Here is a common list of questions we get asked by developers, when considering whether to use mod.io to provide mod support in their game.
Q: Is mod.io free?
A: For indie games yes, adding your game and hosting mods with mod.io is free (within some limits). If you enable marketplace functionality there will be a transaction fee, and a private white label solution is available to studios to license. Our long term goal is to allow "modders to go pro" and help studios find new revenue streams and do so much more with their community of players. See below "What is your business model".
Q: What is your business model?
A: We offer two products. A licensed white label solution for studios that want a private mod.io environment branded with their users and games. It is typically used by AAA studios who want a mature mod platform that offers all of the benefits of an in-house solution, without the complexity, time and resources it would take to develop and run a comparable system Think of it like "Steam Workshop in a box". Pricing is available on request. The second product is the free mod.io platform you are using now. Developers using it can opt in to use patronage, monetization and marketplace functionality designed to allow players to back the creators of their favorite content. Any time a transaction takes place we take 10% of the gross with the game developer deciding how the remainder is split. We run no ads and have 16+ years of experience building communities and serving over 1 billion mod downloads at ModDB.com - so rest assured we are in this for the long run and are big believers in the positive impact mods can have for games when utilized well.
Q: How can we trust you to serve our mods?
A: In 2002 we launched ModDB.com and for the last 17 years have supported a community of over 4 million gamers that download over a million mods each month. We've scaled that business without interruption, and maintain complete transparency of our service's availability on our uptime page. Additionally, our SDK and plugins are open source and our platform has been designed with portability in mind. If you want to move to our private white label service and self-host you can. Finally, if the impossible happens and we do close, we pledge to make our tech stack open source so you or your community can continue to run uninterrupted. We are the only company on the market that offers this level of flexibility, and aim to operate with the same perks an in-house team would, but without the complexity or cost of having to design, build, host and run a modding solution - let us the experts do that for you.
Our uptime page provides complete transparency and analytics of usage of mod.io by 3rd parties.
Q: How easy is it to use mod.io?
A: We aim to make getting mods up and running in-game incredibly quick and easy. All of the tools we have created to help are open source on Github and well documented. If you are using a popular engine such as Unity we have a plugin that does everything including the UI and takes only a few minutes to get running. For Unreal Engine 4 developers we have plugin that offers a blueprint and C++ layer, for easy implementation using techniques you are familiar with. For everyone else we have a SDK and API, and are working on GameMaker Studio 2 and other engines on request. Additionally, everything on the platform is automated and self-service, so you can add your game today and start testing out a configuration that works for you. A few games have found our online mod submission flow to be very helpful, because it eliminates the need to build authoring tools, allowing your creators to get started sooner while you work on your official level editor.
Q: What size or type of mod do you support?
A: We support large and small mods from total conversions to simple cosmetics or scripts. The current upper limit for a mod file is 8gb, there is no lower limit. We realize today most mods are cosmetic or built in-game using simple editors. mod.io is designed to host large quantities of this type of user-generated content, and offers powerful search and sorting to help your players surface the best content. We recommend when configuring your game that you setup detailed tags, to allow your mod creators to properly categorize their content - making it easy to filter and browse.
Q: Can you support custom authentication?
A: We have in-built support for Steam, GOG Galaxy and Oculus users and are actively working to support other PC stores, consoles and mobile platforms like Epic Games, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Android, itch.io and Discord. Let us know if there is another, or if you need one now, and we will work with you to include it. We also have a slack like registration flow implemented which requires only a users email address to get started.
We support native authentication on Steam, GOG.com and Oculus, with others being actively worked on.
Q: Can mods be downloaded by game servers?
A: Yes they can, when you add your game you can configure how mods are downloaded. You can require authentication via the API, or you can allow mods to be downloaded without a verification code.
Q: How do you differ from Steam Workshop?
