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Since when do private persons care about legalities?

 

And besides; as fanmods and user-created contents are usually non-profit, this point is moot. It's perfectly legal to use Unity Personal for non-profit content.

 

Being non-profit is irrelevant - in fact, you're explicitly allowed to make for-profit products with Unity Personal under certain conditions.

If I understand things correctly, the problem is that content created with Unity Perso (fan mods) is tagged as such by the software, and content created with Unity Pro (Pillars of Eternity) will simply refuse to run it. It would require more than just ignoring the ToS to get around that - cracking this security would be needed.

 

And as far as I know, modding communities usually make sure they stay on the legal side of things, simply as a matter of not having the developers turn against them. At the very least, mod-hosting websites will refuse to host mods created this way.

 

 

As someone that ported the junkyard power armour from FO3 to FONV, I can confirm that at least the Nexus will have none of that ****, despite the fact that I don't think that the developers could give any less of a ****. So the "legality over morality" approach is definitely a problem when it comes to hosting and spreading mods these days.

 

So while I may agree with Zwiebelchen in principle, in practice Sibakruom is not wrong. It is definitely a problem.

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All the models you see in the above screenshots are custom made by the community. There's a database of literally thousands of models (across all types like environmental, special effects and full fledged animated unit models) made by the community.

Yeah no offense or anything man but adding some UI mods, or creating some basic game functions that already exist in a slightly more efficient way is not a huge deal.  DOTA was a mod, but it was a game that already existed and they put 100% of their game out there to mod as people wanted and even had support for it.  Blizzard even went on to create it's own code language for modding pretty much all their games.

 

Then you have Eternity.  Made on a customized version of Unity which is not the free version which you will never get access to.  Possibly including unique code or functions written just for this game that will never be explained, pointed out, or a wiki on what they do and how to modify them.  Maps that are designed in a unique way very different from anything existing in any current game on the market, maps that have to be made by hand from the ground up and manually meshed out, not in a "map editor". 

 

I have talked to a few people about creating custom UI bars for this game already and possibly including scaling of the UI components already.  When asked about the work they made it clear doing UI replacement was not easy.... at all.  Actual Scaling of the UI?  Basically they would have to code their own scaler from the ground up and build it themselves because the one that exists in engine doesn't actually work and makes everything blurry post scale.  That's funny cause every game you talked about modding included functions that allowed the things I asked for easily from day one.

 

Don't assume every game was made to support mods, or that just because it was made using some form of Unity everything will be easy.  This game is not "mod friendly" and will never "support mods".  It just isn't outright impossible to mod it, big difference.

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All the models you see in the above screenshots are custom made by the community. There's a database of literally thousands of models (across all types like environmental, special effects and full fledged animated unit models) made by the community.

Yeah no offense or anything man but adding some UI mods, or creating some basic game functions that already exist in a slightly more efficient way is not a huge deal.  DOTA was a mod, but it was a game that already existed and they put 100% of their game out there to mod as people wanted and even had support for it.  Blizzard even went on to create it's own code language for modding pretty much all their games.

 

Then you have Eternity.  Made on a customized version of Unity which is not the free version which you will never get access to.  Possibly including unique code or functions written just for this game that will never be explained, pointed out, or a wiki on what they do and how to modify them.  Maps that are designed in a unique way very different from anything existing in any current game on the market, maps that have to be made by hand from the ground up and manually meshed out, not in a "map editor". 

 

I have talked to a few people about creating custom UI bars for this game already and possibly including scaling of the UI components already.  When asked about the work they made it clear doing UI replacement was not easy.... at all.  Actual Scaling of the UI?  Basically they would have to code their own scaler from the ground up and build it themselves because the one that exists in engine doesn't actually work and makes everything blurry post scale.  That's funny cause every game you talked about modding included functions that allowed the things I asked for easily from day one.

 

Don't assume every game was made to support mods, or that just because it was made using some form of Unity everything will be easy.  This game is not "mod friendly" and will never "support mods".  It just isn't outright impossible to mod it, big difference.

 

 

Actually, from my modding experience so far, mods such as changing or scaling the UI or changing core game mechanics are more complicated, not less complicated than creating actual new content from the ground up.

 

I don't thionk we really *need* an editor to code new events into the game. After all, we did that with BG2 already and there never was an editor to begin with.

As long as the files are externalized properly, everything is cool.

 

I don't need mods that change the core game mechanics, tbh. I just want the content mods. Those that extend the game beyond what the devs had in mind. Those that add stuff the devs didn't want to add due to priorities.

NPC mods are probably the most popular mods for RPGs. Depending on how the files get externalized, this might range from easy to super-hard to make.

