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Project Eternity's longevity will be determined by its modability


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Obsidian obviously is not rolling in money right now so I can see where a toolset may be difficult and hamper the main game, the key is making them keep it in mind and don't let them forget they do indeed have options like another kickstarter after the game is released, a kit they could sell which probably wouldn't have that high of sales unless of course they made it a requirement to get mods to work (mod DRM lol) which I personally would be happy to fork over 20$ for and those that don't wish to use mods can of course ignore it as it would add no aditional ingame content except for the ability to have mods. (Some may say that it still isn't right but hey I would rather be able to pay and play mods than not having a toolset released at all)

 

If the modding kit were to have no impact on the original game (not using the original games money/time to make it) I don't see how anyone should really disagree with having a toolset created. Also as a side note, modders seem to be vastly superior at bugfixing games than developers and continue to do so even when developers stop patching and forget about the game.

Edited by Shadowless
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No, NWN2 is an average game. NWN single player campaign was an afterthought.

 

The latter thought was something I meant to add, but forgot. I don't think NWN can be used an example to counter what I originally said anyway, because the main portion of NWN's longevity is its MP functionality. If NWN had no MP feature and had to rely on just mods to its single player game, would it have lasted this long?

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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Being the most mod-friendly game ever, and having millions of mods made for it, won't matter a lick if the core game sucks and people have a hard time pushing through it.

It worked wonders for Neverwinter Nights.

 

I'm not trying to be snarky. That seems to be a commonly held opinion.

 

Well, yes, the official campaign was universally reviled for the most part, but you can't really (I think) use NWN as an example since it can be argued it was primarily a mod platform, that is the OC was merely an example of that one could do. Some of the player made modules were of extremely high quality, and really put the OC to shame (until SoU of course, before the DOOM SONG).

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Your list shows exactly why mod changes to core things in games are lame.

 

Let's take #10. Why should cowled wizards even detect spells cast indoors? The point fot hem is to stop magic battles occuring in public. They don't give a crap what happens in someone's private domain hence the license.

 

I don't think I have any terribly strong views about whether it makes sense that the cowled wizards detect indoor casting. Someone requested it, and it was easy to code. A chacun son gout.

 

Incidentally, I actually agree that as a general rule, the majority of modded content for BG2 suffers from fairly serious writing or balance problems. I think it's a very bad idea in modding BG2 (or any other game) to just install lots of cool-sounding mods. You have to do some fairly careful research to find anything high-quality. (Or just play the original game, which is perfectly defensible; personally, though, I got to the point where I found the AI in vanilla BG2 painfully stupid, and wanted to do something about it for my own purposes alone.)

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The first time I did Big World Setup, I let it install whatever and ended up with a game that became terrible, the second time a few days later I spent 6+ hours just reading about the mods and making a list about what I wanted. It was easily worth the 6 hours reading and 24+hr installation. There will of course be more terrible mods than good ones in general but the few gems in there are worth it (SCS for example) I have probably replayed the game 5+ more times all the way through just because of mods.

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  • 9 months later...

Mods are important to me. I play every game straight as intended 1 or 2 times, then look for more content and a deeper setting through mods. The bug fixes and combat tweeks alone make mods worth assuring. There are of course lots of rediculous god-items, but there are a lot of graphic improvements, sounds fixes, new locals, and especailly companions, that more than make up for their presence to me.

 

So to me, mods are a mandate when you have an open-ish world like this. I have made a couple silly mods for DAO using the toolset; it's fun and really gives you a rewarding experience that lasts far longer than the replayability of an unalterable game. I hope that a toolset is included or at the very least added afterwards.

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I've used mods on several of the IE games, and on those rare occasions where the modding is done well it adds a new dimension to the game.

 

From that, I suppose I could agree with the OP's assertion that P:E's longevity will, to a certain extent, be determined by its modability.

 

Yet that said, there seems to be a ridiculous level of hyperbole regarding mods in this thread. The majority of mods that consist of anything other than minor adjustments are inevitably horribly written. The best mods are inevitably the ones which focus upon restoration of dropped content and even then it is plain to see which sections have been conjured up by the modders to link the chains.

Edited by Kjaamor
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Sure mods can offer new experiences for players, but rarely are they ever as good as the base product. I've played BG2/IWD/FO several times over the years simply because they offer an incredibly satisfying experience, and for me, that's more than enough. It's like comfort food. Your mom's best meal isn't going to be improved by your friend coming over and dousing it in ketchup. That's how I view mods, I guess.

 

If P:E is a game that is incredibly fun and well made, and I like it enough to play through it two or three times and then never touch it again, I'm completely fine with that. Though I might pick it up again a few years down the road.

