Sunday, April 28, 2013
"From Earth" is probably going to be one of the very last Half-Life 2 mods ever made. It's Mirror's Edge-ish first person parkour + a mechanical machine-shop crafting-puzzle system + original science fiction setting. If I had time, I'd totally help them out... I don't have the time, unfortunately, but I really want to make time...
However, I really do think this is a golden opportunity for people with some mod skills but want to collaborate on a bigger project and focus on specific design problems. This is a veteran mod team that has already finished and released 2 very big mods already; they're small, focused, and they know what they're doing. (Most mod teams have difficulty getting coders, character modelers, and animators -- but that's exactly what they already have, so they're in a really really good position.)
This project is looking for writers / narrative designers, level designers, concept artists, and voice actors. (Again, these are traditionally the easiest roles to recruit for mod projects, the so-called "idea people" who are considered plentiful and worthless. The fact that this team is focusing on recruiting for these roles, consciously and thoughtfully, demonstrates they're different from the vast graveyard of dead projects -- these people get things done.)
Imagine you're a writer / narrative designer who wants to get into AAA, but you're incapable of making games yourself. Ideally, you would learn how to make games yourself, go indie, and bypass AAA entirely -- but if, for some reason you still want to go into the mouth of the beast, this is fantastic chance for you to actually do what they would do... You'll make demands for animations and audio logs and scripted sequences; the team will helpfully explain to you why that would take several years of work; you'll work around these limits and genuinely improve your own ability to design narrative; it'll be hard, but rewarding.
This is a solid project. They're doing a lot of things right. They have most of the core game already working and implemented. If you're a decent writer or multiplayer Source Engine mapper or environmental artist or someone, looking to hone your skills or practice single player design, you should definitely jump on-board. You will make good work and get results.
(Disclaimer: I've playtested From Earth.)