What is Games Modding? Is it Hard, Safe, and Legal?

 The world of video games is ever-evolving, and user-generated content (UGC) has become a significant driving force in the gaming industry. According to Reismanis and mod.io, the influence of UGC is expected to grow exponentially, with predictions that by 2025, $1 in every $10 spent on video games will be on UGC—a staggering 400% increase from estimated spending during 2021. This shift signifies that user content could account for as much as $25 billion globally by 2025. One of the most popular forms of UGC is game modding, where players and independent developers modify games to create new experiences and share them with the gaming community.

Occasionally, among these gamers, one can find people with amazing technical skills. These people are normally responsible for the creation of mods, which can turn an average game into a good game and a great game into an amazing game. Minecraft is a good example of a game with mods, but there are many, many others. The entire Elder Scrolls series, for instance, is one of the first things you think of if you are to consider the current PC game modding trend. Of course, as we shall see a little later on, mods aren’t always desirable.  

In this blog post, we will dive into the fascinating world of game modding, discussing its ins and outs, safety, legality, and more. Join us as we explore the exciting possibilities that game modding has to offer and its impact on the future of gaming!

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Many mods can enhance the gaming experience in ways that the actual developer did not even imagine. For example, Skyrim is one of Bethesda’s most prized jewels, as the American studio put in a lot of work in order to offer players a true RPG experience. Nevertheless, Bethesda’s developers did not think of many “what if” scenarios in regards to the gameplay experience, but luckily, some players had the imagination and the skills required for the creation of modifications that could enrich the game with a number of missing features. The mod can be anything from being a god-like creature to taking a whole new path on your way to completing the story.

As mentioned, the Elder Scrolls series was one of the most fertile for mods, but Skyrim is arguably where it reaches its zenith. Are all the changes improvements? No. But the likes of Moonpath to Elsweyr, Helgen Reborn, and Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim are generally well-received by players. Of course, it’s always going to be subjective. 

There are many games, which can be tweaked by unofficial modifications, and this goes way back to pre-internet games. But there are also games where one cannot make any changes, and that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. For example, online slot games such as 9 Mask of Fire can only be played the way they are, given they are determined by RNGs.

But in all honesty, the games are just fine the way they are. The biggest selling point of  9 Masks of Fire and of similar casino games, is that they can offer the true experience of casino gaming and, in order to achieve that, no mod is necessary. The only thing one needs to do is to start the game on the hardware of their choice and play for as long as one wants (responsibly, of course).

Sometimes, as we mentioned, adding mods can actually have negative effects on the gameplay experience. After all, we are talking about unofficial adjustments to the coding of the game and this can lead to bugs or to other types of malfunctions. A very good example is another game released by Bethesda; Fallout 4. The fourth edition of Fallout had a lot of content, even without the DLCs, but the game’s flexibility and the creativity of the fans led to the expansion of the game in ways, that even came as a surprise for Bethesda.

Fallout 4 may not have as many mods as Skyrim, but the modifications one can make will really change the end result of the game. Unfortunately, some of the really cool mods out there can have a negative effect on the gameplay. The modifiers try their best to fix their codes, but this is not always possible. As we said, the reception can be subjective, too, so you have this situation where some players are happy with the mods and others are not. 

Some Mods Can Bring Old Games Back to Life

A recent Half-Life mod release has turned an old and forgotten game into a modern and interesting video game. This mod enhances the graphics quality of the 1998 Half-Life and it makes the game look like a title that was released recently. The mod cannot do wonders of course, but by downloading it and running it, you will get to play a game that looks nothing like a title, which was released 25 years ago.

Stuff like that can offer a remarkable experience to gamers who are after a nostalgia trip. Again, we might say that the Half-Life mod – let’s call it an unofficial reboot – is lacking in some areas, but there is something exhilarating about playing a classic favorite that has been lovingly restored, even if it is just to improve the graphics.

While there is always going to be a huge market for a AAA Premium games, and some of the huge series we mentioned here, it’s going to be interesting in the coming years to see how modding develops. For instance, people are going to become more adept at using artificial intelligence for coding games. Moreover, AI is going to help non-experts start coding.

Around 50% of the code on GitHub is now written by AI, so if you don’t think that’s going to transform the gaming industry, well, you are in for a surprise. It will, once we get to grips with it, allow for more and more gamers to quickly adapt and modify games. The other area is web3, i.e., blockchains. While not everybody believes in the idea of web3 gaming – characterized by crypto and NFTs – the decentralized and community aspect behind it suggest a more open-source future for gaming, one that will be subject to constant modifications.  

Nonetheless, we can broadly claim that modding is born out of a desire to enrich content, to serve fandom, and to improve upon the original. It doesn’t always work out, and the last thing we want to see is a game that was already fine become littered with bugs. And yet, when it is done right and for the right reasons, it can enrich a game, breathing life into an old classic or allowing us to explore more experiences in a current favorite title. As gaming becomes more open-source and gamers are given the tools to build more community-backed games, we see more modding in the future. Broadly, that’s a good thing.

Game Modding FAQ

Q: What is Games Modding?

A: Games modding is the act of customizing a video game to add new features and content beyond the base game developed by the creators. This can include new textures, game modes, gameplay mechanics, artificial intelligence, and much more.

Q: Is Games Modding Hard?

A: Games modding can require some technical knowledge, but most games have plenty of resources and tutorials available online to help get you started. Depending on the type of mod you want to create, you may need to learn some coding or image editing skills, but the difficulty can vary from simple texture replacements to complex shader and AI modifications.

Q: Is Games Modding Safe?

A: Modding itself is not inherently unsafe, but it’s important to be careful about what mods you download and install. Some mods may contain malware or viruses that can harm your computer or steal your personal information. Always download from trusted sources and scan your files with antivirus software before installing anything.

Q: Is Games Modding Legal?

A: Modding is generally considered legal, but there are some caveats. Modding copyrighted games or distributing copyrighted content without permission can be illegal and result in legal action. Always make sure to read and follow the terms of service for the game you are modding to avoid any legal issues.

Q: What are the most popular games to mod?

A: Some of the most popular games to mod include The Sims, Minecraft, Counter-Strike, and Fortnite. However, almost any game can be modded as long as it has a dedicated modding community or tools available.

Q: How do I get started with Games Modding?

A: To get started with games modding, you’ll need to find resources and tutorials specific to the game you want to mod. This can include forums, Discord servers, and online guides. You’ll also need to have a basic understanding of how to use modding tools and file structures.

Q: How can Games Modding improve gameplay?

A: Games modding can improve gameplay by adding new features, mechanics, and content to the base game. This can expand and extend the life of the game for players, as well as offer new and exciting content to keep the game feeling fresh.

Q: What is the role of modding in game development?

A: Modding has been around almost as long as video games themselves, and has become an integral part of the gaming community. Modding can provide feedback to game developers on what players want and how they interact with the game, and can also lead to new game development opportunities and careers for talented mod creators.

Q: How much RAM do I need for Games Modding?

A: The amount of RAM you need for games modding can vary depending on the game and the type of mods you are using. Generally, it’s recommended to have at least 8 GB of RAM for smooth modding performance. If you’re working with larger textures or more complex mods, you may need more.

Q: What are some great ways to customize a game through modding?

A: Some great ways to customize a game through modding include creating new textures and graphics, adding new game modes and mechanics, and improving the user interface. You can also create new storylines or tweak the AI to make the game more challenging or interesting.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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