• Modding Legends: Interview with Gigantus

    "Modding consists of periods of utter despair and immense satisfaction - having gone through both countless times I am trying to reduce the occasions of despair by assisting and answering questions as well as publishing tutorials..."


    Interview by Flinn
    Hello there Gigantus! First of all, let me thank you for having accepted to give this interview to the Eagle Standard, much appreciated. Now, you have to allow me a bit of intro, which I think is due: since when I joined TWC 5 years ago and throughout all the time I spent here, the name of Gigantus (Gig for friends) has always been central to almost everything here at the site, at least for stuff related to modding and TWC Staff but certainly not just for that. I don't need to expand much on that, the amount of awards and badges you have say it all, you are probably the most known member of the site, and therefore let me ask you: what does TWC mean for you?

    TWC is a comprehensive source of information and material in general where mods are concerned and from that point of view will remain my preferred site where modding activities are concerned. It's the scope of the exchange of ideas that had me hooked all those years ago together with the support of other members in this field.
    In a more general aspect I would say that I enjoy the give and take that takes place within the modding community and I am happy being part of it.

    I see. Backing to the ES specific business, can you please give us an overview of your modding history here at TWC?

    I am blaming it on watch towers. It totally annoyed me that I couldn't place one on the small Balearic island in RTW to keep an eye on ship movements and so I dug through the forums and pestered modders on how to change it. After having a mild case of 'being a gift to modding' when I succeeded in my undertaking I also got hooked on the mapping side of modding the game. Shortly after that I switched over to M2TW - the mapping principles very much remained in place but other aspects changed\got added. At about that time I started to put my experiences into tutorials which was the beginning of my 'Creating a World' series which over time included scripting and miscellaneous items.
    Over the years I have participated in the development of a number of mods, some of which went to receive awards themselves:


    • Falcom Total War - Mapping
    • PRO DEO ET REGE - Mapping, Coding, Scripting
    • Regions & Provinces Mod - Coding, Scripting, Bug fixing
    • 1648 - Thirty Years of War - Mapping, Coding, Scripting
    • Africa: Total War - Mapping
    • Dragonlance: Total War-Takhisis Rising - Mapping
    • East of Rome - Mapping
    • Ferrum Aeternum - Mapping
    • The Last Kingdom - Mapping
    • Latinokratia: Rebuilding the Empire - Mapping
    • Paeninsula Italica - Beta Tester
    • Wrath of the Norsemen - Mapping
    • Ornamentum - Coding, Scripting
    • Invasio Barbarorum - Mapping
    • Claimants, Heirs, and Conquerors - Mapping
    • Shizoku no Sensō - Mapping
    • Rise of Three Kingdoms - Team Leader
    • The H.E.L.P. Project - Member
    • Europa Barbarorum II - Scripting, Testing

    At present I am more of an adviser to some mod projects rather then modding myself but will not rule out to get my hands dirty and dive deep into a new project again.

    What's the "creature" of yours you are most fond of? What did you like the most to work at?

    Without doubt my favorite creature is the ever expanding 'Creating a World' series - it stands now at over 50 articles and is still constantly growing. But I also have my pets: 1648 and Rise of three Kingdoms - that they got awards themselves was very satisfying.

    1648 Mod: intro screen

    Rise of the Three Kingdoms: faction intro screen

    My favorite work area is scripting, after all that is what makes M2TW stand out in the Total War series when it comes to the RPG element. The challenges are sometimes stupendous: because CA did not provide a condition that allowed counting of a faction's units I ended up writing a 230K line script for EBII to restrict recruiting

    An Opifex, eight (yes 8!) medals from the Modding Awards and a never ending history of modding.. how does it feel? How much is modding important for you?

    The bragging rights for those awards do give a warm feeling but ultimately modding gives me the means to change something to my liking - being apart from the crowd that just complains about the game and is unwilling (or unable) to do something about it.

    As it seems that your efforts are mostly focused on Medieval 2 I deem that the question is due: is Middle Age your preferred historical period or is there another reason?

