Modding is dying...?

I came across this interesting blog post yesterday. Robert "Radiator" Yang, the author, is one of the most prolific and central members of the mod scene, and he argues that modding is dying and how it's actually a good thing. His main argument revolves around the fact that mods emerged because it was too difficult to make your own game from scratch. But because of accessible engines like Unity and UDK, mods are increasingly becoming irrelevant.

Here are some excerpts I wanted to highlight.

Then there were just a few random 3D engines (Ogre3D, Cube, etc.) but no widespread adoption because they were difficult to use. Want a level editor? Code it yourself!... So, we modded. Besides, mods only got publicity on fan sites anyway; our work was worthless, inferior to the professionals. Who would ever pay for it? Unmarketable. We were just fans and amateurs, working with the permission of the big boys.

There are new, powerful standalone 3D game creation packages (Unity, UDK) with integrated engines and toolsets that have physics, IK solvers, heightmap terrain editors, etc. Our "amateur" work can be sold on Steam, the App Store, the Android Market, or even by ourselves. Popular blogs readily publicize / discuss these "indie" efforts. In general, it seems amateurs are just more disciplined and more skilled with the practice of game development.

In this sense, "modding," as we know it, is dead... Because we aren't merely fans or amateurs anymore. We're now "indie," we're somewhat independent of the commercial game industry that spawned modding: we now have a shared culture, publicity engine and distribution mechanisms that happily exists outside of them. Which is great.

There will still be many mods, of course, but they are definitely no longer the center of innovative design practice by non-professionals.

I clicked on the blog post preparing to disagree, but I can actually see his point. What he is arguing is that total conversion mods (not mod as a means to customise and improve a game) are on their way out, since all that effort can now be used to make standalone marketable games.

There are still huge issues with making standalone games as opposed to mods: you have to create assets from scratch and actually learn programming (as opposed to just basic scripting for mods), there is no existing framework to experiment on etc. I don't see modding going away, maybe just a major shift within the more professional modders.

Thoughts?

I agree that it might be dying (there are a lot of games recently that I don't here anything to do with modding) but I definitely don't think that's a good thing. A great mod really enhances a game.

True... total conversion mods are obsolete. But modding is alive and well. Nearly every RTS, shooter or RPG hybrid has a modding community out there, and some of the mods coming out for them are even more massive than old total conversion mods, while still just being game enhancement packs (such as Project Nevada for Fallout:NV).

Mod's in general, not dying. And some developers do make thier games to be modded.

Total Conversion Mod's, its only natrual that theyre rarer than normal mods. Firstly, to use a TC mod you usually have to install the game youre modding twice so you can still play the unaltered game. Second, not many mod teams have the skills or info to make a mod that can replace most of a game.

FPS games are largely sold to kids, so it is only natural that their games attract less quality mods than, say, Elder Scrolls - which is a series for gentlemen and scholars.

I think a big nail in modding's coffin is the impending retirement of the Gamebryo engine. You could pop up the Oblivion World creator, or whatever it's called, and make entire Quests using just the resources from the game. It required a fair bit of programming knowledge, some texture-work knowledge and generally very Little, if ANY, model-making skills. I think that still falls under the class of Mods you are talking about.

Yes, Indie gaming is great. But it's very difficult to reach the same level of polish if you have to rebuild your meshes and texture them from scratch, even if you have the commercial engines.

Mods allowed single (or miniscule groups of) people to craft tiny, bite-sized stories within the game. Stuff too small to really sell for Any price. I guess it's nitpicking to defend such a tiny sect when the potential gains are so great, but it needs to be said.

visit the fallout 3, TES, or dragon age nexus and tell me modding is dead :|

So fucking what? Everything everywhere is dying, like things that are actually alive, that can feel actual pain and suffering.
90 to 150 species go extinct everyday, thanks almost entirely to global industrial civilization. Normal background extinction rates should be 1 to 5 a YEAR.
FUCK MODDING, Go stop the global decline in bees before all fruit bearing plants stop producing food.
Or stop something else, like western imperialism, or the abrahamic religions.

dyre:
visit the fallout 3, TES, or dragon age nexus and tell me modding is dead :|

That's 3 ips that have a modding community. Not very all encompassing of gaming as a whole, is it.

