Report article RSS Feed Why we removed the school shooter mod

We have removed the School Shooter mod from ModDB, read on for our explanation.

Posted by INtense! on Mar 19th, 2011

Allow me to begin this post by saying we believe in the freedom of speech, the right to share information and be creative. We have enjoyed watching mod developers push the boundaries for years and create amazing content, and shall always do this.

However, recently a mod on the site called School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 has been getting quite a bit of mainstream press due to the controversial nature of the content. It seems that people sit on two sides of the fence on this one. There are those that believe the makers of this mod should have the right to make whatever they want, while there are others that believe it is disgusting and crosses the line.

We sit on both sides, on one hand we find the content to be deliberately offensive and in poor taste, but on the other we also feel people should have the right to be creative and share what they want on a community / developer run site, and we shouldn't have the right to dictate what is/isn't allowed.

The challenge faced is we are currently receiving quite a bit of threatening mail as people believe we are the creators, supporters and makers of this content. I want to stress that this absolutely isn't the case. We have never encouraged or made any content, we disagree with the mod but at the same time believe in freedom of speech and the unique ability modders and indie developers should have to create games (good-or-bad) about topics, issues and events considered risky or taboo.

There is also quite a bit of confusion from non-gaming press, who state that games like this are the reason why all bad things occur, spreading misinformation and fear.  As a result of this confusion and hate, at the moment we feel the best course of action is to remove the mod. We don't want the hard work of thousands of other mod developers to be threatened by people misunderstanding this one mod/game, and assuming all others are like it.

Edit: We did contact the developers with no reply back in August 2010, chances are this would have ended differently if they had replied.

Post comment Comments  (350 - 400 of 454)
Skepsis! Mar 19 2011, 7:42pm replied:

Most of the people in the comments section have. This specific incident isn't anything major, but people get damned sensitive about **** like this. I do agree with people like Holden in their general context, but it seems a few people are making a mountain out of a mole hill here.

+4 votes     reply to comment
D3@DM4N Mar 19 2011, 5:08pm says:

look, i was against this mod from day one, it affected me on a personal level. Im not going to threaten anyone or scream murderers! at the modding community, i have more of a brain than that.

But this is an idea that people dont like to see as a joke (at least the vast majority in this case) I totally respect freedom of speech, but this pushed the boundaries of that. And no, your not "giving the power" to the evil hate mongering people trying to scare people on there side. Your giving peace of mind to people who dont want to see this garbage on their favorite website they visit. I love art, i love all forms of it, but this is not art.

Im sorry it came to this for the team, but i am so absolutely overjoyed its gone.

+2 votes     reply to comment
chulaksaviour Mar 19 2011, 5:20pm says:

basically using Jack Thompsons Logic... the 2-3 million people who use Steam everyday are murderers..
Theres a reason why he is disbarred for life and that is because he has NO CREDIBILITY

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:16pm replied:

ModDB is doing to the School Shooter website exactly what the Bar Association did to Jack Thompson. They are saying, "We won't endorse or support you on our dollar; you can't use our name or associate with us on any level." It's like whenever Glenn Beck or Don Imus said something stupid on their shows; sponsors backed away and broke deals, just as they should.

So, if you support the debarring of Jack Thompson, you should also support ModDB's freedom to distance itself from an intentional "bad apple" in School Shooter.

+2 votes     reply to comment
chulaksaviour Mar 20 2011, 2:13am replied:

I do support Moddb in their actions because they have worked hard to achieve what they have, my point is with People like Jack Thompson who have no clue and react to rumour and spread misinformed propaganda to the easily duped masses. We in the end feel pressured to not be creative as we like for fear of being percecuted. The Modding community thrives on its imagination and creativity and to have that strangled is a step in the wrong direction.

Saying this my seem hypocritical but I do believe Moddb did the right thing it show that while we can create things in our image, we need to hold things in perspective and someone somewhere has to draw a moral line and that its best that we regulate ourselves accordingly

+1 vote     reply to comment
Akujin Mar 19 2011, 5:43pm buried:


If it's socially unacceptable, doesn't make it Illegal or forbidden. Don't be hypocrites. How many times have you wanted to blew your teacher's brains out, or some kid that bullied you in school?

-7 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:50pm replied:

It's not illegal nor forbidden. It's just not accessible through ModDB. Those interested are more than welcome to go to the developer's actual web site.

0 votes     reply to comment
ne_zavarj Mar 19 2011, 5:44pm says:

I'm sorry , but for me that thing isn't a real "mod " I'm glad that they removed it .

