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mod.io is a new open API for cross-platform Steam Workshop-like mod support

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This is really interesting. The guys behind Indie DB and Mod DB have announced mod.io, a new cross-platform API to give any game Steam Workshop-like mod support.

It's aimed to be a drop-in solution, that requires no external clients or anything. So it will enable players to upload, search, download and so on easily from within any game that supports it. The API is open, the SDK is on GitHub under the MIT license and they have a plugin coming soon for Unity. They plan plugins for Unreal, GameMaker and Lumberyard too, although since the SDK is open anyone can help build them.

"For too long there has been a lack of tools that help developers support creators in an agnostic manner, restricting modding to a small percentage of tech-savvy users. mod.io removes that barrier, enabling creation, curation and sharing, providing a way for developers to interact directly with their community," said CEO and co-creator Scott Reismanis.

It's completely free, just like Mod DB and Indie DB are. It seems they're hoping to make a bit of money from studios that want a private system, as they're offering their "licensed whitelabel solution" to anyone as well.

What's exciting, is that the open source RTS 0 A.D. has already announced their support of it, which will come with Alpha 23. They also have the sandbox game ECO and the virtual world game Sinespace that will support it.

This is brilliant stuff, can't wait to see it gain more support.

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18 comments
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cprn 17 May 2018 at 11:39 am UTC
minaka14c
cprn....
P.s. I get how people don't like gaming services getting "centralised" around Steam but it's often due to having a wrong idea. It's like saying PC is centralised around Windows.

How's this for ya: monopolized

It's rather condescending to think that you, above anyone who disagrees with you, have the "right" idea.

The wrong idea of thinking Valve invented workshops because they wanted to take over the world in one way or another. They didn't. It was released for developers because they saw it working for Half-Life and wanted the same thing for their games without the effort of implementing the whole thing from scratch. Same goes for updates, multiplayer and input layers. The "according to facts" idea is usually the right one.

Also, it's far from monopoly. You can implement a different solution - that's exactly what mod.io does. All I'm saying is hating on Valve makes no sense here and it won't make life easier for developers. The opposite. All Steam service layers exist because of this sole reason - devs wanted it easier.
cprn 17 May 2018 at 11:49 am UTC
tuubi
cprnI get the target audience is software that doesn't release on Steam at all but let's face it: most of games sooner or later does.
And they can still keep using mod.io, unless they absolutely need Steam Workshop for the Steam client integration. I don't really care if the game provides their own mod manager using some other service.

Yeah, but that's for as long as there aren't many. It kind of reminds an xkcd strip about standards. The one where they say:

Quote- Hey, there are 13 competing standards for this!
- You're right! That's awful! We should make our own that will merge all the good solutions and leave out the bad ones to make life easier for everyone around!

...

- Hey, there are 14 competing standards for this!

When each solution has its own problems and many different games use many different solutions for the same thing it's very hard to make anything consistent and inconsistencies are what frustrates the end user. That's how e.g. Microsoft and Adobe stole big chunks of their markets.
tuubi 17 May 2018 at 4:43 pm UTC
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cprn
tuubi
cprnI get the target audience is software that doesn't release on Steam at all but let's face it: most of games sooner or later does.
And they can still keep using mod.io, unless they absolutely need Steam Workshop for the Steam client integration. I don't really care if the game provides their own mod manager using some other service.

Yeah, but that's for as long as there aren't many. It kind of reminds an xkcd strip about standards. The one where they say:

Quote- Hey, there are 13 competing standards for this!
- You're right! That's awful! We should make our own that will merge all the good solutions and leave out the bad ones to make life easier for everyone around!

...

- Hey, there are 14 competing standards for this!

