We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.
In previous Monday Tip-Off columns, I’ve discussed a few issues related to our modding community: problems with ego, why modders stop modding, and why people make mods for older basketball video games. In a couple of those features, I’ve touched upon the right reasons and the wrong reasons to get involved in the modding scene for basketball video games. While I don’t want to harp on the same topics over and over again, sometimes they do bear repeating, especially when certain issues arise time and time again.
We recently had another incident in the Forum which reminded me that although we are a talented modding community, unfortunately there are some individuals who do have a bad attitude. I suppose it’s inevitable and it’s always disappointing, but it’s perhaps even more disappointing when I see other people defend and enable that behaviour. While everyone is entitled to their own point of view, I’d suggest that you’re betting on the wrong horse if you’re on the side of the person who’s throwing a tantrum like a toddler.
I feel like we need a refresher here, so having said that, what are the right and wrong reasons to mod, the good and the bad attitudes to have towards the hobby?
At its heart, the hobby of modding NBA Live and NBA 2K is about making the games better, modifying certain aspects and adding content to enhance the experience, or indeed, create brand new experiences. Generally speaking, it’s something that you do for your own benefit – either from a gaming or artistic perspective – and share with other gamers because you’d like them to experience your work, too. Depending on how altruistic you feel, or how much you enjoy the modding process, you may continue to create works for games that you personally don’t play anymore, for other basketball gamers who still do.
Anyone who is creating mods for those reasons is going to be a productive, valued, and respected member of the modding community. The people who adopt that philosophy tend to be more approachable, helpful, and supportive of their fellow modders and basketball gamers. They’re less likely to be egotistical, and are welcoming of constructive feedback. They’ll use that feedback to hone their skills and make even better works, and in turn, give pointers to other people so that they may improve their work as well. They don’t withhold knowledge or releases, because at the end of the day, they want the modding community to thrive.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares that attitude. Over the years, there have been people who are more concerned about being a “big name” in the modding community. They’ll jealously guard knowledge and techniques, because they want to have a monopoly over a certain type of mod or modding method. They’ll hold releases to ransom, demanding that the community tiptoe around them, and show them the reverence they desire. In many cases, they’ll be very thin-skinned, rudely dismissing even the politest constructive criticism, and shut down projects with a pout.
If you’re modding so that you can stroke your ego, wield power over your fellow basketball gamers, or act like you’re bigger than the community, or you refuse to accept constructive criticism that is in no way rude, then you’ve picked the wrong hobby. If that’s your motivation and attitude, then my blunt advice would be to get over yourself, or get out. As much as we’d love to have you contribute great works to the community, if you’re going to be a brat, we’re not going to grovel and beg you to stay if you want to take your ball and go home. Contrary to what you may believe, we’ll be just fine without you, and your departure will not put an end to modding.
Judging by some of the responses in the wake of the most recent incident, I’m sure that might sound harsh, and not everyone will understand the position that I and a lot of other long-time members of the community have on the matter. To be clear, no one is saying that modders shouldn’t be confident in their abilities, or proud of their work. We also encourage constructive criticism over nasty comments, because the latter isn’t at all helpful. It’s important that we value the contributions of our modding community, and a little bit of encouragement and appreciation – as well as “please” and “thank you” – does go a long way. However, so does humility and graciousness.
The community should not have to meekly walk on eggshells, abstain from reasonable criticism, or effectively worship a modder and bow to their demands so that they’ll bestow a release upon us. It’s a lousy attitude for a modder to have, and it shouldn’t be tolerated or enabled. Our modding community should be open and forthcoming with its work and its knowledge, as it can only lead to better releases and greater productivity. Releases and techniques shouldn’t be held to ransom, and modders shouldn’t preview work they have no intention of releasing. They should be gracious in the face of constructive criticism, which they can obviously take or leave.
Touching very quickly on the issue of money, I should also point out once again that it’s against our rules to directly charge for mods. There’s a legal issue here – profiting off of likenesses, licenses, and intellectual property that we don’t own – as well as an established code of ethics within our modding community. It’s not the done thing, and given the potential legal ramifications, it’s not something we’re going to allow to be done. Tip jars and ad links are an exception, as long as releases aren’t being held back until donations are made. If you’re going to do that elsewhere, that’s your call, but we’re going to draw the line at you doing it (or promoting your mod) here.
As I’ve said so many times before, we have a good thing here at the NLSC. We have a community of knowledgeable and passionate basketball gamers, lines of communication to the developers at EA Sports and 2K Sports, and talented modders who can do amazing things with the games. Let’s not ruin the modding scene or our community in general with egotistical and bratty behaviour. Let’s not enable or encourage tantrums and diva-like demands. Let’s instead do what we do so well for all the right reasons, rather than selfish, attention-seeking motivations.