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MOD Summit at

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the if-its-not-right-do-it-yourself dept.

Games 19

Ford Prefect writes "One of the biggest things to happen to PC games in the last decade is the rise of the mod - the free modifications produced by fans. There's no denying their influence on future game development, but what do the developers of the original games think?'s MOD Summit has the answers, interviewing major games developers, past modders who've made it big, and some of the current mod authors who make it all a reality. (Disclaimer: I was one of those interviewed!)"

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GNAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14809784)

Are you gay are you a nigger are you a gay nigger blah blah you get the point don't feel like typing it all out [] go there now yeah

is it just me... (1)

quest(answer)ion (894426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809842)

...or is lars g. not coming off as the brightest light on the string here? his responses are so consistently several levels of sophistication below that offered by his fellow interviewees that it almost seems like he's dumbing them down, but that's giving him an awful lot of credit.

Re:is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14812426)

You're right, that was dumb. Still, most of his responses weren't so bad. The thing that really peeved me was when they all plugged their own companies rather than aswering the actual question, such as when Duffy lied and said they were the only ones to release source code for past games (I'm sorry, but, in my dictionary, the word only means something other than what it apparently does in his. I've seen a LOT of games go opensource, I think even one or two before Doom did.) Mainly LG just strikes me as trying to dodge a lot of the questions. I think they must have told him to commit to as little as possible while trying to put a shine on it or something.

MOD Summit UP.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14809866)

Use up those mod points.

Slashdotted already. What did it say? (1)

Nazo-San (926029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809963)

Wow, I try to get to that and can't. It's already slashdotted and yet only three people have commented on it. It strikes me that Slashdot needs to have it's own internal caching system.

Anyway, I have to admit I'm particularly interested in what the designers think about it. Some games, such as Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights to name a couple I've played a lot recently, show that the devs honestly want to see their product become something bigger that what it started as. Morrowind, NWN, and many other such games that should be considered old still have active communities developing mods today (though, admitedly, a lot of people have slowed down on NWN due to the impending release of NWN2.) I doubt the devs originally planned for those games to still be selling in the stores today when they first released them, but, by allowing users to make what they wanted out of the games they took on a life of their own and those companies still get the occasional profit from it.

On the other hand, I see some games that show more of an unfriendliness towards modding. Some that make it nearly impossible to do so seemingly intentionally, and I believe I recall seeing one sometime in the past where they actually threatened a group that was writing a mod until they dropped the project (mind you, this was mainly because the game was so unmoddable that the only way to mod it was to hack it.) Ok, it's clear that some devs feel differently than others, but, I'm kind of curious how the majority overall feel about it. Do more hate the idea of something they've worked so hard on being changed by unsolicited people with too much time on their hands (not to mention that each game will have it's own set of bad mods and inevitably a nude mod or three, which is obviously inappropriate) or are more devs proud to see that their product is made so well that it can take on a life of it's own and, essentially evolve through the help of free fanwork so that it lives on long after the devs have given up on squashing whatever bugs may remain and shut the doors on the old dusty project for a new one?

Re:Slashdotted already. What did it say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14811064)

Some mods are amazing, games that change the landscape, almost from the moment their Web links first appear pasted in instant-messenger windows and on message boards. And since the success of packaged and price-tagged software is often settled in advance, we want these potential Counter-Strikes of tomorrow to achieve the unexpected, partly because the populist conditions behind their creation-frequently involving networking students who've never met face-to-face-inspire such sympathy. We like the little guys. But then, the big guys do, too.

From auspicious up-and-comers, to one-time mod authors who've already made big breaks, to major developers without whose sanction and support mod communities could not exist, we've assembled the voices of those involved at every level to sound off on the state of the art.

CGW: Stakes are getting higher, and more people are now involved in creating any given game. Publishers spend millions per title, ratcheting up the tension with increasingly merciless economic expectations. Are the big names having a harder time generating and seeing through fresh and independent ideas? Are mod teams the new source for outrageous variety?

Jeff Morris: Being a "big name" requires repeated commercial success. That implies sticking to things that you're reasonably sure can achieve commercial success. Modmakers, on the other hand, don't have those sorts of restraints, and so [they] can often be a great source of originality.

