Poll Question 165 – How did you learn about mods?

28th March 2010

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

This is a really important question because I believe there are thousands of players who have never heard of mods and contacting them is very difficult.

Most of the newer players will have heard of them, probably through there friends or school mates, but what about older players, who just walk into a store and buy the game.

For me this is important because if we know where people find mods, we can focus on the other areas to try and introduce more.

I’m pretty sure I learned of mods via a printed magazine. In fact, I played Unreal Tournament from a demo on a magazine and learned that there were lots of maps available. That was the beginning of everything for me.

What about you?

The Poll


  1. Armageddon

    From my bro. He showed me hammer.

  2. Accidently. I did not know such things even existed back then. I was looking for more HL games like Blue Shift and Opposing Force. Googled half-life and found a download site, probably Moddb. Then Googled mod names and found more sites and ended up here at PP. Never looked back.

    1. I’ve re-read the question. I found out about HL from “PC Gamer” and bought the Sierra/Valve Disc. Same for OF & BS. Then I Googled.

  3. Talon

    I learned about mods accidentally as well. I think I got stuck on a part in Half-Life, did a Google search using “half life” as the keyword, and encountered the Ten Four web site. By reading the Forum and reviews there, I quickly learned about and began mass downloading every mod I could find. This was about ten years ago and only now have I slowed in my downloading habits.

  4. Zilly

    From messing around on steam store

  5. BillyH

    I learned about mods from a Wikipedia article, probably the one on Doom.

  6. AI

    I have to say for me it started back in 83/84 when I had contact with a BBS here in Minnesota! The BBS’s name was “The Vault” and was run by a guy that I worked with! I had no idea that he ran the BBS or what a good programer he was! So that was my start. 😉

  7. Da Fat Cat

    A friend told me about Gmod, so I looked it up and somehow found myself on the podcast17 site. So you could say that P17 is directly responsible for me being in the modding community…

  8. Count_de_Monet

    I started playing Doom 1.666 and immediately found about specialized sites and magazines providing mods, either online or as CDs. I think I have about all Doom I and II mods.
    Then, when switching to HL and HL2, I naturally went seeking for HL mods.

  9. Straven

    Bought the Valve/Sierra platinum collection and found Wanted and Maverick’s other mod (retribution?) and wondered if there were more like it. Found Moddb and then PP.

  10. I wanted to make games I looked for a way, then found about modding. Then it’s probably “from a dream or spiritual existence”.

  11. jgoodroad

    I first found out about custom maps when I was watching portal videos on youtube. I found one of a custom map…and that led me down the Rabbit hole…

  12. Way back in the day, I was playing CS and noticed some custom maps which lead me to want to make mods for games which somehow lead me to moddb. Where I joined a team and the rest is history.

  13. I had a glitch in my second playthrough of HL2, so went to the Steam forums. Ended up staying, and found out about mods from people there (it doesn’t hurt that Black Mesa was targeted to be released soon after that).

  14. First time I ever did an actual mod was making WAD’s for DOOM, but I had heard of ” hackers “, as they were known then making them earlier.

  15. Discovered existence of mods on French site Vossey but it’s on PP that I realized the huge quantity of existing SP maps and mods

  16. It all started when I found the Redemption and Wanted mods that came with the retail CS I got with my Platinum Half-Life collection. I didn’t find them initially but while searching for different game modes for CS, I ran across the mods. From there, I did a bit of research into what the add-ons were and stumbled upon the mod community.

  17. Zockopa

    Back in early `99 I read about a singleplayermod for Half-Life called
    “Dark Star” in a german hardware magazine. It was a very small article
    but they praised the mod as good as a retail addon mission.
    I had just finished Opposing Force as I remembered the article and at
    that time I finaly had access to the www (but no flat). I played the
    mod and was enthused in such a way that I sought for more – and a door
    opened… Up to that point I had no idea that for the most known fps a moding scene existed.

