Battlefield 3: No Plans For Modding Tools

By Jim Rossignol on July 6th, 2011 at 8:55 am.


German computer-games investigators Gamestar got a chance to talk to EA’s Patrick Söderlund, and you can see that interview embedded below. It covers a number of issues, but most tellingly reveals that DICE have no current plans to produce modding tools for the game. Söderlund claims that that modding would be “very difficult” due to the complexity of the levels and features like destruction.

Ah, yes. The modding community: famously confounded by complexity and difficulty, only able to get their heads around the simplest of game technologies… But seriously, not producing modding tools is surely going to be a commercial decision, and I almost wish that were the reason given.

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102 Comments »

  1. TsunamiWombat says:

    Just be honest and say “It’d cost us alot of extra money and time to do this and we’re aiming for cross platform release so there’s no point when 2/3rds our buyers (PS3/360 owners) will never make use of them”

    • Stupoider says:

      I was thinking something DLC related.

    • studenteternal says:

      From the numbers I have seen 2/3rds is probably being generous to the PC crowd. Not that you can not make a lot of money from a PC game, you can just look at blizzard, but for a major cross platform game like this I would say we are well represented if PC sales are 1/5 of console sales. So while I hate that no mod tools being released, I can at least see why it is hard to justify spending major dev time on something that will be used by only a fraction of 20% of your audience.

    • John Connor says:

      Bad Company 2 sold more copies on PC than the two consoles combined.

    • SpaceAkers says:

      Yes this will probably sell more on the PCs.

      If you spend the time and money to release modding tools, it will not only add cost to the development but also marginalize your DLC sales.

      Conversely, if you release the modding tools the game will sometimes take on a life of its own and it will give you more sales down the line.

      Tough to say which way would end up making you more money, but I bet it’s easier for suits to bet on the first.

    • Jumwa says:

      Yes, definitely seems to be a “We want to protect our DLC from competition with the modders” sort of decision. Which seems unfortunate. Games like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout manage to successfully do DLC while sporting large modding communities, as someone else pointed out, giving users control over the game like that often sparks a games own self-sufficient advertisement machine.

      Heck, that seems to be the key to Minecraft’s success; the fact that people kept creating interesting things that others were interested in checking out, not mods in this case, but just the building of unique structures.

    • FakeAssName says:

      it’s kinda hard to sell people on map pack DLC when the community can churn out their own.

    • briktal says:

      Actually it’s really easy to sell map packs even when there are mod tools because people are dumb.

    • neems says:

      “Bad Company 2 sold more copies on PC than the two consoles combined.”

      No offence but do you have a source for that? It sounds rather unlikely.

      That aside, are there mod tools for Bad Company 2?

    • Premium User Badge

      jimbobjunior says:

      PC sales were only 16% (Source: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/37880/BFBC2-fastest-seller-of-2010)

      Edit: Doesn’t take into account online distribution, but it still debunks the “PC outsold consoles” claim above.

    • Rahabib says:

      I bought BF2 only because of the modding tools.

      Didn’t they just say you can “have it your way”? With out an SDK or modding tools, you cant really have it your way, only the way they already prepared.

    • DrGonzo says:

      If it doesn’t take into account digital distribution how does it debunk that statement? I’m fairly positive it will have sold significantly more copies through digital distribution than through retail.

      Having said that, I would have been suprised if the PC made up as much as a 1/3 of all sales, but it looks like it may have done so.

    • ghiest says:

      “very difficult” due to the complexity of the levels and features like destruction.

      I’ve actually worked with the tools and this is flat out bullshit to be honest. They just don’t want people encroaching on their DLC packs ect. Just like Black ops they promised mod and mapping tools early on to snipe at IW then what did they deliver? OH that’s right F A.

  2. soldant says:

    Let’s be honest though, a handful of promising mods would start up, one would be released 4 years from now, and the rest would be variations of instagib or silly game modes with no new content.This is a ridiculous reason for not including modding tools, but the scene isn’t what it once was.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      You mean, like how Point of Existence 2 was the only good mod for BF2? And how Forgotten Hope was the only good mod for BF1942?

      Still, the modding scene shouldn’t be underestimated. While few really high quality mods came out, when you got them, you pretty much forsake the vanilla game.

