The Nameless Mod

 By Shamus Mar 19, 2009 22 comments

Sometimes I feel like games are in a rut. Computer games can bring us into worlds of limitless possibility, yet all too often we end up in, “This world, except…” Why can’t we have something really crazy and unconventional? I don’t know, maybe something like:

In Forum City, the Internet is serious business. The city itself is the physical embodiment of Internet forums and bulletin boards. The lust for power seems to come easily to those who call the city their home; everywhere there are factions scheming to increase their reach, or even wrest control of the city itself. Were it not for a peacekeeping triumvirate of invulnerable Moderators the city would have long ago plunged into chaos.

But now, the balance of power has been upset. Unthinkably, a Moderator has disappeared, and panic is gripping the city. With the remaining Moderators spread far too thin, the lawless have found themselves with the freedom to prey upon others, and formerly suppressed rivalries threaten to explode into open conflict.

You are called upon to silence the discord.

Actually, this is a real game. It exists and you can play it right now if that is something you feel like doing. Better yet, it’s not a commercial game, but a free mod for the original Deus Ex. Paradoxically, the name of the mod is The Nameless Mod.


Link (YouTube)

Reading the description caused this song to become firmly lodged in my frontal lobe. Here is a little more on the concept:

To the casual observer, The Nameless Mod may appear to be a self-indulgent piece of fan fiction about inside jokes on a forum. Well, you got us, that’s how it started. It didn’t take long to realize that the target audience for something of that nature would be incredibly small, and would grow smaller as development went on.

Thus, The Nameless Mod has outgrown its roots as a silly in-joke to a complete game with a complex story and memorable characters.

In general, the setting remains the same — a virtual world representing an Internet community — but it’s a setting that’s approachable for anyone who has spent time with a computer. If that’s not you, congratulations on finding the power button, you’re on the road to success!

Of course, TNM is not devoid of humour; everyone can enjoy the subtle (and not so subtle) references to online culture and pop culture, and if you’ve got a brain, even better!

The point is, The Nameless Mod has something for just about anyone, and if you don’t believe that a mod that started out as self-referential fan fiction can achieve that, give it a spin, it’s free!

Seven years in the making. 59 levels. Thousands of lines of voice-acted dialog. Music, weapons, storylines, multiple endings, cutscenes, etc. This is by far the most ambitious mod I’ve ever seen for a game.

I have not played it yet. (The queue is growing ever-fuller. Two more games were added already this week. Since I average just slightly less than one game a week to review / deconstruct / lampoon, this is a little worrisome. On the upside, summer is usually a gaming drought and I’ll most likely get caught up by then. I hope.) I wanted to pass this along in case you’re casting about for a reason to bust out the old Deus Ex CD for a spin. This is That Reason.

Congratulations to Lawrence Laxdal, Jonas Wæver, and the rest of TNM team.

20222 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Cadrys says:

    Silence the Discord!

    [Mod looks awesome, thanks for pointing it out. I'll try it just as soon as I finish my daily quests....]

  2. krellen says:

    This is by far the most ambitious mod I’ve ever seen for a game.
    Have you seen Fall from Heaven II for Civilisation IV? It basically rewrites the entire game, with all new civilisations and leaders, new units, new artwork, spell mechanics, religions that have game effects, new civics, entirely unique mechanics, improvements, bonuses and victory conditions, and several scenarios built in as well.

    It’s a rather massive undertaking that has been in the works for several years now, but it has finally been announced as being “finished” as of a few months ago (although a missing scenario was only added a couple weeks ago, but now the list is complete.) I’d contend that it, by far, is the largest mod I’ve ever seen for a game – and one so wildly popular and successful that Firaxis had to include aspects of it in the last Civ IV expansion so that the mod would not be competing with them.

  3. Xpovos says:

    Sounds a lot, to me, like ReBoot.

    Sadly, there does appear to be nothing new under the central processing unit.

  4. I have had lots of fun with this, as has Alex Ponebshek (I know you’re reading this – hi!). It’s very fun, but a tad buggy at this point. Fortunately, a patch is en route. Enjoy your queue, but try to make it a priority queue. Some games are just better than others.

