Weekend Question: Have you ever tried to make a game or a mod?

PCG Jody

Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: Have you ever tried to make a game, or a mod? And if so, how did it turn out? Maybe you've got an unfinished RPG Maker experiment on your hard drive, or you made a game in Twine. Maybe you tried your hand at Doom levels or a TF2 cosmetic or a mod to fix that one annoying thing in an Elder Scrolls game. It all counts!
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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Yep. Queen of the Doomweb Pits for the original Doom. No idea how popular it was but Sam's gave me a free copy of their Tricks of the Doom Programming Gurus to put it on their CD. Wish I still had that CD.

Also a quick mod to fix some pathing issues in a couple of sectors of X:Rebirth's Home of Light DLC.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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Tried? Yes
Succeeded? No.
Given up? Hell no! I just started learning C# a couple months ago and I've been slowly chipping away at Unity as well. The short term goal is to make something passable that will serve as a second income. The long term goal is to just quietly become Tom Francis and hope no one notices. Then I'll add a game to the Defenestration Trilogy where you'll play an angry window out for revenge for all of its destroyed brethren.

I DID make a mod ages ago for Rainbow Six Vegas. Those of you who played the game will recall a who slew of assault rifles, shotguns and SMG's, but ZERO sniper rifles. I've been a Kar98k fan since my youth thanks to Call of Duty so I hopped in the weapons LUA file and changed one of the guns to behave like a bolt action rifle of sorts. It could kill in one hit, but after every shot you had to reload. I also only allowed an iron sight on it, again hearkening back to COD. Good times. Broke a lot of windows in that game now that I think about it...

(EDIT: PS Jody, I love these weekly questions. They are my new favorite part of the forum that I didn't even know was a thing until recently. Thank you for hosting them! EDIT2: And Chris as well who posts the mid week ones. Thank you both.)
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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@SWard that's fantastic, well done!

I used to be big into making levels for Descent and Descent 2 when I was a kid. You could string them together too, so me and my brother ended up creating an entire campaign out of them. I think we have them stored on floppy disks somewhere and I should still have those, but I don't have any means to use them anymore!

Tried my hand at some Game Maker projects in my teens, but that never led to anything serious.

Did make some persistent online worlds for the original Neverwinter Nights, but those are all lost to time.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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Have you ever tried to make a game, or a mod?
Yes.

And if so, how did it turn out?
Sit back, this will take a while...
(I'll try to refrain from giving you my whole life story.)

I started programming when I was ten, back when the TRS-80 was still an amazing computer.
Mostly stuff you'd find in books, using BASIC. Nothing super creative.
Then I played the game Zork, and knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. (At the time.)

I found a book called "How To Write Text Adventures" (or something to that effect, I no longer remember the exact title.) It taught me how to create my own text parser, and while the one in the book was painfully simplistic, I quickly figured out how to make it more elaborate and intuitive. I wanted it to be at least as good as Zork's, though I don't know that I ever reached that point.

For the next six or seven years I taught myself how to program, making increasingly larger text adventures on (now-deceased) floppies, figuring out how to do rudimentary graphics (probably Mystery House level, but in color), making music and sound effects, and focusing on a text parser that understood as much as possible and occasionally was sarcastic, depending on what the player typed. I was pretty proud of it.

As I gained access to more and more adventure games, I quickly realized that what I was doing didn't have as much of a market as the point-and-click adventures that were taking over, but I didn't care, as they weren't as robust as what I had planned. Even though I was just one person, I was sure I could make an impressive enough text adventure that everyone would want to play. (Spoiler alert: I could not.)

Once I went away to college to major in Computer Science (the closest I could get in our area to some sort of computer game related degree), I quickly came to realize that my programming methods were atrocious. I was what they called a Spaghetti Programmer, as my code was all over the place and jury-rigged, and utterly lacking in any notes that would allow another programmer to come along and fix or improve it.

