Poll Question 190 – Would you buy a retail game just to play an SP mod?

17th September 2010

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

A comment on this week’s Podcast17 got me thinking about the connection between retail games and mods. Many times I have heard of people buying retail games so they could play multiplayer mods; Counter-Strike and Team Fortress are the obvious examples, but I am sure there are others. However, I’ve never heard of anybody buying a retail game just to play an SP mod.

At first glance, the reasons seem obvious; most SP mods are very short in comparison with MP mods and they are generally set within the same universe. Who is going to pay 20 or 30 Dollars just to play for a few hours with the same style as the real game? Not many I suspect.

Putting aside any technical issues for a moment, imagine a group of modders created a Half-Life 2 styled mod in the CryEngine. Would you buy the game just to play the mod? What about some fantastically detailed and thoroughly tested Total Conversion? Something not in the HL or Crysis universes. Would you buy the game just for that?

I probably would, but the chances of it happening are pretty slim. Nobody is going to spend all their time converting the models and textures into the new format when they can just use the same engine as the original game.

That is unless Valve make updates that stops most mods from working. BUT WAIT! Didn’t they just do that? Hasn’t Lord abandonded EOTS2 because of all the trouble with Source? Yes. And I wonder how many others have done it but not announced it.

I love Half-Life mostly because of the story. The gameplay is great, the graphics are fine, everything else is up to scratch but if I can’t play the mods any more I would have to look elsewhere and I suspect many other players would too.

I can’t help but wonder if Valve are trying to diversify to quickly and too widely. I’ve never really looked else where but if Valve don’t fix all the trouble with Hammer and modders stop using the the tools I won’t have any choice.

I almost wish somebody would build a Half-Life 2 mod in the Unreal UDK!

So what do you think, Would you buy a retail game just to play an SP mod?

The Poll


  1. Cameron:D

    It really depends what I’ve head about the game itself. Unless I’ve head good things about the game I’ll probably a’rrrr it. If the game turns out to be good then I’ll but it (I’ve already done this more than once)

  2. held

    i already did. i’ve bought ut3 only for mods (“the ball” for example)

  3. Rosco

    I guess it would depend on the mod as well. Take for instance The Nameless Mod for Deus Ex. That mod alone is worth the price to by the original Deus Ex game. Of course, that one is a huge mod which rivals the size and scope of the original game. Another one to look forward to, if it ever sees the light of day, is Black Mesa Source. Which should be well worth the purchase of any Source powered game.

  4. Grey Acumen

    If the mod was of high enough quality and involving gameplay that I enjoy, certainly, so I vote yes.

    However the implication is that I would purchase a game that I had no interest in at all in order to play that mod that I did have an interest in. Realistically, most mods are built to follow along in the same vein as the game whose engine it was designed for. This is done to ensure that it appeals to the audience that already bought the game. Source Engine is the closest to breaking out of this mold simply because of how ridiculously popular it is, but even with that, most mods for GoldSource and Source are Scifi Action and/or Horror, unless it’s an experimental mod that doesn’t have nearly as much polish as I would need to justify purchasing an unwanted game to get it.

    So while I voted yes, I would purchase an unwanted game for the mod IF the mod met my requirements, it’s incredibly unlikely for the conditions to be met that would motivate me to do so.

  5. Soylent Bacon

    Not for one mod, I wouldn’t. With one mod, most of my gameplay would still be in the main game.

    If a game has a list of interesting mods from a devoted mod community, I might buy the game. However, if I didn’t consider a game worth buying before, I doubt I would enjoy most of its mods, since mods tend to have similar gameplay to the original product. The mods would really need to be total conversions with very fun gameplay, or maybe a story or atmosphere that is very interesting and unique.

  6. Not my answer which I’m still considering. Meanwhile:

    “……if I can’t play the mods any more I would have to look elsewhere and I suspect many other players would too.”
    I’m already looking elsewhere. “Crysis 2” using CryEngine 3 was due to be out by the end of this year but has been delayed by the bean counters until March 2011.
    Rage using the ID Tech 5 Engine is a little way behind CryEngine 3, in terms of time, but might beat it to release yet.
    Both engines have absolutely amazing modding tools that Valve may find hard to even equal.

    “………. if Valve don’t fix all the trouble with Hammer and modders stop using the the tools I won’t have any choice.”
    Your right, the damn thing is driving me nuts. If it wasn’t for a particular EP2 mod I want to develop and will; I’d have chucked it in. I shall persevere because it’s a driving ambition. HL3/EP3 might be out before I get it done though 😀

    Valve have shown themselves to be untrustworthy patrons of mod developers, and players for that matter.
    It would surpise me not at all if those sitting at the top table of mod developers never bothered with Valve again.

  7. Forgot this.
    “Hasn’t Lord abandonded EOTS2 because of all the trouble with Source? Yes. And I wonder how many others have done it but not announced it.”
    Yes, but I hope to see what has he has achieved with his EP2 released here at PP soon 😉

    1. hope to see what has he has achieved with his EP2 released here at PP soon

      Of course you will, probably tomorrow, definitely this weekend.

  8. galocza

    i think that for a good mod you need a promising engine, refined mod tools and talented people to work with them. the latter are mostly fans of the original game which means that (at least for me) it is hard to imagine a scenario where the original game is weak but there are tools and a fan base extensive and dedicated enough to work with it.
    it appears to me that the only possibility for me to buy a game for a single player mod is – that the original game is multiplayer which I am not interested in.
    and an example just came to my mind: lets say I dont like hl2 games too much (or any source games) and I dont own any of them but I LOVED hl1. black mesa comes out and I need one sourve sdk game. according to the link on their page the cheapest source sdk game is hl2dm (4 usd), a game that I never wanted to play with – I only buy it to replay the black mesa incident in a better looking environment.
    so I voted no, but in contrary to my initial opinion I can imagine a possibility howerer slight.

