Why People Make Mods

If you’re like me, you enjoy a good video game on the PC, you’ll be used to seeing a plethora of mods available for your favourite titles. With the invention of things such as Steam Workshop, getting mods on your games are even easier. But why do people make mods in the first place? Read on to find out more!

The latest title has come out and you’ve been waiting for it for quite a while; so you’re excited that it’s finally release day! You go to your Steam library and start to install the game, then it’s completed and you’re excited to be among the first to finally play it. Stop and be shocked; there are mods for this game already out? But the game has literally only just come out, so there’s no way any member of public has created these games… Right?

A modded out Minecraft server I used to own, running TekkitLite

I’m going to tell you a tale of Minecraft, the game that made modding cool again. I mean there are other games that have had vast numbers of mods; Hello to you The Sims and Garry’s Mod. But what did Minecraft do that was so different to other games? Why did people really get attached to the mods created for the game; in many cases changing what the core game was completely? Why bother to even download an original game, if all you’re going to do is mod the living daylights out of it?

The reason is, people know what they like in a game and Minecraft provided that open platform that works so well for modding. Alarmingly, even us as gamers, if we sat down to design a game, other people would want it some other way. Okay, this doesn’t particularly apply to story-based games, but even in some story games I’ve seen mods for custom extra story campaigns and the likes (no, I’m not on about DLC, either). For instance, The Elder Scrolls series physical disks came pre-bundled with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set (or later the Creation Kit), as well as it being easy to find and download. We’ll touch more on TES:CS & Creation Kit shortly.

Modding is as easy or complex as you like; Tools like this allow both sides of the coin to be explored.

When a developer sits down to make a game, they make it because they know people will enjoy it, but also because they know they will enjoy it. If you think a developer is creating a game purely for money; Well some do… But those games generally don’t do as well. We, as gamers, are generally happier when we know our developers cared for what they made. It’s not about the latest iteration; It’s been seen time and time, developing games just to appease the mighty corporate target machine creates what we call a franchise killer.

So if a developer is just trying to make the best game they possibly can; then why, pray tell, would they indulge their audience with the ability to create their own mods for the game? Why would you jeopardise your story telling in favour of somebody’s attraction to the ridiculous? What possible reason would you have to allow people to destroy your epic tale of dragons by letting people change what the dragons look like, even into Thomas the freakin’ Tank Engine?!

The reason is because gamers are surprisingly anti-corporate at their very essence, and they tend to like to feel as if they’re part of something bigger. When you download a mod, you’re not only supporting the developers of the game; You’re supporting that guy who is sat in his bedroom, wanting to show the world “I can do this too!” You’re helping them, you’re making them have a sense of involvement and trust me: You can make someone’s day, week, month or even year just by downloading their mod and leaving them a comment.

When you next boot up Minecraft, why not consider downloading something amazing, such as one of the beautiful modpacks? Try Tekkit, for instance. Is Minecraft not your jam? Try Skyrim, or Oblivion, or anything from The Elder Scrolls franchise. Download that Thomas the Tank Engine mod, or that Macho Dragon Randy Savage one. Make things silly, make the game your experience. After all: People mod to share their creativity and ideas with you. So why not see what kind of mods are out there? After all… We’d not have DOTA2 if it weren’t for one little mod… Called Defense of the Ancients.

Defense of the Ancients started life as a Warcraft 3 mod; Now it’s a whole game called DOTA2, owned by Valve.

If you’ve been somewhat interested in this journey into the world of mods, why not consider booting up something such as The Elder Scrolls Construction Set or the Creation Kit? You’ll need a playable Elder Scrolls game and the relevant Construction Set, but once you’ve got it downloaded, you’re good to go! These are a really good way to get people into making mods. They’re a little bit fiddly at first, but as with anything, if it’s something you enjoy, it’s worth sticking at it. There are some amazing communities around both of the software suites, so check them out!

Have you ever made a mod before? If so; What game was it for, what did you make and what was your inspiration behind making it? Are you a fan of mods and what ones do you particularly advocate? What games are your favourite to have or to develop mods for? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter and as always, thanks for reading!

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Looking to make the South-West of England a more "geekified" place.

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