Having come away from that realizing that coding was not my forte, I switched to an English major but did not give up my love of game creation. I instead switched to various programs/kits/engines designed to facilitate the creation of text adventures (or 'interactive fiction' as I was seeing it called on FTP and Usenet sites.) Unfortunately, I was at odds with most of these, as they weren't entirely equipped to do what I wanted to do. In a lot of ways, most of them were a step backwards relative to the parser I'd made as a kid, as they were more about end-user convenience than providing a robust game experience. My tongue-in-cheek detective game, "Pureluck Jones* and The Maltese Chicken" did not get along well with the program I was using, which was hell-bent on turning my noir mystery into a Zork-like dungeon. Even murder mystery writer Glandula Raspberry* acted like a random cave minion if the player opted to "throw gun" at her. (I know, why would anyone throw their gun at her? [Besides the fact that it had no bullets.] I spent 95% of my time either trying to think of things people would type and preventing them from breaking the game in the process, or else undoing the default behavior of the premade parser.)

(* - I'm aware these are not good names. I was basically a kid when I first came up with them.)

With every program/toolkit/system I tried after that, my ambition always overshot either my ability to work with said program, or my patience. Usually both. Meanwhile in the rest of the world, technology and game scope continued to increase exponentially, and my efforts seemed all the more futile. I eventually more or less gave up the dream of making a game.

BUT... I still occasionally try. Every time "National Novel Writing Month" comes along, I get a bee in my bonnet to whip up a small interactive story, since there is still a tiny niche market for those. Though even in those instances, I get distracted and dive down a rabbithole of minutiae, for instance, coming up with a ton of randomly generated book titles in a library the player visits, or a belligerent wishing well that comes up with countless reasons why it can't grant a particular wish. And so on.

So, yes, I've tried, many times, to make a game (though weirdly enough, never a mod, though I did use hex editors to modify games back in the day, but that wasn't the same thing.) But all of them, from Bick Flemm and The Space Gerbils** of Pumbly-Fraxlekrud, to Pureluck Jones and The Maltese Chicken, went unfinished, though extensively designed out from beginning to end.

Maybe someday! Who knows.

(** - This was well before Baldur's Gate.)

P.S. The only 'game' I ever technically finished, was the one in my senior year high school final project, where I made a combination tic-tac-toe, mini text adventure, and paint program in Apple Basic, blowing my computer science teacher away and giving me a false sense of what college computer science would be like. (Spoiler: not Apple Basic.) Oh, and I have since made and run lengthy Pathfinder (and Savage Worlds) pen-and-paper campaigns for friends, but that's another thing entirely.

[Note: This answer is just for the forum, though I realize it'd be too long to put in the article anyway.]
 
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Jun 9, 2020
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No. i want to. like you said for TF2 . funny animations because this stuff has a lot of views in youtube.
and a lot of views its a lot of money:sneaky:
 
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Jan 17, 2020
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For some reason I missed that the question was also about games and not just about mods. Though my answer is pretty much the same. I've tried out GameMaker (even made part of a jRPG for one of my university classes), RPGmaker, and programming on my graphical calculator. I also looked at Unity and Unreal.

Every time I get bored before achieving anything though.

I suppose my most successful game creating experience was being a D&D GM with my own homebrew setting, but even then I was always too lazy to prepare much, so my campaigns were mediocre at best and any attempt at running an online game has fizzled out, often before we have the first session.

Yet I still dream of one day making my own game. I know that realistically, it will never happen, unless I get dragged into it by someone who's passion and enthusiasm doesn't die as quickly as mine.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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Having come away from that realizing that coding was not my forte....
Waaaaait a second!! You were programming in AppleSoft before college. You have to program in spaghetti style in AppleSoft! There was no such thing as a code block in that language. The only way a program isn't going to go on to the very next line of code is if there's a GOTO or if the program ends. Don't be slamming yourself for that!

(Yeah, I started back there, too. Call -151 for the win.)

@SWard - awesome! Hey, waaaaaait another second!! Shouldn't that be a mouse and keyboard on that logo?? ;)
 
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spvtnik1

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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When I was in middle-school, I chose to do one of my science projects on artificial intelligence. I made a maze in the game ZZT and compared the time it took for an end-user and different AI-controlled entities to reach the end.

I've definitely tried to do mods. I attempted creating an urban city map for GTA2. That went no where, but it was still fun to try. I messed around with car mods for GTA2. Actually, I modded the crap out of any game I could when I learned it was possible. I think my modding days started with Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit. I remember thinking that having transparent windows on the car was a big freakin' deal, let alone a driver in the seat.

I attempted to create some Half-Life mods. Using the editor was a major pain, and despite all my efforts, I couldn't figure out how to get triggers working.

