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Jumping Ship (Reforged related but still Off Topic)

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Level 5
Mar 2, 2014
Hello everyone. Despite the Title I of course am not here to tell you to abandon your passion of modding Warcraft 3. Really I think when it comes to that, anyone who mods Warcraft 3 should aquire the mindset "I'll do it and damn the consequences", mainly because there should not be consequences, but at worst nothing and at best praise for your efforts on all those admittedly beautiful map and asset creations.

The Title however is there mainly to already discard a possible assumed intention, as I'm here to talk a little about other Modding communities I'm aware of, mainly 2 where I was (very slightly) involved back in time, and just (slapdashily) present them. Sadly both those are not Strategy-games or RTS by any stretch of the imagination, but what they are is FREE as in FREE, not free to play, one that gives you a licence to publish any of your creations at your discression by purchasing the editor (with most providing free, but some going commercial), and one of which is open source. Many will have heard of the first, probably only a little of the second.

First, I hope I am allowed in off-topic to use links/mention Websites, if not, feel free to moderate it away or just inform me, I'll oblige.

Anyway, first a little bit about RpgMaker.net

For anyone (noone?) that hasn't heard, the RPGMaker community goes waaaaay back. Technically even farther then I'm about to mention, but I'm not here to be splitting hairs. The RPG-Maker 2000 back then released, to rather little attention, especially in the "western world" as it came from the Asian Market. Still, some very early modders of yore saw potential in it and went at it, with all the heartfelt passion and fun most around here associate to this productive passtime. Games like Vampires Dawn and "Unterwegs in Düsterburg" among some other classics emerged back then, quite impressively showcasing the different directions and the amount of polish one could get working on that rather simple Map-Creator. Over the last 2 Decades, what followed, was a few web-pages dedicated to forming a community and provide access to upload and download RPG-Maker games. Over that Timespan RPGMaker 2003, XP, MV, Ace, and to this day a few others (On RPG-Maker Version releases I'm not up to date, will need to get the info elsewere) got released and while over time many of the webpages for RPG-Maker content disappeared, however, RPGAtelier (German site, convinced it lost it's right to provide a download server somewhere around 2010, they provide info, screenshots etc on current projects and award them. I'm not sure if they're still around) and RPGmaker dot Net, which are probably positively responsible for making other sites obsolete, took over pretty much the majority of all RPG-Maker games created.

When it comes to the games themselves, some incredible things have been achieved and made possible by quite a few individuals who were able to completely retool the RPGMaker editor to suit their needs. While the "simple" RPG-Maker game, with simple old-skool Non-Active-Time Battlesystems and the usual RPG-Maker esthetic is still plentily being created, others went and formed anything from 8-bit-alikes, Action-RPG, a true-to-form Mario-RPG (Yes, it looks and plays like Super Mario RPG, it's called the seven sages), horror cames, some attempts at tactics games, Visual-novel and Storycentric as well as complete Visual Ice-Cream, even rather meme-y plots with deep game mechanics, postapocalyptic RPG stuff, Space-RPG Stuff, Dungeon-Crawl stuff, and more things than I could conceivably list of.

So, if you'd for some reason would be unaware of this community, or never took a closer look, I encourage you to meet this diverse a people all of which found themselves working on RPG-Maker.
They are quite the creative bunch, they help each other out, they blatently plagiarize each other, sometimes full on satirizing another games playstyle, or taking the combat-mechanics thought of and developed by someone for their game (of course they usually credit their stuff, too ;) ) to put it into theirs. RPGMaker.net sports Developement contests, Art Contests, Ingame-Music contests, Writing contests, so one could certainly find and avenue to purse if one is so inclined.

While in the very beginning there was missing clarity and >actual< misinformation by some trolls on what exactly the "stance" of RPGMaker creators is on stuff, ultimatively it ended up to be pretty much:
Even with a "pirated Version" of RPG-Maker you can do, create and work on as much as you want to as long as when you release a finished work, if you release it, you do it for free. Yes I know, that's nuts, but that's just how it goes. Obviously nobody officially admitted that, but I also didn't hear of cases, except waaaay back in the confusion state of RPGmaker2000 to RPGmaker2003 anyone getting into problems using RPG-Maker from a free source to create a Free game.
And if you Purchase the one of the RPGMakers you also purchase a perpetual licence (btw, the reality of what the map-editor should be, *wink wink*) to do with it as you please and sell your game. I believe there was or is a "cheaper" version provided "without licence", but I'm convinced it is a product of an opportunistic Idea back in the Confusion Phase. (If any of that changed somehow, I'm sorry to not be able to inform you, but it is the way it should be)

Either way, be aware that only rarely and far in between the RPG-Maker community needed to face even hints of this recent blizzard madness and always came out on top.

