This is perhaps the most successful mod ever made. Why? Because it plays upon everybody's desire to constantly get shot by snipers.Like a whole lot of you hopeless cretins, I'm addicted to computer gaming. One of the things that attracts me to playing games on the computer over those awful console systems is the fact that on the PC, I have access to all sorts of nifty mods that make my games more fun and slightly more worth the inflated prices I pay with my easily and unjustly earned US dollars. Practically every PC game, regardless of genre, can be modified in some capacity. It's not limited to first person shooters, as you could just as easily turn WarCraft 3 into a game where you command a squadron of elderly citizens around a shopping mall, increasing their stats through vital exercise. With blockbuster sequels like Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and Deus Ex 2 coming out this year, we can all but expect a biblical flood of new and ambitious mods. The problem with mods is that for every ten you hear about, only maybe one will ever be released. And even then it's usually not a full release. It's always some kind of pre-alpha version where somebody added new skins they made with MSPaint and programmed the game to crash in new and unexpected ways. The fact that these terrible "here are 350 megs worth of useless files to install onto your computer and laugh at" mods get released at all is a tragedy not unlike September 11, 2001, which was when I last fell down and scraped my knee. I probably exaggerate the situation, though. Most mods in development aren't noticeable unless you prowl around the Internet looking for them, kind of like how Frolixo prowls around when he wants to meet underage girls. I'm a mod prowler, and I don't mind admitting it.

What I'm most impressed with, and simultaneously baffled by, is the phenomenon of people starting mods and then canning them in a disappointingly timid blaze of failure. It's an understandable situation, as game making is no easy task and you can easily get in over your head. But it is an entertaining thing to watch, because so many rise to the challenge only to come up short like a midget in quicksand. I know this is a sensitive topic for SA, as our own Zack Parsons failed to present the beef with his mod about elves plugging into knowledge trees and hacking into dragon's lairs. Really, there's no shame in his failure, as he's one of the many pioneers of a new field: failed mod making. More important than the miracle mod that somehow survives long enough to get any kind of respectable release are the dozens that don't. There are a lot of benefits to starting a failed mod, and they far exceed the demands of actually starting and completing a successful mod. For one thing, the time it takes to fail at making a mod is considerably less than the time it takes to succeed at making a mod. In addition, you can start numerous failed mods at the same time, and put little effort into each. With a relatively minor investment of time, you can get a lot of people's hopes up and make yourself a real heavyweight in the mod community – and you know how important that is – before admitting defeat and moving ever onward towards more failure. What I hope to do with this update that I probably stole from somebody is get each of you to start your own failed mod. Or, at the very least, to consider making a failed mod, and then fail to make it.

Step One: Overshoot Your Abilities By Ten Miles

Mod making should be a process of continued and unrelenting failure. The best way to position yourself for this most absolute of failures is to overshoot your abilities by as much as possible. In fact, overshoot technological limitations and logic while you're at it. Promise what you can't deliver, even if you were given an experimental serum consisting of the super intelligent semen of Stephen Hawking, the heroic courage of actor Marc Singer, and the raw passion of motivational guru Anthony Roberts. There is no sense being reasonable here. Failure is your goal, so fail hard like the of child of a demonic union between a furry and a goth: as black as a the soul of a wolf with a heart of sorrow that nobody understands.

Step Two: Pick a Hot Property

You have to base your mod on something, and nothing works better than somebody else's copyrighted property. Heck, George Lucas isn't going to mind if you steal his beloved characters for personal use. Neither is old Tolkien, who is probably burning in hell for writing such blasphemous nonsense. Here are a couple suggestions for possible mod material:

Star Wars
Harry Potter
The Matrix
Lord of the Rings
Dragonball Z
Denver the Last Dinosaur
The main concern here is that you want to do something recognizable, and copyrighted works can be pretty damn recognizable. In the unlikely situation somebody decides to sue you, that pretty much means your mod can't be released, and everything is where it should be. If it looks like nobody's panties are getting in a bunch over your unauthorized usage of copyrighted material, raise the bar and start combining things that don't belong in ways that are drastically inappropriate. Make it controversial by including gratuitous sex, violence, and sacrilegious content.

Step Three: Create Some Terribly Pathetic Preliminary Work

At this stage you should begin getting your shit together, as to make a powerful impact. You will most definitely want to get a website online, although it should intentionally be a disaster. You're going to need the following for that:

Erroneous JavaScript. Make sure the visitor is instantly assaulted by your incompetent programming.

An HTML frames layout where several frames either load incorrectly or wrong pages. Be creative and have the Yahoo homepage load in a frame. Use as many frames as you can. Turn your website into a grid and confuse the holy hell out of your fans.

Overview of story. If your mod's story isn't based on a preexisting property and fails to include either an evil wizard or alien mastermind, then just forget it. You can't even fail at failing.