 

 

I'm not showing the WC3 example as a rolemodel for how a "non supported game" got modded. That would make no sense, considering WC3 always had a supported modding community. My example was just to show that modders know their stuff. And sometimes even surpass the devs in certain elements. It was to show that you shouldn't underestimate the technical or artistic skills of a community.

 

So, basicly, there are artists out there that have the skill to design landscapes at the obsidian quality level [and to be perfectly honest, some landscapes from the 1 hour gameplay vid on youtube didn't even look that impressive to me].

The real question is, if it will be possible to use those landscapes and fill them with events and npcs. This is up to obsidian alone and has nothing to do with unity or legality at all. It's just about externalizing files.

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Props!

There's a ton of them in Pillars of Eternity. Why wouldn't it be possible to take like... the ground texture of Dyrford Crossing, or slice out a square of grass and then make a full area with the grass texture, then add props on top of it and then triggers/region to enter areas and so on.

Here, take a look at those pillars here.
Pillars-of-Eternity.jpg

I see about 2 variations of the 3D structure/pillars that has been rotated (there's 5 around, but there's only 3 types). You can also see it on the smaller parts. Or those trees, the bushes, the ground texture and so on. Hues/Colors. A lot is copy+pasted+rotated. Meaning: There should be tons of assets that you could use to create your own maps.

It's not a question of creating entirely new assets, but being able to use already existant assets. Even in WarCraft it is fairly difficult to create your own assets, which is why you use the already existant ones to create custom maps.

Question is: Are those Pillars of Eternity assets available?

You can see it here too:
2687944-8116353220-Pilla.jpg

 

The top pillar and the left pillar. It's the same object/asset! They're just rotated. I wouldn't be surprised if the right one is the same as well, but the "crack" or "demolished" part is directed away from the screen. If these objects are 3D, rendered into 2D, then why would it be difficult to re-purpose these objects/assets/props and put them on another map or another area on another "ground" texture?

I know for a fact that the houses at the stronghold are unique assets as well. Because they have a "broken" state and a "fixed" state. Which you can see here:

00:46-00:52

There's tons of assets/materials/objects/models that could be used for map making.

Edited by Osvir
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I don't think it will be possible to get access to the 3D models used in the creation of the landscapes (simply because it would be a waste to include them in the game files when they are baked into the texture already)... we will probably only get access to the images themselves.

 

However, there's no reason why we need those assets anyway. There's plenty of free high quality props available on the web.

 

Also, there are "unofficial" packages of models from various other games we could use... if you catch my drift.

 

And if you are willing to drop some money into the creation of new areas, there's always turbosquid:

http://www.turbosquid.com/Search/3D-Models/environment/max

 

You can even buy entire landscapes there that easily provide enough area for 10-20 maps, like this: http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3d-mountains-landscape-terrain-model/569910.

 

EDIT: Just found this scene which is completely free and contains lots of environmental elements in HD quality that can be used (trees, stones, bushes):

http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/free-max-model-villa-environments-house/648735

 

EDIT2: It's not hard to create your own assets btw... I've done plenty already with varying degrees of detail. Also, it was never hard to create animated assets for WC3, dunno why you say that. There's a giant database available oder user-made wc3 models: http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/models.php

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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EDIT2: It's not hard to create your own assets btw... I've done plenty already with varying degrees of detail. Also, it was never hard to create animated assets for WC3, dunno why you say that. There's a giant database available oder user-made wc3 models: http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/models.php

 

Varying degree of skill, experience and understanding. I used the Blizzard made assets for my map making and I found it fairly difficult to make my own assets (which I also tried to make, but it either got corrupted or textures didn't look like I wanted them to, frustration got the better of me). I never said anything about animated assets btw (which, to me/my experience, skill & understanding, sounds like something that'd be even more work/difficult).

 

EDIT: The original DOTA was created by using WC3 assets, not any custom made ones whatsoever. That was something that developed over time (years, even). Abilities were WC3 abilities, scripts were WC3 scripts and so on. Lots of clever use of existant assets. I remember playing it from one week to another, and the abilities started to look different. Lots of question-mark boxes, issues and bugs haha, but in the beginning it was just using Blizzard's hero abilities and unit attack animations.

Edited by Osvir
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Props!

 

There's a ton of them in Pillars of Eternity. Why wouldn't it be possible to take like... the ground texture of Dyrford Crossing, or slice out a square of grass and then make a full area with the grass texture, then add props on top of it and then triggers/region to enter areas and so on.

It wouldn't be possible because there are no props.  The maps in Eternity are all flat 2d images.  Every map was made is just a picture... there is no map editor, no texture importer, no props.  If someone makes an eternity map they have to make the whole thing by hand, then by hand, do the entire navmesh based on the image.

