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Starters Guide To Total Conversions


Andrew

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Starters Guide To Total Conversions
A Must Read

 

 

Introduction

 

Welcome to my starters guide for Total Conversions. I will give you a word of warning, Total Conversions are very hard and time consuming. It will take a dedicated team, lots of time and effort to pull one off.

 

With that over, lets begin.

I will only be guding you through what a Total Conversion is, how to pull one off and other things. I will not be teaching you to model, map, or any sort of modding. This is only a reference.

 

I strongly Suggest, before you start to read this, or attempt a Total Conversion of your own, without checking these Total Conversions. Look at the time and effort thats going into these, the effort, time and deication is immense.

 

Myriad Islands - Myriad islands is a total conversion started by illspirit, the idea was for a whole new game. New cars, missions, maps and more. Please note that illspirit has been a part of the GTA modding community since the 90s, yet he still finds Myriad Islands a challenge. Please use this as a comparison to yourself. Also note that Myriad Islands is a community project not run by illspirit alone, and has thrived under the leadership of several different members.

 

GTA: Liberty City - GTA: Liberty City was started by many people, and is not led by any particular entity - it is another community project. The aim of GTA: LC was to take Liberty City, and place it in the Vice City engine, so we have the added bonuses of headlights, bikes and helicopters. And keeping the original GTA3 missions.

 

Look at those, and see the effort and time that has been devoted to them. See that every member of the team, pulls there weight - most importantly the leaders.

 

 

What Is A Total Conversion

 

A Total Conversion is a very big mod, which aims to completely change the game, give it a new lease of life. New cars, missions, maps and more. Its like creating your own game.

 

 

What Do I Need?

 

The ability to mod is essential for any 'leader'. Don't start a topic and ask others to join and do the work for you - you will be completely ignored. Remember that 'texturer' is not considered a legitimate position for a leader. If you can't do anything useful in a mod, don't start one. (Anybody can texture - make sure you can either map, model or script).

 

Many people who start Total Conversions, don't have a clue how to mod. These people make regular contributions to our Recycle Bin. Don't be one of them.

 

Other important factors include using your head, and having a lot of ideas, time and effort. We recommend spending at least a year surfing these forums and other GTA websites learning as much as you possibly can, and becoming a capable modder.

 

Another important factor I might add, is the choice of Engine, IE GTA3, GTA:VC and GTA:SA all have advantages and disadvantages. For example at the moment the SA engine has modding limiations in terms of Colision files, this is currently being worked on.

 

The Engines

 

GTA3 -> The first 3D grand theft auto, has the importing, exporting all covered by freeware tools, A dark enviroment. mostly well documented one IMO, but less people using it, due to its age.

 

GTA:VC -> The sucessor to GTA3. A much better engine, better headlight and particle effects, more brighter enviroment, the addition of Motorbikes and helicopters, plus various freeware tools to expand the engine capabilites. Again importing and exporting are covered by freeware tools.

 

GTA:SA -> The most recent GTA. An huge map, and a overhauled graphics engine. Better handling for lights and textures, more cars, boats etc. Downside is a colision file limitation.

 

How Do I Start One?

 

Starting a Total Conversion, is quite easy, except it wouldn't get a very good response if you just made a topic, with some ideas, with nothing to show for it. The best way to start it is to, gather ideas and research. If your Total Conversion is based on anything particular. For example a Knight Rider conversion would need research on the TV series, and an understanding of what goes on. Researching this, helps the mod have some background to go on, and gives the team an idea of what to do model/code etc.

Once you've gathered research, then maybe start prototyping ideas, a few concept sketches of cars, buildings etc. Also a few ingame prototypes won't go a miss. Then work on starting the mod yourself - do as much as you can until you have some impressive screenshots to attract the attention of other modders. You can then make a topic, which clearly presents your ideas, what you've done so far, what you are doing, and asking for help if you need it.

 

This is how you do it.

 

Finally, once you've made the topic and you've got people helping, you just need to put your ideas in to play.

 

Good luck and have fun!

 

-Added Engine Consideration.