+2 votes     reply to comment
Armageddon104 Mar 19 2011, 5:57pm says:

Well, I believe a lot of modders will feel threatened since they will know think you will remove anything that is violent. I feel sorry for the modders making this because their hard work has gone to waste.

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:03pm replied:

Uhhh....are we seeing the same mod here? All their hard work in reusing HL2 assets? All of their hard work with horridly simplistic map designs that don't even come close? All their hard work that they don't care to even stand behind?

This would be slightly different if the mod was done with a professional attitude and not the poorly-contrived **** on their website: This mod provides nothing of value, and isn't even commentary on society. It's solely designed to draw flack and blame it on someone else (that being ModDB).

I don't think any serious modder should be threatened in the least; unless they are creating solely a troll mod with the intention of walking away from it, and letting someone else clean up their mess.

+1 vote     reply to comment
D3@DM4N Mar 19 2011, 7:24pm replied:

there was no hard work here.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Skepsis! Mar 19 2011, 7:43pm replied:

No it hasn't. Just because the ModDb page was removed doesn't mean they have to stop working on their mod, nor does it mean their work was deleted.

-2 votes     reply to comment
D3@DM4N Mar 20 2011, 1:19am replied:

yea but its off Moddb, i really dont care where they take their garbage (As long as its not here :))

0 votes     reply to comment
xilefian Mar 19 2011, 6:14pm says:

Can people also remember that we're hosting mods on DesuraNET's servers, the hardware is owned by them, we are physically on their property.

So they can remove anything they want, with or without reason, they're fully entitled to make changes to their own property that we're on.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Akujin Mar 19 2011, 6:17pm says:

I suggest all of you looking at this video (if you haven't seen this already)

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:36pm replied:

The problem is that this wasn't a serious endeavour. School Shooter wasn't intended to be such when they went out shopping for hits while still using "alpha" content ripped from HL2. It's all about being famous with as little work as possible; it's not about growing the medium because they don't CARE about the medium. They don't care about it enough to properly recreate the assets.

This was solely designed for controversy with no one to own up to it. No one put a face or real name behind it. Not Pawnstick; not any of the "Anonymous" cowards that contributed to it. None of them wanted to go on camera and say that it's not a troll mod; because they know and we all know that it is. They were going to ignore any flack that came with it because no one was attached to the project; they didn't and will never care that other third-parties (parties such as ModDB that didn't want the unwanted attention) were also getting flack for it.

ModDB never "green-lighted" or endorsed the project and has zero obligation for it to stick around. You cannot make stupid comparisons between what's happening here and what happened between Konami and Six-days in Falluja.

+3 votes     reply to comment
UnknownToaster Mar 19 2011, 6:37pm says:

This game is was in such horrible taste. It was not cool at all and just mocks all the people who died in school shootings, men and women, adults, teenagers, and kids. I find nothing good in that mod and I can't say I find any bad coming from this being removed.

Freedom of speech is a huge thing, but there's still a line. You don't go in a movie theater and scream fire. I don't care what all the opposers are saying, I completely support ModDB removing this **** from their database. It's a skidmark on the gaming industry.

+3 votes     reply to comment
*Don* Mar 19 2011, 6:43pm says:

Who cares really, it was just some devs trolling anyways.

You just gave them some amazing face time now.

0 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:47pm replied:

They already had amazing face time because they were shopping it out to the Escapist, Kontaku and others. Sure, this extends their 15 minutes of fame but it won't become a rallying war-cry because everyone realizes that it's a troll mod.

-1 votes     reply to comment
boredgamer Mar 19 2011, 7:00pm says:

I wish people would just forget that this (incomplete) mod exists. It just doesn't deserve any sort of attention at all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 7:27pm says:

I personally am not a censor. But I'm not going to say what you guys did is bad. I really appreciate that you guys rarely interfere. But you are hosting this site and if you choose not to host certain media's that's your business. Although I disagree with the reasoning. You shouldn't have to ban certain things because uninformed idiots will associate it with you. Don't cave because of their misconceptions, I would probably allow the mod to stay just to **** them off.

+2 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 7:46pm replied:

ModDB got dragged into this against their own free will. You should ask yourself if a mod that uses ripped assets from HL2 should be the mod ModDB falls on the sword for? Would you really want ModDB to throw away YEARS of work on this piece of **** non quality mod?