Edited by Ignatius
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Being the most mod-friendly game ever, and having millions of mods made for it, won't matter a lick if the core game sucks and people have a hard time pushing through it.

It worked wonders for Neverwinter Nights.

 

I'm not trying to be snarky. That seems to be a commonly held opinion.

 

 

Well, I think that's what Harebrained Studios thought. Then of course they went and made a campaign that makes NWN OC look like Ulysses.

 

EDIT - Bastard Necro! Kill it with fire! And, I had even posted in here before and forgot. 

Edited by DCParry
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Being the most mod-friendly game ever, and having millions of mods made for it, won't matter a lick if the core game sucks and people have a hard time pushing through it.

It worked wonders for Neverwinter Nights.

 

I'm not trying to be snarky. That seems to be a commonly held opinion.

 

 

Well, I think that's what Harebrained Studios thought. Then of course they went and made a campaign that makes NWN OC look like Ulysses.

 

EDIT - Bastard Necro! Kill it with fire! And, I had even posted in here before and forgot. 

 

Speaking of NWN OC, I thought it was a bit underrated.  It just that the pacing of the game was a bit...unusual.

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I enjoy modding communities very much. Obviously, games like NWN1 were designed to be modded, and the community has flourished with the fruits of that intention.

 

For Baldur's Gate (I & II), I have a massive list of modifications installed. Spell enhancements, ability fixes/ehancements, class fixes, item fixes, AI enhancment, extended NPC dialogues/interactions (well written I might add), new NPCs, additional quests, etc. Overall, I have 27 or so modifications installed. The overwhelming majority are to make everything as close to Pen and Paper adherent as possible, but the enhancements beyond that are extensive.

 

Modding goes far beyond Baldur's Gate though. Have you taken a look at the System Shock II community? The modifications and enhancements for that game are incredible, and breathe new life into it that make it beat many modern AAA titles. Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius both have capable modding communities as well. Does anyone even need to mention every Elder Scrolls game ever released? There is even a mod out there where you can play Morrowind in the Oblivion engine. They are presently working on updating Morrowind to Skyrim as well. Dungeon Siege also has some very good mods. On that subject, someone actually remade Ultima V or VI in the first Dungeon Siege engine. Add Arcanum to that list. There are many great modifications out there.

 

I think it is important to create a game with community modification in mind. I imagine that not only would it allow for more robust usage of develop property in the future, but it permits people who are most passionate about the game to give it license beyond its original scope. Modding makes good games great, and great games legendary. Legacy is important for gaming studious. Preserving quality for prosterity helps keep past successes in current memory. When people remember a quality game, no matter what happens, there will be buyers willing to take a chance that maybe--just maybe this game might be legendary, too.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent
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Getting the modding community behind the Sorcerer's Place, PocketPlane and Spellhold Studios sounds like something that could be very, very beneficial for Project: Eternity.

Why?

Because they have engaged themselves for over 10 years into Baldur's Gate. That speaks for itself. Getting those sites on-board with Project: Eternity is in fact, I believe, nothing but beneficial. Spellhold and Sorcerer's specifically, as PocketPlane is kind of focused on Baldur's Gate (as a site).

The Nexus and Moddb is big, but that isn't necessarily (in my opinion) as "niche" as I believe the modding community would benefit most from. Getting that "niche" audience is what I believe should be the focus from Obsidian. The audience that is willing to support them the most. Similarly, Spellhold, Sorcerer and PocketPlane has most experience and holds most love for the Infinity Engine no doubt, as they are the creative people who have worked with it the most (or at the very least, the longest). PE gets a new engine, but it builds upon (to my understanding) what the Infinity Engine stood for.

So I would suggest Obsidian to flirt a little with the guys and girls over at the links ;)

Edited by Osvir
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Modding communities are great for longevity, but how relevant is the longevity for someone like Obsidian (or even BioWare).  Most games are moddable on some level (since development is mostly data driven for convenience).  I think it's interesting that 13 years after BG2, there's still BG2 mods.  Great for people that like to play those.  It garners some good will which is never bad.  How much coverage do mods for games like BG2 and KOTOR II have, however?

 

How important is longevity for success?  Would Baldur's Gate 2 be less successful if the modding community didn't exist?  How about System Shock 2 (though you could argue it wasn't really that successful).

 

In some cases you can definitely go "That mod really helped that game."  Half-Life was a great game, but I'm not going to say Counterstrike didn't help sell the odd unit or 2 or 60....  But would the Elder Scrolls games be that much less successful without modding? (I don't think we can fairly answer this, but we can speculate).

 

The game is absurdly successful on the consoles too, which are not nearly as mod friendly (is it even moddable at all?  I don't actually know).  Further, it's a game that sold like hotcakes right at release, when most mods won't even exist yet.

