Mod of the Year

Twenty years ago, ModDB was founded as a way to revolutionise access to user generated content. Year on year, ModDB has persisted, providing a platform for the most incredible work from the most talented creators. Now, in 2022, we're celebrating those twenty years with a vote on the top mods of all time onsite!

Joining together winners voted by the community over Mod of the Year from 2002 to 2021, we're giving you the opportunity to decide your favourite mods in five categories core to the site's repertoire - Best Total Conversion, Best In-Universe, Best Multiplayer, Best Modern, and Best Classic.

Show your support and start hitting those vote buttons for your favorite mods of the past!



ModDB V1 is live

ModDB was created and launched by Scott aka INtense! officially, in July 2002. Like many gamers at the time, I found myself captivated by mods for Half-Life, Warcraft, Doom, Quake, Unreal and other popular titles. While most game studios were still only experimenting with gameplay modes like Deathmatch, modders were revolutionizing multiplayer with Counter-Strike, Natural Selection, DotA and others.

Determined to play every mod created but frustrated by how hard it was to find a reliable site hosting mods at the time, I decided to solve the problem by creating a database for creators to collaborate and share content. Little did I know at the time, it would start a twenty year journey for me and others who shared my passion for modding. Arguably the most enjoyable feature in V1 was allowing anyone to submit a custom themed ModDB logo which changed on every visit; we received hundreds.

2002 to 2004 - Mod DB v0.5 to v1.5


ModDB v2 tries a modular design

Inspired by online art communities like DeviantArt that were popular at the time, ModDB V2 aimed to pick up where V1 left off, but with a much cleaner, very white, (less gamey) modular design. The reason why such an uncharacteristic design was tried back in 2004, was because the timing coincided with my first corporate job, and I wanted a site which felt more "professional and official". Totally wrong for a game site I soon learnt, but fortunately the community overlooked this minor indiscretion and ModDB continued to grow and become the hub for many more modders.

2004 to 2006 - Mod DB v2.0


April Fools

In 2005, ModDB's designer Shaun aka Stuffie decided to play a prank on the community by declaring ModDB a Powerpuff girls fansite, with an appropriately pink theme to match. Unbeknownst to many, who didn't realize the prank (this being long before Twitter, Reddit and other social networks made it too hard to trick people), it caused quite a commotion!

Fortunately the design was only live for a few days, and everyone's eyes could rest once the original V2 theme was restored.

2005 April Fools - Mod DB becomes the Powerpuff Girls


ModDB V3 introduces download support

Perhaps the most significant update in ModDB's history was the launch of V3. V3 introduced the iconic red theming that still persists today. More importantly, it was the first time a mod creator could upload their mod file on ModDB. Prior to this point, due to the complexity and cost of file storage and bandwidth, to download mods from ModDB you typically were linked to FilePlanet or FileFront or other popular game file hosting sites at the time.

The other major enhancement that ModDB V3 brought was tabbed profiles, which really strengthened ModDB's reputation as the place to host total conversions, since you could attach galleries, news, files and more to your mod's profile.

2006 to 2007 - Mod DB v3


AddonDB arrives

Shortly after the launch of ModDB V3, a spin-off version of ModDB was launched called AddonDB. Where ModDB was designed for total conversions and projects needing galleries, updates and releases, AddonDB was created for cosmetic mods or micro conversions, which only alter small parts of gameplay. With a blue theme, new domain, and growing popularity for addons - AddonDB felt like the first logical expansion of the DBolical Network. However demand wasn't high, and people kept submitting content to ModDB, so after only 1 year of operation AddonDB was rolled into the addons section of ModDB.

AddonDB however wasn't the last attempt to expand the DBolical Network. In 2008 IndieDB was launched following the rise of standalone games on ModDB as Unity and Unreal Engine took off, and has over 43,000 games on it today. SlideDB for mobile games and VRDB for XR games were also attempted, but like AddonDB the demand wasn't quite there, so they are no longer operational.

