All I ever wanted was to appear as a character in an Medal of Honor: Allied Assault mod. That’s how my foray into #gamedev began. I had no idea at the time how difficult character modeling, texturing, rigging, and animating was! I picked up Paul Steed’s Modeling a Character in 3ds Max and went about recreating my likeness in pixels and triangles. Upon completion and emboldened by my success, I immediately graduated to underestimating the difficulty of creating an entire mod. Wising up meant teaming up; the second chapter of my #gamedev education would see me enlist with the Nosferatu mod team.
Led by a German I still only know as Ghostface, Nosferatu was built on the Quake engine and pitted Vampires against Slayers in online multiplayer modes. My job was to create and animate the characters. I had hoped my apprenticeship would elicit insight into modding and programming, or better yet, reciprocal work on my mod, DreamCasters’ Duel. Unfortunately I learned more about what not to do.
Some of Nosferatu’s problems stemmed from its unfortunate timing; it was conceived of in the Uzian Period of indie #gamedev. This was a time when unskinned weapon models ruled the modding world. Those who could cobble together an Uzi from two tubes and a pair of cubes bestrode this world like Colossi. Assets were so rare that you could, without exaggeration, trace any particular unattributed shotgun render to its original creator.
Digital sculpting didn’t exist. Pelt mapping didn’t exist. Render UVW Template didn’t exist. And so character modeling and unwrapping/texturing, by virtue of their time consumption, were typically distinct disciplines. At Nosferatu, however, I was creating multiple characters (models, textures, animations, and all) unassisted, while working on DCD, with no time to learn modding.
In short order Nosferatu seemed comprised solely of weapon models and forum squabbling. By 2006 I had single handedly beat the Nosferatu team in the Mod of the Year rankings. The win validated the decision to go “full time” with DreamCasters’ Duel and Nosferatu soon became a fading memory.
Sometimes learning what not to do is as valuable as learning what to do. In this respect, Nosferatu was a valuable learning experience. I also made some friends! And as the second chapter in my #gamedev education closed, the third chapter was already underway…
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