The Nameless Mod (TNM) which was released in 2009, was a gigantic single player mod for the original Deus Ex game from 2000. It featured a completely new setting, over 59 new levels and even custom sounds and weapons. The mod was named Editor’s choice from ModDB as the Best Singleplayer Mod of 2009,
(disclaimer: this author was one of the many volunteers on The Nameless Mod project)
Jonas Waever was the Lead Designer/Project Director on TNM, and we had the opportunity to sit down and talk shop, and find out “Is there life after modding?”
XP4T: How did you first get into game development?
Jonas: I got into game development through modding. I started messing around with the simple scenario editors of 2D games like Heroes of Might & Magic 2 or Red Alert. Then I took the leap into 3D with the WorldCraft editor for the original Half-Life, with which I made three fairly terrible multiplayer levels. My real interests were with singleplayer though, so eventually I established a mod team for Deus Ex and failed miserably because my ambitions by far outshone my abilities. After a while of not working on games, I joined The Nameless Mod 11 days after it began.
XP4T: Was TNM your first project?
Jonas: Well, TNM was my first project that actually happened. I got really close with a 10-mission Star Craft singleplayer campaign a year or so earlier, but I dropped it when I was almost done for reasons I can’t remember (just sort of lost interest). Then there was the aforementioned Deus Ex project that failed horribly, which was called Deus Ex: Tempus and involved some convoluted time travel plot. So yeah I’d call TNM my first real project.
XP4T: When you started working on TNM, did you have visions of grandeur of becoming a big shot game developer, like you are now?
Jonas: Sort of. I knew it was what I really wanted, but I didn’t understand the industry particularly well, and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to fit into it, or how I wished to. I mainly wanted to be a writer, but I was vaguely aware that writers find it very different to get a job in the games industry, and aren’t really respected. I guess I eventually worked out, through reading more about the industry, that game design was the best path to do games writing, and level design seemed like the best path to game design…
XP4T: Did TNM open doors for your business-wise? Have you been able to utilize your association with the project as a business card of sorts?
Jonas: Unfortunately nobody with money has ever heard of TNM. It seems PC game mods are still incredibly niche, with the exception of the very few ones that turned into commercial products, and the only people I’ve ever met who knew about TNM were PC games journalists.
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