How Mods Worked Before The Internet Really Took Off

How Mods Worked Before The Internet Really Took Off

Before the internet became something everyone used, mods in PC gaming were a weird thing.

This great RPS feature by Graham Smith takes a collection of Half-Life mods - available on a CD - and through them looks back at a time when mods were cruder, sillier and nowhere near the prevalent force they are now.

One thing that always struck me about mods in the 90s was how localised they'd sometimes be. You could play a custom Doom map at a friend's house, for example, and never see it anywhere else ever again.

Today it'd be posted on ModDB and Steam Workshop, potentially to be seen by millions, but back then, a mod could have been seen by thousands (online, disc-swapping, magazine cover discs), or by, well, you and your mates.

Total Converts: Unpotting The History Of Half-Life Modding [RPS]


    I had an awesome DOOM WAD CD that came with some gaming mag - Doom Shareware + a bunch of sound or graphic packs. Just stupid things like Aliens, Beavis and Butthead, Simpsons, one was even "the scene" sound effects from when harry met sally.

    Unfortunately along with almost all of my other childhood crap it's all lost to a messy breakup between my mum and stepdad. Boo to bad stepdads.

      I still have it if you want a copy; I'll have to go digging though.

        i also had that, and if you could, i woud love a copy of it again

        That would be an awesome nostalgia overload, if you come across it yeah for sure would love a copy.

          @jdrive @madwog Note there are no copyrighted materials.. just an ISO of a shareware CD

          I had this somewhere as well but buggered If I can find it. :(

            Awesome - thanks mate :-D

            Love that second link - "Jokes about Doom" I'm sure they would have been awful lol.

    I still have a CD at home with a whole bunch of Duke Nukem 3D mods on it. They were terrible for the most part, but it was fun going through trying all the custom maps. There were a few gems.

    I remember trying to download the original Counter Strike mod on dial up internet. I was outraged at the 35mg download! But decided to use the phone line for approx 5 hours to get it all. Good times

      I downloaded, patched and played Star Wars Galaxies on dial-up back in the day >.>

    I had a Quake mod CD that came with a special edition PC Gamer mag that was alllllll Quake based, it was awesome. Came with Worldcraft and .PAK explorer to do some modding of my own... Of which I sucked at.

    Quake and Quake II had some insanely fun mods. Team Fortress (you can never forget the intro movie), Matrix Quake, Rocket Arena, ReaperBot, and may others that resulted in lots of talent being snapped up by developers very quickly.

    Yeh! I still have heaps of my old PCPP and PC Gamer discs! I didn't use the Mods too much, but I played the demos to death. ahh, "Beavis and Butthead's Virtual Stupidity" Demo, I could play you for hours.

      I did the same with the Ace Combat ...2 (I think...) demo off the front cover of OAPSM back in the late 90s... man I loved my PSX in those days...

    Hell yeah, I remember I got Svencoop for HL1 off a PCPP cover disc and pretty much subscribed off the back of the value of those discs. Awesome mag

    *Edit* supposed to be a reply to cesario

    Last edited 09/05/14 2:01 pm

    I never had a Half-Life addon cd but I did get some Quake and Doom ones. Mainly my HL, Doom, Duke and Quake content came from BBS's and friends who had grabbed it off a BBS.

    Anyone remember the Build Editor?

      Yep! I used to spend hours making Duke 3D levels. Never really used it for Blood or Shadow Warrior though.

      Yes! Hours upon hours of my time were spent with that. Myself, my brother and a friend had websites (Geocities!) up at one stage where we posted some completed, fully realised Duke 3D and Shadow Warrior levels we had made that were quite good if I may say so myself. They were primarily designed with deathmatch in mind, set in real-world locations such as malls and shipping yards. They even got upped onto some of the most popular map repositories of the time.

      It was such an awesome editor to use. We used to make WADs for Doom before that and that was painful in comparison.

      Last edited 09/05/14 10:01 pm

    I remember getting the original Discworld adventure game and finding it had a day-one patch: As well as the CD-ROM you needed to run it, there was a 3.5" floppy disk in the box containing a patch to install next.


    Was a long time reader...back when Spoonman was a writer...good times!

    I remember downloading quake mods over dialup with friends to play at LANs. FutureVsFantasy, Capture the Flag, Rocket Arena. We'd divide the rars up between us and download them at 3-5kbps then meet up to decompress.

    The next best option was to find a logged in computer on the school network and download it on the highspeed connection, but then you had to spread across multiple floppy disks to get it home - you kids with your thumb drives have it so easy!

    back then, we got demo's for free, cut down games, shareware, freeware or demo's.

    nowdays, we have to BUY the demo's to see what the game is like, at full (or sometings reduced) price.
    then we have to wait 2 years still to get the full game we payd for.

    sometimes, i miss the old days of computers... othertimes, like waiting 30 mins (or i remember, Coolio - Gangsters paradise, took me 2 periods to download at school...) for a song to download...

    I had a bunch of wads for doom, but I made an entire campaign in duke3d that was actually pretty good and got disseminated in Tamworth reasonably well, the best one though was when I went to uni, one of my dorm neighbours had Stunts, the old racing game.
    he was playing a user made level on it that he got from a friend, turns out it was one I had made in the 90's and given to maybe two or three people. we didn't even go to the same school and were not in the same year when he got it and here he was with one of my levels about 6 years later at university!

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