Modding or Modules? A Game Design Project

So I’m taking some courses in computer game design, and the main project and thrust of the program is to design your own game.

Now, most of the people are going to be making games in Flash. Personally, I hate Flash, I hate ActionScript, I don’t want to work in it at all. And since the teams are so small (probably going to be working with just one other person, a graphics girl), I can’t -just- do design, I also have to work at building the game itself.

I was discussing some of the options with the teacher, and he said that I should look into creating some sort of mod based on the Unreal Engine (the first one, which he says is now open-source). I also came up with the idea of making a module in NWN2, which I’ve never even played or purchased, which he said sounded like an OK idea.

But the point of this project is to build the skills and portfolio necessary to get a job in the computer game industry, so I thought I’d kick the question to Qt3.

Should I do this project in UE, making probably some kind of FPSRPG?

Should I make a NWN/NWN2 module of some sort?

Should I stick to making a Flash game and get off my lazy ass and learn the damned program/language?

Or should I do something else entirely?

I don’t think Unreal is open source. The source code of the Quake engines (1-3) was made available by Carmack though, and has resulted in projects such as Alien Invasion. There also are other choices available, such as Nebula, which is being used by students at the local game-focused school.

If you need quick results, you’re probably better off toying with the NWN toolset though. It’s quite flexible and there’s a huge community , so there always should be someone around to answer a question.

The ultimate choice, naturally, depends on what kind of game you’d like to implement. Any rough idea already?


That (the Quake engine) might be what he was referring to.

I have some rough ideas for an MMOFPS and some rough ideas for some RPG-esque stuff, as well as some more casual-style games. Really, I don’t think ideas are going to be the problem; I’m a big ideas guy, I have more than I could possibly turn into games.

For me the question is what will serve me best as far as developing skills and portfolio useful for the game industry.

Using those two ideas as a starting point, there’s no way I can conceive of you getting any decent progress made on the former starting at the Quake engine unless you’re such a prodigy that the industry should have already snapped you up. The latter, though, would seem doable. However, let me suggest this:

Neverwinter Nights (the original) is still readily available and far better documented than NWN2. If you’re really looking mainly to use this as a tool, there’s zero reason you should prefer the sequel over the original. Yes the toolset is better in the sequel, but in terms of design I think they’re pretty minor changes, and even a simple design is still going to have a steep learning curve. Stick with the toolset that at least has a wealth of primarily understood documentation.

I hadn’t considered that. Thanks.

As far as the other one, this is a project I’ll probably be working on for a year and a half or so, if I stick with the program.

I think (or rather, hope) that I could do something worthwhile in a year and a half, since this is basically what I’d be working on to the exclusion of other stuff. :)

But if that’s not realistically the case, I’ll accept that, since I really know nothing much about the issue!

If you were going to try and make and RPG out of an FPS engine, Unreal would be a lot better than Quake. The engine doesn’t have to be open source for you to make a mod. The built in scripting language is pretty powerful – you can find people playing bizarre rpg-like deathmatch customgames even now in Unreal 2k4.

But yeah, NWN wil be a lot better fit if you’re already targetting an RPG. NWN1 would be fine, but being able to really customize outdoor areas in NWN2 is SO much more fun and personal…

The toolset in NWN2 is not yet 100%. I would not recommend using it for any kind of important project yet. There’s the very real possibility that these early patches could render some functions incompatible with newer versions. Also, not all the tools for creating custom content are available yet. Stick with NWN1 if you go for NWN. It does almost everything 2 does, but lacks the graphic complexity (which will actually make that part easier.)

If you’d rather go the from-scratch route, pygame might be worth a look as an alternative to Flash. XNA Game Studio Express would be another choice.

You can do some pretty cool shit with the Q3 engine.

Some guys were working on a Super Metroid total conversion that was actually pretty fucking tight…

… until Nintendo crushed them underneath a very large, treaded bootheel.

If you’re thinking FPS/RPG, it’s a damn viable option. The Radiant level design tools (it’s been so long, I can’t even remember what the one for q3 was called!) are really damn easy to work with.

I’ll take a look at pygame and XNA tomorrow morning. Thanks for the input, and it’s off to sleep with me! :)

[Edit] But before I go to sleep…

My MMOFPS ideas are really out there in terms of what I can practically do, I think. At least, without a larger team of people. So I’m not really that into the idea.

But I do have some FPSRPG stuff that I was thinking of.

Modules > Modding