Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How PC Game Modders Are Evolving

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the longer-beaks-for-breaking-shells dept.

PC Games (Games) 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.'"

cancel ×

98 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Evolving? (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260372)

I thought they were intelligently designed?

Re:Evolving? (2, Funny)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260426)

They were intelligently designed to have the best genes for dealing with Bawls overdoses.

What stops malicious content? (2, Interesting)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260374)

I'm just trying to figure out, what exactly stops malicious content? Does it rely on the community to say "Woah this mod does some bad stuff to your PC!" or is there some other way to catch it? What if someone is the editor on a hugely popular mod, get's his account hacked (or just has a malicious roomate) and starts uploading some content that does harm to users computers? Or is that not possible due to the mods being sandboxed? The article is quite lacking in what exactly this system does or is capable of doing...

Re:What stops malicious content? (3, Interesting)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260450)

Lack of exposure. Even a popular mod for a popular game has so little exposure -- especially among non-technical users -- that it's not worth exploiting as a vector. It's easier to go with the familiar vectors discussed here all the time.

Malware still shows up in packages claiming to be pirate copies. My bro tried to grab a copy of Worms Armageddon. What he got was Worms Armageddon with the installer replaced by a trojan neatly disguised as the installer. I had a good laugh while I removed that. I've never seen, or even heard of a malicious mod, though.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260564)

That's because it's hard to create mods that are malicious when they have no executable code, and run in a sandbox.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260580)

I don't know about ALL games, but I modded for Half-Life and for Quake II. You make a DLL in C++ and build it with their GCC makefiles or with Visual Studio. You can add any code you want in there, as far as I know.

Re:What stops malicious content? (2, Interesting)

k8to (9046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260658)

Sounds like an unsolvable problem.

How do you safely download and run executable code without risk of an exploit vector? You can't.

Linux distributions deal with a slightly less difficult version of this, in terms of packaging and shipping public source code. Given that a lot of what they do (in order to package, resolve bugs etc) is inspect the source, there's some level of overview, and necessary precautions built into the blessing of packages before they are made availble, but still exploits are possible.

If I were designing a site like this, I would put the following pieces into place.

  1 - categorize mods into no-executable content, sandboxed executable content, and unsandboxed executable content
  2 - For sandboxed executable content, use an automated software tool to unpack the mod and sniff the files for object module headers. If any files are executable, reject.
  3 - For no-executable content, sanitize as sandboxed, but also mark unploaded mods as unverified until some people manually review the package to identify that it doesn't contain lua, python, etc

At this point you can get a pretty informed level of risk on the mods you download.

Of course these people are probably more interested in features for gaming than features for safety. I hope they end up with both.

Re:What stops malicious content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260762)

90% of games have no supported method for loading machine code. All code is backed by jailed VM, from Python, Lua, or (most often) proprietary eDSL.

Of those 10% of games that explicitly support DLLs, 99% of the mods written for that game do not use them. These modifications are often packaged separately from the mods -- usually, because the modders don't know how to program in a non-script programming language.

Re:What stops malicious content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32261480)

Are you sure that it compiles inte to x86 machine code? C++ most languages can be compiled into pretty much anything.
For Quake1 I am pretty sure that the mod's are sandboxed/emulated. At least I was able to use the same mod to get Team Fortress running on my amiga (68060) as I used on the PC.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263164)

Are you sure that it compiles inte to x86 machine code? C++ most languages can be compiled into pretty much anything.

"Anything" pretty much includes DLL, as the OP mentioned. And last I checked, those tended to be native code.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264320)

Those two are actually a bit more unique in nature. The Quake engine is especially known for people re-hacking it together for their new game idea, just as a starting point. And Valve basically lets you build your own game using their engine, source or original, they are pretty lax with it.

Other games have not had that luxury. The only things you could reliably add were sounds, textures, and if you were lucky, models. Than it was up to you to edit various resource files to achieve whatever effect you were hoping to recieve. This is kind of what lead to the term "Total Conversion" - because people wanted to build their own game using an engine that wasn't as open as Quake or Source. So it was more than just a mod, but it wasn't a different game entirely.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32261210)

It also requires planning from the developers. I can say from experience that, for example, Westwood Studios (C&C) didn't plan that far ahead and their mod-support code features great things like user controlled sprintf formats and unsized strcpy.

