[TOTW] Modding support

We are (trying to) having a discussion on the dev forum about the role of modding the game in the future and if we should keep large parts of the game as scripts for easy editing:

You can read that thread for more details but here’s some points I’d like to hear feedback on from the community:

  • How important is proper modding support for you? This means doing things like specific hooks and tutorials for making different kinds of mods. One extra thing to consider here is that I think that people who have skills to make a great mod should join the dev team instead of keeping on making mods.
  • Would the fact that the game would be almost fully in C++ (right now there’s roughly 50% in scripts) affect your decision to join the development team / learn the skills required?

Sorry for the late TOTW but as no one else had any good ideas I thought this would at least be decent.


Right now I think there are two types of mod: “alternative paradigm” and “joke.”
Alternative paradigm mods are the most serious of mods, as the modder takes the systems of the game into their own hands. Some features were originally mods, like pre-blurred backgrounds and a compound rebalance.
Gameplay-affecting mods (Type 1a) require knowledge of game design and the codebase. They likely rebalance the game’s options or generation, or add new features to the game.
I myself am interested in making a “crappy pilus” mod if time allows, and just seeing how the game plays with a melee organelle.
Tweak mods (Type 1b) are much simpler, usually only changing art assets. A modder made a series of differently colored GUIs, and I feel that is the epitome of this class. Color-corrected biome backgrounds are another good example of this type. A sound mod would be great to basegame, provided it’s legal.

Joke mods can change these same systems, but the priority is reversed and little concern is given to logic.
Joke tweak mods (Type 2a) are the most notable, where assets are replaced with… less serious… versions. The artistic integrity of these mods is typically less than stellar, but we can all get a good laugh at the Disco Nucleus.
Joke gameplay mods (Type 2b) unbalance the game, and are typically based on the idea that overpowered is fun. See x10 mode in Nuclear Throne and Team Fortress 2 : Eyes with Throne Butt (enhanced telekinesis), Gamma Guts (contact damage), and Scarier Face (less enemy health) turns the game (which I have yet to beat legitimately) into a walk in the park.


If i could mod the game id replace any projectile in the society stages with lasers or if i was capable enough make it possible to become a creature that lives in space

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For an open-source game with a potentially large community like this, I think modding is very important.

We’ve already had several people make mods without wanting to join the team, maybe because they’re intimidated by it, maybe because they have ideas that don’t mesh with the overall plan for the game. In future, there’ll likely be many more of the latter as we decide what sort of things we want in the game and what we don’t (underwater civs come to mind).

Modding can be seen as a kind of “gateway drug” towards joining anyway. If people gain experience and skills messing with the code in ways that don’t affect the main codebase, they’ll be more helpful and more motivated to help in future. So while it may happen in future, not everyone who makes a mod should join the team immediately. We still need to allow a place for it.

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I totally get your point (I think, I might have misunderstood). You are approaching this more from a community standpoint. Whereas I’m more talking about the technical nitty-gritty details.

As Thrive is open source even if we had no scripts and all gameplay changes would have to be done in C++ and the whole game recompiled, people could do mods. This is in contrast to closed source games where modding support needs to be explicitly baked in, otherwise no mods (or just asset changes).

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