  18. I learned about it actually from an illegal copie of counter strike, Half life.. I was just a kid like 10 years old and the CD had mods like wanted, redemption, half life deathmatch, ricochet.. etc I didnt buy it, it was borrowed from a friend but.. illegal copies sucks! xD

  19. MASTER74

    It’s kinda funny… I learnt about mods reading PCGamer (late in the 90’s); I used to buy the magazine and I especially loved the content of the CDs, lots of demos and mods (back in those days I had crappy 56K Internet connection)… Old times 🙂

  20. Nrmartins

    I’ve learnt when Counter-Strike was clogging the lan houses in the region I live (South part of Brazil). Back then it was a fever. It begun with HalfLife 1. More than that I became avid of playing mods because I know well english and it’s a pasttime to me, aswell as other leisures.

  21. Well, the first time I had an experience with a mod was with “Wanted” and “Redemption” that came with CS 1.4 (which was a mod in itself). However, that was back before my serious gaming years and I thought those were professional add-ons. My real experience with mods came when I got my own copy of half-life and found out about half-life mods on some page on steam. I saw those mod names and wondered “How the heck do I get these mods?”. Then I figured out I can download them from the mod websites. My first mod was “Bread Bread”, which was awesome and still is. After playing that for a while, I got “Sven co-op” (also mentioned on the steam page I looked at), which has to be the mod of all mods.

  22. Senator33

    Looking for more to do with Duke Nukem 3D, I discovered maps and mods, and have looked for them now before buying any game.

    Its the key to the longevity of a good game.

  23. I had owned Half-Life 2 for several years before one day clicking on the “Tools” tab for the first time and seeing the Source SDK. I installed it, ran the program, visited the VDC for the first time, and the rest is history.

    I’ve been working with Hammer for a little over a year now.

  24. tattie

    Way back in the Doom days I found mods in the public domain section in a game magazine and sent away for the discs.

  25. k00pa

    Kinda hard to remember… But I think I found my first mods (I also created one) to lieroX 😛 On that game mods were actually pretty popular.

  26. BlueWolf72

    playing mods since 2000

    mod till ya die

    1. Yes, but how did you learn about them?

  27. Pedro The Swift

    wow,, The Vault,, that brings back memories,,
    first maps were probably Unreal,, Railroad Tycoon(‘s).
    I still play the Train music from the Platinum disc 😉
    Then quakes and dooms,,hundreds of Farcry maps.
    Then most of the above,,
    There are some VERY talented people out there.

  28. clunkfish

    I was stuck in Far Cry, googled for a walkthrough and accidentally discovered that there were Far Cry mods. I then googled for Half-Life mods and found Mistake of Pythagoras, which was the first I played. It was so good that since then I have spent a lot more time playing mods than playing new retail games!

    1. Interesting, if I remember right, Mistake of Pythagoras was the first mod I played for Half Life 2 too.

  29. Barnz

    Like MASTER74, PC Gamer magazine introduced me the mods in 90s. I didn’t have an internet connection, but I remember downloading single-player maps from a cyber cafe. I played a ton of Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, StarCraft, Dark Forces II, Quake/Quake II, Red Alert mods. I want to thank Russians for making mod discs.

  30. Grey Acumen

    I learned about mods before I ever actually bought a Half Life Game. It was one of the selling points that finally convinced my to lay down the money to buy Half Life and the Orange Box. As for how I learned WHERE to FIND mods… well, that was just basically months of arduous searching until I finally stumbled across Planetphillip, which I believe I found when I was looking for “The Trap” mod for Half Life.

  31. I think the first mods I used were for Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. Althoug it wasn’t really modding. Rather adding content from other users.

    If that doesn’t count, I first used mods in GTA San Andreas. A whole bunch of the, that even eventually broke my game harhar.

    I saw maps and mods for source and wondered how to install them and then I googled it and found out.

