Posted by on March 20th, 2015

Today, @Cambo is taking a break from writing blogs but we won’t leave you guys hanging. Better yet, we had @Inoritewtf write one! Read on to see why we are all about supporting the modding community.


I don’t just want to make a “better Minecraft.”  While Minecraft was and still is incredibly important to our culture, it is so in perhaps not the way many would expect.  While the title has proved its longevity and arguably, left a tremendous legacy in the industry, the channel with which it has established its success is one that is perhaps the most seriously neglected by developers – as a platform for development by the modding community.

The fact is that the prevalence of vanilla Minecraft has dwindled as derivative mods have come to dominate the indie scene, the latter of which being responsible for generating hundreds of thousands of hours of play above and beyond the vanilla version alone.  The “slow” development of vanilla and ability for modders to decompile its foundations has left a space that almost any aspiring and ambitious developer can fill.  Given this progression, the natural question is why the developers haven’t formally recognized the deeper implications of using Minecraft, not just as a game, but as a development platform.  As a parent AND creator, I understand that it is hard to accept that your baby has grown into something different than what was intended at the outset.  However, by missing out on the opportunity to empower the modding community, the game as a platform has reached its limitations.

This is what we want to improve upon – creating a framework for a game with the INTENT of it being a platform for creation whereby user generated content is king. Its not enough to just guess what is going to work, so we spend a lot of time internalizing the feedback from modders in the Minecraft, Skyrim, and Garry’s Mod communities (to name drop a few).  I also spent some very valuable time with some of my favorite Minecraft community devs at Pax East with Ghost this year, and getting to know many of their needs gave us a very clear idea of how we need to proceed.  While each group has different needs due to varying sizes and access to resources, it seems to be the case that ultimately, none of these mod groups are accustomed to games actually FOCUSING on tools and technology with the modder in mind as the primary end user.

While we discussed all kinds of ideas in and around modding with active members of the community,  the second common theme was that the community functioned and existed almost entirely without ANY support from the game developers themselves, as if the devs were more interested in amputating a superfluous limb rather than trying to see how it could be integrated into a more efficient system .  As a consequence, the modding community has been one that has heavily relied on its own internal underground infrastructure to move forward – in that process an ENTIRELY new generations of developers has been born.  Many of these developers have families, or full time jobs, or are full time students working from dated machines – being torn between their own happiness, the anxiety of day-to-day survival, and fighting to avoid the disappointment of thousands to millions of fans that enjoy their works makes the struggle of the modding community a very visible one.

But what would happen if those developers in the modding community could actually make a living on their own?  What if we changed the way incentives worked to empower the mod community in parallel with the development of the game as a platform for creation?  What happens if the game devs created an ACTUAL working pipeline to work with other developers, modders, map makers, and server owners to create better tools? What could we create if we could focus full-time on making what has given so many of us hundreds, even thousands of hours of enjoyment?  What if all the pressure of nearly EVERY modders tools was not dumped on a single developer who had to kill himself playing catch up without the support of the official developers?  What if I stop writing up paragraphs with so many questions?!?!?!?!?!

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I don’t have all the answers for these topics, yet… but with the full intention of creating this as a platform to empower the players and creators alike, we can work together to find the answers.

– Ino
El Jefe


Be sure to check out our latest “In The Works” video here. You don’t want to miss this one.

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Posted by on March 12th, 2015

Hello!

Cambo here and it’s time for a little fun after the past few busy weeks. We are super happy to finally get an update to you guys yesterday and hope you had the chance to try it. Don’t forget to let us know what you think through our forum and social media.

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Now onto the fun stuff, I want to introduce everyone to Johny. He is a long time modder and caught our attention when he started creating mods for TUG. We were blown away with the work he was doing so we asked him to join us.

 


 

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What games have you modded in the past?

I have modded few games before, first one was Open Tibia Server it was really popular back then, ran on almost any PC and used Lua for scripting, making it easy to learn. The only problem was that there was no way to modify the client and playing using the official client wasn’t exactly legal.

Later on I was tweaking Diablo 2 mods, adding custom recipes and increasing the level cap.

Then I was modding Minecraft for a good while, the modding options are limitless, making almost everything possible. I have made my own dimension, tool, machine and something really cool. Link Blocks that extended any block they were attached to, providing access to inventory and liquids in that block.

I have also tried to make my own game, few times to be honest, but I couldn’t make good looking models and textures. Working on my own made it really hard to work on and test things at the same time. It was a very good experience regardless.

How long have you been in the modding scene and why do you do it?

I have started back in 2007, school was boring and games were limited. I wanted to make my own game, obviously back then I couldn’t program but I could learn how to mod. Once I have started to mod games, I kept coming back to it. I like making things work the way I want them to.

What mods have you done for TUG so far?

I have started with Conveyor Belts, but it quickly turned into Steam Power mod, with help from Sigil, we were able to get stuff to work and look good. It includes things like Item Elevator and custom crafting systems. For instance, casting and in-game constructions using Frame.

