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ModDB is a website that aims to create a lasting database of mods, games and indie games. Somestimes, as a developer, you feel it necessary to have a customized design for your content, to represent it effectively. Thus far we never published any tutorial on the way to do it properly, and that is what we aim to help you with today.

This tutorial is considered as "advanced" and will use words and terms about web customization, such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML (web coding). Worry not, we will explain how it works.


Phase 1: Understanding how customization works

First of all, please notice customizing requires some specific skills, particularly when it comes to programmation and design. Hopefully, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox now propose a web inspector, which would be really useful for this tutorial. We'll be using the one provided by Google Chrome, as it appears to be faster and more user friendly than Mozilla Firefox. That doesn't mean you can't do it with Mozilla Firefox, not at all.

Here is a list of what you need to know about how customization works:

  • Customizations won't replace the main CSS of ModDB. Your modifications will be added into another one, which will be implemented into all of your pages.
  • Your modifications need to be staff approved, that means you will need to give your customized CSS to the staff, by sending a private message to Erayser (website editor). Modifications are generally approved and applied within 2 business days.
  • If you want to use a customized design created by someone else on the site, you will need to get the express authorization from the author.
  • If your modifications break the site in a sense of conflictual CSS and/or HTML elements, your modifications won't be approved until you solve them.
  • The ModDB logo and the user bar can't be removed. However, you can edit them, visually speaking.
  • Your modifications can be applied on both ModDB and IndieDB.

The circle of media

In our previous tutorial, we discussed about why it is important to create an effective profile (for your mod, game or engine). It means you are capturing the attention of your visitors and keeping them there for as long as possible to generate interest. And designing your pages in correlation with the identity of your project is a part of it. That why it is necessary to design a page that can represent it perfectly.

As an example, you are not going to make a modern design for a medieval project, aren't you? That's why to optimize your identity, you should focus on creating a design that is similar to what you're doing, as it would seriously impact the attention of your visitors. Remember, we want to help you succeed!

Here's a great example of what you can achieve thanks to this tutorial:

There are three different kinds of customizations

Whether you are an artist that wants to make a complete design or someone that just want a different background, you can all customize your profiles. What truly matters is how you will proceed.

Here is a list of three different kinds of customizations before we start:

  • Complete customization: That means you want to change everything on your page (like Sins of The Prophets). This advanced customization requires a lot of time, as you will need to be methodic and organized. Worry not, we'll show you how to do it properly.
  • Medium customization: That means basically you just want to change the colors, the backgrounds, some images and stuff like that, which is not really complicated.
  • Light customization: That means you just want to change your background, and add a background picture from your project.


Phase 2: Web Inspector (or DevTools)

So you had a fantastic idea about a new design for your project and you want to have a stunning page to represent effectively your stuff. Perfect! You'll need to use the web inspector from Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to follow this tutorial. I'll be using the one provided by Google Chrome for the reasons shown above, mostly for compatibility between browsers.

Open the web inspector

To open the web inspector, simply use Ctrl+Shift+I on Windows or Cmd+Opt+I on Mac OSX. You can do it as well with a right click somewhere on the site, and then click on the button "Web Inspector" or "Inspect this page". For this tutorial we'll be giving explanations on how to edit your page, so let's use your own page.

So, you are on your page, the web inspector is opened but you don't know what to do. On the left, this is your page, in HTML5. On the right, the columns represent the codes from the main CSS. You don't need to use other tabs such as "Network, Sources..." as we just want to change the design.

Let's change, for example a single element, but you don't know how to pick one. You just need to click on the search icon, so that when your cursor will be on an element of the page (such as text, images...) the web inspector will show you where it is in the programmation.

Once you clicked on the icon, we will move the cursor on the project name. Then, you should see a blue background color which represents the position dedicated to the name. Click ...

... and then the web inspector will show you the exact position of your element in the HTML code.

Changing elements

You will notice on the right that you have design properties attached to your title. This tab will be the one you are going to use the most when you'll be customizing your page. There are plenty of properties (background, border, text, color...) but we won't show all of them.

Remember the "name of the element" represents the property you want to change. Be careful, because If various titles on your page are using the same property (element), all of them will be changed. The unique reason for some of them to be different is that they have a specific modification, applied with their respective section/div. It's getting a bit complicated here, but worry not, I'll explain how specific modifications work later.


For example, let's just change the color (click on the color property), and replace "#FFF" by "green" or whatever you want as long as it's a recognized color.