When each solution has its own problems and many different games use many different solutions for the same thing it's very hard to make anything consistent and inconsistencies are what frustrates the end user. That's how e.g. Microsoft and Adobe stole big chunks of their markets.
You'd have a point if Steam Workshop was a standard. And if games had any consistency in their UI designs.
Lakorta 17 May 2018 at 6:43 pm UTC
cprnYeah, but that's for as long as there aren't many. It kind of reminds an xkcd strip about standards. The one where they say:

Quote- Hey, there are 13 competing standards for this!
- You're right! That's awful! We should make our own that will merge all the good solutions and leave out the bad ones to make life easier for everyone around!

...

- Hey, there are 14 competing standards for this!

When each solution has its own problems and many different games use many different solutions for the same thing it's very hard to make anything consistent and inconsistencies are what frustrates the end user. That's how e.g. Microsoft and Adobe stole big chunks of their markets.
You don't need a standard for mod integration though.
Just like you don't need a standard for e.g. main menus. A game just needs a working solution so that you don't have to search for mods on multiple websites etc.. It would be completely fine if each game would have it's own workshop like mod integration, this just makes it so that developer don't have to spend resources on developing (and hosting?) their own method.
Ideally the average end user shouldn't even realize which mod integration the game is using (unless they need to register an account and can use that account for mod integration across multiple games).
cprn 17 May 2018 at 8:59 pm UTC
tuubiYou'd have a point if Steam Workshop was a standard. And if games had any consistency in their UI designs.

Well, yeah, current state of affairs is not ideal. Well, who knows, maybe mod.io will become a de facto "standard" and Valve will switch. ;)

LakortaYou don't need a standard for mod integration though.
Just like you don't need a standard for e.g. main menus. A game just needs a working solution so that you don't have to search for mods on multiple websites etc.. It would be completely fine if each game would have it's own workshop like mod integration, this just makes it so that developer don't have to spend resources on developing (and hosting?) their own method.
Ideally the average end user shouldn't even realize which mod integration the game is using (unless they need to register an account and can use that account for mod integration across multiple games).

Yes and no. If you use something that is supposed to be general (like mod.io) and then release to a specific platform with its specific solution (like Steam and Workshop), the existing user base is used to that UI and the way of looking for mods, etc. - they'll look in Workshop first, then complain, then maybe look somewhere else. Just like they ignore most of the dedicated forum pages and use Steam's Discussions instead. Sooner or later you end up supporting two solutions.

It would be an awesome solution if mod.io would auto-release all the mods for you on Steam Workshop as well (assuming you've enabled it in some config).


Last edited by cprn at 17 May 2018 at 9:01 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
Lakorta 18 May 2018 at 2:07 am UTC
cprnYes and no. If you use something that is supposed to be general (like mod.io) and then release to a specific platform with its specific solution (like Steam and Workshop), the existing user base is used to that UI and the way of looking for mods, etc. - they'll look in Workshop first, then complain, then maybe look somewhere else. Just like they ignore most of the dedicated forum pages and use Steam's Discussions instead. Sooner or later you end up supporting two solutions.
That is true.
I may be wrong but I think there are more games having mods outside Steam Workshop (e.g. ModDB or Nexusmods) than there are games that are using Steam Workshop. And, if I understood that right, mod.io's mod support will be integrated inside the game unlike third party (web)sites (this includes Steam Workshop). There are also ingame Steam Workshop integrations which may also be different from game to game (these are rare to see though).
cprn 21 May 2018 at 7:52 am UTC
Well, I guess we will see how it comes out. I'm rooting for them, don't get me wrong. I'm just not envy of all the extra work some people will end up doing if it gets popular. I didn't get how it's in-game, I think it opens the browser... wouldn't be the first time I'm wrong, though.
intenscia 11 July 2018 at 12:46 am UTC
Hey everyone, sorry for posting so late - appreciate the support in here. I'm happy to answer any questions about the service - but our aim is to make as open a modding platform as possible. We've got some way to go to do that, but a good example of this is the open source game 0 A.D. which uses the mod.io API in an entirely anonymous way to power their modding solution: https://0ad.mod.io/

They recently ticked over 5000 downloads which was awesome to see. If there are game developers here keen to chat - hit me up!
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