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Alexjfry3

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I would get to know your tools first. Go start up the Source SDK and maybe play around with Hammer or grab a 3D Studio Max trial and play around with that. Look for somethin that you like doing and just work at it, once you get enough skills and work to show off you should have no problem finding a mod team to work for. You could always start your own mod and find a team to work with.

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There are so many aspects to mod development that giving general advice is kinda hard. Do you have any specific area you'd like to try out? Are you most interested in creating game levels, or perhaps characters or weapon models? Or maybe coding new weapons and game modes? It also depends on what game you are interested in modifying. You don't have to know specifics, but let us know what games you have and which you would most like to work on, and perhaps the general area of development you would like to look into, and we can then give you more specific help :)

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well in the past level design more or less was creating the world in which stories are told. In the future level design will be more gameplay oriented with different people dealing with gameplay, scripted sequences, and other art assetts. So if you want to make levels I'd suggest downloading the Source SDK through steam, going to http://www.snarkpit.net and read some of their fine tutorials. See what you can come up with. Make a couple of test "maps" learn the tools, and than create something unique and exciting to show off. Thats the best way to learn. Have peopel critique your work and be harsh to you. Thats how I'm learning to model right now. So I guess thats my number one tip (yes i'm not the best at it sometimes...wacko) But look for as much critiquing as you can, and listen to everyone's opinion. Cause it'll help you soooo much in the long run.

Goodluck!

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If you are going to mod and you are a complete beginner, I'd seriously consider modding for UT2k4 instead of HL2. It comes with 3d-modelling tool, Maya PLE and the mapping packet is solid, and there is tons and tons of tutorials and videos (especially the 3dbuzz videos), it is extremely easy.

I have little experience of coding, but good amount of modelling and texturing experience, and absolutely no experience about UT2k4 engine but I was able to do my own weapon for UT2k4 in the matter of days.

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When you finally decide that you are decent enough to join a mod, you can wander off to moddb.com and have a look at the countless mods in development. A word of warning, 99.5% of those will never be released to the public. Or internal alpha, for that matter.

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The key to mod work is contribution, usually mod teams have a core team consisting of few people who actually do all the work, but it doesn't mean you can't do anything to the mod. Alot of material is contributed to the mod team, like props, textures and maybe even charater models.

Most common contribution is a map, like most of the official Natural Selection maps.

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. but what brought me here was my desire to learn more about game design.

tiz a wide open ambition there. you may want to simply read through old threads here where people debate what they like and dislike about certain games. that's kind of obvious but you basically have to know games to make games.

other than that, definitely start messing around in Source SDK as people have suggested. it's not *easy* by any means to learn everything you need to know, but practice is the most important thing.

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Everyone's given you pretty sound advice so far.

Not to scare you off, but you have a lot of work ahead of you. Learning to create content for modern games is a very daunting task. Don't be put off though, keep at it.

Set yourself clear learning goals, work hard and take people's feedback seriously.

A few more resources:

http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.interlopers.net/index.php?page=tutorials.htm

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