Jan 31 - Feb 4 -- MOD WEEK

Your money is safe in your wallet this week, and if you're looking for some new gaming experiences you'll probably have to get creative. But worry not, for GWJ is here to help you get the most out of the games you already have. Welcome to GWJ Mod Week!

For the next 5 days we will be taking a look at the games modding scene, open your eyes to some possibly great mods you may have missed and recall some of our favorites. If you're not firing up Deus Ex with a nice new texture pack, exploring Fallout's wasteland in comfort and style, or becoming addicted to the latest Starcraft 2 map by Friday, then your heart is made from stonier stuff than mine. Congratulations, robo-gamer, you don't get to have any fun.

It should come as no shock to discover that when I think of modding a game, I think automatically of World of Warcraft. I say this because I could have just as easily said that when I think about buying a new juicer from QVC, I think automatically of World of Warcraft. Point is, I'm not discerning when it comes to linking ideas to WoW. Fortunately, the broader point about mods is also valid. This is the modern game that reintroduced me to the ways a really healthy mod community can evolve a players experience, and it can't be pointed out quickly enough that much of the credit Blizzard gets for such a polished game experience now is directly linked to some great mods that paved the way.

Whether a mod is fixing a broken game, enhancing and expanding the story, or rebuilding from scratch to present an entirely different experience, mods are some of the best ways to get the maximum value for your gaming dollar. So, sit back and enjoy GWJ mod week.

Comments

I'd just like to mention one of our community's Star modders. Puce Moose. He deserves special mention for his amazing story driven questlines in Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

People who mod their games seem to spend more time screwing with their mods than playing the game itself. I don't have time for that, but I'm interested in what the week holds for us.

Fiddling with games and making them work the way you want is a Meta game all of its own.

No love for Bionic Commando Rearmed 2? Come on now.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

People who mod their games seem to spend more time screwing with their mods than playing the game itself. I don't have time for that, but I'm interested in what the week holds for us.

It is easy to get caught up in that trap, especially with Bethesda games. But it's equally easy to just look at a quick list of 10 recommendations, see what you like, and install it. Half an hour later (maximum), you're done and don't need to look back. Just because lots of people spend too much time screwing around with mods doesn't mean you have to too!

I think special mention should be made of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, where community mods (all available in one convenient package that took 10 minutes to find and install) turned the game from an unplayable mess to one of my favorite games of all time.

It's hardly fair to make references to mods without links to find them

Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodlines unofficial patch: http://www.patches-scrolls.de/vampir...

ModDB.com is a great resource for pretty much every game that can be modded.
And there's the nexus sites for moddable RPGs:
Oblivion, Fallout3, New Vegas, Dragon Age Origins.
There's mods for pretty much all Source engine competitive shooters: http://www.gamebanana.com
New maps and campaigns for Left4Dead and L4D2: http://www.l4dmaps.com
And last but certainly not least, what I would say is my mod of last year: Nehrim - At fate's edge for Oblivion

There's something to be said for mods encompassing not only modifications that change the game, but new content as well.

Sometimes the simplest mods are the best...

Dysplastic wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

People who mod their games seem to spend more time screwing with their mods than playing the game itself. I don't have time for that, but I'm interested in what the week holds for us.

It is easy to get caught up in that trap, especially with Bethesda games. But it's equally easy to just look at a quick list of 10 recommendations, see what you like, and install it. Half an hour later (maximum), you're done and don't need to look back. Just because lots of people spend too much time screwing around with mods doesn't mean you have to too!

I think special mention should be made of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, where community mods (all available in one convenient package that took 10 minutes to find and install) turned the game from an unplayable mess to one of my favorite games of all time.

I think this is part of the reason I'm a console gamer: I don't really understand the appeal of tweaking and tinkering with games. There are so many great games, and I have so little time to play them, that if something doesn't work or isn't satisfying out of the box then I'll just move on to something else. Generally, if I hear that a game is terrible out of the box but awesome if you install X, Y, and Z community mod, I'll just skip that game entirely rather than deal with the hassle, any hassle, of getting things setup right. I'm impressed by the people who devote themselves to patching up a game like Bloodlines, but I can't begin to get into their headspace.

More excited about this week at GWJ than I have been in a long time. With the first PC that I've had in years plugging away at some Steam dowloads as I speak, I'm thrilled at catching up on some of the best mods of the last 5 years. The huge updates done to STALKER have had me entranced these last few weeks and I can't say enough about them.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I think this is part of the reason I'm a console gamer: I don't really understand the appeal of tweaking and tinkering with games. There are so many great games, and I have so little time to play them, that if something doesn't work or isn't satisfying out of the box then I'll just move on to something else. Generally, if I hear that a game is terrible out of the box but awesome if you install X, Y, and Z community mod, I'll just skip that game entirely rather than deal with the hassle, any hassle, of getting things setup right. I'm impressed by the people who devote themselves to patching up a game like Bloodlines, but I can't begin to get into their headspace.

I kind of agree with you, mods should not be a crutch that lazy developers lean on to fix up their game. In the case of Bloodlines, Troika ran out of cash and had to shut meaning they couldn't fix the game themselves, but a combination of the game being made on source which was well understood for modification, and it's scripting was done in python.

TheWanderer wrote:

More excited about this week at GWJ than I have been in a long time. With the first PC that I've had in years plugging away at some Steam dowloads as I speak, I'm thrilled at catching up on some of the best mods of the last 5 years. The huge updates done to STALKER have had me entranced these last few weeks and I can't say enough about them.

I'm heading down this road myself. So much great stuff out there, trying to enjoy the best of it without completely falling into a hole of gaming backlog.

Yes, the STALKER Complete mods are some of the best out there

http://www.moddb.com/mods/stalker-co...

