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State of Civ VI Modding

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Creation & Customization' started by Civilowealth, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Civilowealth

    Civilowealth Chieftain

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    Does anyone else get the feeling that modding for Civ VI is coming to a grinding halt? It seems every new patch limits modding in someway unintentionally or otherwise; with YnAMP no longer being stable with Enormous map sizes after the recent GS Patch and Rule with Faith no longer having a function it needs to be able to work.

    Prominent modders like @Gedemon and @JFD deciding to take breaks and focus on other things. It really does feel like modding for Civ VI is up in the air at the moment.

    On the 2nd of April @dshirk seemed to acknowledge the limitations with modding currently in a reply to Gedemon who voiced their concerns.
    Which does give you some hope. Personally as someone who wants deeper roleplay-like systems and features in Civ VI I know the only way I'm likely to get systems like this is with the modding community - but I'm fearful that the modding community is getting disheartend by the lack of communication and general certainty that Civ VI will become any more moddable than it currently is.

    Firaxis must be aware that modding has been a conerstone of Civilization games, and one of the major reasons Civ IV and Civ V still have significant staying power is because of the overhaul mods that allowed players to tailor their games to their playing styles.

    As someone who adores Civilization, and sees so much potationial for Civ VI to be considered the next Civ IV, I'm genuinely concerned that Firaxis is wearing their modding communitys faith thin.
     
    cairnsy44 likes this.
  2. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    My perspective is more positive.

    To be fair to Firaxis, there have been engaging the modding community much more since the Gathering Storm. We have had @dshirk, @Brian Whitman posting here quite a bit in the last few weeks and Brian Busatti releasing the Firaxis made mod (Environment Skin: Sid Meier's Civilization V). Hopefully will see more mods and examples that can be copied from Firaxis. Some here might remember the golden days of Civ VI:Beyond the Sword which shipped with 12 mods some made by Firaxis and some by the community. Given that Firaxis have adopted the first mod, Map Tacks, into the base game, the potential is there for further adoptions or collaborations. So the "the lack of communication" seems to be changing for the better.

    The recent Modbuddy and particular Asset Editor update - together with the release of Rise & Fall and Gathering Storm graphical assets are all excellent news for modders. If fact the stability of the Asset Previewer was one of my biggest bugbears with Civ VI modding, the new Asset Previewer is a big improvement. There were no fully functional, documented art tools for Civ 5 whatsoever - what we got was buggy, broken and unsupported. By comparison, the tools we have for Civ 6 are fantastic - sure there is a steepish learning curve but the tools themselves are great and really powerful once you've got to grips with them.

    The missing piece of the jigsaw is the DLL source code which would really open the potential of modding. I would take Dennis Shirk's statement "I can continue to state that our intention is to land in a place similar to Civ V" as the clearest indication of an intention to release the DLL source eventually. However, if there is another expansion in the works it could be that the DLL source code release is still a year away yet - Spring 2020 perhaps. This is very late in the development cycle of Civ VI but it's understandable if Firaxis are still adding new mechanics, refactoring etc. I'm sure that Firaxis appreciate that mods play a significant part in the reason for Civ IV and V's continued popularity and they clearly have the intention to support Civ VI modding for some time as well.

    Given that a mod like Fall from Heaven II took three years of development you're probably not likely to see a total conversion on that kind of scale until 2022-2023 if at all. I actually think the limitation will be on 3D artists more than programmers for a project like that to ever happen again. Civ IV had an older much simpler and easy to mod graphics system. A lot of people seem to bounce off Civ VI's art system. Even where people have 3D art skills - the .artdefs and the Asset Cooking set up take a bit of learning.

    Having said that, assuming the DLL source drops at some point, Civ VI will be much more mod-able than Civ V in my view (although Civ IV will probably remain the most mod-able Civ of all time). Then the only potential blocker to total conversion mods won't be what is possible but what the modding community has the skills, time and determination to pull off.

    Expansions and patches have always broken mods in the last few iterations of Civ so nothing new there. Modders decide to take a break or step away for a whole range of reasons - often just getting too busy in other areas of life to spend as much time on mod making or getting into other games or interests. We do seem to be in a activity dip where a lot of modders are taking some time out but some will come back and there are always new modders willing to learn how to mod the game.

    People are doing really interesting things with the tools already available for Civ VI and I'm sure that will continue. There's plenty of life left in Civ VI modding yet! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  3. raen

    raen Coat of Arms

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    That's good news with the Previewer, have to try it out, even being in the group that needs to get grips with it, I will try again.
     