The other one I want to talk about, assuming many people are sadly still not aware, or don't care, I don't know, is a little Open-Source completely-Free Tactics Game (released since, like, over 10 years. Not alpha, not beta. Released.) with massive modding support. Here however one would need to accept the gridbased movement style and work within it, which is Hex-based Tiles.

Those amazing people took the very core of tactics games that you'd know, left the "nice and beatiful and fun" about the gameplay style of games like, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics (which are probably not fair comparisons, given it's hex-tile based nature, but whatevs) behind and just took the ugly unloved RNG element and made a game out of it. A hard game (I talk about the 15 Campaigns-strong main-line (Developement released) campaign. The Difficulty of the (large amount of) custom Campaigns vary, in playstyle and approach, for obviously people also came up with alternative modes). Mainly because the Highest % to hit you will ever see is 70% (80% if an enemy would stand in shallow water, but that's it). This makes this one a luck-management Tactics-Strategy game, that you'd need to play to fully understand what that would look like. It's very difficult to summarize in words.

However, I don't want to go into detailed discussions about this games mechanics, I could fill 5 times more with that alone than I have written up to this point, but suffice to say, it is kinda nieche in the already nieche Tactics game genre, but it is incredibly well made, it received endless polish, updates with simultanious stable and unstable releases, lots of testing, extreme bugfixing as well as documenting and quite a bit of (in my opinion) interesting lore filling page after page of the ingame Enzeklopedia and quite an appealing, easy to understand (but VERY difficult to master) game with endearing visuals, despite most of the game being layers of gif.based images.

The coding for this game is Lua-based. I have no earthly clue what that means, but I picked up on it being beneficial for the developement process.

The game is called Battle for Wesnoth. As mentioned it is Open-Source, completely and utterly free (help with some donations, will ya :'( ) and there as well we have a dedicated modding community. The reason I think this may be more appealing is that because of the very distinct gameplay stlye of wesnoth, it is more similar to Warcraft 3 modding than RPGmaker, as one would start from wesnoth and develope modifications from there, changing mechanics, arts, using community provided assets, which are directly uploaded to the ingame-accessible server, as well as musics and of course custom campaigns of differing playstyle, with new introduced mechanics as well as Multiplayer maps and so called "era's" which is, as far as I can tell, related to which assets those map uses and how those custom assets operate. The multiplayer is not going all that strong, but there's certainly people playing it, and maybe there will be more in the future. At least I hope so.

I'm not here to encourage you to do what the title suggests, but what I wanted to make sure of, that if any of these strike your fancy you know where to take a look. You should definetly take a look, and maybe not necessarily abandon your decades-old passion for Warcraft, yet maybe commune with and/or contribute to these Modding communities as well. They deserve it.

Another one that was mentioned on these forums was 0 AD. At the very least it is an RTS and yes people kinda mod for it, but the game itself didn't get to release yet, despite as well being accessible for quite some time. So alot of the modding consists of trying to make the game happen in the first place. They are looking for anybody willing to contribute, so checking them out is also definetly not a bad call.
But when it comes to modding 0AD 'instead' of Warcraft you'd then probably be better off modding Age of Empires 2, as 0AD attempts to recreate parts of that classic, which also to this day sports an alive and well community, and modding is definetly being done, both for single-player and multi-player. The difference here would be that 0AD would be moddable like RPG-Maker, it provides you the tools and sources you need, while Age of Empires modding, not really comparable to Wesnoth which gives you tools as well and let's you modify the source, requires a bit of "breaking open" to make the "interesting stuff", but obviously it also has a map editor.
Maybe between these it would come down to you wanting to join the fun with the AoE2 community or to help and be co-responsible for making 0AD happen.

I hope I didn't rub anyone the wrong way and wish you a nice evening/morning good night/day, whenever you might be reading this.

Krolan, The jabber-box

Literally while writing this I realized that there is a probably well known game that is probably better suited to directly recommend to the Warcraft 3 modding community called Glest. There's also a thing called MegaGlest. I don't know anything about it, sadly, but worth checking for sure. At the same time a space-exploration game called "Endless Sky" caught my eye. Looking at it I assume it is also known well enough. Warzone 2100, also mentioned somewhere on these forums, seems to be a good place to go for the more futuristic style of RTS. I'm not aware of modding support for those things, but all of them seem to be open-source so it seems likely for them to support modding.
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