Jump to content

Photo

Making mods mainstream


  • Please log in to reply
49 replies to this topic

#21
TehChef

TehChef

    Journeyman

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
"These days you get small DLCs that aren't worth the sum of their parts because they feel fragmented and small. Why? Because they don't feel the need to compete with a modding community that would be able to create small mods that can shadow the developer's small DLCs."


Case-in-Point: Elsweyr: DoA vs Knights of the Nine. Both are rather large "DLC" (User mods are technically DLC as well -- you download them, and they add content to the game.), but Elsweyr adds FAR more content and storyline and NPC-related stuff than KotN does. Guess what? User-made.



"Since personal computers are somewhat of an integral tool of game modding and many game platforms have PC-like characteristics such as expandable hard drives and internet access, I think it would be quite feasible for game developers to make console modding possible."


Case-in-Point #2: Unreal Tournament 3 for PS3. It has modding support.


"The other's are correct though, it's all about profits these days with most companies. Lets just be glad companies like Bethesda exist."

And Epic Games. And id Software (also owned by ZeniMax btw :P). And BioWare. And what used to be Chris Sawyer/Infogrames (While no official SDK existed for RCT 1 and 2, that didn't stop people from modding it to pieces -- look at all the custom content available on RCTSpace for instance. In fact, I bet all the custom park mods made for RCT1 was what actually made CS add a park editor in the sequel.). Let's also not forget Activision, as much as I hate their guts.

Epic Games really did well with UT3, as much as people deny it -- only one official DLC was ever released -- the Titan Pack -- and it was free. It's been around the better part of three years and the modding community is still strong, which keeps the game alive.


"Nitpick: depends on what you understand by game engine since GameBryo (OB, FO3, NV) was based on NetImmerse (MW). GameBryo isn't exactly a new engine, just a natural evolution of the previous one. It wasn't totally written from the ground up."

... Wow, this editing spree has turned this comment into a wall of text, but anyway...

Yet another Case-in-Point: Unreal Engine 3. UDK is based on UE3, which is in turn based on UE2.5, UE2.5 on UE2, etc, etc. You get the idea. Game engines are rarely designed from the ground up anymore, at least not commercially-available ones.

Edited by TehChef, 03 December 2010 - 10:06 PM.


#22
ladydesire

ladydesire

    Fan

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 392 posts
@TehChef: Yes, you can mod UT3 on PS3, but it's only because Epic didn't bother trying to get Microsoft to budge on it's anti-modding (both hardware and games) stance on the Xbox 360. Bioware was going to do something a little different with DAO, which was selecting PC mods, cleaning them up some, then making them available for free on their in-game DLC download system; apparently that still wasn't good enough for Microsoft and console gamers have gotten the shaft as far as mods go.

If you want another good example of DLC disparity, look at Dark Times: The Confederacy of Malkuth Act 1 vs. just about any of the Bioware DLCs for Dragon Age; it took Questorion and the rest of the Dark Times Dev team about 7 months to release that mod which flat out blows away Warden's Keep and Return to Ostagar in sheer scope; only The Stone Prisoner comes close to matching what the community did there. The kicker? Act 1 will not only integrate with the Origins campaign, but it integrates with other community made DLC; Immortality, myself, AmstradHero, Alexandus and others from the DAO mod community are working with Questorion to enable our content to fit into a larger "extended community canon".

Game engines: while true in many cases, Bioware took a different approach with DAO; they still use features that they developed for Baldur's Gate's Infinity Engine in Eclipse, but beyond that, it's nothing like previous game engines that they used. Some of the features that make DLC possible for them are actually things that Neverwinter Nights modders requested and they created them in the new game engine.

#23
TehChef

TehChef

    Journeyman

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
" ... but it's only because Epic didn't bother trying to get Microsoft to budge on it's anti-modding (both hardware and games) stance on the Xbox 360."

I find Microsoft's logic bizarre. I mean, you can mod the crap out of most *Windows* PCs and almost every good game under the sun with a *Windows* release is moddable. Not on 360. Not EVER. They also need to rework how Windows handles hardware failures -- BSoDs are just BAD.