    • pepper says:

      And eve of destruction, boy that was crap! Lets not forget the horrible Project Reality! The fact that people dare to play these monstrosity’s? You know whats even worse, Forgotten Hope 2 is gearing up for a new release! What kind of a madness is this, how dare they!!!!
      Its a sad day when modding is considered bollocks. It often has given me a better experience then the original game could.

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      grossvogel says:

      Tell it to the guys who are modding ARMA II.

      I think it’s just another indication of the fact that BF3 has its sights set squarely on the Modern Warfare crowd — and these types would hardly give a damn about the mod tools availability, so why bother?

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      bear912 says:

      What about how the developers of Desert Combat for 1942 were hired by DICE when developing Battlefield 2? I’m sure it will still be great game, but the lack of planned modding tools is disappointing. It would even be less so if they came straight out and said, “we don’t want to expend the resources to do that” or “that would mean we couldn’t charge for DLC post-launch.” At least be honest about your motivations. I have a fair amount of respect for DICE, but it’s good to call bullcrap what it is.

    • wrath says:

      Or like how Red Orchestra 2 already has 5 mods in development> http://www.moddb.com/games/red-orchestra-heroes-of-stalingrad/mods

      So yes, a lack of modding tools is sad. I fail to see how the modding community is any worse than “it once was”. What kind of strange, ideal yesteryear do you remember?

    • DrGonzo says:

      BF2 has quite a few fantastic mods actually that even now have a decent population.

      Their reasoning makes no sense to me. Ooh modern engines are more complex are they? That’s why Crysis has a really intuitive and easy to use map editor is it?

    • briktal says:

      Since they originally made a console game with the engine, they probably didn’t even think about public mod tools. If you don’t think about it early, it’s probably really easy to take shortcuts/cobble things together in such a way that it’s heavily tied into whatever infrastructure they had in place, the exact other tools they were using, etc. Hell, sometimes I’m amazed that people produce software that works as well as it does, seeing how bad people/companies seem to be at the whole process.

    • soldant says:

      All of what you have said is true, but most of those games were back when PC modding was still fairly big. ARMA2 is the exception to the rule (and even then people usually focus on small addons, not exactly full scale mods, plus the game was purpose-built for it). Plenty of games are successful today without modding tools at all, and some simply just don’t need it. The old idea of “no modding = fail” has long since died, because most modders are probably more inclined to choose UDK or Unity and not be tied to a single game.

    • passingstranger says:

      But… I want Project Reality with fancy graphics.

  3. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    RAGE! BOYCOTT!

    But yea, why can’t they just say “we don’t want players stealing our market” or some shit. Maybe it’s not modular so they can’t give out just a little without having to make new tools? Maybe it’s because that even if it’s a “PC” title, they expect at least 80% of the profits to come from consoles?

    • DerShcraa says:

      I’m pretty positive that RAGE will have an SDK.
      Just saying.

    • Sirbolt says:

      In all fairness i can actually understand why they are doing this. For example, a “friend of a friend” works at DICE and he explained that because of the destructability of the houses, they each cost about as much to construct as a similar house would in real life… So perhaps it’s just too complex!

  4. Nallen says:

    I expect this will cause all manner of misdirected rage. Still this is Battlefield, not TES or something that pretty much lives by the modding.

    • negativedge says:

      For real. Who ever played Desert Combat?

      kind of a joke given how they keep playing up how “important” the PC market is for this game.

    • The Sentinel says:

      That’s a very good point, Negativedge. Cynics like me become cynics precisely because we PC gamers keep being told we’re important by PR people but then decisions like this are made that clearly say something very different, such as “We only want your money”.

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      Lamb Chop says:

      And cynics like me say “we want your money” is the definition of important for PR people.

  5. RakeShark says:

    Complex levels and complex features like destruction…

    The cynic in me thinks one of the reasons DICE are doing this is job security. Why arm smart people with the tools to show they may produce better stuff than you and work for less pay?

    • Nalano says:

      Whoever said they had to work for less pay?

      Seriously, a lot of the companies that are doing FPSs right now were founded by or picked up a lot of former modders.

      It’s not as if the market’s static and that by growing the industry the company is hurting their own bottom line via some ill-conceived zero-sum system. Competition fosters quality of product and growth of the market.

