A robot renegade cop of the Finnish stock.
Posted by FastGamerr on May 28th, 2013
Hoof! It's finally over! *brings out the tiny violin* The completion of DXN also marks a definite end of an era for me - in other words, my stage exit from gaming. After countless of started, restarted, failed and half-assed editing projects, I'm very glad that I now have both TODOA and DXN to show as my results of all these years (1998-2013) I had spent editing games. TODOA has more straightforward FPS action with an emphasis on graphics, while DXN has a notably heavier emphasis on elements like story and gameplay. After all, it can't be forgotten that the original Deus Ex's graphics were already outdated when it came out in 2000 - something that almost all reviewers noted at the time.
In summer 2004 when I became a Deus Ex fan for good, it didn't take long for me to start editing it. By late August 2004, I was working on a project named "Deus Ex Nihilum". While the mod's story was about JC's adventures in Finland, eventually the main character was changed to Wesley Cutter (inspired by my discovery of how similar Blade and black JC looked like!). Deriving the name from how Blade is played by Wesley Snipes and how blades cut things (OMFG) - I soon discovered that it could be construed as a reference to Snipes' film Passenger 57 (or to Wesley Crusher). Irritatingly, later on other people got the chance to use the name first. Still, I decided to retain it in a limited context even in the final build of the mod.
The first incarnation of Nihilum came to an end in October 2004 when I had run out of ideas for it and didn't know how to end the story. That month, the UNATCO Born mod was looking for new mappers, I thought "what the hey", sent them screenshots of my work and to my delight, was accepted into the team! By early 2007 UB's development had more or less ceased and I started working on a smaller-scale DX project, which I had nicknamed "FastGamerr's Hong Kong Project" or FGRHK (hence DXN still using 'fgrhk' package name, not to mention that the final mod is directly based on the 2007 rather than the 2004 version). But as the scale of the project expanded, I once again hit roadblocks on how to end the story and by September 2007 I had more or less stopped working on it. Despite a brief revival in early 2008, I "quit DX editing" and donated all the mod content to WildcatPhoenix.
... Come June 2010 when I had already released TODOA earlier that year and was unsure on what I'd do next. Deciding to give the original Deus Ex my first proper playthrough since 2007, I also replayed through several of its mods (ZODIAC, Redsun2020, Hotel Carone, Ritter Park etc.) and came to the realization that I owed finishing DXN to DX and myself. The start wasn't that rosy either, I was busy with work and had to reorganize the mod's backstory and finally finalize the mod's structure. Only in January 2011 did I finally know how the mod would start, progress and end and I could finally focus on finishing it. Yet this was also the time when I realized that staying at full-time work would have pushed the mod's release date way beyond a Sunday tricycle trip to Antares.
While I can't say that I decided to get enrolled into the University of Helsinki (a process which involved a very hard entrance exam for which I had to stop working on the mod for the first half of 2011) just so I could have had the most time as possible for finishing DXN and not losing my job (by taking a 2-year study break), in retrospect this is pretty much what happened. Without the burden of work, for most of the time I was able to balance out studying and working on DXN. Thus my return to employment marks an end to the era where I could focus on projects like this. Yet more importantly, as the development of DXN showed, it's not something I want to do anymore either.
I honestly can't say which one I enjoyed making more - TODOA or DXN. In the end I'm just glad that both of them have been finished and the demons of my modding past silenced for good. In the case of DXN's development, I did leave things like new games, films and TV shows heavily on the sidelines to focus on the project (especially towards the end). While my efforts to not get influenced by new works (and thus (inadvertently or otherwise) getting inspiration for adding new content into the mod) mostly succeeded, it was still impossible to not have some of the (plot) elements in DXN seem like derivatives on other works - especially those that came out when I was still working on the mod (as a particularly annoying example, DXN's ending was already set to take place somewhere in the Arctic Ocean in mid-2007, mere months before DX:HR had even entered production!). But alas, this issue is not unique to DXN and I hope it's not too bothersome when actually playing the mod. Needless to say, all issues related to editing projects like this turned me into such a nervous wreck, and I'm extremely glad to have ended my modding endeavours on this note!
Despite the age of both Jedi Knight and Deus Ex when I decided to finish my grandest projects for them for good (in mid-2008 for the former, mid-2010 for the latter), I also realized that if I hadn't finished them when I did (in early 2010 for the former, mid-2013 for the latter), I would have just ended up going back to editing them over and over again - and even 2013 is way too late for this stuff if you ask me! While it might have been a lot easier for me to finish these projects years ago, they certainly would have been quite radically different compared to their final versions - possibly in an unsatisfactory way.
Nevertheless, with TODOA and DXN I've finished my obligations to modding, myself AND especially to the two games I've spent most of these years playing and editing - Jedi Knight and Deus Ex. While I don't want to disclose all the details of DXN's (or TODOA's, for that matter) development, in the end I'm fully satisfied with taking the entire effort in the first place - but also extremely glad that I don't have to undertake such projects ever again.
On the other hand, DXN is the closest thing to an actual game that I ever made, but on the other hand I think it's more apt to say that it's a testament to (at least) my editing-related strengths and weaknesses - whatever they may be. Once again, I just hope it's going to be satisfying enough to as many people as possible. :]
Good night, and good luck.