Great to have you Scott! As you may have sussed out the plans for modding in Cantata are definitely a first priority! In scope right now for modding are the following:
- Custom Units/Buildings (Sprite + Data + Abilities from a set list)
- Custom Terrains (Static + Animated + Properties)
- MAYBE Custom COs ( Image + Abilities from a list)
- Custom scenarios/maps using custom terrains + units, and ability to define map triggers from pick list
Not currently in scope are custom scripts, but I’ve designed the system in such a way that if a lot of people are interested in adding something specific it would be pretty easy to implement. Also right now custom audio is out of scope, mainly because I haven’t looked much into audio modding with FMOD (our audio middleware).
The core idea is that all of this should be shareable and require no code on the side of the modder to implement, so I’m hoping it really unlocks some doors to aspiring designers or people really passionate about building a total conversion set (Full Lord of the Rings set, the inevitable WWII mod, etc.).
The scenario editor will be in game, but to “build” a unit asset I’m considering building a simple web tool where you can pack your texture with data and ideally preview the unit in motion on the web, and then export out an asset that can be used in Cantata.
I definitely want to write more on the specifics of a lot of this in the future as well, but thanks for the initial question!
Nice, we’ve found with Meeple Station (Rimworld ike in Space) that the community is already building similar things, new units, a star trek fan mod and even a non-pixel art HD pack. It’s really cool to see so early after the game has released.
How do you intend to host the mods? Is that something we can potentially help with?
Initially I was definitely thinking of using Steam Workshop, as I’ve already got Steam integration in the game, but would definitely love to allow people to use mods on non-steam platforms. Would love to hear more about mod hosting on Mod.io!
mod.io offers the same core functionality as Workshop (1 click mod installs in-game), plus mod hosting, moderation and all of those other pieces. Where we differ is our approach to modding and the fact that our technology is built around a REST API. For example:
- Our platform is not locked to a store or console, it can go anywhere your game is released
- Our platform does not require a launcher to run, it operates invisibly in the background
- Our API allows you to embed mod.io in many places (such as your homepage, in-game and your game launcher). Your community could even consume the mod.io API to build modding fan sites and communities if they wanted
- Designing a good mod browsing UI is hard, so the plugins we are building for popular engines have UI built in to save you a lot of effort (see our Unity Mod Plugin for an example of this). We are also building a generic web app that can be embedded anywhere you have access to a web browser such as chromium
- We believe in enabling game developers to do what they want. We don’t apply rules globally, so if you need a feature we will do our best effort to add it to the API
- Our platform can be white labelled if you want a private environment (mostly for big publishers however)
There is a lot more, but those are the key beliefs we are trying to follow. Of course we also run ModDB.com and IndieDB.com and will promote our partner games through our network, to help kick-start your modding community.