  32. LoneWolf65

    I took pc gaming very seriously (and got addicted)in 1998 when a friend of mine introduced me to the half-life and unreal series. At the time,I was a Mechwarrior fan.It was then easy for me to surf the web where I found mods & maps galore for a lot of games!

    My favourite is still the Half-Life series and my best site is definitely Planet Phillip.

    Have a nice day!

  33. ANonEntity

    I thought maps/mods come automatically, through Multiplayer, e.g. HL-CounterStrike.
    But it was FarCry that taught me that maps/mods can actually be manually downloaded, and FYI also at PP in those days………lol!

  34. I didn’t have access to the internet during my early days of gaming, until maybe about 2003. The PC Gamer magazine was my link to the world of gaming, and I got quite a few great mods from the CDs they would send with the magazine, including Dark Star and They Hunger, and Day of Defeat. I would go to my friends house, who was connected to the internet, and download all sorts of great mods, and burn them to a CD. I still have those CDs sitting around somewhere.

    1. Also forgot to mention all the other mods for games, like Quake and Doom.

      Those were the good ol” days. 🙂

  35. Woja

    I googled HL2 looking for some assistance and like Jasper, came across the Mod world – didn’t like the feedback and comments from many sites and tripped across yours – voila!

  36. sm69ny

    Anybody remember a site called Hangar 16? I remember learning about most HL mods there, and also on PlanetHalfLife.com back in the day. When Hangar 16 went bye-bye, I somehow found PP… and the rest is history.

    1. Barnz

      Yes, I remember Hangar 16. It was a great site. There were mod previews, interviews, and more. Ten Four is also a good alternative. I never liked ModDB, to be honest.

  37. SPY-maps

    i learned about mods (or actualy maps and mappacks) about 10 years ago when I started to map myself. untill a few years ago I never spoke of mods in fact, I named them maps or mappacks.

    but its true, there will be loads of people that don’t know about maps and mods for download, a real shame indeed.


  38. The Dias

    Not entirely sure, but I remember that one of the first things I remember seeing of Half-Life was a friend of mine playing Gmod some time around 04-05. I think he explained what it was.

  39. Archaic

    i found the NS page on steam, which forwarded me to unknown worlds, whose download link forwarded me to moddb.

  40. benw2492

    I also learned from the freebies packaged with CounterStrike like Redemption.

  41. rumrunner

    My younger brother introduced me to half-life and had some afew single and multiplayer mods such as uss darkstar redemption.After finishing them I found hangar 16 and then Planet phillip and mod database.Got all HL series on steam now makes it easy to install and play mods.

  42. Herr_Alien

    In my case, I heared first about mods through http://www.planetavp.com. It was through their reviews for maps, skins and mods.
    However it was reading http://www.planetavp.com/derelict/ and http://www.planetavp.com/modmaker that got me into both modding and into playing mods.

  43. tungsten

    i first discovered mods on the pc gamer discs,then stumbled into hanger 16 which is now a thing of the past plus,city17.ru came on the scene although in russian you could make out different mods to download

  44. Statora

    I seriously can’t remember when I learned about mods, it must of been when I was introduced to counter-strike by my mates in 2000, oh sven coop I played that ages ago that was it. I only started getting interested in mods with stalker though and then there was that slashdot post about korsakovia which made me play it. That was a good first half-life 2 mod to play as it was so fresh and I have never been so disturbed and horrified by a game (most “horror” games today seem to just shock you a little and never actually horrify you). Since then i’ve been playing all the weird ones (except half-quake, bugger that) and enjoying then immensely.

  45. ThePengu

    I learned about Garrys Mod from listening in on a conversation between to friends. It seemed interesting so I downloaded it.

  46. Michal

    If I don’t count retail CS in HL Generation package, first time I heard about mods was, when I lended HL to my friend and he discovered, that there is something like “Custom game” in the main menu.
    Then I played few preinstalled mods (Wanted,Redemption…), then I started to search for more mods and found page http://hosting.cecak.cz/forum-modifikace/hl1/ , former http://www.modifikace.cz/ . There were more life before and you were able to order a CD with mods (or download them, but not for all were download links). This site also linked to another mod sites, among others PlanetPhillip.

