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The Importance of Modding

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When I have time I'd love to discuss this in depth. I'm torn between the freedom of modding and the developers intent. 

For instance GTA (in my top 3 game series of all times) I play GTA strictly on consoles, meaning I don't use mods. I personally believe Rockstar games delivers more than just a game, they deliver an experience. That's why they spend money and manpower on soundtracks, real world location research, and visual style. Every GTA mod i've ever tried completely deviated from the experience Rockstar had intended.

i have to cut this short but i have a lot more i'd like to add lol


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Okay, I'm home, had my quadrillionth coffee, I shall begin

*takes deep breath*

To me modding is one of THE MOST important things I consider when buying a game, as this dude at bunnyhop said, it's a deal breaker for me, if I buy a game on the PC, one of the main things I look for before shelling out the cash is its capability to be modded and whether the modding tools are readily available, if they're not, I have to mark it down on my priority list, as games that are moddable offer much more to me than the game itself. 

I legit don't even play arma 3 anymore, I think about 6 months after I bought it I started modding it, never stopped and all of my hours ingame are most likely hours dedicated to testing mods I make, or mods others make. 

Modding is experience, when developers ask for at least 3 years of experience with development for a game engine, modding counts as that experience, in fact, doing so is much more enticing to devs as far as I know, as you did it off of your own initiative, and didn't care about getting paid, you're willing to go the extra mile to make sure people get an experience they want. 

Modders see the game as much more than just a game, I've said it before and I'll say it again. you look at games like Skyrim, Ghost Recon to a degree, and Arma 3, they're a platform, their DLC added new features and new assets that demonstrated those features, they updated the platform with the DLC, most Arma 2 mods worth their weight require OA. Most Ghost Recon mods worth their weight require Desert Seige and Island thunder. 
Arma 3 currently just got its roadmap for the next year or so, which includes major platform updates including a 64bit engine and new DLC which will no doubt expand upon the game in its current state, with advanced control models etc, etc. 
Modders will use this new capability to expand on their capabilities.

So say you have a game like Skyrim, in fact, let's just say skyrim for now, as i'm sure you're all familiar with it and how it works, if not, go play it, NOW!
The base game has basic stats, stamina, health, magicka, marksmanship, etc, etc. They all stay constant, they're unaffected by the environment for the most part, stamina takes a hit if you have rockjoint, however again, it's a constant effect, it'll take exactly 15% off your stamina and it will stay that way til you cure yourself. 
Modders can't really do a lot with this other than perhaps make stamina, magicka and health expend more quickly or slowly. 

now say Bethesda releases a DLC, that has you as a lone survivor of a shipwreck caused by a massive seamonster, and it's your quest to find a way of killing said seamonster, but in this DLC, they add a couple of new stats called 'alertness' and 'agility' they also make ALL stats degradable depending on the environment, your physical condition etc. 

so say you haven't slept in 13 days, taking too much of that damn skooma! your marksmanship, agility, and alertness degrade, and this degradation is perpetual, it isn't a constant, the longer you go without sleep, the lower the stats will get. This affects your ability to shoot straight, run fast, climb well and fight well. And the stats won't stop degrading until you sleep, at that point, your stats will be replenished. 

The platform this provides, while enough for the non-mod peasants, opens up a totally new experience for modders, allowing them to create the most hardcore survival mods, or completely turn off the degradation capability, create weapons that take advantage of this new feature. and the new assets available in the DLC such as sea monsters allow quest creators to create new and exciting quests. 

In a sense, game modding can just as easily supplement the release of a game and its DLC, provided the DLC provides new features and upgrades. 

In a way, modding is like free advertising for the developer, as well as a free dev team. I've known people to buy a game solely to play a mod, like people buying Arma 2 to play DayZ, much to my dismay. The community that surrounds a moddable game is normally a much more abundant community, of generally friendlier people. 

in the case of people like BI, they may also take the influence of certain mods to expand their game with DLC, I know they did something similar when I released my diamondback masks, they created something similar for the APEX DLC. It can influence a game developer's next move as much as it can influence the community, and that's important, as it shows the developer is watching and listening to what the community wants, and following behind the modder's moves, in a sense the modder is the pointman of the formation, providing points of interest and allowing the developer to do with it what they will.

