Getting Started with Mods

Modding is the art of upgrading some minor or significant contents of a game. The individuals or groups who mod are called modders. They usually team up with the game’s original content creator and other players.

Whereas its definition may only revolve around modification, the act of modding can also mean downloading or finding a mod to apply to a game. But simply upgrading an old specification or setting in the content of a game doesn’t necessarily mean you’re modding. It goes far beyond that.

Game modding can extend from merely modifying specific contents of a game like upgrading the highlighting features of a character to major alterations in the content within the game.

Today, online games are a source of happiness to a growing community of players, a source of income, and an avenue to showcase skills. Thus, game modding becomes a valuable field.

Mods Then and Now

In 1983, the first game mod package available for use was for the Load Runner. The first modification was a level editor wherein players could either create or keep game levels. The alteration enabled other gamers to share it with others via the same network.

In 1993, the game called Doom became a center of interest for modders. Perhaps, due to its moddable ability. Modders began gathering in groups forming larger communities.

Consequently, digital games became a hit. As years passed, many games became viral and moddable like “Creatures,” “Quake,” “Petz,” “Dota,” “DayZ,” “Half-Life,” and many more.

But Are They Necessary?

There are times when players still yearn for something about the game that was — the twitch and the vanilla experience, as they say. However, some also want to personalize and improve user experience.

Mods are more than just a breath of fresh air. Since modding isn’t limited only to twitch and graphics improvement, it can also solve technical glitches or fix bugs.

Further, given the competitive status of the gaming industry today, some professional modders employ content add-ons and team up with others to completely overhaul a game.

If you’re into gaming, you’ll understand how important it is to keep your games fresh and their performance efficient. Should your game and on-screen display become outdated, your characters’ powers and looks require a revamp, or you want to eliminate an unwanted bug, you’ll need reliable tools that can offer quick fixes or even full-blown solutions. For these reasons, modding is an essential skill for serious gamers.

In a nutshell, running mods are necessary because they provide players with a new experience, updated in-game systems, enticing adventures, and new features. While it’s true that some modifications are annoying and inconvenient, most of them, whether they be huge or small, can be a source of joy while playing your favorite online game or internet match.

Types of Mods and Where You Can Find Them

There are different types of mods, but all generally fall into five categories. These include customization (interface), conversion, machinima and art mods, custom gaming computers, and game console hacking.

  • Customization (interface) — Allows players to accessorize or change a character’s appearance or identity based on their liking. This can also enable customization of game display and content add-on.
  • Conversion — One of the most common game modifications, this medium can enable users to make partial alterations or tweaks within the content of a game. For instance, a player can add a character’s capabilities or modify game rules. While some only employ partial alterations, some modders do total conversions.

An example of an internet game of this type is Counter-Strike (CS), a mod of the Half-Life developed by Valve Software. CS is among the most viral games that have gone total conversion. Following its modification, Valve garnered more than $10 million sales in 2008 alone. And just imagine how many players are still using the mod version now.

  • Machinima and art mods — machinima enables retelling or replaying a game to improve users’ digital experience. Some modders employ artistic touches together with cinematic effects, video editing, and audio remix.
  • Custom gaming computers — this type of mod enables reconfiguration of computers and gaming systems to support games in a highly competitive environment. This often involves customizing hardware and software to speed up performance and efficiency during a match.
  • Game console hacking — this involves augmenting the user experience. Unlike the previous category, game console hacking doesn’t focus on reconfiguration but the potential of a game for innovative use cases via the game console. This may potentially infringe on your country’s or the original game developer’s intellectual rights since it involves a form of reverse-engineering, but it isn’t prohibited in most cases.

Essential Things to Know Before Getting Started

Modding can be complex or straightforward. Typically, if you’re a beginner, the process will be technically demanding. However, you can almost learn anything online, including complex ideas about modding.

Modding tools like Source, Cryengine, Skyrim, and Rage can also help you with that. But remember, not all tools can support all games, so you might as well do some research.

Meanwhile, there’s no clear law regulating or prohibiting mods, although copyright laws protect some games and videos. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to do some research about end-user license agreements, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and any other pertinent laws in your country or about a game.

Why Not Get Going?

Game mods are a valuable and popular addition to the gaming community. They can improve the gaming experience and enhance the overall user experience. They also give modders an avenue to showcase their game design, programming, and creativity skills.

If you want to showcase your creativity to the gaming community, go for it. But remember that patience is required to master both straightforward and more complex modding techniques and processes.

Have a fun ride!

Digital artist and 3d generalist