Lanning made a generation of nerds what they are today. Corn chips, Skittles, instant noodles and unironic Mountain Dew. Bad video card drivers, condensation on the motherboard, RAM that needs to sit at the exact right angle in order to work. We ate a lot. We learned a lot. And now the opportunities for this experience are starting to fade.
Half-Life mods made my childhood. They were a free source of fun that led to me learning the basics of level design, model making, and asset management. This week we take a look at three of my favourites.
We felt hints of the potential power of open-world games long before Oblivion took the stage, and I don’t think it’s too hipster of me to suggest that I was sandboxing before it was cool. Friends would come over with their computers and, driven by our own boredom (as well as Snoken’s cinematic masterpiece, ‘Mine’), we’d manipulate gameplay systems to make our own fun.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon came out in 2000, when virtual worlds simply couldn’t be made large enough to fit an entire game’s worth of content in. Technology dictated that we split the world into different sections, or 'levels', which would be loaded and unloaded when necessary, normally through the use of a menu. A few years before Year of the Dragon was released, developers had begun to realize that simple menu-based level select screens were getting stale.