THE PCG Q&A
Skyrim is probably number one for plenty of us (there are 66,500 mods for it on NexusMods alone), but if so what else have you modded to the hilt? Have you downloaded total overhauls for Crusader Kings or Total War games, expanded Stardew Valley and XCOM 2, or made Geralt in The Witcher 3 look like Geralt in The Witcher 1?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.
Testing out my Geralt tub in @TheSims 😉#TheWitcher #ShowUsYourBuilds pic.twitter.com/5gGUCpZqYVMay 25, 2021
Stevie Ward: I have modded The Sims 4 extensively. Most of my hardcore modding to make the environments historically accurate for the game I’m playing. For example, Snowy Escape had a lot of modern objects in the world (can dispensers, ski shops) which I wanted removed, so I’ve been using The Sims 4 Studio to delete models in the backend of the more modern set dressings, as well as using a historical mod which removes most modern day buildings, lampposts and signage from the base game worlds.
As far as object and clothing overrides/additions go, my folder is currently at 22 GB, which is quite a lot I think. The results for historical gameplay (my current game is set in the 1800s) are amazing. I also rename the neighbourhoods in the backend (Winderburg is currently serving as Washington, Sulani is now a fantasy kingdom and it was the Amalfi cost for a while). It’s been a real journey working out how to make it all work, and none of it would have been possible without the incredible community of Sims modders who create the most amazing things. I found someone made a Geralt tub and I’m happy to confirm it is working splendidly, pass the soap please.
Fraser Brown: Despite the abundance of mods for them, I play most of my Paradox grand strategy games in their vanilla forms, but there’s one exception: Stellaris. Paradox’s approach is to throw every space trope into the mix anyway (which I very much welcome), so all the player additions sit really nicely next to the official stuff. In my current game, I’m conquering the galaxy with fleets of weaponised moons, planets and even solar systems. The Death Star seems quaint in comparison.
Planetary Diversity and Gigastructural Engineering are both must-haves for me, but Stellaris is also the source of one of my all-time favourite overhauls: Star Trek: New Horizons. What a treat. It’s the best Star Trek mod I’ve ever played, and probably the best Star Trek game, honestly. Lots of species have bespoke, show-inspired systems that cough up all sorts of interesting scenarios, frequently introducing stuff that Paradox would eventually add to the main game themselves. Playing as the Borg or starting off as Humans and working towards the Federation are just completely different experiences, way more so than the difference between the usual custom species, and the mod is also jam-packed with flavour. You can even download custom UIs to match who you’re playing as, which is a great touch. I love it to bits.
Andy Kelly: I’ve never modded Euro Truck Simulator 2 to play differently, because it’s basically faultless. But I have installed a few visual tweaks to make the experience a little more realistic. There’s a great mod that replaces all the fake in-game companies with real ones. So instead of trucks with IKA BOHAG printed on the side, you’ll see IKEA trucks. It’s a small thing, but in a sim that’s all about realism, it elevates the experience quite a bit.
Katie Wickens: I just checked my Steam Workshop subscriptions for Rimworld and I’m up to 129 mods. 99% of them have become so integral, it just feels wrong playing vanilla now. I had to cull a bunch so I could play multiplayer, but I couldn’t deal with how different it looked, let alone how much functionality I had to sacrifice. I have since abandoned my friends to play alone again, and am now back living within the safety of my heavily-modded comfort zone. Vanilla was great for the first 50 hours or so, but the mods are what pushed my play time over the 300-hour mark.
Natalie Clayton: By virtue of having done a bunch of the mapping and modding myself, I’d probably say it’s a toss-up between the three big Source sequels: Half-Life 2 (and episodes), Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2. But outta those three, the one I’d actually play with mods is absolutely Left 4 Dead 2. There are some phenomenal custom campaigns out there, from Warcelona’s Spanish apocalypse to the stadium finish of Suicide Blitz. And while I’m too much of a sucker for consistency to replace the survivors with velociraptors or change the tank into Barney the Dinosaur, swapping out L4D’s flimsy arsenal for guns pulled straight out of Titanfall 2 is a no-brainer.
