Banished is, to hear Alec tell it, a desperate, painful, vexing experience, but in a (mostly) good way. Eventually, though, even survival against the brutal elements, creeping disease, and human nature gets boring. That’s why we invented videogames, doncha know. Fittingly, then, developer Shining Rock is currently hard at work on an infrastructure that will allow Banished players to create even more videogames from the one they already put out. They call it “mod support,” presumably named for British mod culture in the early ’60s. Details below.
The developer outlined mod plans for its mad (and sometimes maddening) world in a blog post. In short, the city management/utter devastation sim wasn’t originally coded with modding specifically in mind, but it’s proven pretty easy to convert.
There’s a single tool that compiles all resources into the binary format that Banished uses. There’s a version of the game that has extra debugging features in it, and it can compile resources as the game loads, and additionally it detects resources file changes at runtime, so textures, models, and other resources can be reloaded without shutting down the game (most of the time). The tool also can pack all the resources into a single package for easy distribution.
That sounds good so far.
The big remaining problems, then, are clerical things like the ability to run multiple mods at once and save games detecting changes made by mods. Steam Workshop support will also likely be part of the package, so that’s good news.
Now the only question I have is whether I’ll be able to mod out my own crippling depression when everything inevitably falls to frozen dust in my fingers. I’m guessing probably not.
No release date yet, but it sounds like progress has been good so far. So soon, probably.