Modding in Games

I was always a bit reluctant with modding games. The only titles that I’ve ever modded were Minecraft (stuff like Mo’ Creatures, Optifine, Inventory Tweaks, or Shaders) and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (that mod that tells you what the items do), so I figured I should try and broaden my horizon a little bit and explain as to why mods are good and why I hesitated so much with installing a lot of things.

For starters, I’d like to point out that I don’t hate mods entirely. For me it’s just a bit hard to install them and I end up doing something wrong somewhere, so I need to redo everything, and then I give it up altogether, resulting in a rather unpleasant experience. At the same time, some mods disable Achievements in games on Steam and I ended up avoiding mods due to that reason, especially as I didn’t know what games did it and which ones didn’t do it. I’m not a completionist by any means and I expressed some thoughts on Achievements before as well… but I still kind of care about them and don’t like playing a game while they are disabled as it kind of bothers me. 

Mods are great though. Stuff like Optifine or Shaders can make a game like Minecraft actually rather pretty and add a lot of nice details to the world, even without you running that raytracing stuff (is that out already btw? Asking for a friend). At the same time, there are plenty of mods that add more content to a game without taking too much away from the vanilla-experience or they add so much awesome stuff to the game that it becomes an entirely new experience, which is amazing. There are also cases where games only are held together and popular because of the modding community, which is amazing and which must be a good thing. 

But despite modding being such a common thing, I still kind of hesitated to install any in some of the games that I played. I ended up shoving aside the idea of modding RimWorld as I wanted to learn how to play the vanilla game, first. At the same, there are titles like Skyrim or Torchlight that have fantastic examples of community-made content that maybe (or probably?) surpasses the original developers’ ideas and creativity. New classes, smarter pets and enhanced GUI in Torchlight’s case or new enemies, more character customization and roleplaying capabilities in Skyrim’s. The potential is basically endless and I felt like I should maybe try it out myself.

Alas, I started up Stardew Valley again, which is a great and very underpriced title that I’ve only spent a hundred hours in so far. I last played it on March 23rd 2020, so I was a bit rusty… and with new additions that were made to the games, I was a bit hesitant of starting it up again. But well, I figured, I may as well try it out with the Expanded mod among others, to give it a completely new vibe and more interesting things to discover as well as new NPCs to romance and new crops to place down. 

The picture below shows the installed mods that I’ve chosen. I used a Pastebin that KingArgaroth shared for his playthrough of this mod pack and alas, I figured I may as well copy that and share it with y’all. Make sure to check him out if you haven’t yet! I talked about him and other great streamers briefly in this post here. The mods mentioned in the Pastebin technically make use of SMAPI but I ended up having trouble with that, so I opted in for “ModDrop” which is a piece of software that made the whole process A LOT easier. I installed a lot of mods that are needed for both Stardew Valley Expanded and for Ridgeside Village. Both of these mods add a lot of new areas, events, dialogue options, features, and NPCs to the game. Apart from that, I also made use of the Season Villager Outfits that are actually quite lovely and the Dynamic Night-Time mod. 

In today’s stream, I then started it up for the first time and to my surprise it went quite well. There was a hiccup at the beginning where it took a while to load but honestly, that’s quite understandable when there is so much going on in the game and when there are so many mods involved. I didn’t have any issues after that with it apart from the Experience Bars Mod (that I now uninstalled) constantly showing… and I need to add a mod to update the map to also feature Ridgeside Village… but other than that it worked pretty well.

I’m quite overwhelmed with all of the content but overall, it was more than enjoyable. The new farm layout is fantastic and the new NPCs in the game are a lot more diverse and fun than the previous ones who all felt a bit one-dimensional… From RSV’s Flor, Corine and Maddie to SDVE’s Sophia there are plenty of cool characters in the game… but it’s actually not that easy to decide on who to potentially date/marry yet as the bachelors in the game are all rather cute as well and as I haven’t gotten to know them all just yet. 

But yeah, I really enjoyed that experience. ModDrop really helped with the hurdle of installing things easily… and the mods that I used actually don’t disable achievements, which is also incredibly cool. Looking forward to playing more soon!

Have you ever modded a game before and what were your experiences with the install-process and the game itself? What are your opinions? Do you like modding games or are you more of a Vanilla-Only person? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

4 thoughts on “Modding in Games

  1. Mods are perhaps my favourite part of PC Gaming.

    They have the ability to dramatically extend the life of games — a good outcome for both developers and consumers! The Elder Scrolls games are a big example of that. Oblivion could be modded to either dramatically improve, or even entirely do away with, the controversy of the levelled-lists of the game. A play impact that is hard to understate the importance of.

