Our mission at mod.io is to make modding accessible for players, and drive adoption by creating tools for game developers that help you launch and run a successful mod community with as little effort as possible.
- Step one in this mission is using our API to make mod installation a beautiful one click process.
- Step two and the purpose of this guide is how to present mods to your players.
- Let's begin!
Game UI's vary quite a bit, which is quite apparent when you see how differently each game approaches the presentation of mods. Some like Garry's Mod have browsing and searching interfaces built in, while others use web overlays and links only and do all of the work of installing mods silently behind the scenes.
We'd like to see more complete and powerful modding UI's created in the future, which is why we are working on an open source easily customised web app - which will show what mod.io is capable of, and give developers a foundation to edit and build on top of when creating their own mod UI. The work is still in progress, but as soon as it is complete it will be shared here.
Overall we found the UI's implemented by games to manage a users mod collection to be quite basic. We intend to solve this through the creation of powerful plugins that does the grunt work for the engine you are using. Here are some of the challenges we hope to help you overcome:
- Engines are not designed to create web-like UIs: No problem use ours instead, or if you can embed Chromium you will be able to use our web app and hook into it's callbacks.
- Shipping a game to a deadline is hard, building non-core tools is time I don't have: We understand which is why our plugins are designed to be end-to-end solutions. Add your game to the site, request your API key, then find your engines plugin. If your engines plugin is not yet available, you can use our API or SDK to get mods downloading, and use our web app for the UI. Jump on our discord to get help, we can even work with you to create the plugin and release it at the end of the process for other developers to use.
0 A.D. (using mod.io)
Main menu has a link to the mods section:
Displays a screen which shows "Available" and "Enabled" mods. Mods can be enabled/disabled here. (stretch image to zoom in)
Clicking "Download Mods" connects to mod.io and shows that it is fetching mods:
Shows a list of all mods that can be downloaded:
Double clicking on a mod begins the download and prompts the user of the status:
Ace of Spades
After clicking on "Map Creator" on the main menu, it shows this dialog:
Publish map allows you to upload and subscribe simply opens workshop however the UI gives you no indication if the item you subscribed to got installed or how to activate/de-activate it.
Link to the mods section on the main menu.
Shows official content as well as user-generated content. There is no ability to browse content in-game.
Clicking on an item on the left shows the details.
You must subscribe to mods via the Steam Workshop website, you cannot subscribe to items in-game. Once subscribed to an item on the website the game instantly picked it up.
Day of Infamy
Mods link on home screen which then shows your installed mods.
Clicking Browse Workshop replaces the main section with the Steam workshop browse page.
After clicking subscribe on an item on the store, the game picks it up and is shown under "Library".
You can also submit mods in-game to workshop.
Don't Starve Together
The main menu shows a "Mods" link which takes you to the browse dialog, if you don't have any mods installed it redirects you to the Steam store to begin with.
Clicking "Get Mods" shows the top mods for the game.
Clicking apply on any mod restarts the game (assuming it is installed in the backend)
Dialog above shows mods that I had subscribed to via the Steam Workshop website.
Endless Space 2
Link on home screen to the mods section.
Mods that have been subscribed via workshop can be turned on/off via the interface. No ability to browse mods in-game.
Epic Games Launcher
Launcher has a "Modding" tab with a screen for each game to download that games custom editor. (no generic editor). No ability to browse.
Simple grid with pagination, picks up whether the user is subscribed to mods/addons and installs them. Clicking on a browse item opens the Steam web-browser overlay that goes to the page.
Clicking on the "Download" button shows a black box in the bottom-center of the screen showing the download status of the mod.
The menu lets you select workshop items by "Trending, Top Rated & Last Uploads".
Once a mod is downloaded, there is a subscribed tab which is the same as browsing and simply shows what items the user is subscribed to.
Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program has no in-game support. They have a "Addons & Mods" link in the menu which clicking it simply leads you to the curse KSP page:
Pirates Vikings and Knights II
Main menu has "Extra's" link which forwards to the workshop section.
Click Addons shows the subscribed workshop items, no ability to browse in-game. Opens browser window to workshop.
Once subscribed to an item via the site it updates in-game.
Ability to publish and update existing workshop item in-game.
Both show a form to fill out to submit the item to steamworks.
Main menu has a slim Steam Workshop toolbar where you can select a user (shows top workshop users). Clicking on the Steam Workshop button or typing in the search opens a browser window to workshop.
Clicking on a user shows their uploads in the game.
Clicking on subscribe doesn't show any download progress, but gives you the option to unsubscribe.
Main menu has Community Test Chambers option
Leads to section where you can view your workshop items, create a course (uses their in-game editor) or find existing items by chamber type.
Once selected you can use a carousel to scroll through chambers from Workshop. No ability to browse in-game or view item in-game, both open a browser to Workshop.
Under the options menu, there is an Addon tab. Hidden away a bit.
Clicking explore workshop shows an in-game browser with filters.
Can filter by multiple types.
Clicking on an item and then clicking install takes you to a status page.
"Custom" tab exists at the top of the menu which leads you to the UGC.
Clicking on an item shows the UGC info on the right-hand side.
When Stellaris is launched a launcher appears with a "Mods" tab.
Clicking on "Mod tools" allows you to upload a mod as shown below:
Submitting a mod allows you to select the directory, which gets submitted behind the scenes.
The Talos Principle
Main menu has a link to Steam workshop content, no ability to browse content.
After subscribing to an item on the site, I got a prompt:
Restarted the game and under "Workshop Packages" it shows a list of downloaded mods that I can toggle on/off.
When launching Western Press you get a dialog to open the Workshop uploader, which shows the following content:
Clicking on "Edit" attempts to fetch the items from workshop, clicking on NEW shows the following dialog:
We hope you enjoyed this roundup of mod UI's. It is clear that most UI's allow little interaction in game (if any), if the adoption of modding is to grow we believe it needs to be as beautifully presented as DLC is - and where we hope to get to with our default open source UI's that anyone can use.
If you have created a mod UI for your game - we encourage you to let us know and we will include it in this guide.