I am the founder of DBolical and creator of ModDB, IndieDB and SlideDB. My aim is to make it easier for gamers to find great games/mods no matter their stage of development. And more importantly give game/mod developers a place to share their work and grow their fanbase - without being dependent on press/editors gatekeeping the important news sites. If you have any ideas or suggestions, hit me up I am always available to talk with the community.

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For those in Melbourne, Australia - i'll be speaking at Freeplay on Sunday the 21st of August at 10:00am. Topic of the presentation is "Cheating the Golden Rule". I'll be joined by Farbs and a few other indie game developers. Here is the blurb:

Freeplay wrote:In the traditional studio model, the cry of ‘he who controls the gold makes the rules’ is at the root of everything. Independent development aims to remove that restriction, but we all need to eat. This panel discusses some of the innovations in funding, their good and bad, and some of the best practices in each to make sure that the one controlling the gold is you.

So if you are a local, stop by should be an awesome event and it be great to catch up and chat.

For everyone who lives in Perth, Australia - I'm on a indie games panel at GenghisCon this weekend. All are welcome if you want to come and chat about ModDB, IndieDB or Desura.

GenghisCon is a student-priced convention, filled with games,
activities, panels, discussions, and workshops covering science fiction,
fantasy, roleplaying, board games, and more. Here are the details:

  • Time/Date: 16:00 – 17:00, Saturday 15 January
  • Location: Junior Common Room, St. George’s College, Mounts Bay Road, Crawley

And the list of panellists:

Should be fun, so let me know if you are in the area.

So what is up with all the 10/10 reviews? It seems gamers either love or hate a title and give it 10/10 or 1/10. How about we be more critical and review titles which were 6/10s? The 10/10 value kinda loses its meaning if everyone hands it out like cheap candy. If this trend continues I will normalize the rating system so a 10/10 carries less weight than some of the less popular numbers.

On a more positive note, in 8 years of running the site only 200 reviews were posted. Two weeks since the new review system was launched and already 280 reviews have been posted. This is a great start but considering there are 10,000+ game / mod profiles on the site we still have a loooong way to go.

I also quietly rolled out a new video player (IndieDB and Desura only at the moment) which I believe is pretty damn sexy. Check it out below and fingers crossed you are not an IE user as it seems to freeze your PC (working on a fix). HD support is next on the video todo list.

Finally I cannot believe we haven't got more emails regarding the car game sponsorship news we put up. Are none of you making car games or do none of you want a large bundle of cash to help you make your game with few strings attached?

Dave and I were honored recently to be interviewed by DIYGamer. In the interview we talk about ModDB, IndieDB, Desura our plans for global domination and various other things. Big thanks to Geoff Gibson and the team over at DIYGamer for the privilege. They run a great gaming blog so you should become a reader. Here is my fav question:

EVERYONE! wrote:Has IndieDB done well with respects to how old it is and it’s apparent niche focus?

Dave: For the most part it has been quite effective in getting more Indie developers to use our services, every day we have a few new games being added which is around the same amount of new mods we get. However the teams still do not know how to use the site all that well. While we get new profiles and media quite often, the site lacks any news from the teams. Everyday it’s getting better and it might take some time before we see the same daily numbers we see on ModDB.

Scott: I’d hardly call indies a “niche” anymore. 2 years ago maybe but not now. IndieDB has a ton of growth yet to come, what we are doing well at is building a comprehensive database of games, videos, images and files (indie developers add your games!). The next step is to start connecting players and fans with the indie developers and helping them get feedback and customers they need to succeed. With mods this is easy because say you own game X, you go and search for mods for game X. With indie games this seems to be a real challenge, as without marketing budgets people usually only hear about and become interested in an indie game once it is already released. With time we are hopeful that people will start to browse DIYGamer, IndieDB and other indie themed sites to find out news about both released and upcoming titles.

So I recently spent 2 weeks in NZ catching up with my girlfriend Cassandra (who is a Kiwi - i'm Aussie). Had a blast touring around the South Island (drove about 1500km) seeing the beautiful countryside. Compared to Australia NZ sure does have a lot of hills, snow, rivers and ... sheep!

bumblebee franz joesph glacier

Highlights had to be climbing a glacier and snowboarding for the first time. I wasn't too bad and could do intermediate runs by the days end though my body had taken a beating from all of my wipeouts. Definately will be going back and if you appreciate a good bit of nature I highly recommend you visit NZ. Christchurch (CHCH) is a cool city too.

Cookietime! paragliding in queenstown

Now that i'm back i'm working flat chat on Desura (believe it or not it is getting quite close). Have built in a ton of features for developers who want to release their games on the platform. They can basically customize and control everything... it is all automated and hopefully fast! Keep your eyes peeled for more news.

So Bigbird (a long time ModDB member and admin) just so happens to be a pilot-in-training and was awesome enough to take me up for a flight over WA to Rottnest Island (basically a cool-reef surrounded place) 40mins away from Fremantle.

Learning the fly Learning the fly Quokka!!

I've been lucky enough to fly everywhere round the world for work and fun, but can't say i've ever had the chance to take control of a plane (albeit do nothing except hold her steady) and yeah it was pretty damn cool as you'd expect. Cool because Aus is an awesome country so heaps to see out the window. Plus doing wheelies in a plane on the runway is something I doubt many people have had an opportunity to experience. Click the pics above for closeups.

