Obviously being here on moddb predominantly as a musician it is my prerogative to write occasionally on the subject.
I came here to find some expansion to Valve's glorious puzzler; Portal, and was rewarded thusly with a veritable cornucopia of mods of all shapes and sizes, from the small, unique and delicate, to the sprawling, time sapping canon releases.
Almost every mod / map has had at least a modicum of fun, something that makes it worthy of a gamers time and keeps the developer in praise and self-esteem enough to continue modding for the betterment of the community formed here. The worst are cursory puzzles, a minor fling that at most will give you the satisfaction of achievement. The best...well, they are the glorious love affairs of unique opportunity and grand reveals.
Your mod doesn't need to be huge to be great, as with so much in life, content will conquer capacity. What I consistently crave form the modding community is for people to use their skills to their best advantage and what better way to prove you are good at what you do than being innovative and original.
Change the scene and put in as much original content as you can muster in your given time frame because seeing how far one can take what should be a closed source engine is one of the most fulfilling, exciting and impressive events you can give to your audience.
This is where I and the other composers itching for work come in.
Gaming is an experience, it requires the sum of many parts in order for it to be praised as a success. There may be moments when sheer visual appeal can drag the rest of your game out of obscurity but this will never give you longevity, which in a high speed industry like gaming is the metaphorical holy-grail. If they are still playing your game ten years from now you have definitely got something very right.
A great mod is about assembling a great team.
Your mappers must have the capacity to provide puzzle and intrigue.
Your moddelers, the ability to create new concepts to keep the gamer guessing
The texturers and artists but add visual appeal and glowing glory to everything.
...And then you stick any old, overused, free music over the top!
Every time I finish a project here and put feelers out for another I see a host of composers and musicians looking to work, looking to work for free to get themselves recognized as any other member of a development team.
Sound and aural landscape influence the feel of a game, subtly and consistently without actually imposing on the game play and help to bring depth and an added sense of originality to the action in hand.
How many of your life experiences are tied to songs which help you reminisce, how much of our life is molded around the sonic environment we live in. These musicians are looking for chances to give modders an added level and most times their efforts are given for free as with any other member of a development team who puts their time into a game.
Adding original music not only gives your mod the unique edge to stand out but you have the ability to give watchers and fans tit-bits and tasters without the need to render scenes or create videos.
This will free up time to to hone the mod while showcasing some of the aural talent that is often hidden or unnoticed here on moddb.
So spare a thought for the composers and musicians, find out what they can do for you and your mod and help add new depth to your games and more community to the community.