With UT2004 a few years old now, the question on a lot of mod makers’ minds is, “is it worth it?” It’s really hard to tell. The community doesn’t seem to exist in the same way it used to back in the Unreal Tournament days. Why is this? Well I believe the answer lies in a quote my fellow BeyondUnreal member hal has in his signature:

Q: Where did UT2004 go wrong? A: It failed because instead of playing it and having fun everyone bitched about it on forums. - dc

In a way, I think this quote may actually have a lot of credibility. Look at the now defunct INA forums or even the BeyondUnreal forums. There were countless threads and complaints; so many that the joke “EPIC PLZ FIX” came about. That’s really sad, as these things really didn’t happen nearly as much with the original UT. There were always complaints about UT’s multiplayer, the netcode, etc., but nothing ever really stood out so terribly that it caused the entire community to come falling down on itself. Today’s Unreal community has certainly changed, for better or for worse, but today it seems like players are more bent on pointing out the flaws of a game than actually making any valid attempt at enjoying it.

Having myself worked on countless modifications (Covert Forces for UT, and especially Fraghouse Invasion for UT2003/2004), from this standpoint, the community really does seem to have changed. No one seems to want something that is just plain “fun” anymore; they’re looking for flashy graphics, new player models, new whatever. What happened to fun? I’m not sure, but we lost it somewhere around normal mapping.

While FHI was a mild success and we were extremely excited to hand it over to the community, it has problems; everything does. The big thing was “Is it fun?” and we asked this question to ourselves every day. When it was released, we hardly ever got any questions about game play or feedback about game play. Most of it revolved around “THIS MODEL HAS A SLIGHTLY OFF TEXTURE FIX FIX FIX WTF YUO SUX!” as sad as that truly is. I was honestly looking forward to things like game play feedback, etc because with those things we would be able to make a modification that is even more fun than its predecessor.

So what happened to the mod makers? Small mod creators such as Fraghouse just faded away for the most part, leaving the large modifications like Strike Force, Chase the Chicken, etc out there. In a way, it’s the small modification creators fault for not being “professional enough.” But, think about it. Modifications originally started off as small changes to the game by third-parties that were small, different and, most importantly, fun! Did anyone complain about Action Quake not being professional enough? I think people were too excited about a new way to play the game to really care if there was a slightly misaligned texture or that the model lacked significant polygon counts.