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  1. #1
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    Creative Games

    A while back, Mantis got this pixel art screen thing that looked cool, but it also got me thinking how I'm the polar opposite with that type of creative spark. I love consuming stories/art that are created by someone else but I don't have any interest in making any myself. While I do enjoy simulation games, they take place in a limited sandbox with defined goals and a way to lose in most cases. Just buying something (Mario Maker, Minecraft, level-editors), notably games, with the intention of creating things for fun is foreign to me. It's the game designer's job to create things for me to enjoy, making my own gameplay experience feels like work to me. Is anyone in the same boat or do you like to play certain games for the sole experience of creating things? Do you enjoy a compromise between the two like a premade game that includes a level-editor? Have I been drinking crazy-juice again?
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  2. #2
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    I find a fair amount of enjoyment in creating dumb shit, or on some occasions I'll put some actual effort into making good things, and it's usually in the realm of videogame content. Maps, levels, whatever you want to call them, this is what side I usually toy with. I'll occasionally play around with music but it's not quite reaching the same level of satisfaction.

    Why though? Because a lot of games would end up becoming dull with such limited content. User-made extras add playtime to games that could/would otherwise end up being forgotten long ago. A good supply of custom maps/levels in particular can keep a game's lifespan going indefinitely, or at least until the actual playerbase itself is legitimately dead. Being able to construct your own maps gives you the freedom to set things up in such a way that hasn't been done before, to build scenarios and situations that weren't even on the original design team's radar, be it due to thematic, creative and/or technical reasons. The stuff you can do with old games now with the right editing tools goes above and beyond anything that was possible back when the game was originally released, and that certainly keeps things fresh despite the game engine itself being older than some of the people messing around with it.

    I've mainly fucked about making mods for Doom (encompassing just about any aspect of the game which can be modified, short of tampering with the actual code itself, which is generally unnecessary thanks to source ports), and also delved into pissing around making maps and units for C&C: Red Alert (by extension, OpenRA also got a look-in with a whole bunch of shit added for my own entertainment) and Age of Empires II, using all sorts of triggers and other scripting to make something more than a map based around "build stuff and kill other guy's units" (such as defending a series of walls against an endless stream of elephants and exploding men for 30 minutes while irritable superpowered bears keep wandering out of the nearby forest to raid your farms).

    I absolutely loved the mapmaker in the TimeSplitters series too. Although very limited compared to all things PC, it was still mindblowingly flexible at the time to have such creative possibility in making maps that were either completely hectic with stupid story objectives or ludicrously imbalanced DM/TDM environments, the latter of which was guaranteed to not be part of any official content (for obvious reasons). Doesn't sound like much, but it was some good shit.

    All that being said, a lot of what I make isn't really made for sharing on a large scale. I do this stuff mainly for my own entertainment or to spend drunk weekends playing around on with my usual crew of six these days, although there are some bits and pieces out there which I've half-published. A few of the 'official' Red Alert maps released with CnCNet are things I adapted/made myself, those being some of the co-op missions (Thin Red Line, Focused Blast), and some other mods here and there made by others have had my smudgy fingerprints on them in some trivial dumb way during development.

    In short, I do get a kick out of making my own content and mixing the standard gameplay up a bit (or a lot, depending on the project). Sometimes I just want to make an old favourite become more of a challenge. Watching players I've known for a long time test and fight against whatever unknown creations I've thrown at them is especially entertaining.
    "It turned out that the ghost was just Mr. Finley, who ran the amusement park. The spooky part is that, as soon as the ghost appeared, the teenagers' dog began to speak! And it spoke in a tortured parody of human speech: 'relp me, Raggy,' it would say. 'I am an abomination and rould re rilled. Rill re, Raggy.'"

  3. #3
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    Far Cry 2 comes to mind. It's obviously a normal game, although it pales in comparison to the original Far Cry in my opinion. Anyway, I don't really like it that much, but the multiplayer is decent. So this was probably about a decade ago, I started using the game for... creating things. And that was pretty much all, and sometimes enjoying a game with people who actually gave a damn about my maps.

    Unfortunately I don't have the maps anymore, but the save games are probably on an Xbox 360 somewhere. It was released on a few platforms and this was before I switched to PC ganing. The level editor on the Xbox 360 is really limited, but that's actually the fun part: overcoming the limitations and making something pretty damn good. I wasn't good enough to make something like this:

    That's Jurassic Park constructed ground-up on the Xbox 360. Much of it was made of rock objects. It was a really painstaking process to move every individual object, with bad camera angles and no multi-select. Could take several hours for small portions of a map. This is probably going to be a little boring.

    One of my maps was called Uphill Battle. It had a beach where one team spawned. I learned how to make objects called Czech hedgehogs. They were a common obstacle used in World War II. Took some time to make each one and it had maybe twenty. Worked well as cover for those on the beach. The other team spawned on a huge mountain that took a while to make. It had a large fort and hang gliders so players on the mountain team could swoop down and attack those on the beach. Meanwhile, to counter-attack the beach team had to drive up a long dirt path on the mountain. Of course there were sniper rifles. This design worked well for CTF.

    Another map had a few large planes higher up in the sky which took forever to make that wasn't completely successful. The team in the planes were to parachute down and risk being shot down in the process by the other team in a town below.

    Finally (since I can't remember others) one I wanted to work on but never got round to it (only did a small bit of it) was going to be based on the "Attack on Dollet" from the game Final Fantasy VIII.

    Somewhat similar to Uphill Battle. One team at a small beach wholly spawning next to submarines, with a path leading up to the duchy of Dollet, with lots of buildings where the other team would spawn at different locations. The bigger difference here is that the two teams would be at the same level instead of one high and one low.

    Now that's over, I think another game I often played mostly for the level designing was TimeSplitters 2 when I was a young teen. I made a lot of cool single player maps.
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