Since I like to keep compatibility with other mods I’m also working on the CommonLib which provides all of the systems and hooks (core changes).

How’s the overall experience been so far in modding TUG?

Really good, the thing about TUG is that the whole core of the game could be replaced, which is extremely important for modding, and it also means that all of the content you can see in the game is just a mod.

What are some of the things you are looking forward to mod in TUG?

I’m looking forward to mod a lot of things, I will definitely want to mod the world gen, inventory interactions and NPCs.

What is your experience working with the team since joining Nerd Kingdom? (We already know we’re cool, thank you very much!)

Working? huh? I’m just officially modding the game 🙂 and I really enjoy it.

A fight between a steampunk Bruce Lee and cyborg Chuck Norris, who will win? What kind of special attacks would be used? Please make a mod for this, haha!

Hmm… steampunk Bruce Lee and cyborg Chuck Norris, they would fight indefinitely and all of the attacks would be special attacks.

 


 

I guess we can assume Bruce Lee with a monocle using nunchucks infused with steam is a safe bet. Let’s not forget Chuck Norris dangerous round house kicks launching missiles from his toes. Yup, an endless battle indeed!

You can check out Johny & Sigil’s Steam power mod thread here http://forum.nerdkingdom.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=1626

Got questions about modding or general ideas? Hit up @JohnyCilohokla

 

Until next time, @Cambo Out!

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Posted by on February 12th, 2015

Greetings Ladies n Gents!

Cambo here, with another blog post to give you the inside scoop on what we are working on in the kingdom. Yesterday, we released a prototype video showcasing some triggers in action. They were created using Lua scripts from one of our code wizards, Anthony (@scriptslol). Triggers are a way to automate gameplay based on physical location in the world. We don’t want to dive into the technical details about triggers (you can thank us later). Let’s focus on the fun stuff that triggers can do for TUG instead.

Here are a few examples of us using triggers in TUG!

 

Plant Trap

 

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We introduced our plant trap prototype a few weeks back but there were some minor quirks due to our code rewrite for multiplayer support. The code is being reworked and we are real close to having it work in the next build.

 

Mushroom Trampoline

 

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This trigger activates a constant upwards impulse which can be used for many sweet things. The gif above shows how the object is constantly bouncing when it’s within the trigger box. That’s right! You can now have a mushroom trampoline bounce party with your buddies.

 

Fan

 

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The fan prototype trigger activates a pushing force which can be adjusted within the Lua values. The image above demonstrates on how the force is used when jumping from one platform to another. Imaging this force being applied to magic spells, oh yea!

 

Pit Trap

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Pit trap you say? Yup! You can bet it has always been part of our ambitious goals to give players the ability to trap animals *cough* friends *cough* for resources. A damage over time effect is triggered once the player or object falls into the pit and well, you know the rest. Just don’t send us rage tweets when you accidentally fall into your own pit traps because you were stalking a cute cub.

 

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What does this mean for modding?

These were completely scripted using Lua.  Using the same tools, you can make your own trigger driven gameplay elements. It opens up a lot of possibilities, from firing world events to having doors.

 

 

Are you interested in seeing a tutorial on how to utilize triggers for your mods? If yes, let us know what would you like to see in a comment or tweet to us @nerdkingdom

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Posted by on February 5th, 2015

Today’s blog is from our game designer, John, who will give a brief history about the industry’s modding community. You can always reach him on twitter @x_nekochu_x! Be sure to check out the Mod showcase video displaying some that are in the works and we can’t wait to see more.

Game modding has been around since the beginning of the game industry from items like bootlegged versions of pinball and arcade machines to its more modern counterparts of using tools provided by developers to the community. While bootlegs and chipset hacks can be considered mods, the more accepted version of modding that is known today has its roots firmly planted in the Wolfenstein and Doom games from Apogee and id.

The current form of modding had its humble beginnings with an idea of goodwill between an active community and the developers of a game. The accepted agreement came down to the developers of these games offering tools and resources to the community with the good faith that their modding efforts would extend the life of a game by offering new and unique content. In return, the developers’ only request was that this content would support the purchased copies of the game and not through freeware or any pirated versions that could hurt the revenue stream of the developers.

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This sort of good will relationship allowed modding communities to flourish, as a community was more than willing to pay for and support good games. The idea was that there was the freedom to make adjustments and play a part in creating new content for a product that they already loved. Many designers now in the gaming industry can attribute their careers to this community involvement leading to their entrance into the gaming industry as professional developers.

Almost all modern games are built upon tools and editors created or used by developers to deliver game content similar to these early modding techniques. Typically, these tools are available via the game engine used by the developer such as Unreal, CryEngine, Unity, etc… Some of these tools are created by the developer to support an in-house engine or even as an extension to the tools already available to an existing engine. The modern modding community also delves into this realm by creating specific tools to aid with their own efforts to create content and make adjustments in existing games.