  4. LeeS

    LeeS Imperator

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    The other main element that leads at least to an impression that Civ6 modding is "dead" or is or has "come to a grinding halt" is that unlike Civ5, Six has much more modding activity going on in Discords than on CFC or for that matter Reddit or any of the other website-based forums.

    During the last two years + before Civ6 was released the CFC Civ5 Creation and Customization sub-forum had what would realistically be called a golden age of modding. Art assets for units and improvement models had finally been cracked by the hard work of folks like @Deliverator, @Wolfdog, Bernie, and others. William Howard had released multiple always-improving versions of his VMC DLL (and could answer offhand pretty much any code-related question regarding Civ5: BNW). The Fall 2014 patch had made lua modding at a stroke many times more extensive and powerful than it had been before. The Civ5 modding forum was active: you could post a question and greater than nine times out of ten you'd have multiple accurate answers posted in response in a matter of minutes (unless of course you posted your question at oddball times of day).

    But all golden ages come to an end. Some people never moved from Civ5 to Civ6, for example. Many of those still modding Civ5 moved to Discords and aren't very active on CFC anymore for, well, reasons.

    If you look at the two modding fora on CFC (Civ5 and Civ6) the activity levels are about the same on the whole.

    But if you participate on the modding discords where the participants are all modders, the activity for Civ6 is greater on the whole. Granted, most of this activity is modders asking why something is not working and others trying to figure out why, but this true for the Civ5 discords as well. The differences are that people like @Chrisy15 can instantly look at Civ5 code and see how to fix it, whereas most of us are still needing to test run and experiment on Civ6 code to figure out why something is broken -- and for Civ6 the real reason is that the fundamental systems provided by Firaxis for Civ6 are more complex to learn and master while at the same time being far more powerful on whole.

    I firmly believe there will be a second* Golden Age of Modding and it will be for Civ6. But whether it occurs after a soonTM patch or another DLC of some kind we will just have to wait and continue to believe. But whether the activity on the CFC Civ6 Modding Forum ever reaches the level it enjoyed during the Civ5 Golden Age I very much doubt.

    * well, OK, I get the whole Civ4 is bestest thing, but I never modded Civ4, so there :p
     
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  5. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I'm still unsure why civ5 has so few total convertion mods compared to civ4 (targeted audience less inclined to modding, game's foundations less stable to build upon, 3D models harder to create....), but I'm certain that the late release of the DLL source hadn't helped. And remember that civ5 was more open to gameplay changes before the source code release than civ6 is.

    And now that it's even more delayed for civ6, yeah, I'm not optimistic for any total conversion.
     
  6. Chrisy15

    Chrisy15 Flower, Beautiful

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    Since I've been pinged I may as well drop my two cents about the problem the CFC/discord split is causing for VI. The questions posed by people on discord about their code always seem to be some simple, uninteresting modifier effect that I can only half-heartedly guess solutions for while grumbling about how hard it is to understand what the system is actually doing; there never seems to be any innovation to achieve new kinds of effects, leading to designs becoming samey. I can't even think of any recent Lua questions for VI, which I'm perhaps glad for given that I'm not confident in my own knowledge of it but is still symptomatic of people not having a drive to push to new ideas. In contrast, CFC has been the source of various saving graces: if it wasn't for Del linking some CFC thread I wouldn't have seen an above post by Ged and people I don't recognise suggesting a way around the Gameplay/UI split post-GS. The main reason why I don't really want anything to do with VI modding anymore is because my ability to do interesting things feels nonexistent when compared to what I can do in V (if I'm in the mood for it), which I put down to the fact that I don't follow the VI subforum here and so don't even have a conception of whether I'm actually behind the curve. I might've written somewhere at some point that in my limited perspective Gedemon is the only name I can name that has a hope of expanding VI's capabilities; because he's the only person I know of who can populate the Lua API, which is crucial to introducing variability into designs given how requirements can only fulfill one type of role; and who could command my respect to say how things should be done.

    Ofc being a babby idk how it was like before we knew how to do everything in V so maybe tVI is just following the same curve; if that's the case though I'm still not interested in being constantly proved wrong in my understanding while people continue to perceive me as being knowledgeable about the matter, and since that happens slightly less often in V I'm much happier to help and occasionally release there.

    Tl;dr Discord doesn't have a Gedemon. Except like maybe sorta Jifford but Jifford's still kinda different and has slightly more interest in V atm anyway so w/e.
     