(Semi-related: I lead an unofficial patch for C&C:RA2 at http://ares.strategy-x.com/ [strategy-x.com] , we developed a way to write new features into the game using C++ and ASM. How's that for evolution?)

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263516)

Given just how much work can go into creating a mod, doing so in order to distribute a virus or trojan to a relatively small market seems a very unlikely waste of time. Most mods are created out of love after all.

On a side note in mentioning pirate software as a means to distrubute these infections. Apparently a lot of free Virus checkers deliberately give false positives on pirated software, particularly keygens. I wonder if companies pay free virus checkers to falsely mark as positive keygens that pirate their software.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

Oldstench (1180217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32265896)

On a side note in mentioning pirate software as a means to distrubute these infections. Apparently a lot of free Virus checkers deliberately give false positives on pirated software, particularly keygens. I wonder if companies pay free virus checkers to falsely mark as positive keygens that pirate their software

I'm not saying you are wrong, but this seems highly improbable to me. Can you post a link to some documented proof that this is true?

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32276330)

I very possibly am wrong, it is just something I had heard a lot on the ethers and seen myself a number of times in my misspent youth. As far as I am aware there has been no formal documented proof and as such I tried to keep my post in a purely speculative tone.

I posted this partly hoping someone who was far wiser than I could point out something much closer to the truth of the matter.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

paper tape (724398) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260584)

In at least some cases, malicious content is handled by making the mods open source (i.e., released as code), many of the others by the mods using a proprietary format that is only read by the game engine.

Neverwinter Nights was released by Bioware in 2002, and still has a lot of active online servers and an active modding community.

A lot of mods, content, and scripts for the Neverwinter Nights and other games are hosted on the Neverwinter Vault here: http://nwvault.ign.com/ [ign.com]

I'm a DM and developer for a Neverwinter Nights persistent world known as Narfell. http://www.narfell.us/ [narfell.us]

Re:What stops malicious content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260848)

NWN's largest (and only?) mod that uses shared system libraries (through an injection hack) is NWNX, an addon that enhances game functions for Persistent Player Worlds (MMOs essentially) and is only used on servers, not client machines.

NWN has no malicious content, because short of a script exploiting the VM, they can't be malicious. Describes nearly all games in fact.

Re:What stops malicious content? (-1, Offtopic)

BillPalm (1621343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261860)

First of all, do not Chanel Bags [purelife-bags.com] hurry when buying, Footwear is the matter of fashion and style. It is Prada bags [purelife-bags.com] advisable the online shop. You can even refer to magazines and fashion blogs to know what type of are in fashion. Gucci bags [purelife-bags.com] For instance, women choose strappy for summer Coach Bags [purelife-bags.com] and ankle for the winter. The price also play an Louis Vuitton Bags [purelife-bags.com] important role in shopping.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

april21wed (1794560) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262626)

Wow, unrelated ads!

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

Shadukar (102027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261892)

I enjoy a very wide variety of PC games and almost always, after finishing the game in vanilla falvour, investigate a very wide variety of mods if the game allows modding. I have contributed heavily to a number of mods out there also.

The reason you don't see much malware hidden inside mods is because it is very rare for mods to be in an executable form.

Generally mods come in the form of graphics packages and scripts. It is very hard, if not impossible for graphics/sound/geometry to contain malware. The scripts sure sound dangerous until you realise that their capabilities are limited by the actual game. I am yet to see a game where script/config files have the scope to cause damage outside the installation let alone steal your password or something similar.

Now, there are a number of addons for various games (morrowind/oblivion/fallout come to mind) where mods rely on 3rd party executables.

There is a danger there - however it is very effectively mitigated by the fact that very few if any of these executables are hosted on their own servers. Almost always they are hosted by a third party hosting site (modDB for example, or *nexus or planet*). While these sites usually deny any responsibility it is generally a safe bet that if someone gets owned/hax0red/virused/etc the third party program wouldn't last very long and thus have very little effect on the broader population of users.