 

Can someone make a map image.  Sure.  But if it isn't up the graphical standard of what is already in game and does not match that "look" it will stand out like a sore thumb.  And again, good luck setting up the mesh, creating all the triggers, linking the areas, making the encounters, etc etc.  It would be a monumental task.

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Props!

 

There's a ton of them in Pillars of Eternity. Why wouldn't it be possible to take like... the ground texture of Dyrford Crossing, or slice out a square of grass and then make a full area with the grass texture, then add props on top of it and then triggers/region to enter areas and so on.

It wouldn't be possible because there are no props.  The maps in Eternity are all flat 2d images.  Every map was made is just a picture... there is no map editor, no texture importer, no props.  If someone makes an eternity map they have to make the whole thing by hand, then by hand, do the entire navmesh based on the image.

 

Can someone make a map image.  Sure.  But if it isn't up the graphical standard of what is already in game and does not match that "look" it will stand out like a sore thumb.  And again, good luck setting up the mesh, creating all the triggers, linking the areas, making the encounters, etc etc.  It would be a monumental task.

 

 

But a worth it, if we can split the workload. I can do normal map, specular masks and ambient occlusion.

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Props!

 

There's a ton of them in Pillars of Eternity. Why wouldn't it be possible to take like... the ground texture of Dyrford Crossing, or slice out a square of grass and then make a full area with the grass texture, then add props on top of it and then triggers/region to enter areas and so on.

It wouldn't be possible because there are no props.  The maps in Eternity are all flat 2d images.  Every map was made is just a picture... there is no map editor, no texture importer, no props.  If someone makes an eternity map they have to make the whole thing by hand, then by hand, do the entire navmesh based on the image.

 

Can someone make a map image.  Sure.  But if it isn't up the graphical standard of what is already in game and does not match that "look" it will stand out like a sore thumb.  And again, good luck setting up the mesh, creating all the triggers, linking the areas, making the encounters, etc etc.  It would be a monumental task.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/phkndd32e2x54m9/example1.bmp?dl=0

Just to clarify.

 

Red = Edges of the structure, if you'd be able to rotate those objects that's the sort of effect (what we see) that you'd get.

Green = Obvious

Blue = Obvious

Purple = Lower one is a rock that is sunk into the background texture (common behavior for a 3D object) and the floating rock is also common behavior for a 3D object with a shadow/dynamic shadow.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gtm896rkw4lyo51/example2.bmp?dl=0

3D rotation = What I mean is, it "hints" towards 3D rotation (because of the asymmetry with the other 2 pillars)

 

EDIT: Found it.

 

Okay okay, the wireframe of a tree, bush, door, house and so on can be manipulated, rotated and so on.

https://d15chbti7ht62o.cloudfront.net/assets/001/119/395/c9644947e88db3c54b88ac82d28eb353_large.jpg?1381643540

 

Here's some 3D wireframe examples btw.

Edited by Osvir
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I'm constantly amused when people get upset over the lack of one feature or another in a game (like modding support) when they have basically no clue what's necessary to include such a feature in a game.

 

Even ignoring the probabality that the licence holder of the games engine makes their living selling or renting the engine, thus certainly isn't going to give it away for free, the tools needed to actually create content for a game are often commercial CAD and art programs, the makers of which also aren't going to give away the products they make their living selling.

Then we have the "minor" detail that a certain level of technical compentece/expertise, that most people just plain don't have, is needed even if you have the engine and tools.

 

So here we have it, a comment from someone who was probably never active in any modding community.

 

Actually I've had stuff I've submitted incorporated into/published for several PnP games and been modding PC games since the TRS 80 days.

 

I'd apprectiate it if we could keep these discussions civil.

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One thing to remember about landscapes in Eternity is 2D with an art layer overlaid to create a 3D effect.

So you can't really just cut-an-paste pieces in an out to create a new landscape.

 

This discussion is going in circles.

 

Crowd A: "No, it's complicated, noone will ever be able to do it!!"

Crowd B: "But it's a common technique that can be done with any commercial or free modeller. I've done it already and there's plenty of tutorials for this; also, here's examples of community projects in other games that achieved about the same graphical fidelity than what we have in PoE. See, it can be done, it's just a matter of externalization."

Crowd A: "No, it's complicated, noone will ever be able to do it!!"

Crowd B: "... wait, didn't I just explain how-..."

Crowd A: "NO, IT CANT BE DONE!!"

Crowd B: "..."

Crowd A: "It requires to design the landscapes in 3D and custom maps."