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Generally, if I hear that a game is terrible out of the box but awesome if you install X, Y, and Z community mod, I'll just skip that game entirely rather than deal with the hassle, any hassle, of getting things setup right. I'm impressed by the people who devote themselves to patching up a game like Bloodlines, but I can't begin to get into their headspace.

I guess I can't get into your headspace of thinking of any modding at all as a hassle. It's gotten much, much easier for a lot of games over the years, to the point of downloading and installing an .exe, and you're done. CIV V is even easier. I can see how extensive tweaking and tinkering can turn people off, but I don't understand how what is often a 10 minute process can be such an obstacle.

I have never seen the G-man look as happy as he does with those balloons.

The best mod I have ever played is for the Baldur's Gate series, called Baldur's Gate Trilogy (BGT). I tried the BG Tutu mod, but it kept crashing when I would get to Beregost. The BGT mod took quite a few steps to get it installed, but it was worth the time. It feels like a whole new game.

The mod takes the content of the first game and adds it to the second game as kind of an expansion. I had forgotten how frustrating the first game was in its original state. With BGT, the original game is much more pleasant to play. I haven't yelled at the screen once.

For a game that is over a decade old, I am surprised at how good everything looks. I am having a complete blast playing through the whole series once more. It is really a shame Bioware abandoned this great game engine in favor of the new 3D engines.

Once I am done with these games, I suppose next on the list should be Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale.

Now, if some brave soul were to make an Infinity Engine version of the KOTOR games, well that would be just a dream come true.

Some of the best mods create entire new campaigns and gameplay elements. It isn't all about patching bugs and making games playable on newer systems. Console-only players miss out on these sorts of awesome experiences. Think of the Aliens total conversion for Doom, the Nameless Mod for Deus Ex, the original Team Fortress, Counterstrike, Rocket Arena, Natural Selection, etc, etc.

I'm intrigued. I've heard of texture mods for Deus Ex (how many of us will re-install it after this week?), and I've been meaning to try a few texture packs for MineCraft.

There is also a huge Thief mod/expansion/fan devotional floating around... hopefully someone knows what I'm talking about, and it will show up this week.

Polliwog wrote:

There is also a huge Thief mod/expansion/fan devotional floating around... hopefully someone knows what I'm talking about, and it will show up this week.

Thief - The circle is your starting point for all things Thief, and a nod to the TTLG forums which is pretty much the best place for the Looking Glass style games, including the fan mission list.

Noteworthy thief mods :
T2X - A new separate campaign for Thief 2: http://www.thief2x.com/
The Dark mod - A DooM3 total conversion: http://www.thedarkmod.com/
ThieveryUT - A UT99 multiplayer total conversion. (good luck getting a game going with human opponents, but the bots are ok to play against): http://www.thieveryut.com/
John P's textures for Thief 3 (Also Deus Ex 2): http://www.john-p.com/textures/index...

T2X, that's the one. Thanks!

There are a few oldies that I just can't stomach in their original form anymore, and I play alot of games from the late '90's. The Thief series, Doom I & II, Quake I & II, System Shock 2, and Unreal have so many great mods that add widescreen, improve the lighting, audio, and textures, they still have plenty of life in them. They basically do for those games what the hi-res textures do for Deus Ex. Hell, the Doom mods even boast 3D enemies.

The good thing is, once you get the hang of modding one game, it makes modding other games so much easier. The gameplay is still excellent, they're dirt cheap, and they run fine on nearly anything.

Dysplastic wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

Generally, if I hear that a game is terrible out of the box but awesome if you install X, Y, and Z community mod, I'll just skip that game entirely rather than deal with the hassle, any hassle, of getting things setup right. I'm impressed by the people who devote themselves to patching up a game like Bloodlines, but I can't begin to get into their headspace.

I guess I can't get into your headspace of thinking of any modding at all as a hassle. It's gotten much, much easier for a lot of games over the years, to the point of downloading and installing an .exe, and you're done. CIV V is even easier. I can see how extensive tweaking and tinkering can turn people off, but I don't understand how what is often a 10 minute process can be such an obstacle.

Agreed. It's easier than ever now that developers are making their games more mod-friendly. (Copy the files into the "textures" folder? I can do that.) I'm currently playing Morrowind for the first time and I used a guide to download and set up everything. Sure, You can really get into the modding metagame if you want, but there's always going to be someone that makes the "so-and-so's guide to molding Game X."

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Generally, if I hear that a game is terrible out of the box but awesome if you install X, Y, and Z community mod, I'll just skip that game entirely rather than deal with the hassle, any hassle, of getting things setup right.

I agree. In my view, though, mods are something to tailor the game experience to my personal preferences, not fix a bad game.

Oh no, he said Deus Ex and Thief, don't tempt me! I don't have time to play Deus Ex again ... but it would be so awesome, does it look nice? Really pretty?
Nooooo, don't tempt me!

I'm toying with the idea of doing another DE playthrough before DE:HR comes out, as minimal violence and stealth.

Scratched wrote:

I'm toying with the idea of doing another DE playthrough.

Aren't we all, aren't we all.

Scratched wrote:

as minimal violence and stealth.

That's how I always play, I just can't help myself, I'm such a sucker for stealth play. I will be so disappointed if DE:HR turns out to be just another pretty-kill-game.

Earliest mod memory: Downloading extra missions for Dark Forces. Don't recall the site, but I would spend hours downloading these mission which added so much to an already great game.

My family was using AOL dialup and I had just realized that I could minimize the crappy client and fire up IE instead. Then someone in my family would invariably pick up the phone and kill my connection. Ah... the memories!

IMAGE(http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/80/l_6b94f1026c0cdf5309b3b5a6c5c81a45.jpg)

I hope I am not the only one that thought of this when I read the title of this thread.