Another thing to note is that generally the games that allow/encourage modding do so by making their core program very robust. the main executable files/parsers/etc are all designed to allow a great/varied amount of input.

Such design generally means that to mod these games you don't have to download hacked game.exe (a great vector) in order to enjoy a mod. It means that you just download some script/graphics/etc files that go in the override (baldours gate for example) directory and the actual original game (which is presumed safe in the scope of this discussion) will accept that input and output a modded game.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262856)

both Command and Conquer 3 and Red Alert 3 use LUA for a couple of things in the game. Its essentially undocumented by EA and (being LUA and being used for the things that its used for) would appear to the casual observer (assuming said observer even knew of its existence) to be safe.

But I can produce a mod (a single .big file and matching .skudef file) which can use this LUA to do some bad things to the filesystem of the host. I wont say how for obvious reasons but it could be dangerous if someone actually found out and used it in a shipping mod.

Re:What stops malicious content? (1)

correnos (1727834) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270810)

Mods are voted for and against for users. This is generally all that is needed. And the question would be the same if some huge game got their codebase hacked and replaced with conflickr. Mod devs just have to be careful.

semi related question (2, Informative)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260438)

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?

Re:semi related question (3, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260558)

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.

Re:semi related question (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263134)

>>Get him a copy of TF2, which will come with Valve's Hammer software.

Can you actually mod TF2, or just make maps for it?

I'm not interested at all in just making maps.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32263488)

Look up "prophunt" and "tf2 side scroller" and see how it can be modded. As long as you know lua...

Re:semi related question (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264438)

There are things like Prop Hunt (already mentioned), Zombie Fortress [fpsbanana.com] , etc... There are also frameworks for writing server mods for Source games, such as SourceMod [sourcemod.net] (which in turn uses MetaMod: Source [sourcemm.net] 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 [garrysmod.com] . The catch is that Garry's Mod requires you to have another game on the list linked from its Steam Store page [steampowered.com] (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 [steampowered.com] or Counter-Strike: Source + Garry's Mod [steampowered.com] . 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 [teamfortress.com] ... 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.

Re:semi related question (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32270234)

So if you have Garry's Mod and TF2 both, you'd be able to create mods, say, making new classes and such?

My URL might give away my interest in the subject.

Re:semi related question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271016)

To be honest, I'm not sure. I know if you own TF2, you can access TF2's assets in Garry's Mod. This is how most Machina TF2 videos are created. Garry's Mod also has a dedicated server with which to host online games (this is how the Garry's Mod version of Prop Hunt works). Having said all that, if you use TF2 assets in a Garry's Mod online game, the players must have both TF2 and Garry's Mod in order to play it.

Taking things you created in Garry's Mod into TF2 doesn't really work, though. TF2 itself is too locked down to patch in new classes. However, you can adjust their behavior with server plugins, as Zombie Fortress demonstrates.

On a side note: Valve uses their master servers to control new item drops in TF2 (which you are given at random time intervals). I think this can be overridden, but Valve recently released an update that severely impacted... hat mods [alliedmods.net] of all things. Again, this only affects the TF2 side, not the Garry's Mod side.

Re:semi related question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271076)

I almost forgot. Team Fortress 2 is not the only Team Fortress game using Source. There's also [url=http://www.fortress-forever.com/]Fortress Forever[/url]. I've never played CustomTF, so I don't know how close FF is to it.

Re:semi related question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32271268)

er... Fortress Forever [fortress-forever.com] .

Bah, I spotted that I used a url BBCode tag and still clicked Submit.

Re:semi related question (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32272072)

Yeah, not a real fan of FF.

Basically, I'd like to mod TF2 to make a CustomTF2 that would be compatible with existing TF2 maps and game modes. AFAIK they've never released the source, but I'm curious if some combination of other tools would make it possible.

Re:semi related question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32272758)

You might want to ask on the AlliedModders forum [alliedmods.net] if it's possible to create a new class in TF2. They're the people who make SourceMod, which is a pretty popular mod framework for Source games. I know the TF2 Zombie Fortress mod was written into it... as well as RMF Ability Pack [alliedmods.net] , which gives new abilities to the various classes.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32303896)

AFAIK its the same situation as the HalfLife 1 engine, in that they never release mod source so you cant actually fork it with your own mods, but there are dll injection layers (MetaMod) that let you add your own hooks to the server letting you divert the code path with your own modifications, or add triggers to the events you care about.

