In response to "Mapping Perfection" from the Escapist Forums: I first started getting my hands dirty with modding with Starcraft. The map maker for SC was so incredibly flexible and simple. It got to the point that some user-created maps didn't even feel like Starcraft anymore. Any SC veteran can identify with me, when I say that when the Dragonball Z map was created, it was hands-down better than any licensed DBZ game on the market at the time. I don't know when tower defense games got started, but when they came to Starcraft, they were better than any tower defense games before or since in my opinion. I guess my point is Starcraft was an excellent starting point for me, or indeed for many modders looking to make their own content.
Flash forward to The Elder Scrolls Oblivion game (I haven't played Morrowind yet, sorry), and then to Fallout 3. I remember the vanilla Oblivion game to be filled with quest-breaking bugs. There were user-created patches for the bugs and glitches coming out way before Bethesda got around to making official patches, and I daresay that the user-made fixes were better, and more thorough than the official fixes. Its the same with Fallout 3. I, myself have only made some minor texture mods to both of those games, partly because I don't have as much time as I used to, but the potential is still there. This is why I still enjoy Bethesda products even though they often release hellof buggy games, because they give the community a real chance to shine.
I was a little surprised that when the author said 'accessibility' it meant exposure rather than playability.
I don't have a PC and confining my gaming to consoles helps me actually get work done, so I haven't played much in the way of mods, except for LPB. And the thing about Little Big Planet is that so many levels I've played haven't been tested very well to ensure that the player can just get through the level.
Maybe this isn't an issue with PC mods? It would seem to me that the really successful modders made a level (or a shift) that was fun. Tested and tweaked so players have a good time, and doesn't just look cool.
I mean, sure; all those user created levels on LBP function but that doesn't mean they're playable. The good levels aren't necessarily familiar, they're the ones that are fun to play. The familiar ones-Bioshock, Resident Evil, Sonic themed ones look pretty but don't automatically add to your gaming experience. They work on a nostalgia front and once you remove that the substance frequently is thin, or frustrating because the level wasn't designed for fun, just to look cool.
Interesting article though.
In response to "The Game You've Always Wanted" from the Escapist Forums: Why mod? Why not? If you love a game and have some creativity, it's a fun way to spend your time, with the added kick that you get to see others playing your creation. I did levels and monsters (sprites were mostly edits of existing ones - I'm not a great pixel artist) and whatnot for Doom. My real talent was creating new monsters with DeHackEd (my suicide bomber mod got a depressing boost in hits right after 9/11). So much so that my two main roles in several Doom source mod projects were "Beta tester" and "Guy who makes the monster behavior codepointers do horrible things that Carmack and Romero never intended them to do".
Let me tell you, it's all worth it for that e-mail you get where someone you've never met describes playing your mod and how some part of it absolutely amazed/surprised/freaked him out. Doesn't have to be anything flashy, either. What got me that e-mail? Toadstools. Nothing big, typical objects, the only difference being that an invisible spawner quietly slinked about the area and "grew" more and more of them. Slowly, so you didn't notice unless you stood there and watched closely. But if you passed through an area repeatedly, there was always more of them. Deliberately destroy every last one of them? There'll still be a few next time around. Creeped the guy so much that he said he actually took to skirting AROUND the toadstool patches. This was from a seasoned Doom vet with hundreds of thousands of kills under his belt in everything from Doom 2 and Heretic to the major megawads and TCs (sorry, 'mods') like Eternal and STRAIN. Cyberdemons, Maulotaurs, Arch-Viles and Demon Lords all fell before him. And it was my toadstools that he gave a wide berth.
It's been years, and I still remember that e-mail.