Off Topic Productions

The Nameless Mod's setting
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Author:  DevAnj [ Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:01 am ]
Post subject:  The Nameless Mod's setting

This is just about an interesting(I think) observation I made about The Nameless Mod's setting.

Initially I was put off downloading TNM, like quite a few others, because of how the setting sounded. However, after reading a few good recommendations of it I decided to play it. I noticed that ultimately its setting is not as wacky or weird as people claim. Sure there's a lot of Internet references and attempts at humour early on, which coincidentially is also the weakest part of the mod, but later on the setting is more or less good old cyberpunk. You have a huge greedy corporation, an ineffectual government, a combination of high technology in some areas and poverty and rundown places in others, terrorist groups who fight for a good cause and more. If anything, I think this should have been described more as a cyberpunk virtual world with some internet references, rather than a forum visualized as a virtual world to draw more players.

By the way, I really enjoyed The Nameless Mod, though it's not as good as something like 2027. I'll be replaying it again once I'm done with Redsun 2020 and replaying 2027. Cheers!

Author:  Jonas [ Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nameless Mod's setting

DevAnj wrote:
If anything, I think this should have been described more as a cyberpunk virtual world with some internet references, rather than a forum visualized as a virtual world to draw more players.

Well you could be right, but on the other hand the setting is also what makes TNM unique, so it seems weird not to mention it.

Author:  DevAnj [ Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nameless Mod's setting

The setting is comparitively unique, but from what I've seen of reactions that's not the main draw of the mod. The main draw is stuff like the story, the flexible story choices given that succeed in providing an illusion of great choice and a lot of player reactivity, the humour, the quirks in the levels that give them personality etc. I understand that the appeal initially was that members of a forum could get to make and star in a mod(I read your postmortem by the way), but over time even if the base premise was maintained, I think it could be marketed in a more clear cut manner so players would know what they're in for. But past mistakes are past mistakes and hindsight is always more enlightening than acting at the moment.

Point is, ultimately I think the setting is cyberpunk ish with references to Internet and forums and so it should not drive away people from the mod.

Author:  Jonas [ Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nameless Mod's setting

Sure, you're probably right.

Incidentally, "illusion of great player choice", eh? I think there's enough choice and consequence in there that it can accurately be considered actually great player choice ;)

It's not full freedom, of course, but surely it is at least pretty great.

Author:  Brad Denton [ Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nameless Mod's setting

What I particularly love about The Nameless Mod's premise is that it has turned the forum culture of Planet Deus Ex into a compellingly interactive successor to the original Deus Ex. Though I never had the opportunity to be a member of PDX's forum, I bet that TNM embodied the creative imagination PDX's members must've had. From my perspective, TNM took the dramatic personalities, mod ideas, absurdist culture, imagination, and humor of a good chunk of PDX's forum member base, and adapted it into a standalone successor to Deus Ex.

What I think makes this mod especially brilliant is how it portrays the avatars of real PDX members. Though the characters are representations of PDX members being silly, TNM adapts the dramatic behaviors those members must've exhibited online, and made the members' avatars into their own characters. It takes the premise of TRON to the next level: the avatars of Internet users, though they represent the will of living flesh-beings, have a life of their own online, and take the crazy world their Users' have created for them very seriously. That's a pretty heavy concept for a game, especially for a Deus Ex mod which started out as a small tribute to PDX's forum culture.

Although I wish that TNM reflected more of the absurdity of forum life by including more options and characters for interactivity (like Morrowind meets Deus Ex meets an Internet forum, which would be hard to pull off), Off Topic Productions did an excellent job in rendering PDX's forum culture into a world I still want to revisit.

I do at times wonder what TNM would've been like if it had been released as it was originally imagined: would it have been a small mission like Burden of 80 Proof or The Cassandra Project with aspects of ZODIAC? In speaking of those mods, I like how TNM pays tribute to them directly and indirectly. Cassandra's absurdity and Narcissus Entity are referenced; WC office silliness reminds me of Burden; and TNM's levels and hordes of aliens at the end certainly pay tribute to ZODIAC's design, not to mention featuring a clever cameo from ZODIAC's creator. Talking about these mods, I wish that TNM had moments where characters, including villains, just take a break from fighting and discuss Deus Ex mod ideas.

In speaking of Deus Ex discussions, let us not forget the fan fic shop conversations. The fan fic shop is a great device to remind players as to what made Deus Ex great, and serves as a reference point on which all of TNM's ideas revolve around. Even the topics about Ada, the moon base level, the Illuminati and Majestic 12 serve to cleverly foreshadow what's in store for the game. I really think that when Off Topic created the GameSpy space station level, they proved Warren Spector wrong about a space themed level not fitting in with Deus Ex's overall gameplay (Spector thought the Xen levels in Half-Life didn't work because of the same belief).

Back on point, I think that the use of PDX as a setting for TNM was clever, and that it still warrants more exploration for fan missions and mods. I've even seen on other game forums fans wanting to do a TNM spin on their own culture, and I have yet to see such projects coming into existence.

Author:  VectorM [ Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nameless Mod's setting

Le Ebin Necrobump!

What i am finding now, that I am replaying the game, is that the setting starts to become this strange little time capsule. A time when game forums might have been a much more relevant platfrom for gamins discussion, a time when twitter and tumblr were still small, if even existing yet, and 4chan was still more of a niche "anonymous haxor" site. It is also interesting to think about where some the real people behind the characters are today. Reading newspapers with reviews for ZODIAC, actual PC gamer articles from way back. It's a pretty unique experience now, instead of the pandering joke that some of then detractors probably thought it was back then.

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