It's nowhere near as good as having mod source, but its enough for some pretty interesting stuff. Most recently, Team Portress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdHE_NBmLwU (Portal gun added to tf2)

It should be more than enough for Custom TF2, if thats what you're thinking. Please let that be what you're thinking.

(posting anonymous because I dont currently have an account on /., but I used to play a lot of CuTF under the name Semi back in the day.)

Re:semi related question (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32313310)

>>It should be more than enough for Custom TF2, if thats what you're thinking. Please let that be what you're thinking.

It's what I'm thinking. =)

It really depends on the dev environment and how hackish it all has to be to make it work.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32263356)

Or simply get a copy of Portal, which is available for free until the 24:th [steampowered.com] .
All Source games gives you access to the Source SDK base, which includes all models and similar content from Half-Life 2. (Their wiki states that this excludes some free promo games [valvesoftware.com] , but I doubt the Portal one's part of it.)
Gives you access to most community mods too, as an added bonus.

Re:semi related question (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264104)

Better yet, wait for Valve's next major TF2 update, which is coming soon [teamfortress.com] (probably within a month) because TF2 tends to go on sale around major updates.

Or just get the Orange Box, which includes HL2 and its two episodes in addition to TF2 and Portal (although Portal is free through next Monday).

Re:semi related question (2, Informative)

fake_name (245088) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:semi related question (2, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260586)

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, http://projectmagma.net/ [projectmagma.net] for Myth.

Re:semi related question (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261722)

If he likes Halo, try modding for Marathon, the older Bungie fps game.

Noooo!!! I did that in high school and look where I am now: SLASHDOT!!!

Kidding. Marathon really did seem like a good learning ground. I had more fun on the community maps than on the included levels. Plus, they're free now, no investment required. Don't spend money right away on what may be a passing interest. I made a three room map and didn't have the patience to do more.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260720)

If he is into Halo, buy him what he needs to mod Halo and consider it an investment in his future. Let him expand from there into other things on his own, but follow his interests as a starting point.

It really is far easier to learn something that you want to learn than something similar to what you want to learn, especially when you are young and have a limited attention span.

Re:semi related question (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261984)

Halo modding: Requires 3dsmax.

That's a big investement. Then again, I started out modding halo, and now i'm following game design/programming classes.

Re:semi related question (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32265228)

Can you use Gmax instead?

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266890)

Yes. You have to use a modified version of the script that takes the model file and generates the data used by the SDK but it is available.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260876)

Doom.

Re:semi related question (1)

Admiral Justin (628358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261052)

Source's SDK is all fun.

Just keep him away from UnrealEd.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32261306)

For the original Halo for PC you can get by with the free alternative to 3dsmax: gmax. A full version of the windows game gets you access to a download called Custom Edition which is designed for loading custom maps and the SDK slightly nerfed and modified. 3dsmax or gmax are pretty much the only way to build the maps. There's a decent community at halomaps.org and modacity.net.

Re:semi related question (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262446)

Depends what he wants to do. It seems like he wants to map, in which case there are plenty of good options. Source is always good and fairly simple to pick up with the Hammer editor. UnrealEd is also pretty good, although it's drastically different from Hammer. Keep in mind there are two major ways for creating levels, additive and subtractive.

If your nephew wants to try his hand at coding I'd definitely suggest an older game or maybe something like a Source engine game with the Eventscripts 2.0 addon which uses Python as a scripting language. It's not that versatile, but it's easier than opening up the Source SDK and trying to figure out what's going on. Otherwise something like Doom, Quake, or Tribes would be a good place to start coding. Tribes uses Torque Script which is C-like and most of the game is implemented in it. It's also fairly good for mapping since there's a difference between a map and a building (prefab). The former is made in an in-game editor where you place prefabs and modify the terrain, and the latter is made in Hammer (actually an old version of WorldCraft).

Re:semi related question (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262828)

You could go with the free Unreal UDK. Costs nothing and (AFAIK) does not require the purchase of expensive tools for its use.

