Poll Question 117 – Are Mods Getting Better?

31st March 2009

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

To really do this question justice I think a detailed analysis of the mods released would need to be presented. However, until that happens we will have to just use our memories and wander blindly into the discussion!

What I am trying to ask is whether with all the years of mod making behind us, and by “us” I mean the community, do we think that the mods have improved? Of course the graphics have but are mods really better than the HAlf-Life 1 creations that were released?

Are we doing a better job of using what Valve has given us or not? As you probably know I have an opinion on EVERYTHING, but today, perhaps it’s all the other stuff in my tiny mind, I’m not sure I can answer this question.

I am almost tempted to say NO, but the complexity of the process has certainly increased, making it harder to make something exceptional. Perhaps here is the crux of the issue, if not the question.

Has the complexity actually limited better mods rather than encouraged it?

So many questions and so few answers (yet).

Before I wade in with more questions and suggestions, I’ll open up the discussion and see what you have to say.

The Poll


  1. I don’t think complexity has anything to do with it. You only need to learn the very basics of any tool to create something original. It’s all about how you interpret it and make it your own. You do not need to be a pro to do this, you just need to be creative.

    I think mods are improving, but you the problem is that “we” are not some collective intelligence but unfortunately individuals who have to learn everything themselves. Someone who started modding for HL1 would probably be very good at it by now but there are also people who have only just started and they’re still picking it up.

  2. Luke L

    I think CrowbarSka hit the nail on the head. By the time Half Life 1 mods gave way to predominantly HL2 mods the devs had had years of experience using the old tools and as such could really push their mods limited only by their creativity. Now that process is starting up again. And as the complexity of the system increases (number and detail of textures required, size of levels, the detail that people have come to expect from a well polished map & mod) the amount of time has not increased linearly but nearly exponentially one could say.

  3. No, they are getting worse. There are two or three exceptions, but other than that they all getting worse. Two comments above are true, I think the same. Complexity making it harder to create acceptable visuals. It takes more time to create something good, and that scares most modders away. Only mods can be completed are bad mods mostly.

    Of course comlexity makes it easier to create top quality mods, nontheless it is a pro job, not a fan job.

  4. Mel

    Overall I don’t think they are getting better, with so many mods coming from first timers and inexperienced mappers all making the same mistakes and with the same shortfalls we have been seeing for years. It seems that inexperienced mapper learn by their own errors and not of those that went before them, there should be an idiots guide for beginners stating basic do’s and don’ts. It seems to me that there are far more mods released today that I just don’t bother to download; just one look at the posting on PP is enough to put me off playing most releases so far this year.

    On the brighter side, when we do get a good mod often it is an improvement on what went before adding a milestone to the development of the custom game. We can all look back at mods that for us as individuals marked an achievement in mapping and raised our expectations for ever more. I am not going into the realms of naming such mods we all have our preferences often for different reason, nevertheless such mods do and will continue to be released and I am sure we will see 2 or 3 such mods released this year that will improve and innovate on what as gone before.

  5. Do’s and don’ts is good idea. Someone should do that.

  6. feckineejit

    There are definitely some top notch mods out there, and I used to know all the names. I have a feeling that there are many many more that I have yet to dig up. I really want to try HL2 co-op and HL2 rally racing, HL2 wars (RTS) and so on.

    It seems that Phillip is posting three bad mods for every one awesome mod. I haven’t bothered to look elsewhere for mods in a while simply because I feel very comfortable on this website and love visiting.

    for every Minerva there are a hundred or so “kill G-man” mods that one comes accross. And as fans of mods we really must play them all to appreciate the hard work that goes into making these mods and especially since the modders very rarely get anything other than thanks from us plebs for enjoying their work.

  7. Kasperg

    Strange question, since we get mods of all types and flavours.
    I think the disparity in quality between releases makes this question a matter of what you consider to be mods, and what you consider to be just maps with an extra skin or weapon.
    Are the best releases of today better than the best releases of the past?
    In my opinion, YES. And by a mile. (When you compare things from different eras, you don’t usually make an average. In football (soccer) people will compare today’s best players with the best players from 20 years ago, not the middle class).

    Now you can probably argue how you enjoyed this and that mod for HL1 more than any recent releases, how fresh and original it was etc etc. But those are usually subjective opinions and can’t really be used as the sole way to identify “better”. As time goes by, other games we play and other maps and scenes we see take away a little of the wow factor those early mods might have had at first.

    So objectively, are “USS Darkstar”, “Redemption” and “Peaces like Us” better than “Minerva:Metastasis”, “Eye of the Storm” and “Rock 24”? Those are just a few examples.

  8. bushwacker

    Yes, MODS are getting better, especially Far Cry Mods.

  9. “It is better to have played and gotten bored
    Than to have not played at all”.

    For every 50 mod’s only 2 or 3 are really good?
    Hey,you gotta start somewhere.
    In other words,keep them coming!

  10. WizardExt

    I voted Yes.

    I think Mods are getting better since Valve continues to use the Source engine for their games people keep using their tools. The documentation is great, the constant updating of the engine and the tools are appreciated and thanks to this there is really strong community of both players and modmakers.

    I think Mods are getting better due to many things..

    People gather to make a modification, fail the first time. They analyze and realize what went wrong, learn from that and the next project they launch (maybe then with different people) they know about this issues and spread the information. So people are constantly learning and sharing knowledge to each other.

    Good mods have been released. And because of that, there is a competition, something to compare to. The quality needs to be improved. Players start to demand and expect things.

    I also feel that modmakers are becoming smarter. Instead of actually creating their huge-never-to-be-released-dream modificaiton, they think more focused. They focus and they polish. And I think that’s really important. They think in terms of quality rather than quantity.

  11. Rolando Roland

    mods are getting worse. example: escape by dragon18,

  12. Anonymous

    They are getting worse and worse. In 2006, with releases such as Paranoia, There might be new intriguing effects, but now we just see a bunch of crap mods and small maps.

    Just wait until Black Mesa Source gets released, and then the harmony in HL mods might get better. Not even HL1 mods are good nowadays, just a bunch of crap, small mods.

  13. Yes, the really good mods are better, and improving every day. The difference between leon’s CtA and Strider Mountain are significant–his imagination and storytelling is the same, but his execution has improved immeasurably. And some of the newest mods out (and conversions, despite PP’s dislike of them) are absolutely excellent, in gameplay, execution, and storytelling.

    Of course, this means that there’s scads of mods that blow chunks, but that’s just the chaff, the wannabes and the newbies taking their shots. Only the truly talented will rise above that (Leon and company), and make stuff that’s worthy.

    And they better get crackin” on Black Mesa: Source, I’m DYING to see it! I’ve even held off Dl’n HL:Source just because BM:S is impending.

  14. I think mods have been improving in some ways but getting worse in others. It takes a lot more effort to do source games, so of course there won’t be as many top quality mods, but there have been a ton of very decent quality (albeit short) source mods.

  15. I had to say yes, the Gods of Modding are getting better, the real ones who really work and put quality into their work. Absolutely. There are and always will be idiots out there making half-bakes..lol.. That is what sites like this are for.. WEEDING OUT THE GARBAGE!..

    All hail Phillip!

Leave a Reply

Comment Formatting Guide

Well formatted comments are much easier to read. Please copy and paste the HTML Tags to use in your comment

  • HEADER: <div class="fix"></div><div class="sbe3">TEXT HERE</div>
  • BOLD: <strong>TEXT HERE</strong>
  • ITALIC: <em>TEXT HERE</em>
  • SPOILER: <span class="spoiler">TEXT HERE</span>