Some Thoughts on Modding Communities

In the community that surrounds modding any game, there are generally three kinds of people: players, modders, and toolmakers. It is possible to be more than one of these.

Players play the game, they have preferred sets of mods they use, and are usually the majority.

Modders make the mods, applying a new creative vision to the game. The changes can be tiny or they can completely remake the game, or anything in between.

Toolmakers break the game apart and build the systems the modders use to do their thing. Sometimes they are the game’s original developers, most of the time they’re people who’ve reverse-engineered the thing.

I’ve often been a player and occasionally a modder. This month, I became a toolmaker for the first time. In the process, I learned something that I had never considered but makes perfect sense in hindsight: modding communities respect the hell out of their toolmakers.

I don’t even consider myself a real member of this group, but they’ve still been falling over themselves to give me resources and the equivalent of a backstage pass.

Tags: Games