The PC saw an epic revival of sorts over the last few years, quashing ideas that the console and handheld markets would consume all of gaming. Aging home game consoles and the rise of digital sales, Steam and the indie market have been a shot in the arm for PCs and now it is one of the most exciting platforms out there. With a growing audience, many new or returning gamers have been taking advantage of one of the benefits of exclusive to PC gaming – modding.
Whether for extra content, graphical enhancements or the ability to explore a physically twisted world, mods have always been a way for the community to enhance the experience of a game and keep playing long after release. It is mods that allowed the expansion of Minecraft, endless new content for Skyrim, and the origins of an entire game in DayZ.
For some big devs and publishers, modding is becoming a dirty word. Part stopping the community getting their hands into a software’s innards, part a byproduct of making games dependent on an internet connection, the world of modding for many major games has ceased to exist such. Franchises like Battlefield have put an end to community created content, although there are certain game developers who disagree with this new tract. On a PC Gamer panel at PAX, Dean Hall who created the incredibly popular Arma II mod DayZ, thinks that major publishers are missing out on the potential that the community brings by holding the games so close to their chests:
“I think that if DICE wanted to kill Arma, all they’d need to do is release some modding tools tomorrow. Psh, gone. It always really hurt me when Battlefield 2 was the end in terms of modding, so I’m pretty obviously supportive of the whole modding idea.”
Although the panel went on to talk about the difficulty of supporting a modding community when you are creating online and shared spaces. Hall explained that he is currently locked in a struggle to come up with a solution that allows modding in a shared world, to which he said, “I don’t have the answer for that.”
Star Citizen‘s Chris Roberts chimed in saying he will support modding and offered a solution which deals with the two concepts separately, going the old school route of allowing players to mod in their own servers but take it out of the core online space, the shared persistent universe.
“You definitely can mod and you can run your own servers, but if you want to be on the big persistent universe everyone else is on, obviously you can’t mod in that situation, because it wouldn’t work if someone built a battleship that could blow everyone up.”
It is an interesting question going forward into the online future though. Modding is one of the big things many console players feel they miss out on, and it clearly has a great deal of worth to the PC community. But in a future where more and more games are required to be shared and constantly online, it will be interesting to see if game designers can figure out a way of supporting mods and if it is possible to incorporate them into a wider, online world.
Source: PC Gamer