Saturday, 23 October 2010

Mod released

I have spent a very significant proportion of my free time over the past year working in a modding team of a dozen or so people. We’ve been recreating a portion of an old game called Baldur’s Gate 2 inside another game engine; that of Dragon Age: Origins, a newer title. The module has around 2 hours of gameplay. I am reminded of the Honda advert where vehicle components knock into one another in sequence. $6,500,000 and 3 months of work by engineers and a film crew for 90 seconds of entertainment.

 I first saw the opening room from Baldur’s Gate 2 modelled out, ready to be converted into Dragon Age some 11 months ago. As probably my favourite game of all time, the overwhelming nostalgia it evoked made it impossible to resist getting involved. The project was simple: remake a 10-year-old game in a new engine. A game that happened to have over 100 hours of gameplay.

I did not anticipate taking a major part in the project, but I’m not somebody who will stand by as dreams and hard work fall apart to bad co-ordination. Before long I was responsible for the organisation of the project as well as creating much of the content. It was a great opportunity to improve my modelling and texturing before starting this course and I’m very pleased with the look of the levels, which were my main focus (besides doing bits of everything else!)

But the task was not straightforward - the scope of the project was immense. Those involved were scattered around the world with varying levels of experience, availability and commitment. This industry is renowned for failing to meet deadlines despite having control over all of the above factors. Some even get abandoned, usually due to over-ambition or inexperience. Here are a handful of amateurs who have never met one another plotting to recreate an enormous game… for no pay… in our spare time. What chance did we have?

With a manoeuvre straight out of high school, setting achievable targets was crucial. Releasing the project in short modules meant that the end was always in sight, interest could be built and more people could get involved. After almost a year of development, I am pleased to report out first module has just been released.

It has been a great project to work on, and it ticks pretty well all the boxes employers like to see in an application - working in a team, meeting deadlines, accepting and delegating responsibility, I could go on. I have been extremely fortunate that the people I have been working with have been so dedicated and enthusiastic. I look forward to continuing to work with them in future modules.

Despite being released for less than 24 hours, the feedback so far has been extremely positive: 
 Insanely Great! 
 Best DA-mod so far
Far above any DA mod I had ever tried
Easily one of the top mods ever produced
This mod should be on TOP OF dragonagenexus forum as THE MOST DOWNLOADED MOD IN HISTORY!!
A little sensationalist but they seem to like it! 

I like to think the people at Honda are proud of their advertisement. I love that ad.

You can read more about the mod and player’s comments on the project page. If you have Dragon Age Origins, you can also download it from there and have a go.

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