As much as a moddable file structure can put a strain on the developer, it's one single strain, that will take just slightly longer in the release cycle by modularizing it and making the content easily readable. and again as Bunnyhop has said, this is a good practice, surely; in all my time modding, and doing courses in this that and the other the modularized file structure with easily readable contents was something I was told to use, surely this would make it easier to patch the game if something broke. and that brings me on to my next point: Modders can patch the game first, this takes a MASSIVE load off of the developer, as if a modder has already spotted the problem and released a fix, the developer doesn't have to rush out a patch so quickly. It will reduce the number of people hounding the developer's PR team to fix the damn problem. and if it's anything to go by the Skyrim unofficial patch fixes a LOT of problems that bethesda didn't fix. 

Modders also provide the level of interactivity that is sadly lacking with major developers as well, the community can communicate with the likes of myself, Apex, MrMoon, and they can tell us what they want, and we can consider it if we're nice enough. If not, we can respond, you know who is responsible, you know who to punch in the face if it blows up your PC. And I think that is something that is missing in the AAA gaming market right now, and it's forcing a lot of animosity between developers and players, as developers have demonstrated time and time again that they are NOT listening to their fanbase. Modders can do that, they can respond almost instantly to a community question, and say "yes/no/maybe" and can even have casual conversations in between. It adds a human element to the community and the development of a game, that is otherwise missed. 

Modding is what I attribute most to my current life right now, right down to my borderline insanity and tetris syndrome. I'm working with John fudging Sondecker right now! The dude who worked on some of my all time favourite games! I wouldn't have got there if i didn't pick up max and start modding stuff. I attribute my modding as much as anything to the reason why I've managed to stay on track with college work as much as college itself has bitten me in the backside, modding was the reason I got there in the first place! 
I may not have Ubisoft or any big game devs eyeing me up for a job, but I know if I continue in my passionate endeavour and continue learning on the job, one day it might happen!

now I need another coffee...

Edited by Zeealex
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Thank you for that post, Alex. What a pleasure to read, and a beautiful rarity of insightful perspective. Hats off to you, young lady!

On that note, I want to state for the record that I &$&#ing love this little community we have assembled here in our corner of the internet. It's truly inspirational to be around you folks, and to share thoughts and opinions in discussions like these is an absolute treat. Thank you all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lets talk basics of game design and where modding becomes important and when it goes to far. ;)

The foundation of the Design determines if a game is playable in accordance to its market.

If the design is established and good enough this is where the balance of content and modding takes place.


1.Multiplayer is content

2.Single player is content.

3. Content is content.

4.Modding is content.


The content a game ships with determines how long its longevity usually lasts. I.E. 

GTA vs Fable

Grand theft auto seaminly has much more content. while both are open world Fable is pretty much finished when all quests are done. GTA can continue to be played as you try to derail trains, jump airplanes, and run from the cops. 

Let me explain another way. 

Single player only. you may get 8-10 hours or more depending on a game. once your done. its done. 

Multiplayer only. Depending on how well the gameplay modes are implimented and features added. This can last 2 hours (if it sucks) to thousands of hours (if its well thought out and implimented)


This is where modding comes in. Mods allow either SP or MP to extend their play times. Its that simple.


When mods go to far? This is a matter of opinion. Usually people who enjoy the original game dislike mods when they go to far. I.E. Arma

DayZ was so popular people bought Arma just for it. When you want to enjoy a game's multiplayer and all you can find is  Zombie mod servers. This tarnishes the user experience. 


Much like DA4.9 did for ghost recon towards then end of its life cycle. However it had competition. At that time HX4 was mostly in competition with it. Even my Weapons of war mod was seen on anfew servers at the same time. 


While DA4.9, hx5, wow3, did extend the gameplay value/time. Ultimately GR was a played and beaten game and people would move on.


Mods that become so big they ruin the developers intent can be frustraiting. However, I rather take that chance and enjoy the many who look to improve upon the games original intent.


GR1 is still alive today because of the mods and solid foundation the developers created. 

Edited by pz3
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What an excellent video.....GR is a awesome representation of a title that still is going strong due to modding and the excellent foundation of the game.

Skyrim has an unbelievable amount of mods to make is a custom experience (I have 37 realism mods including iNeed, Real Damage,  Frostbite, Furs, etc...)

I just hope WildLands considers this and the success of Ghost Recon classic.

Edited by Burner
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