Steam and Modding

Link for the new policy and stuff here

Was just wondering how most of you guys felt this is going to ripple out through the vastness of the internet? Their’s already a downright angry mob, but hoping for a less hostile discussion on the topic, how do you guys feel about it?

I honestly think it’s a good idea in practice and philosophy, one because of how the original game publisher needs to agree to the making money off of mods from their game, and it gives people who love their work but could use the extra cash a bit of incentive to continue their good work.

I think it will markedly improve the quality of modding in the gaming world vastly, as well as support lesser known developers make a name for themselves. The only outrage I can imagine is coming from entitled people who feel that modders don’t deserve any recognition for the immensely hard work that they have done to improve the player’s game that they love.


The only outrage I can imagine is coming from entitled people who feel that modders don’t deserve any recognition for the immensely hard work that they have done to improve the player’s game that they love.

It’s… much worse somehow. I’ll quote one for you.

This won’t lead to a golden age for modding. This will lead to the end of modding. Mods are passion projects. They’re things people make out of a love of a game. Take that away and you’re left with a strong incentive to pander to the lowest common denominator. To make something that’s somewhat palatable for everyone rather than something a niche group will love. And that’s maybe the single best thing mods currently bring to the table.
This is greedy. It’s a cash grab. It’s taking a community based on openness and sharing and putting a price tag on it. This is awful for PC gaming.


Now you’ll see the highest quality mods, which may have once be passion projects, become monetized merely because the creators know they’ll be able to make a quick buck off of their work. This will become problematic as people will become unwilling to dedicate their time to free mods, and will only be willing to make their mods free if such mods are low effort and more basic. So you’ll see the highest quality mods which can be downloaded for free now become payed, and a decline in the quality of free mods.

It really does defeat the purpose of mods, and undermines what we define to be a modification.

I question that reality that people continue to put forward. But at the same time, if someone put thousands of hours in their game, would you honestly in their shoes keep it completely free if you had the option of making some money off of it?

My question would be more along the lines of

Why not a button to be able to /donate/ instead of buy a mod, given the publisher (of the game) consent to monetize off of mods?

Because that seems to be the more friendly means of making money off of mods. Because very few people believe that the current system that Valve implemented is correct by any means. Including me to be honest. Biggest problem right now I think is that people keep getting fed misinfromation, and demonizing valve instead of suggesting solutions. But that is the human race for us I guess.

Because honest I think people being able to make a living off of modding legally would be a huge benefit to the fanbase and gaming community in general. But at the same time people worry about abuse in the system, but they always worry about abuse and it’s always going to happen sadly.


There still will be free/open source mods arround.

I can’t imagine Trainwhiz charging anything for his high quality fun mods.

Giving creators options should never be a problem.
How doesäs more options dicentivise pasionate people to make their mods free? Just because they could make some bucks with it? There are still enough reasons for free mods. Publicity and lower expectation is one for instance. A lot of mods are poppular because they add a lot of content while being free.
Having those arround will force paid content into even higher quality.

Also … I-Novae is planning to do the same.

Just don’t listen to the fearmongers. When Mojang did go the opposite way there was a same ammount of outrage.

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I expect there will be a significant influx of low quality mods.
Other than that I think it’ll be fine.

The mods that would have been created anyway will still be created and their popularity will be determined by market forces.

Quite frankly this is a mindnumbingly stupid idea for a number of reasons. First is the obvious big name IP copyright issues with many of the mods. Second is bethesda/valve taking 75% of the cut while doing nothing for it (i would not mind them matching normal game sale price, this is unacceptable moneygrubbing for work that could just be sold on a platform that doesnt gouge). Third is the idea that if you don’t monetize your mod it’s fine for anyone to slap it in a mod pack and charge for it, fourth is the small name copyright issues which cant be resolved especially with steam’s notoriously terrible steam reports, fifth is the censoring the donation links in popular mod maker’s mod destriptions, killing what i beleive to be a much better form of funding especially for mods which need to be community oriented and will reach a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of an audience and dont need paywalls slowing things down further. Sixth is the death of the workshop’s ranking for free mods, already all they have listed at the top is paid crap, how nice. Seventh, what happens when the game updates (on steam especially) and the mods are left unsupported, do people get a refund? is the mod author required to keep weapon pack #242 up to date? Eighth, what about mods that were free but then go paid? Many people have 100+ mods installed and removing one could fuck up their whole save file and everything. If they have to reinstall their save is useless. Sorry but you guys have not thought this through one Iota, it’s not just “fearmongering”, fuck.

But sure, “good idea”. At best, the damage to the modding community will be minimal, at worst we see widespread proliferation of workshop mirrors like what we saw with sims 3 modding years ago and yet another internet drama erupts over a terrible half baked system that should never have been implemented, or at the very least should have stayed in the planning stages for long enough to iron out all those issues i mentioned.

