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The dark side of modding

aj1304 Blog

Despite all the great things about modding, there still exists a dark side to it which continues to destroy modding communities. This dark side manifests itself in the form of the hostile and difficult elements of the modding community.

What am I talking about? I referring to things like hostile modders who bear grudges against other mods (and Im not referring to legitimate issues like theft of IP/copyright/using work without permission). These modders are elitist and despise the existence of mods like the one I worked on which due the the limited resources relied on community support to exist. There are only so many modellers/skinners/riggers in the community and most are tied up with the big mod teams anyway. I was told that as such a mod that used models of other mods (which I always got permission for) and those released to the community for use, that I/my team were hoarders. That is, that we were take take take and not giving anything to the community. The other argument was that lots of people were doing what we were doing and as such defeated all the hard work the modellers/skinners/riggers put into their work when it ends up in hundreds of smaller low quality el cheapo mods. The thing is that we did give the community.As a coder, I always helped other modders with coding issues where I could. I also worked on proof of concepts that were unique and added new dimensions and ideas. Even if it were still all take take take, I even tried my hand at modelling. I wasnt that good and my first attempt provided a half decent attempt at a basic model. And those same elitist modders who gave me so much flak, instead of trying to help me be better at modelling and telling me what to do to produce something usable in game, they gave me even more flak. That attitude isnt what helps grow the talents and resources of a community. And on the second idea, at the end of the day I always asked the creators for permission to use their work and if they didnt like the idea of our mod using their contents and wanted to keep it locked up for a mod that may not see the light of day, they could have easily declined.

But Im also referring to those on the sidelines, the spectators. The trolls and flamers of the comments sections and discussion boards whose comments range from anything like "my eyes bleed from how bad it is" to "THIS SUCKS!!!". From "well, this mod is dead. at least there will be other...mods that will be better than this one could ever be" to "umm there is already a another group of ppl who are doing the same idea and thier nearly finished. unless you can go faster and how do u install this mod?? " Then there are the people who manage to find and register on these sites yet cant follow the most basic of readmes and them flame me for not being clear enough despite instructions more simple than the original game install guide. And I almost forgot those who come back months afterwards just to flame/point out the blatantly obvious (yes the mod IS dead, just in case you missed the news article from 3 years ago and all the other comments including the one YOU posted last year). The rudeness and sense of self entitlement is so shocking and is being allowed in parts to go unchecked. At the end of the day this is the internet and there will always be someone who will be rude and unhelpful but some of the people doing it are not just random trolls but also regulars in the modding community.

The attitudes and the things that people have said to me during the time have really saddened me. There are wonderful people in the modding community and I am grateful for many of them, but there are so many people out there who seem to exist just to make modders lives hell. And what Ive put up with has been tame compared to some other modders (such as one who was abused for taking time away after losing their mother.) And these same people complain about when the mods arent released and when the mods are released after all the gimmie demands and complain when mods close up because the community has become too hostile to continue to put up with. There are times when I see this stuff happening, even on my modpage years later where I cant help but think that I did the right thing and moved on from modding. I really loved modding and I loved the potential that it provided and I loved the skills it gave me which have useful real world applications as Ive discovered working in software companies, but modding takes up a lot of non existent free time and its hard to give up that sort of time even for the wonderful supportive fans with such a large and loud self entitled, rude and hostile audience.

Ive seen modding communities die as a result of the hostile elements of those communities.Wonderful people who have produced some amazing content and in some cases added value and playability and enjoyability to a game that wasnt there before. At the end of the day the active elements of a modding community need to support those modding, even those who are new and arent that good. With good support they could end up being amazingly good. And at the end of the day the active elements of the community need to stamp out the unacceptable behaviour that goes on within modding communities and create a friendly and supportive environment which allows for reasonable discussion and that doesnt drive away its very reason for being.

aj1304 (Alex)
Former 2iC/Lead Coder - AotC Mod - Empire at War

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