Blog 425: Deus Ex in the Dark

Every time I replay Deus Ex, I want to mod it. There’s something so incredibly inspiring about it, especially when it’s played with the lights down and no distractions.

Of course I have attempted to mod it before; I’ve made levels, imported conversations, made a “Fake Dragon’s Tooth” that did very little damage… I know most of the ins and outs of getting generic things done. Or I can find out (again) from the glorious repository that is Steve Tack’s Deus Ex Lab, a link that is never out of my bookmarks.

One day, I will do something for Deus Ex. Until then, however, I can only dream…

Vague spoilers probably ensue, but don’t worry, I’m not giving up on Project Y4. This is just thinking aloud.

Hotel RDZ

I always loved the ‘Ton hotel for some reason, and it always annoyed me that the top floor is inaccessible (no staircase and a broken lift?). In fact, it always annoyed me that there were only two rooms in the hotel. I’ve always been a sucker for worlds in microcosm, and the ‘Ton hotel is ripe for expansion in my eyes.

I’ve always fantasisied about making a mod with you playing JC in the aftermath of blowing up Area 51 taking over the ‘Ton, living happily ever after with Sandra Renton or somesuch, but then the remnants of MJ12 come back to spoil his fun with a secret lab in the basement.

There could be lots of fun guests with side quests, too. Unfortunately, if you look at the level geometry, it’s actually physically impossible for most of those fake doors to go anywhere larger than a cupboard, so to make this a reality the ‘Ton would take extensive remodelling. Hell, it could do with being spruced up anyway.

“Dirty bed-linen, yes. You feel something. I must know what you are feeling.”

The Ghost of Helios Past?

Paris X

I think my favourite level of Deus Ex has to be Paris. You’ve got a huge plap of cityscape to wander around, with buildings to rob and bars to visit… Again, like the ‘Ton hotel, most of the buildings and empty blocks with fake doors and fake windows.

But what if they all had insides? What if there was a massive side-quest chain from Renault, who asked you to rob bigger and better places all the way across the arrondissement? There’s something about sneaking around and breaking into places that I seem to enjoy in games; I’d like to think it was the fact that I’m a completist whore who wants to see everything rather than some latent criminal tendancies. I usually end up shooting everyone too, because stealth isn’t my strong point.

Of course, making it bigger and longer like this would require some kind of MJ12 troop respawn, or else people phoning the police to refresh their numbers; the game would become rather easy once you’d incapacitated all the bad guys.

“The chef already has an assistant: me.”

— Raymond, Deus Ex

The One I Did Manage…

Yeah, I should mention this. You’ve probably been privy to me being completely daft before; some of you might have been shown The Island, a hilariously stupid and (probably for the best) unfinished Warcraft map filled with speech-synthesiser robot voice acting.

Deus Ex got similar treatment a long time ago, though without the voices.

After blowing up Area 51 (let’s face it, it’s probably the easiest ending to run with), JC Denton has retired to his luxury yacht (Koos Galleon from UT, badly ported) for a round-the-world cruise. Unfortunately, some MJ12 troops have snuck on board and are hiding in the cargo hold. Jaime Reyes has scammed his way on board, too, claiming to be there to operate the sick-bay, but really just desiring a free cruise.

Sam Carter was there too, but I can’t remember why… I think he had become a journalist. There was also a mad UNATCO troop who quoted Star Wars, causing JC Denton to look up to the sky in exasperation (it’s what happens if you make somebody talk to themselves in a convo). I think if you said the wrong thing to him he would turn hostile and attack you with his Fake Dragon’s Tooth (the black market is no place to buy weapons, kids).

My crowning achievement from this train-wreck was making the computer allow you to set off explosives in the hold, killing the MJ12 troops. Then a Black Helicopter came to carry you off… I even managed to make a giant ass-camera interpolation track for the level exit, which was a bit of a roller-coaster ride spinning and twisting everywhere.

Actually, I’m sure I still have this somewhere, I should probably go and try it out. Rose-tinted spectacles have probably made it sound so much more than the pile of loose gravel it really is.

“Careful. These UNATCO guys got all the tricks.”

— NSF Terrorist, Deus Ex

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