Re:semi related question (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32265322)

Neverwinter Nights is easy to get into, runs on Linux & older hardware, has a nice C like scripting language & has the capability to make simple or complex mods.

UNREAL TOURNAMENT III (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268094)

It comes w/ the full modeling, map making, and event system. It's easy to jump into, Lots of resources, and you can build a lot w/ it's scripting engine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UnrealEd [wikipedia.org] but it, like many dev platforms are mostly map editors.

Re:UNREAL TOURNAMENT III (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268132)

Plagarised from Wiki:

Unreal Development Kit (UDK)
While the Unreal Engine 3 has been quite open for modders to tinker around with, the ability to publish and sell games made using UE3 was restricted to licensees of the engine. However, on November 2009, Epic released a free version of their engine, called the Unreal Developer Kit(UDK) that is available to the general public. According to the current EULA, game makers can sell their games by paying Epic a lump-sum of $99 at the outset, and 25% of all revenue above $5000.[11]

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32268288)

As a former half-life modder I'm going to have to recommend staying away from the Source engine. Why? It's old and the code is an absolute mess, both in design and organization of file structure. Hammer, as a world editor is clunky and unintuitive. However, what finally turned me away from it was Steam. I need to be able to write code (and test it) on a machine that will never be connected to the internet. Can't do it without cracking Steam.

Half-life 1 was great to mod.

Re:semi related question (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268710)

Source is the easiest, imo, of anything out there atm. If gives you a range too from HL-2 style games, CS style or humorous TF2 styles without having to create too many (if any) assets.

Re:semi related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277576)

daz 3d.

http://www.daz3d.com

fuck 4 Doll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260512)

You down. It 3as troubles of those towels on the floor yes, I work for

Complicated install process? (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260540)

I never knew doubleclicking an icon and clicking "Next" a few times was a complicated and difficult install process.

Re:Complicated install process? (0, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260608)

YOU srsarer stupids and idiot fuckhead shitface stupid dyumb dunbassw,k stupid cuntface.

Re:Complicated install process? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261068)

I'm normally pretty good at understanding retardese but what the fuck was THAT? What the hell is a srsarer supposed to be?

Re:Complicated install process? (1)

KrimZon (912441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261972)

It was a humourous reply to the parent post:

I never knew doubleclicking an icon and clicking "Next" a few times was a complicated and difficult install process.

YOU srsarer stupids and idiot fuckhead shitface stupid dyumb dunbassw,k stupid cuntface.

It's also a good point - there are people who post like that in FPS gaming forums.

Re:Complicated install process? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260668)

To the console player, it's incomprehensible!

Re:Complicated install process? (2, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Complicated install process? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Woa No gmod mention! (2, Informative)

BlackBloq (702158) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.
http://www.garrysmod.com/

Re:Woa No gmod mention! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32265248)

There are RPGs for the original Starcraft as well.

Re:Woa No gmod mention! (1)

chronosan (1109639) | more than 4 years ago | (#32268166)

Also, a tetris clone.

Linux? OS X? Source? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260670)

There isn't even a public beta, let alone source code. Sorry, but it's a lot easier to get excited about this stuff [wolfire.com] than a bunch of screenshots.

And now that Steam is being ported to Linux and OS X, will this project be portable? Will it be open source? Will it integrate with local package managers, or other distribution systems?

Some games got it right... (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260716)

A game I pulled off the shelf and played the other day when I redid the XP Bootcamp partition was Star Trek: Bridge Commander. Turns out after all these years, new models and patches are still being made and maintained. Well going through the documentation, the designers developed and distributed a SDK that was largely Python based scripting. With the added mods, the game is still interesting and even more fun that it was years ago when I bought it.

Look at Falcon 4: Allied Force. I bought the original Falcon 4 in 1998 for $15. Graphics were cool for its day, but it is the definitive modern combat flight simulator however, it's dynamic campaign engine was so buggy it was broken. Well, the mod community stepped in, formed a company, got a license from Atari and produced Falcon 4: Allied Force which fixed the campaign bugs and turned it into a playable and really interesting combat simulator. (This was the last game I purchased)

The mod community has kept those titles going strong.

