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Modding tools for  Battlefield 3 ? It's a scary business, says DICE

Modding tools for Battlefield 3? It's a scary business, says DICE

August 17, 2012 | By Mike Rose

August 17, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Programming, Design, GDC Europe

Bohemia Interactive's ARMA 2 has received a significant boost in sales over the course of the last few months, all thanks to a certain popular zombie survival mod which is now even getting its own standalone version.

The success story behind this mod has led gamers to question why other big-name developers refuse to allow modding of their online multiplayer titles. One of these in particular is DICE and its Battlefield franchise.

Battlefield 2 had official modding tools in place, and the modding community helped to keep the popularity of the game churning for many years after its initial release. However, recent sequel Battlefield 3 came with no official modding tools, causing an uproar from the modding community.

At GDC Europe this week, Karl Magnus Troedsson, general manager at DICE, explained why this is the case -- essentially, DICE is scared of the implications of giving players access to parts of the game's code.

He reasoned that, while the company is very much aware of how important modding can be for building up a game's longevity, "we're afraid of all the things that can come with releasing the code."

Giving players access to certain parts of the code would potentially leave it open to hacking exploits, he said, and this is something that DICE is not comfortable with at all.

Adding to this, he noted that Battlefield 3 is not just a PC release, but also available on console, and that if DICE was to accommodate modding tools, it would want to provide these to console players too, which is rather more tricky.

"If we do mod support, we want to do it really, really well," he reasoned. "We are not ready to do this yet."

Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe and Gamescom. For more coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)

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