Saving your modifications

Congratulations! You made your very first modification. That's one small step for you but one giant leap for your page. Now that you have a customized element, you'll need to save it into a .CSS file. We recommend you to use Notepad++ for Windows or TextWrangler for Mac OSX to save your modifications.


Phase 3: Preview

It's done! You believed you customized what you wanted, that it's the time to see how it looks. There are plenty of ways to do it, but let's use the easiest one.

Using the source code as a reference

Get back to the summary page of your project on ModDB such as "moddb.com/xxxx/xxxxxxxxxx". Then, right click and select "View source" or if the button doesn't show up, click on the URL at the top (browser) and add before it "view-source:", like that:

view-source:

You should be able to see thousands of lines representing the source code of your page. What we want to do is to test your modifications. To do so, we'll need to implement the latter ones in this code. Listen carefully as this is a bit difficult. First of all, save the whole source code in Notepad++ (Windows) or TextWrangler (Mac OSX). Once it's done, you need to implement all of your modifications in this portion of code, just before the div called "Column Span-all".

Once it's done, your code is ready to be previewed. All you need is to save your file as .HTML and then open it with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You will be able to see if your code works perfectly fine or not.

Phase 4: Common issues and solutions

You now understand how customization works. Brillant! Like I said previously, we can't give you a list with all the possibilities you can do with your CSS. There are plenty of tutorials on the internet from specialized websites. Now, let's focus on the problems you may encounter.

Usage of the "!important" property

If you're making a stunning design, you will notice that some specific elements won't change despite your modifications. It's normal, in fact you will need to use the "!important" property for each element that doesn't show up properly. You will recognize them as they are likethat.

However, the fewer "!important" there are, the better. Remember these are exceptions. To make one, you will need to proceed like that:

div.headerbox ul.menu {
  background-color: #000!important; // LIKE THIS EXAMPLE
  list-style: none;
  margin: 0;
}

Compatibility with browsers

It is essential to ensure your code is compatible with all browsers. Although today a lot of elements are automatically compatible, some of them are still irritating for all web designers, like specific gradients, keyframe animations, box-shadows, text-shadows and so on... Fortunately, a lot of tutorials on the web have solutions for that. Worry no more!


Phase 5: Design examples

Here's a short list of pages using a total customized design, if you don't have any inspiration or if you'd like to contact their respective authors, to get the authorization to use one. Click on the pictures to see the pages on the site.


Phase 6: Send us your CSS modifications

That's it! You made it, your awesome modifications are ready and you want to publish your customized design. Therefore, you will need to send a private message to Erayser (website editor). As we said previously, modifications are generally approved and applied within 2 business days.

We recommend you to upload your CSS file somewhere else like Dropbox or to paste your CSS modifications on pastebin.com, unless you only made minor changes.

Feel free to ask any questions about this tutorial or the problems you may encounter while customizing your respective profiles. Good luck making great profiles! Remember, do or do not, there is no try!


UPDATE: Winners contacted!

Thanks to everyone who tweeted their love of mods. It was great to see, and we look forward to running the event again in 2017. We have just begun sending an email which looks like this to people who followed the rules below and participated in this years event. 70% of people who participated got a key so check your mailbox and with a bit of luck you are a winner. Oh and the games were picked at random, sorry we cannot swap or switch them.


We ******* love mods! Who doesn't, they make PC the master race and all games better. Last year we kicked off this event after the paid modding saga left many worried about where the industry is heading. And while the dust has settled and things have returned to normal, modders dedicate a lot of time to their craft while asking for little in return.

Introducing #modlove2016

With more games supporting modding today than ever before we need to encourage game developers to continue working on keeping their platforms open and mod friendly. We also need to let mod developers know their effort is enjoyed and appreciated by many. It's the least we can do, which is why for this week only you may have noticed every mod on the site has a "love bar" shown on their profile, which looks a little like this:


Get involved

Just click any of the handy links provided, then post a message with a link to the mods profile to help raise awareness and appreciation for your favorite mods. Or follow these steps:

  1. It doesn't matter where your favorite mod is hosted be it on Run Shoot Think Live, GameBanana, Curse, Workshop, Nexus or Mod DB.
  2. Copy its URL then write a post explaining why you like that mod (you could write this post on your blog, in a forum, a tweet or facebook) the more we share the better.
  3. Tell us about your post by linking to it in the comments here.
  4. At the end of the week we shall be picking a few lucky members who left a comment following these rules at random, and giving them a key to one of the games listed below as thanks for helping us celebrate mods!

