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Intro to Game Modding - Lecture 1
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Intro to Game Modding - Lecture 1


Have you ever wanted to make changes to a game? Maybe you were frustrated …

Have you ever wanted to make changes to a game? Maybe you were frustrated
by the enemy AI or you had a better idea for a weapon. Well, there are hundreds
of thousands of other gamers out there who are doing more than just wishing for
these changes – they’re creating their own mods. Mods range from small bug
fixes (unofficial patches) to complete overhauls (total conversions) of the game
world. And modding isn’t just fun and games, the skills you learn building a mod
can be the beginning of your career in game development.
This course is a mix of game design and game play. Students will master the skills
needed to create maps, control NPCs, craft narration, program interactions, and
mod nearly every aspect of the game experience. Once completed, students will
leave with the latest tips and tricks to begin a career path in game design and

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  • 1. CISC 105: Intro to Game Modding Charles Palmer – Fall 2013
  • 2. Our Goals for the Semester • Develop skills in game design and production • Appreciate development practices used in the game industry • Understand the effects and management of graphics and sound in multimedia games • Evaluate the user experience • Use and apply modding techniques to design game level • Understand and apply the concepts of project management, including the documentation of the process
  • 3. Units Introduction Wk 1 The History of Game Modding Planning Wk 2 Pre-Planning Wk 3 The Process Wk 4 Concept Development Wk 5 Tools of the Trade Wk 6 Storycrafting Wk 7 Level Design Wk 8 Concept and Plan Presentation Production Wk 9 Implementation Post-Production Wk 11 Testing Wk 12 Progress Presentation Reflection Wk 15 Final Presentation
  • 4. Introduction What is a game mod?
  • 5. Introduction What is a “mod”?Mod or modification, when used in video games, refers to the process of altering a game’s design, graphics, narrative, or programming. It is utilized in all gaming genres but is especially common in first-person shooters, RPGs (role-playing games) and real- time strategy games. Mods are made by the general public or a developer in an effort to extend the experience of the original title or to create a new standalone experience. They can include new items, weapons, characters, enemies, models, textures, levels, story lines, music, and modes of play. Mods that add new content to the underlying game are often called partial conversions, while mods that create an entirely new game are called total conversions and mods that fix bugs are often called unofficial patches.
  • 6. The History of Game Modding • Steve Russell’s 1962 Spacewar! = first digital game • DEC PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) at MIT as a demonstration of the new computer’s capabilities • In the game two players controlled armed spaceships with limited missiles and fuel. Each player had to maneuver their spaceship around the screen avoiding the gravitational pulls of a large star and missiles fired by their adversary. Player could also jump into “hyperspace”, as a last ditch effort, to be transported to a random location on the screen. • rapidly spread to other research centers where programmers began modifying the original code with the addition of cloaking devices, space mines and additional modes of play - thus creating the earliest examples of digital game modding.
  • 7. Modern? Modding Game Mod Ms. Pacman Although not a user-generated mod as will be covered in class, Ms. Pacman is one the first successful mods of an existing title (Pacman > Crazy Otto > Ms. Pacman) Castle Wolfenstein One of the first user-generated mods was a complete reskinning of Castle Wolfenstein (not Wolfenstein 3D) to ‘Castle Smurfenstein’ which was done by a single programmer with an interest in game design and hatred of little blue men. Doom Fist Full of Doom – Complete revamp of popular PC first person shooter (FPS). New maps, sprites, enemies were just some of the additions; however the weapons remained the same. Half Life Portal Challenge – came out prior to the ‘portal’ game and allowed user to experience what portal might be like (portal gun, opening/closing portals etc.) Grand Theft Auto Allowed users to add on new maps, weapons, challenges – essentially creating a completely new experience for users. Name some other examples…
  • 8. Assignment 1 If you have not done so, install and play the first five hours of Skyrim. Create and upload a MS Word document with the following information: • Your experience with Skyrim o What level is your character o Include a screenshot o What do you enjoy about the game o What don't you enjoy about this game o What is your favorite game genre o This assignment is due Sept 4th.