It’s been a long trip but we’re finally at the end of 2011. Now we wait for the inevitable panic caused by paranoid tabloids suggesting possible world ending scenarios, which will undoubtedly not happen. Before that though, let us take a moment to recap what last year meant for the Cutstuff community and I.
Mega Man Deathmatch
So Mega Man Deathmatch has been kicking for over a year now, and people are still discovering it having fun blasting people 8-bit style. Early in the year modders (including myself) really started to get their teeth stuck into MM8BDM and come up with some very interesting and different ways to play the game. Roboenza, Classes, Bot Apocalypse and all the other new game modes definitely injected new blood into the game to keep people interested. Mappers who weren’t familiar with Doom editing at all started building their own arenas for packs and collections which get played regularly on the servers. MM8BDM has certainly gotten much bigger with it’s growing database of content, but has it become a little too big for it’s boots perhaps?
I wondered this to myself as later on in the year I noticed the MM8BDM server count dropping, and only the Cutstuff regulars returned to the servers to play the newest custom content. The game hasn’t got the spark it once had that’s for sure, but people have questioned whether MM8BDM is actually going to slowly fade away or not. Personally I doubt it, at least not for a while longer. There’s still a lot left to do in MM8BDM, from both me and the creative community. I personally think the lack of new players is simply because they don’t exist. Let’s face it, the old school Mega Man fan base isn’t as huge as you might think (and Capcom know this). Publicity is also a factor, I notice MM8BDM not even getting a wink of notice on the most popular Mega Man news sites that cover fan based content. Then if people do discover it, filter out the ones who can’t be bothered/don’t know how to install the 100mb+ (I’m not kidding) extra user created content (which is MANDATORY on most current servers), and you have a very limited amount of people interested.
At the end of the day though, it’s not the modder’s fault that MM8BDM isn’t getting played as much. It’s an issue, but not a big one at the moment and there’s not a huge amount me or the fans can do about it. The MM8BDM community is still fairly big, and as long as there’s servers up I’m sure new and old players will come back for more. Mega Man Deathmatch has been my most successful project, and this year it has shown. Attracting a ton of people and creating a community from a single Doom mod is no simple task, and I couldn’t have done it without help from Mega Man fans all around the interweb.
Ghouls vs Humans
Since it’s explosive release in 2009, GVH has been creeping on the Skulltag server list ever since. It slowed down for quite some time after I stopped development and handed the project over to Euranna (and now CarThief). I had grown tired of GVH and wanted to work on other things (MM8BDM), but I was still proud of what GVH achieved. Most of my fondest Skulltag memories come from GVH beta testing, scaring the crap out of people as the Creeper, sniping someone from across the map as Choke etc. Now and again a server would pop up with 4-6 familiar faces from old times, but never would it rain blood with 32 player carnage.
Or so I thought. GVH mods and add-ons were plenty since it was released, but never anything that really made an impact. Ghouls vs Humans: The Nordic Saga started taking the top of the server list, and all of a sudden GVH seemed popular all over again. GVH:NS, created by Watermelon and a team of modders, brought new additions to the game. New maps, four new classes, new abilities for old classes and balance tweaks were a few of the things the new version boasted. While it may just sound like a regular expansion such as Endless War or Cold Demise (both which are now merged into the standalone GVH:v2 for those who don’t know), something about the Nordic Saga has gotten people’s interest in playing GVH again.
Personally I don’t know why this GVH expansion over any other has resurrected the class based game mode. It makes a lot of design choices that I would have steered clear from (over-complicating older classes, having ranged ghouls and a melee human, sprite based Ghouls with rotations etc) and has changed a lot of what I loved about the old GVH. But with Doom modding being what it is (open for anyone to tinker with), I have no right to say what one can/cannot do with my old work. Regardless of what I don’t like about GVH:NS, there’s certainly a few cool additions I like and it still has it’s fun chaotic team based combat that I originally left in tact. Ghouls vs Humans: The Nordic Saga has got me and many others playing GVH once more, and that makes me happy (entering a GVH server to hear “who the hell is CutmanMike” makes me sad though. FOREVER ALONE).
So let’s talk about that last cutstuff project, Real Life. It’s a nice game, graphics are pretty impressive. Respawn times are really bad though I hear… *bah dum dish*
Other than the occasional side project for MM8BDM, there’s not a lot I’ve done this year in terms of new stuff. I have tried to better myself in numerous ways, by trying to learn new engines and languages. I learned a bit of C# earlier in year with my friends, who had all just finished Uni. While it wasn’t much, I at least learned how different modern programming languages were compared to what I’ve been working with (lol ACS). After that I tried messing around with the Unreal engine (UDK). Just messing around in the level editor in that thing gives me goosebumps of the sheer amount of possibilities that thing could do, and all the hard work has already been laid out for you. The problem is, the programming side is kind of a jungle with no map. There’s little to no (free) documentation on what’s what behind the scenes, and attempting to do things other than tweak values results in nights of frustration with little success. I also looked at Unity briefly, but coming back from poking at UDK made me feel like I was missing out on so much more.
So where does this leave me? Well, being unemployed sucks, and that may not change for a while with the current state of things. This year I’ve decided to put my free time to use, to better my lifestyle and actually attempt to grind my face through some engine or another to actually create something that doesn’t come along with the “Doom mod” suffix that turns heads. What that will be, I have no idea, but after January I hope to have something figured out. If I have, then you may see this blog fill up with updates on what I’ve learned, and what I’m working on.
Until then though, I hope you had a good Holiday season and Happy New Year!