Question about dedicated server and modding

Hi all,

I follow this project since a long time, so first thx for all the news we regularely receive.

I’ve seen in the FAQ that players will be able to create there own server and that they’ll be able to mod the game.
Does that mean that the owners of the servers will be able to generate different procedural solar system… and if yes, Could we imagine the possibility of a kind of external interface with a “stellar map” where the stars are links to specifics dedicated servers with the possibility of naming different factions and put ingame different background stories for a role play game play ?


We haven’t reached our Kickstarter stretch goal for modding, so althouhg we’re definitely going to include some modding elements into the game, we haven’t figured out yet how extensive it will be.

Art / sound and configuration files / parameters will definitely be moddable, so I think there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make new planets ( or modify the current solar system’s layout ). Players have arelady modded textures, looks, atmospheres, there’s already an experimental modding thread here if you look around.

Modding the UI, besides some pretty basic things, is a more tricky question. I would say that, other than moving some elements and changing their colors / transparency, there’s probably not goint to be much customization possible.

For an external stellar map: that sounds doable, as you could pretty easily make a web call in the mod when the server is booting up or shutting down ( or when other events are happening on it, like a base being captured or destroyed ), howerver the responsability of writing that mod and that external interface and website would obviously fall on you :slight_smile:


Thx a lot for your quick answer : )

Even if all the modding part is not totally defined yet, and limited to some part of the game elements( and that’s totally understable ^^ ), you’re answer lets me imagine a great possibility of gameplay for a Role-play community, and if the gameplay and the modding possibilities are well exploited by that community, it can make something really interesting and differents from others multiplayers space games.

the game gives one solar system and the gameplay around that… and if the community really want it, they build a net of solar systems with different Stories/Events ^^

thanks for your works !

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You got me thinking @twinley.
A single role-playing group probably wouldn’t want to pay for multiple servers and split their members across them. Instead they could create this map you describe as a part of their community website and have members vote on where to fight next, where to send resources, etc, then the server configures the Battlescape settings for the next match accordingly.

Within this community, players could belong to the three corporations. Or if this thing really took off, it could be a hub with multiple separate communities taking part.


To enable proper modding of the game the ideal would be to have the game rules themselves as being held in configuration files on the server. At this stage you’re just starting to work on the gameplay rules so it would be an excellent time to consider how little of those rules could be hard coded and how much could be held in configuration files.

The ideal would be to store the rules in such a way that they could easily be changed to create different game types; role playing, king of the hill, battle royale, survival, conquer, etc.

This increases complexity and time, but a little extra thought about this now could improve the long term viability of the game dramatically. Even if nothing like this is implemented straight away, putting some hooks and stubs in place could be a good thing.

I see you’re already going this way with the configurability of the planets, I hope it continues in to gameplay too.


oh yes of course, the Idea was more to imagine a way to gather different servers of different role-play groups around a " bigger Role-play connexion ", if they want, more than split a single group on different servers ^^.

So that map could for exemple give the names of the groups present in one server, which faction they join, when they usually play ( due to the UTC time zone ), their background stories, if the server is actually online or not, what kind of planet are presents, a link toward another map specific to each server with the ideas you gived etc…

So people who want to take part of a larger role-play game can join a bigger community composed of multiple groups/servers, and share the events done on each servers, instead of only have separated servers with no connexion between each others. : )

Please don’t do this. It represents a dead end that will only use up development time that could be applied to what I would consider “proper” modding support.

INS is creating a game called Battlescape. To create it, they have to create ship objects, station objects and so on. Each such object will have certain capabilities. Properly done, those objects are composed as in an object-oriented fashion with properties, methods and events. Standard software development stuff.

Now document and publish the properties, methods and events. That’s your modding environment. Everyone who can write .NET code can modify the game.

INS wouldn’t publish the .NET code for Battlescape itself, but they would publish the interface for accessing the same objects that were used to create Battlescape. Modders could then either add new code that runs on their Battlescape server, or they can whole new games. The new games would all be space games, and be limited to the assets that INS created for Battlescape, but the rules of the game would be of their choosing.

INS wanted to sell their engine. Nobody went for it. But if you create another software layer on top of that engine, one that doesn’t require as much expertise, then you’re covering a whole lot more ground. And the beauty of doing that is that each game created using Battlescape’s modding capabilities is another reason for people to buy Battlescape.

This is the Bohemia/ARMA model and I consider it to be genius. Bohemia would probably have sold a couple thousand copies of ARMA if they didn’t have modding. Their basic game is just a single-player campaign worth about 10 hours of gameplay. It’s pretty much an aside to the real reason that people buy ARMA, which is to play on the modded servers. Single player, multiplayer, cooperative, competitive, you name it. People have cranked out countless game modes. And ARMA has sold countless more copies of the basic game as a result.

INS could certainly create a configuration file with specific options, and they’d have to implement each of those options. Such a system would require even less expertise on the part of the person doing the modifications, but the payback is just as limited. You’d have lots of simple variations on a theme instead of enabling talented people using the Battlescape building blocks to produce results that people are really drawn to. Results that people who wouldn’t play Battlescape itself would buy a copy of Battlescape to play.

Consider the videos that @SpaceJay has created for Battlescape. That’s work that somebody did for free. It saved INS the need to do it, it enhanced the appeal of the game, and it’s better than anything they can do - if for no other reason than they don’t have the time to do it.

