Video games never really have a set life span, no one will ever be able to determine the exact amount of time it will take before a video game just becomes completely irrelevant.
But all games have to end sometime, right? Of course! You can’t keep interest around a game strong for a long time without updating it constantly with new concepts and gameplay mechanics, and even if you do the game will end eventually as people start to grow tired of the base concept.
But what can you do to lengthen a game’s lifespan? What can you do to ensure people will have fun playing your game for years after they should have chucked it under their bed and never look at it again?
You add mod support of course.
Mods are one of the greatest things that can happen to any game. They provide community content that is free to download and play while it extends the lifespan of a game that would have died out anyway after like a year, and if the game has a big enough following you can potentially spend years sifting through all the great concepts like nude mods.
It’s literally a way to change your game into anything else within the engine’s limits. I mean, look at Bethesda, their two biggest game franchises, Fallout and the Elder Scrolls, both have mod support and people still go back and test out mods to see how they can mold the game into something they’d like to experience again. Like Skyrim, I got the original game a few years back and got the Special Edition when it came out. I’ve been booting up the Special Edition lately because I’ve wanted to check out how many mods have been made for it since its release, and I’ve even been going back to the original game and looking to see what new mods have popped up, how good I can make it look graphically, what’s the best setup for pickpocketing and lockpicking, chose a mod that overhauls the magic system, there’s just so much to do that I still haven’t gotten bored with the game after sinking over 600 hours across all platforms I own it on. There’s a seemingly endless amount of combinations you can make across all the mods available that it will take years to not only go through them all but to grow tired of them when new ones are always being put out there.
Now of course only until recently have mods been a PC exclusive feature, but with the release of next-generation consoles, I guess Bethesda finally was able to start mod support for console versions of their games, like Fallout 4 and most recently Skyrim SE. But even though there is a good selection of mods available for consoles, they still aren’t 100% yet as most mods on Nexus require the Skyrim Script Extender which has not been released for consoles yet. So if you want to mod on a console, just keep in mind that there are stark limits there.
Modding has always been a PC type thing anyways since PC gamers are largely super-mega-over 9000-nerds who are into everything computers who are able to make a computer do whatever they want. And these are the guys who are also making all the mods, who know the insides and out of their favorite game and have decided to take the modding tools given to them to create something new for it. In fact, that’s one of the first steps to game development, if you look at some of the mods out there for games like Fallout, GTA V, and Skyrim, the creators of those mods would actually be pretty good candidates for a game development team depending on what they created. Taking interest in how a game works and changing it as you see fit is a good way to get a feel for game design, and with the tools we have available at our fingertips these days I think we’re training a whole new generation of Game Designers, thus exponentially growing the field for the next couple decades if those developers release their own mod tools, and s**t will keep on growing as long as modding continues to be cool.
Well, I think I’ve said enough here for now, I’ll continue my thoughts another article another day.
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