Edited by Suction Testicle Man
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Nice gangsta, i was going to start one (a TC tut) myself, but didn't have the time. But since you did, i'll elaborate on it a bit more, if you don't mind smile.gif

 

I would say if your serious about a TC, lurk around the forums for a bit before you start a topic. Develop a skill first, mapping, modelling, anything, just posting your idea about a tc, with nothing to show, is begging for it to be ignored. "Leadership" IS a skill, but it won't get you anywhere in a TC, not by itself. Something tangible will get you significantly further. If your having trouble modding gta in the first place, wait until your good at it. If you just can't seem to get it, don't attempt to start a TC. your team won't appreciate doing ALL the work.

 

Pay attention to who has skill, who is good at what. When you feel you are ready to start your TC, perhaps PM / email a few other people, who have skill, to see if they would like to join. Build up as much of a team as you can before posting a TC topic. If you start a TC topic, and you now have

 

-Several, atleast somewhat taleneted people, on your team

-Ingame assets, even rough ones

-A clearcut idea

 

your mod should go much further.

 

Know your / the game's limitations:

Not everything you want to do, may be possible. There is no SDK available for GTA3/Vice, so your more or less limited to replicating what has already been accomplished in the games. Also, modelling 10, 20, 30, 50, several hundred or thousand buildings and objects (depending on your level of complexity), is going to be a daunting task, even for the most dedicated team.

 

Examples of what NOT to do:

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=142500

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=142210&hl=

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=140933&hl=

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=140337&hl=

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=138917&hl=

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=139148&hl=

http://www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=129485&hl=

 

Final thoughts..

Total Conversion = replaces everything in the game. Not JUST the cars, the hud, the mission script, ALL of it.

 

Some ideas suck. So run your TC idea across as many people as you can before starting, and keep an open mind.

 

Try to be original. Doing a Star Wars or Batman mod is both unoriginal and lame. Also if your using copyrighted work in your mod, there is the chance the parent company (Lucasfilm/Lucasarts for example, Star Wars) can come down on your mod and demand you stop working on it, with the aid of their lawyers. It more than likely won't happen, but why risk it? Create and refine your own ideas for best results.

 

Apologies if my post sounds negative. But ive seen seen so many TC's fail its not funny. Very few are successful, and speaking from experience; don't try to do one all by yourself. It WILL drive you insane. Though its not impossible..

 

Edit - This is such a great idea, i dont know why i didn't think of it before. Grab the Manual that came with your Vice game (or gta3) Yea, that pink or black little paper book, that was in the box with the dics when you bought it. Go to the back, credits, page 22 (im using the vice manual) and just look at all those people. Useful stats-

10 mappers

3 Vehicle Designers (3 guys did over 100 vehicles? holy sh*t!!)

3 character designers

4 animators

9 programmers (EXE)

5 Audio technicians

7 Mission Designers (SCM)

 

41 people.

 

Gee, it sure takes alot of people to make a game doesnt it? Keep in mind, these are experienced professionals, "working" for months at a time, many hours a day, to make the game your creating a tc for. Oh sure, the exe is done for you, but the rest of the modding falls into the other categories. The only place around here i think ive seen even close to 10 mappers working together, is Myriad. 7 mission scripters? pfft, in your dreams.

 

Just a bit more info to digest when contemplating your TC.

Edited by ashdexx
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Craig Kostelecky

Lots of time is exactly right. We've got almost 9 months into GTA:LC (humans are made in less time!) and we're only about 33-45% through the scm coding.

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Heh thanks ashdexx, I'll update the link in the Archives to include your name as well.
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heh pretty good. smile.gif

 

i agree with most of it.

 

except the part about needing a dedicated team wink.gif just 1 dedicated person is enough to pull off a pretty darn good real gta mod in 8 months wink.gif

 

heh, i dont know if you call a real gta mod a tc tho. but i only spent about 1/10 th of the time installing cars and getting permission, the rest was making texture mods and making realistic mods. and theres alot of misc mods, about 90% arent even mentioned in readme.

 

ok, i think i better shut up now.

 

nice work smile.gif

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Great guide gansta, covers a lot of the points people generally avoid talking about for a quiet life, people need to be informed. So nice work.

 

I'd possibly ponder adding something to the effect of; "Do not add a third party model to your TC, and then begin seeking permission to use it. Permissions come first, additions follow from them."