Hunde Des Krieg:
So fucking what? Everything everywhere is dying, like things that are actually alive, that can feel actual pain and suffering.
90 to 150 species go extinct everyday, thanks almost entirely to global industrial civilization. Normal background extinction rates should be 1 to 5 a YEAR.
FUCK MODDING, Go stop the global decline in bees before all fruit bearing plants stop producing food.
Or stop something else, like western imperialism, or the abrahamic religions.

Why are you posting here? Couldn't you be doing something more important to stop this?

Lyri:
That's 3 ips that have a modding community. Not very all encompassing of gaming as a whole, is it.

Just to add another, the Stalker modding community is fantastic. Stalker would be half the game it currently is without the great modders working with it.

Lyri:

dyre:
visit the fallout 3, TES, or dragon age nexus and tell me modding is dead :|

That's 3 ips that have a modding community. Not very all encompassing of gaming as a whole, is it.

Let's not forget Mount and Blade now.

Ups and downs, points of immense traffic and points where the stream trickles.

Hunde Des Krieg:
So fucking what? Everything everywhere is dying, like things that are actually alive, that can feel actual pain and suffering.
90 to 150 species go extinct everyday, thanks almost entirely to global industrial civilization. Normal background extinction rates should be 1 to 5 a YEAR.
FUCK MODDING, Go stop the global decline in bees before all fruit bearing plants stop producing food.
Or stop something else, like western imperialism, or the abrahamic religions.

Go rant in the right forum, this is "The Escapist Portal > The Escapist Forums > Gaming Discussion"

bbad89:

Lyri:

dyre:
visit the fallout 3, TES, or dragon age nexus and tell me modding is dead :|

That's 3 ips that have a modding community. Not very all encompassing of gaming as a whole, is it.

Let's not forget Mount and Blade now.

Yeah, and as someone else mentioned, the STALKER series.

The three I mentioned are just the ones I visit the most often.

Also, a lot of games wouldn't benefit much from modding (like, MW2 or Halo), so there's a reason not everything is modded.

On Hunde: Successful troll is successful it seems.

And yeah, I can see his point. I agree it seems to be a good thing. It also means people don't have to own the game in question to play your mod.

GrizzlerBorno:
I think a big nail in modding's coffin is the impending retirement of the Gamebryo engine.

I wouldn't worry too much. Skyrim's new Creation Engine will apparently support modding extensively through the Creation Kit. Bethesda will be shooting themselves in the foot if they do otherwise.

It will take some time for people to get used to the new kit, but I think we'll be seeing a great stream of content coming from the modding community soon.

Mods allowed single (or miniscule groups of) people to craft tiny, bite-sized stories within the game. Stuff too small to really sell for Any price. I guess it's nitpicking to defend such a tiny sect when the potential gains are so great, but it needs to be said.

Not nitpicking at all, mate. It's an inherently bad idea to start massive projects head-on, and these small mods are a really great way to gain expertise. Not to mention free content for us. ;)

dyre:

bbad89:

Lyri:

That's 3 ips that have a modding community. Not very all encompassing of gaming as a whole, is it.

Let's not forget Mount and Blade now.

Yeah, and as someone else mentioned, the STALKER series.

The three I mentioned are just the ones I visit the most often.

Also, a lot of games wouldn't benefit much from modding (like, MW2 or Halo), so there's a reason not everything is modded.

To add to the list, some current-gen RTSes: Dawn of War II has a modding community, as does Supreme Commander 2 (though Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance was a more advanced game with better mods...), and Sins of a Solar Empire has some pretty extensive mods as well.