Re:Some games got it right... (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261098)

Falcon 4 isn't a particularly good example of a developer getting it right. More it's the community managing to improve things despite the original design. Lead Pursuit managed to get a license and sold an updated version of F4 as Allied Force, but that was back in 2005 and the company has been silent for several years now. Apparently they're still working on something, but as far as I know that's in their spare time around their real jobs, so who knows... Meanwhile, the only happenings in the Falcon community have been from Open Falcon, which is based on an older exe and so is pretty unstable, and fails to run properly with most nVidia cards.

So basically if you want a stable game that runs on modern systems, you're stuck with F4: Allied Force, which is around 5 years old now with the most recent patch being released in January 2008. Maybe the BMS people are up to something, but that rumour seems to have surfaced periodically for the last couple of years so it's hard to get excited about it.

I think Bohemia Interactive Studio is probably one of the main bastions of mod-friendly gaming, from the very powerful scripting language to the SDK and tools they provide. Still not perfect, but far beyond what most companies do. Also one of the features of the forthcoming Operation Arrowhead is "integrated mod management" - remains to be seen exactly what that is.

Re:Some games got it right... (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266810)

Meanwhile, the only happenings in the Falcon community have been from Open Falcon, which is based on an older exe and so is pretty unstable, and fails to run properly with most nVidia cards.

So basically if you want a stable game that runs on modern systems, you're stuck with F4: Allied Force, which is around 5 years old now with the most recent patch being released in January 2008. Maybe the BMS people are up to something, but that rumour seems to have surfaced periodically for the last couple of years so it's hard to get excited about it.

FreeFalcon is still making releases, too; I think there's another update with new theaters and code changes. I was a database editor and tester during the lead-up to FF5, and a short while after that. Eventually just got tired of dealing with a program that was then 11 years old, and all of its limitations. Suspension of disbelief ended, as I knew a lot about the internals of the sim and was playing to/working around those weaknesses instead of trying to simulate.

Re:Some games got it right... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262250)

ST:BC is a great game, with a great community. I'd add Freelancer to that list as well. It came out in 03 and still has some really huge worlds being created, plenty of online players, great game. This is one of the reasons I'll never go console-mods and dedicated servers. Thanks to mods I can pick up games in the bargain bin that were truly shitty and thanks to modders have a fun game, like the Delta Force series that NovaLogic always seems to fuck up the weapons on, or on a great game like Freelancer I can have hundreds of new star systems to explore, factions to trade/rob/fight, it is just incredible the scope of some of these mods.

How we've fallen! (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260766)

If you want to see how heavily modded a game can get take a look at Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, especially the 2004 version. There are terrabytes of free and paid mods for EVERY aspect of the game. Aircraft models and artwork, instrumentation (including binary mods), weather, scenery, visual controls, sounds, special effects. Even hardware manufacturers that could sell you specialised consoles and panels to integrate You name it. The default simulator is very game like. With addons you can replicate fine details like the flight dynamics and starting sequences of aircraft so that you can follow real airliner manuals while flying over scenery based on satellite imagery. The simulator was built with extensibility in mind, but the modders really pushed the limits too. It's a pity this franchise died. Even though mods are still made for FS2004 and FSX, the team that build the simulator were disbaned a couple of years ago and in a lot of ways what we have now is a zombie mod community. A shadow of what it once was.

Re:How we've fallen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32261144)

Well hopefully we'll see some of that modding community decide that FlightGear, or another OS Flight Sim is the wave of the future, and begin pushing forward on that.

Flightgear, while certainly not as polished as MS Flight Sim, has quite a lot going for it now, with a list of just about every airport out there (although not necessarily perfectly reproduced layouts), a ton of planes, ranging from WW1/WW2 fightercraft, up to 7x7's, Airbuses, and even the new HondaJet. Plus with features like scripted air traffic, ATC controller options being added in, web based Air Traffic maps, massive multiplayer support, etc, it's got basically everything they could want, and it's only going to get better with time.

Re:How we've fallen! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261238)

Flightgear (free) and X-Plane (proprietary) have some interesting features and are great sims in their own right but they don't have 1/10th of the features and mods available that MS Flight Sim has. That's not going to change any time soon I'm afraid.

