311: A Mod-el for Success

A Mod-el for Success

Working through the process of creating a mod - even a bad one - can be a crash course in game design.

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Valve are truly awesome to us modders they even put us on steam. This is IMO the huge flaw in consoles that they simply dont allow this sort of thing and they could the dev tools dont need a good PC.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/17550/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1

[/shameles plug]

If you want to get stuck in try MODB

As a mostly-exclusive console gamer now, I definitely miss the mods. I was never one to create one myself, but I definitely benefited from using them.

Todd Howard recently said that he'd like to bring the mods to consoles, from Skyrim. I hope this gets worked out.

Great read, though you should have probably mentioned the emergence of engines like Unity, UDK and and very soon CryEngine3, which let people create their games from the ground up and market them. I wouldn't be surprised if modding stops becoming the sole choice for breaking into the industry.

Great read. Modding is awesome, and everyone should have access to mods. They let you change the game to what you want. What you want to play. It gives the game life far beyond what the vanilla content can offer. Biggest example is Oblivion. No way in hell I'd still be playing if it wasn't for mods.

It's just a shame that less and less developers are releasing mod tools these days.

Wose are companies like Creative assembly, volition and bioware deliberately hindering modding.

The reason for this is because modding undermines lazy cash grabbing DLC like the empire total war "unit packs" that add six units or the mass effect 2 weapon packs that add five guns.
A mod team would do those for free in less time.

It never hurts genuinely good stuff, the kind of DLC that used to form expansion packs

Mods can exist on consoles, or at least on the Wii. You just have to go through some hoops to use them. My personal favorite is Brawl Minus, a Smash Bros mod that changes the properties of the attacks to make everyone so overpowered there's a strange sense of balance. You can also download custom background music or even stage backgrounds, or custom skins for characters just for some laughs, like making Donkey Kong look like Gutsman or making Captain Falcon look like Jack from Madworld.

I can see the appeal of mods. But I also think there is a fine line between SUPPORTING your modding community (like Valve does) and RELYING on your modding community (in an age of digital patches, the fact that mods were needed to make Oblivion playable is almost inexcusable.)

Don't even get me started on the long term effects of modding Oblivion.

Oh, it starts with simple UI tweeks, then maybe a little gameplay modification.

After that, you toy around with a major overhaul like OOO, or a graphical upgrade...

Next thing you know, your load-order is 200 mods long, your mod folder is four times the size of the game, and your character is a cute lizard girl with a lightsaber who lives in a floating castle and can't decide between wearing the Assassins Outfit or the Ghost Armor.

Mr. Omega:
Mods can exist on consoles, or at least on the Wii. You just have to go through some hoops to use them. My personal favorite is Brawl Minus, a Smash Bros mod that changes the properties of the attacks to make everyone so overpowered there's a strange sense of balance. You can also download custom background music or even stage backgrounds, or custom skins for characters just for some laughs, like making Donkey Kong look like Gutsman or making Captain Falcon look like Jack from Madworld.

Speaking of Smash Bros mods, it's time for some PIKAMAN!

I would love to be able to make mods, its like being a dungeon master without having to herd players together and deal with their whining.

I'm sorry but what does any of this have to do with Zeno Clash? I'm pretty sure that didn't start as a mod.

TJ Johnston:
Todd Howard recently said that he'd like to bring the mods to consoles, from Skyrim. I hope this gets worked out.

Yeah, but as he said in his recent 1-on-1 with Notch, it's not a matter of just releasing mod tools into the wild like it is with PC mods because the console manufacturers won't allow approach and instead demand mechanisms for content control be implemented.

Ed.:
Wose are companies like Creative assembly, volition and bioware deliberately hindering modding.

The reason for this is because modding undermines lazy cash grabbing DLC like the empire total war "unit packs" that add six units or the mass effect 2 weapon packs that add five guns.
A mod team would do those for free in less time.

It never hurts genuinely good stuff, the kind of DLC that used to form expansion packs

Nail. Head. Hit.

Not that Bioware have made anything worth modding recently. But still.

Irridium:
It's just a shame that less and less developers are releasing mod tools these days.

Bah, mod tools are nice but rarely a necessity. For example, the Freelancer modding community was huge in it's day and it never saw a single official modding tool. All the tools were either coded up by community members or repurposed apps.

Ed.:
Wose are companies like Creative assembly, volition and bioware deliberately hindering modding.

The reason for this is because modding undermines lazy cash grabbing DLC like the empire total war "unit packs" that add six units or the mass effect 2 weapon packs that add five guns.
A mod team would do those for free in less time.

It never hurts genuinely good stuff, the kind of DLC that used to form expansion packs

I don't know about Creative or Volition, but BioWare actually has become more mod-friendly in recent years. KotOR and Jade Empire were ridiculously hard to mod. Mass Effect 1 was (as far as I know) literally impossible to mod. Then, BioWare released Dragon Age: Origins with the developer toolset. Mass Effect 2's files were less secure than it's predecessor's and there are threads on the BioWare forums about how to extract files for modding on the PC and the 360 (not sure about PS3, but I don't have one of those so I don't care). And lastly, while they haven't given a toolset for DA2 (yet), they have given advice on how to mod it.

