A.12 Mod God

 

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This is one of the rejected sketches I produced for the cheat code gif A.10 B A Start. By the end of that post, I had chosen to animate just the NES controller, firstly because it was more simple but I also because I felt this more narrative approach would sit better with ‘Mod God’ the gif about people who make or use game modifications.

My idea is comprised of 3 shots; an extended finger moving through the air, the finger hitting a button, the computer monitor exploding with colour and various assets of well known game mods.

[storyboard]

To gain some more context. I approached some peers with insight into the game modification culture with 4 questions.


Question 1: Are mods exclusive to PC games or just easier to apply on a computer

Peer A
“I think some games on Xbox One allow mod support”
“If you want to mod games I’d say do it on PC … it’s easier to access files on PC than on console”

Peer B
“Mods aren’t exclusive to PC but they’re significantly easier to make on a PC for PC games. When I say PC I mean windows because again it’s significantly easier in comparison to Linux or Mac. The reason for this is mainly the ease of access to the game’s files and compatibility with modding tools. Code is easily accessed and tampered with on windows compared to others; I suppose the popularity of windows has contributed to this imbalance. Console games have similar data files but they’re coded in a different way and since there’s no direct access to the files, because they’re on a disk a PC can’t read, it’s harder to code something for it. Some console games have exportable data files, like borderlands, but there’s only a segment of data on it and some programs can modify that, an example being how much money a character has but not the in game designs of any characters.”

Peer C
“I do think though that it’s mostly a PC thing. I think it’s more difficult to do it for consoles, by virtue of not being very customisable”


Question 2: Who makes mods and how do you implement them?

Peer A
“I’ve never modded a game and I don’t play PC”

Peer B
“Mods are made by nerds. The developers may have some mods available, skyrim has a few Dev mods, but usually it’s just one or two or even a team who makes the mods. Usually funded by donations by the game players. I don’t know much about implementing them but it depends on the game really. Steam has a function called the workshop that will automatically install mods into the games for you. Usually it involves taking the file that modifies the game, and an injector file that allows the game to recognise the file as legitimate (some games don’t already have one of these files, some do,) and placing it in a new folder in the game files.”


Question 3: Why do people modify games?

Peer A
“The old Call of Duty [games] had really bad problems with modern making themselves invincible and able to fly around online and shit”

Peer B
“Mods are made as a quality of life thing, an invention that fixes a problem or makes an annoying aspect of the game easier. Sometimes it’s a rework of the entire textures of the game; Or sometimes they use the base game as framework to create an entirely new game, a notable example would be Arma 2 into dayZ.”

Peer C
“I’ve seen videos of them in use but don’t use them myself as they a) make your computer run slowly and b) can potentially get you banned from using the game if it’s online and the developers find out.”


Question 4: Which mods are the best?

Peer B
“The best mod I’ve ever seen is DayZ, a team of devs turned Arma 2 a realistic army shooter into a zombie apocalypse, it used the whole of the game map and was super popular, they eventually make DayZ a standalone game. An outdated one was Just Cause 2 multiplayer, which converted a completely single player game with no multiplayer features whatsoever into a multiplayer game with 64 people server capability. Gary’s Mod and CS:GO are the framework for a lot of mods but I can’t remember any of them. There are thousands of skyrim mods and GTA mods, and there are websites that are designed to host mods, nexusmods is a big one.”


With this information I can continue comfortably with my animation idea. The colour will explode out of a TV monitor rather than a console. And feature object and text strings associated with mods (similar to my other mockup):

I have also come to notice a correlation between modifying games and jailbreaking phones. Since, in both examples, the act itself is anarchic but the intention behind it is usually something as simple as a homemade bug fix or a desire to get as much out of the device as possible.

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Author: Pip Williamson

Pip // Animator & Motion Designer

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