Gamer and GoldSourcerer. Level design contractor currently working on Phantom Fury with Slipgate Ironworks/3D Realms. Lead developer for Half-Life: The Core. Project lead on TWHL Tower 1.
So it’s been around seven and a half years since my last ModDB blog post. My previous post was a multi-paragraph gripe about the overabundance of shitpost mods popping up on this site. While a lot has changed since back then, a lot of things have not. The shitposts are still popping up, thick and fast. However, more recently I’ve taken to looking at these things from the other side; Thinking about the process from the creator’s perspective.
Way back when I first started messing with the Half-Life files and dipping my toes into the vast ocean that is mod development, I was around 12 years old. I remember the utter hilarity of my friends and I recording stupid, juvenile and offensive statements in Windows Sound Recorder. I remember firing up the game, heading straight to the nearest scientist and watching them deliver our recordings back to us, their facial expressions entirely neutral in spite of the vitriol pouring out of their flapping mouths. It was, in a word, hilarious.
However, the more I dug into modding the audio files and learning how to map for Half-Life, I eventually shifted away from editing existing dialogue and started to record my own. I would add new, more serious lines and create stories with characters. Basically, what started out as just messing around for quick laughs, I started developing it into a full time hobby. Now, as I said, I was around 12, coming on 13 when I first started getting into this, so even the new stuff I was creating from the audio files, the character skins and even the levels were basic, juvenile and in a nutshell, a bit shit. I would ask my much older brother in law and my dad to check them out and they would nod along and say things like, “Yeah, that’s alright” or “Yes yes, very funny.”
One thing to consider throughout all of this however, is that I never had access to the Internet. Our house still only had a dial-up 56k modem and whenever that was on it was usually because my dad was working. I had no access to the Internal at all on my PC, and wouldn’t until we set up a LAN.
The question I find myself asking is this: If I had access to the Internet when I first started really messing with Half-Life, making my silly little reskins with broken maps and obnoxious, foul mouthed audio, would I have uploaded them to the Internet for all to see? Honestly? Yes, I absolutely would have and I expect that I would have been met with the hostility that first time modders are subjected to.
So what point am I trying to make here? Well, I would say that shitpost and meme mods that are uploaded to ModDB that are rough around the edges are always going to be called out as being a worse version of Crack-Life. However, in some cases this is a person’s first attempt to create something and often it will be something that brought them a lot of joy when they first tested it out. It might be worth cutting them a little slack. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to steer them onto the correct path to improve what they do, but you’re definitely going to get some push back when you do.
TL;DR: Teenagers are edgy and do stupid shit. That just happens to include making Half-Life mods.
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