I’d never buy ARMA to play ARMA’s campaign. I don’t care about that at all. I also wouldn’t buy it to play countless modifications of the game. But there is a game mode of ARMA that was created a few years ago that I really enjoyed called Invade & Annex. It’s a cooperative multiplayer game mode. I enjoyed it so much that I played it for a year or two, then worked with another guy to create a similar cooperative multiplayer game mode called Strongpoints. It’s a full-fledged game built using Bohemia’s miliitary game building blocks. Soldiers, tanks, aircraft and so on.

Note that INS should not duplicate Bohemia’s awful implementation. Bohemia created a custom scripting language that isn’t object-oriented at all. There are thousands of operators that work on their various in-game objects, and they have a complete mishmash of notations. The only data structure is the array. The only development environments for it are fan-made - because Bohemia didn’t piggy-back anybody else’s work.

The one thing that Bohemia’s implementation does provide is security. You cannot write code to run on a player’s client that will just go around deleting the player’s files because there is no way to express that in their scripting language. In contrast, if you let loose with .NET, then custom code on the client could do anything it wanted to your machine - unless there are ways to sandbox the client. Last I heard, .NET was removing whatever support they had to address this issue and I haven’t looked into it in a while.

If INS goes with a .NET object model, then people can use free Visual Studio tools to crank out .NET code. There would be a development environment that would really help people to crank out new functionality based on the Battlescape object set. Certainly all the existing open source .NET code and help sites (e.g. Stackoverflow) could be brought to bear on adding all sorts of things to the Battlescape environment.

Where this leads is that INS sells not a generic game engine or a specific game, but instead a toolkit for creating any number of variations of a genre of game. It can almost be thought of as a game engine in game clothing.

I’ve been modding ARMA for the past year and I’d be more than happy to provide details to the INS folks about my experiences there.


Even if full modding support was being implemented, stuff that can be in config should be in config.
You shouldn’t have to write code to change scalar values eg the cost of a ship or mass of a planet.

When if comes to changing behaviours and adding logic however, I’m totally with you JB.
I’m sure it would be totally worth Flavien and Keith taking the time to consider how modding support would ideally be implemented and perhaps write a few interfaces etc, even if they don’t implement any actual modding support now, so that they don’t increase the cost of supporting modding correctly in the future.

KSP mods are C# assemblies that get loaded in, but there’s still a lot you can change just with plain text config files.

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It would also be a unique selling point for battlescape. Elite dangerous is staunchly anti-modding and while star citizen promises it, it’s only promised for after release and that will likely be a long way off, and could potentially not be as modder friendly due to the demands of the game engine.

Battlescape is fundamentally a pretty simple game about ships in space shooting things and doesn’t involve hypercomplex ship interiors and piping systems, this lends itself more to modding than a game like SC would.


Sure. I don’t believe that INS, Battlescape or the Battlescape player community will benefit by the existence of such things. I assume that it will only produce variations on the theme of Battlescape’s gameplay, which can only serve to fragment the Battlescape player community.

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I don’t see the two approaches as being mutually exclusive. Using config files can set attributes of objects which can be easily modified by players to make basic mods to the rules. However these objects could also be exposed using an API for much more in depth modification as you describe.

That sounds a bit like an argument against modding in general.

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I agree with Crayfish when he says that the both modding methods are possible and not necessarily incompatible .
Maybe because I’m more a graphist than a coder, I think I understand what Crayfish meant.
Personally If I only have a simple way to modify some elements, choosing how many and what kind of planet/moon you can put on the server, if I can do a server for casual gamer or for hardcore gamer by choosing some options on the rules, give/change names of the factions, maybe choose if one of the faction is dominant at the beginning , create events/missions, import some texts , change textures or import flag pictures etc… I’ll be happy with that, and I’ll try to use my abilities to play with all of this to provide something for players who would like to take part of this story and that kind of gameplay.

There is a lots of kind of players, so the more you let them find their way to play within a framework, the better it is, in my opinion.

After that, if the game lets the possibility for more talented players to go further and make a total conversion of the game, without causing troubles for the Devs, it will be awesome too.


They aren’t. But they are two distinct development efforts.

Only when the modifications don’t sufficiently diversify the gameplay experience. Two games with the same gameplay draw from the same player base. Two games with slightly different gameplay probably will. Two games with distinct gameplay will not.

Maybe to be more clear, we could make a difference between " customize a server " and " modding the game "

  • customize a server would provide the possibility for different kind of players to easily change some defined elements within a framework to gather each others around a shared gameplay or stories.

  • modding the game would let to skilled players the possibility to modify the game in order to offer another experience of gameplay or a different game.


Minecraft has a similar model. Some servers are simply customized and include no new content, but can still provide experiences not contained within vanilla multiplayer. Other servers need the player to install a mod beforehand to connect and play on it.

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exactly, and I think this is one of the strengths of minecraft, and it could be the same for this game.

And that’s why the " customize " part of this game server can be a very interesting thing for some international communities gathered around a common background with 3 different factions composed of several groups, split on different servers. ( and you can find different communties with different backgrouds )

I was part of players communities for Star trek online or Elite dangerous for exemple, and I saw how can be the creativity of a community around a game. And I know that if the game lets a way for players to create their own stories externaly of the game, with some tools to put it in game, even if this is in some limits, you’ll be able to see really intersting things.
You’ll find writters, graphists or Video makers to write and show stories according to the game events.
For exemple here is a video I made for some friends of mine on elite dangerous in order to present their group ( sorry for the robot voice… we are french so it was difficult to find a woman without a french accent :stuck_out_tongue: and sorry for my english too ^^ ) , there are a lots of creations like this one ( or better :stuck_out_tongue: )
And you’ll find players to give life in and outside of the game for all of that.