  7. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    The migration of the Civ modding community to various Discord servers hasn't helped in some ways. It's now harder for would-be modders to see what more experienced modders are up to and learn from it I think. But Discord has some positives in terms of rapid collaboration and community too. At the moment even the Civ VI Modding Discords seem to be low activity and a lot of the prominent VI modders have stopped for the time being.

    Overall interest in Civ VI has declined quite sharply since Gathering Storm came out. If you look at Steam Charts here things look like they are heading back to a situation where fewer people are playing VI than V again like it was from March through October 2018. I'm slightly surprised that the Gathering Storm effect hasn't lasted longer - but then it did jam a whole lot of new stuff in without really polishing the game overall. I think people are tired of the game not really being a challenge and we're not likely to see a challenging AI unless the DLL source is released and the modding community develops one.

    I think the release of the DLL source is probably the most significant thing Firaxis can do to spark life in Civ VI modding and in Civ VI in general. Sure they can release an Expansion 3, but that's not going to do as much for winning long term players as a lively and active modding community would do. We'll see...
     
  8. raen

    raen Coat of Arms

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    I think many migrate to other games, many people that played civ older versions are not interested in the game anymore, that transports to modders (who are players too).

    I, for instance, don´t play with DLL, I don't like to change that much the core of the game, I like my mods the most compatible possible for all. So I think DLL will not help that much unless for a bunch of "hardcore" modders, which maybe revitalizes Discord, which needs challenges to "gamify".

    In another way, people have to put a lot more in configuring their mods, and little unsolved glitches put people away.

    Back to Discord, has problems of his own too, but for instance, tags can be used for notifications, with that ppl with certain skill/tag may be notified. If not navigating through Discord is not that easy.

    Just my two cents.
     
  9. Civilowealth

    Civilowealth Chieftain

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    Thank you for all of the insights, I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner but I thought just letting the relevent people voice their views on the subject was the best way to spark the conversation. It does seem as if no one is overwhelmingly defeatist in terms of the future of Civilization VI's modding community, but all the same a state of Limbo is what is most palpable from the replies here.

    I get a sense that most modders are waiting for something (I know obviously that is probably the DLL). I have heard that Civ VI is quite moddable as it is, which leads me to ask how possible mods such as Events & Decisions would be with the current tools @sukritact. I understand the largest components modders need access to with regards to the DLL is the AI, is that requirement the limiting factor in creating a lot of these modifications that add new or alternative game-play features?

    Thank you all so much for giving your views, it was really interesting. It does seem as if we're all waiting to see what happens, hopefully something occures within the next few months. And thank you all for all the content you make, without you lot so much of this community (here and around the rest of the internet) wouldn't exist.
     
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  10. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    Theoretically speaking, I think an Events and Decisions mod is definitely possible in Civ VI, especially since we can attach modifiers via lua now. It's likely possible they could be made multiplayer compatible this time round too. The Outback, Nubia, and Black Death scenarios are definite proof that some version of the events system is viable at the very least.

    Frankly the main reason I haven't decided to pursue it is that both myself, and other modders, found supporting Events and Decisions in Civ 5 a rather exhausting affair.
     
  11. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    Dennis Shirk mentioned this thread in the livestream yesterday so Firaxis are reading... :)

    Some other quotes I picked out from the YouTube transcript:

     
  12. JFD

    JFD Kathigitarkh

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    Well, fwiw, I did create a framework for an events system, it just lacks the content to fill it - and I'm not particularly interested right now in taking on that content-filling task :p
     
  13. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    Here's an interesting little metric I noticed: In the last 3 months since March 5th 2019, Nexus Buddy 2 the 3D graphics tool for Civ V (and Beyond Earth) has been downloaded 250 times, but CivNexus6 the equivalent tool for Civ VI has only been downloaded 143 times. Suggests there are more people interested in modding Civ V graphics than Civ VI graphics at the moment.
     
  14. youngsteve

    youngsteve Chieftain

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    As a Paradox fan the limited modding for this game is poor to not only previous versions of this franchise, but to other companies releases. I am used to playing big mods only a few months after release from Paradox releases. It is quite shameful three years after release the modding is so lacklustre.
     
  15. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    To be fair, Firaxis have put a lot of effort into the mod-ability of Civ VI. For example, compared to the effort they put into the mod-ability of graphics Civ VI is *much* better than Civ V.

    I think the mistake they have made is under-estimating the importance of getting the DLL source out early in the lifecycle of the game.
     