    Considering that my own major projects were about the 30 Years War in Germany and the Succession in Ancient China it will be easily understood that it is the engine itself that is holding my fascination. It allows the creation of totally different themes and approaches, I mean, nothing could be more unlike each other than those two projects of mine. Of particular interest to me are the scripting possibilities which make it possible to even create a story line, thereby enhancing the RPG aspect of the game. Guiding Cao-Cao’s ascent to power in RotK, following the Hobbit’s travails in TATW are some examples of that.

    What's your opinion about the latest TW titles? Specifically, I'm referring to the Historical ones such as Rome 2 and Attila.

    Due to hardware capabilities the later versions are able to add a lot of eye candy that I would love to have in M2TW, however from an immersive aspect I have to say that I am utterly spoiled by M2TW mods and find the lack of scripting disappointing. Not being able to create a new map also adds to the low replay value for me. I am however impressed by the battle units and can understand why custom battles and multi-player are popular.

    What about Warhammer then? How do you feel like TW moving into Fantasy? So far, this was the realm of mods, at least for what concerns older titles.

    Considering that all releases except ETW and NTW had their #2 version it was probably high time, especially in view that Call of Warhammer and Third Age are top ranking mod’s here on TWC, the Warhammer franchise is very popular to start with.

    There are many rumors about the new TW historical titles, what's your idea about? What do you hope for?

    Something different would be nice after all the ‘reruns’: India at the start of the Mogul invasion could be interesting, China during the Three Kingdoms period, in short ‘theaters’ that haven’t been used yet.

    Do you have any new project in mind? Anything involving those new titles?

    I have the mothballed beginning of an ‘Indian’ project (no surprise I guess) which I would like to revive, but it would be for M2TW, the new versions simply don’t hold attraction for me as a modder due to the limited scope. Wouldn’t be able to create an India based map in the first place, certainly not like this (click the pic for the basic map download from my collection):

    Seeing how much time you spend in the Workshop, how do you feel about helping other fellow modders out?

    Modding consists of periods of utter despair and immense satisfaction - having gone through both countless times I am trying to reduce the occasions of despair by assisting and answering questions as well as publishing tutorials. Tokens of appreciation and signs of stuff of mine being used ('no idea what happened' is my signature default error message in M2TW) is satisfaction enough to keep me continuing doing this.

    I see, do you have any word of advice for new modders then? And for the old ones? I mean, those who might have lost the enthusiasm?

    here are the golden rules of modding which keep temper tantrums at bay:

    make small changes
    back it up
    rinse and repeat

    Other then that setting of feasible goals at the outset will see a mod to completion, trying to create a mod with a complexity like TATW is admirable but ultimately doomed if expertise\knowledge is not available.
    Keeping up enthusiasm over the years is not easy, real life commitments are the prime reason for 'older' modders to withdraw from the scene. For those that still have the time it is often a question of repetition which dampens the enthusiasm. In these cases I can only urge to share their knowledge in the workshops - my long list of mods I participated in is primarily based on coming across a particular problem in the workshop and joining a team to help them out in that aspect and then staying on.

    What do you hope for the future of modding, or at the least for your future in modding?

    I would like to see a middle path between the 'easy use' of the Steam workshop, which in my eyes lacks the structure to provide sufficient support and makes no distinction between a mod that changes the color of the left sock of a unit and a total conversion, and the extensive support here at TWC which lacks exposure in comparison.
    For myself? I am finding myself in the situation I described above where I am not a major part in my own mod or other's but rather a bug hunter or agony aunt. One of these occasions resulted in the largest functional script I ever wrote (220K lines with only 30 monitors), so even this rather restricted involvement does have it's rewarding moments. Apart from that I intend to keep up my involvement in the workshop and may yet find more material worthy of another tutorial.

    Among the many things you do here at TWC as a Modder and Hexer, you are known to be the "Modders Representative"; what do you do precisely in this role? What kind of service or support modders can expect from you in this position?