TUG finds itself at a unique crossroad in the modding community of today. TUG is being built on a new gaming engine, Eternus, that is still being developed in parallel to the game. The content of TUG is being driven by early community involvement and this involvement also directs the function and tools developed for the engine as well. As we actively develop the game, we are also involved with community feedback. This influences design of the final product, as well as the growth of the community around that product!

 

Throughout our development process we have always tried to remain active in the community as well as extending relationships to modders by creating tools that cater to their needs. This effort has brought us our first fruits of labor that we hope to share soon. By working with our modders, we will soon be offering content in an upcoming release that has been developed by our community members.

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The slingshot will be one of our first weapons that has been created by mod community members and integrated into TUG. The efforts to make this happen have been a joint affair between NK team members and members of the modding community. This marks the beginning of our community relationships that we hope can grow and flourish over the course of TUG’s development.

 

So be on the lookout for this new ranged weapon! The slingshot adds the method by which other projectile weapons can be built and with your help we hope to offer many more mods into TUG in the near future!

 

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Posted by on September 25th, 2014

Zach, wizard coder, took some time off to write about the Integrated CEGUI for today’s Dev Blog. We want TUG to be completely moddable and that includes giving modders the ability to create their own UI. 

You may have noticed a phrase in the latest patch notes “Integrated CEGUI”. For those that do not know, CEGUI is an open source framework for user interface that we have decided to use so we can present modders with an easy way to make changes to TUG’s UI. In an upcoming patch we will be pushing out the beginnings of moddable UI. One of the reasons we picked CEGUI is because of it’s exposure to Lua, each CEGUI element can be created, modified and destroyed directly through CEGUI’s own Lua interface, which you can access in any TUG script. In addition to CEGUI’s Lua interface, I have also written some short Lua wrapper classes to help with some of the more abstract or mundane tasks. If you’re a programmer, that means you can create your own custom UI elements and tie them to just about anything you have script access to. For those that are more interested in the art side of things, we haven’t forgotten about you. CEGUI comes with it’s own layout editor and we were careful to maintain its functionality during the integration process.

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In the above image you can see TUG’s Survival UI layout in CEGUI’s editor. With this tool you can rearrange the UI elements to be anywhere on the canvas, and those changes will be reflected the next time you run TUG. But what if you want to make your own art? CEGUI has that covered too.

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CEGUI’s editor also lets you modify imagesets, their name for a texture atlas. Using this tool you can load a .png that you created using your software and section it for easy access to your own UI images.

In both cases, layouts and imagesets, you are free to alter the assets that come with TUG or, if you’re feeling adveturous, create your own. At this time, the UI framework is only partially complete, so while we continue making modifications, there may be some UI elements that are locked from modification, including the Bag, Beltbar, and Equipped item slot. These elements will become available as soon as I can finish writing and testing the new inventory system.

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This is just the first step in the UI overhaul, hopefully with much more to follow, including tutorials on best practices and how to get the most out of CEGUI via Lua script.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on twitter @Zachisalsoking

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Posted by on April 3rd, 2014

Hello everyone! I am Andrew, aka Auti0, Lead Programmer at Nerd Kingdom. For this week’s blog, I wanted to discuss modding in TUG.

Modding is incredibly important to us at Nerd Kingdom and is a major part of our development roadmap. If we break it down, there are eight different components that are moddable in TUG: terrain, textures, objects, sound, FX, shaders, UI, and scripting. Today, I’m going to focus on the scripting aspect of modding, which arguably has the ability to change the game most drastically.

When it comes to scripting, there are plenty of languages to choose from. A few common ones are Python, Angelscript, V8 JS, Lua, and custom implementation. Each one has their pros and cons. For TUG, we decided to go with Lua as our scripting language.

There are four primary reasons we decided to go with Lua:

  • Relatively easy to use as far as scripting languages go (no decompiling code and having to use third party APIs to modify it)

  • Incredibly fast when combined with LuaJIT

  • Straightforward process to hook engine functionality up

  • Well known in the gaming community and used by major titles such as WoW and Just Cause 2

With all of these reasons combined, it felt clear to us that Lua was the choice for our game.


So I’m sure you are wondering at this point what kinds of things can you script through Lua in TUG. TUG runs on the Eternus engine, which we’ve built in-house from the ground up. We are in the process of exposing the majority of the Eternus engine’s functionality to Lua in order to make scripting incredibly flexible and powerful. A modder will have a wide range of things they can change, from making a minor tweak to some combat to completely overhauling the combat system. You can completely control gameplay, AI, physics, camera, etc. through scripting. The freedom is yours to make what you want in our homegrown engine!

Since modding is a major part of TUG’s vision, supporting our modding community to our best ability seems only natural. We’re committed to doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible to create and share mods. We will work closely with modders to alter and add functionality that is exposed to Lua from the Eternus engine. To further improve the modding process, we are providing everyone access to the same tools we make and use for development in-house. Tools are an incredibly important part of game development, so why not share the love?

I am super excited to see what you, the modders, can come up with! What kinds of mods would you like to see be created for TUG?

-Andrew

(@Auti0)

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