Posted July 25th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester

Long ago, I got my start in game design modding games like Unreal Tournament. So I’ve been setting up Eclipse Colony to be moddable for others as well.

For the most part, this just means keeping game data in text files instead of locked up in code. For example, here’s a short section of XML describing a couple of the character histories that people can have in the game.


You can see the titles, written history (which adjusts for character name and sex in-game), skill bonuses and demerits, work disables, and so on here. I’m going to use a similar method to describe animals, buildings, and many other things in the game.

Adding data to the game is as easy as writing an XML file and putting it in the appropriate folder. On startup, the game just reads out all the data from these folders into the databases it uses during play. So, if you write your persona history as a character background, you’ll be in the game’s library, and you might spawn in as a pirate or slave or visitor.

You can also put in images. So, you could make a special animal with a weird diet and a custom graphic, just by putting the appropriate files in the right folders.

It should be pretty simple to come up with a basic interface for switching between or layering on different mods. That way, people can create their own file structures in parallel with the game, distribute them, and then players could enable and disable different combinations of mods.

All this is pretty far in the future, of course, but I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll feel good to be the one enabling others to try their hand at game design, after having started out on the other side of the equation so long ago.

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