Black Mesa Dev Feels Modders Don’t Get The Acknowledgement They Deserve

Modders don’t get the acknowledgement they deserve from developers, according to Carlos Montero, project lead on Black Mesa.

In an interview with True PC Gaming, Montero expressed the value that modding adds to a game and lamented the fact that many developers not only fail to acknowledge the fact, but go so far as to shut modders down.

When asked if he felt the modding community gets the acknowledgement it deserves, Montero said:

“Not really, no. When you think about it, modders are like the ultimate fans. They love this game so much they are doing real, difficult, skilled work that you usually pay people for, for free! And not only that, but they can add so much value to your game for the rest of your audience! Yet you still see companies look at this as competition, sue and shut-down these projects, ignore or drop support for people to mod their games….it doesn’t make any sense. In my opinion it’s the product of businesses (or lawyers) looking at this too analytically and short-term, without understanding the long-term value it can create for their games.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Montero explained the challenges in balancing Black Mesa’s difficulty:

“I think the biggest problem-factor actually was in finding the right balance between the difficulty of the original and the relatively high forgiveness level you find in many modern games. We focused a lot first on removing or fixing things that made things confusing, before we would focus on tweaking balance. If someone thought a particular battle was difficult, we focused a lot on why was this battle difficult? Is there something we can do to the AI to make it read better, or the weapons or UI to help them communicate more clearly to the player what is going on?

“We wanted to give the player every chance to overcome a difficult situation, and focus on removing confusion and frustration from the mechanics and situations themselves before we literally went in and made bullets do less damage. That was always a last resort.”

I think Black Mesa did a great job of capturing the difficulty of a ’90s-era game, and while I did have my moments of frustration, those revolved more around dealing with certain game mechanics like ladders and crouch-jumps than with the actual challenges faced.

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1 Comment on Black Mesa Dev Feels Modders Don’t Get The Acknowledgement They Deserve

psycros

On November 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how little attention is given by the studios to actual gameplay balance. This is especially baffling when its a single-player experience. Modders have saved more games from a fast track to the bargain bin than the industry will ever admit.