 

Lot of problems get brought up that way. Like someone adds someone else's car to their conversion, then vaguely seeks permission, can't get it first time around/ludicrously quickly, and either decide they don't need it, or forget to get ahold of it at all.

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heh pretty good. smile.gif

 

i agree with most of it.

 

except the part about needing a dedicated team  wink.gif just 1 dedicated person is enough to pull off a pretty darn good real gta mod in 8 months  wink.gif

 

heh, i dont know if you call a real gta mod a tc tho. but i only spent about 1/10 th of the time installing cars and getting permission, the rest was making texture mods and making realistic mods. and theres alot of misc mods, about 90% arent even mentioned in readme.

I usually edit quotes, but this one is so rich I had to quote it all biggrin.gif

 

Where do I begin? You talk of "real GTA mods" I wonder if you could define that for us? Do you mean photorealistic? That actually makes sense as it's alot easier to make textures from photos then to aquire the skills and spend the time making them from scratch with either an illustration or paint program. What else a "real GTA mod" is all about I have no idea.

 

Why should it matter how much time you spent "installing cars and getting permission"? If it's a TC made by one person then that person will have made all the cars single handedly and there would be no getting permission necessary and installation if totally irrelevant.

 

I probably wouldn't have wasted my time on this but then you said "...and theres alot of misc mods, about 90% arent even mentioned in readme." What did they miss? Shoot, the whole tut could be summed up by this quote:

 

 

A Total Conversion is a very big mod, which aims to completely change the game, give it a new lease of life. New cars, missions, maps and more. Its like creating your own game.

 

Some people also do Total Conversions, by just changing cars. I couldn't call this a Total Conversion, because hardly anything has been changed.

 

Isn't that wonderful? The only thing that might have made it a tad better would have been if he had specifically mentioned new players and peds.

 

I actually would have been against the creation of a tut like this, but now that I see where gangsta k. and ashdexx are going with this, I think it's great. Hopefully less people use "TC" to refer to their mods. You might as well say "I'm a n00b and my project is going no where".

 

I like the point about permissions, Augh.

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whoa sorry for posting man confused.gif

 

real GTA mod = realGTA3 or vice city deluxe, etc

 

anyway, i wont bother replying to the other stuff, cos i dont have time.

 

thanks for your response suicidal.gif

 

and dude, i aint no n00b, just cause i dont got no shiny stars confused.gif

i know everything about gta modding you can know, except coding confused.gif

 

EDIT:. ok, im back with time to reply.

 

 

Some people also do Total Conversions, by just changing cars. I couldn't call this a Total Conversion, because hardly anything has been changed.

uhhh i said its not just a car conversion, 90%of the mods arent even mentioned in the readme, which indicates theres alot more that just 95 cars replaced, and a few other things.

 

 

I actually would have been against the creation of a tut like this, but now that I see where gangsta k. and ashdexx are going with this, I think it's great. Hopefully less people use "TC" to refer to their mods. You might as well say "I'm a n00b and my project is going no where".

 

wtf?? are you refering to me being a n00b?? me a n00b?? and my project is going no-where?? wtf it alread has gone somewhere, if you look in the misc showroom, or on planetgta, or gta-action, or gta-series.......

and any member who knows his stuff knows im not a n00b, i just dont visit the tut forums very often. if you didnt have those shiny stars, id be calling yo a n00b dozingoff.gif

 

meh whatever, im never coming back to these forums dozingoff.gif

 

EDIT:. i noticed ashdexx didnt put my tc in his list of what not to do smile.gif thanks ashdexx.

 

i know a realGTA mod isnt original, but i wanted a decent one for myself so badly, and i thought it would be selfish to keep it to myself.

 

@jcab42: i dont want to start some sorta fight, i just dont like the idea of spending 8 months solid, every day working on something for the gta community, then just getting bagged about it confused.gif can we be friends smile.gif

 

Edited by skatehead
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Ok ok, just remember not to come around here acting like you got a TC. And BTW, I wan't calling you a n00b, I was saying that if you call your mod a TC, then you are calling yourself a n00b. You didn't call your mod a TC, but you were acting like you weren't sure.

 

Once again, just so we're clear: unless you have all new map, new players, peds, cars, and missions, then you don't have a TC.