TL;DR: BioWare, at least, has a strong modding community and still has people buying cash-grabs like armor and weapon packs as well as expansion packs like LotSB. People just don't look for the mods as much.

Bioware aren't the worst but they aren't good yet by any measure. ME2 is not really that modable you can script things using gibbed tools but can only work with the assets already there this is a deliberate choice they make games on unreal which is well documented they choose to lock the games up.

Volition and CA have gone backwards making the games harder to mod. V went from FS2 going open source at end of life to saints row being about on par with mass effect 2

Creative assembly went from valve levels of friendliness to being unable to edit the map.

So what jobs are available for someone who writes lenghty posts in reply to articles?

kael013:

Ed.:
Wose are companies like Creative assembly, volition and bioware deliberately hindering modding.

The reason for this is because modding undermines lazy cash grabbing DLC like the empire total war "unit packs" that add six units or the mass effect 2 weapon packs that add five guns.
A mod team would do those for free in less time.

It never hurts genuinely good stuff, the kind of DLC that used to form expansion packs

I don't know about Creative or Volition, but BioWare actually has become more mod-friendly in recent years. KotOR and Jade Empire were ridiculously hard to mod. Mass Effect 1 was (as far as I know) literally impossible to mod. Then, BioWare released Dragon Age: Origins with the developer toolset. Mass Effect 2's files were less secure than it's predecessor's and there are threads on the BioWare forums about how to extract files for modding on the PC and the 360 (not sure about PS3, but I don't have one of those so I don't care). And lastly, while they haven't given a toolset for DA2 (yet), they have given advice on how to mod it.

TL;DR: BioWare, at least, has a strong modding community and still has people buying cash-grabs like armor and weapon packs as well as expansion packs like LotSB. People just don't look for the mods as much.

BioWare has probably the most interesting modding community I've ever interacted with. KotOR and Jade Empire were actually a publisher response to Neverwinter Nights, which was considered TOO mod friendly. In fact, Neverwinter Nights is about 9 years old now, and still has an active mod community. The reason the modding was toned down was because the online network for Neverwinter Nights was doing things, without changing the core game, that BioWare wasn't aware was possible. The first expansion was a tough sale to Atari, because of the mod community.

It shows that with the right games, you can still makes sales, and find an active mod community.

Another noteworthy mention is Valve's origins:
They started by modifying and upgrading the quake 1 engine in order to make Half-Life. Half-life itself already supported mods in the original menu screen via the "custom game" menu.

Iron Lightning:
I'm sorry but what does any of this have to do with Zeno Clash? I'm pretty sure that didn't start as a mod.

My sentiment exactly. I was wondering whether there'd be a sequel or a mod-variant or whatever, but the article doesn't mention ZenoClash with a single word. What.

Skeleon:

Iron Lightning:
I'm sorry but what does any of this have to do with Zeno Clash? I'm pretty sure that didn't start as a mod.

My sentiment exactly. I was wondering whether there'd be a sequel or a mod-variant or whatever, but the article doesn't mention ZenoClash with a single word. What.

That's true but the article's picture is from Zeno Clash which I find to be a bit odd, that's all.

Iron Lightning:
That's true but the article's picture is from Zeno Clash which I find to be a bit odd, that's all.

Oh, the "What." wasn't directed at you but at the article. I'm agreeing completely with you.

You talk about Machinima and not mention Red vs Blue?

versoth:
You talk about Machinima and not mention Red vs Blue?

. Not to be rude, but he wasn't making a "history of people who did it". He just mentioned one example from each field. He didn't even bother mentioning that Portal 1 was based off of a Half-Life 2 mod for a student project. So don't feel bad.

Iron Lightning:
I'm sorry but what does any of this have to do with Zeno Clash? I'm pretty sure that didn't start as a mod.

The team that created Zeno Clash, started out as a group who just developed mods - kind of an obscure reference by the writer there, then they moved on to Zeno Clash which is kind of a mod as it uses heaps of sounds etc from half-life, but then again so do all other games that use the source engine.

I really don't have the best memory, but I believe every Mojangster except Jens who showed up at PAX this year was originally a modder hired by Mojang & given a cushy job in Sweden.

I definitely appreciate modders, especially the one who makes obscure low-demand mods like "long hair for men" & for women like me who have unusual fetishes, because who else will thank them? I remember my favorite Morrowind Mods...Done by Cait (I think), whom added spawning sand dollars, hermit crabs, seashells, starfish, seaweed, coral, birds, deer, horses, cats, dogs, squirrels, rabbits...All the little things developers overlook for cost & time reasons. Now if I could just find a mod in any game that made the land near water look wet.

First thing which came up in my mind was Kerbal Space Program. From what I gathered not a few of the current developers started out as modders to the game and are now part of the team.

 

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