Early Access and Community Modding

CryomatrixCryomatrix Cambridge, MAMember UncommonPosts: 1,051
So I'm playing Conan Exiles, my first survival game and I loaded on mods for the first time in a computer game:

Disclaimer: I am not in the software field at all. 

Some of the mods for Conan Exiles seem to be pretty damn good and expansive (Age of Calamitous, offline mode, and numerous others). Historically, I've read, some mods for Skyrim and Fallout 4 are amazing and are essentially patches that should have been released. Hell, Sovrath has been working on a Skyrim mod for 2 years. 

A newbie thought I had was: 

Why doesn't Funcom, which has Conan Exiles in Early Access (a.k.a pay me to test the game), offer something to the community to make "mods" or additions to the game. Offer something like 0.5% of revenue or a 0.1% of revenue for Funcom sanctioned modding that actually enhances game play and fixes bugs? I mean this Age of Calamitous seems ridiculously huge, it is 2 GB, (Age of Calamitous). There are others which add new features to the game (Horticulture ). Another one adds a compass (Compass) to the map and another adds a more immersive loot system. (Immersive Looting). Another one purportedly adds enhanced combat. There is even a mod where you can animate sex with characters and NPC's. There is one that adds an offline option that is just an easy click on the main menu. Can't figure out why it wouldn't be added in the main game?

My thought is that, wouldn't it be cheaper perhaps and effective to offer some material reward for community modding. Then take the mod and make sure it is sanctionable and it fits with the overall game and if it passes muster, then add it to the official game, give a material reward, and move on. 

The point is that with a proper incentive and community modding (that is up to par) you can effectively develop your game with inherent passion and perhaps make it even cheaper and release a better product. 

Right now, as I play Conan exiles there is a lack of items and weapons in-game, with all these mods you basically exponentially increase the amount of features and items making the game better. Now, if they could actually get someone to fix the combat and the rubber banding mobs that would be great. If you could fix the bugs, exploits, and pathing BS that would also be awesome, but probably difficult. Essentially, the whole combat system needs to be reworked. 

What I envision, is that Funcom says, hey let's offer 10k per "up to standard mods". Try to task the community with fixing certain bugs, adding new features, making new items. Then make sure all the submitted mods go through a rigorous acceptance process and once accepted, it goes into the actual game with credit due. This way, with perhaps, ten approved community modder projects costing 10k each or whatever price you have, you can increase the game and when you finally "release", you can start boasting a huge map, numerous mobs and creatures, thousands of items, thousands of building items to decorate, most massive building game ever, will take you 2 hours to run across the whole map, new lore, new dungeons, hell, you could sell a game with all new manner of things and if you have crowd funding, you can have crowd modding and increase the absolute variety. I've played Conan Exiles for over 100 hours I think and I've seen every creature except that elusive Camel. Now imagine if the world was 10x larger with 100 times the creatures. I'd never run out of places to explore and mobs to see and animals to taxiderm to my humble abode. 

Now to provide potentially counter arguments to what I said:

1) I have a feeling that perhaps the work to debug the community modder may make it not that profitable in terms of human resources. Or the work of going through all the submitted mods isn't worth the cost in human resources. 

2) Perhaps with community coding you allow yourself to be open to hackers/exploiters if you do not carefully screen the code.

3) Community modders may make mods that take the game away from the intended purpose. (There must be a purpose to limit stacking to 20 and 100 count)

4) Community modders may make mods that go away from the direction that you want to take the game. 

5)  You are probably opening up yourself to a whole host of legal quagmires. 

6) Community modders may take undue credit for the creation of the game. 

7) Research shows that after a game gets modded that it doesn't increase sales

8) There is no guarantee that the new additions will increase revenue. 

Thanks for reading, people with knowledge in the field will probably think it is an ignorant idea, but hey, always good to ask. 

Thanks. 

Cryomatrix. 

P.S. Don't feed the trolls. Please don't ruin this thread with internet arguing where one or two posters have like 30 posts each and the quotation box takes up the whole screen. 


Comments

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Houston, TXMember EpicPosts: 16,435
    paid mods?

    there are several different models. City Skylines is making (putting together) community mods in which the mod makers get a cut which seems to be getting a lot less heat then 'paid mods' so good for them

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • CryomatrixCryomatrix Cambridge, MAMember UncommonPosts: 1,051
    Hmm, no one responded, perhaps it was too long. Anyone got any thoughts, oh and SEANMCAD, got banned again. Funny. No seriously, is my idea retarded?

    Cryomatrix
  • laxielaxie UK - Leamington SpaMember RarePosts: 903
    There are different opinions on this.
    In general, allowing modders to get compensated for making content sounds amazing. There are a few glaring issues though.

    I think a couple are worth mentioning:

    Quantity of mods
    Something like Skyrim still lives today because of the modding community. The community created breathtaking mods, some of which are bigger in size than the official expansion packs. The appeal to players is that you can mod your experience substantially for free. If you were to charge 5$ per small mod (as Skyrim on consoles is doing) and 10-20$ per "expansion" mod, I would have to pay as much as 1000$ to mod the experience to the state I liked to play recently.

