Mod.io aspires to take PC gaming beyond ModDB's "unstructured" ecology

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Humankind recently acquired a beta version of its mod tools, and the developers previously issued a basic guide on how creators and consumers may begin using Humankind mods now that Amplitude Studios is ready to move beyond maps and camera changes.

Humankind recently acquired a beta version of its mod tools, and the developers previously issued a basic guide on how creators and consumers may begin using Humankind mods now that Amplitude Studios is ready to move beyond maps and camera changes. You may have also noticed that the studio has teamed with mod.io, a third-party, to assist fuel this new era.

If you're wondering why you've never heard of IO Games, it's because it's brand new. However, one of its founders, Scott Reismanis, is one of the original founders of modding juggernaut ModDB. "I established ModDB in 2002 because my friends and I enjoyed exploring new ways to play creative material," he explains. "Mods were dispersed all over the internet back then, and half of the time the links didn't function, thus ModDB was a self-serving attempt to address that, and it was inspired by IMDB (hence the name)."

ModDB and its primary competitor Nexus, as well as Valve's own Steam Workshop, might easily be called the holy trinity of PC game mods, raising the question of what void mod.io is attempting to fill. "ModDB organizes modding in a pretty unstructured way," Scott says. "Any user can add any piece of stuff to the site and link it to anything else, thus it's completely unauthorized and manual."

"Mod.io serves a totally different function. It's intended to be a highly organized modding solution that gaming studios can use to power their creative ecosystem... The APIs and SDKs provided by mod.io enable developers and fans to create tools and integrations that automate the installation of mods in-game, making them available to all players.

Mod.io page for Humankind

"Doing it this way opens up a lot of possibilities because it makes mods official and accessible to all gamers (not just hardcore fans), and we can collaborate with gaming studios to innovate and do amazing things that ModDB couldn't."

Mod.io, at least from Amplitude's standpoint, provides a better means to integrate Steam-based mod tools into the game, as well as improved cross-platform support. According to a studio official, "Mod.io is a platform-agnostic service that allows players to download and enjoy mods regardless of the version of Humankind they own."

"We wanted gamers to be able to easily access any mods, whether they were on Steam, Epic Games Store, or Xbox Game Pass for PC, and modders to reach as many people as possible."

The studio isn't sure if cooperating with mod.io will result in any mods that wouldn't have been possible on Steam or published to ModDB otherwise, although it has utilized the platform to organize competitions. Prior to today, the only mods on Humankind's mod.io website were map mods, owing to a map development contest held by the studio in the weeks following the 4X game's debut.

Amplitude also intends to create its own "official" strategy game mod, which will be voted on by the community. "The community has been voting on a flagship mod for the game that we will distribute via Games2Gether. They've voted for an Endless mod, which is quite unsurprising!" Endless Legend and Endless Space, Amplitude's prior strategy series, are referenced here.

Reismanis still sees modding as something that game makers should keep "at arms length" from, as he sees it - a perception he wishes to change. "We want mods to be recognized as a driving force for game life, goodwill, and engagement," he continues, "and we want to assist studios in recognizing, tapping into, and benefiting from it."

"Everything we're working on, from creator events and analytics to embeddable web apps, Discord bots, and discovery tools, is geared to help studios form closer bonds with their creator community in a safe, scalable, and approachable way."

If you haven't already, read our Humankind review, and keep a look out for any future games with which mod.io will collaborate. Scott has his sights set on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.

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