Over the weekend Runic Games released documentation, art assets, useful advice, and finally the fully functional Torchlight editor, TorchED. These tools are extremely powerful, they’re what the team used to create the game itself, and as you might expect, the modding community has leapt in with both feet.
Fans are already turning out dozens and dozens of mods of all types. Most so far are fairly simple changes to game functions or art work, but everyone has to learn to crawl before walking (or flying) and the fans are already working on much larger projects. It seems clear that we’ll see full conversions and perhaps entirely new games created with these tools, eventually.
For now there are mods that radically change (improve) the appearance of the pets, add new weapons, change the appearance of the characters (the topless vindicator mod is very popular), and that tweak the gameplay, generally in a “cheating at solitaire” sort of way. You can make the item enhancements always work positively, make every monster drop uniques, make lots more bosses spawn, etc.
Sadly, nothing like this will happen with Diablo 3, despite the fact that its community will be vastly larger than Torchlight’s, and the fact that countless fans would love to do some Diablo 3 modding. Blizzard uses a lot of complicated, proprietary tools that they do not want to give out to the fans, and they aren’t especially interested in supporting the modding community. Diablo 2 became vastly more modable with v1.10, which was programmed almost entirely by Peter Hu at Blizzard North. Peter now works, naturally, at Runic Games. Besides, as the D3 Team says whenever they’re asked, modding just isn’t compatible with the complicated tilesets and random dungeons found in a game like Diablo 3. Or Torchlight. Oh wait…
Click through for some more TL mod pictures and comments by the D3 team about modding.
Blizzcon 2009 Q&A:
About mods in Diablo 3, they’ve been really crucial to long-term playability. What are you planning to do about them?
Jay Wilson: We considered the idea of doing mods, but decided a map editor was too ambitious. The randomness does not lend itself to create user mod tools. We value mods, but “for us it was really a choice of randomness or in-user mods.”
Blizzcon 2009 Joystiq Interview:
Diablo has never officially supported modding although they haven’t really banned it. Is there any thought towards modding going into this or even map editing? Have you guys thought about including a map editor?
Leonard Boyarsky: We talked about it early on and we considered it but the way we put together our maps and the fact that it’s random … it’s very artistic-centric. And, on top of that, the fact that it’s so random it’s like, would people just change the random number generator? You know what I mean? [laughs] We don’t hand-build our dungeons anyways, but the way we build our maps kind of makes that prohibitive. But we’re always looking at what the end users might want so we did look at including a map editor and we just said that it’s never been a big part of Diablo. So we didn’t feel it was necessary.
Kevin Martens: We’re certainly not opposed to modding it.
Leonard Boyarsky: Yeah, we’re not going to put in things that, “Oh my God, you can never mod this!” If somebody comes along and makes this great editor and makes this great mod…
Kevin Martens: At this point, we’re knee-deep in just making the game. That’s sort of at the periphery of our discussions at this point.