      In fact, by enforcing mediocrity in development and punishing the consumers by in effect demanding that they pay the company for what they can themselves make for free, they’re bleeding out their own industry as people stop caring about the next MW or MW clone and will pay due to a smaller target market in the long run.

      But yeah, I understand: Investors don’t understand “long run” anymore. Cash grab cash grab cash grab!

  6. CaspianRoach says:

    Maybe it’s because all the destruction in the game is actually heavily scripted and not a physics engine feature at all and they don’t want anyone to understand that!
    Caspianroach, exposing game developers’ lies since 2011.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      That is a very interesting point and could well be a contributing factor.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, I’m sure its heavily scripted destruction, just like BC2!

      Oh wait. And it features in multiplayer mode.

    • Rangst says:

      The destruction in BC2 was actually pretty basic, you just blew out pre-specified sections of walls then when enough of them were gone the building collapse animation would play.

  7. Kuroko says:

    I don’t care, I wasn’t gonna buy it either way. Looks like another dumb modern shooter.

    • enobayram says:

      I see it as junk food. You’ll want to eat some sooner or later. Why not eat the best one then?

  8. ohyeah says:

    in other words we’re too scared modders will make better free mods than our dlc and nobody will buy them

    if it wasn’t for project reality, forgotten hope and others bf2 would have died in 1 year just like bf3 will without mods

    • NegativeNancy says:

      Word.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It is in the publisher’s interest for BF3 to die after a few months. That way they can sell you BF4. This process is complicated if people are still happy with/looking forward to BF3: Desert Combat, or some other killer mod.

      Products with up-front payments need to be amazing on release so that people buy them, then drop off almost immediately so that people buy the next thing.

    • gwathdring says:

      I was just thinking about this with respect to phone companies while mowing the lawn. And I disagree. The trouble is, eventually you run your customers out the door. If you never build any loyalty and all your products are disposable, you end up relying mostly on bringing in fresh fans when the old one tire out. Sure it means a lot of cash now, but it’s really easy to muck up the balance. If your next game isn’t a big enough hit? You lose everything. But when you follow the Valve model and, deservedly or not, focus on customer loyalty and goodwill … you can get away with missing deadlines and not milking the biggest franchise (ahem) and still retain users.

      Sometimes I feel like these companies hired a psychological marketing expert who only read half the textbook. They understand supply and demand and they understand basic conditioning and advertising but anything beyond the basics and they draw a blank. Innovation is healthy for the longterm life of the industry, even if it isn’t as immediately profitable. But I guess that’s all well and good for the CEOs who make a boatload and get fired when they don’t produce a mega-hit anyway ….

      Dammit, it’s just inefficient sloppy business. Never mind ethics and games as art or any of that: it’s just horribly short sighted and outright bad fiscal practice. And utterly predictable if you read the other half of the textbook.

  9. Jajusha says:

    Yeah, theres a big reason to close modding support: paying for DLC.

  10. Tei says:

    Nothing stop modding. So there will be mods for BF3. Probably the changes from BF2 to BF3 will be huge, but some tools already existing for BF2 will work for BF3 with some changes.

    Still this is a big wound, and probably making mods for the type of game that is BF is already dificult.

    Lets think this:

    If the game comes with the gameplay in Python files, people will decompile these files.
    People will reverse engineer the file format for textures and models.
    People will reverse engineer the file format for data (weight of vehicles,etc..)

    Mods will happend.

    • geoffreyk says:

      Right! Just like Far Cry 2!

      I love the mods that let me tweak enemy respawn timers… and AI aggression… and… and… wait. Wait a minute. These words feel funny.

    • HeavyHarris says:

      @geoffreyk: You gave me a sad =[

  11. Olivaw says:

    Maybe they mean it would just be too complicated for them to produce a toolkit that allows for manipulating the destruction and such.

    I mean, I haven’t played it, but it seems like there is a lot going on in this game, engine wise.

  12. Arona Daal says:

    Does that mean it will be impossible,maybe even *illegal*, to mod bf3?

    As is found myself playing mainly bf2 mods and hardly the Vanilla Game, this is pretty offturning.

  13. cliffski says:

    Mod tools give a pretty hefty insight into the workings of an engine. I’ve spent many an hour combing through installed games asset lists and their modding stuff to see how certain effects are done.
    With such a cutting edge new engine, maybe they want it to be as under-wraps as possible?