    TWC provides 'large' mods with their own, dedicated (hosted) forum. I am in charge of all aspects of it which starts with reviewing applications for it and providing assistance\guidance if the current state of the mod does not qualify it (yet). Once an application passes the forum gets set up, which may include a private 'member's only' developers forum, depending on the stage of development of the mod. These fora are given a level of independence where supervision of moderation is concerned. This is done by way of appointing local moderators, usually the mod leader and additional members suggested by him if required. Assisting these LM's in the use of their moderator powers and making sure this use is within the guide lines of the Term of Services is an aspect of my involvement as well as review of request for additional sub fora. Other involvement includes initial promotion by way of notice in the announcement thread at which point content takes over.
    The other aspect of my work is arbitrating in modding disputes. These are usually unresolved disputes regarding usage rights. Modders are all Prima Donnas when it comes to their work, me included, so I am providing a neutral, informed view in these matters. While not always accepted due to obvious reasons, my findings are seldom challenged so I think I am doing a reasonably well job.

    Last but not least; with such a long modding career, you surely interacted with many other modders, hence the question: is there anyone you wish to remember or to thank in particular?

    There are a wealth of modders which have left impressions on me, be it KingKong with his team leadership and calm manner or socrates1984 with his extensive work on esoteric topics, wild dog and makanyane with their stead fast support of the weird world of IWTE - there are simply too many to list. My thanks goes to the modders, now swallowed by the mist of time, that encouraged my initial foray into modding and those that still dedicate their time to do so with others. I appreciate the patience of modders like Paleologos when they try to explain stuff to me that I have no clue about (there goes the myth of omnipotence) or lengthy discussions with Withwnar about the finer points of scripting and hope that others are encouraged to follow suit in assisting new comers to the twilight zone of modding. It does get surreal at times where problem solving is concerned and a helping hand makes all the difference.

    Well Gig, thanks again for having accepted to give us this interview and for being the awesome modder and member that we all know. Everybody here is hoping to see more coming from you soon, luckly Med 2 isn't going to go anywhere, or I know nothing about business!
    Ad Mayora!

    I have been toying with India\Moguls as an idea for a mod but haven't gotten beyond a basic map so far. There does not seem the need to rush, M2TW looks like it is going to be around for a few years, so there is always a chance something might come out of it.

    Interview By: Flinn

    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar
      Commissar Caligula_ -
      All hail the mighty modder.
    1. Aneirin's Avatar
      Aneirin -
      I love these interviews! Keep them going!!
    1. ♔atthias♔'s Avatar
      ♔atthias♔ -
      good one+rep
      you must spread some rep around before repping flinn again
      [you need to stop making good articles flinn]
      can somebody else rep him for me?
    1. Lifthrasir's Avatar
      Lifthrasir -
      In Gig, we trust

      Good article as usual Flinn
    1. Beavertronius's Avatar
      Beavertronius -
      Super interesting - great to hear the perceptions on modding. Looking forward to seeing more interviews - thanks Flinn & co.!
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      we are at the service of our audience and of our members

      I personally love to interview great modders, more to come soon, be comforted! Pity though we are suffering from a lack of writers at the Eagle Standard, because there are many more great modders out there that deserve to be inteviewed!

      Anyone interested in helping, just contact me
    1. Swiss Halberdier's Avatar
      Swiss Halberdier -
      Indeed a great interview again and it's very informative to read. Big respect to the allmighty Gigantus for his tremendous work over all these years!
    1. Alwyn's Avatar
      Alwyn -
      Excellent advice and insights on modding, thank you Flinn and Gigantus!
    1. alreadyded's Avatar
      alreadyded -
      Never heard of him...
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      Quote Originally Posted by alreadyded View Post
      Never heard of him...
      then you must be deaf
    1. paladinbob123's Avatar
      paladinbob123 -
      a excellent interview from both interviewee and the interviewer . Liked the questions and the answers were both informative and nicely phrased . Good job, guys
    1. Gigantus's Avatar
      Gigantus -
      One is glad to be of service