Interviews

HL2 physics lesson

Creator of the hugely popular Garry's Mod for Half-Life 2 sits down for a chat

Garry Newman has created one of the most popular Half-Life 2 mods in the aptly named Garry's Mod. What does it do? Well, in the words of the man himself, "Anything! Create a comic strip, make a crazy contraption, set up a huge monster fight, build a fort online with your friends, the possibilities are endless".

PC Zone magazine recently caught up with Garry Newman to discuss his mod's birth, it's current status and what the future holds for the project.

What was your inspiration for creating the mod?

Garry Newman: Everyone was playing a mod called JBMod. It was pretty awesome as it enabled the blue physgun and let you stick things together. People were making contraptions and stuff, but there really wasn't an easy way to rope things together. So I set about trying it myself.

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Did you have any idea how popular it would become?

Garry Newman: Not at first. There were points though. One day I had been up all night programming (literally all night - it was 6am). I wanted a way to freeze objects to make welding easier, so I coded it in, tried it in-game and it worked! Then I tried it out on a ragdoll and was knocked out. Ragdoll posing! I got a warm glowing feeling in the back of my head as all the possibilities rushed past my eyes.

Do you have any idea how many downloads Garry's Mod has had?

Garry Newman: Quite a few spreading over all the different versions! In August Gmod v8.3 was downloaded 98,970 times just from my website.

Have Valve been in contact about the mod and if so, what did they say?

Garry Newman: Yeah, Valve contacted me early on to say how much they were playing it. They're always on hand when I get stuck with something in the SDK too.

Who comes up with the new feature ideas? Do you think them all up yourself or do some come from the community?

Garry Newman: Most of the features were born out of common sense I think. Like "Hey, ragdolls have faces - lets change their expression" or "Hey, that horse has a penis, lets make it so you can spawn it". That said, the community does pressure me a lot to add things.

What's your favourite picture that you've seen created with your mod and could we see it?

Garry Newman: There have been tons, but the one that springs to mind that consistently make me laugh is this one - www.garry.tv/img/sa/mymod/women_drivers.jpg. Mainly because of the filename.

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What's the most creative use of your mod that you've seen?

Garry Newman: People are doing crazy things with it everyday: insane mechanical devices; rollercoasters; huge dancing robots and long rambling comic book movies that have no point.

What plans do you have next?

Garry Newman: I'm pretty focused on Facewound (Garry's next project; a side-scrolling shoot 'em up. See www. facewound.com for details) right now, so I'm only working on Garry's Mod on the weekends, which is why it hasn't been updated at my usual pace. The next version will add LUA scripting, which will allow people to script their own weapons and game modes, therefore opening up tons of possibilities.

As an example, in the tests we're doing right now we have a game mode called Barrel Mania, where everyone is a barrel in a level full of barrels. While standing still, you can't tell other players from barrels and as you're only armed with a crowbar you have to be careful before attacking a barrel or it might blow up in your face! We have a ton of game modes in the works for the fi nal release: football; basketball; bowling; zombie games; overpowered gun games and a mode where you get banned from the server when you die. It's basically a great tool for experimental gameplay.

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