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Moneyless Modding™

The story you don't often hear in gaming, the one about Moneyless Modders™

5 Min Read

Hello, I'm Curtis Turner, but most know me as IceIYIaN! I've been a gamer for decades, an online PvsP gamer for over a decade, a Moneyless Modder™ for a decade, and just recently I released my first video game!

Monsters of War ( XNA / MonoGame )
1337 Board ( Source / Gold Source / Half-Life / Half-Life 2 / Quake )
Elements of War - Source ( Source / Gold Source / Half-Life / Half-Life 2 )
Elements of War - UT2004 ( Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 )

I'm also -probably- the creator of ASDF over WASD/Arrow keys...
A Backwards, S Forwards, D Move Left, F Move Right. Space Ducks, Right Click Jumps.

You sometimes hear of failures or successes on Gamasutra. Statistics are difficult to find. Occasionally we at least get a story and some stats. Our industry is shrouded in mystery. Probably because anything successful is often times cloned to HeII and back. The stories are almost always the same. How a person or a group of people drop everything, risk everything, to make a game. Often times they lose everything and when I say everything, I mean everything. Or get enough back that they can make another game and the cycle continues. And then you have the super successful, were that one game, rises to insane popularity.

One piece of the gaming story that is almost never talked about though, is modding. Where a lone developer or group take an already existing engine, game and make modifications to it. It's no coincidence that modding only happens on PC Gaming, where games are literally made. Besides the keyboard and mouse, modding is one of the major features that consoles and cells lack. And is easily the biggest reason to become a PC Gamer!

Modders are n00bZ. Usually found in high school or working random jobs after. They probably don't know what they want to do in life. But they love video games. After playing games and moving to PC Gaming, eventually they find map editors. Or hear of other mods and eventually realize they too, can make their own. They do it not for the money or popularity, but for the sole reason of the love of the game! They may have had an ok life at that point. Or beaten down by it. But if there is one thing that brings them joy and dedication, it's gaming. And they wish to share that joy.

At this point in the story, they become victims. Slaves, if you will. Their passion so strong, they become blinded by the realities of life. They don't think about it. It's ok during high school, working random jobs. They have dreams, that their mod will make it, that one day the company who owns the game engine will accept them. But that is a fantasy far out of reach. Instead, they end up living nightmares.

You could compare modding to college. You don't know where to begin, you don't know where you'll end. You can and will learn things, but maybe not the things you really need to know. You didn't start a company. You may or may not have a job. Your money situation could be ok or like college, end up far into debt. And then you have the problem after, is where do I go next? Is there even something next?

What is next, for a modder? You either find yourself in limbo, never moving back, but never moving forward either. Some find jobs in the industry, how ironic that they just worked for those companies for years, only to finally be paid minimum wage and having to move to GoDDeSS knows where. Some make the same game twice, except this time with the intent of making money. They make their own engine or use an engine that actually allows that. The majority of modders though? They're trapped. They don't become educated enough. Or they simply don't have the money or time, or think they cannot make their own games. There's also no game companies anywhere near them... They're simply Moneyless Modders!

And now anytime somebody mentions modding? I tell them it's actually called Moneyless Modding! That times have changed and you have way better options! Don't be a Moneyless Modder!

So, the tale I'm trying tell, is that for every successful modder, there are hundreds, if not thousands with no future from modding... That ratio of 1/1000++ is NOT GOOD! Times have changed, recently. Because of Steam or more importantly, digital distribution. But there's still only a few ways modders can succeed. So, I'm asking you, actual game developers, who allow mods on your games, to open your eyes. Modders can make you millions... Maybe you should think about them? Accept them?

What if it was your daughter, who just started high school or left it, wanted to mod your game? You never gave her a pony. All she wanted was a freaking pony!!!111 She took your game, coded, modeled, textured, added pony sounds... Suddenly your first person medieval game rose above all others... Are you that greedy? Do you now have a mansion? Or did you share the income and you both now have houses? Or did you seriously let her become a Moneyless Modder, slaving away in your basement, having to resort to piracy to play your next game?

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