Dice Threatens To Ban Users of BF3 Color Tweak Mod

Electronic Arts really seems bent on making themselves look like the biggest a-holes in the gaming industry. Crazy talk, you say? Consider this then: A group of intrepid modders released a color-tweaking mod for Battlefield 3 earlier this week. The mod allows players to do something about the game’s blue-infused color grading to achieve more natural colors. You can see a sample image gallery here for a look at what it does.

Mods like this are a godsend for people, like me for instance, who have eye problems that can interfere with the ability to process certain color schemes. I’m not colorblind, FYI, but I have serious astigmatism; certain color schemes tend to look blurry to me despite my excellent prescription, and to avoid the problem I always make things as bright and as sharply colored as I can. (In addition to my personal PC settings, natch.) Obviously, for gamers with color blindness this kind of option would be doubly useful, and as they don’t actually give you an advantage beyond ‘not being disadvantaged,’ it would seem a fairly cut and dry example of fair use and fair game modding. Unfortunately, Dice (read: Dice corporate parent EA) isn’t having it, at least, not if comments by Gameplay Designer Gustav Halling are indicative of company policy.

When asked about the mod on Twitter, Halling said “[It's] too colorful. Also, I wouldn’t use those hacks if you don’t want a permanent ban on your account. FYI warning.” That tweet has been mysteriously deleted, but a followup tweet hasn’t; Halling clarifies that “I remember some CS “tweaks” that made the soldiers purple. I didn’t approve of it on my servers at least :) ”. This might indicate he was just kind of talking as an independent actor. Still, a few Redditers are reporting they’ve already been banned for using the mod, which would indicate Halling isn’t the only Dice staffer who feels this way.

If people are being banned for it, it sounds to me more like official company policy to tamp down on gamers having any freedom to do anything other than that expressly authorized by EA; they are, after all, not a friend to modders and the traditional PC gamer. Yes, it’s possible this mod constitutes cheating, and should evidence this is so be made clear, I’ll support the banning. Though, come on guys, try giving players the option, at least, to see the game as clearly as they can. Obviously I’m skeptical, so use this mod at your own risk.

Here’s a look at the mod:

I’ll say it: The mod fixes one of BF3′s biggest problems. But what say you, Game Fronters? Sound off in comments.

UPDATE: We shouldn’t forget that this is yet another rebuttal of Dice’s hilarious 2011 assertion that the Frostbite engine is just too complicated for the soft brains of modders. (H/T Commenter Axetwin). But who knows, maybe they’re planning to release Xbox modding tools after all.

Via PC Gamer

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8 Comments on Dice Threatens To Ban Users of BF3 Color Tweak Mod

Axetwin

On October 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Wasnt BF3 supposed to be considered “unmoddable” because of its supposedly ridiculously complicated engine?

Derek

On October 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The way I see it there are two options.

Enforce no modifications of game files on official punkbuster protected server. If this is their policy, then Dice should consider implementing this feature as an option themselves.

or;

Do what Valve did oh so long ago with counter-strike. Allow modification of certain textures but allow server administrators to chose whether or not to enforce unmodified files. This would mean implementing yet another advanced filter under game options. Dice would select the default setting.

Personally I want the former because I remember the days of competitive online gaming when cheating was wildly rampant. Allowing users to modify files in a big punkbuster title like BF3 is a bad call. However I have no faith in EA or Dice when it comes to implementing features such as a color fix that their customers want.

LTenhet

On October 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I think this is pretty ridiculous, but I understand why it happens; the Mod apparently actually tweaks the game files, and the server (as it stands right now) cannot determine whether it’s an actual Hack or not. This is just why they need to ALLOW MODDING.

R.J.

On October 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

@Axetwin, I remember that as well. It sounded more like an excuse to me since there are a lot of really talented modders out there. I suppose it sounded better than just saying that EA doesn’t like mods. I suspect EA sees mods as a threat to DLC sales, so it just makes up excuses that stop short of calling PC players a bunch of cheating pirates.

If Dice/EA could show that a mod like this gives an unfair advantage, then I’d support the ban, but this seems absurd. I’m pretty sure the blanket use of bans for mods is just there because there they probably don’t have a way to know how a particular mod has altered a person’s game, so they just assume any mod is bad.

Even without this, it’s pretty clear how EA feels about PC players. Bioware claimed that I wouldn’t need to sign into Origin more than the first time to register my copy of ME3, and yet the game still verifies the DLC through Origin, so if I don’t connect, it throws an error. Sounds suiously like always-on DRM to me.

SXO

On October 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

As long as it’s not reducing things like glare and such which would give players an advantage, I really don’t see what the problem is.

Q`

On October 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Problem was that using the same mod you could change weapon damage, recoil, suppression effect etc. So well done Dice/EA for banning cheaters I say. If you wanna use it, play on PB off servers.

mesige

On January 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm

been using this mod for the whole time it has been released, never been banned

Gravatrax

On March 5, 2013 at 9:11 am

That’s fine, I just won’t buy another game from EA ever again.

Yeah, Capitalism!