Modding games is one of those things that many people can do but few can do really well which often leads to a state where mod authors start creating really awesome mods but do not have the resources or time to complete their work. ARK: Survival Evolved’s creators, Studio Wildcard, understand full-well the complications behind getting things working, and working as desired and, in a bid to assist their ever-growing mod community, have announced a new initiative that will introduce a system that will pay mod authors to complete their work.
According to the announcement, which came via PCGamer.com, each month Studio Wildcard will select 15 modders to be a part of their sponsored mod program which will pay each a stipend of $4000 (R52045.20) for authors to work on their mod. The mods will be evaluated each month and Studio Wildcard will then decide if the modder will be included on the next month’s selection or if the mod will be dropped from the program and replaced by another mod. However, should the program go well, there is also potential for more mods to be added to the program.
Co-creative director Jeremy Stieglitz explained the motivation behind the program saying: “The hope is that with this kind of stipend, these authors, who really are hobbyists and have day jobs so they can’t really afford to spend as much time as they’d like on modding, that this will let them spend more time on modding, and ideally, hopefully, take some of these mods to completion.”
“If we have to expand the program because the 15 mods are all doing so well that we don’t want to cut any of them,” Stieglitz said, “then we’ll expand the program to more mods every month.”
“Really,” said Stieglitz of the sponsored mod program, “this speaks more generally to something that I think is kind of lacking in the industry which is a midway point between hobbyist modders, who are just really dabbling, and professional game developers.”
The first set of mods that will be added to the program were selected by Primitive Plus mod author (and Studio Wildcard employee) Cedric Burkes who will also be in charge of determining whether a mod should stay on the program or be removed though Stieglitz did assure the community that this could change to a more community-centric program in the future saying: “Once we get this kind of process going, we’re almost certainly going to work out a community-driven aspect to is it as well, where the community maybe even ultimately can vote, along with some discretion, maybe, on Cedric’s part on who goes into that voting pool.”
The initial 15 mods up for selection include:
- NPC Bush People by Swords
- Scorched Earth Decor, RP Decor, eco In Wonderland, and ecoTrees by eco
- Ragnarok by Excited Kangaroo
- Structures Plus, Platforms Anywhere, Platforms Plus by orionsun
- Steampunk Mod by iSpeZz
- Roraima by Jeff
- Castles, Keeps, and Forts Architecture by enc | ExileAcid
- Survival Plus by Tao
- Ark Moon Survival by DavidBC
- Shigo Islands by ExilogUploader
- Madagascar Evolved by Hey my team rules!
- Thieves Island and Skies of Nazca by Tkat5200
- MRRadTools.Inc by MRRadioactiv
- Ark Postal Service and Offline Raid Protection by jslay
- Advanced Admin Command Menu by Woeful Macabre
In order to prevent the system being abused, mod authors selected by Studio Wildcard will be required to upload their source assets to the Ark devs, this to ensure that, should the mod author no longer wish to be a part of the program or if they stop working on the mod, the ARK dev team will still be able to update the mod and ensure it still works on future iterations of ARK: Survival Evolved.
“We don’t expect anything of them after that, if they are no longer in the program, or if they quit, they have no obligation to us, it really is no strings attached. We’re not looking to run their lives or anything like that,” said Stieglitz. “But we do have an insurance policy.”
More details, as well as an official announcement by Studio Wildcard, are expected to be revealed this week at GDC 2017 so be sure to stay tuned for more news on the world of ARK: Survival Evolved.
What are your thoughts on ARK’s new sponsored mod program and what mods would you like to see added to next month’s program?