Mod Production Idea

20th August 2004

There is no doubt that the mod making community has some incredibly talented individuals. I think we would also agree that making a mod is generally a large commitment. I was thinking about this as I was voting in a poll at a now forgotten mapping website. So here’s the idea….

Firstly let’s assume two things:
1. You already have chosen an engine. (HL2 for argument’s sake)
2. The game will be a futuristic single player first person shooter (What else did you expect from planetphillip? Also the futuristic element gives more options more weapon, vehicles and items.)

Step one:
You start a competition, with a fanfare of publicity, for the best storyline and characters. The competition lasts for one month, after which time the judges (say three or five developers) announce the top few best entries. These entries are then voted for by the mod community. The winner is obviously used as the framework for the game. You wouldn’t look for anything too detailed regarding the character and other details at this point because they need to be developed by the community later on. You would also need to supply guidelines for the entrants to work with, otherwise the best stories may be unsuitable for the rest of the process.

Step two:
Based on the storyline and characters you start another competition for models and animation for each of the characters.

Step three, four and five:
Exactly the same as above but with weapons, vehicles and collectable items.

Step six:
The next step is to request maps/levels. This step will not be open to voting, so that there are at least a few surprises for the players.

Step seven:
The main team, which I’ll talk about in a minute, will then bring everything together and release the final version.

Finishing touches
The Main Team would probably consist of a handful of experienced mappers and coders. They may need to dot the Is and cross the Ts of the competition entries. Other aspects not yet mentioned include music, textures and general coding issues. The music and textures could easily be part of the competition.

Why bother?
This could be the perfect opportunity for amateur developers (AD) to showcase their creations without committing to anything more than their chosen entry. Not much different from the Make Something Unreal competition (See below) but it would be part of a complete mod.

The negatives
Well, firstly the challenge would be to get enough ADs interested. The Make Something Unreal competition obviously has prize money ($1,000,000!) to attract attention. Prizes and prize money would be good but if it’s publicized in the correct way then the kudos of having a winning entry may be enough. Thousands of AD’s are sitting in front of their computer as you read this tolling away for nothing but the pleasure of creating something cool. Secondly, balance would be a huge task. The best entries may not fit with each other. Some retails games often get the balance between elements wrong. I’m not just talking about firepower but theme related elements. Time scale may also prove difficult, it would be possible to have concurrent competitions running but you don’t want to rush it, nor do you want to stop versatile ADs from entering different steps.

It would be great to see what kind of game this would turn out because it would be based solely on what the players want. Unfortunately what they think they want might not be what they really want.

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