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ok ok, sorry.

 

ill call it a PC? (partial conversion) tounge.gif

 

or just a realGTA mod

 

ill stop acting like a n00b now, sry

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Erm, try keeping on-topic guys and less fighting please wink.gif

 

Nice going GK and Ashdexx, nice and informative. You might want to make a note of what Jcab said too. Not many people come to finish a TC. Well, I don't think Azz finished his Somewhere TC for GTA1 or anyone else from G! with the GTA Rally and Gone in Sixty Seconds "TC's". Still, great times so they were!

ocuksig.jpg
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  • 1 month later...

I've recently become of the opion, that maybe this should be pinned. Its the only topic (that i know of) for guidance on starting a TC. And as SA comes out, i get the feeling it will become increasingly popular..

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Ashdexx, that was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. smile.gif

 

All I can add to that is GTA has been getting modded since 1998. Very few of the projects which were started for it got finished, even less got finished to any decent level. There's less than a dozen completed cityscapes for GTA1 and about three completed TC's. GTA1 game architecture is a LOT simpler than the GTA3 generation, so modern TC's are just about impossible. Less than a fifty are available (even in an incomplete form) and I would estimate there are at least one hundreds more which never got very far.

 

No TC for the GTA3 generation will take less than a year. Most will take more like two or three, by my estimation. With less than a dozen people working on it, a TC for the GTA3 generation will take more like five years.

 

Think these estimates are incorrect? Pennywise, maker of the legendary "Scumbag City" mod for GTA1 spent around five years working on it. He was working alone but with a much simpler game than GTA is now. And he only made a new cityscape and several missions.

 

Of my own (far more modest) projects, City In Crisis took 2 years and although complete, there's a few big fields that would take a couple of months to fill. GTA:GT took several months but the texturer never made the final editions. Pacific City took several months but was cancelled when GTA3 came along and the people who promised to make stuff for it never did anything for the whole duration. Uphold the Law took over a year and has loads of empty fields, although what I did make is at the "Scumbag City" level of detail and the missions are complex. It was never *totally* finished because GTA3 turned up but the first round of missions got done.

 

Even MultiSlayer, a mid-sized multiplayer level I am making for GTA2, has taken about a year to reach version 4 and be complete. GTA2 is only a little more complex than GTA1 but I didn't write any missions for MultiSlayer. Much important work was done by Delfi and Illspirit, too.

 

 

The moral is any serious mod - let alone a TC's - take about thirty times longer to complete than you imagine. Far better you join Myriad Islands or help out with projects like Curveshire, GTA Rally and similar than coming up with an outlandish new idea bound for failure. This will save you a lot of heartache.

 

 

(EDIT) GK, thank you SO MUCH for not making the opening post full of tables! tounge.gif Are you going to de-tabulate your other tutorials? smile.gif

Edited by Cerbera
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No TC for the GTA3 generation will take less than a year. Most will take more like two or three, by my estimation. With less than a dozen people working on it, a TC for the GTA3 generation will take more like five years.

I think we should make a clear distinction between the gta3 generation, and the SA version, which looks to hold 3 times........everything, unlike vice which was little more than a TC itself. BUt giving SA's massive size, that will probably mean triple the time. And i've seen atleast one topic, just today infact, where people are already starting planning TC's for SA.

 

Thats a good idea folks, if you want to do a tc for SA, you'd better start planning now, atleast if you want it "done" by the end of the decade tounge.gif

 

Btw, i edited my post above. Its amazing how useful the instruction manual really is sometimes.

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No TC for the GTA3 generation will take less than a year. Most will take more like two or three, by my estimation. With less than a dozen people working on it, a TC for the GTA3 generation will take more like five years.
I think we should make a clear distinction between the gta3 generation, and the SA version, which looks to hold 3 times........everything, unlike vice which was little more than a TC itself. BUt giving SA's massive size, that will probably mean triple the time. And i've seen atleast one topic, just today infact, where people are already starting planning TC's for SA.

 

Thats a good idea folks, if you want to do a tc for SA, you'd better start planning now, atleast if you want it "done" by the end of the decade tounge.gif

 

Btw, i edited my post above. Its amazing how useful the instruction manual really is sometimes.