 

Mods may keep a person playing the game (which may make them happy because they continue to get great value for their dollar, which probably even helps future purchases).

 

 

I rarely mod my games, and typically I only mod strategy games.  Though even then it's still pretty rare.  Unfortunately for most mods, I often move on to other games before I even receive exposure to them.  I only picked up KOTOR II's restoration mod because a friend of mine was playing it for the first time so I had a twinge of Nostalgia.  The only real exception is when I hear about mods made by the devs themselves.  I gobbled up Sawyer's mod for FONV.  Although it was mostly by pure fluke I happened across it still, so there's still some level of luck involved.

Edited by alanschu
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How important is longevity for success?  Would Baldur's Gate 2 be less successful if the modding community didn't exist?  How about System Shock 2 (though you could argue it wasn't really that successful).

What kind of success are you considering here? The company kind or the game kind? "Economical success" or "Successful experience"?

 

Baldur's Gate would most likely not have been as successful for 13 years had the modding community not existed. It would have had its success for 2-3 years with honorable mention. "Longevity" is the keyword here. The modding community keeps the game "alive" and "kicking". Albeit for a "niche" crowd, no doubt about that. It also allows new curious gamers, 13 years down the line, to experience an updated version of a past shadow.

 

It might not make the Company more successful per say, but it definitely makes the Game itself more successful.

 

Let's say the Baldur's Gate modding community keeps Baldur's Gate alive for 10 more years, kids who are 5 now and turn 15 by then, they can experience an updated, developed and creative version. It definitely makes the game successful, and the company gets continuous honorable mention. Long-term "revenue", or long-term "success" without perhaps any "economic success" attached to it.

 

"Passionate success" might be a fitting term for it? I dunno, but something along those lines. Love-for-the-game-success.

Edited by Osvir
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The main potential benefit to a company, imo (and this would be a long long term benefit, that doesn't always occur) would be that since modding tends to keep a game in the public eye, so to speak, it may help if/when one day the company wants to make a sequel or homage to the game ... so a publisher may go "yeah, still a lot of interest there, ok, go for it" or crowd-funding is wildly successful due to rep and hopes. ;)

 

I rate it as something akin to when cancelled Star Trek reruns and enough rabid fans, in part, helped the series be chosen for a possible movie franchise many years later. Again, doesn't happen often, but when it does, can certainly be seen as profitable/good for the creators/company/whoever.

 

That all said ... I'm not sure modding alone is a marker of true longevity of a game. It can help, and certainly doesn't hurt, but I don't see it as the biggest factor.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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What kind of success are you considering here? The company kind or the game kind? "Economical success" or "Successful experience"?

 

Which one would you like to use?

 

 

 

 

Baldur's Gate would most likely not have been as successful for 13 years had the modding community not existed. It would have had its success for 2-3 years with honorable mention. "Longevity" is the keyword here. The modding community keeps the game "alive" and "kicking". Albeit for a "niche" crowd, no doubt about that. It also allows new curious gamers, 13 years down the line, to experience an updated version of a past shadow.

 

That's fair, but you're saying that Obsidian should be actively trying to woo these people.  I'm curious, did BioWare actively try wooing these people?  Or did they just make a game on an engine that people enjoyed and were willing to play around with?

 

Even when I go back to play classic games I have heard about, I almost never use mods.  I am definitely a "what were the developers looking to deliver with their game at the time" sort of person.  I can embrace something like KOTOR II Restoration Project, because in the end it still grants a peek into what the vision for the game may have been.  As a gamer, I find that more interesting than a fan adding a new joinable NPC to the game.

 

 

 

 

Let's say the Baldur's Gate modding community keeps Baldur's Gate alive for 10 more years, kids who are 5 now and turn 15 by then, they can experience an updated, developed and creative version. It definitely makes the game successful, and the company gets continuous honorable mention. Long-term "revenue", or long-term "success" without perhaps any "economic success" attached to it.

 

 

It gets recognition, but how much?  I still speak highly of Baldur's Gate II despite not playing it in over a decade.  I still speak highly of Deus Ex and Planescape: Torment, though I haven't played either in probably 8 or so years.

 

 

So I guess my question is, if modding simply wasn't an option for Baldur's Gate, how much of an impact do you think it would have on the amount of people that go "I would like to see another game like Baldur's Gate?"

 

I mean, for all the goodwill BioWare may get by the modders keeping Baldur's Gate relevant, it doesn't really seem applicable since BioWare has gone into a different direction since the Baldur's Gate days.

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At worst, modding is a nice bit of advertising for the developer. If IE wasn't mod friendly, I doubt that there would be half as many people interested in seeing an updated version of the genre in P:E. Spellhold and the like keep people playing the game far longer than they would without the ability, and build a community around the IP that will carry it over to the next iteration quite well.

