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Sven_M

What's most important to you when you say mod support?

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The great and powerful Brad asked us this. Let's give him our answers.

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An easy win is to keep as much data in open formats as possible. Think json, csv, etc. Cooler are changing the models and maps to reskin as our favorite worlds, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, etc. Some access to scripting would be really cool, to adjust game logic.

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When they first brought up the concept of bloodline backers having their own family crest, I immediately thought about how awesome it'd be to make the art for that myself. I think that'd be a pretty cool mod element.

Also the ability to create custom models and put those in the game.

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Brad talked about ordering a list of features, based on importance, and cutting off the bottom items to keep the scope of the game development in check. I think a good test for modding tools is whether you can expand the game with those features that get cut, by using those tools. If modders can expand the game back to its full potential, and beyond that, it can increase the lasting value of the game immensely.

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Well, one possibility I was thinking about is making the localisation in a format that can be fan edited - added to a repositry. That way you might just find yourselves with translations to languages you didn't expect and aren't able to support on your own.

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John mentioned Quake modding in the stream and I did a bit of Q3 modding, so coming from that angle I think it would be nice if we could get a similar structure to build mods without having to edit the base game or create separate mod-launchers.

I don't know if the earlier Quake games handled it the same way but in Q3 you can just create a folder in the right spot, copy specific files over from the base game that you want to edit and then launch your mod in game. The game will then, if it's running the mod, favor every file of identical name from the mod folder over the base game folder and keep using files that don't exist in the mod from the base folder.

That way you don't really need to do any coding if you're only changing some graphics or a text file for example, you don't have to mess with the base game and it's pretty easy to share with others.

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I always liked how Half-Life 1 had a load mod screen in it's main menu. There are others that do this, but I always thought that was a great example of how to make mods accessible, and truly it is the game I have played the greatest number of mods for.

As vague as this may sound, I believe keeping accessibility of both the modder and the user is the key concept to keep in mind if you are deciding to actively support a mod community. I may even go as far as suggesting a mod repository accessible within the game's menu system and links to mod databases on the main site for the game. Unless your game is a blockbuster hit, to make it so users have to actively search for mods is to doom mods to relative obscurity.

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I always liked how Half-Life 1 had a load mod screen in it's main menu. There are others that do this, but I always thought that was a great example of how to make mods accessible, and truly it is the game I have played the greatest number of mods for.

As vague as this may sound, I believe keeping accessibility of both the modder and the user is the key concept to keep in mind if you are deciding to actively support a mod community. I may even go as far as suggesting a mod repository accessible within the game's menu system and links to mod databases on the main site for the game. Unless your game is a blockbuster hit, to make it so users have to actively search for mods is to doom mods to relative obscurity.

The way Civ V did menu integration of mods was, in my opinion, spectacular. If modding becomes a 'big thing' for this game, an in-game on/off switch for individual mods should be a must.

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my first reaction to this was to have the textures of the game to be easily modifiable, and also the traits, spells and special moves in text files that are easy to edit and add to.

carmageddon 2 had what i am talking about, the car skins were in folders and easy to open, and the power ups were in an easy to edit .txt file.

but an in game mod selection option would be good

edit: not all of the texture files need to be editable it could just be siegel's etc.

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Give modders the developer's tools.

Scripting.

Extending the game's exposed scripts makes for amazing mods.

Skinning.

Unpacked images and audio that I can modify.

Having to use the DoubleFine Explorer robs 13 year old me of the ability to edit faces in Paint, and his joy and self-esteem, and kills a kitten.

Simple integration enables sharing.

In-menu option, copy a single zip to a folder and play.

MC should load as the default mod, then you're truly dog-fooding.

Some of this may be very hard given what you're working with,

but then again I backed you because you're awesome.

The guys at Wolfire truly get modding.

If you want to know what matters, ask them and video it.

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The ability to remove selected user-submitted bloodlines that I don't like. Whether this is an in game tool or someone has to build a mod to do it, I want to be able to "turn off" bloodlines that I think sound/look sufficiently silly/stupid that their silliness/stupidity would be distracting to me during gameplay.

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I don't know if we're going for 2D sprites or 3D assets (since they're using their Buddha Engine I'd say 3D, but not sure), but I'd be all for letting modders make different kind of terrain, or winter versions, etc, since it's something quite time consuming but not really relevent for the gameplay (let's say they create important terrain types, like one grassland, one mountain, one demonic, and let the modder expand and creat desertic or jungle flavored tiles, with possibility to customize the type of bonus/malus dependant on the biome/the tile specifics (tall grasses, slow sand, etc)).

Then for the obvious, being able to tweak all the stats for all the characters would be great, but you'd perhaps have to split up mods that would only enhance your game, and mods that will change it's core mechanics.

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When they first brought up the concept of bloodline backers having their own family crest, I immediately thought about how awesome it'd be to make the art for that myself. I think that'd be a pretty cool mod element.

Also the ability to create custom models and put those in the game.

This. Even in a simpler fashion - just putting my friends' and family's photos as the mug-shots for the chars would be super awesome.

Also...

I remember Worms World Party had their team emblems, flags, gravestones, and voice overs all be just regular files in folders (BMP and WAV if I remember correctly...) that you could simply replace or add onto without any "hacking" skills what-so-ever. Just add a folder with your desired team name in the right directory, put in some of your own recorded VO and self made graphics, and BAM! You have full team custom flavor! That would be amazing for this game!

VO is usually overlooked in modding, but adds such amazing customization feel to it. In Worms World Party you had a folder for accent X, in which there were files for each different VO que - like "Hurt" and "Fall" and "Friendly Fire". This would probably be rather similar in the tactical layer of this game. No?

TL;DR - Have game assets as simple file formats in logical directories so you can change them up/add your own.

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Whatever you chose to do with modding possibilities with your limited resources, the most important I would consider the ability to self contain mods of different kinds and turn them on/off in a structured way. Making the main game work like a glorified mod, allowing for instance a tactics-only mode (basically enter a map with a given team, similar to how you do in XCOM:EU multiplayer, but against computer) and one strategy-only mode (just randomise the results of the tactics layer, or provide a replacement tactics layer that is done for example by simple dialogues within the strategy layer) as example entire game mode mods. Enforced ironman mode? A game mechanics mod for the main mode. Make it possible for mods to register either as entirely separate game modes, pure UI mods, game mechanics mods, extended game resources (new environments (and a way to define how to procedurally generate maps from them) available for the tactics layer but the game left otherwise unchanged for example). And if you want to release DLCs for it eventually, those can easily be implemented using the game mod system. Mulltiplayer doesn't seem to be within the budget - perhaps it could be modded into the game, though I understand that if you can't get multiplayer within the game anyway, it might not have sufficient netcode (or any?) to actually mod it into the game.

In other words, making the mods system easily accessible by using it as a base mechanism for the game itself as well.

I think it's also a question of architecture - if you at any given step think about "Might this be an aspect that might be interesting to mod/can we implement this in an extensible way from the start/when we code this that we are going to do anyway, can we implement it using the modding system?" then I think you will find an easily moddable game.

But, most important is that I don't have to change actual core game resources to mod it, but can plug my own stuff in as separate, well contained mods that can be managed from within the game.

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I think Mod support should all be "protected" in that end customers who want to run 3rd party Mods don't have to run general executable, and can have some assurance that the mod isn't going to format their hard drive or something lame.

I like Mod support that uses embed able languages, such as lua so that the game developers only export the functionality to the mod community that they choose.

UI modding is pretty easy to do via this method. Things like story modding, or tactical rules modding, or AI modding, is all doable this way as well, but perhaps slightly less obvious.

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