Game giveaway

We have partnered up with some friends of ModDB (want in?), who have always been mod-friendly and deserve our love, and will be giving them away to participants. We've got a handful of keys for the games listed below - just follow the steps above to be eligible to win!

Boxshot Boxshot Boxshot Boxshot
Killing Floor 2 Boxshot http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/1/24/blackmesa.jpg Boxshot


Don't miss this chance to promote the mods you love and win awesome mod-friendly games! Time is limited...

In an effort to make sharing downloads easier, we have created a handy widget system. You will now see each download page has an "embed widget" button. It works just like a Youtube embed. Copy and paste the widget anywhere you want (here, on your homepage, forums etc). Then the widget contains a button to begin the download directly without any messing around. Here is it in action using Brutal Doom as the example.


Furthermore, the widget system works on virtually any profile URL on the site. Just add /widget to the end of the URL you are visiting to see it in widget form.

v5 Alpha

After talking about it for years, work on v5 of the site has finally begun. Our goal is keeping the same layout with minor improvements, that focus on usability, responsiveness and mobile support. This way we retain familiarity while improving everything else. At the moment we are just experimenting with ideas, but if you would like to see what we have done we plan on opening up our development in the group here. We expect v5 development to take about 4 months or so, and welcome all feedback and bug reports in our Github board.

Support us by subscribing:



Subscribers get instant access to the alpha, so if you love the site and want to support us - we greatly appreciate it!

UPDATE: So that no one misses this news I have bumped it to the top. THANKS GREATLY to our community for uploading some mods. Please continue to do so. We continue to try and get in touch with Defy Media (GF owners), but no luck so far.


It has just been announced that long running gaming hub GameFront will be closing it's doors on April 30th. The Mod DB team would like to sincerely thank the GameFront crew for doing an outstanding job supporting modding and helping host the public's creations over 20 years.

Game Front Logo


We are very worried that many amazing mods and addons shared only on Gamefront will be lost in 2 weeks time after the closure. So we are calling on our entire community to help us preserve these files and make them available forever. If you have downloaded a mod, addon or know of files on GameFront that are not currently hosted on Mod DB, please share them. You can submit content to Mod DB via the following links:


After April 30th no files will be able to be recovered so if you have files or know of others that do please spread the word, so we can all do our bit in making sure all mods are added to the archives and not the history books. Finally Mod DB would like to wish the team at GameFront the very best with their future endeavors and once again thank them for their contribution to the modding community.

Thanks for helping us preserve modding history


A few people have asked where to submit files. To help answer that: it really depends on the project. If it has a trailer, multiple images or news you should make a mod profile www.moddb.com/mods/add and submit the file to the mod profile. If it is just an individual file (map, model etc) with not many details, a download will do: www.moddb.com/downloads/add (just make sure you pick the right category for the file (map, model etc) and our system will automatically determine if it is an addon or not)

You may have noticed that we recently added VRDB.com to the DBolical Network. It was a big step for us, our first new site in over 6 years and our first site to utilize a modern responsive mobile friendly design. It is also our first site where we are mixing community content (as we do on ModDB.com and IndieDB.com) with content and coverage written by our editor Daniel Hindes. We chose to do this because with so much occurring right now in VR (across hardware, software, games and entertainment), we want to make sure we don't miss the key stories.

VRDB - Games and Hardware


Expect to see us cross-promote VRDB on our network for a while, as we work on growing its community. Any help is welcome (see our job ad), if you know developers working on VR or AR content - let them know about our humble community. We succeed when we help creators share their work, and look forward to doing this once consumer VR hits shelves.

IOTY Winners ad MOTY winners ad


We also wrapped up our Mod and Indie of the Year awards. You may have seen the gorgeous ads running on the site showcasing the winners. It was our most successful event with over 200,000 voters and millions of visitors. Thanks again to everyone who participated, it provides great motivation for us to keep making our network better.

Speaking of which, you might be wondering what is next for us. Well with the help of Erayser, we have begun exploring modernizing the design of ModDB and IndieDB. This doesn't mean the layout will change, but it will mean certain elements are tweaked and the site is made responsive. We shall also be working on better supporting cosmetic smaller mods, because it seems a lot of the creations today fit into these categories. And we shall also work on AJAX'in more of the site so that posting comments, browsing / searching feels a lot nicer than it presently does. Got ideas for us, share them in the comments. Oh and I was recently interviewed by Tim on GoGameBundle, go check it out.

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