Is There Room for Mods in Virtual Reality?

Mods in VR

There are few communities surrounding video games that are as dedicated to innovation and creativity as the modders.

Whether they’re recreating the entirety of the Gameboy title Link’s Awakening in the game engine for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or simply hacking Skyrim to replace all the dragons with Macho Man Randy Savage, there’s no denying that gaming has more variety and flavor as a result of the modding community’s inventive adaptations of popular titles.

With virtual reality, there comes an exciting opportunity for these game mods to take on a life of their own in a way that’s never been seen before. But to what extent can VR support modding?

There are some challenges associated with giving players free reign to mod games as they see fit. At the same time, however, allowing players the freedom to reshape VR games to their liking could provide a boost of innovation and creativity that will further broaden the horizons of virtual reality.

The Potential for Innovation

In truth, there’s already a dedicated modding community surrounding virtual reality gaming.

Thus far, though, this group’s efforts have been less focused on adding new elements to VR exclusive titles, and more on providing VR support for a wealth of older games. This means that gamers now have the opportunity to experience popular titles like Skyrim, Left 4 Dead, and other games with an extra layer of immersion and excitement only possible with a VR headset.

What’s more, Nvidia’s VR Funhouse fully supports and encourages mods, letting players build unique levels and challenges for the game.

Mods in VR - VR Funhouse
VR Funhouse is designed to let player add their own fun to the mix. Image source: NVIDIA.

This is only the beginning—modding communities already exist that focus on making games accessible to players of all levels of ability, and when widespread modification of VR games becomes the norm, gamers will be able to band together to find new ways to solve issues of nausea, or even difficulties that arise for wheelchair users or players with other physical or emotional challenges.

For the wider public, though, the most exciting prospect when it comes to mods within VR titles is the opportunity to find plenty of new and exciting gameplay options for beloved games. There’s a lot of potential for reworking and remixing popular VR titles, and once virtual reality gains a big enough modding community, gamers will be seeing some very innovative content.

The Challenge of Unregulated Content

There is one issue at the heart of virtual reality modding that needs to be addressed before gamers can accept fan creations in large numbers.

As VR has developed, we’ve already seen a wide variety of games that leave players feeling nauseous, or that provide emotionally-harrowing experiences that overwhelm players. This challenge is faced by the gaming community as a whole, and for the most part, developers are doing their best to keep VR game experiences within the boundaries of good taste and proper functionality—but it certainly isn’t easy.

There’s nothing to stop modders, for example, from putting inappropriate content into their mods, leading players to unwittingly install mods that fill their games with unwanted jumpscares and monsters, leading to a much more intense gaming experience than what the player was looking for.

Mods in VR - Five Nights at Freddy's
It’s only a matter of time before Freddy ends up somewhere he’s not meant to be in a VR mod. Image source: GameRant.

Likewise, unfinished work may be published by accident (or due to poor judgment), making for a less-than-pleasant outcome—an incorrect camera angle or a glitchy sprite can be all it takes to make a virtual reality game feel unsettling and uncomfortable.

For this reason, it’s important for the future of mods that players have legitimate, safe spaces where they can discuss projects and find fun new mods to try. These will develop organically over time, but they’re an essential requirement to the success of mods on VR.

Building on a Solid Foundation

Perhaps the most important element in helping VR games to develop a large and healthy community, is the introduction of more games of a high quality that players can fall in love with.

VR is still relatively new, and it’s going to be a while before enough gamers congregate around platforms for mods to truly gain popularity. One large step in this process is providing players with modding inspiration by delivering enjoyable VR experiences that show off the technology’s strong points.

For this, we need more games like Loading Human—titles with innovative use of motion controls and engaging, solid characters and stories that players can sink their teeth into.

Mods in VR - Loading Human
Loading Human’s immersive game experience is a perfect introduction to story-based VR gaming.

Reviewers for Loading Human note that the game provides more than just the proof-of-concept gameplay that many VR titles currently deliver. With the game’s rich story and smart puzzles built around its motion controls, the title delivers a meaningful experience that’s not just good by the standards of other VR games, but that stands up as a unique experience that will draw in gamers and leave them wanting more.

There’s every chance that, as VR gaming becomes more popular and modding takes off for these platforms, Loading Human will get a special treatment from gamers who want to get even more out of this beautiful title.

Modding Makes Everything Better

As it stands, the modding community around virtual reality games is relatively small, and is focused primarily on giving VR headset owners a chance to play older games on their devices.

That said, it’s exciting to see where the modding community will take VR, and what new possibilities will open up as large groups of players explore the creative options provided by new virtual reality titles.

To experience one of the most immersive, engaging experiences on VR, order Chapter One of Loading Human for PSVR, Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive today.

 

Lead Image Source: US Gamer.

 

David Bridgham

Producer, Gamer, Musician, Sports Car Enthusiast, Slow Jogger.

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