I love mods. The whole idea of taking a game and altering it into something that provides a new and fresh experience is really cool. It never gets old. Being able to see a mod come to life and actually play it is one of my favorite things in gaming. But the road it takes to get there isn’t always so pleasant.
Here’s the scenario. You’re on YouTube and searching through gaming videos and you come across a Dante mod for Resident Evil 3. Clicking on the video, you watch as Carlos has now been replaced by the Devil May Cry star. It’s as if by magic and an awesome sight to behold. Devil May Cry meets Resident Evil. Within minutes, you’re rushing to find a link to download the mod. You find it and open up the “Readme” file and follow the directions the best you can. But when you boot up the game, it crashes right back to the desktop.
Restarting the game yields the same result. Frustration begins to creep in and your mood is changing. You go back through the instructions and you’re convinced you did everything correctly. From there, you go online to a message board and request some help. The other posters just tell you to follow the instructions because everything worked for them with no problem. At this point, you’re fuming. All you wanted to do is experience what you saw in the video. But nothing is working, nobody’s comments are helping, and a lot of time is going by. Suddenly, you just abandon the cause altogether and decide to move on to something else.
If this describes you in any way, please understand that I’ve been there as well. Playing mods is great in theory but the actual practice of downloading it and making it work can be a much different beast. The first piece of advice I pass on to the brave gamers that wish to explore the world of mods is to have patience. Believe me, you’re going to need a lot of it.
Some mods are very simple. For Star Wars Battlefront II (2005), most of the mods go right into the “Addons” sub-folder within the “Game Data” folder. Battlefield 2‘s mods usually fit perfectly within the “Mods” folder. Yet for games such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance, several other steps have to be taken to see your character mod appear and act properly in the game. Configuring the Pezbots mod with custom maps in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare could become complicated because the bots need to have waypoints to act properly on the maps. Many of these things will have to be learned as you take the journey but I get that it can be frustrating. It would be great if there was a “one size fits all” approach to modding but it doesn’t work that way. Each game has its own file structure and setup that has to be taken into consideration where applying mods. So how you would go about modding Resident Evil 3 is different than Star Wars Battlefront II. Be willing to adjust yourself to each game as an individual entity.
Time is another area that your patience will be tested. To mod in all of the wrestlers that I wanted in WWE 2K19, it ended up taking me about 6 weeks. I had to learn the file structure of the game, where the files needed to be placed, and what to rename the files to when necessary. Then I found some applications on Smacktalks.org such as Custom Character Tools and Data Editor that helped the process immensely but it was still time consuming. There was plenty of trial and error involved as well. Starting and quitting the game became habitual through the process. I thought of just quitting on numerous occasions because I found that my gaming time was no longer spent playing but messing with computer files and troubleshooting the mods that weren’t working.
What makes it worth it in the end is when you see all of your effort rewarded. Hulk Hogan was not in WWE 2K19 but to sit back and watch as he comes to the ring to Real American with the proper Titantron was a great feeling. That’s actually my favorite part of modding. When I see the mod on my own screen and I can pick up the controller to enjoy it, I have a strong sense of satisfaction. At that moment, all of the effort was worth it.
Above all else, don’t give up. In some instances, you may just not have the right computer, operating system or correct configurations to run the mod. But in others, the solution may just be one thought or action away. There have been times that I stepped away for days and then was able to find a way to make the mod I was struggling with work because my mind was fresh. It took me quite a while to get the Frontlines Forever mod for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to work properly. I read through the tutorial/directions several times, visited multiple forums and scanned through individual comments to see if other users were having the same issues, as well as really studied what all the options in the configuration files meant and how they functioned. I had to learn something new along the way to finally reach my goal with the mod.
Patience, perseverance, and eagerness (to learn) are three traits that will help you in your modding journey. It’s not for everyone and there is still plenty of gaming fun to be had even without ever using a single mod. But for the type of gamer that I am, where I’m always thinking of what more could have been added to a game to make it even better, mods expand and enhance games in ways that give them a second life. They are one of my favorite things about gaming.