PC Games Developers Must Support The Modding Community!
It wasn’t too long ago in the land of PC gaming that virtually every big and successful title had mods to go alongside it. Now, this isn’t the case. Sure, there are still games which do support mods, but it’s more becoming less frequent. Take a look at ID Software’s Rage for just a moment. ID Software’s Doom and Quake series were all about mods – but with Rage, the tool kits have only just seen the light of day – and are clunkier and more awkward than they need be too.
Why is this? Is it a case of more games being developed for the console first, and then PC in mind later, or is it something more? It’s important to remember that Elderscrolls 5 Skyrim was released on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, and yet the PC version of the title had fantastic support for mods. Players could mod the game to their hearts content. Sure this did create a few problems on launch – the game couldn’t address enough RAM which caused hanging / crashing for one, but it DID bring a lot of excitement into the fold. It wasn’t long before mods such as LockPick Pro came into the fray – and those mods made the lives of gamers happier (especially for people like me, who hate lock picking with a passion).
while it’s of course more work to develope with this in mind – in my opinon it helps breed game sales. Many developers don’t include such tools for a simple reason – DLC. With the inclusion of such toolsets, the worry is that pieces of DLC wouldn’t be so eagerly purchased. i’d argue this isn’t the case – DawnGuard and of course DragonBorn have done quite well. But it does mean that small pieces of DLC, those which for example EA are packing into Dead Space 3 (for example, weapon parts) would be far less interesting. It also means that titles wouldn’t be able to so easily sell costume packs and the like.
The thing is though – titles like DayZ wouldn’t exist without mods. DayZ is one of the reasons that ARMA 2 ended up being purchased by a few of my friends – in other words, drove the games sales. The same could be said for CounterStrike and Half Life. I wonder how many extra copies of HL were sold, for the buyer to never even touch Gordon’s campaign but to instead focus on hostage rescue and arguments over the finer points of M4A1 vs Ak47.
Mods can be a pain in the butt at times. For example, in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, few have problems with DPS meters. Even the quest helpers (although they’re less helpful now Blizzard have far better quest help in game). But, some mods have needed to be broken, including one which quite literally highlighted areas of the screen the player needed to stand to avoid damage. Deadlyboss mods is one thing – it just alerts that the boss is about to do something. But being told to get ready, or being told “get ready, stand here, avoid these areas and then go back at it” is going to far. It’s taking decision away from the player.
Even Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (both 1 and 2) have done quite well for mods – including stupidly powerful force powers. There’s even a mod which lets you skip the intro parts of the game (which get boring real fast on the second or third play through). I believe that PC games developers should ensure that their games are as mod friendly as possible. It might even net them more money at the end of the day!