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Does the mod scene seem on life-support to you? (Forums : General Banter : Does the mod scene seem on life-support to you?) Post Reply
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Jul 5 2014, 9:13am Anchor

I dunno, I recall the mod scene was very active for a long time, I used to check Moddb every day. I dunno when it happened, but I went weeks or months without checking and barely anything updated, or exciting new mods started or were released.

Most new games don't have Mod support, true. It's a factor.

However, I'm missing seeing a dozen new HL2 mods go up in development and maybe 1 out of the dozen successfully releasing, and 1 out of several dozen of those that release being something special.

Things just seem Sloooooooow to me. Black Mesa released, and that was like the turning point I think, after that, and it's successful deal, I see more mods turning Indie and selling then making full mods. I mean good for them, but uh, I dunno, I miss the freedom and creativity of the mod scene.

Now that it's so easy to turn a mod into a retail game and sell sell sell, everyones doing it. Which is really good for them as I said above, they need to make a profit off their hard work. Maybe it's just the end of an era, the end of modding for games. It survived two decades very healthy, but it seems it's reaching a turning point, with developers not supporting it(some do, rarely), and alot of Modders going Indie...

What are your thoughts?

Jul 5 2014, 10:16am Anchor

First, your post in musical format.
Youtu.be
:P

Anyway, onto your post proper. First, the whole bit about mods not making it across the finish line is nothing new. Just recently I was talking to a lady about a mod/indie game she was involved in, and I have to say I'm doubtful of it's chances of success. Look at all the dead stargate mods of years past if you need proof. Likewise, mods are still happening, but most of them are either for games I don't care about, like minecraft or Gmod, or are going the indie rout.

There is still a ton of stuff being made. I remember when I decided to make a Doom mod and was overwhelmed by the selection available, with people doing some amazing things with the engine, with Brutal Doom being the big success story in modding right now. Half Life 2 modding is pretty barren, but the tools are generally considered outdated, slow to use and unstable. Making a total conversion of Half Life 2 doesn't really make sense when stuff like Unity allows you to everything quicker, easier, and with better results. There's also the case of standards. Time was a map pack and some new weapon models was enough. Now, that doesn't cut it. Menerva Metastatis, Leon SP and Nightmare House were basically maps. After Black Mesa and Nightmare House 2 raised the bar, where else is left to go? There's pseudo intellectual "high art" barely interactive stuff like Stanly Parable, Slender and Dear Escher, but again, where do you go from there?

I play Rimworld, Doom, and currently I'm messing around with Left 4 Dead 2, all of which are fairly active mod wise. If anything, I think Moddb might have failed in surfacing that stuff. L4Dmaps (or gamemaps I think it was renamed to) is pretty active, as is the Rimworld forum and the various Doom forums. Doom is particularly good because there's so many mods you won't know what to do with yourself.

I don't want to seem accusatory, but I think there's various issues here. Aside from the bar raising I mentioned, and the lack of native mod support you mentioned (got to sell that DLC), I think the rise in graphics has meant that asset heavy mods are fewer, and the current opening of doors to indie development mean that modding is no longer the means to get your game made. Another issue could be Moddb itself, because specialist sites for individual games are still alive and kicking.

Edited by: SabreXT

MiNTO
MiNTO Dark Spirits
Jul 10 2014, 5:15am Anchor

Don't think modding is on life support any more but before Steam Workshop it did feel like it was slowly disappearing. The problem now for mods and the same goes for the indie community, is discoverability. It's getting harder to find the great stuff with amount of half-arsed poop people shove out. 

Also, mods being not completed is nothing new.

--

Jul 11 2014, 7:16pm Anchor

Did you even read my post? I mentioned that with 1 in 10 mods actually releasing and 1 in those dozens actually being good.

Crypt
Crypt Level Designer Type Thing
Jul 11 2014, 11:22pm Anchor

This is all me just theorizes and explaining how I'm thinking, but I actually think it's really neat how easy it is to go indie and standalone now. The way I see it, it's literally just labeling, and dare I say, possibly a hint of elitism, now. If a mod team or even just one modder wanted to create their own thing, let's face it, they probably started it from a mod out of ease of resources or prior experience with the game's engine. But with standalone engines becoming so cheap and easy to learn, it's really no wonder that they'd prefer that, what with removed limits and even the option to sell.

As for quantity and quality: It's very easy to get started in mod dev. Getting started with modding and getting an idea is easy as pie. But actually finishing it? That takes much more work and dedication, and time. However, that initial ease means it it attracts quite a few people, some dedicated, many not so much. That should already be enough to put 2 and 2 together. You get lots of people that get started, decide they're making a mod. Only some of them are dedicated enough to see it through to the end, and only some of those are willing to put the time and effort in to make a particularly great mod.

Though, one thing I dislike is the apparent idea that all mods need to be commercial quality. It wasn't like this some years ago, but with the few spectacular gems cropping up, I feel like they take some spotlight, and then everyone sees them and then holds them as the standard. I actually have a message from someone telling me they think that professional should be the standard here, not amateurs (ie a large portion of modders).

You mention Half-Life 2 modding. As a mod and not a commercial company, wouldn't it make sense to hold HL2 mods at a standard of no higher than HL2, if even that? But lo, tech progressed and HL2 doesn't hold a candle to modern games, which are now being held as the standard. I've seen people "meh" HL2 skins or maps that just blow away HL2.

So, just think about that. Not many newer games allow modding, but newer games are still being held as the standard and modders takes a hit. Then you got the few big guys (like Black Mesa) that produce the more rare, top-notch work, get the largest audience, and then modders are held to that, too.

All in all, you've commercial engines becoming cheaper and easier to access, fewer games supporting large-scale mods, and unreasonably high standards. Some may decide, "Screw it, if I'm going through all this effort for a mod, I might as well just make a game."

Jul 12 2014, 5:34am Anchor

I think there is a bit of a problem at the moment with modding, as it really is only the older games that give mod support, most new games are written in third party engines that don't have built in mod support. Developers would have to write their own modding tools, which isn't exactly going to be top of the list. Titanfall might have had mod support if it wasn't partnered with EA who never like to do anything extra. Considering it was using heavily modified source it should have been easier to implement than in any other game.

So in short lack of new games with mod support is killing interest of people who might be interested to start modding, buying an old game like l4d2 even if it is quite fun isn't as enticing as if we had frostbite to muck around in and make cool bf4 mods etc.

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