This was a non quality troll mod through and through. It has no business being compared with what real artists trying to push gaming into a full art form.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 8:32pm replied:


-2 votes     reply to comment
Pelk Mar 19 2011, 7:47pm says:

So now killing anyone that is not a nazi, terrorist, or any other enemy to a larger power is wrong.
Goodbye social intelligence, and bill of rights.

+4 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 7:53pm replied:

Awesome Snowball argument.

-1 votes     reply to comment
_Erebus_ Mar 19 2011, 8:02pm says:

Probably the only modding trolls who will ever get press coverage.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MajorBanter Mar 19 2011, 8:05pm says:

The negative impact on ModDB would be far too great to allow the modification to continue updates on the site.

I understand the damage control, and frankly free speech and rights can go **** themselves when it comes to cold, hard business. Checkerboard are free to set up their own external site, but ModDB specifically states it reserves the right to remove offensive content.

ModDB is a company, not just a random site thrown up by a bunch of people, and it has a code of conduct. If something has violated it in massive, massive excess then it should be removed.

As for the mod itself, I have no opinion on it. ModDB's actions are justified, logical and frankly hypocrites throwing out the "knee jerk reaction" statements are making one themselves. You don't own the site. It's not your call. That's an end of story.

+3 votes     reply to comment
version15 Mar 19 2011, 9:42pm replied:

Good, an intelligent point. Thank you.

0 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya Mar 19 2011, 8:09pm says:

It's pretty much down to what the majority feels, just like with child porn or anything else, the majority has to try and decide what should be censured to protect the public, namely children.

I don't think the team behind the School Shooter mod should have their freedoms to create the mod removed by Valve as Jack Thompson is demanding, but it should certainly be tucked further out of the reach of young children and those who don't want to be exposed to such content.

The only boundaries this mod was pushing is the creators talents and creativity to it's very underwhelming limits.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 8:20pm replied:

They haven't had their freedom to create their mod stripped, don't you get it? It just won't be hosted on ModDB; they are free to create and promote they hell out of it, but on their own time and on their own dollar. They aren't getting a free ride from ModDB to do it.

There's no censorship; no oppression going on here. They are free to do as they wish, just not using ModDB's resources.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya Mar 19 2011, 9:11pm replied:

Yeah I know, you missed the point I was trying to make. I'm saying that while moddb is fully justified in removing the mod from their site I don't think the team should have their right to make the mod stripped away from them (as Jack Thompson is demanding from Gabe Newell), no matter how trashy others consider it to be.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MagnumPI Mar 19 2011, 8:09pm says:

Hey guys
This isn't America, it's ModDB.

+9 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 8:40pm says:

Uhh...there was never any freedom of speech to damage in the first place. You can sit and spin on your finger all you want becoming some gagged pig about something that has never and will never exist on a private website.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Pheist Mar 19 2011, 8:53pm says:

Why I disagree:

1) After columbine, they blamed Doom and the Matrix
a) I owned both and have never had an urge to massacre anyone

2) They said the same about Rockstar games
a) Manhunt Series
b) Grand Theft Auto Series

3) You could have gone about this through several other actions
a) Put up a disclaimer flash page
b) If you feel responsible, put up rules for the mod community that details acceptable content.

4) I doubt that this mod would honestly pull in more press than any of the Postal games

Why I agree:

While I believe in the freedom of speech, I also believe in the responsibility of speech. It is because people hide behind the freedom and not the responsibility within society that we have groups like Westboro Baptist who are allowed to trample on the freedoms of others.

So, I will leave with a question:

How do we allow freedoms to be expressed without trampling on the freedoms of others or possibly inciting actions of groups that lack the mental capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro Mar 19 2011, 9:05pm replied:

ModDB didn't pull Checkboard's own website; their ability to speak isn't being affected. They can continune working on their mod as their heart desires; they can even promote their mod as their heart desires.

You mention Westboro BC, but this is unlike that situation. They are on publically-owned land when they speak, and that speech is protected by the Constitution. They are free to speak as the wish on their website because they own the website and are not committing any illegal acts. Westboro, however, would NOT have the right to come onto my website and drag me into a messy public affair.

If you want to talk about a lack of freedom, look at their own forums. They screen each member to see if they will allow them to post. They will ban you for whatever reason they feel like (as long as it is the "majority" of admins), and if you are banned, your IP will be posted; allowing people to DDoS you or worse.