2006 - AddonDB


ModDB rebrands as GameCore

A fun fact that very few people know - In 2008 when ModDB V4 launched, it actually launched rebranded under the name of "GameCore". The goal with the relaunch was to start to build ModDB into a destination for all gamers and creators with reviews and features, and not just mods.

The inspiration for such a bold change, was because back in 2008, indie games were just starting to take off as digital distribution grew. Engines like Unity and Unreal gave indie developers access to powerful tools for the first time, which meant less modding activity, as you no longer needed to mod a game, to ship a game. Fearful this trend would continue and render modding obsolete, the change was made.

However community feedback was swift, furious and overwhelmingly negative, and 100% correct! People loved ModDB for being about mods; it's what made the site and community unique from other gaming sites at the time, and so after only one week as GameCore, ModDB returned, along with the iconic red theming.

2008 - GameCore v1


ModDB V4 still going strong today

Mod DB V4 was a major overhaul, a complete rewrite from the backend to the frontend. The goal of V4 was to start to embrace a widening development community.

New features in V4 was the introduction of video support, groups, game engines, platforms and the ability for developers to submit indie games to the games section (which were previously being added as mods under a made up game called "standalone").

Every version prior to V4 had taken less than 6 months to complete. V4, however, took several years, and was nearly abandoned several times. Thankfully, we persisted, launched and received a great response from the community which has continued to the present day. Since V4 went live over five million members have joined ModDB and downloaded over 500 million mods. Every month over five million gamers still visit ModDB, many seeking mods for their favorite games, many of those games like Half-Life, Doom, Command & Conquer older than the site itself, and still going strong thanks to their incredible modding communities.

2008 to Present - Mod DB v4


Mod Hall of Fame

Whilst not directly related to ModDB, in 2010 to celebrate our 8 year anniversary, we decided to launch a Hall of Fame for Mods.

There are so many incredible mods that have impacted the games industry in profound ways that we could include on this list. However our criteria and focus has always been to highlight the mods that we admire, have grown up through ModDB, or went on to find critical acclaim and commercial success.

In total over 30 mods are listed, dating way back to 1996 when Team Fortress was first released for Quake. A new mod is generally added every couple of years.

2010 - Mod Hall of Fame


ModDB V5 attempting modernization

In January 2017, ModDB's V5 alpha was revealed for feedback. ModDB V5 was designed to deliver a modern, responsive, mobile friendly experience. It features larger images, and profiles which have clearer call to actions at the top, so its easier for the community to subscribe and build a feed of their favorite content, like modern social networks do.

However, to this day, V5 has never exited alpha and launched, after community feedback suggested the flat color layout lacked the character, customization and history (check out these amazing stylized profiles) that makes ModDB so unique.

The alpha is still available to preview, and our plans remain to update and relaunch V5 at some point in the future when we have determined a way to balance the desire to preserve the legacy, and modernize the site.

??? - Mod DB v5


Integrated mod solution launches

When ModDB first launched in 2002, the vast majority of mods were total conversions, often changing the base game in unrecognizable ways (HL Rally is a classic example). As game engines have grown, gaming business models have shifted, and digital distribution has risen, many mods and UGC these days has become cosmetic in nature.

ModDB was not designed for the submission and accessibility of content of this nature, so in 2017 was born. as an independent company and community, aims to expand on what ModDB began, by providing a platform game studios can use to launch their own mod community. The open source SDKs and APIs provides allows studios to automate mod distribution in-game, and for the first time take mods cross-platform, so PC, console and mobile gamers can all experience the joy I discovered 20 years ago when playing and making my first mod.


Preserving mod history

To this day ModDB remains proudly independent, and entirely community powered thanks to the millions of creators and players who visit and share content each month. At ModDB we endeavour to preserve every piece of modding history submitted to the site forever, and more importantly, continue to give creators a voice, to share, learn and find a provide a pathway into the industry. We believe mods are only going to become more impactful and important across the games industry, and whether it's via ModDB or, we're going to keep on modding, and can't wait to play what you ship alongside us!

After more history? Check out our 10 years celebration, or join our old timers group.

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