In August, we started a new tradition of weekly Twitter polls asking you about mods, gaming, and the sites. This month, we’re kicking off our monthly analysis articles on the results of those polls. Read below for insight into the communities of both sites and our take on the results for both ModDB and IndieDB!
Week 1: What kind of user are you?
This question starts things off very interestingly - from the results, we can see the demographic on IndieDB is weighted much more heavily towards developers, whilst ModDB’s features more players and users of mods than the makers of them. This result is interesting, though not surprising - ModDB generally sees use as a hosting platform for playable content, whereas IndieDB’s main appeal to indie developers is as a development blog, with the bulk of released indie games making their way onto Steam, itch.io, or other similar platforms. There are a number of indies however that ship alpha demos on IndieDB, even if they later delete these demos and ship full releases elsewhere. For content creators on both sites, the takeaway is this: On ModDB, you’re marketing your work to players, whilst on IndieDB, you’re marketing your work to other developers. That might mean mod authors need to stay away from technical descriptions that will go over the head of their audience, whilst indie developers could get stuck in with the details, assuming their viewers are as technically minded as them.
Week 2: How important do you think official mod support is for games?
Both polls - thankfully - indicate the users of the sites place a lot of value on user generated content. It is interesting to note, however, the significant divide between the 1st and 2nd place results in both polls. Overwhelmingly, indie developers consider mod support a secondary concern to making the game itself; mod developers, however, are more inclined to believe mod support is a crucial attraction in a game. Whilst supporting UGC is a difficult task for smaller indie developers, the takeaway from this poll is to always be open to the idea of mod support. Community contributions can play a significant role in the long-term success of your game, and help generate hype in the short term. You can only make so much content for a great game yourself; so why not open things up and let your community create great content, too? A significant audience of talented mod creators exists that is ready for you to tap into.
Week 3: What is your favourite type of mod?
This is the most divisive of the polls after the demographic options. Mod developers - and players - appear to enjoy pouring their time into large-scale, ambitious modding projects. They aim to push the boundaries of what’s possible with the base game, as well as delve deep into fresh new experiences. Meanwhile, indie developers and the audiences of indie games appear to prefer the base game with added bells and whistles over a totally new experience. As a modder, I tend to use very moddable games like Half-Life 2 as a basis for my own ideas as I’m not experienced enough in modern engines to create a totally original indie game. Creating total conversions for games I’m familiar with is more achievable on a hobbyist basis, and it might be for this reason that mod developers prefer total conversions, as they are effectively using the game as an “engine” at that stage for their own ideas. Indie developers working full-time, in that situation, might instead make the game from scratch. The takeaway? Be open to making smaller, “definitive edition” projects too.
Week 4: Why do you make mods/indie games?
This result is pretty uncontroversial across both sites, with the majority of the user base looking to bring their creative ideas to life. All things considered, more votes for the “create a portfolio” option were expected on the ModDB side of the poll, as the modding community has traditionally been a jumping-off point for many hobbyists to break into the industry and go professional. Many game companies - CDPR as recently as last week, for example - hire from pools of talented modders on the regular. Nevertheless, learning and creating content out of passion is likely to lead to great portfolio results anyway, and that passion will certainly come in handy in the course of a 9-5 job. Whilst the poll results are mildly surprising, they’re exactly what we like to see from the community - passion!
We believe there’s a lot of interesting takeaways here not only for the users of the sites, but also for us, the site staff. As long as we can keep proposing useful poll ideas we will continue them, and also will continue these analysis articles as a way to round-up our thoughts.
If you have any suggestions for future polls, or thoughts on the analysis here, feel free to leave them in the comments down below!