I spent quite a while thinking about what I was going to do for n3rdabl3 this Christmas, but I knew I wanted to do one thing – I wanted to make a game festive. But which one? Being a huge FPS and mod nerd my mind quickly sped to DOOM, but then my mind drifted over to the venerable halls of one Mat Dickie’s catalogue of games, particularly his Wrestling MPire series. All at once things just clicked – enjoyable in its own right, susceptible to glorious moments of emergent gameplay and, most importantly, really easily moddable. That’s it! Santa’s becoming a wrestler.
I started my journey of transforming Saint Nicholas by installing a fresh copy of Wrestling MPire 2008 and loading up GIMP, a free image editing tool. Wrestling MPire keeps the cards of its textures flat out on the table, being easily accessible from the game’s various folders – the game even allows you to add new Wrestler face, body, leg, etcetera textures as long as you follow the naming scheme. But first, I was going to do the unthinkable – edit the default stage textures to add just that little bit of Christmas Spirit. I quickly set upon one of the plain ring canvas textures and shoved it into GIMP.
A great blank slate to project that classic Christmassy feeling on. Let’s do this!
It might need a little something more. One second.
BEAUTIFUL DONE MOVING ON.
Having saved our new canvas, it was time to make some matching aprons for the side of the ring. I ventured over to the appropriate folder, chose an apron and set to work.
After changing the apron’s colour to a marvellous festive red I was at a crossroads – do I make the apron look like a Christmas present or brave the terrors of a Google Image search for “reuse with modification” Christmas images?
In the end I did both.
(Credit to www.pixabay.com and www.freestockphotos.biz for the images!)
With the ring designed, it was time to set my sights on Santa’s outfit. I headed into the Bodies folder and copied one of the default red vests for editing. This time I popped the image into Krita, a kind of open-source Photoshop, so the necessary flair could be added.
And some legs to match…
Perfect! Now we’ve got those together, let’s get into the game and get our Santa made. The newest version of Wrestling MPire has its editor unlocked by default, so with that in mind I headed in and chose a wrestler to become this new hard-fightin’ reboot of Santa.
Sorry Mitch Grimsby, there’s a new hotness in town.
Adjusting probably the most necessary appearance feature, I increased Santa’s weight to near-maximum for that particularly jolly presence and gave him a powerful stance to maximise Christmas cheer potential before starting on the outfit.
In addition to the clothes textures there’s a number of different hairs and variations, some of which add extra meshes to existing hairs to produce a different style. In this instance, I went with a Quiff with Length, for that aged, yet badass look. What will Santa’s opponent be faced with?
After randomising his moves – I mean, Santa’s a man of the world, surely he’d know a few attacks and grapples from every fighting style, right? – I set his attributes to the most appropriate values, all 99% except for Agility because let’s be honest, he’s not in his sleigh right now.
Now we’ve got our Santa made, it’s time to put him to the test. I’m just getting word that a KO match has been set up – whoever taps out first loses!
The stage is set, the time is right, and here comes Santa Claus playing to the crowd as always. Now, I wasn’t made aware of who his opponent will be, so I guess we’re about to find out-
Sweet Christmas Pudding! It’s… no, it can’t be…
It’s Krampus! Santa’s evil other half, the Christmas Devil himself! Oh God, he’s even brought a brick! That’s probably getting put in someone’s stocking in place of an iPad!
Looks like the trash talk has already begun – but who will come out on top? Who will be the ruler of Christmas 2015? Let’s find out!
The match begins with a stalemate, with both blokes trading blows – Krampus gets a few good hits on Santa before knocking him down.
He grabs his legs…
But Santa makes a miraculous recovery, kicking Krampus away and getting him into a grapple. He lifts him into a suplex before…
OOOH, right onto the thumbtacks!
Needless to say, the Christmas Devil was furious, unleashing a relentless assault on Saint Nick and getting him in a revenge grapple.
Somehow lifting all 400 plus pounds of Christmas cheer Krampus slams Santa onto the canvas, shaking the whole arena and just about failing to give Santa a horrific encounter with those conveniently placed glass panels.
The match becomes a war of attrition, with each trying to inflict the most increasingly painful attacks on the other as Santa quickly beats his opponent to the ground and…
No. Surely not.
OH GOD HE IS AGH
Boom! Santa just about misses his mark, landing in an unfortunately intimate area but probably saving Krampus’ skeleton from being reduced to powder.
The combatants start throwing stuff at each other, taking full advantage of the match’s hardcore rules, with Santa managing to throw a ring bell right into Krampus’ face as the Christmas Devil whacks him with a pool cue.
Enraged by the pool cue assault and probably thinking of all the Christmases that’ll be ruined if Krampus gets his way, Santa unleashes a final attack, dragging his opponent along over to… Wait, is he-
Probably making some incredible Christmas related one liner, Santa throws Krampus over his shoulder and straight into the glass panels.
A huge, booming crash resonates throughout the arena, the crowd goes wild, and the final bell rings as Krampus taps out – Santa wins! Christmas is saved!
In celebration Santa climbs onto a table and yells to the crowd that they’re all getting extra presents this year, adding an oddly festive note to the horrifying sports violence that’s just occurred.
So there we go ladies and gents. I think if we can take anything from this it’s that when Santa’s riding through the sky delivering presents, just remember that he’s a dab hand at the odd bodyslam too.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at n3rdabl3!