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      This. How could you demand a licensing fee for your engine, when everyone and her brother could just buy your game and jury-rig their own game mechanics into it and be the next indie star? In times of freely available UDK and Source SDK, people will demand a free Frostbite 2 sooner or later, and DICE will surely comply with market demands at a later time. So, I think they are only trying to protect their investment until that inevitable step.
      Also, what Tei said above. Nothing short of encryption and remote authorisation will prevent even binary game assets to be “hacked”. And even authorisation servers can be spoofed.

    • Dana says:

      DICE will not comply, because they have nothing to say in that matter. EA is pulling all the strings.

    • daf says:

      @stahlwerk I think you’re miss understanding what free means in the case of UDK, source SDK, cryengine SDK and other tools. Yes they’re free to use and create whatever you want, but that only goes as far as you release the resulting product for free.

      The moment you hit big you’ll be required to fork for a commercial license or share in the profits, some might be nicer then others ofc, UDK will not charge you anything for the first $50,000 of revenue you make, but after that you’ll have to give them 25%.

      With that in mind I’m not sure DICE has anything to gain from a free Frostbite 2 SDK as so far there seems to be no plans to license out the engine and while people tend to be smart one has to wonder how many will bother to hack into the game and make their own tools to mod the game when there’s others which don’t require you to reverse engineer anything…

    • pepper says:

      UDK asks 25% of the profit, not the revenue.

    • daf says:

      “…US $99 (Ninety Nine US Dollars) up-front, and a 0% royalty on you or your company’s first $50,000 (US) in UDK related revenue from all your UDK based games or commercial applications, and a 25% royalty on UDK related revenue from all your UDK based games or commercial applications above $50,000 (US).”

      Quote from UDK licensing page, if that is incorrect then they should change it on their website…

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      Consider too, that with such a cutting-edge engine, the tools are probably not in a state that could be released to the public anyway. Getting them polished up for general use, supporting the tools, writing documentation, etc is *way* more work than people imagine.

      Also, with id software moving in the direction of having server farms to render out maps and MegaTextures, we’re quickly getting to the point where even a high end user won’t be able to run these tools on their computers.

      It’s kinda sad, yeah, but it’s the price we pay for progress.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yet another reason I prefer games to advance in less technical directions. I don’t want to update my computer much more. Once I get out of college and have an apartment, I’m building a desktop machine. It will probably run current gen games on medium to high settings, and more importantly it will run my audio recording and editing equipment like a dream. And then I’m fine until it damn well breaks down and starts chugging. I’m just not interested in the latest raw power and sheen anymore, not in my gadgets and not in my games. I want more advanced systems, and creative engineering (and color E-Ink!). In terms of games, I want more advanced features like destructible terrain (which I can sort of see being difficult to cram into a user-modifiable engine but I can also see enough effort being put in to do it anyway) and more advanced physical interactions and most importantly to me more advanced AI. Those are things I’m willing to upgrade for and lose user input for if necessary. But not resolution, not anti-aliasing, not realistic textures. I’m really happy with how this generation of games look at medium to high settings.

      I respect people that want more and seek super-realistic graphics. But I’m really comfortable right here and want the industry to keep pushing breadth of technology and features and all but give up on advancing purely graphical depth.

  14. Stevostin says:

    I do think it’s entirely possible to lost the modding community with complexity. See L4D : without a big support and costly effort to get modding possible, the modding community was just up to nothing. And last time I checked there really was not a lot of simply decent mods, and nothing as well designed as native maps.

    It’s meaningful to me to see the new FPS based on obviously state-of-the-art engine (this one, but Rage, too), expecting modding to be too complex for modders. I believe it. I think plausible that at this level of complexity, even basic modding requires scripting ability to deal with who know what those engines need to look that good. Animation system. Destruction system. This sounds like extra layers that always have to defined by hand and my bet is that the current tool to do this implies scripting that may be very vaguely documented – a far shot from opening meshes and anim in you 3D software.

    Crysis 2 seems to be designed with user’s content in mind – not those two. Well, that’s already somehting !

    • DrGonzo says:

      L4d isn’t rediculously hard or complex to develop for. It’s the same editor as Half Life 2. Not sure why it doesn’t have many mods, but don’t think it’s to do with it being too difficult.