What steam should have done is implement a pay what you want system (without a minumum as it is now) that acts as essentially a donation for popular mod makers. This is an increasingly popular model for musicians on places like bandcamp. Thats it, that would have been fine. It fucking works for twitch, its beginning to work for youtube channels(through patreon and subable), and it can damn well work for mods. Gating content like this hurts the experience for every single person who owns the game. No experimentation, you have to dedicate to what you buy otherwise well you just blew money on some shit youll never use again. It hampers further mod development, as people will need to pay for script extrensions to use and they wont be able to easily get other mods and open them up and see how people did what.

I don’t know what I-Novae’s specific plans are. My understanding as that they are going to sell use of assets like models and whatnot intended for use in separate projects, similar to the unity asset store. This is a different class from a mod store. I really advise against using anything similar to what steam has in it’s current state.

edit: did i mention the problems with devs being deincentivized to fix their game when unofficial fixes cost money and they make a cut off a selling a bug fix for a game as unofficial dlc


Could not have said any better :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure that devs are actually planning something similar to the steam thing.

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I don’t really like it at all, mods (in my eyes at least) have never been about making content that I can sell to others, it has been about realizing an idea that I have I so that I can share it with others. I don’t mind a donate button though, if you want to help modders.

I also think it’s extremely silly to have this payment for mods. I mean, first off we still have nexusmods that provide all the free mods we want; secondly, the only reason that this legal is because the companies can take a share out of this. Mods have never been able to charge anything because that would have been a copyright issue, but not anymore because the companies can just take a bit of the money for something they didn’t even do.

I CAN understand that valve wants a bit of the sum because they actually stand for the platform where they are marketed and sold, but I don’t want bethesda (afaik they get a bit as well because it’s their game) to get any money, they already got it when I bought their game and their dlc’s. But taking 75% is just ridiculous.

THIRDLY: I have no idea if the mod is good or not, sure there are reviews and stuff but I still have to buy a product from some random person that I know nothing about.
What if the mod accidently causes the game to crash?
What if the mod isn’t compatible to something else I got?
What if the mod is discontinued and won’t work after a patch?

If any of those things happen I’ve just thrown my money away.

I’d just want a donate button where I can donate to a modder if his/her things are actually good, and I usually know they are good because I can download their stuff for free and try them. Either that or a free trial of the mod, then I can purchase the mod, BUT ONLY if the modder gets a better cut of the deal, like jesus christ, they take 75% of the money…


There will be a few mods that will benefit from this.
But a lot of mods out there are in reality mod bundles or the work of more than one person.
Money will be the death to those kind of collaborations.

… Is Nexus affected by this change? 100% of all the mods I used came from them, and that was ~40-50 of them. Who needs Steam Workshop. Honestly, with thousands of mods over on Nexus, if this business model proves to be too much of a burden, it will quickly become a moot point.

IMO, unacceptable doesn’t even begin to describe it. Honestly, I don’t * mind * paying for mods, as long as I know I’m getting a good mod, and they aren’t charging an outrageous price. I payed 5$ a long time ago for the Homeworld: Complex mod. Easily one of the coolest/best mods for HW2 ever. However I paid that amount to a private Paypal account on the guy’s website. If I were a dev who wanted to release the mod as paid content, I would get a private website and link it to paypal, or release it free out of spite.

I’d also like to add, that if modelers who use 3Dmax or any pay to use software, they should actually pay for their license if they want to actually sell their stuff, or switch to free modeling software.

So if valve actually wants to continue selling mods they should enforce checking if modders actually bought their licenses or is using free software (don’t know if they actually do this now, but I’m guessing not).


I know this is mostly wishful thinking and is almost impossible to enforce and check. But honestly, if you want to earn money of off something you should pay for what you’re using to earn money if it requires it.

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In thinking about this, it seems to me that I-Novae Studios would be wise to organize their modding environment into distinct areas that are clearly delimited with software interfaces. The goal is to encourage modders to build their mods right on the Infinity:Battlescape software, instead of building mods on top of mods. The more of the latter that comes into being, the more likely it is that somebody is going to change something that breaks somebody else’s mod. That seems to be the great challenge with a modding environment; Mod A is incompatible with Mod B. If INS takes the bull by the horns and identifies each type of construct that can be created, and defines how they interact - and does it right - then mods will happily coexist with other mods. The only time folks would get messed up would be when INS changes their modding interface.

The most obvious example is a ship. The is a mod. A distinct area. A self-contained component. It requires all the stuff that we came to expect from building ships under the constributions system. Geometry, animations for hangars and gear, UV maps, various textures, hardpoint locations, etc. If you want to add a ship, you create a package that contains all of that information, and the rest of the game software interacts with it via defined ways.

So there may be another mod that adds a missile. That missile can hit any ship, be launched from any ship, detect any ship, etc, regardless of who created the missile and who create the ship. That’s because the missile must use standard sensors, which have a standard interface to users of the sensors. The sensors have a standard interface to the game world that allows them to detect stuff. The ships are part of the stuff in the game world and must adhere to sensor signature interfaces as well.

