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Making Mods

There seems to be lots of confusion as to what the difference between a mutator, mod, gametype, or total conversion is. You'll find that the definition varies from person to person so the following definitions will probably not be accepted by the whole community, but they should help mod developers.

Mutators are one way of making a mod activatable for the user. A mutator usually is a small modification to only one or few rules of a game. Mutators are made with the intent for it to be compatible and/or usable with other mutators, most game types, or even multiple game types or total conversions. A mutator has rules governing how it should behave, how it should interact, and how much it should change within a game. See Mutator Topics.
Gametypes are another way to make a mod user-selectable. Each gametype has a different objective. The gametype of CTF is Capture The Flag. The goal is to find and return the enemy flag to your base. Included with UT2K3 is also the gametypes of BR (Bombing Run), DM (Deathmatch), TDM (Team Deathmatch), and DOM (Domination). Each gametype has a different way to end or win a map.
Total conversion
A total conversion is a collection of game types with a common theme and purpose. For a total conversion it is generally accepted that new menus will be present, new graphics will be used throughout the entire game, a new set of INI files will be used, and that little, if any, content from the original game will be present or used.
Server add-on
Server add-ons don't change any part of the game's rules. Usually they add additional features for remote administration, security, player stats, etc.
Client add-on
In UT's UWindow system it was possible to use some client-side add ons like GUI skins or other game menu modifications like the Mod Menu Extension or [osX] Background Changer. These not change any part of the gameplay, but only help players like their favorite game's menu system. ;) Client-side add-ons aren't possible in UT2003 anymore. (At least not at this time.)

Note that Mod does not appear in this list, because it only is a general term for all kinds of modifications to the game. A destinction between "Mods" (mutators with a lot of changes to the gameplay) and "Mutators" (only few changes) is very subjective and not really helpful.

The Layman's Guide to Making Mods

If you are thinking about making a mod (for any game) and are not sure what you need to know, how to go about it, or simply want to avoid the most obvious mistakes then read on. The pages linked to below contain some excellent advice, and possibly comments on stuff that hadn't occured to you.

Thoughts on mod making

Several of the Unreal Wiki's contributors have experience in creating successful mods. Reading their accounts of their work and their advice is recommended.

Some Recommended Reading

It never ceases to amaze me how many programmers completely fail to take advantage of the wealth of experience of software developers that have decided to commit the things they have learnt to paper and write a book. Although the following books will not help you write mods, they will help you write better software, and possibly manage your team and project more effectively. You don't have to agree with what the books say – as long as you understand why you disagree. The books are in no particular order. (the links go to the original Wiki at C2: Wiki logo WelcomeVisitors, which has plenty on coding and is also a recommended read.)

Related Topics

CH3Z: Rev34 of this page was just reverting it back to Rev29 before it got messed up. Its all correct now.

MythOpus: Hey, how come the links 'Why Teams Don't Work' and 'Peopleware' don't have links. Page Lost, missing?

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