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RECON 0011.07.01
Ghost Recon and Mods

Report : Rocky | Research/concept : Jester

One of the largest threads, and one of the most heated discussions at the official RSE Ghost Recon Forum is with regard to Modding of Ghost Recon. It starts of with a simple and commonly asked question "...im curious if we will be able to mod GR or not ".

Lets start with what this report is NOT about. It's not about establishing why, or if, mods are a "Good Thing". Mods provide the creative gamer with another dimension to explore. They provide the more passive gamer with a means to extending the life time of the game through regular new maps or missions. And of course they provide fan sites like this with regular fodder :o)

The purpose of this report is to establish what RSE have done to encourage/discourage modding, whether or not it will satisfy the GR community, and whether or not in will enhance/restrict the appeal and saleability of Ghost Recon.

So, what exactly can we expect when we install GR at Christmas? Will we find a map editor, or a mission editor or full mod support, or even no mod support at all? At this time, the only confirmation that RSE have given is that GR will come with a Mission editor along the same lines as Rogue Spear, there will be no map editor, no level building opportunities. This surprises some, as most mainstream FPS come complete with modding tools. Looking at Red Storms history, we shouldn't really be surprised though. It took a community petition started at Pie's Tactics before RSE released the plug ins necessary for designing and building new Rogue Spear maps.

So, is a mission editor likely to satisfy the Ghost Recon community? While there will be a percentage of gamers who almost "buy to mod", and even some who have already voiced a strong objection to the omission of modding tools, it is unlikely to cause mass revolt. Modding is way down on the list of "must haves" for Ghost Recon's potential buyers. Look at the results so far on our Poll. With almost 1000 votes already, Modding ability is among the three lowest ranking features. In the RSE forum - which is HARD CORE RSE gamer territory remember, it looks like a split decision. So while modding games may be cool, not many are ready to bust a blood vessel over it.

What about the wider picture, are gamers outside of Red Storms established community looking at Ghost Recon and saying "Hey can I mod this game - its important to me!". A new modding report by 3d Action Planet would indicate that modding is not exactly a high priority to the massive bulk of gamers. Lets look at some of the stats they produced.

What percentage of gamers actually spend time modding rather than playing? How many gamers get their kicks being creative, rather than destructive? Where can we look to find relevant statistics to prove the point one way or another? Well, we have to look at another FPS to make a fair comparison, and what bigger badder FPS than Half Life? According to 3d Action Planet only 3% of Half Life gamers play mods - and they are talking BIG mods like Counter Striker, not amateur efforts like Rogue Spears "Omaha Beach", even though Omaha has over 16,000 downloads! If less than 5% play mods, are they important to a games sustainability? 3d Action planet concluded not; "... it's not essential to the success of a game; games apparently sell quite well without a thriving mod community"

However as they point out in their conclusion, and as I said at the top of this report, mods "provide ... a means to extending the life time of the game" Once you start extending the life of a game - its appeal mushrooms, its value is extended, and we all go home happy.

In conclusion then, modding is not required for a games success, but it is one of the building blocks upon which a gaming community is built. Having limited modding ability is going to disappoint only a very small percentage Ghost Recon players who wish to mod. But there is a larger percentage who want to see the lifespan and variation extended through freely available community mods.