Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where did the Modding Scene go? Next Gen, that's where.

So I'm looking at the Google Analytics page for this blog and it turns out that a good number of people who come to this site are looking for Unreal Tournament 3 mods. Ok, that's fine, I used to mod a lot for UT2k4, and I've expressed interest in doing some stuff for UT3. But that's it, just talked about it a little bit and put up some pics of old mods I've done.

But here's the thing. If you search 'Unreal 3 artist' this blog comes up on page 2. What??? A search for "Unreal Tournament 3 art" has me on page 3. Now this is great for me, it tells me that I really need to start creating more stuff for the game since there's obviously a demand, but where the hell is everyone else?

Put it this way, the old UT2k4 scene used to have a lot of big name modders that would create amazing models and maps, and legions of people that would post on their heroes sites and discuss things. Big scene. Now a passing mention of the game can put your blog on Page 3, what is this? Where are the youtube tutorials? the facebook groups? How did a vibrant mod scene just go poof?

Well it's a lot of things, but I think I know one of the reasons. The move to Next Gen normal mapped art looks amazing, but now there's a big gap between the enthusiast modder and the pro dev. The tools are out there, but the skills aren't. This has happened before, every time a moddable game comes out there's a lag while the fans learn new tools and get their skills up to date, so UT3 probably isn't any exception, people still need to learn how to do that high quality art. But I wonder if the casual modder looks at those awesome characters and goes "pfft, it'll take forever to get that good, nevermind."

It probably doesn't help that the hardcore gamer market is so splintered, i mean look at all the other games and online virtual worlds available, people are everywhere. Nowadays it seems like the moddy types are either using the Half Life 2 steam tech, or they're on Second Life. I'll write more as I explore this very odd topic.

update:
This post gives a bit of hope, but i do think it's uncool to only provide a tutorial DVD with a collector's edition, you know, the one that sold out and I couldn't get a copy of?

I wonder if I'm even that kind of gamer anymore, I haven't even had time to purchase the game yet, lol.

But maybe that's another part of it too, there are other options for fun out there, and maybe UT3 just appeals to a certain type of core gamer that I just am not anymore, well I'll buy the game anyway.

Still need to try out the Orange Box too and do a bit of HL2 modding, busybusybusy guy i am...

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