  9. Beez-one

    I’m going to buy Steam version of Half-life only to play Cry of Fear. It’s not going to support WON version.
    And I think it’s somehow pointless to make Source related mods with Hammer when now you have UDK just a couple clicks away. May be I’m wrong…

  10. No
    I don’t think any other answer is possible

    If you haven’t got the retail game it’s because you don’t want it or don’t know about it.
    Why would anybody even look for mods for such games?
    I can’t see why it would even occur to me. What would I be looking for?

    Ok, you might respond, but you’ve seen someone else playing a mod you do not have for a game you don’t know about or don’t want.
    That doesn’t work either.
    SP FPS gaming is a singular experience and tastes differ.
    For sure, for me, watching someone else playing, when I’m not, is a turn off, not a turn on.
    Still no.

    In my experience (starting with Blakestone & Doom), no SP FPS game mods or add ons have ever been as good as the retail game.
    If the retail game is not up to scratch, the mods or addons can only be worse. It is inevitable.
    No again.

    Total conversions: These are one off mods. Unique.
    I think it impossible for anyone to find a Total Conversion unless they have the retail game and are looking for mods.
    Another no, dear me.

    It’s the retail games that spur the modders and mod players.
    It will ever be thus.

  11. GoodGuyA

    I’m going to pick up Deus Ex 3 in the fleeting hope that I will be able to find some modding tools for it. I so want to tell a story with what technologies are presented and create something akin to the brilliance of the Nameless Mod. I bet the game itself will be good, but I am totally going to try and devote myself to learning the engine if possible.


    Yes, but only if the game is under $10.

  13. Hec

    this is, really a seriouss situation, well I don’t want to think that valve doesn’t want any more mods in the web, but the truth is that HL series are just stranded, and I think there are many moders doing some great things with HL and mainly with source engeine, that make me thinks that valve are feeling a little bit opaqued and shamed with all the media and mods about hl universe, if that is the case then I will put all my eforts to finish the episode 3 in the first part of 2011, if I were Gabe Newell, i’d do that but well cause i’m not I think he would be seriously concerned about the situation, come on, it’s been 3 years since episode 2 and just we haven’t heard anything about ep3 or if it’s going to be sustantial changes on the source engeine, I think silence is the valve bigest sin…………

    1. Kyouryuu

      I would agree, especially when it comes to tools. It’s one thing to break the tools. Accidents happen. But when you go silent about it and leave the community to find bizarre workarounds and duct tape solutions, all because you can’t be bothered to spend two minutes writing a forum post updating folks on the situation, shame on you. Is it really so much to ask? You’ve got these weekly blog updates for Left 4 Dead, and all these fancy trailers for Portal 2 and touting your Mac support, and yet no one can be bothered to suggest when formal Source 2009 modding support will come along? Really?

      I honestly don’t believe the Valve modding community asks for much.

  14. Hec

    Oh in case of FPS maybe not, well I want to buy HALO 2 for PC, but just because about 2 years ago that I played HALO 1 and I didn’t keep on following the story, but that’s the reason and not for any HALO mod, I really don’t care about them.
    oh but on the other hand with Combat Flight Sims, I have another prespective, I really love to fly!!!
    So for example I purchased the IL2 1946 sim, and i’m looking foward to buy the il2 birds of pray just to try some good mods

  15. I already did.

    I bought CSS just so I could play CSS Sci-Fi 3: Hardwired. Haven’t played the mod yet since I’m still testing others. But I do have to admit to actually playing CSS now, which has slowed down the mod testing a bit… :slight chagrin:

    What do you mean EOTS 2 has been abandoned? Some people can run EOTS 1 just fine without any changes! (I’m not one of them, however.)

  16. Kyouryuu

    Provided that I liked the underlying game, sure. Obviously, most mods are based in the games they are founded on, so if I didn’t like gameplay of the original, chances are I wouldn’t like the mods.

  17. Gradius

    I bought Opposing Force just to play a mod. It was so cheap it seemed worth it, pity Opposing Forces was so underwhelming.

  18. HiroProtagonist

    I have as well, Unreal pack and Crysis pack, as well as the original HL for steam because my disk got scratched to hell.

  19. Pinky

    Yes I would. I bought UT3 to play The Haunted and Airborne, and I don’t regret that. Plus, I’ve been really tempted to pick up UT2K4 for a mod called Out of Hell.

    I also haven’t played Crysis yet, and I’m itching to get my hands on those mod tools.

  20. Zekiran

    I’ve purchased Counterstrike Source, Day of Defeat Source, Left 4 Dead and L4d2 – the first two primarily for their resources in Garry’s mod, and the others because if I’d known they even HAD single-player options I would have bought them when they were new.

    I don’t think there’s any shame or foolishness involved in buying a full game just to get access to some particular mod or feature of it that isn’t “as advertised’.

  21. Armageddon

    Yes I would, I bought “Unreal 2004” just to play “Out of Hell’.

  22. I have and I am about to again as soon as I can scrounge up the ten bucks from under the car seats and living room couches, lint trap and anywhere else I can think of!..lol. I need Eps 1&2 to play the mods I have found out about here on PM’s site. YES I WOULD! I WILL and I am GOING TO!..lol

  23. Nrmartins

    Yeah so if the mod in question was pretty cool I would, like HL2 black mesa mod.

  24. Aughts

    Bit late to this poll, but I recently grabbed Doom 3 on sale just to play The Dark Mod. A year ago I grabbed CS:S to play SMOD/Sci-Fi 3, and that and HL2DM to play levels in Garry’s Mod.

    So, yes, but with the caveat of being on sale.

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