Lars Gustavson: [Current conditions] call for a much more controlled environment where you aren't fooling around and hoping you have something that might work in the end. Dividing the production schedule into different phases is important. It's in the initial phase that we pick up totally out-there ideas and don't limit ourselves. Then, later on, we do a reality check and decide what doesn't fit or can't be done. In the end, we design games that we'd like to play. The difference between professional developers and mod teams is that the developers must deliver what they promise.

Robert Duffy: We always try to do things or not do things for the right reasons. In most cases where we don't do something, it isn't because of publisher pressure or financial pressure. Every day of development you decide whether or not a feature or idea should be implemented based on hundreds of factors-your team's capabilities, technology limitations, time to implement, etc. Removing the money side of the business doesn't make these decisions go away. They're all issues that mod teams must consider, [too].

CGW: Is it in developers' interests to make easily modified engines?

JM: Player-created content keeps products on store shelves, no doubt about it. It pretrains potential hires, can generate great mainstream press, and is a wonderful feedback mechanism for fans. The downsides, however, are pretty potent. One is opening your game up to vulnerabilities. You also have the potential of copyrighted material showing up "in your game," requiring some sophistication on the part of IP holders to appreciate that the original developer isn't responsible. And the ability to differentiate between developer and mod content can become even more troublesome. If the quality of the latter is inconsistent and consumers think it's your company's work, it can reflect poorly on your franchise.

LG: I'd say yes. Modding has meant a lot to Battlefield since it both creates and extends life cycles for us and, at the same time, adds extra value for everyone else. Buy Battlefield 1942 and you get mods based on many major military conflicts. Plus, you can play a pirate, fight in space, drive Formula One cars, and much, much more.

Erik Johnson: Clearly, the mod community can continue to add value to your product after its launch, as was the case with Counter-Strike. And internally, we're building a number of products on the same core technology, each with different requirements, target platforms, and gameplay styles. This has the valuable effect of forcing us to build technology that is flexible and easy to use.

CGW: How far are you willing to go to help a group with its mod and/or game derivative?

JM: Epic has done virtually everything it can to help modmakers. This includes mailing lists that our programmers and content people read daily, million-dollar contests to motivate and provide structure, implementing feature requests and bug fixes, video tutorials with our partners at 3DBuzz, and even training events like Unreal University.

LG: We constantly try to improve our support, and it's getting better and better even though it's still far from perfect. At the same time, games are getting more and more complex, and what used to take an artist a few days to build can now require a couple of weeks. That impacts mod-making, as well, where it gets too hard to make models and also prepare them for the shaders and options that engines give you. It also puts a much higher premium on the tools we deliver&so in the end it becomes a matter of resources.

RD: We're the only developer to freely release source code for our past games. We've done this for every engine since Doom. This past August we released the source code for Quake III Arena. Understand that this is id's most successful technology platform ever-games using it have sold over 10 million units worldwide and generated over $250 million of industry revenue worldwide-not to mention it's the core technology for games that still sell tens of thousands of units a month right now. And we've made it free for anyone who wants to use it, even for a commercial product. A mod or development team can download the Quake III Arena source code, develop a product on it, sell it, and not have to pay us a dime as long as they make their code publicly available as well. What better gift to a team that has "the best idea ever" than to provide them with such a powerful, and industry proven tool with which to realize their dream.

EJ: There really isn't a limit&as long as we're helping to grow their community in a meaningful way. This could range from pointing our customers to them in Steam news updates, to helping with distribution on Steam.

CGW: Say you're positive a publisher won't support an idea of yours. Would you consider giving it to a modder, if only to get it out there? Maybe to make the point that it's something people want to play?

JM: It's an interesting, if unrealistic, idea. Everyone who plays games has a million great ideas. The trick isn't coming up with a great idea; it's implementing any idea to the point that someone else can enjoy it.

LG: Interesting point. I always keep my thoughts up my sleeve since I think that all ideas can be sold, only it requires the right time and presentation. Still, I'm close to the guys doing Desert Combat, and I truly enjoyed working with them. We'd been thinking about the same problems, only from two different angles. For me, it was, "Will we have time to put support in for this feature?" Their approach was, "How can we use existing elements to make this happen?" And that's something we've learned here: Rather than always asking your programmers for more support, try thinking like a modder and using what you have at hand. But back to the beginning: If I had an idea that I think they could deliver on, and that I, for various reasons, couldn't, then I'd trust them to make something of it.