  15. krepno says:

    Why not make mod-tools available without destruction threepointfive? That gives best of both worlds! The game keeps selling because someone made Desert Combat for bf3 (yes please!) AND they can sell DLC with the destruction.

  16. absolofdoom says:

    My guess is that this is related to EA’s “Origin” crap, and it all hinges around DLC. In other words, no extra content unless you pay through the nose to get it. Typical, really.

    Ah well, not like I care too much about the battlefield series anyway. I just want DICE to make a sequel to Mirror’s Edge is all.

  17. Real Horrorshow says:

    lol @ the “complexity of the destruction”

    Every BF game so far populates its MP maps with the same small set of pre-fabricated buildings. There are only a couple houses in BC2, they’re just reskinned to fit the locale.

    If making BF maps actually entailed making them from scratch he’s have a point. He’s just talking BS.

  18. MajorManiac says:

    When a game comes out without mod support and paid-for dlc I can’t help but feel – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W56GtCNYKUI

  19. Theodoric says:

    Not releasing mod tools has become the default position these days. While DICE is still much more PC-focused than the rest (smart move, considering Digital, European and long-term sales), it might actually just be a bit too much to ask for.

  20. moziz says:

    Here is a forum post by a Dice representative about why they did not release the development tools for BFBC2. It’s a long post but it really highlights the fact that developing today’s games is not that simple anymore. Here are some quotes:Building all content for BC2 from scratch takes something like 48-72 hours on a normal workstation.

    Finally, in its current form, the pipeline + editor expects some specific IT infrastructure in place (most notably the cache server and a Perforce server).
    If it’s not there then the pipeline + editor will behave strangely.
    The first time I tried, it took me about one week to get the full editor + pipeline setup to work properly outside of the DICE office. And that was when I had the option to call any of the other developers to ask for help.

    Both the pipeline and the editor takes in all content in its raw, original form. Anyone who is to build any content needs the full 80GB of raw data on their machine. We are not comfortable giving out all our animations, meshes etc in raw form.Also, there are some complications wrt when we release patches that affect the base game’s content. Whenever we release a patch, all existing levels will need to be rebuilt with a new set of original data.

    Then creators of any user-generated levels would be required to run their levels again through the pipeline with the new base content supplied.

    So there you have the official word. Here are some of my own thoughts:
    This kind of a setup probably works well in a office LAN, but as mod teams are often spread around the planet, so to me it seems that there would be massive amounts of data that you’d have to transfer on the Internet to be able to do anything.
    You’d also need to create almost everything from scratch as the original art/whatnot assets will not be released, so you’d only be able to do total conversions and you’d have to know quite a bit about the internals of the engine to be able to produce your assets.
    So no wonder they didn’t release them for BFBC2 and won’t for BF3. Kinda sad but I can see why.

    • Ravenger says:

      The build systems of many modern games are extremely complicated. As the DICE guy said, they’re heavily network dependent, with remote source control servers and distributed build systems that can take hours, even days to compile the data into usable levels.

      No doubt there could be modding of the scripting side of the game, or the attributes of the various items, but building new levels probably requires too much in the way of resources for it to be practical for modders to do it.

    • MasterDex says:

      It does sound like it would be too much of a bother to adapt for modding but it’s disappointing that Dice would make the engine in such a way, we’ve already seen how the patching method has affected patch planning and releasing with BC2 and I expect just the same with BF3. Whether they did this to protect their assets or because it makes sense in an office environment, I don’t know but whatever the case, if what you quoted is true, Frostbite 2.0 isn’t that good of an engine, at least from a development standpoint.

      But hey, who need Frostbite 2.0 when we’ve now got CE3?!

    • daf says:

      I read the post and if anything it showed how Frostbite was not built with 3rd party content or good content creation tools both a requirement if you want to sell your engine trough licensing (which DICE seems to not be pursuing).

      Still it seems odd to allow such a messy pipeline considering all the focus these days on DLC, I’m sure the developers would benefit greatly from being able to build a map and test it without having to rebuild the entire game every time.

    • Gnarf says:

      “(…) if what you quoted is true, Frostbite 2.0 isn’t that good of an engine, at least from a development standpoint.”