  16. youngsteve

    youngsteve Chieftain

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    I know the modability of graphics is very good but the thing modders want is to be able make overhaul mods like Vox Populi for Civ 5. If they did have the tools I am sure the game would be in better shape. I remember when the game was in its production phase, Ed Beach kept telling us all that this would be the most moddable Civ game of all on release. Either this was a lie or he was manipulating what he meant by modding.
     
  17. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    Firaxis have never used the (in)famous claim "most moddable Civ ever" phrase about Civilization VI as far as I know. It's almost become a meme or urban myth. I'm not even sure they actually ever said it about Civ V either although it is widely cited. They definitely said it about Civ IV though: "Our goal is to make this the most moddable version of Civ ever, so we created three levels of tools offering fun, accessible modding options for every type of player - from casual to hard-core." - Barry Caudill, Senior Producer, Firaxis Games, Sep 23, 2005. I think that the Civ IV team were so successful that they've set a standard in terms of "moddability" that is very hard to match, making a rod for their own backs. Now people expect every iteration of Civ to be "the most moddable Civ ever" because you'd (perhaps naturally) expect it to be more "moddable" than the previous iteration.

    What Firaxis did say about Civilization VI was that is had been "designed from the ground up with deep mod support in mind". I think you can see signs of this "deep mod support" in several aspects of Civ VI's design such as the Modifiers system and the 3D Attachments system, but there are also failures where things are unnecessarily hard-coded. Also, they might have had releasing the DLL "in mind" from the beginning but they may have been held back because 2K or release schedule reasons. By comparison, it's interesting to note that Firaxis were promising the DLL source for Civ IV within six months before Civ IV was even released.

    I think think "moddable" can mean different things to different people. It can mean (a) the amount of things in the game that can be modified via mods or it can mean (b) the ease with which mods can be created.

    Likewise "deep mod support" doesn't necessarily imply that modding easy/intuitive/accessible. There is a lot that is possible with Civ VI but the level of complexity involved with some of it might put off more casual modders who have expectations that modding should be more easy and accessible. Someone has pointed out, probably rightly, that the number of mods available is more related to "easiness" of modding than the possibilities.
     
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  18. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I second Deliverator here, I don't remember them using "most moddable" for civ6 at any time. But I'm not absolutely sure for civ5, and I'm still angry anyway about the infortunate use of "multi-player" and "modding" in the same sentence repeatedly during pre-release marketing interviews, only to realize long after that we should have understood "or" in that sentence, not "and"...

    Yet I stand my ground for civ6, I also see it designed from the start with modding in mind, and I still believe it has the potential to be the most moddable ever. I'm just afraid that it may finally reach that potential far too late in the development cycle.
     
  19. LeeS

    LeeS Imperator

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    Seconding @Gedemon 's "seconding" of @Deliverator 's final paragraph.

    CIV6 is in fact deeply moddable but for this particular entry in the civilization series the price modders pay for that deeper modability is a steeper learning curve to reach that deep level of mod-effects. I think very few modders of Civ6 are as yet conversant and at ease with all or even most of Civ6's various modding systems. Which is not to say that Civ6 is infinitely moddable because no game is such.

    The modifier and effect systems are far more powerful in and of themselves than anything that was available in Civ5 at the least (and I don't speak to Civ4 since I never modded it). But they only extend this power of moddability via direct database-code to those areas or sorts of effects that Firaxis has been able to add into the game's DLL. IE -- there are only EffectTypes for things that Firaxis has thought of and there are none for things Firaxis has not thought of. The inability of Firaxis, or any game-creator for that matter, to think of every possible effect a modder might want to implement is where release of the DLL source-code and/or an extensive increase in the lua API would "fill the hole" (as it did for Civ5) in allowing modders to create complex and at times downright strange "corner-case" gameplay effects.
     
  20. racha

    racha Chieftain

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    I don't think it helps that you need to be a software developer to do anything resembling basic modding (I don't count changing numbers in SQL as modding). Just look at all the stuff someone had to go through in the Asset Editor thread. Why on earth doesn't that thing let you put your model together like a lego set, complete with the ability to import new parts, and then you just mash a single button to do all the ~stuff~ related to it? That would enable people like me (number changers) to be able to do something resembling basic modding.

    The community here is super-helpful (I wouldn't still be here if LeeS, Whoward and others hadn't helped me in the Civ 5 days). Someone on this site made a modding assistant, which is a step in the right direction, but it's nowhere near enough to enable us simple folk to make the stuff that Firaxis-provided tools would. Do the people at Firaxis really have to struggle the way we do?

    Maybe Civ 7 will launch with modding tools for non-developers on day one. I can hope, right? :) (And dll source code will fly, I know).
     

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