Mod Support, are we thinking about it?

I was wondering if we have considered mod support, and if we had what form it was going to take on. I know it seems early but if sharing/mods are something that we want deeply integrated into the game we should probably start considering it before it requires massive changes to make happen.

I’m guessing that at the very least we want sharing of people’s creations but in what form? If we want more modding that just sharing how do we want this to take form. Perhaps Steam workshop support? If we do something like steam workshop or a similar platform would simple sharing of creatures/designs be part of that or its own in-game browser. Something like an in-game browser would be easier to add in later but full mod support would require planning ahead and would be easier to put in the framework now.

I know little of programming and modding, so I’ll discuss the second part.

Steam workshop would be a great way to share creations and mods, but we’d actually need to get the game on Steam first in order to do that - would that be possible? If not, it’s likely that some fans would create fansites for the same purpose. It’d be slightly more risky, due to the chances of users uploading malware, but the bigger sites would probably be better about preventing this.

I personally love modding my games. I have no idea how many hours I have spent collecting mods for games such as skyrim, minecraft or civ 5. So I think making the game modder friendly would be pretty great (It’s also a cool way to get people to contribute to the game). But yeah, that is just my two cents

Basic mod support is probably quite easy to do there is already a system to load a specified list lua files.
I imagine how it would work is that there would be a mods folder where players could unzip mods they downloaded from somewhere. And then on start up thrive would go through all the folders in the mods directory and load all the lua files and new assets.

That would be pretty simple to implement. But if we need to change the game to allow the extra lua files to “easily” hook into things it gets more complicated. But a basic mod support where mods can be shared as zip files would be pretty simple to do.

Sort of like how Garry’s Mod used to do it back in the day before they got workshop.

I’m guessing that if we decide to do it we would want to do it well, with detailed support and documentation. For example if a modder wanted to add parts/organelles their mod would just have to add the items to the respective lists and then our system would make sure they show up in a manner that looks good and generates scroll bars if necessary etc.

Another thing to consider is both a “workshop support” like system for mods and our own in-game browser for in-game creations. I say this because, while steam workshop and similar systems are very good for mod distribution, all mods using this system that I have ever seen need to be loaded in before a game is started. If we want someone to be able to search other players’ creations and plop them into their game on the fly this system wouldn’t work very well, not to mention files like creatures and creations shouldn’t need the game to be reloaded anyway so no reason to force players to do it.

I wouldn’t consider user creations to be mods anyway, so they should have a completely different way to be loaded.

But with mods that might make lots of changes it isn’t really feasible to unload them while the game is running (it just wouldn’t be really possible to track all the changes a mod makes in order to undo them correctly). So I think forcing people to drag folders around to install mods wouldn’t be that bad. And even if we had an in game mod browser, anytime a change was made the game would have to restart to apply it.

Ya i think we are saying the same thing. The best system appears to be;

In-game browser for user creations

Outside of game mod folder or steam workshop for mods

Is there any reason we wouldn’t want to put our game on steam when we reached a finalized release stage? I think there might be some fees involved but considering the network they have its probably worth it.

Thrive on steam is discussed here:
and it basically comes down to having 100-5000 dollars to pay a fee to get on steam (the exact amount hasn’t been announced yet)

Whereas hosting thrive on would be free (and we wouldn’t have to pay for a download server), but we (or some community member) needs to setup a website for sharing mods and that could end up costing more in the long run than paying to get on steam.

Due to the small amount of users I think it would be currently quite feasible to host mods on our existing servers. So hosting ourselves will be cheaper until we get a lot of players

People have already made mods and they involve replacing Lua and asset files, so this is indeed feasible for the moment.

Part of this question comes under the broader topic of a game launcher or similar. At the moment, players need to download entirely new copies every release, which is annoying considering the large size of the Ogre files. Ideally we’d have a system for automatic updates which would download only changed files each release. A launcher like that could also handle mod support, especially if Steam or similar were used.

Last time I checked the windows releases included all debug symbol files (which are in no way required for people playing the game) and those were 2/3 of the entire zip size. So not including those unnecessary files will drop the file size quite a lot

But it wouldn’t be the worlds toughest thing to create a Thrive launcher, but it would need to be crossplatform. The launcher might be a good topic to discuss as it is something that could potentially be in the next release (at least a basic version)

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I don’t really think we need a launcher yet, the game is still light and there aren’t a lot of mods?

I agree, but it could be a nice simple, contained thing to work on. If no one else does it I might do it just to try out though I have lots of other things I could also work on … ah the problem with too many cool things to work on

Updates via a launcher would be a useful thing to implement though