      What he quoted isn’t about Frostbite 2.0. And the main thing to take away from it is that they’re focusing on making a game, and not an engine for everyone else to make stuff for, and it basically takes a bunch of effort going from “works for us” to “works for everyone”. So they won’t bother with that.

      “I’m sure the developers would benefit greatly from being able to build a map and test it without having to rebuild the entire game every time.”

      Does it say that? I read at least most of the post, might have skipped some bits, but I didn’t see anything about having to build the entire game in order to build a map. Only some aside about how long it did take to build everything. The example he uses is building one map and it sounds like it looks up dependencies and that in order to build only the stuff that is needed for that map.

      And it does sound like they’re dealing with a bunch of stuff so that it’s less painful in 2.0. On “flaky content creation” he says that 2.0 is much improved at least. Only I guess they’ve dealt with stuff that makes it painful for the developers rather than all the things required to make mod tools happen. Like they’re still making game first and engine second, or something like that.

  21. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Noooooooooo

  22. Echo Black says:

    Then I’ll have Red Orchestra 2, thank you.

  23. Zogtee says:

    The truth is, of course, that DLC has become a profitable thing and they would rather sell us bite-sized content like extra maps, weapons, and skins, than have us make that stuff ourselves. I get that, hell, *everyone* gets that, so they might as well come out and say it.

    However, the grand trick would be for them to create extra content that is so good, so that we would want to buy it, *despite* freely available mods… It would seem their confidence doesn’t extend quite that far, even though they have that crucial technical insight we lack. :)

  24. Mac says:

    No need for mod tools – just a map editor – thanks!

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      Harlander says:

      Wait, what?

    • Mac says:

      Most mods that come out are quite superficial, and most are not really worth the time (IMO) – therefore, the only element that I am personaly interested in are fan made maps, which also vary in quality, but there are normally a few worth picking up.

      I really am not a fan of paying £10 for 4 official maps, and I have never done so to date.

  25. Cryotek says:

    Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt – it’s a new, advanced engine, I am sure they are still learning what to do with it themselves. Making mod tools might be difficult, too, depending on how Frostbyte 2 works. Seriously, they are going all-out on the PC version of the game otherwise, I’m willing to cut them some slack on this.

    At least we’ll be getting mod tools for Skyrim, though!

  26. Nethlem says:

    @Stevostin
    Using left4dead as an example for “modding beeing too difficult” is kinda useless.

    The game got announced as “includes SDK” but the game didn’t have any modding tools at all at launch.
    So most people waited till valve released the official SDK because it makes working on this stuff way easier.

    I also doubt that adding modding support to L4D had been that big of an effort/costly.
    After all it’s still a source game and not some kind of miracle new engine, valve just put the extra effort in to deliver a decent documentation for the tools.

    Puzzles me how you can use a valve game as an example for “modding beeing useless”, just because there are no high quality/high profile mods for L4D out there doesn’t mean they will never exist or that there are only crap quality mods out there. Not to mention that plenty of quality custom content exists allready, just take a look at dead before dawn custom campagin or valve adding other usermade campaigns to the “official rooster”.

    Because even if you haven’t been in the news cycle for L4D mod’s you should just take a look at some of the L4D2 custom maps/servermods out there. Yeah many of them are pretty simple serverside modifications but others are completly awesome (yes i like playing L4D2 with 16+ players) and change the gameplay on so many levels.

    Even Counter Strike and TFC started off as buggy, barely playable ugly messes of mods and nowadays they are counted among the biggest manshooter IP’s around.

  27. SanguineAngel says:

    Despite the bull justification which was clearly neon painted lies, I don’t see why anyone should be demanding mod tools? or withdrawing their financial support because they aren’t supplying them. Have I missed something here. Did they promise them, or imply we would be receiving them at some point?

    • nanophage says:

      Some people, like myself, find more joy in creating maps and modding then in the actual game. I still play plenty of games, and plenty of games without modding tools or a level editor, but its always the first thing on my mind.

      Sometimes developers just don’t have the time. or the backing of the publisher, to fix game bugs or balance issues in a timely manner and the modding community has shown time and again a willingness to correct these problems for the love of the game. It’s unfortunate to me that the modding scene, at least to publishers, isn’t really seen as a community niche to market to but as a secondary thought.