Note how Windows is between asterisks. MICROSOFT Windows. Hell, you can even modify WINDOWS. *glares at such things as Window Blinds, Object Dock and Windows 7 custom themes.*

Te above is why MS has bizarre logic -- they don't understand the difference between a healthy homebrew modding community and piracy, much like Nintendo. It will eventually bring about the death of console gaming, as more and more gamers buy a PC or Mac (yes there are moddable Mac games too!) *specifically FOR MODDING!*

Gah, get your heads out of the gutter, MS, modding is NOT piracy!


(As an aside, Nintendo doesn't like homebrew Wii games/utilities for some god-forsaken reason and passes them off as piracy. That's their failing, homebrew is a sign that the community wants to make the system better for everyone, not that pirates have landed.)


And actually, DLC was in NWN in the form of BioWare's premium modules. Whether you think so or not, that's what they were -- DLC.

Edited by TehChef, 04 December 2010 - 01:23 AM.


#24
Phitt

Phitt

    Fan

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 343 posts
Personally I'm not willing to pay 50 Euros for a game that lasts 8-10 hours (or even 18-20 hours) and then it's over. The only games I buy are either quality online games or highly moddable games. You pay 50 Euros and you get hundreds of hours of fun out of a single game - that's value for money.

I remember that I bought Unreal Championship for XBox. Back then I only had a XBox because a new PC was too expensive. But it was simply no fun playing only the few official maps (good looking, but rather boring) that came with the game and only having the official game modes. Later, when I had a PC again, I bought UT2k4. What a difference. Hundreds (probably thousands) of custom maps, great custom game modes. I played this game for hundreds of hours and there was always something new. The amount of things you could do was insane. Many of the maps didn't look great and it would have been embarrassing if Epic had released them. But they were so much fun it didn't matter. The game modes were pretty weird sometimes, nothing that would be in a 'clean', but boring official release. But again, they were fun.

That is one of the strongest points of modding imo - you can do what you want without caring for things like perfection or accessibility. There are no limits, and certainly none of the narrow limits of official releases. If it's fun then someone will do it and other people will play it.

That's how it is in Oblivion as well. There are almost 22000 files in the database on Nexus alone only for Oblivion. I have less than 100 of them in my load order. I don't care for the rest, but other people do. You can customize your game how YOU want it to be and that is something an official release can never achieve, not even if they spent 100 million dollars on the development. Want Stormtroopers in your game? No problem. Want a zombie apocalypse? Here you go. Want to turn Oblivion into an anime game? Again, no problem. I could go on forever like that. There are no limits.

The value for money you get for highly moddable games is a hundred times as high (and that is NO exaggeration) as the value for money you get for games that only come with official content. If that is no selling point then I don't know what is. If only more people would know about this 'other dimension' of gaming, I bet most of them wouldn't care about consoles where you get your sad, clean and uninspired (albeit great looking) 10 hours of gameplay and then have to switch to the next game you pay for.

#25
ladydesire

ladydesire

    Fan

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 392 posts
@Phitt: As long as there are people that will do it, that's what the Publishers will give the Developers the money for; we as a group have the power to change that.

@TehChef: Yes, those were DLC, but the main difference between then and now is that those were not made by Bioware; those were done under contract with Atari by third parties, some of whom ended up employed by Bioware (Brian Chung, one of the modders that developed Wyvern Crown of Coromyr was involved with the development of Dragon Age: Origins). Most modern DLC is done by a separate team employed by the developer.

#26
ImmokTheSlayer

ImmokTheSlayer

    Journeyman

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 21 posts
Absolutely fascinating article. There is more truth here than under the hat of old Abe Lincoln, but as said many times it's up to the shadowy overlords which lurk up in corporate. The artists which put the blood, sweat, and tears into games are kept on a pretty tight leash, the companies ultimately go where the tried-and-true money is.

The only way modding would have a chance at mainstream acceptance and encouragement would be through proper advertisement in magazines and big name review websites, but unfortunately for the majority that's not the case. I mean, if the Nexus sites could perhaps secure a section in a certain gaming magazine through contract to review mods myself as well as many, many more would subscribe for that. Of course that scenario being regrettably unlikely... it's great to dream, isn't it?

