The Most Important Mod-Makers In Computer Game Design


Modding made Minecraft the phenomenon it has been for nearly 15 years, and whilst the game would have been successful even if Mojang had not been as open to game mods as they became, it would not have been quite as successful had it not become a platform to learn coding essentials.

However, the ecosystem surrounding modding has reached a point where there is a wide range of Minecraft modding courses teaching people the fundamental joys of coding and programming in a way that is not only fun now but teaches principles that can help them with future aspirations in the industry.

Despite this, Minecraft was not always this way; Mojang initially was firmly against modding and it took three years and a massive community drive to develop much of the infrastructure that is used today and has since been officially incorporated into the game.

Nowadays, Minecraft has a robust set of coding tools that have helped the community thrive, approved by Mojang and Microsoft. Here are some other games that thrived thanks to officially supported modding tools.

The Sims

Nearly a decade before Minecraft, The Sims helped to bring modding to a brand new demographic, inspiring a whole generation of coders and ultimately becoming one of the first games that not only benefited but largely relied on imaginative mod designers.

What makes The Sims unique is that the game was designed around what Maxis, EA and the community call “Custom Content”, to the point that modding tools were released online for the game before it even launched.

Whilst earlier games such as Doom, Quake and Civilisation II welcomed modding through relatively easy-to-understand file systems, and countless other PC games in the 1990s had world and scenario editors, The Sims took its dollhouse concept as far as it could go.

Neverwinter Nights

Whilst known more for their cinematic space opera action RPG series Mass Effect, which did not feature mod support as standard, BioWare was an exceptionally innovative company and was perhaps one of the first to extensively advertise the modding potential of their games.

After the success of Baldur’s Gate and its sequel, BioWare released Neverwinter Nights in 2002, which whilst featuring its own extensive single-player campaign, also came with the Aurora toolset.

The intention of the developers was to allow players to create adventures and campaigns and manage them in the same way a Dungeon Master would manage the Dungeons And Dragons tabletop game that inspired Neverwinter Nights.

This aspect was heavily advertised and arguably helped contribute to the game’s critical acclaim and commercial success, maintaining an active community even 22 years after launch, and much like Minecraft would be used as part of game design courses.

World Editor For Warcraft III

There is little ostensibly about Warcraft III’s powerful World Editor tool that made it one of the most important modding tools in video game history, particularly since Blizzard had already sold Warcraft II and StarCraft with level editors.

However, what was different about Warcraft III is that it was simple and yet powerful enough to allow people to not only create extensive scenarios within the relatively versatile real-time strategy game but also entirely new games and genres.

By far its biggest success, and one of the most successful mods in history, was Defense of the Ancients, which single-handedly created the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, and both League of Legends and DOTA 2 have since become two of the most successful competitive games ever.