    Ben

    • Shamus says:

      Gregory Weir: The path is the other game that hit The Queue this week.

      Oh! And Kivi’s Adventure! Three games! I’m screwed!

      The ordering of the queue is somewhat complex. If I did all the best games first, I would have trouble filling my comic. If I did terrible ones first, people would demand to know why I spent all my time on stupid horrible games where there are great ones out there. AND I like to mix indie / big budget as much as possible.

      I need a flowchart.

  5. Brackish says:

    So to be clear: do I get to shoot forum moderators, or am I expected to rescue them? Because only one of those possibilities holds any attraction for me.

  6. LintMan says:

    That song link isn’t a Rickroll, is it? I’m afraid to click!

    Doh! Just thinking that it might be now has the song stuck in my head!

  7. Wil K. says:

    @ Lintman: Naw, it’s a hip hop song about forum moderation. Really!

  8. chabuhi says:

    I would definitely line up some sort of “game sorbet” to follow your experiences in “The Path”. In fact, you might even consider dusting off “Myst”.

  9. Hal says:

    Sounds like Tron to me.

  10. Jaedar says:

    I was wondering when you were going to bring this up.
    It really is a great mod and should be enjoyable to anyone who has spent some time on forums.

  11. freykin says:

    When it comes to mods, two impress me the most.

    The first is DotA, for Warcraft 3. It’s the Counterstrike equivalent, it’s easily surpassed the popularity of the original game by far. 90% of custom games played on battle.net are DotA, and I have an easier time finding a game of it to play in than original Warcraft 3.

    The second is Median for Diablo 2. Sadly there isn’t a good video up of the current version, but the trailer for the last version does a good job of showing how impressive this is, for a mod made for a game that wasn’t intended to be modded in the first place.

    Here’s the trailer for it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLVrTTlRbGM

  12. Will says:

    Do you still have your Amazon wishlist linked somewhere in case we should decide to lengthen your queue?

  13. HeadHunter says:

    Aye, sounds like ReBoot, Tron… or even The Matrix.
    Still, sounds promising. Howver, I’m so firmly entrenched in Fallout 3 that most of my gaming time is spent there (the rest is spent playing Rock Band with the missus).

  14. Miral says:

    Your queue is still in better shape than mine.

    Over the past month, my queue has grown by seven games (three actually purchased, four “looks interesting, I’ll buy that later”). Total number of games completed during the same timeframe: about one third (of one game).

    Yeah. I’m in trouble.

  15. Nathaniel says:

    Wait, you need an excuse to install Deus Ex?

  16. Cuthalion says:

    The Basshunter (techno) song “Boten Anna” comes to mind. (It’s about a forum bot.)

  17. Sam says:

    For the first paragraph or so of description for this game, I thought this entry was going to be about Forumwarz, a VERY NSFW (or most of the rest of your daily life) online game where you play as a hacker trying to destroy various forums using different “attacks.” Strange game.

    This, on the other hand, sounds a little intriguing. Too bad I don’t own Deus Ex.

  18. I just played it. This is the absolutely the best free singleplayer game I have ever seen, and on par with my favorite commercial titles (including Deus Ex itself). You should bump it right to the top of your queue, especially after the first patch comes out (probably within the next week or two) It will blow your mind.

  19. Somebody Else says:

    This is the most impressive mod for any game I know. Using the original development tools for Morrowind, they have created new land equal to more than three times the original game with all of the official expansions and mods. It’s not done yet, but the first out of six parts of the extended Morrowind Province now only lacks its main storyline, and the other five are basically only lacking quests and similar.

    I’m kinda sorry I never got into modding Morrowind, if only so that I could claim some of the glory.

    Here is the full map of Morrowind. The light green is the part this mod adds.

    The same team are also building an entire new province for Oblivion.

    The crazy part? As their name implies, their aim is to rebuld Tamriel. For those not in the know, this is Tamriel. See that little island in the middle of the area labelled Morrowind, the island called “Vvardenfell”? That is the complete area that the original Morrowind took place in. Ambitious?

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