#27
SageRaintree

SageRaintree

    Enthusiast

  • Supporter
  • PipPip
  • 137 posts
I wanted to thank you for making a great site that makes mods more accessible. I am a big fan of Oblivion and the Fallout games. Having access to great mods makes gaming even more enjoyable. Thank you so much for all your hardwork, and mainstreaming mods for all of us to enjoy. Games cost so much and to be able to add to game with great mods makes it worth every penny. I hope that all games will become capable of being modded. Not only will PC gaming become a greater venue for gaming but it will open up the eyes of those who make games and discover the value of the selling point of mod capabilies.

Edited by SageRaintree, 05 December 2010 - 01:08 AM.


#28
TehChef

TehChef

    Journeyman

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
I'm outright surprised that mods aren't covered myself -- The Ball started out as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod -- it became a game, and the moment it did it got HUGE coverage.

Now, if modders got some help with the more difficult things like voice acting and modelling, then we may see some excellent mods out there get coverage, as unlikely as it is. The main gripe I have with amazing mods such as Elsweyr and Kvatch Rebuilt is the lack of voiceovers -- didn't stop me from installing both of them, as they're both great mods.

My first major mod, which will probably include a new race and a new land, should I get the skill for it (I won't be doing it alone, mind you -- I have a friend who'll probably help me.), will probably be voiced by us.

A gripe I had with Oblivion VO as a whole is that there weren't enough unique voices -- save the Emperor and Martin, all the Imperials are the same. There should have also been a difference in vocal expressions between the Khajiit and Argonian voices, but there sadly wasn't. I understand the various elves, but Orc shouldn't've been Nord, though it fits. Bretons are really the only race with a different voice that isn't used by any other race besides Imperials.

That aside, I don't get why mods aren't noticed -- there are some absolutely stunning pieces of work done by small modding teams that genuinely overshadows the official content made by a large development team at a studio.

#29
drktrper

drktrper

    Old hand

  • Supporter
  • PipPipPip
  • 673 posts
Game Informer mag did have a small section for a time that did go over some mods for Doom3 and Ui mods for World of Warcraft among others. I doubt it still exists but it was something. It got me to try out a mod for Doom3.

#30
Ghogiel

Ghogiel

    Resident poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,647 posts
Modding has great support from some companies. Mainstream modding is happening, big time and fast. More professional mods happen all the time now. It's shifted from modder to indie developer. :thumbsup:

I only need to say UDK.

Epic even has a set of finacial terms that will allow you to sell your game for a percentage after a certain profit quota has been reached. Make no mistake- Modders are, for the most part, basically amateur game developers. Some are have industry experience in some aspect of game development. but for the most part they don't. The difference between a modder and a developer can just be an interview away. :)

The face will change soon. Sure modding will never die. But with UDK and full SDKs like Cryengine2, I am noticing many modders, ones experienced in their fields, are moving to greener pastures. I am myself actively involved in projects that will hopefully allow me to count on the professionalism of my fellow modders. And have a great toolkit to boot. If that doesn't exist... bye!

I think my point is, modders are getting damn good. And the popularity is growing across the field, in both modders and mod users.
and all companies have to do is provide some incentive to mod their games. And it'll happen. Now for the first time front end wrappers for engines exist to the public. Level editors and artists can practically build a unique game with UDK, and programing almost takes a back seat in development. This will in the next 5 years enable indie game creation to boom. lets face it, UDK is actually a AAA engine, with built in capabilities out the wazoo. What modder doesn't want to use a great looking, industry tested platform to make their 'mods'?

UDK, Source, Cryengine and very popular platforms to mod. There is enormous incentive and benefits to learning those engines. from getting Dev support, to being clued into industry standard tech, and being able to make good maps for those games WILL get you jobs in the related fields.
This all plays back into the developers of the engines hand. just look at source and unreal. give an sdk to people, this creates more people who can use your engine, this grows user base of the engine, this makes the choice to use such an engine to developers easier, and its easier for them to get a team together who can use it, making game development just easier and more accessible. Which is good.
The thing you need first is an engine.

which is too problematic for most engines just because of licensing of middleware

Edited by Ghogiel, 05 December 2010 - 05:51 AM.





IPB skins by Skinbox
Page loaded in: 1.039 seconds