OK, before I start, this isn't specifically about FH, but it is what made me think about it.
Starting with HL, Mods became a huge part of the FPS-Online Shooter genre, and were often considered a major purchase reason. If a game promised to have good mod support, it would guarantee a certain live span and with that more customers.
Until a few years ago, it only took a few keen modders to make some of the most successful and ingenious mods.
However, parallel to the always increasing budget and efforts of modern PC games, I feel that modders are being left behind. A few keen fans just can't achieve as much nowadays compared to a few years ago, when games were somewhat simpler.
HL 2 for example was regarded as the ultimate heaven for modders, however, even 2 years later the game lacks some serious, high quality total conversions. I don't want to disregard some of the smaller Mods or conversions, however only very few of them have the scope of Forgotten Hope for example.
Actually I believe that FH2 is currently, the most ambitious mod projects out there, including all modern FPS.
However, I also believe that FH is one of the last of its kind unless things change (which is unlikely). Sure we will always see fans changing and altering some aspects of the game, but I don't think we will be seeing a lot of Total Conversions on the scape of FH, CS or similar for a while.
That's quite understandable if you see that games evolve while becoming bigger and more ambitious projects, yet modders will always be forced to start for scrap for every game. While making a few weapons, maps and models for a Game like HL might only take five people a period of five months, a shooter like Crysis might take the same amount of people years to achieve (at the same comparative standard).
I don't think it's as bleak as you think, to be honest. I suspect, and I may just be talking out of my ass here, that part of the natural development of the mod scene is the introduction of more "professional" project management, that sort of thing. Whereas a few years ago you'd have a bunch of dudes with too much time on their hands to come up with a (spectacular, IMHO) Aliens mod for Doom 3D, now you need a project manager, just to keep track of what all the dudes involved are doing.
I see a parallel in the big open source projects out there--Apache, Firefox, Samba, the GNU project, Linux, Free- and OpenBSD. They're all huge undertakings, with (almost entirely) volunteer coders, relying on donations and spare time, and yet they are in productive use in almost every huge corporation around the world.
The organization and politics inherent ever such massive projects are bound to scare people away, and to cause some tensions in the mod community (I seem to recall some spat over Merciless Creations a while ago), and the barriers to entry for smaller mods are smaller as people underestimate the work involved in churning out something really cool, but guess what? Now the big mods spawn offspring. Witness
-The FH sound & texture pack -PRMM -Finnwars -Norwegian resistance -MCCFHMM (Micronesian Camel Corps FH Mini Mod)
When in doubt, always remember John's (that's me) Law of the Internet:
No matter what you're trying to do, no matter how obscure, weird or pointless, there's bound to be someone out there who's done it before.
And its corollary:
...and they're almost sure to have had more free time on their hands than you ever will.
Since you mentioned HL2 so much... I'm not a mod follower realy (honestly, FH is the only mod I ever played for entertainment and play) but from what it seemes on Source mod scene there are quite alot of interesting WIP mods wich are realy taking advantage of one of highest modding capabilitys ever, that Source engine offeres. Good example is Garry's Mod wich is pretty much compleately different thing from HL2. It seems like mods realy have unlimited abilitys tehre, and don't have to be only a conversion.
Hidden: Source is one of the best mods ever made, and is by far the best mod for Half Life 2. But I agree, more of its kind would be nice.
I reckon if we give it ten more years, the kids of today will be the modders of tomorrow, while the modders of yesterday have all got mortgages or jobs at PC companies (or both).
Video games become more and more complex which require more and more work and more and more organisation.
+ you also have the new age of consummers. Before people see the mods as an addition of a good (or not) video game and now people just see in mods a free video games. It also hurts the modding comunity because there is less and less modders due to this kind of thinking imo and modding become something reserved to the "professionals".
