TPG Cast Episode 3: PC Modding & Your Questions Answered

In this edition of TPG Cast, Adam spends the first portion of the show answering your questions about the site, the writers, relationships with developers and all things TPG.  Later on, Phil speaks about his love for PC modding and burning hate for tacked-on DLC. Adam’s favorite Mexican dish is also revealed and the answer will no doubt shock all who listen.  Download direct via Dropbox or listen on YouTube.

Running Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes.

7 thoughts on “TPG Cast Episode 3: PC Modding & Your Questions Answered

  1. Good show, nice bit of history. Was a bit surprised by the favorite Mexican dish being some sort of chicken thing with cheese on it because most dishes like that have an actual name, but other than that it was a good 3rd show. (The reference to the Star Trek causality loop makes up for not knowing the name of your favorite dish at a restaurant)

    As a kid I got interested in computer code and writing scripts after watching the movie War Games. After typing in WOPR onto every computer I could find and getting no results I decided to seek out actual knowledge of how computer code works. I got a book that explained BASIC and gave you complete scripts to regurgitate into the computer to make a game. Once I got the game running I went back to the script and started changing things around to see what else I could do, this is where I began my life as an amateur modder. I later started playing around in the files of games I had and made some changes that I euphemistically call mods but in retrospect were cracks. I had one adventure game that every time you went into a town or dungeon would ask you to type the 5th word on the 3rd line of the 2nd paragraph on page 23 of the manual, which was a major pain. After poking around a bit I found the file that drove these challenge questions and rewrote them to simply say “Type Sword.” Later on I would tweak INI files and edit image files to affect changes in some games, I made a few skins for Unreal Tournament and made my own car in Re-Volt. But having the actual developer tools was the best by far. I spent a lot of time making Maps for Warcraft 2 and even made a few campaigns in Starcraft, but the construction sets released with Bethesda games tops the charts. I have a few mods I made for Morrowind and Oblivion but it was Fallout 3 that made me realize that I should not only make mods but release them for public consumption, everything I did up to that point was for personal use and most of it was lost with hard drive failures over the years. I had released a few mods for Fallout 3, my most popular was called (Shameless Plug —>) Savage Wasteland (<— Shameless Plug) but I had a few others that got some decent recognition. Then my Fallout 3 install got screwed up somehow and, like mentioned in the podcast, I haven't felt motivated to reinstall and reload the 150 mods and play with load order and patches to get the game properly setup for myself. The real shame is that I have a few unfinished mods that I am not able to test that I think could be a lot of fun for people. Then again it seems that most of the players have jumped over to New Vegas so I don't feel too bad about not adding content to Fallout 3. I am however teaching myself the Unity3D engine, with so many indie games being made in Unity I think it could be used as a universal construction set.

    At the very least I plan to use Unity to try making mods for Wasteland 2. And you heard it here first, from the one true Steven S.

    • There is no real “name” to the dish. The restaurant is a fast-foody kinda deal. You simply order a “Chicken Burrito with Cheese”. 🙂

      Very interesting take on modding/cracking games. Looking forward to the Wasteland 2 mods. I heard learning how to mod is difficult because most forums only discuss with people who know what they are talking about and shun newbies. Any truth to this?

  2. While there are modders who have that attitude they usually all congregate on the same sites so as not mingle with us lesser beings. Ask for help on any other site and you will get great feedback. The key is to actually ask for help on the work you are doing. There are always people who have “an awesome idea” for a mod but don’t know how to make models or textures, or how to write code or even how to use modding tools. If you are just looking for someone to make a mod for you exactly the way you want without any effort from you beyond a vague idea then even the nicest of modders will shut down that request. If on the other hand you come in with an idea and a snippet of code or screenshots of something you created and say “I tried X, Y and Z but it’s not working” then you will get some help because even those experienced modders were once all noobs themselves.

    There was a Fallout 3 modder who had an idea for a mod. He had made beautiful well detailed models but couldn’t get the scripted parts to work right. When he asked for help I volunteered my coding knowledge, I started fixing his script and I made one of my own that I thought would work better but drastically changed the mechanics of how it would feel in game. Some modders have a My Way or Nothing attitude and would reject any changes like this. He ended up using my script and his mod became wildly popular.

    Bottom line, if anyone is interested in creating mods there is usually a wealth of information and sometimes tutorials about how to make mods for the game you are looking at. If you go to a modding forum there will usually be several stickied up at the top. Read them and try some things out on your own, if you run into trouble you can always ask and you will actually sound like you know enough of what you are talking about to get answers.

  3. Great show guys! Really interesting stuff. I hear you on the programming aspect, I’m pretty weak in that area myself. It would be awesome to be able to download your shows for commute listening, but I will keep my fingers crossed for now, youtube on my phone at work is a solid solution. Looking forward to hearing more, keep up the great work!

    Quick question tho – the problems you mentioned with FOV et al, can you name some particularly bad offenders? I am pretty confined to the PC, and I haven’t really dabbled in fixes for those issues, I just plow through the games I like and have no basis of comparison for ports.

    • Thanks for the comment, Chris. I am happy you enjoy our show.

      Off the top of my head FOV offenders were/are: FarCry 2, Bioshock and Singularity. You can watch a two part video on what FOV is and how it can affect PC gamers.

      Part 1

      Part 2

  4. A bit late I know, but finally caught up with the cast and another good one.

    I love games that can be modded though modding itself has kind of scared me off the more advanced games have got. I know the tools are perhaps easier to use, and massively more powerful in terms of the end result but the amount of fine tuning now possible also means a much bigger time-sink to produce said result. And as much as I’d love to let my creative visions loose, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to learning how to do it any more. I don’t really have the patience or dedication to muck about with those things these days. I did make a couple of maps for UT99 many moons ago, and I’ll be the first to admit they were pretty awful, but I did enjoy making them. That’s about as far as I got with modding, if you can call it that.

    Still, mods for Bethesda games have made sure any new game of theirs is a pretty sure pre-order. I’ve clocked up over 300 hours in Skyrim, and the mods have helped to make it a better game (and fix a lot of the stuff that was broken/I wanted changed) and Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul did the same for erm, Oblivion. I also still have Morrowind installed, modded obviously.

    • Thanks for listening, Russell.

      I am in the exact same boat. I used to mod like crazy, but now, unless an aspect of a game is completely off, I no longer have the patience needed.

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