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Deus Ex Mods
GameSpy takes a look at three upcoming mods for ION Storm's highly acclaimed FPS: Deus Ex.
By - Bruce "Gwog" Ladewig

The Giant Awakens

When Deus Ex was released a few months ago, it immediately shot to the top of the game sales charts due to its profoundly unique approach to first-person gameplay. Gamers were blown away by the ability to personalize their play styles and by the multiple possible solutions each mission contained. It also helped that the game looked great due to the solid Unreal Tournament technology it was built on.

This technology offered more than great looks, it also offered a huge community of people familiar with the ins and outs of editing the technology in order to create all sorts of new assets. Previous Unreal-based games have seen plenty of modifications by fans, everything from new levels to new character models, weapons, and totally different gameplay modes (especially in multiplayer).

The EMP Launcher weapon mod, from DmsMod
So when ION Storm released the Deus Ex SDK (software development kit) in September, it wasn't long before the Unreal editing community sat up and took notice. There was an explosion of activity and interest, especially in forums. The first things to appear were small tutorials, explaining how to implement the mapping basics such as lighting, doors, and the like. More complex tutorials followed, along with the first mini-mods (mostly based on modifying Deus Ex weaponry to give it different functionality).

The next inevitable step was the announcement of large mods and conversions. In this article we'll discuss some of these mods, but before we do, let's take a look at the tools and technology they'll be using to create their projects.

Tools and Tech

Anyone who has ever spent time experimenting with Unreal-engine editing is already familiar with the basics of Deus Ex modifying. ION Storm made no changes to the core rendering technology, so not many things have changed. Mapping is still CSG based and done using the version of UnrealEd that ION released, although they added a huge amount of new toys including laser tripwires, ATM's, computer networks with e-mail, and security cameras. Likewise the game's model format is relatively unchanged, with the engine implementing facial deformation during conversations. Scripting too is done through Unreal's own high-level language, with new addable classes via the modified UCC compiler.

The "Deus Ex" conversation editor.
The biggest changes to the core technology occur in the game's RPG backbone. ION added an experience-point based skill system, the nano-upgrades that give the player different abilities, and conversation scripting. While coders will definitely be tinkering with these to make them apply to their particular project, most of these new functions are relevant to the actual designers.

The Deus Ex SDK contains several things. In it is the all-in-one tool known as UnrealEd, a script compiler, a model converter (for those using Lightwave to create models), and an incredibly powerful conversation editor with detailed documentation.

Next: The mods...

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