  28. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Bugger than, the true Battlefield games have always been great not only due to the quality of the vanilla game, but also how the mod tools and community through them, extended the lifespan of those games many times over. Stick in any of the older, moddable Battlefield games today and you’ll be able to get a game no problem, will we be able to say the same about Bad Company 2 in 5 years? Doubtful.

  29. nanophage says:

    I wonder how much people would be willing to actually pay for legit modding tools? Package in there a few special “example” missions and some good documentation and you might have a DLC right there….

    Then again I don’t know if I would want EA to start that precedent, but if anyone would do it its probably EA.

  30. Derppy says:

    I the engine is so “advanced” that experienced programmers can artists can’t learn to use it within a month, it’s a piece of crap and probably has no documentation of any kind.

    I find it hard to believe since they couldn’t build huge games on crap and couldn’t give the engine to other teams without documentation (NFS: Rush).

    It’s all about EA being too afraid of DLC competition and potential piracy caused by public server files, which are needed for any MP modding to happen.

    It pretty much proves that they don’t trust in the quality of their own DLC and that they have extremely wrong anti-piracy philosophy. The game will be #1 most pirated game on just about all torrent trackers when it’s launched, it will be cracked and people will play it for free. Preventing them from accessing MP sure has minor impact on the sales, but is it worth it to kill the modding community, proper lan gaming and server hosting companies for it?

    I also host a couple LAN parties every year and we’d prefer to play our games in a local network, hosted on a local server. I don’t want to rent an official server with unnecessary latency for it.

    Personally I enjoy BF2 mods and they have only insulted the teams behind them, without even admitting they do this for the sales. Mods have fixed multiple problems with the game, created mechanics I thought would be impossible with the engine and supplied the community with amazing amount of free content. When they point their finger on the modding groups and say “It’s too advanced for you”, I just feel disgusted, given they have multiple employees from the modding scene.

    EDIT: About paying for modding, I’d donate money to PR, FH and POE teams right away if they made some kind of modding license cost. I’d probably donate anyway, since they have given me the best FPS experience to this very day, but if there would be some kind of license fee, they would need the money even more.

    With BF2 DICE supplied a nice engine and some “sample content”, but the modding teams really utilized it to it’s full potential.

    • nanophage says:

      I think it may in fact be for that very reason, having employees that are former modders, that EA might have decided not to release them. Many teams have gone on to create other studios, Splash Damage, Unknown Worlds, and have had varying degrees of success. Heck one of the biggest games of the year, atleast as far as hype goes – I have not played it myself, is made by a team founded by modders, that being Brink. EA, as a publisher, sees the possibility of creating future competition. This is what happens when business, profits, and their shareholders get in the way of an industry that was formerly “for the love of the game.” Thank god for indies.

  31. DerShcraa says:

    Why not have both?
    Maybe they’ll have a beautiful baby if they stay together for long enough.
    A man can dream …

    p.s.: reply fail

    • nanophage says:

      Or do what Blizz was/is supposedly going to do with a modding marketplace. Make deals with modders and independent level designers, say EA gets 75% of sales and the modder/designers get 25%, and sell their product. Naturally their would have to be some sort of quality to the product first but its a viable.

  32. Apocalypse 31 says:

    BF2 had mod tools and people still play it.

    They’re just afraid that the public is going to fix all the broke crap with BF3

  33. Brutal Deluxe says:

    This deal is getting worse all the time

    • Eightball says:

      Brutal Deluxe just won the internet, the rest of us can go home.

  34. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    Yes, because the programmers at Dice are Gods and no mere mortal could ever hope to understand the complexity of a Battlefield game. Bow before their greatness and tremble under the weight of their brilliance!!

    It’s all about DLC. They don’t want people making mods that are going to take away business from their downloadable content.

    . . . or they could just be bitter that many people believe Project Reality to be a better game than Battlefield 2.

  35. metalangel says:

    Without mods, a great many games never reach their full potential. Consider what MFCTI did for Operation Flashpoint.

    Likewise, the inbuilt content for many games is cack. Consider the buggy, badly designed routes in Railworks 2 or MS Train Sim, or the paltry selection of dull vehicles in Farm Simulator 2011.

