Should modding be a full time job? No. Why should it be? Where in the world does this make sense? With eSports, it makes sense in the fact that these are teams of players competing against each other for a prize pool offered by others. They play through various brackets to pull in a victory and get paid. With game development, an array of business professionals work their asses off to produce a product for you that's their own unique game.
For uh, mods, it's the community coming together to extend the gameplay of an already finished game. Which is cool, I really am a huge fan of this, but at the same time a full time modder is someone who should just be making the game, not expanding it. Someone who reaches the full time status on modding a game should look to put their creative energies elsewhere if they want to profit off of it, versus just attempting to cash in on a niche market of fans who want to see the Thomas the Tank Engine replace every dragon within Skyrim.
The problem I have here is that modding is a hobby and the professional modders who make full game conversions are usually teams of people who are very talented and should and could move into a professional role in a game studio. No one should profit off of a game someone else has already created with the tools and assets they made. It's nonsensical.
It's also tough to rationalize, because game publishers / developers want part of the cake too. If a modder sells a mod, they want a percentage, and that's just a huge can of worms I don't want to mentally process. If you sell a mod, they take a percentage of the income off of your hard work because your mod utilizes their resources and their IP.
The vast majority of mods are effectively textures and 3D models created in blender and a variety of scripting files that tell the game what to do. A large portion of all mods utilize textures and models already available, just expanding here and there with custom content. Some mods are full reworks of the game, taking the game and making a new game. There is far fewer of these high quality mods than you'd imagine.
I do think that the option to sell total conversion mods should be a thing and I think the developers should get a cut. If you take Skyrim and turn it into your own unique game, utilizing the tools and engine Bethesda made, then by all means I think that time and effort should be rewarded monetarily and, much like Unity, Unreal, etc. the original engine should get a cut of the sales.
A good example is DayZ, which is a free Arma II mod that became its own standalone game. If it were to be sold for say $5, I wouldn't mind having to pay that to play one of the best conversion mods ever, but at the same time the developers took their skills and applied it to an all new standalone game, no long relying on the Arma II engine.
Anyway, I think that paid mods should exist in their own separate world, where whatever community believes in them supports them. It doesn't belong on Steam in my opinion and modders should mod for the sake of expanding the community and for fun, otherwise they're designing and in which case they should be paid, but maybe it's for helping design DLC and not removing filters in The Sims.
I'm very happy with Valve's decision to remove the paid mod system and I'm very glad that Valve cared enough to listen to the outcry from the community, which I think in a lot of ways share my opinion. I would say that I think special exceptions should be made for total conversion mods, which could be sold almost as DLC. A good example would be Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge for The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion which I think is something that has enough effort put into it that it should be for sale and it fits perfectly within the world of Oblivion, not standing on its own.
Conversions like Stanley Parable and DayZ I think did the right decision just making standalone games and selling them, which is what a lot of the effort some of these mods should do. Some mods, most mods, which are small little neat additions, I think should remain part of the fun of the games, and not a job.
That's just my opinion though, what's yours?
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