RD: Yes, although we typically don't rely on publishers to make primary decisions on our technology or design. This would be a decision about whether or not we thought the idea made sense within our own game. If it's a great idea, we'd probably hold onto it for a future opportunity, though.

EJ: I don't see any shortage of ideas among mod teams, so we tend to focus on delivering support for the mod community-be that updating the SDK [software development kit], helping spread word about their creations, or simply answering an e-mail.

CGW: Ever see a mod and wonder, why didn't we do that?

JM: We find great features all the time in the content created by our mod community. Epic is staffed extensively with people who came from promising mods.

LG: Many times. When I first saw a vertical takeoff with the B-17 in the Parallel Worlds mod, it struck me as being so beautiful and simple. They'd taken what we'd already created and turned it into something new.

RD: [Grins] Yes&there was this flashlight-on-the-pistol mod for Doom 3.

EJ: Seeing others build such a wild range of things with our tools and technology over the years is one of the best parts of our jobs. From Counter-Strike to Garry's Mod, the community has proven to be a continuous source of unique content.

CGW: What tends to put a project on your radar?

JM: Public release. I've read too many design docs to get excited about a website with concept art and a world bible.

EJ: Shipping.

CGW: Anything about the modder's lot that you envy?

JM: The modder's world is free, though we think that freedom can be its biggest pitfall. As irksome as it can be to cut a feature because of deadlines, those deadlines keep us focused on the goal of shipping the game. A favorite saying of mine is that no one wants to read a poem by someone who doesn't know how to write a grammatically correct paragraph. In other words, you need to know how to make a game from beginning to end before you can really appreciate and take advantage of the liberty associated with no deadlines, burn rates, etc.

LG: The fact that modern development studios are now companies with projects employing 50 to 200 people each. It makes it necessary to run things more like a traditional company, where documentation and administration are a larger and larger part of your working day.

RD: Complete freedom to try new ideas without having to worry too much about production schedules and the intense scrutiny most triple-A titles are subjected to.

EJ: The mod community has the flexibility to take risks that traditional development studios aren't willing or able to take for a variety of reasons. It's their primary advantage, and the teams that are able to recognize this are the ones that tend to be the most successful. Now, they also have to deal with a number of challenges that we don't, not the least of which is physical proximity to the rest of their team. The mod community tends to evolve at a faster rate than the "professional" development community, though, and we're already seeing some teams that are actually software development companies building games in their spare time. Given the ability to take those kinds of projects to market with Steam, I'd expect to see more than a few software developers moonlighting from their real jobs and building products.

CGW: Anything you don't envy?

JM: [Laughs] I like getting paid.

LG: Working with a studio gives you the chance to create games full-time and meet some of the most talented developers in the business.

CGW: Have you considered something along the lines of Steam to showcase and make mods more accessible?

JM: We're investigating a number of new ways to put player-created content into our customers' hands for our upcoming products. Installing and switching between mods and the core game has not been as easy as it should have been in the past with Unreal, so we're going to be addressing that in UT2007.

LG: It sure is a slick way to deliver mods to players who you wouldn't otherwise reach.

RD: Internally, id hasn't looked into developing something like this on its own, but digital distribution is going to grow as a prominent method of product delivery.

CGW: Erik, is Valve interested in making more mods directly downloadable? Or does managing multiple iterations and bandwidth pose too many problems?

EJ: We're working on some technology in Steam to make this happen.

CGW: To what extent should mod teams explore trademark or copyright infringement issues before pursuing a project?

JM: If you're going to use someone else's copyrighted content, you absolutely need to have permission. Teams should also very clearly read end-user license agreements to understand what they're allowed and not allowed to do. If you trample on someone else's rights, prepare to be trampled back.

LG: Make sure your mod runs only with the appropriate game, make sure you have licenses for any software that you use, and obtain legal rights to textures, models, and fonts so that you won't be taken by surprise down the road.

CGW: Given the exponential complexity of perpetually "next-gen" games with enormously complex 3D environments and increasingly sophisticated A.I. reactions, are you making mod toolkits more or less easy to pick up?

