Okay, I know what you think when you read the title:
You think that modding a game is not an easy endeavor and that it is too complicated for you. You think that it destroys the original purpose of the game that you are playing.
Both of these assumptions are false to various extents.
First, many of the things you need to be able to mod effectively are already widely available out there. You do not need to edit a map, create a mini-game, or tinker with the mechanics of a game to do something new; creating a skin for your character is already considered to be modding, as well as adding a new color to your weapons.
Going on to the second point, it does not destroy the original purpose of the game; instead, it expands the game and adds completely new content at the surface level. As a result, people can now have a very different gaming experience within the same title.
As a matter of fact, many of the games that we love out there started as mods in the first place: Dota 2 (which is a direct successor to the original WarCraft 3 map), League of Legends (a derivative of the same WarCraft 3 mod), PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – the battle royale title that rocked the world, and Counter-Strike all started as mods.
Then, some games actively encourage you to tinker and add new things, as long as you do not break them completely. From cult classics such as the Warhammer: Dawn of War series to serious military simulation programs like Command: Modern Air Naval Operations (CMANO) and Command: Modern Operations (CMO), both of which are used by the Pentagon as well as many different militaries all over the world, modding has done wonders in terms of giving players new ways to enjoy, play, and approach scenarios that they may have never seen before.
To start with, modding is basically the way you modify someone else’s gaming title through an internal or external tool in order to facilitate the creation and/or inclusion of new content within that gaming world. On the one hand, you have games like EA’s Command and Conquer: Generals that had in-built editing devices to allow people to make up their own scenarios or change the color of their tanks, among other possibilities. On the other hand, Garry’s Mod is basically a sandbox optimized for modding – feel free to make, explore, and enjoy the multitudes of mods that have been spawned by players worldwide! Anyone can do it in any function: Change the code by optimizing it? It’s modding. Placing new art within the game? It’s modding. Creating a new map in CS:GO? That’s one of the most common ways that people mod—having some new music that fits a game and placing it there? That’s modding at its finest.
No matter who you are, being a modder is a great hobby to have at a time when people rely more on video games to navigate and deal with the day-to-day complexities and uncertainties of the global pandemic, as well as a viable method to improve your design and development skills.
Indeed, in an age where games are becoming a huge part of the global zeitgeist and where they are being endorsed by the World Health Organization as the best possible way to combat the pandemic (remember both their declarations of video games as a global mental disorder and the hashtag “#PlayApartTogether,” everyone? Yes, that’s the duality of WHO for you), modding is becoming both increasingly a popular pastime and a way for enthusiasts to earn big money out of it via skin and map royalties (Valve pays quite a lot for the cosmetics that they include in their games).
Sometimes, modding is just as easy as rendering a character within a few minutes. There are also times when mods encompass several patches and years of work, such as what happened in Defense of the Ancients (DotA) back then.
Either way, when you mod, you unlock your creativity and resourcefulness from the outset. In addition, it builds your coding and development skills, and also brings a wave of fresh air to gaming communities worldwide. Finally, being in the modding community allows you to socialize and learn quality control at the same time as you ask for feedback and collaborate with other people from other parts of the world.
While it is true that modding is a serious and fun hobby for many people that allows them to create, test ideas, or change a game in their own image, there are times when the connections and the skills that you learn in the process of modding become extensive enough to actually give you a big fighting chance in terms of getting into the gaming industry. Yes, the creators of DotA became big names at companies like Riot Games, Valve, and elsewhere, using the skills that they had as modders and budding programmers in order to provide creative solutions to the day-to-day challenges that come with being a globally recognized gaming company.
The core skills that you use in modding across different games are more or less the same: Start small, specialize in a game or two, slowly upgrade your skills, and get as much feedback (and interact as much) as you can within the communities that you are involved with. You can find tutorials regarding modding on YouTube, on online forums, on websites, and on specialized Discord servers that cater to the modding community at large: all you need is to devote time and effort towards expanding your modding skills!
Obviously, you need to know the tools of the trade: C#, Adobe Photoshop, level editors, and other commonly used editing programs are among the things you need to know well in order to mod a game effectively.
Yes, modding may sound like a daunting task at first. However, with a bit of study and consistent work ethic, you can get huge dividends out of it!
Are you now ready to dive into the world of modding?