Crowd B: "I know that ... I explained that 2 posts earlier and why it's not as hard as it looks. You just LEGO-build a landscape out of public art assets you can find on the interwebs. I've done it already."

Crowd A: "But it can't be done!!"

Crowd B: "..."

 

 

So ... before this discussion moves on and we are repeating the same already disproven mantras over and over again; I'm out.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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To generate a new map for PoE (at a very high level):

 

1) Generate an appropriate image in a 3D drawing tool

2) Render it to a bitmap (this is the image that you'll see in the game)

3) Using non-off-the-shelf programs, extract the required information from the drawing tool required for a PoE map

4) Combine the information from #2 and #3 in a PoE specific way, to generate the area definition file

5) Add the other information that is required for a PoE area (location of 3D objects [both props and NPCs]), containers, entrances and exits.

 

#1 and #2 have been done many times in the past.

 

Nothing similar to step #3 has been done by anyone (outside of Obsidian), simply because there has never been a need to do so -- the last game with a 2D background layered with 3D information was (as far as I know) the Infinity Engine games, and those maps required significantly less data.

 

With that being said, all of the information required to complete step #3 exists in the 3D drawing program (because generating most of it is required to generate the 2D render and the remainder is required by many other games, so data entry / generation options already exist that can be leveraged).  There is no reason to believe that this problem is unsolvable.

 

Step #4 and #5 are typical modding problems -- every game that doesn't come with modding tools run into problems like these and they are invariable overcome.  The fact that the formats used by Obsidian are based on standard formats from Unity makes life easier, as does the fact that Obsidian has promised to work with modders to create appropriate tools.

 

Therefore, the only question is "Will there be at least one person who is passionate enough about the game to go through the (quite significant) development effort required to complete step #2?"  The probability that the answer will be "Yes" scales fairly well with the games popularity, so "Will the game be a hit?" is likely to have the same answer.

 

My feeling (and, I suspect, the feeling of many of those who believe new areas will not be created in mods) is that the game won't be a hit.  This doesn't mean it won't be profitable or even that a sequel won't be written -- but it was always intended as a niche game and I suspect that Obsidian has alienated their core audience (via various controversial changes) to generate enough negative feedback during the first 30 days after release to ensure that sales will be capped in the 250k - 500k range (including kickstarter & slacker backer sales).

 

That doesn't mean that an area creator definitely won't be created -- after all, there are a number of passionate people with a high level of technical skill already trying to mod the game -- but it reduces the likelihood significantly.  To put concrete numbers on it, my feeling is that there is a ~10% chance of at least one mod containing a new area appearing within 12 months of release, and a 25% likelihood within 12 months after the release of PoE 2.

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^ Exactly. It's not that it can't be done. It's just that, most people don't quite understand the whole process involved with making these backgrounds. It's not even just the "we decided to make a 3D scene, then bake it into an isometric-perspective 2D background image," because PoE uses all that 3D information to produce dynamic lighting and such on the 2D image.

 

Now, if all the game demands is a 2D image of any kind, then I guess technically we could doodle in Microsoft Paint and mod "stick-person" cliffs and terrain images into the game. Just exaggerating to make the point. Someone could obviously bake or hand-draw, even, some spiffy terrain, probably, and have it look pretty nice. The point being, however, that without doing it as extensively as Obsidian did it, you won't get all the environmental effects that you will with the unmodded game environments.

 

So, I suppose we could just make pretty 2D images for backgrounds, and mod them in. It just might look a bit wonky compared to the original environments.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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^ Exactly. It's not that it can't be done. It's just that, most people don't quite understand the whole process involved with making these backgrounds. It's not even just the "we decided to make a 3D scene, then bake it into an isometric-perspective 2D background image," because PoE uses all that 3D information to produce dynamic lighting and such on the 2D image.

 

Now, if all the game demands is a 2D image of any kind, then I guess technically we could doodle in Microsoft Paint and mod "stick-person" cliffs and terrain images into the game. Just exaggerating to make the point. Someone could obviously bake or hand-draw, even, some spiffy terrain, probably, and have it look pretty nice. The point being, however, that without doing it as extensively as Obsidian did it, you won't get all the environmental effects that you will with the unmodded game environments.

 

So, I suppose we could just make pretty 2D images for backgrounds, and mod them in. It just might look a bit wonky compared to the original environments.

