How to Mod PC Games
By Shea Laverty
Updated September 22, 2017
Unlike most of their console counterparts, many PC games enable players to create content to modify and expand the game. These modifications, often called mods, can change any number of aspects of the game like sound effects, in-game models and skins and other elements. They may also add entire new stories, worlds or locations to explore. First-time modders may have a tough road ahead; not all games are easily or intuitively modded.
Researching Your Game
The first thing you need to do is research the game you're planning to mod. There's no one system that mods everything; all games are modified differently. Some newer games come with official modification tools, or offer them for download so the community can begin producing content more easily. Some games, with or without a kit, will require competency in a specific programming language to properly code the modifications. Make sure your first mod project isn't something you can't handle, and learn everything you'll need to know to see it through properly.
Planning Your Mod
Don't blunder into your first mod half-shod. Get a plan together before you get started: determine what you're changing or adding and what you'll need to make it. Even small mods require a solid plan to be executed well, and getting your resources together before you start messing with game code or mod kits can make the entire process run smoother. Be thorough in your planning, though; consider everything you might need for the mod, from skins, models and sound effects to specific scripts, code segments or engine tweaks that might be necessary.
Using Mod Tools
Modification kits and other utilities are commonplace among the mod community, both officially and unofficially. These tools are designed to simplify modding for novices or make it more efficient for veterans, enabling the community to put out new content more quickly. Official mod kits like the "G.E.C.K" of "Fallout 3" or the construction set from "Skyrim" are made by the game's developer and released with the intent of fostering community creativity. Unofficial mod kits are created by the community to help make modding easier and faster, especially for games that aren't natively mod-friendly. Not all games can use or have kits, however, which may mean that changing the game's coding directly is the only way to mod them.
Start small for your first modding project. Get your feet wet with a simple task like re-skinning an existing character or changing out some of the game's sound effects, then build your way up to larger modifications like adding new characters, items or other assets. Games like "Minecraft," which have a focus on player-created assets and modifications, are a good place to get started learning the basics of game modding.