Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Ultimate Guide to Game Enhancement

Here's a post I just made in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun forums. It's an idea that's been gnawing at me for a while, and I had to get it out. Seems like something that modern gamers could really use.

So I have this idea that I could use some feedback on. The current state of things:

Many, many of the games we fondly remember, although classics of the medium, are hopelessly technically outdated. I don't mean in the sense that they won't run on XP (but that too), I mean in the sense that their graphics are old (not charmingly retro), their user interfaces are clunky and unintuitive, and they do not use our computers to anything near their full potential (often not due to any inherent game engine flaw, but simply due to lack of any programmer foresight). Which means we enjoy them less than it might be possible.

Enter many fine people, fans of the games, who work hard and create patches and mods to drag the games into the modern world. But people seeking to replay the games (or the many who are just now playing the legends for the first time) are unaware of these enhancements, or find them hard to locate and/or apply. So the potential is there, but still often untapped.

My idea is this:

A single site (wiki, maybe) intended to catalog and maintain a database of games, with each game entry containing a list of patches and procedures intended to fix-up a game as quickly and simply as possible, so that whenever you want to play any old classic you can look for it in the database, follow the recipe, and then play the game secure in the knowledge that you're playing the absolute best version of the game that is currently available. This would not be ModDB - the patches would be exclusively bugfixes and graphics packs and such. The idea is to play the best version of the original, not change it. So stuff along the lines of the System Shock mouselook tweak, and all the many other SS fixes, or maybe STALKER Complete 2009. The ideal entry would be something like this Planescape: Torment fix installation guide.

Would you be interested in such a website? Would you use it? And most importantly, would you contribute to it? Not in the sense of creating mods, but simply adding existing mods and procedures to various game entries, which works much better when you crowdsource it. What do you think?

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