Mod / editor support for UE4 games? sounds too unfriendly

I was having a chat with someone at work about UE4, and he pointed out something related to mod/editor support. turns out he was right, as there’s this on the UE4 FAQ:

this means that if we make a game and want to add mod/editor support, we have two options:

  1. Tell the public they need to pay $19 for the editor. then either make your code open-source, or code everything as UE4 editor plugins and releasing only the plugins.
  2. Create a custom editor completely outside of UE4 (or do an in-game level editor, -style)

both options are quite unfriendly.
option 1 is a turn off. people expect game editors to be free, paying $19 for editing a game that could very well cost $20 itself is a highly potential deal-breaker. indies wanting to make community-driven games will have a very tough time
option 2 isn’t any better. we’re getting a new engine that was conceived with iteration time in mind, only to use all the precious time gained into creating new tools for the public.

in any case, it’s the developer who loses.

Wait… how does having UE4 help the player in any with with modding your game? Unless it’s open source and he recompiles the entire thing?

like I said, it’s either releasing the source of the game and expect the modders to recompile it, or coding everything as a plugin for UE4 and releasing the plugin alone :confused:

I don’t exactly get the issue, we as developers have to pay our fees to use the editor, why wouldn’t epic be expected to have your moders which just another name for developers pay for it as well? How would you decide who pays and who doesn’t lol? Its not a tool built for Game X and only Game X tools. Its a gaming development suite and buffet from a to z. After they mod your game they might want to make there own or mod multiple games etc.

Also I sort of like the concept of paying a little for our tools and having some sort of rights or say in it. Expectations of updates and things being fixed rather then here it is no real support and or future planning and oh btw when you do finish a game with it you gonna to give us X% off the top instead of just a little here and there from everyone.

It also weeds out the I am just tinkering in which epic would never get a penny to the I am serious about developing something or at least serious enough.

Meh if you don’t like the setup there are options your know, don’t have to go with unreal do you…

I believe you could even stick with UE3 as a developer and any modder can then tinker if you like.

that’s it right there. I wouldn’t want my modders to have a full gaming development suite, I’d only want to ship an editor for my game.
I believe you’re thinking as a developer, not as a modder.
do you think the Skyrim modding community would be as big if every modder had to pay $19 to use the editor? I doubt it’d have even a quarter the amount of mods.
and think not only mods but also levels, Warcraft3 and Starcraft2 are great examples of how custom maps can enhance the lifetime of a game. put a $19 barrier on it, and you might as well not bother supporting custom maps at all. There’s plenty other examples: NWN, HL2, and yes, the Unreal series.

putting a barrier on level creation and moddability hurts the game, which is bad for both the developer and the players.

I’m with you here, but this has nothing to do with the matter at hand

no need to get a defensive attitude. I love Unreal. I’ve used UDK for almost 4 years, I have written tutorials for it, and thanks to it I got a job in the games industry. I also helped beta testing UE4, since 8 months ago. but I’m still entitled to have concerns and opinions, am I not? you said it yourself, you like to have some sort of rights or say in it

Deal is, they don’t allow you to distribute the editor itself. If you can’t distribute it, then there’s no other way for people to get the editor without paying for subscription. You weren’t allowed to distribute the UDK editor either, so it’s not like anything changed, it’s just that to get UE4 at all you have to pay money.

There is no way getting around at least a one off payment $19 for someone to develop content for your game with out you developing your own tools. While you may loose out because there is a lack of community made content for your game (shouldn’t really be building your business model around that anyway in most cases), I think most moders really want to make there own game anyway (if not they would be better off choosing a AAA game to mod for generally) and this way Epic also benefits as they are more likely to continue their UE4 subscription.
If you really want an editor for free base your game off the lastest udk and your customers can download the exact same tools you used with out you having to do any work yourself.
Bottom line if you need community content for your game to work, then developing your own tools would seem to be an important use of your “precious time”.

actually with UDK it was different. yes your modders/mappers had to download UDK separately. yes it wasn’t as nice as opening an editor that gets installed when you install your game. but it was still free.

there’s also the studio/publisher point of view.
at work there’s always chatter about how it’d be cool if we could use UE4 for the project (ok, some like Unity better :D). we’re also developing tools for map making. this is from a real studio making games, not an indie team.
now guess how many players would make new maps if they had to pay $19 to even get started. now guess whose publisher will most likely not want to use UE4 for a future project.

I understand they don’t want free redistribution of their otherwise paid tool, it makes perfect sense.
however I don’t want to ship UE4 with my game, I only want to give out my game’s editor.
my thoughts go more along the lines of a free, dumbed-down version of UE4 to ship as a game editor. Object placement, creation of sub-classes only to edit their default properties, importing assets, creating materials (maybe even only material instances), creating particles, and controlling gameplay/scripted actions like triggers (ie. what Kismet did). maybe Matinee as well.
It’d require wrapping up a lot of the editor code (something along the lines of #if_shippingeditor), but Epic would still have control over what gets included in it and what not.
I think such an intermediate version would be beneficial for everyone, as opposed to this all-or-nothing approach

In general it’s not a bad deal since they don’t just get limited modding tools, they get a full sdk for 19$. The only problem that i see for now is providing the correct version, what i mean is let’s say you’ve created your game on 4.3.0 and the current available version on epics side is 4.5.0 which had massive changes compared to 4.3.0 how could you make sure that nothing will break. So you have to either release the editor on your end (which we’re not allowed to do) or Epic needs to build in a catalog which let’s ou choose the engine version.

jmr: look at Skyrim. most people wanted to create their own adventures, models, weapons, items, and general character behavior and game mechanics. the amount of mods that were made to be a different game can be counted with the fingers of one hand.
also what do you mean with ‘better off choosing a AAA game to mod for’ ? isn’t UE4 being used for AAA games?

going for the latest UDK to start a new project is still a good idea now, but I doubt it will be so in 5 years.

