Poll Question 335 – Do you replay mods when they receive a visual update?

8th January 2016

As a lover of Half-Life, graphics don’t “nab my headcrab” (float my boat) and I also play Source games and mods too, but I’ve never been really interested in updating the visual aspect of them.

Sure, I love great graphics and am sure that Source 2 games and mods will look fantastic. This comes at a cost of the time taken to create new content, but as player those things don’t affect me in the same way as they do a modder.

It seems that many modders want to update their work and one of the most common ways to do that is to make it look better.

The question is, do players actually want these updates and do they re-play the mods?

Time to Vote


  1. Rarely.

    Visuals very often bring little to the overall experience. I notice the thumbnail for this post is Arctic Incident and this is a prime example. I played through the mod and I loved it, but the arctic variation applied to the low definition models was part of the overall charm.

    I would actually go as far as to say that replaying the mod, with higher quality models, would tarnish my experience a little.

    1. Exactly what Urby said.

  2. Well, if a mod is great in the first place, sure. Always.
    If one decides to do a HD mod for Boom of all mods, no. Never.

    Sometimes i feel like replaying a mod but backed out due to fear of it being basically be a 1:1 experience.

    A mod may play okay but look absolutely horrendous (Night at the Office, those broken origined v_ models would kill me if i stare at it any longer).

    There’s also the thing of personal preference and/or things that may feel off to one player/modder when the others feel just fine.

    With HD mods, things are different.

    Some HD packs even takes in the HD pack author’s taste.

    Some people decide to follow the original while changing things here and there like (pardon for self credit) my AI/Stargate SGM/ToD/Survive in Catacombs remod or the Azure Sheep HD pack (http://www.runthinkshootlive.com/posts/super-definition-azure-sheep/, funny enough), and there’s ones that replace things entirely like Gearbox’s HD pack (Beretta for the Glock/M4 for the MP5/Folded SPAS/ETC) or R1chard’s UD packs.

    Each HD pack giving the same game while making it feel different, like putting tomato sauce on your fries instead of the usual hot sauce.

    In the end, i guess it’s all just personal preference.
    Some will like it, some don’t.

    There’s even mods to LD-fy an already HD-fied mods.

    I’ll still play a mod in it’s original form first before any remodding is done though, so there’s that.

    Btw, anyone feel like playing Underhell/Black Mesa when the Steam remake’s out and finished?

  3. Probably. but can anyone give some examples?

    1. There’s the Arctic Incident mod I mentioned, and I believe Half-Rats is getting an HD pack as well. You’ll find that a lot of mods for Goldsource have at least one HD or UD pack kicking around. Most often, they aren’t very good.

      1. “Most often”

        Then there are good remods in your opinion!
        (though i guess an extremely little amount of it.)

        Can you give an example of one?

  4. Unknown

    This is kind of a “double edged sword”:

    Although a change in graphics doesn’t make the mod necessarily better it could help a mod’s download count and have a much more efficient impact for people who have not played the mod yet. This can provide a better experience for newcomers who have not played the mod first-hand.

    A better graphical mod may also get the attention of a potential company or employer to look at the mod and the company may even end up hiring the team involved. I think if Black Mesa Source didn’t have the graphics that it does it would probably not have become an independent/marketable game.

    I do sometimes play mods that have gotten a “graphical face-lift”! The reason is I like to compare the overall experience/game-play and it is nice to see the progression of the mod’s overall stage. Also if you needed an excuse to play a mod a second time the mod getting a touch up is a pretty good one.

    There is also the unfortunate reality that the length of time for an update could become a “huge waste of time”. Mods are not as popular as games made by a huge company say Nintendo, so the market of people who will play the mod is incredibly small in-comparison.

    The download limit for most mods seems to become “capped” around 100 – 1000 downloads and the number doesn’t really go up afterwards. Look at some of the lesser known/played mods their numbers have remained consistent at around 50 – 100 downloads and those numbers haven’t changed for years.

