The Saints Row Community is built around a few main pillars, one of them being communication. Without being able to effectively converse with other individuals, many ideas and friendships may have never had the chance to spawn. Many users skip out on registering for just a brief lurking, but when everything clicks into place and communication flourishes, you run across individuals such as IdolNinja, who is our newest Fan Spotlight.
Since the first day he began to post in the PC Modding section
of our forums, I've watched teamwork and co-operation expand, with members coming out of the woodwork just to converse on new projects and ideas. Not only have I personally been amazed at some of the mods that have become a part of his Gentlemen of the Row pack
-- generated by multiple members of the community -- but I've also enjoyed watching the process as it unfolds, especially when a new discovery has been made and a flourish of activity begins anew.
I wanted to learn a little more about IdolNinja, his PC modification package, and the rest of the modders within our community as a whole, so IdolNinja took some time to answer a few questions. Be sure to watch the video below, as it showcases just a sample of the amazing mods the SR2 PC Modding Community has created so far.
1. First up, what first brought you to Saints Row 2 and made you join the community?
I first became interested in Saints Row 2 back in April '09 when Zero Punctuation released a video review of the game
. Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn't really care for violent games. I actually found them kind of distasteful, but there was enough zaniness in the review to spark my interest and cause me to seek more info. I think it was probably the ninja gangs and Septic Avenger clips in the official trailer that finally convinced me to give the game a try.
Fast forward a few months and 100+ hours of gameplay later, and I still wanted more. In fact, the whole reason I created the Gentlemen of the Row Steam group
and the Penny Arcade SR2 thread
was to find more good people to play with. We all started playing a ton of coop together and posted lots of crazy SR2 screenshots on the forum. On a whim, I emailed Volition about the thread as kind of a "love letter" to the game from all of us, and V-Singular responded and invited me to check out their official community
... and here I am today.
Oh, and I also got over my dislike of violent games and joined the ranks of sociopath gamers! Thanks SR2! (I'll bet Jack Thompson would have a field day over this one.)2. You're well known for the "Gentlemen of The Row" mod, but what was your first mod on SR2 PC?
The first mod I released was Curly's Electric Orbital Riot Pimp Launcher (now known simply as "The Orbital Launcher"). Innocent Sam had originally discovered the Riot Gun as an unused weapon in the code labeled as a "bean bag gun." It had quite a bit more ragdoll force than a normal shotgun, but did much less damage.
A compilation of mods included with Gentlemen of the Row v1.7
At the time, one of my coop buddies, curly haired boy, was also talking about how he wanted to have an ultimate weapon capable of launching pimps to the moon. The two ideas clicked in my head and I went to work. Simply increasing the ragdoll force by a huge amount just didn't seem like enough so I also added the crackling electricity muzzle flash and the WHOOMP sound effect. The rapid fire also helped to set it apart from the other weapons in the game.The full interview can be found by clicking here...3. What mod are you most proud of?
It's hard to single out any one mod, but I think my greatest achievement is how I was able to bring all the separate mods together into something stable and standardized that any player can enjoy without having to dig into the technical details. An incredible amount of thought and effort goes into each release on how to best implement new mods and changes so they won't create problems with other parts of the game. Luckily I have a great group of beta testers who enjoy breaking things so I can get to fixing them.
4. How important has the Saints Row community been towards your overall progress and thought process when it comes to making new mods? Have you been working mostly on your own or within a team?