Re:How we've fallen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32262898)

X-Plane is a much more accurate simulator than MSFS, about the only thing MSFS has going is the huge amount of eye-candy scenery but a lot of those developers are moving to X-plane.

Re:How we've fallen! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264560)

Bullshit. Neither X-Plane nor MSFS had flight dynamics 100%. Engine startup etc on payware on MSFS wins hands down. Scenery wins hands down.

Re:How we've fallen! (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264942)

It's a pity this franchise died.

Maybe because it’s mind-numbingly boring?

No mac. No Linux. No code. (1)

k8to (9046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260788)

No mac or Linux support, and no source code available.

Yeah, it could still be a project trying to "serve the community" but as we've learned by difficult example, the only way to really "be the community" is to be open.

The windows-only thing is possibly practical, but it means I'm not excited.

Evolving? (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260844)

I'm a little confused, the article spends a lot of time talking about how modders scorn newer games for the Source engine. How is this evolving?

Re:Evolving? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261104)

The last paragraph of the article answers your question directly.

Re:Evolving? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264644)

I'm a little confused, the article spends a lot of time talking about how modders scorn newer games for the Source engine. How is this evolving?

I guess the author doesn't realize that the Source engine is continually evolving.

Don't believe me? Ask the Sourcemod [sourcemod.net] people. There are apparently 6 versions of the Source engine currently in use in games. Here's the list of each one and which Valve games use them.

HL2 engine:
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch
Counter-Strike: Source*
Half-Life: Source

Episode 1 Engine:
Half-Life 2: Episode 1

Episode 2 (formerly Orange Box) Engine**:
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Portal

Orange Box (newer) Engine:
Team Fortress 2
Day of Defeat: Source
Counter-Strike: Source*

The Left 4 Dead Engine:
Left 4 Dead

The Left 4 Dead 2 Engine:
Left 4 Dead 2

* Counter-Strike: Source is currently transitioning from the HL2 engine to the Orange Box engine. The new version is currently in beta [steampowered.com] .
** The Orange Box engine "forked" last year when TF2 and DoD:S received updates that were incompatible with the version of the engine used by HL2:Ep2 and Portal. As I recall, this involved features that were ported back from the Left 4 Dead engine.

Stardock promotes modding (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261076)

Not mentioned is that Stardock promotes modding. In fact, it's CEO/founder Brad Wardell, who often hangs out on forums and chat (how many other CEOs do that?), went on a modding sabbatical recently.

Re:Stardock promotes modding (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32262268)

galciv2 modding documentation is all out of date and terrible, soase is far from "moddable", and brad wardell is a fat whiny republican fuck that hates cripples

Cross-genre modding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32261160)

I'm more interested in the mods that seem to be doing what only companies with a lot of resources could do a few years ago. Think of The Forgotten ( http://theforgotten.cnclabs.com ), which is a popular C&C mod that blends both indie filmmaking and indie game design. I'm sure there are others.

Re:Cross-genre modding (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262896)

If you want to see some top mods that are up there with the best commercial games, check out the following:
Mideast Crisis 2:
http://www.isotx.com/mec2/ [isotx.com]
A mod for Command and Conquer 3 that plays BETTER than many commercial RTS games.
Red Alert: A Path Beyond
http://www.apathbeyond.com/ [apathbeyond.com]
A FPS game set in the Red Alert universe

C&C series is good for producing top of the line mods that are up there with the best commercial games.

Doom (3, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#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)

Re:Doom (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32262978)

Or Duke Nukem 3D for that matter. I think that's the first game to ship with all the developer tools. It even allowed you to write completely new game logic.

Re:Doom (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264608)

DOOM modding, that brought back some memories. Back in the day I had bought the book Tricks of the DOOM Gurus which was THE bible for making your own maps (it even came with a CD containing multiple editing utilities).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0672307170 [amazon.com]

This book was awesome, it was a step by step guide to build a map. Each chapter focused on a specific feature (elevators, doors, etc) and explained how to add those.

Quake 2 was fairly popular for modding as well, multiple utilities are available online as well as the actual source code of the game in case you want to get really creative.