So I got smacked in the head with a hockey stick on the weekend... not the best feeling I must admit! I was running into goal when a wayward swing hit me right above my eyebrow... after bleeding a ton and going to the hospital, i'm now fine and have 10 stitches in my head. I'm just hoping it doesn't leave a massive scar otherwise i'll wind up looking like harry potter (yes I've read the books, shoot me).

Brain seems fine so its back to work on ModDB I suppose... heaps of stuff going on in the background so you won't hear a great deal from me anyhow. Oh and again i'd like to slip in a shameless plug for Footy Post - AFL news, results, ladder and fantasy an Australian site I made for friend (you'll notice the design is quite similar to ModDB mainly because i'm too lazy to create something fresh).

Ok so for those that don't know me I am Aussie and somewhat of a sport fanatic, especially AFL (Aussie Rules Football) - you know the strange game with 4 goals, an oval shaped ball, big marks, big knocks and plenty more.

Anyhow so in my spare time (which I don't really ever have any of thanks to this site and my social life sucking up 24hours a day) I helped my mate launch an Aussie Football Site. Check it out if you are interested, you will notice the design feels quite similar to Mod DB (which is mainly because i'm lazy and because it is powered by the same "Desura" engine.

I'm back on Mod DB work full time again now, after spending a good 2 weeks or so on that site.

For all the German speakers out there, I was recently interviewed over at eGames which is a german game magazine about my thoughts on modding. Since I figure most of your German speaking skills are as bad as mine, here is the interview in English:

How would you define moddb?

Mod DB is first and foremost a site for independent game developers who want to have a shot at modifying their favourite games. For many Mod DB is a starting point where you can join a mod team and begin creating games. What begins as an enjoyable hobby can even become a full-time job if you apply yourself and show you have the skill to match it with the best. Mod DB is secondly a site for gamers who want to “play something different”. Thanks to our active community we have the latest news and downloads from all the hottest mods for all the biggest games (and small ones). So if you have finished your game but are not yet prepared to leave it to collect dust, searching for mods is a great way to extend its life and play something totally different but still with the same feel and fun-factor.

What can you say about quantity and quality of mods in the last time? Do they increase or decrease?

Modding has being growing in popularity for a long time now, as more and more mainstream gamers discover just how polished some of these indie creations are. Furthermore, more and more game developers are trying to make their titles “mod friendly” which has resulted in a much higher number of mods being built. The downside to this however, is that so many mods are started but not finished simply because the founders did not realize just how difficult mod-making can be and just how much time is required to get something done. So quantity is definitely up. As for quality, well that is a hard one to answer because there have always been quality mods. These days you really get a big mix of full blown, absolutely brilliant total conversions which look and play better than the original game, plus many hacky smaller “quick” mods (which can actually be great fun if they have the right idea). The difference these days is that games are so much more complicated. Take Quake for example, you see to make a mod for it you need a handful of textures, no models (only skins) and blam you are done. New games like Battlefield 2 require hundreds of models, realistic surroundings, extremely complicated AI and yet despite these challenges the mods being made are still fantastic so I guess you could say the quality has increased.

What do you think is the relevance of mods for gamers?

Modding is great for gamers, because it allows them to keep on playing their favourites. For example if you thought the single-player experience was over to quick or ended abruptly, you can pretty much guarantee that someone else agreed and has made their own version in the form of a mod. Sick of the weapons? No problem someone will have made weapon packs and total conversions which will keep you occupied for a while. Most of my favourite games are mods, I think that right there shows just how important mods are for gamers.

What do you think is the relevance of mods for gaming companies?

These days making a game isn’t easy. There is tons of competition and it is a complicated process which requires a big dedicated team, meaning some serious money is required to get stuff done. Because of this the industry has gone soft and isn’t prepared to take risks in the form of creative game ideas because if they flop the company will be out of business. Modders don’t suffer this limitations, they are doing it because they love it which means they can be creative, quirky and take risks. Many of the hottest new game ideas were actually devised by the modders, they are the people essentially creating the next generation of games for us to play. They inject life and excitement into an industry that is sadly dominated by sequels and movie adaptations. Plus a good mod will get more people playing the game which for them means more sales so for the game companies it is a win-win situation.

In which direction do you think will mods develop? Do you have a kind of a vision?

The mod-space has been moving in many directions lately. Some of the biggest changes we are currently seeing and will continue to see is the rise in digital distribution used to deliver new game updates / concepts (i.e. mods) to the players transparently. Want a war mod? No problem, click a button and the application will do all the work for you. Another big change has come in the form of mod teams realizing that if they can make a mod they can make a game. Hence more and more mod teams are switching to open source engines and creating their own fully fledged titles for you to play. Plus many companies are actually buying their ideas, work and employing the entire team so they can keep doing what they do, but this time with a publisher backing their creation. The biggest change however is cross-platform support and mods on consoles. The consoles are still largely locked down and closed, however Epic have announced that UT2007 mods will work on both the PS3 and the PC editions of the game. This is a great development and if these platforms start to open up more, we could see a massive shift in the popularity of modding as it is exposed to many mainstream gamers who (unlike PC users) don’t really know what is available to play beyond what they can buy in the stores. The next version of Mod DB (coming out Nov 2007) will be exploring these ideas, so let’s hope this vision plays out and long live modding!