IMHO: Mods – giving the tools to the user
A new story that came out Wednesday on PC Gamer shows some new mods that have been added to Skyrim through the Steam Workshop. These mods range from useful and clever to funny and some are just downright weird. There are some crabs with top hats and monocles, some very useful spells, and even a spider that looks like Spiderman! That thing was creeeepy.
Looking at that article got me to thinking and appreciating the fact that game developers aren’t “hoarders” by holding onto their games content and not letting anyone mess with a single period in its coding. One of the greatest things about the gaming industry is its ability to see the potential of putting tools into the hands of their consumers and letting them add new things to their favorite games, or even make completely separate and new games out of these fantastic tools. You don’t see a cook walking out of a kitchen at a restaurant and handing you a spatula saying “you look like you can cook your own burger easily enough, go have fun.” Of course, this is only an analogy, and one far dissimilar to the vehicle analogies that Alex loves to give.
Modding games allows gamers the chance to create something that they can play a little better, give them a chance to add to their favorite game, or just let them try their hand at creating things for a game. This is a great way to enhance player experience, keep the customers coming back, and even gives companies a chance to look at some customers as possible new employees. I don’t see any other industry letting customers take a piece of their product and make it better and give the company a chance to make even more money. Innovation is the gaming industries greatest strength.
It’s very easy to find the success that comes from allowing players to mod games. The most recent and highly successful mod that comes to my mind immediately is CnC: Renegade X. This game is nothing more than a mod from the Unreal Tournament game, but it is incredibly well made, looks and plays beautifully, and was created by fans of Command and Conquer. Renegade X honestly should have cost gamers some amount of money for how incredibly well made it is, but the fans who made it are giving the game out for free! Another great example is Portal 2. The campaign gives you great challenges as you try to figure out some intense puzzles, but then valve gives the tools of the game to its customers and lets them develop puzzles of their own! An unlimited supply of puzzles can keep gamers coming back to Portal 2 for a LONG time. Just imagine all the possibilities you can have from giving your customers a chance to innovate your industries product for you. I can’t wait to see what kind of things gamers and developers can bring to the gaming industry – and possibly even the world – next.