North Texas Daily

Changing our code: a community of gamers

Changing our code: a community of gamers

October 06
17:28 2015

Joshua Legaretta | Staff Writer


To some, the Media Library located on the first floor of Chilton hall is a place of study. But to others, it serves as a place to meet up with friends after busy days to relax and play some video games.

Equipped with a variety of computers, TVs and gaming consoles, the Media Library allows for the rental of DVDs, video games, controllers and accessories, ensuring the people who visit will always have something to do. Now something is changing at UNT, and it’s not just the Media Library or its visitors.

“Anyone is welcome, even if you haven’t came by yet,” Game Developers of UNT president Terrance Ward said. “Whether you know how to code or not, the community is accepting to anyone who comes. All walks of life are welcome in the club.”

For those unfamiliar with gaming, video games can be changed through a process known as “modding.” This occurs when the values that determine the outcome of actions in games are “modified,” allowing the people who change them to create an experience tailored specifically to themselves. This can be anything from the way a character looks to how the game itself actually plays.

With the help of the Internet, users are able to package their individual sets of changes, called “mods,” allowing others around the world to download, install and play the experience the original modder created.

“They’re a different way to experience the same game,” Ward said. “A lot of people are able to play the vanilla version, but it’s just cool to see what new things people will think up when given the tools to do so.”

Though all mods differ, some become so popular that they create their own identity, such Super Smash Bros.’ Project M, a mod that sought to further balance and change the way the original Melee title for the Nintendo Gamecube handled. While some worry about this being detrimental to what the original developer envisioned, business senior Thomas Smith, who regularly creates and consumes mods, argued that modding helps players get more enjoyment out of their games.

“The player knows what they want more than the developer,” Smith said. “Every player wants something slightly different out of a video game, and if they can change it to what they want, the developers should be okay with that.”

Outside of Project M, mods can be found for virtually any game that plays on a Windows PC or laptop. Often times large games such as Minecraft, the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Counter-Striker: Global Offensive will have dedicated sections to mods that include changes to how items look, how characters interact with the play, and sometimes even wholly original content like weapons, maps and tools.

Modding can also serve as an entry gate to coding and creating original content. Electrical engineering research assistant Addison Mink has used mods before, but he didn’t learn to code until age 20.

“I had to learn programming for a job I was applying for in the chemistry department, then I learned that I liked it a lot,” Mink said. “And I was motivated to get better at it so I could make my own video games at some point. You don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science to make a functioning video game.”

For those interested in learning how to create their own games or mods, Ward invites all to the UNTGame Developer’s club, which meets from 6:15 to 9:15 p.m. every Tuesday in the Life Sciences building, room A419.

Featured Image: Courtesy | Wikimedia Commons

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