Poll Question 228 – When a mod dies, would you prefer they released the unfinished maps or do you play only finished maps?

10th June 2011

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

It happens. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s a fact of modding life. Sometimes mods die before they have reached maturity. We weep, we look to the sky and wonder what could have been and then we move on with our lives.

Recently a mod that I have been involved with since the beginning announced it was closed. It’s a shame because the modder had worked extremely hard over the last three years. Well, whatever the reasons for mods closing, they still leave behind all the work on hard drives.

Some mods release their work, others don’t. Occasionally, other modders can continue or finish the work but most times they can’t. As you have already seen, this week’s question is about the maps. Certain players never play unfinished maps but I believe that most players would play maps as long as the general consensus is positive. What do you think?

When a mod dies, would you prefer they released the unfinished maps or do you play only finished maps?

Thanks to Jack5500 for the basic idea of mods dying.

The Poll


  1. Derbler

    Id rather play the maps and not have any new weapon or player models, or any new sound effects or music, than never get to experience any of it at all.

  2. bobdog

    Agreed — I think one of the huge reasons mods die is because they attempt too much and feel like they have to deliver a ton of new content. Build the map first, and then add in new models, guns, sounds, voicework, etc. At any rate, you would have something playable from the start. Instead they worry too much about skinning that new gun model when 14 other mods have already done the same thing….

    1. Kyouryuu

      I remember writing something a while ago about “Signs a Mod is Doomed to Fail.” Some of the key points were:

      – The mod showcases weapon renders, but nothing else.

      – The mod has want listings for level designers, because the project leader can’t actually make levels.

      – The project leader is the master of the storyline and wants everyone else to essentially build it for him/her. News flash: Creating the story is the easiest part.

      – The mod’s summary begins with a trite phrase. An example would be “It is the year 21XX. You are Blast Hardcheese, a soldier fighting against the Corporation.”

      – The mod features sloppy handdrawn notebook sketches as “concept art.”

      1. That was awesome 😀

      2. Derbler

        Agreed, except with the statement that writing the story is the easiest part. Tell that to Erik Wolpaw.

        1. I think there is a big difference between stories for mods and stories for AAA retail games, especially HL.

  3. Da Fat Cat

    It’s not like I’m obligated to play everything that gets released, and I’m sure there’s always someone out there who wants to play the maps, so why not?

  4. Hec

    Well it actually happened that to me with the “substance mod”, that mod was really cool but now it’s all screwed because, the freakin steam updates, and I mean I relly don’t know if they will recover the mod to it’s aincient gold times again, is not probable because it dates from 2006. And it’s a shame, but I think if it’s a really cool mod then it deserve to launch some teaser ones, but it allways remains the frustration of a really big project that bites the dust, I hope that wont happen with Black Mesa (former called BM Source) mod, that really would pissed me off!!

  5. From a player standpoint, I probably wouldn’t play something that is unfinished unless there is enough content for a coherent play-through.

    From a developer standpoint, I’d play an unfinished map to see what new ideas were introduced because there could be something that I think was awesome in there that may inspire me.

    Also in the same line I think that it would nice to see developers release the source material behind their unfinished mods because it would be such a waste to spend so much time on creating assets and maps when no one will benefit.

    The modding community is based around creating and sharing new ideas for gaming.

  6. Kyouryuu

    I think the modder has to use their own best judgement about what to do with it. Speaking from experience, I know that any finished work leaves a lot of scraps on the cutting room floor. Sometimes you have to remember why you scrapped those ideas in the first place. Another point is knowing when a mod is truly dead. For all you know, you might shelve this iteration now and revisit it later.

  7. Dont release the mod, release the source code and let other people take over, as long as they acknowledge the original mod maker

  8. SPY

    couldn’t have said it any better Bobdog and Kyouryuu!!!

    and it is SUCH a shame that so many mods die a early death, and sometimes even mods that seem to be near completion!

    i have, when I may say so myself, quit a lot of experience when it comes to releasing mods. it’s indeed so often already clear from the start when a mod has not much change of being finished, for those reasons described by Kyouryuu.
    to often the modders think the other way around, they have a huge and o so difficult idea and want to turn that in to a mod, often they did get this idea from a game or movie. then they just start and they asume that they will be able to realise the full idea. a lot of times counting on that they will find the necessary people who can help them with it, or even completely produce it for them.

    but you have to work the other way around, first there is ofcourse the idea/story. but immediately you have to look very realistic and what can be made actually. and not by other people, but by yourself. or, it should be that you have help from people that you know of for a fact that they will contribute until the end of the development. because even when you find help to often they don’t help after all, or help for one week just to never let hear of them again.

    then, should a mod die, why then not release whatever you have made till that point. so it isn’t completely wasted. and at the same time other modders could use assets, so they still are used in mods.

    but, it was always like that and it will probebly always be like that.
    to many people under estemate the work, time and effort that it takes to make a decent mod.

  9. I prefer they polish and release the best maps or all maps that are close to completion. Some of the released maps\mods did die, but we know them as released, not dead, because the authors dir either of these alternatives. I believe it is wise to plan your map\mod with possible dying in mind, so if it dies, you put an ending at that point, test it, fix all bugs – and you have finished and released work on your record despite the death.

  10. Herr_Alien

    Release all maps.

    Even if only a bunch of them are playable, the modders would love to dissect all of them.
    Kyouryuu, loved your checklist 😀

  11. Major Banter

    Storyline is a damn sight harder than you’d think. To quote a Times columnist; “the people who find writing the hardest are writers themselves.”

    That’s not to say that a 14 year old boy who has an “AMAZEING IDEAH” can create a good story, or rip off STALKER (which every man and his dog seems to do) or whatever else.

    It’s saying that modders that really work on their storylines – CANVAS, Ivan’s Secrets, Raindrop – all of them have kickass storylines behind them that drive the teams behind the modifications.

    Field Zone died in part because of this; I was too busy to be a decent leader, and we were completely disorganised, but we never got the story down to a T. It changed constantly, and we never really defined our characters, where they were going, why, who, what, etc.

    As for releasing the content made for FZ; I dished out texture packages to a few friends on Steam, but the rest is still under wraps. Why? None of your business. Hurr.

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