  47. Bob

    As an old guy (54) I learnt about modes back while playing Doom 2 (or Quake 2?). I’d visited some site to find a walk-through (or cheat code) and saw a post regarding single player add-on maps made by other players. That pretty much did it for me. I sure wish that folks would stop making these damn things as I’d really like to get some time away from the computer and take part in real life. I’m gonna be in serious trouble next year when I retire.

  48. Bombardment

    I learned about mods from a friend in college. He introduced me to Half-Life and Rocket Crowbar. We used to play Rocket Crowbar on the Turkey Burgers (Rats) map. I then found planetquake.com and planethalflife.com and played just about every mod released for those games. It’s harder to keep up with mods now-a-days.

  49. RustySpannerz

    I was messing about in Steam, and I found the SDK. And I looked up tutorials, and then found custom maps, and mods.

  50. Hemuuuli

    I modded games before I knew it was called modding. It started with boardgames but quicky moved onto computer games when I got more expereince. I just enjoyed modifing games as a kid. Later I read them about magazines and when I got internet I really got into modding and game making in general.

  51. Dorgles

    A while ago I wanted to play half-life with a bro, and he linked me to sven coop, so Id say option B

  52. Anon_219649

    It all started when I was looking for a new FPS game to buy about a year ago. I found this game set called “Orange Box” with a 9.5 rating and 5 games included for $20. The best game purchase I ever made. After I played all the OB games I found Phillip’s site on Google and his catchphrase “Finishing Half Life is just the beginning.”

  53. tundra_cool

    The WorldCraft beta installer on the original Half-Life disc.

    1. And look where it lead you; a Level Designer at Gearbox! Way to go.

  54. Ian

    I used to read a magazine called PC Format in the UK and it used to put mods on its cover disc. The magazine I get here in America is PC Gamer and their cover disc is crap, they only put demos on it. PC Format got me hooked on mods for Half Life and its magazines like that one that probably helped a lot of developers.

  55. Osbo

    Back in the Doom days, there was a level editor (I believe it was DoomEd or something), and I used to spend a lot of time on it. My parents also owned a furniture store and I explored using it for Interior Design previewing, based on provided floorplans – little did I know Unreal would be marketing their engine the same way.

    1. Sounds like you were ahead of your time.

  56. BayTheMoon

    I got a bit of a shock when I originally discovered mods. I couldn’t believe the range and quantity of them. Many better than the original! What a superb way to give people the opportunity to display their talents as coders/designers/thinkers

  57. Rikersbeard

    I learnt about mods through adding aircraft to ‘microsoft flight simulator” and adding new environments, airports etc. All free! This opened my mind to the concept. But it was the “Alien v Predator” FPS that lead me onto the idea of a game being changed using the source engine. This I found out because I was lost in the game and looked up a walkthrough and was directed to the official fan site.
    I did not mod any game until I bought the first ‘stalker – Shadow of Chernobyl’. Because it was so bugged on my Dell PC I had to trawl the net for solutions, first using “You Tube” to see what the game play should look like. I saw some HL2 videos there and had a look. One was called ” Minerva” and looked very good and a link took me to the modder’s site where I downloaded it. My first mod was an eye opener but had some serious purple graphics issues, which I found out needed episode 1 to solve, I had still not finished HL2 and did not know if my PC could handle the updates, but I bought the first ” Orange Box” anyway. What a bargain!
    So I finished Minerva Metastasis, graphic problems now solved with ep1. And in searching for more single player mods I discovered this site called “PlanetPhillip”. A revelation!
    it’s funny how the first HL2 mod I found is one of the finest available.

    1. Rikersbeard

      I just remembered from reading the replies that I also got the ” PC Gamer” mag with the Half Life mods on it. I had completely forgotten about that. And as to why I did not continue with the mods I have no answer.

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