Terrible sketches. If you have a younger brother or sister, get them extremely drunk and force them to draw concept art while you whack them with a belt. The end result will still be on par with most anime style drawings, but still awful by any normal person's standards.

3D Renders. THIS IS IMPORTANT. People want to see that you can produce 3d models, since those are super hard to make. In all likelihood, you probably won't be very good at this, but that's A-OKAY since you can just throw together a few spheres, a cube or two, and a triangle. Make sure your models look nothing like what they are supposed to. In fact, go one further and label them incorrectly to make them look even more unlike what they are supposed to be. Don't get crafty and texture your creations, though. Make them bright colors so that they catch the eye. Here are some examples:

When you have all this done, immediately e-mail every gaming website you can think of with the URL and description of your big plans. You want publicity!

Step Four: Request Help Now that you have a web page done, it's time to lure a bunch of suckers into your tapestry of lies. You will most certainly want to request help in the following areas:

Level Designers
Texture Artists
Moral Support
Somebody to help get you out of bed in the morning
Somebody to feed you
Somebody to tuck you in at night
Somebody to wipe your ass
Somebody to post on Internet forums telling everybody how great your mod is going to be
Somebody to pay your bills when you drop out of school, quit your job, and hide yourself away from stress of the modern world to "work" on this mod
If nobody agrees to take any of these positions, don't fret. You can always just make up random usernames and create an entire design team out of imagination. Then, to make things more exciting, you can have these imaginary personas begin fighting amongst themselves on popular forums or on the mod's website. This could very well create the excuse you need to ultimately declare the mod a bust and quit. You will also most definitely want to e-mail gaming websites with continually news on the availability of these positions. Remember, you aren't really making a mod; you're putting on a show.

Step Five: Abandon the Project

With positions filled and periodic samples of work coming out, you're now ready to call it quits. There are a number of ways you can do this, and each achieves a different result. For example, you can declare the thing a flat-out bust and walk away, or you can string people on even further by announcing a permanent "temporary hiatus." This gives people hope that the project might live on. Another fun thing you might try is telling people that the project is cancelled, but that you'll be releasing all the source code and assets soon. You won't have any real work to release, but keep telling people that. Somewhere out there is a nerd dying to get his hands on your work. The more big promises you made, the more interest there will be in what you secretly failed to fail to make. There is also always the chance you'll get threatened with a lawsuit if you infringed on somebody's copyrights enough, and that's always good for drama.

If you follow along, you should probably do a pretty good job. The one thing I strongly encourage is to spread yourself thin and start as many mods as you can possibly manage, and for every game in your library. Also, a good rule of thumb is for every minute you spend working on your mod, spend an hour promoting it wherever you can. This talk is important, as it shows you are dedicated to this project that you will soon give up on.

Benny and the Jets

Sorry, but there really aren't any jets involved, contrary to the factious title floating directly above. There is a Ben, which is just as good I guess. Stalwart Ben reviewed another movie, although that's not much of a surprise because what else is he going to do? Well, to answer your question: rehab. Ben reviewed a new movie called "Article 1480." Oh shit, I mean "The Stuff." Here is some text that Ben typed using his keyboard and hands:

You might recognize the name of Larry Cohen, writer and director of "The Stuff," from a number of other films. Most of those movies sucked really, really hard. However, he did write "Phone Booth," and that was pretty darn good. However, it sure as hell wasn't good because of the script. You see, Larry Cohen has an odd little quirk when it comes to screenwriting - he can only write competent dialogue for one character per film. For instance, in "Phone Booth," the character of Stu, played by Colin Farrell, was written perfectly well. By comparison, the character of the cop, played by Forest Whitaker, sounded like his dialogue was written by a retarded six year old deaf child from Tibet with severe learning disabilities and nails in his eyes. Likewise, in "The Stuff," the character of Mo, portrayed by Michael Moriarty, is actually written rather well. Sure, not every line is a gem, but hey, it was the Eighties. You could get away with writing the odd line of horrendous dialogue for an otherwise fine character and get away with it. No one cared, as they were all too busy wearing leg warmers and doing blow. In fact, during Mo's first scene, I actually said to myself, "Gee, Ben, you handsome bastard, this might turn out alright! Sure, the preceding scenes were pure, unadulterated filth, but this isn't too shabby!" Unfortunately, as is the tao of Larry Cohen, all of the other characters are written as horrible stereotypes, blatant ripoffs of other successful film characters, or outright morons. The characters stumble through an ill-conceived, fragmented plot that feels as though several incredibly important scenes went missing, sandwiched between a beginning and ending, both of which have definitely earned their spots among the stupidest things I've ever seen. On the other hand, the film quality was cleaned up quite nicely for the DVD, so what do I really have to complain about? Well, it's a movie... called "The Stuff." That's a pretty damn good start.

So in conclusion, go see the movie "Phone Booth" as it is highly recommended by Ben "Greasnin" Platt. But first go read his review of "The Stuff."

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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