If RTSes aren't your thing though... If Lyri needs to see some mods for the most popular games of the most popular genre out there, well...
This one's waiting on a dev toolset for legal reasons, but this one is up and running. So even if we're only talking 50% of massive new mainstream games having mods... well, that's quite a bit, when added to every other older active game out there that has mods... which is damn near all of 'em.

I think it had something to do with mods mostly being for PC gaming. As such, mods are dying.
Read between the lines.

Souplex:
I think it had something to do with mods mostly being for PC gaming. As such, mods are dying.
Read between the lines.

Did you even read the post? It doesn't say mods are dying - only that total conversion packs are becoming standalone.

We PC gamers are still going to get awesome content from small independent teams.

It's a shame but I see his point, some of the greatest games that I've played are the results of modding: Team Fortress (Quake mod), Counterstrike (Half-Life mod), and DotA (Warcraft 3 mod). Those 3 games have probably accounted to the largest % of my gaming life, haha.

Krychek08:
It's a shame but I see his point, some of the greatest games that I've played are the results of modding: Team Fortress (Quake mod), Counterstrike (Half-Life mod), and DotA (Warcraft 3 mod). Those 3 games have probably accounted to the largest % of my gaming life, haha.

CS, DOTA, TF... all owned by Valve now.

Somewhere, Gabe is slowly taking over your gaming life and saying...

Bethesda games --> Evidence why modding is alive and kicking.

There are quite a few total conversion packs for Oblivion, Morrowind, FO3/F:NV.

Souplex:
I think it had something to do with mods mostly being for PC gaming. As such, mods are dying.
Read between the lines.

Chimpanzes > PC gamers.
They used tools first, I had to be specific because some people wouldn't understand what you where getting at.

You crush gods for a living, some cannot comprehend your wordsmithing.

Metalhandkerchief:
FPS games are largely sold to kids, so it is only natural that their games attract less quality mods than, say, Elder Scrolls - which is a series for gentlemen and scholars.

and then I lol'd a hearty lol.

In the case you're actually being serious, I disagree. (surprise)

Raiyan 1.0:
[

Uh...

From their blog:

What platform is it for?

This is unknown at this point. We are interested in bringing Hawken to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

So that one you aren't just enjoying for yourselves.

Korten12:

Raiyan 1.0:
[

Uh...

From their blog:

What platform is it for?

This is unknown at this point. We are interested in bringing Hawken to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

So that one you aren't just enjoying for yourselves.

Look at the bottom right corner at the end of the trailer. There's a tiny logo of UDK. And UDK only supports the Windows and iOS platforms as of now. And Epic doesn't release the source code for this engine.

They might license the UE3 engine from the revenues they get from PC sales and then go multi-platform, but I don't see it happening now.

But lemme know what I'm missing.

Lyri:

Chimpanzes > PC gamers.

Why are you here again? Please go troll somewhere else.

Omnific One:
Bethesda games --> Evidence why modding is alive and kicking.

There are quite a few total conversion packs for Oblivion, Morrowind, FO3/F:NV.

Agreed wholeheartedly. I actually thought of that when I saw the title of the thread. Oblivion was a rather dry game for me until I got Shivering Isles. Now I have lizard dressed like Ezio who can fly.

Fallout games are greatly improved by mods.

Dragon Age (admittedly not Bethesda) is better with mods. Mass Effect ...better with mods. There are still people modding NWN and NWN 2 or Baldur. Vampire: Bloodlines is still being modded and patched regularly.

The fact that there are engines that cannot be modded is true, but there are much more that can. Every game has a fandom that tried to make the game better. And while fanbases and fan communities exist (along with the internet...) then mods will continue to appear.

Edit: Just for the record, I think every game I have ever played has had a hidden nude patch/mod somewhere...except, I don't know, Mario or Supaplex. Which would have been terrifying. That counts.

Mods will stop being made when every game is always considered perfect by every gamer ever...and even then people will probably make mods just for the hell of it.

I guess if humanty loces all creativity mods may die too...along with well...fun.

What about Minecraft their is a very big modding community for that

 

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