A TC doesn't have to fill the entire environment. If the file formats are not radically different, then it's still the GTA3 generation imho.

 

Your list of the staff GTAVC required just brings this topic home even more solidly. They carried forward the engine and file formats from GTA3, yet it still took all those people two years to NOT complete GTAVC. Look around Little Havana and you'll find loads of power lines havn't been made. Outside Escobar Internation is a missing building, shown on the map but never actually made. The texturing on walls, kerbs and hills is extremely rushed. Even in the handling.CFG there are cars with the wrong lightboxes.

 

With all those proffessionals working 9-5 every weekday for two years, they couldn't even get thier own game finished. That really makes a stark point against the community starting any new TC's.

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Much important work was done by Delfi and Illspirit, too.

i made UNknown *now when did this page disappear, reuploading*:

 

http://www.if-hosting.com/delfi/unknown/

 

and back to the future:

http://www.if-hosting.com/delfi/bttf/

 

this are my two actualy finished gta1 TC's.

 

so, in unknown (if you can run dos gta version) you work missions for hot dog resellers

and in bttf i made up a criminal-like back to the future time machine story.

 

few TC's i wanted to make and never left sketchboard:

gta2: police academy

gta1: gta:iraq

gta1: wild wild west

 

this one did left the sketchboard and all is missing are missions:

gta2: tanks in miami (gta1 converted map wit hnew story in gta2 game engine)

 

Cerb, can you figure out how to make useful missions with gta2 powerful scripting like you did with gta1?

 

well 2 general rules to start a TC is:

 

- do not tell people about it until you have something actualy playable

- do not start the mod if you can't do things yourself that you are looking for people to do it for you.

 

 

Edited by Delfi

Currently working on Top Down City Game, a classics top down game similar to GTA1 & GTA2: 

 

Thread Info: https://gtaforums.com/topic/911312-new-game-top-down-city/

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxGfOh3ld7Xm-ic3KEMB6iA 

Discord: https://discord.gg/UXmDPzS - join #bridge channel 

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  • 3 weeks later...

No, I will not be learning advanced GTA2 scripting. I think I have just about retired from GTA2 now that MultiSlayer v4.1 has been released.

 

 

I wanted to put into words what I think about people who make suggestions and then fervently urge people to make these suggestions for them. Not just suggest something, supply some concept drawings and ask if anyone is interested. Posting three sentances in bright red, mostly in capitals, telling people that they MUST work on this project because IT RELLY WILL B KEEWL!

 

Unless you are Superman (and even if you are) you will not be able to complete even one mod by yourself if you work on anything larger than a single Myriad Islands property. There is a brilliant topic called Starters Guide to Total Convertions which explains how much work is required for these. It makes for sobering reading if you do not know the facts about how many TC's are proposed and fail - even those with lots of people involved.

 

As far as I am aware, there have not been ANY scratch-made total conversions for GTA3 or GTAVC which have been completed yet. GTA3 was released two years ago and even the most talented and dedicated figureheads in the modifications community have not been able to finish any. There have already been dozens of mods which have been cancelled because the makers realised how much work is required.

 

If you are just coming up with ideas and don't have any actual skills of your own then not only will your TC not work but it is insulting. Insulting that you, without even the commitment to develop your ideas in any way, would have the disrespect to try and tell talented people what they should be making. Capitalising your request makes it all the more obnoxious.

 

 

I hope you are just going through a phase and will realise the merit of what I am saying. In the modern era of GTA, it is impossible to make TC's in less than five years. The GTA scene is already oversaturated with them and the only one I am aware of which stands the faintest hope of completion is Myriad Islands. Therefore my genuine concern is that you might con talented people into working for you, wasting thier time when they could be doing something constructive with Myriad Islands or even something much less ambitious like Curveshire.

 

 

The best move you could make is to abandon your over-blown, under-educated ideas and work on something more modest by yourself as part of Myriad Islands.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's another thing to go with this:

 

Don't start too early. If you have a mod idea, write it on paper, or Notepad. Don't discuss this, then end it too early.

