Red Orchestra Dev: “Zero Downside” From Modding

At QuakeCon 2012, one of the things that really stuck with me was a statement during the modding panel discussion that gamers who want to break into game development should start modding. Again and again, it was insisted, the best way to hone your skills (better, the implication was, than any college program) was to just start making games themselves. It’s a reminder that the developers currently bestriding the universe mostly came up from the golden years of modding in the 90s and early 00s, and that democratic spirit is alive and well, at least among the people actually working on the games.

Sadly, In this horrid dystopian future we now live in, many major industry players seem bent on doing everything they can to shut off access to their golden palace, making it as difficult as possible to mod their games. Their reasons are specious, perhaps because they aren’t their real reasons. But whether or not you believe them, or like me think they’re just trying to make sure the consumer plays exactly as they dictate, we can agree that the situation kind of blows.

And the thing is, it isn’t even necessary. In a revealing conversation with PCGamesN, Red Orchestra developer Alan Wilson made an impassioned plea on behalf of modders and the modding community. “It’s something that we really can’t wrap our heads around – why would you stop people from modding your game? Why would you prevent people from being creative with your material?,” he said. “Just look what [Day Z has] done for everyone concerned. ArmA 2 has been on the top ten sales charts on Steam for about the last four months solid, because of what one of their employees did for fun in his spare time.”

“Frankly,” he added, “we can see zero downsides to allowing people tools and letting them mod the game. I never understand why companies effectively block people from doing that stuff.” Neither can we, Alan, neither can we.

OK, we can a little. It rhymes with ‘mreed’.

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