Faced with the task of creating a complete case mod from scratch, the possibilities are endless. You are free to create literally anything you can dream up, within the limits of your budget and skillset. Assuming adequate amounts of both, this creative freedom is both liberating and daunting at the same time. Where do you start?
Over the years, we have seen the full spectrum of the community's imagination, from the chrome-plated craziness of Orac³ to a PC inside a remote-controlled Hummer. A popular route is to create a mod based around a theme inspired from popular culture. Scandanavian engraving superstars GoTaLL and Wolverine have produced popular cases inspired by the Hollywood blockbusters Alien Versus Predator and Star Wars.
The other alternative is to create a case themed around a particular game. One of the most recognisable game-themed case mods is Piloux's Blackmesa II Half-Life 2 case mod, commissioned by Valve to sit in their meeting room. Plus who can forget Crimson Sky's Doom 3 Mars City mod? Of course, not all game-themed mods have to take months and cost thousands - check out our own Dave Williams' Hidden & Dangerous 2 Ammo Boxes to pick up tips on how to create great effects on a budget.
Guild Wars Factions Mod
We first met Keirin Garner at the recent i27 LAN Party. We were attracted instantly to his eye-catching case, themed around the MMO Guild Wars Factions
The case was absolutely massive and featured some top quality airbrush art as well as a crazy watercooling setup. We knew immediately that we wanted to share this case with bit-tech readers so we booked a time to visit Keirin at his Southampton home to take a closer look.
bit-tech: What inspired you to get into modding, and create this case? Keirin: At i26, I saw Gunsmith's case with the window etch - Project KOS MOS. When I started off, I wanted the Guild Wars character etched on a window. I asked a company if they could do an etch said 'yes', then 'no', and then they never replied back.
Project KOS MOS by Gunsmith
I watched hours and hours of American Chopper, Custom Bike Build Off. Anything to do with cars or spray painting on the Discovery Channel, I watched it. Then the reruns. Then the +1 (one hour time delayed broadcasts) to keep picking up tips. I’ve always been kind of arty. I used to draw quite a lot - it was my best GCSE with an A - the rest of them weren't too good. I’ve never carried on drawing since I left school, but I was inspired to start again for this case.
bit-tech: So the idea was to be like the big Lian Li case, and have all the components on one side and the cooling on the other? Keirin: Yeah.
American Chopper - modding a bike ain't so different to modding a PC
Some of the best mods have originated from server cases. There usually big and very solidly-built, meaning you can chop them up and they still hold together nicely. A firm favourite of ours is the Yeong-Yang Cube Server Case, rapidly nicknamed the Borg Cube by the modding community, for obvious reasons. We were modding these five years ago, but they're still going strong. The most recent project we have seen to use one was Battlefield 2 by German modder Oliver König aka Butterkneter.
Yeong Yang Borg Cube (left) transformed by Butterkneter into a bomb-proof Battlefield 2 mod (right)
However, with a limited budget, Keirin took a different path for this Guild Wars Factions project...