As with most games based on or using the Unreal Engine
, Deus Ex
allows users to modify existing game content and rules, and/or create new content through the use of a separate SDK
Software Developers Kit
The initial release of the Deus Ex SDK was September 22
, almost exactly three months after the release of the game. According to the initial announcing press release
, the SDK consists of the actual software tools used to create the game. While the SDK can be used to create content and gameplay on par with that of the game, it is not
capable of exporting the entirety of the existing game content into user-modifiable form. (Notably, it is impossible to decompile all of the game's conversation resource files using the SDK, or modify the original DLLs
. Programs like Reshack were required to modify DLLs, and it was not until June 2006
was released which could export all conversation resources)
Most of the components in the Deus Ex SDK are simply modified versions of corresponding tools found in the Unreal SDK, the exceptions being the Conversation Editor and the LightWave import tool.
Some photographs of the game development suggest that UnrealEd
2 was used by the designers as well as, or instead of, UnrealEd
1, which was included in the SDK. It is preferred for its improved stability and improved rendering ability.
The Hotel Carone mod was very demanding in terms of geometry and UnrealEd 1 was inadequate for the complex brushes. To meet the demands of the designs, UnrealEd 2 was specially hacked to allow a degree of compatibility with Deus Ex mapping. This hacked version is now publicly available
Though not nearly as popular or active as modding communities for its contemporaries -- games such as Half-Life
or Unreal Tournament
-- the Deus Ex
modding community nonetheless was and still is a sizeable and active group, and is notable for its unique development compared to other modding communities. Initially the number of mods and mutators developed for the game were small and/or of low quality, though the unstable nature of the SDK
-- particularly the modified version of UnrealEd
-- as well as the relative difficulty required to load mods and mutators may have been primarily to blame. It was after the release of an update patch for the SDK, as well as a "" developed by a separate modding group, that the proliferation of mods and mutators for Deus Ex
began to increase. The majority of these were mutators for the recently released multiplayer patch for the game, itself another factor in the increase in modding activity.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Deus Ex modding community is how the activity within it has increased as time has passed. Most of the popular singleplayer mods for Deus Ex were released roughly 18 months or more after the game's initial release, with an additional resurgence in modding activity in early 2004 following the release of Deus Ex: Invisible War and the subsequent mixed fan reaction to it. Also notable are the additional, "non-standard" modding efforts to "update" the game and make it comparable to current games, including an updated OpenGL driver for the game and even a project to convert the game to run as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. Also along these lines is one of the more well known and drastic mods: The High Definition Texture Pack, or simply Project HDTP. The mod's aim is to completely re-texture the entirety of the game's items, weaponry and characters, as well as introduce more detailed character and item models.
Despite the age of the Deus Ex modding community it is still both active and noteworthy among the PC gaming community. Both Project HDTP and the enhanced OpenGL renderer were featured in a July 2007 issue of Game Informer, along with gameplay mod Shifter.
Mods and Mod Resources
- DXEditing — A Deus Ex modification community website.
- Tack's Deus Ex Lab — A number of tutorials and other information about modding Deus Ex, collected and created by Steve Tack, creator of the Zodiac mod.
- Fileshack — Download link to Deus Ex SDK.