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Monday, November 7, 2011

Issue: Games: Modifications


A mod (modification) is a term used in personal computer gaming. A mod creates new content for a previously released title through items, weapons, characters, enemies, models, levels, music, story line, and game mode. Mods can currently be made by the public or a developer, but require the user to have the original release in order to run, as mods are not standalone software.

PC modding has been around since the mid 80's through Boulder Dash and Bards Tale Construction kits, and PC games are now designed with thought given to future modifications as seen in the Elder Scrolls Construction Set which shipped through Morrowind.

I've been playing Morrowind since July of 2003 and haven't beaten it yet, because people have been adding to the story the whole damn time. Another guy that ran into the same problem decided to collect them all in one place to make it easier for everybody to keep up.

A lot of bugs can slip through the cracks when everybody is able to toss their two cents in, so another poor soul still kicking around Morrowind decided to go ahead and fix all of the issues people had been tripping over through a patch.

A patch is computer code that tells it's targets code to get it together and function properly, or to make a left turn this time instead of right. And it turned out pretty good, it fixed a couple hundred bugs that players had been looking to see gone before the developer had managed to, one less thing I guess.

The company that made Morrowind has a new game on the bubble, and seeing it everywhere had me looking all rose tinted toward its elder, even though when I pop in games from that area the triangle polys and half born plots start a timer for me the second I launch.

But a little while previous I had added graphics, texture, creature, and story mods to Morrowind , and launched to a game I was only vaguely familiar with. I was riding baby raptors and Slit Striders, waging wars over castles an ocean away from the blight storm, and getting ripped off by creatures I had never seen before while tooling around a merchant bazaar, shit was crazy. I spent the day walking around an entirely new game, or better yet the continuation of a great story.

Only problem is you never know what the new code is really about till it's delivered. They description may say "Mortorcycle ninja assassin turkey bacon pillowfight," but the target code is ordered to go 730 the second winzip drops it off. Or worse yet it may dl and integrate regular, but point toward somewhere it doesn't really need to be going, or the source code is locked for changes, which is a big roll of the dice.

Games are so big now I don't think most companies really want us to finish them. Which has it's ups and downs. I like stories that end, but I never like to see characters or worlds go away. Nowadays most games involve living breathing worlds full of all types of plants and this and that avvy. There is a 30-60 hour grand quest where you guide the lives of a vast and diverse group toward some gratifying end then credits and a new game+.

Wander off in a random direction you hit an invisible wall, return to a village around hour 6 they talkin' bout the same ish. But I love that mods lift all that post adventure malaise, as if the main quest really was only a particularly schetchy time in the worlds overall existence, yet the world is something worth hanging around well past the first visit. 

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