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?

Filed Under: community, doom, modding, selfies

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2015 @ 4:55am

    > 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.

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