There are two ways I see this mod working:

The Speaker

You are on a pedestal, facing about a hundred people. The setting and context are not important. Your objective is to get them to start a march towards something. You have hand and arm gestures and speech. You select these from some sort of drop down menu.

The crowd reacts to each gesture and sentence. It’s the combination of these that determines whether you control them or they just walk away.

In the crowd

This is a little harder because your interactions are more passive than the speaker. You can move to various parts of the crowd and push a little, cheer, boo, say a few things, some positive, some negative.

With careful observation of the crowd; body language, facial expressions and verbal expressions you can see what they are feeling and help them along. Move too early and some will think you are leaving and do the same, move to late and you have lost the chance to manipulate them.


This mod is all about the coding. It would need a talented person who would implement some sort of algorithm that allows slightly different responses each playthrough.

To be honest I don’t know how feasible this idea would be, but I thought I would present it here, just so we could talk about it and even refine it. Might make a nice portfolio piece for somebody.


  1. rob

    delving into the field of sociology phillip?

    1. Yes, I think it might be fun. Could even be part of a regular game where you need to escape from a group chasing you. Hide in a crowd and then move them to your will.

  2. It’s a interesting idea… be redic hard to code tho.

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