Poll Question 224 – Do you think the best mods would make good indie games?

14th May 2011

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

So, I was chatting with Au Heppa, one of the makers of Water (which is currently being tested by the BTC) about modding and indie games. It has become clear that a lot of mods have considered converting to other engines and therefore turning themselves in to indie games.

On the surface, it has a lot of advantages but just because you can make a great mod does that automatically mean it would make a good indie game. I say no, not as a rule, because I see that a player’s expectation is different for a “game” than for a mod, even a “total conversion”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

The Poll


  1. s.anchev

    Definitly yes. I would pay for Nightmare House 2, or Underhell, for example.

  2. Anonymous

    I think indie games make great mods (Portal and Portal 2 are the perfect example of this), but I don’t think mods would make for really good standalone games (The Ship is a good example of this…)

    But then comes Team Fortress into the thought process.

    Crud, now I don’t know what to think…

  3. Kyouryuu

    I can’t imagine there being a hard and fast rule about it, but I would say no. The one advantage a mod gets you is that the vast majority of the programming legwork is taken care of. Out of the box, many alternative 3D engines don’t do much on their own. They’ll render pretty graphics, but everything else that constitutes a game – NPCs, AI and pathfinding, audio systems, etc. – may or may not exist. It’s up to you to put together the rest of the pieces. You pretty much have to know coding to get very far. The theory would be that the time saved from coding could be spent on the presentation quality of the mod instead.

    I don’t think there is a difference of expectations though. There are so many indie games that capitalize on avant garde art styles and simplistic visuals. It’s actually to the point where it seems like many subpar indie games skirt by only because of the art style.

  4. No, definitely not. A mod is a mod and when people judging them they go easy. A mod is usually a test, fun project, or a way to satisfy curiosity. Their lack of content and, most of the time, quality doesn’t concern players because expectations are never too high.

    A game on the other hand is something entirely different. Personally I cannot go easy on a game while judging it. The money you pay for these games have to worth it. You can’t go “well, it almost worth it”. If it doesn’t worth it, you don’t pay.

  5. Hec

    Maybe, because some of the best mod, well they have stayed loyal to the valve’s engines, for example the best HL1 mod ever made Heart of Evil, seemed to be a total independent game, definetly apart from HL Universe, it was a total converssion and well, maybe the developer, had the option to look to other engines but they didn’t change it, even more, HoE was so succesfull that some great team converted into the Source Engeine, and then we have a master piece!!!,

    Another mod like Flesh, which is a survival horror and that I think is also related to this upcomming Water mod, was perfect situated into the source engine, I think at last all it’s reduced to the ambition of the team whose are developing their mods, even more the mod Dino D-Day is selling itself on steam store!!!, I tought that mod was going to be free, but it appears that valve really like that concept so now u can buy it on steam!

  6. Does a mod make a good indie game? I voted maybe because some of the mods I’ve played easily matched the quality and game play of “Half-Life 2”. “Minerva Metastasis” comes to mind. It also took me longer to get through than the afore mentioned title!
    Question: Who owns the game engine that is used to make an indie game and do they freely allow you to make money from it?

    Ps. I like mods to be mods.

  7. GoodGuyA

    Undoubtedly. Indie games are all about unique sensibilities and plugging in as much love into a project as one can. Many mods are able to accomplish great feats of interesting design in a short burst, like many extreme low budget indie titles. The greater long ones could even make it to high indie standards.

  8. Derbler

    Not if we are talking about HL2 mods. The quality of source engine mods and the activity of its modding community are quite insignificant to that of the Gold Source engine in its heyday. There are plenty of Gold Source mods I would have paid for (after all, I bought OpFor and BS, which were essentially that), but none or very few Source mods for which I’d consider doing the same.

  9. I think it really boils down to how much support the mod team has from the community. If it is well received, you will see people voicing their opinion that they would pay for more.

    There are plenty of awesome mods out there but I would say most are one-hit-wonders or are too well tied to an existing commercial IP. I believe that there really needs to be something special for a mod team to move into indie games and still have support from the community.

    I think of mods like Natural Selection. I played that mod religiously when I first started getting into mods. Now when I see Natural Selection 2 as an indie game, I’m on the fence whether I want to buy it. I can see it looks awesome and there is some nostalgia mixed in but I also think, is there enough in this to justify my purchase. However, that’s just me. I know there are plenty out there that will buy it just on nostalgia and I think that is the special something that keeps the community support for that indie game.

    There are plenty more examples of mods turned indie but only time will tell how successful they will be.

    I think it would be interesting to see someone document the community support of mod teams before they turned indie and how that corresponds the overall success of the final indie game. I think there may be a trend.

  10. Herr_Alien

    I said maybe.

    It takes a lot of polish to make a good game out of a good mod. But it is possible. And if I count the number of lousy games (lousier than a medium quality mod), it makes me wonder …

  11. CovertChaos

    I said maybe, because a game is generally expected to have a higher quality to it. for that reason it would also have to be the very best of all the mods out there.

  12. zonbie

    Here are a few mods that are worth their weight in gold.

    Minerva: Metastasis – action / adventure / in-universe
    Research and Development – action / puzzle / in-universe
    Dear Esther (remake) – storytelling / exploring / alternative

    I would love to see Valve-supported console versions of these mods selling at Game Stop for $10 each, or a $20 bundle. If course, that is a pipe dream.

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