    Once the mod has been uploaded it loses traction incredibly fast. It’s like buying a car as soon as you drive it off the lot the value depreciates.

  5. Bravado has been a rather interesting experiment at this because Black Mesa is continually making little changes to the game. It makes sense to incorporate these into the level. So, I hold off fixing bugs and tweaking other things until they drop an update, and then I work on updating the map.

    To Unknown’s point, Workshop makes this practical because when I update the map, it benefits everyone who is subscribed. So, all 3,200+ subs will get an update. It removes the problem of communicating that an update exists.

    1. I need to make MapTap do this somehow.

  6. Graphics updates be it for a mod or a whole game rarely make it better. If the game/mod was good to play with it’s original graphics, unless something new is improved in the actual gameplay and/or controls the new graphics are irrelevant. A case in point is JDoom, it brought OpenGL to Doom but the game still played the same, except for (correct me if I have remembered this wrong) the allowing the use of a mouse and the ability to jump.

    From the very first time I heard about HDTV I said will this make crap content watchable? I can’t stand football (soccer for the Yanks) but do I need to make out every blade of grass to make watching a game better?

    Over the years graphics have improved almost to photo-realistic quality on some games but unless you are a 14yr old special forces wannabe are the graphics more important than the quality of the gameplay?

    To directly answer the question if I want to replay a mod I will replay it regardless of graphics updates, but if it has an update I may (may) choose to apply it.

  7. Kasperg

    I’m going to be very honest. I played the original Dear Esther back in the day, payed for the updated version but still haven’t given it a go.
    I guess replaying something (when a lot of time has passed) is not dependent on graphics but rather on that charm/nostalgia factor. As Urby says, sometimes an upgrade can even ruin that feeling completely. I replay the original Tomb Raider games often on PC and besides the 3D acceleration that my Playstation didn’t have, I wouldn’t change much about them.

    A visual update is not just a matter of pretty or not pretty. I am currently working on an update to Random Quest to bring it up to par with its sequel. A lot of changes are purely visual, yes (a decal here, a model instead of a prefab there etc), but others like lighting and color changes are a huge part of making the art direction work for the game design (navigation, legibility, combat). A visual update can greatly enhance gameplay if done right.

    In this case (speaking of Random Quest here), world-building and visual storytelling need to rely on little details. Setting the atmosphere is important, and how convincing and detailed it is will determine how immersive the experience will be.

    Edit: Other times, such as my Fallingwater-Fallingliquid maps, the visual update was almost mandatory, because the very concept of the mod was replicating an existing (and very detailed) place.

    1. But don’t you feel that you need to offer something new to encourage players to replay it? Sure, the people who have never played Random Quest will enjoy your work but how will you convince players who have already played it?

      To be perfectly honest, I would only replay mods if they have new sections added.

      1. Kasperg

        We are considering expanding the role of some of the NPCs that died too quickly, perhaps hinting at things that will appear in the sequel.

        In this case, the existence of the sequel itself is what should motivate players to replay it, since the mod is more than 6 years old. I imagine people playing RQ2 who are interested in the story would actually like to refresh their memory playing the first chapters to get the full feel of the narrative arc.

        In a way, it’s exactly the same as The Citizen sequels. For The Citizen Returns, I’m guessing the majority of players (yourself included) played through the updated maps of Part II again, considering it had been a long time and the story had to be understood as a whole. It’s the same now, only the releases will stay separate (that lets us have new npc skins etc).

        It’s a chance to hook new and old players back as well as fixing previous mistakes based on the initial feedback.

  8. Gambini

    If i liked the mod then i do

  9. Black Mesa Source is a prime example. I tried replaying Half Life because I have yet to finish it, but the low quality graphics and sound just seemed too dated! BMS updates the graphics and sound and allowed me to play the first half again.

    1. Zekiran

      Except that Black Mesa is not in any way shape or form, the original GAME with redone graphics. It’s taken the theory of the location and expanded it, at best. The game play is nothing at all like the original. You’re not playing Half Life 1 when you play Black Mesa.

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