 

It's fairly easy to sell a new product to people invested in modding and playing mods, it's much harder to reinvigorate interest in a game gone so many years later without this.

 

If Fallout 3 & NV didn't having modding can you imagine how much advertising they would have to buy to get the player reinvigorated in the IP? HL2 Sold about as many copies as HL1, Skyrim doubled the sales of Oblivion. To me it feels like the capability is what helps sell the next venue.

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At worst, modding is a nice bit of advertising for the developer. If IE wasn't mod friendly, I doubt that there would be half as many people interested in seeing an updated version of the genre in P:E.

 

I definitely do not agree with this.

 

 

 

It's fairly easy to sell a new product to people invested in modding and playing mods, it's much harder to reinvigorate interest in a game gone so many years later without this.

 

I also don't agree with this.  I have never played a BG mod.  I'm a huge fan of Obsidian as developers though, and consider Planescape: Torment my favourite game.  This pitch took 7 seconds for me to be in.  Am I atypical?  I suppose I can't say for certain, but by the same token neither can anyone else here.

 

 

I think that you have a valid logical construct, but at this point it only serves as a hypothesis.

 

Does Wasteland have an avid modding community?  Because it's a direct sequel to a game of that style.  While it also appealed to Fallout (and "old school" RPG) fans as well, I think it serves as a counterpoint to your hypothesis.

 

I think there is a non-trivial amount of people that enjoy the experience that these games provided, and would have contributed regardless of how much exposure they receive with mods.  Now, the type of people that contribute to a Kickstarter I could see being well represented from people that still play BG for the mods.  But I think you do people's love of Baldur's Gate a disservice if you think they'd only be interested in more Infinity Engine style games because mods have allowed it a longer shelf life to some people.

 

 

 

 

If Fallout 3 & NV didn't having modding can you imagine how much advertising they would have to buy to get the player reinvigorated in the IP?

 

Given that those two games saw the majority of their sales go to unmoddable platforms, my answer would be "not much."  Again, I never used any mods for Fallout 3, and the only mod I used for New Vegas was Sawyer's mod.  Which I played *years* after I played vanilla FONV.

 

I enjoyed FO3, and FONV was a no brainer Day One purchase because I like the setting and I am a fan of Obsidian's work.

Edited by alanschu
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I'm not a huge fan of mods for the IE games. The ones I download are mostly bug fixes more than new content. I think the most important thing for the longevity of the game is writting good enough that you want to experience it again, characters interesting enough for you to want to experience again and again, content that is mutually exclusive forcing you to do multipul playthroughs to exepeince everything, and finally a good combat system that doesn't feel tedious once you've hit the 40 hour mark or feel entirely outdated in 2 years.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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I can't see the link between a games economical success and sales and the modding community.

The likes of BG Tutu probably have some impact on how much BG 1 is played, but even then it's mostly purchased in a bundle with BG2.

 

The number of players purchasing a game to experience something like sword coast stratagems can't amount to more than a rounding error of a percentage point.

Some exceptions to the rule obviously, like that zombie mod for Arma 2.

 

Longevity, meaning how long a player keeps on playing the game, is another matter entirely.

Theres a new final version of Killaps Fallout 2 restoration project and I'm itching to try it out. Kotor2 restored content likewise.

And I wouldn't have kept on playing NWN1 for years and years if there weren't the humongous pile of modules there is.

 

NWN might be another exception, might be even several percent of purchasers buying the game just to play the community

modules or experience the persistent multiplayer worlds. Can't believe the boost to be in double digits even there though.

 

The success or failure of PE will be entirely down to how the game is received in its unmodded state.

Mag reviews, metascore, general hype, steam visibility. Lives or dies by those. And then there'll be mods to give it longevity.

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 I think that you have a valid logical construct, but at this point it only serves as a hypothesis.

 

 

It's all it really comes down to without a professional market survey. I feel that there is better financial sense in producing a designer add-on for persistance of the IP and for extending sales of the game beyond it's shelf life.

 

I would be very curious on what the developers used in presentation of the economic viability when they tried to secure funding for the game. I would be really eye opening understand what they expected in terms of reception considering the game is going to be a difficult sale to anyone who hasn't played the engine before. Think we could petition them?

Edited by LKD
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I read through the thread from the start (as every person should) and was a bit puzzled by conversation. Then I realised that the first 3 pages of the thread were posted October last year. What a necro. 

 

I mean, the conversation is completely pointless now. Either they have added in modding, are planning to add it in after release or they are not supporting modding at all. That decision has undoubtedly already been made by Obsidian. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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successfully making mods is also good experience for those seeking a job in the industry. For that reason alone I think moddability is important. but as others have mentioned, mods can keep a game's popularity going years past its release date.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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