What A Strong Modding Community Can Do: How Doom Has Been Yanked Into The Selfie Age

from the cheeeeese! dept

We’ve made the argument for some time that a good modding community and culture is a boon for games and game creators. Far from the dangerous infringement on the original works that some seem to think, a prolific modding community can lengthen the shelf life of a game, improve it for customers of the original work, and even allow the original work to spiral off into unforseen directions, all of which only serve to increase the game’s playability, replayability, and fun factor, making it all the more attractive for purchase.

(An aside: many people think that modding as an element that can be included in business model considerations is unique to gaming. It isn’t. Remixing, after all, is modding in another form, as are fan-edits to movies/television shows, or fan-made creations in existing universes. All of these are modding in a fashion simliar to how it works for gaming, so don’t let anyone tell you that gaming is unique this way.)

All that being said, it’s fun for gaming enthusiasts like myself to watch a decades old game being yanked into modernity through the modding community. An obvious example of this is the original Doom games, still relevant enough to warrant the modding community developing a way for players to take “selfies” in-game.

After almost 22 years Doom is finally finished thanks mod-maker Linguica’s “InstaDoom”, which adds 37 InstaGram filters to the game and swaps out the fabled BFG with a selfie stick. Available as a free download over at Doom World, “InstaDoom” gives players of the classic shooter a chance to take the battle to the next level by applying filters like “Ashby”, Lo-Fi” and “Valencia”.

This, of course, is simply the latest mod coming out for a game that has one of the most insane mod-rosters of any in the history of gaming. The whole modding of the game original took off in no small part because Doom was an incredibly well-made game, but the continued modding of the game by the loyal fan community is what propelled the game far beyond being relevant to gaming, to instead being relevant to culture as a whole. The very idea that a game made over two decades ago, long before smartphones existed and any of us had to put up with the term “selfie,” has been dragged into relevance with cultural motifs tossed in for effect by a modding community still going strong shows the power of a passionate fan base.

With the success of Doom still on display, and sequels continuing to ride on the early success of a franchise still enjoying relevance in its oldest parts, why would anyone want to kneecap the modding community?

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Comments on “What A Strong Modding Community Can Do: How Doom Has Been Yanked Into The Selfie Age”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Free (GPL) engines

id software was known for releasing the code for their engines (not maps) under the GPL some years after a game’s release… basically all the games from Wolf3D to Doom 3. They’ve been ported to pretty much everything for this reason. If you want to prove you have graphics working on your modded camera, console, or whatever, porting an id engine is the standard test.

Agonistes says:

VtM: Bloodlines

Even after a decade this game still has a huge modding fanbase and it hasn’t even had a lull. Troika Games had to fight tooth and nail with Activision to get them to back it and develop it like they wanted – as close as possible to the World of Darkness setting and ideas that made it unique…even White Wolf (the RPG company that created the WoD and V:tM) backed Troika with their blessing and allowed them to integrate systems to enhance the storyline to have a place in the official metaplot. In the end they ended up having to release it too soon and bugs abound…but the game itself was great. In the end it did OK but not well even though critics and gamers loved it. Now its considered a classic and continues to be modded even today – this Antitribu Mod for Bloodlines was just released 3 days ago:


Anonymous Coward says:

many modern games dont want longevity. most of the cod releases for example could have just been community created free mods. the “zombie dlc” that people buy is actually a fan created free mod in counteratrike. by locking fans out they can squeeze more money out of them. the companies dont want players modding old games as it prevents them from needing to buy the newest and “best” games out there.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

many modern games dont want longevity. most of the cod releases for example could have just been community created free mods.

This is, of course, the problem with the theory that modding is “good for games”. Certainly it’s good for gamers, so yes, it’s probably good for “games”. On the other hand it’s kryptonite for most game companies.

Let’s face it, most of the major game companies prefer to recycle the same (usually) crap game as many times as they can possibly get away with, repeatedly polishing the same turd to squeeze out another £40 a time from it with “new” releases. Playing into the modding culture would not only kill that “money for old rope” business plan, but would require the games to have gameplay with an appeal lasting beyond a few 10’s of hours, which is a pretty rare commodity in games. Can’t see that happening somehow… be nice if a company gave a flying f*ck about it’s customers, though, wouldn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

> The whole modding of the game original took off in no small part because Doom was an incredibly well-made game,

Another reason: it was easy to mod.

Its data came as a single large file, the IWAD. You can think of it as somewhat similar to an uncompressed ZIP file. That file contained several objects: each map was one object, each texture was one object, and so on.

But there was also the PWAD (Patch WAD). It had the same structure as the IWAD, and there was a command line parameter to pass the filename of a PWAD to load. Each object loaded from the PWAD replaced the object with the same name from the IWAD. So a PWAD could for instance replace any of the maps (its most common use, to make custom maps); it could replace textures (normally used in conjunction with custom maps); and so on. Anything which wasn’t replaced by the PWAD was loaded from the IWAD.

This made it easy to produce and distribute custom maps. Use a level editor to create the map, write it on a small PWAD (being small was important, this was the time of dialup modems), and it could be easily loaded without modifying any of the game files.

There were a few limitations of the format (for instance, to replace one specific type of texture you had to replace all textures of that type), and there were things it couldn’t change (which were hardcoded into the executable), but it could do a lot.

Even before the source code was released, even before executable editors for the game, there was already a healthy modding community for Doom. All thanks to the PWAD mechanism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

> The whole modding of the game original took off in no small part because Doom was an incredibly well-made game,
> Another reason: it was easy to mod.

And because it was the only practical way to view a 3D world at the time. The “professional” 3D packages were extremely expensive (thousands of dollars) and had steep hardware requirements, while Doom was free (shareware) and ran on commodity PCs. It wasn’t just the best or easiest-to-mod FPS of the time, it was the only one (excluding Wolfenstein which didn’t really use a Z axis). If you wanted to build a 3D model of your high school—extremely common given that so many of the modders were boys in high-school—there wasn’t much else. Doom was easy to mod, all your friends already had the viewer, and you could sneak it into the computer lab for networked play.

Anonymous Coward says:


The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series should have been mentioned.
Ever since the dissolving GSC, all of the 3 STALKER games have had large mod communities!
Examples would be that of MISERY, for STALKER: Call of Pripyat, and Zone of Alienation for STALKER: Call of Chernobyl, and not only, but also the loads of community made patches to fix up STALKER: Clear sky. (Plus, the original creators of the games make their own mods too.)

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