+2 votes     reply to comment
version15 Mar 19 2011, 9:37pm says:

I bet the creators of this "mod" are laughing their ***** off at the amount of attention this is getting. No matter their opinion now, they obviously made this in order to attract attention they never had before. At least before, I'm sure they never planned to release anything.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Phenixtri Mar 19 2011, 9:59pm says:

@ Pelk

Its been like that in various forms for about 108-109 years now ... were the hell have you been? But I do agree most of them are mindless ***** regurgitating corprate sponsored media bull ****.

******* moddb's reply button is glitching again >>

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 10:14pm buried:


YEA! **** ModDB for encouraging corporate sponsored ********! Let's replace it with troll-sponsored taboo ********!

Because NOTHING goes against mindless ******** like a shooting gallery full of HL2 ripp-off assets! OH YEA!!!!!!!!!!

AND if you're not down with that, I got two words for you


-6 votes     reply to comment
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 11:13pm replied:

Are you retarded? Who are you even trying to mock?

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 11:15pm replied:

I prefer mentally-handicapped American.

-3 votes     reply to comment
Mik0112 Mar 19 2011, 10:00pm says:

I don't know, man.

Not like I personally have anything against the mod, even if a lot of people (non-gamers mainly) would find it offensive.

On one hand you guys kind of played it VERY safe by simply removing the title, instead of simply maintaining neutrality as a distribution platform.

It's a judgement-call and I don't think you can be blamed for wanting to avoid trouble.

+1 vote     reply to comment
flopsies Mar 19 2011, 11:08pm says:

They shouldnt make a mod like this, but they do have freedom of bla bla bla, and most of the hate mail is from people who are like Flanders in the Simpsons

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop Mar 19 2011, 11:11pm replied:

They do have the freedom to...just not on ModDB. The project not being hosted on ModDB in no way, shape, or form, prevents them the freedom to work on their mod and distribute their mod on their own dollar.

+1 vote     reply to comment
thatguyphilip Mar 20 2011, 1:16am says:

Don't you dare pretend you're doing this for us, you're not doing this for us, you're doing it for yourselves because you guys can't handle some of the bad publicity that comes with being one of the largest modding networks on the internet. But hey, as long as you guys are comfortable somewhere off in hawaii sipping your little umbrella drinks, all is fine. You've destroyed a lot of people's faith today. And you've tarnished yourselves, this wasn't just a simple deletion you made from your website, it was a public stunt that's rattled the faith many modders and fans.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro Mar 20 2011, 1:27am replied:

Don't pretend that you're speaking for everyone here either. You're not. As the comments have shown; the community is just as "on the fence" as they were. There isn't a majority either way; it's divided just as it should be.

+2 votes     reply to comment
thatguyphilip Mar 20 2011, 1:41pm replied:

oh yeah, then that would explain the course of action that has been taken. It's not on the fence about anything, it already made a decision.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro Mar 20 2011, 3:21pm replied:

You're not understanding their point. They did make a decision for ModDB, as they are they leaders of ModDB. You aren't a part of ModDB as a company or even a website; you're a fan who has been allowed to use this website. That's all you are; that's all any of us are. No one is stopping from not being a fan anymore; you are FREE to click that X in the corner and choose to not participate in this "selfish" community anymore.

I have yet to see anything actually happen. Where is all of this distrust manifested? Why aren't Where are any actions? No one has DONE anything in response to this. Talk is cheap, Phil. Do something about it; if your assumption is correct, then people will join you. So far, no one has done anything about it, and I suspect nothing will be done about it. Because everyone is content to be a backseat driver, but no one wants to drive themselves. Step up.

+1 vote     reply to comment
D3@DM4N Mar 22 2011, 8:44am replied:

Hey phillip. You dont speak for anyone. I have seen sooo many gamers that do not like this mod, nor want to see it. Seriously this mod has really bugged me since it was posted last summer. I have spoken with the guys that run Moddb, i posted things i wanted changed on the mod (actually some of the things i begged to be changed were! utter victory for the folks against this mod.) I have posted things against this mod on my facebook, talked to just about everyone i can to do something about this mod.

It was all done in a totally non threatening fashion.

+1 vote     reply to comment
[NE]Fobby[GEN] Mar 20 2011, 2:02am says:

I'm with ModDB. To quote the dev on the Columbine shootings: "The way the news victimized the victims and overplayed the evil of the shooters disgusted me more than the actual shootings themselves." - only a human freak would say something like that. These people can take their mod to a different site.

+2 votes     reply to comment
noyart Mar 20 2011, 2:09am says:

If you dont like how the admins are running this site you can always make your own mod website like moddb, no one is stopping you, but if you stilll want to be here then just live with it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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