JM: We've put a lot of time and effort into making tools for Unreal Engine 3 that are easier to use and more productive than past generations'. We needed to do this in order to offset the added complexity of next-generation game development. As a small development team, we have to constantly push the quality and productivity envelope to remain competitive with much larger shops. This creates a windfall for our games' modmakers because they can benefit from our investment in this area and also be more productive than people making mods for games that don't use our technology.

LG: When I started as an artist, I completed my applicant test by creating a boat and a plane consisting of 30 polygons and a color texture. Nowadays, a vehicle consists of some 10,000 polygons as well as bump-, specular-, and environmental-mapped textures. And this means that it takes much more knowledge in each area, no matter how accessible we make the tools.

CGW: Would you say your perspective as one-time modders who've found success is different from developers who've taken the traditional path? Are you more inclined to innovate?

John Gibson: I've been on both sides[&] and I would absolutely say that we are more apt to innovate than a traditional development studio. A pack mentality seems to permeate much of the established game industry. I saw it at the studio where I worked, and have seen it elsewhere. We saw it when we started pitching Red Orchestra to publishers. Any elements of our game that went outside of established norms were the very things publishers wanted to cut. And that was out of the question for us. We'd rather push the boundaries and reinvent them than conform to them.

Paul Wedgwood: Our inexperience means we're probably more likely to try something new, and quite possibly mess it up, but fortune favors the brave. The great thing is that Id Software and Activision are very flexible and supportive, so providing we're prepared to cut something that isn't working out (regardless of the effort we've invested), they're generally happy with us trying new things.

CGW: What, if anything, has going corporate done to your design philosophy?

JG: Well, I wish I could say it hasn't changed at all, but that wouldn't be the truth. You do have to be more mindful of a broader audience. Still, I'd say we have an incredibly strong rebellious streak.

Alan Wilson: One of the key elements that we started hitting the team with at an early stage is "get it right the first time." That matters in the mod world, but not so much. You can try something and change it. But being "corporate" means that we can't have that luxury; we can't be casual. It leads to some heated debate, since the old "try this and change it if it doesn't work" way simply won't cut it now. It also makes you more efficient, as you aren't continually tinkering with and reworking things.

John Morello II: "Going corporate" has such a negative sound to it. [With modding comes] the ability to communicate about and iterate on designs much faster than you'll find at any company. However, with Valve we get to watch the greatest minds in the industry at work, and we've learned a lot from them.

PW: With Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, our design goals remain exactly the same-generatively evolving class-based multiplayer combat. What has changed is our approach, and the biggest influence on this has been how much we've learned from Id. We're far more confident debating issues involving game mechanics and are somewhat less likely to sponsor a bad idea. Also, we're far more analytical now. When we started out, we sometimes felt a need to amass an impressive portfolio of stuff to show off. That said, we still haven't acquired the knack of using terms like "franchise," "product," or "SKU" with straight faces.

CGW: Top advice for mod teams still in the trenches?

JG: Try to pick an appropriate engine for your mod. If you're doing a total conversion with vastly different functionality than the game whose engine you're modding, make sure and stick to something with a good SDK such as Unreal or Source. If you're merely replacing models and artwork, then something like the Battlefield series might be the best choice.

AW: Listen to what players like about your mod, listen to what stops people [from] playing it-both offer important information. But balance that by remembering what your own aims are. Joe Halper: Keep a steady schedule (we released Desert Combat every 45 days). It'll help you both internally with development and externally with the fan base. At the beginning of the 45-day development cycle, we'd give each member goals for the next release, which also gave fans a time frame to play the [previous] build, post opinions, and anticipate the next release. The level of excitement was so intense at the week of each release that our website and e-mail would go down for days. JM: Don't try and make the greatest game of all time out of the gate. Take your good ideas, pick the smallest set that defines your game the best, and get it working. Then, when you get that out the door and working, add the next few features and release those. Release early, release often, iterate quickly.

CGW: Would you say you're more concerned with making things easier for mod teams that follow in your footsteps?

AW: While we may be the start of a new wave in some respects (which does sound desperately arrogant, I know), what we've really done is remind the industry that there's all this talent out there. That talent may be inexperienced by industry standards, but it's far more prepared to take risks and try new and radical ideas.

While some areas of the industry are throwing ever more money into development budgets, gamers simply want entertaining games at a reasonable price. Big production values don't guarantee fun games. Combine that with the new routes to market that are opening up, and you realize that this is potentially a great time for small and innovative teams to break in.