With the release of the new C&C Remastered Collection, I'm excited to have a hand at the map editor. Since it's open source, I'm hoping that some very talented people create a GUI application for modding. I'm also hoping someone finds a way to combine all the Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn units together.
 
Jun 15, 2020
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Yes. I have been a hobbyist game developer for many years. Technically I only ever finished a super simple game on Pico-8 called Whack'em. All other projects suffer from either feature creep that prevents me from finishing them, or I just encounter some design deadlock I can't solve and I don't want to finish a game that isn't up to my unreasonable standards.

I have three running projects right now, a peaceful eurotruck-like flight simulator in a scifi setting, a stealth game on the mega drive, and my main project, which doesn't have a definitive title but it will be Apple & Worm something something.
View: https://youtu.be/G-1nO81KK1M

It's a platformer on a curved 2D space, interconnected in ways that give levels weird topologies.

Honestly, at this point I just want to learn how to finish things! I know how to start them, I start new projects all the time. How the hell do I finish it?
 
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May 5, 2020
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I have modded a few games in the past and have even written articles on how to mod.

If anyone ever wants to learn to mod a game, feel free to start here ( Starbound ).
Literally no Experience required, just need to own the game.

As for making my own game, I, unfortunately, know my own limitations so i know it isn't practical for me at my current skill level to achieve. Though I still do have plans to make a game if I ever feel I am ready.
 
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May 1, 2020
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I've used all sorts of engines; Lumberyard, CryEngine, Unity, Unreal, RPG Maker. I've taken countless dozens of courses in programming, game development, etc. You name it but I still can't code from scratch or do the networking yet I was able with outsourced help get a video game onto steam called GearWars although it's stationary right now because of the costs to keep a running server going. Can't wait until I'm able to get back to work with it, it was stable, working, and players were enjoying it. It was my greatest accomplishment as a Solo Indie developer. I just tinker in multi user dungeon engines now, text base roleplay games as it costs nothing to enjoy at the moment.
 
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May 27, 2020
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I started modding Quake back in the late 90s. I then got hooked modding the Sims, and have played around with all of the different Sims that have come out till this day. I also had a blast modding GameBoy Advance Roms and making 16 bit RPGs for a while. I haven't done much recently. The last thing I made was about 6 months ago with some basic Sims 4, Skyrim and Fallout mods.
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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I did the RPG Maker "Indie game Maker Contest" a few years back. Went in blind and new but made a functioning game within the time frame. Wasn't great, leaned heavy on the narrative and lacked any deep gameplay, but I succeeded in my goal. Was an interesting crash course in the program but unfortunately I never opened it again. I'm more of a writer and idea man than I am an actual game maker.

Modding side of thing I've always just done personal preference type stuff for personal use. I've made custom liveries (skins) and HUDs for Automobilista (racing sim). I've tinkered with some smaller sports "manager" games and made current/realworld teams and conferences and stuff like that. Again, just personal use. Custom Stream Deck icons for different games count as modding? I've tinkered with more over the decades but that's the more recent stuff that comes to mind. No real hardcore modding, just light stuff.
 
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ajimundi

Just a guy
May 10, 2020
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I started making an Uncharted Waters-esque game back in late 90s/early 2000, using Turbo Pascal. I only got so far as rendering background map and had a controlable player character before real life took over. Since then, I've dabbled with various programming languages and game engines, but haven't made any real game beyond small prototypes. Currently, trying to learn Godot to finally push myself to create something that can be considered complete.
 
May 2, 2020
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Nope. im just a gamer. My strenght is drawing, maybe in the future i wanna be a senior illustratior. Saying no with intricacy code cuz i hate theme
 
May 3, 2020
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For some reason I missed that the question was also about games and not just about mods. Though my answer is pretty much the same. I've tried out GameMaker (even made part of a jRPG for one of my university classes), RPGmaker, and programming on my graphical calculator. I also looked at Unity and Unreal.

Every time I get bored before achieving anything though.

I suppose my most successful game creating experience was being a D&D GM with my own homebrew setting, but even then I was always too lazy to prepare much, so my campaigns were mediocre at best and any attempt at running an online game has fizzled out, often before we have the first session.

Yet I still dream of one day making my own game. I know that realistically, it will never happen, unless I get dragged into it by someone who's passion and enthusiasm doesn't die as quickly as mine.
 

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