Phil Savage: Yup, it’s Skyrim. The boring choice, but it’s true—even though my actual time spent playing Skyrim doesn’t suggest that’s the case. There’s a real satisfaction in picking out a bunch of mods, imagining the grand adventure they’ll combine to create, and troubleshooting to get it all running smoothly—or just getting a mod tool to auto install an absurd 600 mods, riding high on the thrill of someone else’s effort.
But then, when the project is done, you look upon your work and think, “Oh, right, yeah, it’s Skyrim.” The fact that I’d already had my fill of Skyrim was why I started modding it in the first place. And it turns out a bunch of nice shaders, or new quests, or tweaked combat, doesn’t change the fact that—underneath it all—the fundamental game remains. Like putting up a new shelf, or the sudden irresistible urge to standardise your MP3 file system, the pleasure of modding Skyrim is more about the process than the result.
Jody Macgregor: A tie between Skyrim, which I’m still playing thanks to Legacy of the Dragonborn, and Morrowind. Being able to make NPC look less like their heads are photos wrapped around cubes is a definite plus, and for replays I find all the cheaty stuff that speeds up leveling and adds fast travel are essential. I never did get any of the mods that promised to get rid of cliff racers to work, though.
From our forum
Pifanjr: I think Skyrim is the only game I’ve seriously modded. I get bored of most games far before I’d get interested in getting more content for them. The only other games I can even remember getting mods for are Europa Universalis III and Victoria 2, but only because the friends I play those with prefer to play with mods.
Brian Boru: Civ 4 is the main one, tried out a good few mods for it during my ~5 years playing it a lot. The mod I keep installed is a UI modifier which literally expanded my playing time by years—decades actually, since it’s still very playable with this mod. It’s the BAT/BULL mod, which I highly recommend to any Civ 4 player—it doesn’t alter gameplay, but removes a lot of tedium by providing info to the player in a much more friendly way. It’s a collection of a number of smaller mods, so I guess it’s a mod pack.
I quit Far Cry 5 until I found the Resistance mod, which gets rid of the obnoxious capture sequences which occur 9-12 times in the game. Literally made the game playable for me.
Other games I want to replay, I’ll look for a mod which provides the good stuff from the beginning—eg my latest is Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and its ‘Unlock’ mod to provide all weapons & accessories at start.
Colif: Torchlight 2. I had to add extras as I played it for so long base game was becoming boring. Okay, sure, I did have a few breaks over the 8 years I played it. I used Synergies & TL 2 Essentials to add extras to the game. Like all new everything on top. Classes, maps, weapons, bosses, etc. I played game for 1300 hours so far so you can understand why it got a little samey after a while.
mainer: It’s pretty close between Skyrim, Fallout 4, & Fallout New Vegas. But I have to give the nod to Skyrim, followed closely by FO4, then FONV. Skyrim has become comfortable enough for me to mod, that my mod lists are now usually between 200-250 mods, and stable. Every year there’s new mods still coming out for a game from 2012, and some of them are truly amazing.
Sarafan: Actually I rarely mod games in a meaningful way. Usually I limit myself to things like Restoration Project for Fallout 2, but there were a few exceptions. Fallout: New Vegas is among them. I used some patches to minimize crashes and stuttering, but the biggest change was the HD texture pack. And while I was satisfied with the visual aspect, the mod made the game basically unplayable due to frequent crashes. Even the unofficial patches which supposed to help with this issue didn’t make a visible change.
Zloth: Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. (Kudos to your JRPG knowledge if you recognize the gal on the left.)
XoRn: I do recall having a bunch of mods going when I played S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Skies but it’s been so long that I don’t even remember what they all did. I guess TECHNICALLY I modded a bunch of CS-GO in the form of making my own maps. I spent a couple hundred hours even developing a competitive map before a hard drive died when I was updating it.