Re:Doom (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264968)

I think the Quake series takes the cake. Everything from (Defrag) trick jumping and speed running to racing games was and is available. The drop-down console was iconic. There still are new engines, including a very very high quality graphics one (XreaL) coming out. TEN YEARS after the original Quake 3 Arena. (Oh, and I still think the game looks good.)

ModDB as authoritative opinion? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261698)

Should we care what Reismanis thinks about modding? ModDB is also the site that botched an opportunity to host the entire fileset from a cumulative decade of devoted modding of Total Annihilation. You remember Total Annihilation, right? The game that has spawned at least one spinoff and three sequels, with a fourth anticipated?

When the last sites that were host to what remained of the TA modding community, tauniverse.com and fileuniverse.com, were under imminent threat of disappearing for good last year, the site's complete modding archives - essentially everything that had ever been created by a third party for the game - were offered to ModDB for preservation. ModDB accepted and received the files, but then did absolutely nothing with them.

Fortunately the TA community rallied yet again and retained control of the key domains and all that content, but ModDB dropped the ball. Many people were neither impressed nor amused.

Quake2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32262804)

Why has no one here mentioned Quake2?
With Qoole it is very easy to create maps and mods...

TF2 prophunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32263060)

Prophunt [steamcommunity.com] is a mod of Team Fortress 2. It's hilarious [youtube.com] . Kind of like hide-and-seek with flamethrowers and axes.

Re:TF2 prophunt (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264150)

I haven't played Prophunt for TF2 (I was going to recently, but Valve had broken it in a TF2 update), but I've heard the Garry's Mod version [facepunch.com] is much better.

Open Source Anyone? (1)

design1066 (1081505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263848)

If all of these "modders" would contribute to creating an open source game instead of nipping at the scraps left by commercial games we would have even better open source games in the control of the community instead of unrewarding idea mills for the corps. Not to say that commercial games should not exist. Just that it would be nice if these very talented people would be more farsighted in their efforts.

Re:Open Source Anyone? (2, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32264192)

f all of these "modders" would contribute to creating an open source game instead of nipping at the scraps left by commercial games we would have even better open source games in the control of the community instead of unrewarding idea mills for the corps. Not to say that commercial games should not exist. Just that it would be nice if these very talented people would be more farsighted in their efforts.

Well, that's just it: Mods are usually not completely new games. Specifically, they rely on an existing game engine that is, more likely than not, a commercial engine.

They may also rely on assets from the game they are modding (HL2's default textures, sounds, etc... for Source games).

Unless you can give them a reason to use open source game engine X over, say, the Unreal 3 engine or the Source engine, why would they use it?

Re:Open Source Anyone? (1)

frikazoyd (845667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267460)

There are actually some pretty good open source engines out there these days. That said, this is yet another case of the "vicious cycle". Modders make mods mostly to catch a break. Every modder hopes to be part of the next team that makes it big. The best way to do that is to go where the players are. And sadly, the players aren't really playing on Linux. I hold high hopes that when Source hits linux, that a whole slew of HL2 mods will become linux native, and people will get used to the idea of programming games for linux. And ultimately, as you say, assets are a problem. Most artists I've met aren't terribly keen on making art for free, much less providing license for anybody and everybody to use their art as they see fit.

I hear that civ 5 will have a very open moding sys (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263898)

I hear that civ 5 will have a very open modding system.

UT (1)

drkim (1559875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288654)

I've always enjoyed the Unreal franchise mods and TCs. Having started with modding "Duke" (limited to 2.5-D/sprites) it was great to have real 3-D in UT to mess with.

Epic has always supported modding on UT - and even has their "Make something Unreal" contest. [makesomethingunreal.com] A lot of great and creative mods came out of this like: "Red Orchestra" (WWII); "Tactical Operations," "Neotokyo," "Frag Ops," & "Strike Force" (contemporary weapons); and "AirBuccaneers" (a steam-punk, hot-air balloons and cannons mod!)

However, I feel like the "golden age" of UT mods has passed, back with UT-2004. There was a long hiatus before UT-3 came out, and a lot of gamers and modders moved on, and there was also the steeper learning curve to the UT-3 editor.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>