There are so many Pros that it is hard to know where to start and finish. Apart from the concept of Mods being relied upon to fix a game where the Developer/Publisher is either incapable or willing to produce an acceptable game (Roller Coaster Tycoon World anyone!), there aren’t many situations where the ability to utilise third-party mods (as opposed to DLC) is not an improvement to many if not all the gamers playing that game.
In Part Two of our discussion on Games with Mods, we delve into the positive or pro arguments for integrating mods into games.Pros of Games built for moddingThere are so many Pros that it is hard to know where to start and finish. Apart from the concept of Mods being relied upon to fix a game where the Developer/Publisher is either incapable or willing to produce an acceptable game (Roller Coaster Tycoon World anyone!), there aren’t many situations where the ability to utilise third-party mods (as opposed to DLC) is not an improvement to many if not all the gamers playing that game.
Longevity. Primarily, in my opinion, the main freehold benefit of having a game with Mods, is it (normally) will extend the longevity of gameplay in that game. For instance, let’s look at Farming Simulator 17. The original game shipped with two maps, and a bunch of in-game tractors and implements. IF this was as far as it went, even including the two DLC’s that have been added since, the interest of playing these same two maps would dwindle, and those playing it would be looking for some new source of inspiration. With none available within its franchise, then they would be forced to look elsewhere.However, this has not been the case with FS17, with mod support available on release, it wasn’t long until a gamut of maps and mods were becoming available. Some were simply basic ports of maps/mods from FS15, but then there were, and still are, some magnificent works of art that are being used in-game as we speak.The addition of new mods allows us, again in relation to FS17, continue playing the same map, however, remove some of the tractors and implements, and bring in new ones. This means you can continue the game you may have invested hundreds of hours on the one map, BUT you are refreshed by having these new tractors or tools to play with.
Variation. I alluded to this before above, the addition of mods provides almost limitless variation to the gameplay. For instance, let’s look at Civilization 6, the longstanding game started by Sid Meiers way back when I was starting in computer gaming. The addition of mods into Civ 6, with modders making changes to the AI/UI/building, and incorporating new characters/races to play. I mean, really who wouldn’t want to play with Bill Gates as supreme ruler.Furthermore, back into FS17, I could play one of my 15 saved games, plow a field with one of the hundreds of new and varied tractors and implements. In fact, I could probably (downloading and respecting Mod authors distribution and cloning – see another article about thishere) play a different tractor for every field on every map for the next 6 months.The basic tenant of providing more content, as long as it is relatively good quality content in the form of mods, then it can only improve the game and its popularity, which will then probably improve sales of the game and DLC’s etc for the developer/publisher, which would then (hopefully) be re-invested into further development of the game(s).
Interaction and Community.This is where my recent introduction of Mods has really been of a benefit to me. I strongly believe that if you find a game that has an active and generally good quality modding scene, you will also find a very strong and active community.A recent example of this is Frontiers Planet Coaster (PC), now we won’t mention that debacle again (RCTW – Atari you suck! Oops), but once Frontier opened up their Rollercoaster building game up to Steam Workshop creations (Ok, they are ‘ploppable’ creations more than a modification – but it applies here), the community exploded.The alpha or ‘Early Bird’ community was already very strong and in my opinion the BEST online gaming community, no in fact online community full stop, that I have ever had the pleasure to interact with. This great community then thrived on the ability to create and share with each other and to this day continues with the same passion it had at the beginning. It must be said, Frontier have embraced their mod makers, not by merely allowing them to make and share, but to weekly showcase items and videos etc built by these talented players.Ok, I know that the creations are different in PC, and are not manufactured the same way as assets within FS17, but the cause and effect are the same, and on the most basic of levels is similar in the context of this example and article.Now, I can’t say that the FS17 community as a whole is necessarily as good as PC’s on the whole (I rarely, if ever frequent Giants forums), however, I can say that the two FS17/Simulation based communities I have become a part of are just as good in all ways as PC. The3 Dudes Gaming Networkand thePC-SGCommunities are an awesome collective of like-minded gamers young and old (looking at you Eustace!) that go out of their way to assist and advise as appropriate.Would I have found my way there without mods being in the game? Quite possibly, however, I certainly found them quicker and embraced them firmer with their informative and active approach to assisting their communities.Another aspect of thisInteraction and Communityis being able to interact with Mod developers, and in this way, you can assist in the Mod development. For instance, many of the friends that I have that YouTube their content, are trialing and showcasing mods that are in development, or about to be released exclusively. By doing so they are helping to quality test the Mod, but also showcase the Mod to all their viewers. Although many games and development studios seek feedback from players, often there is no real tangible visibility of this feedback or assistance, however, I believe in the modding environment this is more evident and reflective of better quality mods being produced. Further to this, some modders are actively a part of the two communities I mentioned earlier and are generally always welcoming of questions, comments, and feedback.
There are many more things for the pro argument, in this case, however I do not wish to make this a 29 volume of multiple parts!Suffice to say, it would be widely acknowledged, and indeed hoped, that games developers and publishers that take the time to implement a modding element/capability to their games, will not just use the mods to rewrite them and include them in their own script (although there is nothing wrong with this as long as they deal with the mod author appropriately), but to use the extra sales and interest in their game/franchise and to invest it on developing their products further.FS17 case in point, hopefully, Giants will continue to develop and use the sales of their core game, and its DLC’s to drive further development of the current and new versions of the franchise.To be continued…Join us in Part Three of this article where we look at the negative aspects and implications to all where mods are used in games.This article was originally posted atduckzorlygaming.org