    I think my personal biggest example though is Neverwinter Nights 1; where I played literally over two thousand hours of that game on the strength of player-made modules, online enhancements, people hosting DM’d campaigns, etc. I’ve *never* put that many hours into a non-MMO before and without the ability to have player-created content, I absolutely never would have with that one either.

    Currently it’s Cities: Skylines for me, where the power of the base game is mindblowing — but not always exposed through the vanilla game tools. Things like Move It! or Traffic Manager Presidential Edition allow you to go far beyond the control offered but still exists within the ‘rules’ of the game. And that doesn’t even start to look at the custom building, map and road assets…!

    You’re right though in that sometimes modding can be quite complex. Even when tools like Steam Workshop are there to help, the interplay between mods and the potential for conflicts can take a bit to work through.

    Still- I’ll take those issues any day over not being able to mod at all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yeah, 100%. With ModDrop there are apparently a lot of games that are supported by it from the Elder Scrolls games to Torchlight to Fallout to Neverwinter. The Steam Workshop is a great feature and I love that it is a thing. I forgot to mention the mods I installed for Left 4 Dead 2 and Don’t Starve Together. Completely forgot that those were a thing but the Steam Workshop made those possible. Would never have had the idea of adding anime girls into Left 4 Dead 2. Ever.

      Thanks for sharing your stories! I agree with them extending the life of games and that it helps people. I’d love it if developers would get rid of that “disable achievements” thing they do in so many games, though.

      Like

  2. Big fan of mods. One size does not fit all, when it comes to gaming. I find mods help to fill in gaps and flexibly adjust and customize a game to one’s unique liking.

    I’m still a bit of a purist in that I like starting the first playthrough purely vanilla and not too much reading up guide or wiki-wise. At some point in the mid-game, I will doubtlessly encounter some tricky or annoying parts that send me looking up third-party advice… and very soon after that, will come the modding.

    Initially, it will normally be adjusting small things to enhance one’s enjoyment of the base game. Usually graphical enhancements. I still remember coming across Oblivion’s lighted windows mod and thinking that was mindblowingly awesome at the time. It may be some quality of life stuff, like putting in better trigger times for Don’t Starve’s spike traps (once upon a time I handled Hound attacks that way and have always liked relying on it) or tweaking the flying speed of ARK’s argentavis flyers (because wasting an hour to slooowly fly across the island while playing solo singleplayer is not high on my list of life goals.)

    Once the mostly vanilla game has been played to satisfaction, then it’s time to go wild with mods that make more significant changes. Feels like it’s been that way since Half Life and total conversion mods for it, where it can feel like completely new games riffing off the base game. These days it feels quite easy to install mods between special launchers and mod loaders, as well as Steam workshop for the popular games.

    Minecraft has been the biggest feeder of my mod addiction. Not only are there individual mods, but there are -modpacks- with all manner of different themes. I’ve probably gotten thousands of hours of play out of it, and it is glorious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel similar about a lot of things but with Stardew Valley right now, for instance, these QoL changes like gates that automatically open for you and some of the texture revamp feel quite good. On top of that, there is a lot of new content that makes it a bit more fun.
      I mean, the game is fun for me personally but the beginning hours are always the same and adding so many new NPCs and crops and things really spices up the Early Game and adding so much content also has the potential of changing the late game considerably as well. And in my case, I already banked a hundred hours into Stardew, so I’m way past that “not reading up wikis or guides” phase, I guess.

      But yeah, graphical enhancement like the HD textures for Oblivion and Morrowind are great examples of small things that make it feel a lot better already. Add QoL changes like the ones in Don’t Starve or RimWorld and you suddenly can have a lot more fun in the game. And then you eventually end up having a minigun in Skyrim because it’s silly but also quite fun.

      The Modpacks in Minecraft always have been a lot of fun. I remember trying Feed The Beast once and it was quite fun, especially since the world generation yielded more resources due to the many many ores you found all of a sudden and then you could pulverize and smelt them to get more out of your ores, which made the game a lot more fun in my opinion. Solving Storage or Grinding problems by introducing mods and then later adding other mechanisms into the game to infinitely fuel your base and create high-end gear… was quite fun. 🙂

      Yeah, from now on, I’ll try mods out more often, I think.

      Like

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