    My solution to that would be a mod membership, where I pay something like 15$ a month and get to use any mods I want, with the payment split between mod creators. This would preserve the spirit of mod creation, which is all about mixing and matching. Mods were never about paying $5 for a high-resolution texture of a crab, which is what you would be doing by a microtransaction mod store.

    Incentive to make a buggy game
    This is probably the biggest danger. For this reason, I would never endorse a paid mod scheme where the mod creators get less than 75% of the cut.

    If you have paid mods, a publisher, by definition, is encouraged to release the experience as buggy and basic as possible. As a publisher, you know any feature you leave out will be created by modders, for which you will be getting a cut. If you adopt a payment scheme such as Bethesda's Creator's Club, you are getting a large majority of the revenue. I strongly disagree with this.

    Unfair towards hired developers
    This is an interesting point I read not long ago. If you are an entry level developer, hired to work on a videogame full-time, you are getting a subpar pay with no revenue sharing. You don't have much flexibility, have to work overtime and invest crazy hours. Why should a modder, who arguably has a lot more freedom and potentially shorter hours, get revenue sharing at all?

    I could see how this is a shitty arrangement for developers. You work your ass off for a live on instant noodles, creating hundreds of assets for the game. Then some teenager creates a top hat for a mud crab and earns your month's pay in a day.

    -

    When I was working on my Minecraft server, I had the longterm plan of offering partnerships. This never came to fruition, as we moved to develop a stand alone MMO, but I'd like to revisit the idea in the future. I think MMORPGs have an opportunity to do this.

    You offer players the ability to purchase a region of the world. There would be a substantial recurring cost associated with this. This cost, paid by the user, would cover a cloud server running that area, money to run any supportive services (website, etc), and some money to the developer. The user can then manage how the experience works in their land - perhaps even creating mods and content for the area.

    Visitors can then purchase a VIP membership for that area, half of which goes to the owner of the land.

    This system makes it an investment by the user, basically becoming a partner with the developer. The user is incentivised to create a strong community within their land, driving VIP sales. The developer is encouraged to work closely with the user, giving them the tools they need to make this work in the long term. And ultimately, the visitors benefit from having a solid structure and personal attention in a game area. I think it is a win-win for every party involved.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,659
    Because 99% of the amateur created content is crap and companies don't want to deal with this horrible signal to noise ratio?

    Look at something like Starcraft 2 arcade ... most mods are pretty bad. 
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAMember LegendaryPosts: 23,203
    Hell, Sovrath has been working on a Skyrim mod for 2 years. 




    oh dear, more than 2 years. Almost three now I think. So tired. But so almost done.

    A few screenshots as this is how I'm spending my Friday night ...







    laxielaserit



  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAMember LegendaryPosts: 23,203
    Totally on topic, and not about "me" B) , I think what he's trying to say is pay modders to help make the game, not "paid mods".

    That's what Bethesda is sort of doing with their modders club (I believe). Though come to think of it, they are charging as well. Which I'm fine with as I never mind paying for awesome content.

    There are some amazing modders out there. I do think that Conan exiles (I love the game) can benefit from hiring other people but then what about their own people? Maybe help make "mod packs" or some such thing.


    ok fine let's make it about me again. First shot is a place you may or may not find. Lots of that in my mod. Best pay attention ... >:)





    laserit



  • CryomatrixCryomatrix Cambridge, MAMember UncommonPosts: 1,051
    Because 99% of the amateur created content is crap and companies don't want to deal with this horrible signal to noise ratio?

    Look at something like Starcraft 2 arcade ... most mods are pretty bad. 

    Some of them are pretty good and if you give a known incentive, you may have other people come up with good stuff. Plus, if you like it, you can always tweak it to your liking. It is just a thought. I think it would be fantastic and a nice way to release a game with a "crap ton of content". 

    Cryomatrix
  • MyrdynnMyrdynn Beaumont, CAMember RarePosts: 2,022
    I think its a great idea, alot of games I played, like the Elder Scrolls, Grim Dawn, Titan's Quest and others, I can't even play without mods, the game is too boring

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,659
    Because 99% of the amateur created content is crap and companies don't want to deal with this horrible signal to noise ratio?

    Look at something like Starcraft 2 arcade ... most mods are pretty bad. 

    Some of them are pretty good and if you give a known incentive, you may have other people come up with good stuff. Plus, if you like it, you can always tweak it to your liking. It is just a thought. I think it would be fantastic and a nice way to release a game with a "crap ton of content". 

    Cryomatrix
    There is always outliers .. some are pretty good .. some are horrible. 

    But the point is that most are crap and i am not wasting time wading through them. There are enough (actually more than enough) competently .. professionally made good games that I don't have time to finish.

    I do not need "crap ton of content". I need extremely good content and mods are not 99% of the time. 
    Cryomatrix
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