Originally Posted by PortuguesePilot
if you're a game developer and you aren't filthy rich like Turn 10/Microsoft or EA or Sony/Polyphony Digital, then you won't be able to compete with them content-wise. it just isn't possible. what would be a good alternative, then? provide the communities with a good simulation physics engine and some nice graphics, allow it to be easily moddable, provide some tools to allow for said modding and voilá! early adopters will buy the game. they will start to produce mods. eventually those mods will get great. people who didn't initially bought the game will notice the mods and all the buzz around them. they will get the game. they will also produce more mods that will bring even more people over who will eventually build more mods and so on, so forth.
this approach will maximize revenue (because you didn't have to spend a lot of money getting licenses, and you don't have to pay an army of modellers for 300+ 3D models, so all you get from sales will count as profit) and, as the mods increase, the sellability of the game does so too.
when well made, mods provide the basis of what will eventually make a game great: the incremental prospect of continuous quality add-ons. if the right tools, tutorials and - most of all - passion is provided, then the quality of the mods will surely be very, very high, as AC's crew admitted so themselves. rFactor and GTR2, as i mentioned in my previous post, are two very fine examples of it, but there are quite a few more. basically all the good games that allowed for modding have sold extremely well (GPL, early NFS games, F1 Games, ISI titles, SimBin titles, etc). and this tenet actually transcends racing games (Unreal Tournament, Half Life, Flight Simulator, World of WarCraft, etc). games that don't allow for modding are immediately confined to their original content and the only alternative to new content is restricted to official DLCs that are usually expensive on your pocket. these game will have a much shorter lifespan. the very few exceptions you may be thinking about will only prove the rule.
so you may well "completely disagree" with me, but as much as i think the way i do, surely there are others out there who, actually, completely agree with me on all of the points i expressed above.
Well, I do disagree with you there, at least regarding the quoted bit.
You're taking for granted that modding is and will always be the "be all, end all"
, the salvation of gaming titles. Could be. Might be. But is it really so, if we look around, to other titles?
...Should any devs trust in such premise for their commercial title?
While modding can open possibilies, for racing-sims the truth is the really good mods are an extremely tiny percentage in the big poluted sea of half-arsed stuff (to say in the most polite way). Why should it be different now?
In the paper, modding is fantastic, and as an hobby it is wonderfull (for sure it is for me).
....but in reality?
Users overrate and underrate mods sometimes with the most confusing feedback and points of view. Value and devalue things in the most odd ways.
Not less uncommon is the "use-and-throw-away"
and "gimme mooaarr"
way of things. It's like things with modding go on a trend or fashion, not for what the works are really worth for.
You also get a truck load of crappy "mongrel" stuff, with the common rushed conversion in the mix. It's very, very rare to see the propper well made stuff.
A nice looking mod is rarely the best in physics. And vice-versa. Same for sounds. Or for simple accuracy/details that should have been there. Etc, etc, etc, etc (ad infinitum).
It can also be an absolute mess for someone that plays online, especially if its a newcomer to the genre.
Ripping your fellow modder is also still in the order of the day.
There are no standards set before hand, much less organization. It's all desorganized, chaotic, unresponsible.
IMHO, modding can only really work if you have a complete mod-team, composed of individuals with great skills for all those needed areas, to produce a nice mod, as a complete package. And even that is a very big "IF
". It can take years to deliver the product, when it isn't abandoned/canceled half-way.
If we're talking about the odd well made add-on track and/or car, made and released in separate, we may hope for the best. But then, you get another problem for those... the common "modding race" for the re-re-re-conversions (just wait and see), more often than not for the older stuff, which does not push, much less take advantage of, the new platform qualities/capacities.
Call me pessimist, but I can't see how the mentalities and the way of things will change.
rFactor had eight years(!) to fulfill the pre-release dreams and promises of a modding-platform, and it did not deliver anything like what was predicted then.
It's not really fault of the devs, the tools or the platform, it's people and their nature. *shrugs*
Been there, done that, seen it all before. It will take much more than "a good simulation physics engine, some nice graphics and to be easily moddable
" for AC -and any other title- to be all that just with modding.