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Tales from a Modder’s Garage
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by Craig "Tech-Daddy" Tate on October 15, 2008 in Staff Editorials

Over the course of the past few years, PC modding has exploded into a hobby enjoyed by many, and for good reason. I’ve been building mods for a while now, and if I can say one thing, it’s that it can be one of the most rewarding hobbies you can have. Read on as I tell you why I enjoy it so much, and what it takes to become a modder yourself.

Inspiration & The Journey

I have a theory, and that is that people who “enjoy the journey” will be more apt to do this  hobby continually. It is the “journey” of the build that is exciting to people like this – the planning and execution of the mods that brings enjoyment. Watching a build unfold in front of you, design decisions that come to fruition, learning to build something you’ve never built before, working with new materials or new tools, scratch built fabrication of unique items… that drives the “journey” person. That is appealing to them.

The other answer, in my opinion, leans a person toward the end product. They have their eyes on the end goal, and the path  to that goal is not the focus.

Neither is more right than the other, but I feel that the first type of response will garner a person that is more apt to take their time, and remain patient through the build process, as well as have a better chance of building again. “Destination” people may get put off by the “journey”, if the path is too difficult.

So, depending on how you answer the question, it will change how I respond to people that ask for advice. “Journey” types will be more open to a layered implementation, a longer process or a more complicated solution. The “destination” just wants a solution.

I will be frankly honest in that I fall squarely into both camps… depending upon how much sleep I’ve had! I’m a 90% journey guy… but there are times when my impatience gets the better of me and I want to “get there already!” (My brain is in the back seat yapping at me, “Are we there yet?”)

So, the “why” for me falls into the fact that I enjoy having a rig that no body else will have, and I enjoy the journey that modding gives me while I build it. The more complicated the build, the more experience I gain, and the more patient I can be on my next build, and the better it will look. I love that. I love looking over my history of rigs and seeing how I’ve progressed and grown. I love hearing people talk about how “this rig” inspired them to do something.

Guess what? Someone else’s rig inspired me to do something that I built! We feed off of each other in this kind of creative orgy of inspiration. It not a pr0n reference, so stay out of there! Everyone brings a different set of inspirations, different techniques… that we will continue to see fresh new mods and techniques so long as people are willing to ask themselves if they like the journey or the destination…

As a note, I would like to take this time to impress upon you another bit of wisdom. Don’t mod for popular opinion, mod for you. I’ve seen many new modders build a machine completely guided by the decisions of a forum. Sometimes those mods work out, but I’ve seen many train wrecks too. Usually the end result of the builder not having enough confidence in their abilities, or putting too much weight in the acceptance of others.

So, intrepid readers, future modders, etc… I’ll be writing articles for Techgage that will introduce you to some of the various techniques and inspirations that I have found while modding. Everyone will have opinions on implementation and execution, so take my instructions as a guide. Some people will do it differently, and that’s fine! My articles will be to offer up baseline knowledge that is sound that you can implement and build onto with your experiences.

I hope you’ll enjoy the future entries as much as I have in putting them together, and I look forward to all feedback!

Mod on! -=TD


Craig “Tech-Daddy” Tate has been building drool-worthy mods out of his garage for a number of years, and has been featured in numerous online and paper publications. He aims to put the “personal” back into personal computing, and is so far succeeding. You can read more about Craig and his mods on his website and peruse worklogs for all his mods in our modding forum.

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1. Introduction, Building for You
2. Inspiration & The Journey


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