 

Actually, if you did that you wouldn't have collision detection (you would be able to walk anywhere on the map, including through walls and ceilings).  :)

 

But that's a fairly easy problem to solve, even in a 2D drawing program, and any 3D authoring tool that has been used for games previously will almost certainly have a way to generate this information for you automatically -- many games require that collision detection with static objects be precomputed for performance reasons).  And note that it would even be possible to use a 2D drawing program to generate each layer in turn -- draw the 2D image from scratch, save it, then modify the colors to indicate heights at each point, save that separately, then modify the colors to reflect lighting, save that separately, and so forth.  Of course, the colors in the height map aren't going to bear any resemblance to the colors in the base image... :(

 

My estimate is that it would take a skilled developer, with previous experience in designing export filters for "off-the-shelf" 3D modeling tools for game development somewhere between 120 - 480 man hours to generate the required export filters to support PoE area creation.  That's a hefty time investment for someone to make as a hobby, and the skillset required is significantly exceeds what is possessed by the "average" modder.  But if enough people play it, then sooner or later someone will do the required work.

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That's true. I mean, you could probably just make invisible 3D props. But, the collision wouldn't be as precise as if you went through the trouble of getting collision data from the 2D environment image.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Yep, while certainly doable it's not something the average person will be able to accomplish.

This means that while their certainly will be mods don't expect many to include new or significantly altered terrain.

 

That said, there's tons of stuff that can be done with reguard to modding items, skills, and creating new quest/dialog content.

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If legal issues are the reason we won't get certain tools, there is always certain "unofficial" ways of getting tools to the masses.

Yes, by all means, let's continue the myth that devs are a-okay with piracy.

 

 

[An incredibly well constructed and proved point. I wish I had the time to do so.]

Such an incredible effort just to prove me wrong. 

... he proved you wrong. He gave you the proof you wanted. Holy ****.

 

To say nothing of the fact that you guys hate publishers until you want them.

Edited by Bryy
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If legal issues are the reason we won't get certain tools, there is always certain "unofficial" ways of getting tools to the masses.

Yes, by all means, let's continue the myth that devs are a-okay with piracy.

 

 

[An incredibly well constructed and proved point. I wish I had the time to do so.]

Such an incredible effort just to prove me wrong. 

... he proved you wrong. He gave you the proof you wanted. Holy ****.

 

To say nothing of the fact that you guys hate publishers until you want them.

 

 

Ignoring the fact that your first statement doesn't make any sense, it's not like there is NO reason to be very dissatisfied with publishers: The Sith Lords. does the name tell you anything?

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Is there a chance that they just moved them elsewhere (accessable) for performance reasons [and just removed the duplicate]?

If so, there might still be access to the missing textures and shaders, we just have to look in other bundles.

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Do you really want to find the correct textures, shaders and sounds for thousands of files? I know I don't.

 

Definitely not manually; but there might be a good method to automate this; after all, the game also has to know where to look when it load it's files... and this is rarely done by using O(n) complexity searches.

 

So either there is a defined nomenclature or there's a file management logic based on filepaths. We just have to find out the internal logic. Which I agree might be difficult.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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If legal issues are the reason we won't get certain tools, there is always certain "unofficial" ways of getting tools to the masses.

Yes, by all means, let's continue the myth that devs are a-okay with piracy.

 

 

[An incredibly well constructed and proved point. I wish I had the time to do so.]

Such an incredible effort just to prove me wrong. 

... he proved you wrong. He gave you the proof you wanted. Holy ****.

 

To say nothing of the fact that you guys hate publishers until you want them.

 

 

Ignoring the fact that your first statement doesn't make any sense, it's not like there is NO reason to be very dissatisfied with publishers: The Sith Lords. does the name tell you anything?

 

Money.

 

Money is a good reason to go to publishers.

 

And my first statement, where I said nothing but "he gave you proof and you still ignore him" made no sense?

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If legal issues are the reason we won't get certain tools, there is always certain "unofficial" ways of getting tools to the masses.

Yes, by all means, let's continue the myth that devs are a-okay with piracy.

 

 

[An incredibly well constructed and proved point. I wish I had the time to do so.]

Such an incredible effort just to prove me wrong. 

... he proved you wrong. He gave you the proof you wanted. Holy ****.

 

To say nothing of the fact that you guys hate publishers until you want them.

 

 

Ignoring the fact that your first statement doesn't make any sense, it's not like there is NO reason to be very dissatisfied with publishers: The Sith Lords. does the name tell you anything?

 

Money.

 

Money is a good reason to go to publishers.

 

And my first statement, where I said nothing but "he gave you proof and you still ignore him" made no sense?

 

Lol getting a kick out of this I think you are going about this all wrong they never said they would not allow mods they did say they would do everything within what they are able to do to give mooders the tools they can give them to make mods. They are not stopping people from making mods they even stated multiple times they like what they have seen some modders do or have done even for beta. Dark_Ansem

Edited by cresentdark
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