Chris: most mappers do not need a full SDK, that’s part of the point. in fact they would probably be overwhelmed by it. it’s kinda like having to buy a car when all you need is a bicycle to go to the grocery store 3 blocks away.
again take the Warcraft3 and SC2 editors. you don’t need to be a developer to create maps for those games.

…But what are the alternatives, really?

If they allow you to ship with the UE4 editor, you’re shipping them everything we’ve paid for for free. Who would buy unreal then? Nobody, they’d buy a game and get into it that way. This would also come back on you, because as a developer your customers would hold you responsible for everything you ship with the game. What if you ship the game while the engine has a severe bug that gets hotfixed a few weeks later?

The other option is an in-built editor of you’re own, and you’re right, shipping with UE4 could get pretty overwhelming for the average modder. But this way you’re in complete control.

the only viable alternative I see is the one I mentioned above.
A dumbed-down version of UE4 provided by Epic to developers ensures Epic themselves control how much the “UE4-game editor” contains from the full UE4, saves developers the time of having to code a custom editor, and removes all barriers for mappers and modders.

in fact doing it this way might even be beneficial for Epic. how many people started using the UT3 editor, only to move to UDK when it was made available? if modders realize that UE4 is a much more powerful version of their beloved ‘Game X Editor’, they might consider moving on to make their own games with UE4

Or, you can just license UE4.

Games made with Unity Pro has a similar situation.

An alternative is to allow your community the ability to ‘sell’ their mods made for your game. My wish is to see ‘modding’ as we know it go down in a fire. Instead, every indie gets paid for their hard work.

  • However, I do agree with you if devs could at least release the binaries to mod their engine that would help out folks in your situation.

Problem is with current editor you can make your own game out of other game, so Epic can’t just let editor out with current engine distribution model. There 2 solutions for this problem:

-Epic makes limited version of editor or let you construct one
-If engine unfriendly does not need to mean that your game needs to be unfriendly. You can make modding tool in the game, by making editor in game, implementing scripting language or at least external files which let you edit the game.

Even so… you don’t need to even care about it as modding community will always find a way to mod your game :stuck_out_tongue:

Snake: somehow I doubt a custom license will fix this. If that were true, as soon as one big studio “licenses” UE4 and releases a free UE4 editor for their game, everything goes down

sandboxgod: exactly. our studio made M&MX Legacy and released the modding kit 5 months ago, but it requires Unity Pro. guess how many mods there are for MMX? sadly, zero. and it’s not like the previous M&M games lacked modding at all.
and while I don’t agree with your views about free vs. paid modding, that mostly affects map/mod “consumers”, but the issue still stands for map/mod makers.

: your option 1 is what I’m suggesting.
your option 2 is too time-consuming. and just seems wrong to be using an awesome ready-made tool to make games, only to later need to develop own tools only for map makers and modders.

This is a major deal breaker for me.

I am going to contact Epic today.
Those who feel the same do so!

I got started with Unreal Ed with UT2004.
So Epic dropping the ball on this is a very big deal for me.

People need to interact with the media that they are given. See Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Skyrim, the GTA series, Half life 2, Team Fortress 2, the ARMA series, the list goes on.

On top of that games that have mod support typically have longer life time sales. Because mods extend the life of the game.
DLC costs money to make but a well made mod is free and can bring you in revenue over time.

Just my 2 Cents.

So it’s going to be time consuming to build a mod kit yourselves but you expect Epic to deliver that to you, Your deal with epic is simple, You don’t like what they give you contact them but don’t be heart broken when they decline doing your biding. Obviously making a side app for UE4 so that it supports modding will take time.

I can make a guess here alright and don’t hate for this post, I am guessing that the same thing like in CryEngine will happen where Licensed studios started sharing technologies to each other without Crytek in the middle which was an awesome thing. So it’s all about making it.

You got the source code worst case get a load of coders that are interested to help and make that mod editor yourselves is my suggestion, Again don’t hate the post it’s just my 2cents here.

So good luck with that petition of yours.

The fact that I cannot redistribute the editor for non-commercial use with a shipped game is a big one for me.
I do not want Epic to build me a “Mod tool Suite” we have that it is UE4.

But yeah.

You could say that about any feature that UE4 does not have and you need to write your own, like Inventory system (which btw, been part of the engine in the past since beginning). If you want make your game mod friendly, if this is so impotent for you, why you need to wait for Epic to do things for you?

I notice that there some strange problems in this community, that strange mentality of building game starting from above instead from ground, thinking that somebody need to do things for you. Mentality of locking themselves in the virtual cage of others (which is opened btw), then wondering why there are sitting there and why they can’t do things in it. With this kind of mentality, modding would not be even created… bah games would not be created. So i don’t know how you can be good game developer with such mentality. If you lack abilities then find somebody with them… or continue waiting for Epic to do something if anything. iOS is known to have the thoroughest software restrictions, even thru developers complaining, it does not stop them to find even craziest work arounds to withstand those restrictions… here most of things you got open and not much of restriction, yet it some developers seem to be paralyzed.

And again if users whats to mod your game so badly then they always find a way to do so… even without paying 19$ for editor, there many examples of games which developer didn’t think about modding abilities, yet community can rip that game in pieces, even components that does not suppose to be editable. First mods been done on games which didn’t have mod support at all as developers didn’t had that idea at all, mods been created by gamers.