Note that if each of the ship’s internal components is defined as a mod with a clearly-defined interface, then somebody can come in and change the gear on the ship. Or the location of a hardpoint. Or the definition of the internal structure of the ship, whatever that means. Instead of a ship being a mod, it is a piece of a ship that is a mod. So if you want to alter the sensor signature on a standard INS ship, you would be able to do that.

The alternative is to just create some game software with data and logic, throw in a scripting interface and let the modders have at it. They’ll gradually create their own ecosystem of components, and the result will have the same traits as any other mod environment - lots of incompatibilities and the inevitable scramble to create and install updates.

If the modding environment is well-defined, then a charge-per-mod system becomes much more viable. The mod ecosystem is well-defined and players will have a sense of stability. So long as INS doesn’t make incompatible changes to the foundation mod structure, of course. For example, if a sensor band is added, that’s not a big deal. Lots of ships and sensors won’t operate on that band, but that’s acceptable. If a sensor band is removed, that’s going to break things.

Although still pretty bad, it’s split between valve, the original publisher and taxes. Not just all of it going to valve which is what most people make it out to seem like. But none the less still pretty bad.

One of the more legitimate worries, but as for buying new mods the whole Idea is a 24 hour refund, which I honestly think isn’t enough. But yes, I do wonder how valve thought it would be a good idea to monetize off of something that might become abandon ware. But it’s not like they care.

Whole bunch of stuff to talk about here, The problem with the donations would be the whole idea that someone is making money off of another game, and that the originals deserve to be paid because they’re the ones that made the platform for the thing. So a bit of a stressful situation on “How do we make it so everyone’s happy.” Which in this answer is a flatlined you don’t.
I think the best concern that I’ve seen anywhere is the question of what happens when the game updates and causes mods to fail. That’s a honestly good question, I’d hope that if someone was making something off of a creation they’d have some incentive to fix it if it breaks. But at the time of my writing, their’s no enforcement of making it work. So to the end, zero customer protection besides the 24 hour refund policy.
And I think it was discussed in the Q&A of the original link, or I spotted it somewhere. They can’t make you uninstall a mod reasonably, and force you behind a paywall if the person has it. Unless they ninja update it somehow making it do the job for them, which would as I hope, cause the death of the mod in question, because that’s just bad business practice.

Plenty of good points being brought up here, but the main reason some folks call it fearmongering is because of people saying stupid things like.

The spirit of modding
This will cause the death of all modding
Insert random bullshit that’s not relevant

Ect ect, you can find various examples just searching the internet. That being said, my biggest question right now is, if people who stream and youtubers don’t need to pay the company for their videos (Because they get advertisement basically, unless they’re greedy) why the hell should modders have to give them a cut of their creation?

Edit: Because modders can make game sales go up if it’s really good. Take for example Day-z, it sold many copies of arma 2 before it became it’s stand alone version.

One of the reasons I have a high oppinion of Battlefield 2 is its range of good and/or fun mods. Free publicity for DICE that they can thank the creators of the mods. And I think they did.

I would say we observe what will happen in the comming months and learn.
Tweaking what the platform creator gets could solve some problems.

Gameengines got low entry points in the past … with high percentages on game sales and such … also a platform provider …

A thriving mod community benefits the base game through increased sales and publicity. The question is how much does the original deserve to be paid for work they had no part in. The answer, is none. toyota doesnt get paid if you hire someone to put a spoiler on a car they made. And in the case of donations, obviously people are just paying the modder to just keep on living, or rather for whatever work he’s already done. I think you were making this point in your last paragraph.

Also, you cant turn off auto updating on steam anymore, which exacerbates the problem in a huge way. Well, rather it tries to force you to update before you launch it (though you can prevent it from updating it if it doesnt think your playing it).

By the way, steam isnt the first to come up with the idea, just the first to deploy it en masse. Unreal Tournament 4 is trying to do this, with a key difference. All “Mods” are cosmetic skins. And if you buy a map, anyone can play it, it just gives you the right to host it. This is very different from other ideas of mods. “standalone” type mods are free for anyone to make using the engine itself. If you want to sell your game made using the engine (a “mod” of the engine if that helps my point) you need to pay a percentage of profits. completely reasonable. Hell i think source 2 is trying to do it as well.

If steam tries to deploy this system to space engineers that game is straight up dead in the water. It relies on workshop integration for server loading oh god the can of worms that would unleash i dont even want to think about in detail.

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Talking about it legally. How “much” coppyright is infringed by creating mods for a game that has modding support?

How much fee could we accept for the exchange service? 25%, 5%, 1%? And how much could the provider of that service accept … looking at you I-Novae

We should try our best to not force answers out on this controversial subject. Because I’m sure most people are watching and waiting.

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