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How do most games handle mods with patches/updates?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by bbbt, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. bbbt

    bbbt Deity

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    As Civ 6 is really the only game I've used with mods much, I'm curious how other developers of heavily modded games handle patches. The recent civ update especially broke a lot of mods and caused a lot of complaints of bugginess beyond just the actual patch bugs, which seems like a bad way to do it.

    Is that approach pretty standard - i.e. just release the patch and if it breaks mods that's not the devs issue to deal with?

    Do other games disable mods initially on patching? Or have some sort of version-compatibility in the mods (i.e. the mod has to specify what version of the game it's compatible with) to waylay the issues?

    Is standard practice to give 'mod developer previews' of patches to let them update in advance or anything like that?
     
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Imperator

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    No idea about the rest of the industry, but Firaxis just releases their patches when they feel the patch is ready and mod-makers and mod-users just handle any breakage to modding as they encounter them.

    Firaxis can't really set-up a mod-maker's pre-access system since on the Workshop alone there are already 700-odd civ6 mods created by who knows how many different mod-makers, and the quality of these mods vary greatly as does the commitment of the mod-makers to the process and community of mods and mod-making. Some people make one mod and publish it and then shortly thereafter are never heard from again. Others, such as Sukritact or JFD or Leugi make high-quality mods and exhibit a high level of commitment to the mod-making process. But how is Firaxis to judge the difference? And who in Firaxis will be tasked with maintaining such a system and deciding who gets earlier access to patches and who not?* And for the person so assigned, how much of their work-day will it eat? Will there be recriminations and bad press for Firaxis all over the internet because mod-maker A was given access but mod-maker B was seen as "unworthy"?

    And all of this is probably just in addition to the management at 2k (publisher of the game and Firaxis' direct parent company) would probably have 15 different types of heartburn and apoplexy at the very idea

    Spoiler * :
    just assuming they can give acces to the X top mod-makers does not remove any of these issues because who makes these judgements and will everyone who is not seen as "a top modder" agree the system is not unfair and rigged in some inexplicable manner?
     
  3. Swissy

    Swissy Warlord

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    In general, game companies don't do anything relating to mods. Its up to the mod creator to patch their mods to work with the update. At best, game companies release very comprehensive patch notes a few days before the patch launch, Paradox is well known for giving out well written and early patch notes. Firaxis hasn't been known for very comprehensive patch notes, tending to label a bunch of what they think are insignificant fixes under the heading "and a number of minor fixes and tweaking". As a result, mod makers have to dive into the code to find changes that will affect their mods. Even after they think they have it working they find some undocumented bug fix not directly related to their mod, that crashes their mod or causes unplayable glitches.
     
  4. Klinn

    Klinn Warlord

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    For all the games with mods I've played over the years, the basic assumption is that patches *will* break mods, so it's up to modders to test and patch their work, and it's up to the player to deactivate any mods initially until modders have a chance to do their magic.

    As mentioned above, some companies are better at releasing info that will help modders verify needed changes. Best I've seen is not just a detailed list of the changes but also a list of the game files that were changed (XML's, DLL's, Lua, whatever) so that modders could zero in on potential trouble spots.

    Edit: In addition, since patches are often released in conjunction with a new DLC, it's great when the patch is actually released a couple of days earlier so modders can get things ready before the DLC is released. Naturally, this system worked better before we had auto-updates from Steam, so you could stay unpatched until the DLC became available.
     
  5. c4c6

    c4c6 Prince

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    Ideal would be the ability to download in addition _manually_ the changed game files of the different patch-versions to allow easy comparison of the source files as well as reversion to older pre-patch states of the game.

    (Now is the moment to close the eyes and speak out: "I have a dream ...")

    ... and the cooling fan murmurs 'a steam is a steam is a steam'
     
  6. slowcar

    slowcar King

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    It was irregular that the game did not start at all with certain mods installed, some pretty lousy compartmentalization on the developers part.

    And for a game that should be easily moddable it seems quite difficult to get CQUI back on track, still not usable. (Kudos to the developer for investing all the work!)
     
  7. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Super Moderator

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    It's nice to have the possibility to mod the main UI for total conversions, I hope they're not going to remove it just because one mod broke it with the patch.

    IMO the biggest issue with the latest patch is that the game automatically re-activate all mods without the user being informed.

    A lot of reports were made by player who thought that they hadn't any mod installed/activated when it was in fact the opposite, and the existence of 2 folders for mods, one being hidden in the steam installation path doesn't help.
     
  8. iamdanno

    iamdanno Warlord

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    What is this?
     
  9. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Super Moderator

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    Mods installed from the workshop are under this path:
    ..\Steam\steamapps\workshop\content\289070\

    Mods that you install manually are under this path:
    ..\Documents\my games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI\Mods\
     
  10. Arianrhod

    Arianrhod Warlord

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    Some games retain access to older versions as a "beta" branch for temporary mod support while mod authors iron out fixes for the new version. How thorough they are with this, and how long these versions last, depends on the game. Other games may run beta branches (closed or open) that may give mod authors a head start so that they can get updated versions online as soon as possible.

    This sort of thing isn't really the expectation, though, and it isn't too hard to imagine reasons why.
     
  11. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    This system is mildly infuriating when trying to make a mod compatible with other mods.
     
  12. LeeS

    LeeS Imperator

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    From what [redacted] who works at Firaxis said in a discord chat a while back, this is a Steam thing that appears to be getting implemented across all Steam games as new moddable games are added to the Steam system.

    I am not using [redacted]'s name because I am uncomfortable tossing his name around without his foreknowledge.

    -----------------------

    there are a lot of things Firaxis does that disappoint or infuriate us, but this silly divergency-system for where mods are located is not of their making.
     
  13. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    What on earth is steam thinking?

    On a related note, what happens if I am subscribed to one of my own mods on steam, and have a local version as well. If I enable both does it run the code from the mod twice? Does it prioritise one copy over the other? As the two mods have the same name and same descriptions it's very hard to see from the mod selection screen which is which.
     
  14. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Super Moderator

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    Not sure how it handles that exactly, but I had a lot of false bug reports for YnAMP when I uploaded the mod on steam, logs showing that it was loading the old version in the mods folder and not the new version in the steam folder. And you'll see only one version of mods with the same GUID in the game.
     
  15. LeeS

    LeeS Imperator

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    Yeah, the prob with the Steam "workshop/content" folder idea is that games like civ6 don't need an extra place to shove the mods. Firaxis already has a perfectly fine and easily-accessible place to do so.

    But I am guessing rather than fix the real issue (which was shoving civ5 workshop mods and probably other game mods into a temp folder before moving them over to where they ought to have been downloaded in the first place) they went for this other idea.

    But at least this kills off the silly Steam download system where it would not finish modA before moving to modB in the download process but rather download X-size of modA, then download all other mods to the same KB amount downloaded, then going back to modA, rinse then repeat and then have the whole thing break because of a connection interrupt or a mod that was malformed. And also not recording the mods as successfully downloaded in the mods DB only when this was true but when the mod started an attempt to download.
     

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