PC game mods are a huge part of my gaming experience. Coming across new ones that I’ve never heard of before is one of my biggest delights in gaming. There are many PC games that I regularly play with mods such as Star Wars Battlefront II, NBA 2K14, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Fallout 4. Sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge getting the mods up and working, but the thrill I feel once I am finally able to play them can not be duplicated. I am so grateful to the modding community and all the brilliant modders out there that add so much to PC games. It is a certainty that without mods, many of the games that I own would not have held my interest for as long.
I fashion myself to be a mod consumer because I don’t know the first thing about creating them. It’s something that I’ve never tried nor do I want to. As someone who plays mods regularly and has faced many hurdles and challenges in getting them to work, I wanted to take the time to share some advice to fellow PC gamers that are interested in indulging mods. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan to enter the world of mods:
BE APPRECIATIVE IT EVEN EXISTS
You would be surprised at how many great modders have left the scene due to the lack of gratitude they sense from the community they provide mods for. We must remember that these projects are something the modders put a lot of effort into. What’s more, they are (most times) not getting paid for their work. And when some people comment dismissively and flippantly about the mods, the modders may then decide to remove the mods altogether. I don’t think that it is too much to ask for us as mod consumers to be appreciative that these great mods even exist in the first place without rushing to pick them apart. Accept the mods for what they are and if the modder requests feedback, make sure it is constructive feedback that helps the process and reiterates a spirit of gratitude. This approach is much more beneficial for the modding community.
ALWAYS VIEW THE README FILE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
I’ve been on many gaming message boards and nothing raises the ire of modders and other members of the modding community than when someone posts about issues they are having with installing a mod but never took the time to view the README file or follow the instructions that were given for successfully implementing the mod. You would be surprised at how many issues would be resolved from this alone. Now it’s an entirely different scenario when you’ve read all the instructions but need further understanding of what you read. But please make sure you have read everything first and followed the instructions to the best of your ability. You’ll get along much better with the modding community.
BE PATIENT AND DON’T GIVE UP
The process of installing a mod and trying to make it work can be frustrating. It requires a great deal of patience and perseverance to sometimes get a mod working. There will be times that no matter what you do, it just won’t work. Sometimes it may be that the computer you’re using isn’t fit to handle the mod. Whatever the case may be, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a “keep at it” attitude when it comes to mods. There will be times when installing a mod is easy and times when it is difficult. Be prepared to re-read the README file, repeat steps to make sure you didn’t skip an important one, and to re-watch a video tutorial until you understand fully what is being instructed. There have been times that it took me days to get a mod working. In other cases, it was just two minutes. If you struggle with patience, working with mods could be very challenging.
BE OPEN TO LEARNING SOMETHING NEW
It would be great if installing mods for a game was the same every time. But unfortunately, that is not reality. For some games, it’s as simple as dragging a mod file you downloaded into a “mods” folder within the main game directory. In other cases, it may be as simple as clicking “Subscribe” in the Steam Workshop. And there will be games that require a much more intensive process to get a mod up and working. My advice is throughout the entire process, look to soak up whatever knowledge you can. Through installing mods, I’ve learned more about how game files work and why the folders are set up the way they are. For instance, I know for Star Wars Battlefront II (2005), any custom maps I want to show up in the game need to be placed in my “Addons” folder. I have also learned that there is a limit to how many custom maps the game can run at one time so I keep that in mind when I run multiple custom maps. This is stuff I learned over time, especially when attempting to figure out why a specific mod wasn’t working properly. Sometimes mods can be incompatible with each other and you may only be able to run one or the other. I’m able to troubleshoot some of the issues that I have myself, but I do not hesitate to go online and search message boards or YouTube for answers. Be willing to always learn.
FREE UP AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF SPACE
It may seem like a no-brainer, but mods will take up space on your hard drive or whatever device you are storing them on. Depending on the mod or mods, you can end up needing more space for them than you needed for the default game. Let’s use Star Wars Battlefront II as an example again. The game itself is just under 10 gigabytes (GB). Not too bad, right? Well, with all the mods that I have installed for the game, we’re now taking 209GB in total. I have hundreds of add-ons that include custom maps, custom skins, custom weapons, custom game types, and more. If only 50GB had been set aside, it wouldn’t have worked. But because I’m using a 2 terabyte (TB) external drive, it’s not a problem. I would recommend purchasing an external drive with no less than 2TB of storage space if you plan on installing a lot of mods. Especially for games like Skyrim, you’ll see that the space will fill up very quickly where hundreds of gigabytes are now used for just one game.
ACCEPT THAT THERE MAY BE GLITCHES
There can be the unrealistic expectation that mods are supposed to be perfect and come without any bugs or glitches. This isn’t true. We have to remember that mods include adding textures, files, and other things to the game that were not intended to exist. Even if some games provide mod tools and are set up to utilize mods, this provides no guarantee that everything will always go off with a hitch. There are cases with Star Wars Battlefront II when the game will sometimes crash unexpectantly, or a custom map may not load properly the first time. If the game itself isn’t flawless, then it is not prudent to expect the same of mods. The awesome thing is that mods do work for the most part. Yet be prepared for some glitches that pop up here and there.
BE AWARE OF THE RISKS
Anytime you download something unofficial and not directly supported by the developers and publishers of the game, you are doing so at your own risk. I’m very picky about the modding websites I download from and I like to read the comments section of the mod to see if anyone is experiencing problems with downloads concerning viruses, malware, etc. Sometimes it is nothing more than a false positive given by your computer’s antivirus software. But my advice is to do your due diligence when downloading from any website, especially with mods. I have a list of my mod site recommendations in the main menu above. Each one of them are sites I’ve downloaded from with no issues. Yet understand that each time you download from other sites, you are doing so at your own risk. Do everything you can to make sure you can trust that download. Steam Workshop is great because it is already integrated with your game within the Steam client, so those mods are very trustworthy. But do your homework for sure.
Thanks for taking to read this post. I believe if you keep these seven things in mind, you’ll end up having a blast with game mods.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MODS?