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Feature: 'SGS 2005: Half-Life 2: Meet Serious Games Modding'

In today's main Gamasutra feature, part of the continuing Serious Games Summit 2005 coverage, we present an account of t...
In today's main Gamasutra feature, part of the continuing Serious Games Summit 2005 coverage, we present an account of the lecture by Tim Holt, a research assistant at Oregon State University and member of "commercial mod group" Transmodrify. Holt provided a behind-the-scenes look at how he is integrating mods of Half-Life 2 for two government-funded projects. In this extract, Holt discusses the two specific mods he has been working on: "After his overview, Holt went on to talk about the serious game mod projects he'd been working on, starting with a medical simulation game project, Pulse!!!, which is funded by Congress via the Office of Naval Research. The project is an early stage prototype in advance of a larger development system, to test the issues needed to successfully move nurse training into a full scale 3D game-like environment. For the doctors in the similation, he used an ordinary civilian model from Half-Life 2, but worked to give it better posture – the civilians in Half-Life 2 were pretty downtrodden and had a definite slouch. Otherwise, with a bit of cleaning up of the skin and textures, the engine was extremely functional for its task, including careful use of the AI scripting and other behavioral code. Talking about his other serious game mod project, GNN Visualization, a forestry model for the U.S Forest Service through Oregon State University, he mentioned that he modifiied an in-game code routine that randomly covered ground with tufts of grass. The project has taken the Valve Source game engine, and turned it into a multi-user forest data visualization and collaboration tool for forest researchers. But, instead of using grass, he covered the ground with trees for this serious game mod. He also explained that it was simpler to make the characters smaller and slow them down rather than make the tree models bigger." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including much more information on Holt's suggestions for serious game authors going mod (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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