JM: We definitely do share our experience with those here at Valve who work on the SDK. However, I will say that making a mod today is harder than it was when we did it. Sometimes people, modders and players alike, forget about the man hours and money that go into phenomenal retail games, and put too much pressure on making a mega mod from the start. Pretty high-poly models and high-res textures don't determine how much fun something is.

CGW: Have you ever had your mod further modded by someone else? Do you support modding of your mods?

AW: I don't see any reason why people shouldn't do so. We encouraged mappers to make new material for Red Orchestra, as it immediately enhanced the mod. But one thing I've discovered is this: People can be very protective of their work, and I think it has a lot to do with the amount of effort put into the creative process. They do get upset when someone butchers their work or claims some derivative as their own.

JM: A couple Day of Defeat: Source mods are currently in the works. It's great as long as they stay within the guidelines of the end-user license agreement that ships with all Half-Life games. I'm looking forward to one Pacific Theater mod.

PW: Yes, and absolutely. Iterative revision and refinement is almost as important as innovation in game design and development. Iteration is far easier for a mod team too. We can't wait to see what mod-makers do with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

CGW: Would you say you're less risk averse than some major publishers in terms of trying new and untested things?

Garry Newman: Definitely. Having nothing to lose is one of the huge strengths of making a mod.

Thearrel McKinney: If a mod team spends a year creating a completely new type of game, and it doesn't go over well within the community, it's OK. They can either improve that title or move onto something else entirely.

Robert Crouch: Investors and publishers see innovative product as a massive financial risk. Without a proven market, they're hardly going to sign big contracts and give developers free reign to create anything out of the ordinary. As modders, we risk only our own spare time, and even if our projects fail to pick up players, we've still gained valuable experience.

Justin Harvey: The nature of the risk is different. If no one plays our project, it can be incredibly disheartening. Maybe our emotional investment is greater because our work is a labor of love.

Andrew Spearin: Perhaps we're able to explore areas publishers might not want to. For instance, Insurgency is set in present-day Iraq. The trend seems to be to base games such as Joint Operations, Battlefield 2, and the Clancy stuff on real locations, but fictional conflicts.

Adam Foster: We don't have to deal with focus groups insisting on lowering things to some lowest common denominator. My first Minerva maps are fairly straightforward, but I have some much more outlandish ideas for the future. One dispenses with combat entirely-at which point, those hypothetical focus groups are violently scribbling in their notebooks with red ballpoint. I couldn't care less.

CGW: Garry, would you wager that Garry's Mod or something like it could succeed as stand-alone software at retail?

GN: I don't think anyone would release a real sandbox game like Gmod-they'd have to base some sort of game around it. It's more like Photoshop in that it provides tools and says "have fun." That said, Steam-like distribution systems are changing how retail works and reducing the risks. Valve made it clear that the option is there if I want to start charging for my mod, but I can't imagine it bringing in enough money to risk killing the community, so I refused. Plus, it's buggy as hell and I'd be embarrassed to charge for it.

CGW: Is it in developers' interest to make easily modified engines?

TM: I believe so, but you can't really say it's what makes a game successful or not since plenty of games that weren't modifiable have sold more copies than games that were built with mods in mind.

RC: Gamers like us do owe John Carmack and Id Software a lot of gratitude, if not for the games they've created then at least for setting the standard when it comes to allowing for their modification.

AS: I hope so! Take a look at stuff that's easy enough to make mods for, and see how prosperous the mod community is even years after the original game came out. Like Half-Life. Same for Half-Life 2-it'll still be on hard drives alongside Half-Life 3.

CGW: How supportive have developers been if you had questions or design obstacles?

TM: That definitely varies from development house to development house. I've had some developers not reply to serious issues, and other developers respond to not-so serious issues. It's important to connect with your community, but there's a flip side to that, too. Many modders expect way too much from developers. Truth be told, developers[&] don't owe anyone anything.

RC: Valve was wonderful during our development of Dystopia. They flew four of our team [members] to Seattle to spend a week working on our game in their office.

AS: Working with Valve is a pleasure. Mods get much more exposure as a result of Steam news updates. For instance, when Insurgency was featured in a July 2005 update, our website had over 100,000 unique visitors within four days and ended up with over 130,000 unique visitors for that month.

