Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Putting aside the question of whether mods should even be releasing demos, once they do, do you think that they should remove them once they get old?

The problem, as I see it, is that unless it’s taken down potential players might still download it and base their opinion of the mod on it. If it’s the best a mod team can do, fine, but if, like most mods they get better as time goes on, then wouldn’t it be better to simply remove it?

The Poll

Published

28th November 2009

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11 Comments
  1. Actually, no. They shouldn't. I wouldn't. I don't.

    However, the previous demos of mods should not be confused with the newest build. The newest build should be promoted in a way so that users don't accidentally download an outdated version of a mod.

    Sometimes I am interested in old stuff. I'm a huge fan of a few mods and any insight in their development phases would be extremely interesting to me. I know that most people aren't like this – but if the mod is good enough – then I am!

    Personally I develop a HL2 Ep2-based Single Player mod and regularly release development builds showcasing the mod as it was at that time. While I make sure the users are running the newest version – I also make all the older versions publicly available, should anyone be interested in seeing how my mod is being developed.

    Therefore I think that (single-player) mods should, if possible and if it makes sense, keep their older versions available to that people interested in seeing how it was developed can do so.

  2. I don't know how one goes about "removing" a mod. Any level has a tendency to replicate like wildfire if it was submitted to a popular source (such as PlanetPhillip!) beyond the author's control.

    I've never had the opportunity or cause to do a mod demo, but I'd like to believe that if I were to do one, I'd have most of the project done by that point (so why not just release it?) and be able to predict when the final product's release date would be. I'd roll that information into the demo so a person finishing it would have both an URL to the mod's page as well as a rough estimate on when they could expect the full version.

    All of this neglects the point you've asked to ignore, which is whether or not mods should even release demos in the first place. Frankly, I think the pre-release materials for Citizen are about as far as I'd go. If a project has quality, it's going to show in screenshots and trailers. This is one area where I am sure we'll disagree, Phillip, because you are of the mindset that graphics and gameplay need not go hand-in-hand in certain kinds of mods. They do. We are all guilty of making snap judgments about a mod based on screenshots, but the reason is happens is because of simple logic: If the author did not take the time to do the visuals well, why should I expect the gameplay to be any different? For the most mods, we are pulling from the same texture set, the same prop set, and the same lighting configurations. There isn't an excuse for the visuals to not look decent because so much of this hard work has already been done by Valve.

  3. civanT 166 comments

    29th November 2009

    No they should not, but not because it is good for publicity, because a demo of a mod is as good as a mod for me. What's the difference anyway? Nearly all mods are incredibly short and most of them don't even worth a try. If a demo is good enough to play, it should stay available. Even if developers make a totally different mod in the end of the process, this is not a problem. This is not about selling something. This is mostly about creating something and giving them to community. So, I think removing old demos would be a mistake.

  4. Essentially my reasoning is parallel to civanT's. It's not like you have to pay for a mod, and the whole purpose of a demo is to give people a chance to get a feel for a game before making a commitment to purchase.
    The only reason to have a demo for a mod AT ALL is if that mod has particular gameplay elements that are widely divergent from the standard that the mod is created from. Otherwise, screenshots and maybe some video footage would be plenty.

    Once you have the demo up there, it's a little silly to actually make an effort to take it down. People can copy files and host them in places the original author can't reach. Sometimes a demo can have completely different content from the final release while still being decent in its own right. These cases in particular should be kept available. Just look at Half-Life: Uplink.

  5. This is really based on what the intention of the developer was when the demo was released. If it is to entice interest in the mod near the end of the development cycle, for example Strider Mountain, then it probably doesn't matter because the demo is essential what will be seen in the final release. If anything it should be left for those that don't have a lot of bandwidth to download before downloading the full mod.

    If the demo was more for proof of concept, I believe that the demo should be left there for those that are curious about the development of the mod but it should be clearly pointed out that the demo is not the full finished product and just a proof of concept.

    When the contents of the mod has significantly changed from what was seen in the demo, the demo should probably be removed or, if time and willingness permits, re-released to demonstrate the changes.

    What I would like to see more of in demos, is like what Valve did with Half-life: Uplink. That was a demo for Half-Life but it wasn't just a level taken out of the middle somewhere like most demos. In that case the demo would be a mod in itself.

  6. Anonymous

    29th November 2009

    Mod developers should burn bridges with their old stuff, people should only see the most up to date progress.
    I'd say they should provide the latest full installer + a patch for the old versions

  7. Jasper 567 comments

    29th November 2009

    Had to vote maybe. I looked through my list of mods and have 16 of them.
    None of them, to my knowledge, had Demos or Proof of Concept (same thing to me).
    Some released early chapters or episodes, eg Minerva Metastasis, SM, Joutomaa and the like but not Demos.
    There is no Demo for Citizen 2 just images, which is as it should be.
    Research & Development and Calamity came out of the blue, which is even better in my eyes.
    I have played loads of Demos which have never turned into mods. We have had a couple of very good Demos up at this site earlier this year and we've not heard a peep since.
    For Demo read Death Knell. Play the Demo as the odds are there will be no follow up
    My actual answer; please don't Demo; please do Mod! And release after Beta testing but you might need to release a patch or version 1.1

  8. Interesting poll I'd say. I'd go with maybe, but not restricting to the quality, but rather what kind of demo, and what kind of mod. Quality is one thing, but you can get a fair idea of what the quality could be usually looking at screenshots and reading the description.

    The kind of demo to me is more interesting. As for me personally, I created two demo's quite a while ago. I didn't really wanted to give much away so I created one demo with just the first map. After a lil while I created another one with two non related maps. Basically just for fun. I left My demo's up for download though even after the massive feature additions. I have been thinking of removing my first one since it's hopelesly outdtated, but the second will stay up.

    The main reason I made them was to give something to the public and I figured it couldn't hurt much. The features that came into the mod after the demo's where not directly planned. Thanks to having a coder we could implement a whole bunch of new features.

    Since the 2nd Demo is still a lot of fun to play I kept them up. And since the mod is going into episodes I figured it'd be stupid to create a new Demo. A lot of people ask for demos or betas, I figured that when the mod will come out, people who digged the demo, will love the mod itself.

    Personally I think it doesn't matter if you put up a demo or not. Since we're talking mods, people will not have the same expectations from them as with full games. Nonetheless every gamer hopes to be treated to some nice eyecandy and solid gameplay.

    I prefer to also have a nice atmosphere present in sp games, so I try to develope that as well.

    With multi player games I think it'd be a different matter. Depending on the mod and team they could release a demo, but usually it starts with a beta.

    And beta's can always be updated.

    Oh well, those are my thoughts on the topic for now.

  9. i think they should remove demos (or for software, any older, outdated version)

    why?

    things can get confusing.

    and this way it forces everyone to have the same version so games played online will never have compatibility issues.

  10. I'd say maybe , some older mods may inspire teams and solo mappers to make something based on it.

  11. Being the extremely archival-nazi type of person I am. I would say they should leave the old demos and older versions of the modification available indefinitely; however, clearly have them on a separate page/archive page clearly marked in several spots that they are old, and newer version(s) are available to download.

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