The community has been the core and lifeblood of this mod, and I can honestly say that it would not exist without everyone's contributions. Firespite's improved nighttime and weather is one of the most visually stunning additions to the game. RedRage has made breakthrough after breakthrough with his Ronin Jackets, dual katanas, silenced pistol, and portable septic gun to name a few. He's recently reached the point where he's editing the actual meshes, which you'll be able to see in the latest v1.7 with his slim desert eagles and gold shell casings. Innocent Sam is currently experimenting with world chunks, cutscenes, and meshes. His custom walks and taunts mod and pirate hook mod are also fan favorites. Luke gave us the amazing Zombie Uprising in the Mall, letting us finally live out our Dawn of the Dead fantasies, and Brand Newb's first mod added patrolling bike cops to the game, and was an amazing first effort that floored both players and the rest of us modders.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the "Cumulative Unlock/Restore" mod and the "We Have It" mod by encogen, animatronick, EchoZeero, Excarnate, gibbed, and Hilanthis. These two mods were the core of the first Gentlemen of the Row release, adding tons of new clothing and vehicles for sale. There is also fantastic stuff by Shambler Saint, Slay3r, and Vivell included as well.
In regards to teamwork, we generally all support each other behind the scenes with ideas, technical support, and testing. I'm in contact with Innocent Sam and Firespite on an almost daily basis, and we all lend each other a hand, even just as an idea sounding board sometimes. For example, my new music CD remix mod in v1.7 changes all the hidden CD locations and makes them unlock special secret outfits, adding a dose of variety. Firespite helped me out and joined the hunt for good locations to hide CDs. (NOTE: Firespite's CDs are the terrible sneaky ones! You should have heard the evil laughter!). I helped Sam get world coordinates for new Fight Club mod, and RedRage helped with the outfits for my new unlockable outfit mod. My point is that all of our work often bleeds together. We also always share any new info on the forums
to help each other and new modders out. It's the greatest and most supportive community I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
I would also like to mention that many of the best ideas for mods come from the fans. At least half of the mods you see were based on suggestions (or complaints about the game as it was). I'd like to ask people to keep those ideas coming so we can do our best to implement them!5. Can you share any tidbits on what you're currently working on or have planned for the next addition?
The new Gentlemen of the Row v1.7 is releasing to coincide with this interview, so everyone will get to see all the new stuff if they download it today. The biggest addition is a complete integration of all the new weapons, outfits, and vehicles as unlocks for story progression. Formerly, things were strewn around the game in various stores and other places, but now, just by working your way through the game's story and side missions as you did before, you'll start to unlock all new items we've put in. This really turns the mod into a cohesive whole rather than just a big collection of extra stuff. Some of the other exciting things in v1.7 that I haven't mentioned yet are the 80s era main menu music, the new car garages and crib utilities at the airport and dock cribs where there formerly were none, and the improved Escort activity which removes the aggravating penalties for shooting and blowing up the news vans!
I don't want to say too much about future mods in case they don't pan out, but a couple things that are really close to completion are a completely new Hitman activity with all new targets by myself and Innocent Sam, and a fight club inside Technically Legal against pimps that Sam is also working on. The future may also hold purchasable ambient music, access to your garage during missions, customizable helicopters and planes, adding a door and purchasable crib at Gat's house, and allowing you to fire guns from the side shooter helicopter and other vehicles like the Gyro Daddy. We're also looking at extending the capabilities of SR2 Powertools, so there may be the ability to create custom missions in the future. One thing I think would be really interesting is to work with the fanfic authors in the Stilwater Stories forum
and perhaps turn some of them into actual playable missions. 6. Anything else you would like to say? Shout-outs or thank yous?
I'd like to thank Volition for releasing the best sandbox game I've ever had the privilege to play. You guys understand fun and what gamers really want. I'm also grateful for having a modding forum and a chance to work with other modders on the game. Some other companies that shall remain nameless make heavy handed attempts to shut down modding of their games while Volition has always remained supportive of our work and even feature it on their website for all to see, like this interview.
I'd also like to thank Rafael Rivera for his work with me on the SR2 Powertools
modding toolset, and donhonk for the masterful job he did with Gentlemen of the Row mod trailer.
And lastly, a shoutout to my buddies at Penny-Arcade.com
in the Gentlemen of the Row Steam group
whom the mod was named after. You guys live up to the name and are true Gentlemen, each and every one.
You can also check out my blog for updated SR2 modding news: idolninja.com
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