CGW: What can devs do to make your life easier all around?

GN: Examples, examples, examples. Originally, one of the biggest problems with the Source SDK was that it was basically blank. People wanted to mod, not start from scratch. Valve remedied this with the release of its HL2MP SDK.

RC: 1) Release timely updates to SDK code bases, 2) Provide marketing and advertising for mods, 3) Help with distribution of mod content.

AF: Accurate documentation on using design tools is essential. I was held back for the better part of a year thanks to incomplete documentation-nothing existed on the A.I. entities for single-player Half-Life 2. Fortunately, the Valve developer community Wiki has fixed that situation entirely.

CGW: Are mod toolkits getting more or less easy to pick up?

GN: What's getting harder is creating highly detailed content like maps and models.

TM: Things are getting more complex and time consuming. The larger game worlds get, the more assets it takes to populate them.

RC: The learning curve for any development kit is definitely going to be directly linked to the complexity of the engine it's for. Countering this is the fact that professional developers are releasing more documentation and offering much higher levels of support.

JH: Again, documentation is key. A large part of Epic's business is engine licensing, and they've spent a great deal of time and effort documenting their development tools.

AF: In some ways, mapping for Source is easier than mapping for the original Half-Life engine. Scripting is much easier and the presence of so many props means I no longer have to construct every single polygon myself.

CGW: Have you ever had your mod further modded by someone else? Do you support modding of your mods?

GN: Yeah, that's what Garry's Mod is all about. I'm not into doing everything, so I try to open it up as much as I can.

TM: I'm not too supportive of people modding another person's projects, especially without permission. I suppose I'd be more supportive if they were interested in working with the original mod maker.

RC: Recently, someone approached us, asking for permission to export Dystopia's player models to Garry's Mod. We said sure-it's an excellent way to show off our artists' wonderful work, since so many people use Gmod to create wallpaper and comics. We also actively support people creating third-party maps for Dystopia, and are about to relaunch a mapping contest with cash prizes.

AS: Half-Life mods from Day of Defeat to Counter-Strike to Firearms all had strong third-party communities that created new models and maps, and I hope the same goes for Insurgency.

CGW: Any particular genres that have better modding tools overall, or that are easier to mod for?

RC: I'm biased, but from what I've seen, FPS games in general offer the best support. Over time, other developers in other genres will see that the return on the effort required to create and support an SDK is well worthwhile. Civ 4 is an excellent example.

AF: Perhaps FPSes in particular are the most versatile. Chalk it up to John Carmack's work-the Quake design of having a general-purpose engine with game-specific logic contained in a separate module seems to have been quite influential. In many games, the engine is synonymous with the game logic, with no real separation between where one ends and the other begins.

CGW: Is an immediate wide release with potentially more bugs better for the mod format in terms of finding and squashing bugs faster? GN: The community does the testing-not the consumer. And a mod is never finished-this is something that I think a lot of modders forget. These things don't need to be perfect. The community enjoys playing iterations as they evolve. TM: [I suggest] rigorous internal testing to squash as many bugs as possible, followed by a test release before an official release. It's much better to have 100 eyes on your project than 10, as it's almost certain they'll find bugs you haven't.

RC: We held off on a public release until we had a very polished demo version ready. First impressions count. Players often say things like, "I think I'll wait until it's out of beta," and then never take the time to try the mod again.

CGW: How do you handle feedback?

AF: One message I received shortly after releasing the first Minerva map outlined some plot failings and omissions. These were questions a player should have been asking, so I worked out some answers, which I'll slowly reveal in subsequent maps. Constructive criticism is brilliant. I only wish I'd get more of it. GN: Not to sound bigheaded, but I've never focused on positive feedback because I've always known that the features I added were awesome, otherwise I wouldn't have added them. I paid more attention to negative feedback. A lot of it made me think, "I'm making this mod for free, be f***ing grateful," but eventually it drove me to make it so they didn't have anything to bitch about. Now the feedback is "Garry is gay," which is a good sign that they've run out of arguments.