= So the mods want to do their best to hope to be played and refuse beginner to keep the quality high. I won't become a modeler (more or less good, it depend from the point of you) if i didn't join Tactical War where i've learned the basic needed. Then i've joined Battlegroup : Frontlines and still learned technics to optimize my models for video games !
What is sure it that the gold age is really finished !
quite simply, games are more complex now, so mods take longer to make.
There are a pretty heafty handfull of AWESOME looking mods in the pipe for Source, that will probobly all be released within a few months of each other. Insurgency, Fortress Forever, Black Mesa, Enternal Silence, Resistance an Liberation, Nuclear Dawn, etc etc (theres dozens more, but names fail me).
Then BF2 has some high profile up and comings as well (though they arnt as varied as HL2 due to the engine limitations)
The mod community is alive and kicking, we're just making highter quality stuff :p
[COLOR=black]This doesn't just concern mods but also the games in general.[/COLOR] [COLOR=black]As games have become more complex and realistic (graphically) they have required more people to make every year. If you look at the art departments they have grown exponentially and will most likely continue to as gamers demand better graphics. [/COLOR] [COLOR=black]On thing that is certain is mod teams will have to grow as well if they want to keep up with gamers graphical demands and be able to deliver in a reasonable amount of time. [/COLOR] [COLOR=black]In the good good old days, when it was more about the game than the use of pixel shaders mods didn't even require teams to make. And no, I’m not very old, I’m only 18. But back in the day when I was 12ish, my brothers and I played a little game called Jedi Knight, (still the greatest game ever made in my mind) and my older brother made mods for it. He was 14 and an able to create 4 mods, 3 being TC in the matter of 2 years of about the quality of FH comparatively to the times. And he did this all by himself, well I did help but very little you know how little brothers are. [/COLOR] [COLOR=black]So mods have been growing (along with games in general) for quite some time. [/COLOR] [COLOR=black]Now there is one thing that concerns me that I am not too certain of so forgive me if I am wrong but it seemed to me that there was a lot more sharing of information between mod makes in the good old days. I’ve looked around, but not extensively, for info that is shared between mod makers and have found very little. This is too bad because not only would it get mods out faster that look better, it would also encourage more people to try out some moding if they find some tutorial that looks interesting and increase the number of people that can help mod teams. And after all its not like your getting paid, so spread the info around to improve the bond between the community. <<< If anyone has info about this please post links!!![/COLOR] [COLOR=black]Ok back to the topic. The problem is not just for mods but games also. Gamers want the coolest new graphics and the want them right away. But, as games grow and the need for artist grow it will eventually push small game and mod makers out of the business which is really too bad. An interesting solution to the "art problem" seems to be provided by Will Wright's Spore; let the use make the art. This seems Like a very interesting concept and I'm going to have to suspend judgment until I see exactly how this works in practice.[/COLOR] [COLOR=black]However that doesn't seem like a viable solution for modders. So what can be done? Larger mod teams, start work on mods sooner somehow? Well you'll have to get back to me on that. ;) [/COLOR]
Games are becoming more complex, but you fail to address phaenomena like MAME, or the popularity of dinky shit little phone games.
My girlfriend still plays solitaire to take a break from work.
The fact that games are way more involved, a phaenomenon which will continue, is a good thing, but doesn't mean that all games will be like this.
Typis[COLOR=black]However that doesn't seem like a viable solution for modders. So what can be done? Larger mod teams, start work on mods sooner somehow? Well you'll have to get back to me on that. ;) [/COLOR]
I think they start working on a mod as soon as they decide to form a mod team and have an idea for a mod, it's not like a studio waiting for an assignment from publisher.:p And what new games mainly require is more programmers and graphic technicians as it seemes. Graphic artists still have it pretty same as they (not only in case of games) usualy work on high resolution texture anyway and games don't realy get bigger in case of texture content (unless it's a hell of creating a skin for complex model of player or vehicle). The technology, not actual art requirements are progressing.
Wtf is this? "MCCFHMM (Micronesian Camel Corps FH Mini Mod)"