Gaming vocabulary is a fickle thing. Terms commonplace a few years ago either evolve or disappear from the vernacular as new technologies arrive, spawning newer, trendier phrases. In the popular Garry's Mod (usually referred to as GMod), designers use the toolkit to create their own custom playable content, called "gamemodes." The programs created are generally referred to as "Sandbox," but a recent trend has popularized a new style called "Fretta."
Garry's Mod (GMod) is a physics toolbox that some users refer to as a game. It was created to allow users to develop their own content utilizing the "Source Engine" that was developed by Valve Corporation, and finally released in 2004. At that time, Gmod only supported Counterstrike game content, but subsequent versions of the software have brought support for most Valve content, including Half Life and Left4Dead. Users of Gmod's tool set often create games in a setting called a "Sandbox" environment. Games created in Gmod are called "gamemodes."
Sandbox games are unlike others because they have no preset objectives path and often contain few or no scripts for the various elements that populate it. Some users refer to them as open-world games because they take place in an environment that allows the action to take place at any place in the game world that the physical rules allow. Most of the programs designed with GMod are called sandbox gamemodes because they are games without scripted actions or objectives, unless the game designers specifically add them.
Literally, "fretta" is the Italian word for "hurry." In the context of Gmod, however, this term refers to gamemodes that users make relatively quickly in an extension of the normal Gmod framework called "Fretta." There are common game elements called "hooks" designed for the Fretta extension that allow users to create gamemodes with considerably less programming. A contest in 2009 challenged designers to make their own Fretta gamemodes, many of which now provide the basic frameworks called "skeletons" for quick-starting your own games.
Difference Between Sandbox and Fretta
In truth, the only significant difference between sandbox and Fretta gamemodes is in the basic framework that the creators used to make them. While both need the GMod toolkit, the Fretta gamemodes additionally require the Fretta extensions to work. Aside from that distinction, the only difference is the speed and ease with which the users can create their games. Though users can create gamemodes using the Fretta extensions that rely on a free-world format, such games are rarely referred to as "sandbox gamemodes."
- James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images