Re:Slashdotted already. What did it say? (1)

Nazo-San (926029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14812615)

Thanks. Ironically enough, it loaded almost instantly once I got home and saw your post. Don't know if the slashdot bomb finally settled or if maybe it was that connection where I was having troubles reaching that server for some reason.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that they seem at least mostly supportive. None in there exploded at the thought of someone modifying their content or anything. It all felt a little rehearsed to me though. I wonder how the greater majority of devs feel though. They just interviewed some people involved in some of the most recent most modded games, but, I still wish I knew better how some of them feel about those that were clearly not meat to be modded. Still, the more PR in favor of modding, the more future games will fully support it I would hope.

I have to disagree with LG about modding getting harder I must say. I played around a bit here and there over the years with various moddable games and I have to say that the skill level required for modding has actually not changed very much overall. From games like ZZT & MegaZeux which utilized ASCII art and OOP programming to todays games like Doom 3, the aforementioned Morrowind, and so on, I'd say the main thing that has changed is the amount of individual skill levels. For example, it's best these days to get someone who works with CAD a lot than to try to make your own graphics with no experience, but, back in the day of MegaZeux with it's loadable font ASCII art it still required amazing time and effort to make things have a clean good look. I've noticed a lot the sheer ease of doing things despite the complexity of game engines the last time I played around with Morrowind's toolset and tossed together my own little underground hiding hole (complete with persistant storage, training areas, and so on of course.) Morrowind had it's downfalls, but, it was no simple engine (one of, if not the first commercial game to make use of programmable pixel shaders in fact.) A little more recently I dabbled a bit in NWN's toolkit and it was simplicity itself to build the actual maps. Adding new graphics, writing up the code for scripted events or such, and adding other such content has definitely not gotten any harder. I'd say with more and more designing with mods in mind these days, modding has probably gotten easier.

(with apologies to Stephen King) (1)

Zwets (645911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810010)

There's no denying their influence on future game development

The whole bit goes:

Even if you don't appreciate mods, there's no denying their contribution to future game development. True American icons!

(sorry sorry sorry... the blurb just put this into my head and I couldn't resist posting..)

Re:(with apologies to Stephen King) (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810093)

Even if you don't appreciate mods, there's no denying their contribution to future game development. True American icons!

I'm British, you insensitive clod! :-P

Submitter's mod (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810221)

(Disclaimer: I was one of those interviewed!)"

I'd just like to say how happy I was today when I saw a reader at Eurogamer had pointed out that there's a release date for the next chapter of Minerva. The first was the most fun single-player mod I've ever played - hands down (and also one of the shortest, you seem to understand quality over quantity).

Gary's Mod is a good laugh, but Metastasis had me hooked and waiting in earnest for the next chapter.

Heh (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810290)

For a second there I thought the title of the article was MOD PARENT UP! God I hate when people say that.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14810607)

MOD PARENT UP! He's insightful... just like this:

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING...

Re:Heh (1)

Wizworm (782799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14811695)

MOD PARENT UP!! I totally agree and have Karma to burn


YowzaTheYuzzum (774454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14815439)

I agree, it's annoying!

Aww....i thought this would be about MODs. (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810708)

The musical kind.

No wonder.. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14811703)

No wonder nobody's gotten modded up the past few days. GD mods are all on vacation. Back to work mods! We don't not pay you for nothing.

1UP's FPS Mod Summit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14811815)

...since no other types of mods were listed at all? You know, other games have been modded too...

I wish more companies would be like this... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14814166)

If every company realized that modding is GOOD for games (generally, there are exceptions to the rule though), maybe we would have better mod support.

For example, better mod support for the Command & Conquer line of games would be GREAT.
As would better mod support for Rollercoaster Tycoon.

Some companies totally "get" modding (like ID Software, Epic and Valve and to a large extent Microsoft) and some sort of "get" modding e.g. Electronic Arts which kinda supports modding in Battlefield and The Sims and doesnt support it at all in any meaningfull way in most of their other games (for example, there is little to no official modding support towards the Command & Conquer line of games or Lord Of The Rings Battle For Middle Earth)
Then there are companies (like blizzard) that are downright hostile to modding (just look at how much trouble they have gone to to make the game data for Warcraft III, Starcraft, Diablo II etc hard to get at, not to mention the bnetd case)

Web developers hark! (1)

some guy on slashdot (914343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14815438)

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Those double underlined adverlinks have to go. I will not even read your site any further, let alone click your ads, if I see them. They are a blight on your content: invasive, irrelevant and obnoxious. Please get rid of them. Thank you.
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