    • Misnomer says:

      So what you are saying is that PC exclusives tend to be poorly made and need free labor from modders to save them from a characteristic lack of quality and content? I know that isn’t quite what you are saying, but it does seem like those who advocate modding from games like ArmA are saying exactly that.

      I think it is high time that RPS ran a feature on modding in the new market where indie games are highly lucrative and easier than ever to publish. In a world where UDK, Source, and other development tools are widely available. Then they could examine these changes in an environment where almost everyone has a backlog of games from Steam, GOG, D2D to play because of market inundation and sales. Then they might also address the complexity of new engines and reality of the costs and manpower required to develop high graphical fidelity games like BF3.

  36. Snuffy the Evil says:

    To be honest, if your engine is that difficult to develop for than it must be horridly designed. The idea of having tools in the first place is to make development easier- why would you give it that kind of unnecessary complexity?

    Again, that’s probably not the real reason, as other people have said. It’s still a pity, though- I put more time into Battlefield 2′s mods than I did the actual game.

  37. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Yeah this is a shame. I won’t pretend to know the actual reason, and I suppose I don’t really care, I’m just disappointed that a game I’ve been looking forward to for ages has been made immeasurably worse.

    I played vanilla BF2 for all of five hours or so, the rest were spent in PoE and PR.

  38. Eolirin says:

    So everyone does realize that “The game engine is much more complex and thus much harder to mod” is the same as saying “It would take a *ton* more resources and time investment to make a set of modding tools that could be released to the public” right? To the point that it may not even be practical to do so? That should not be decoded as “the modding community couldn’t handle the engine’s complexity” but as “creating tools that were user friendly enough for public consumption would take a really long time given the engine complexity”.

    If they have to replicate their entire content pipeline if they want to provide mod tools, and that pipeline is complex, that’s a massive headache. Having to create something that looks like the Unreal SDK so that you can give it away for free is prohibitively expensive. If they were going to license their engine heavily and needed to do the work anyway, that’d be one thing. As it stands, providing the tools could require significant investment, and that takes time away from actually making games.

  39. Mayjori says:

    weren’t they saying something about not fucking with the PC community this round?

  40. enobayram says:

    They might be telling the truth, DICE has a good standing in my eyes when it comes to not being greedy.

  41. My2CENTS says:

    I’m shocked this is a news. Frostbite is available for two or three years now, and DICE them self said: “Its too complex to create a mod tools” Which is so north of the truth, that you can see Solar Winds. The reason is simple:

    - DICE protected the content with stupid compressed file-formats.
    - DICE doesn’t really have a map as such is a bunch of mixed technologies which is pathetic on itself. But bare with me.
    - Most of the tools used in development are actually propriety and you need license to use them.

    All of this points to the fact that DICE as a studio are incapable of producing a quality modern-age Video Game Engine. Take Source engine for example that engine is being built around 2002 and 9 years later is still being massively popular, not only because is built with mods in mind, but because its extend-able.

    To finish: When im saying im not buying BF3. people ask me why? Well the simple answer is that after you give your money to DICE, they really fuck you up with non-finished product, hyped beyond any level you’ve seen (Chopper at E3 – please). The question is: Is this the DICE tech-demo, as Crysis is Crytek’s one.

  42. XM says:

    On the plus side of no modding at least I can join a game without downloading 100s of files for a map.

  43. DOLBYdigital says:

    Makes me a sad panda… I’ll still get the game but I just hope it doesn’t lead to other ‘PC focused’ games to not release them. Glad to see RO2 is coming out strong, hell even MW2 and Crysis2 released mod tools/SDK… Just hope they don’t influence others…. They don’t even remember their roots, sad…

  44. rocketman71 says:

    DICE shows again how full of shit they are.

  45. Unaco says:

    Ha: Battlefield 3 PC’s Superiority Confirmed In Question.

    Seriously… this is an insult to the PC community. Either, they think we’re stupid (which even a cursory look at the modding efforts of the PC community will prove wrong)… or they’re straight up lying (and they think we’re stupid enough to buy this), and this isn’t about complexity, it’s about being able to sell DLC.

    Could it be, in the end, that after all their promises about loving the PC and how Battlefield started on the PC and how much they appreciate and respect the PC and the community, that CODMW3 will be a more PC appreciating game, with mod tools or an SDK?