A: Functionally we are very similar, in that our primary purpose is to enable 1-click mod installs in-game and solve all of the pieces of the puzzle that requires (submission, hosting, moderation, subscribing, rating, searching etc). We even support Steam Authentication. Key differences are:
- Cross-platform - run 1 solution that works for your games on Steam, Epic Games, Discord, GOG, with console and mobile support in development.
- Clientless - mod.io has no dependencies, it's designed to work behind the scenes so you can truly make it feel like part of your gameplay experience.
- Portability - because we are the only mod platform with an API as well as a SDK, you can embed mod.io into your games launcher and homepage bringing you closer to your fans - and strengthening your engagement at key locations.
- Open ecosystem - our community are continually building fansites and content consuming the mod.io API. Some cool applications of the API we've already seen and released (that you can use) include: a Discord bot which alerts your community when mods are released, and a web app that is less than 100kb and can be styled and embedded anywhere a web browser can run.
- Business alignment - our sole aim is to build the world's best mod platform. We believe we've already accomplished this, we have an unmatched feature-set, 16 years+ experience running ModDB.com and our platform is continually improving for your benefit. We don't have our own games or storefront to distract us, cloud our judgement or restrict our ability innovate.
- Custom functionality - as a small fast moving team focused on mods, we see ourselves as enablers. We listen to our partners and will add your requirements to our roadmap provided those requirements are not specific to your game.
- Revenue opportunities - we understand that every game is different. Workshop has to set rules globally, which restricts their ability to roll out functionality around paid modding. This is unfortunate because for some games (especially F2P) like TF2 and Roblox, the experience for creators and players was greatly enhanced when patronage, trading and marketplace concepts were carefully introduced. We will help you find a solution that maximises the outcome for you, your players and creators, and strongly believe that modding is only going to become more significant in a world where in-game interaction and content is what matters most.
- White Label - if you need a private "mod support in a box" solution that gives you ownership and control over the complete experience - we've got you covered. Eliminate years of development and the cost of building an entire team to create (and maintain) a comparable service, and get the most comprehensive and battle-tested product up and running with our assistance. We can help theme the product and build out custom functionality to make mod.io a seamless part of your games experience.
- Ease of implementation - officially Workshop only provides a C++ SDK and web interface for browsing mods via their site. You will need to build the mod submission flow and in-game interface to use it. With mod.io we have a web API, C/C++ SDK and mod submission flow available out of the box. Everything is automated and done via self-service, so the time it takes to get mod.io implemented and your first mod submitted and downloading in-game is significantly quicker. In addition to this we have a Unity plugin (with UI) built, with UE4, GameMaker and other popular engines on the way - to make implementation even quicker - should you want a drop-in solution instead of the API / SDK.
Q: Can I run Workshop and mod.io side by side?
A: Yes, we have developers that use both. The easiest approach is to have your mod submission tool upload content to Workshop and mod.io at the same time. We are exploring implementing a "sync" mechanism and can discuss on request, otherwise you can split your mod community, but we generally recommend you pick the solution that makes the most sense. In the case of mod.io we support Steam Authentication so the end-user experience in-game is identical, the only difference is you won't have a Steam Workshop page. With more stores opening (Epic, Discord, Google Stadia, WeGameX etc), shifting business models such as streaming and netflix-like subscriptions, the world's biggest games like LoL and Fortnite opting to go direct to the consumer, we believe "thinking cross-platform" is critically important, and being able to engage your players in-game with mods is one of the most powerful ways your game can stand out and succeed, no matter where your next player comes from.
Q: Who is using mod.io?
A: We are working with partners small and large, from first time indie studios, through to campaigned giants who need a private service. If you are interested in taking a look, MORDHAU has used our UE4 linux plugin to serve maps via their game servers, with 25,000 gamers playing custom maps on day 1. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator has used our Unity plugin to serve mods to over 500,000 players so far, with up to 1,000 new mods added daily. Foundation built their own implementation to run one mod community on Steam and GOG.com powered by mod.io. We are working with another 20+ developers to create the exact mod platform they need, and look forward to hearing from you, learning your requirements, and help you strengthen and grow your game with mods.