 

Experience with programs to get better. MooMapper, CyQ's or Delfi's .gxt editor, Barton's Mission Editor, a .sdt editor, like LithJoe's, dff and txd editors, and editing files (i.e. default.ide and pedstats.dat) with Notepad will get you a better chance.

 

Pushing your luck too far. Sometimes, you want to add things, but then you get glitches, such as buildings not appearing, game crashes, or falling into Blue Hell randomly.

 

Having problems? Don't fret, and always ask in the correct forum for the problem (i.e. Cars for handling, creating a mission in Mission Coding). You'll get answers.

 

Backing up is a good idea. Always back up your files for GTA3 or Vice City, regardless of progress.

 

Those are my steps for dealing with a TC.

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  • 7 months later...
NathanHenry

Could someone please make a total conversion mod for San Andreas that would delete San Andreas land and put a Liberty City with a snow mod installed into it into the San Andreas waters .

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  • 5 weeks later...

what is a mod request but ideas of people giving the mod community something to gro the totale conversions from some ideas are good some arnt but what im saying is that to make full conversions is to come up with something every body will like not just one person every bodys taste is diferent but for a total conversion for me would be like the fast and furious but take and comebine both movies for ultiment game play do the mission so they carry over to the next movie and then do a third movie ending gtasa has three major bodys of land that can be setup for this mod we could get the modding comunity to all come together for the ultimant 3rd movie ending basicly use every bodys ideas that has one that will fit the mod base were working on and give it anew name besides to make it interesting for the new third movie prequell we could bring back all the carectors in the third movie for one heck of a surprise ending to 2 kikazz movies make some kickazz mission for it like jessie didnt die like every one thought all kinds of posibilitys the moders have to get there insperation from some where thats what requests r for right rip odie cryani.gif

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what is a mod request but ideas of people giving the mod community something to gro the totale conversions from some ideas are good some arnt but what im saying is that to make full conversions is to come up with something every body will like not just one person every bodys taste is diferent but for a total conversion for me would be like the fast and furious but take and comebine both movies for ultiment game play do the mission so they carry over to the next movie and then do a third movie ending gtasa has three major bodys of land that can be setup for this mod we could get the modding comunity to all come together for the ultimant 3rd movie ending basicly use every bodys ideas that has one that  will fit the mod base were working on and give it anew name besides to make it interesting for the new third movie prequell we could bring back all the carectors in the third movie for one heck of a surprise ending to 2 kikazz movies make some kickazz mission for it like jessie didnt die like every one thought all kinds of posibilitys  the moders have to get there insperation from some where thats what requests r for right    rip odie  cryani.gif

mod requests are for, uh, requesting mods. not all mods have to be a tc, and not everyone is going to be interested in the same thing. this is just common sense.

The mods should be for whoever is doing the work to create them. the people with the actual ability to create stuff control what the content will be, not the person who posts an idea. everyone has ideas, and i have to say, most of them suck. combined with the lack of skilled modders (or modders who are willing to contribute to poorly thought out ideas by 13 year olds with delusions of grandeur) and the market for new TC's is dead.

 

on a side note; spelling and grammar are not your enemies. learn to use both.

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  • 8 months later...

Doom, Doom2; I believe it is quite possible that more TCs were actually completed for the Doom/Doom2 engine than has been done for any games since.. I could be wrong but there was actually quite a few highly polished and very complete TCs for the Doom/Doom2 Engine - The Aliens TC for Doom2 was just Sick and a fantastic cooperative game experience.

 

Sorry, a little off topic I realize - and yet.. That Engine was ultra-primitive compared to GTA3 and very easy to work with as well with an arsenal of highly polished tools to make it even easier, yet still while 100s of TCs were started for that Engine only a handfull were ever finished and they took years to complete as well - back then though there had never been anything like doom so people didn't just lose interest when the next cool game came out a month later.

 

[Edited a couple things for the sake of semantics]

Edited by Blankhand
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  • 1 year later...

Bump.

 

Minor update to the guide, added choice of GTA engine to consider.

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  • 1 year later...
Urban Legend

The "How to do it" link is no longer working in the 1st post.

user posted image

 

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  • 5 months later...

Sorry for the bump, but this made me realise about my failed effort in making a GTA: Manila TC. It does need a good amount of effort to make such big mods, which most noobs don't seem to realise.

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