One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.
Modding is one of the most important creative activities in gaming. A well made mod can be the ticket to a career as a professional games designer. Or, it can break your game so badly it never works again. So, what’s a mod?
What It Is: Mod – modification. A substantial change to a game’s code, created by a player rather than the studio which made the game.
What It Means: Mod is short-hand for modification, the end result of a process called modding. Modding is a form of co-creation, where a game’s creators will release the tools with which they made the original game, in order to allow their fans and players to make their own, new content to add in to the game. Some of the resulting mods are incredibly elaborate and skillful, with modding being one of the primary ways in which young coders, designers and artists practice their skills and refine their craft. The most ambitious and impressive mods often result in job offers for their makers.
Why You Care: Modded games have the potential to cause a lot of family tension. Modded content is added to the game by coder-players after the game has been released. Therefore, modded content is not covered in the official age ratings as displayed on the back of the box, nor is it subject to technical support. Mods can be downloaded that radically alter the content of the game, by changing, adding or removing story, graphical content and music. If a video-game becomes corrupted by a badly made user mod, a refund will not be given. Mods are installed at the player’s own risk. Mods that add extreme levels of gore to a game are common-place, as are mods that add sexual elements such as prostitution. “Body-mods” may add genitalia to characters, or force all female characters in a game to go around topless. These kinds of mods may cause concern to parents and guardians. Modding is a rewarding, valuable and skilful past-time, with many players investing hours of their free time into creating attractive clothes and jewellery, or entertaining quest-lines for their fellow players to download and enjoy. A game which can be modded arguably extends its “playability” far further than a game that cannot be modded, as the player can simply download brand new fan-made content to add to their world. Parents and guardians should monitor the modded content their children are downloading into their games and be ready to have a conversation about anything they find concerning or surprising.