Modding in games is nothing new. Some games have opened themselves up to third-party efforts to modify their game by adding new content or changing certain values as part of an overall strategy. It has worked well for companies like Blizzard where an entire genre of games (Defense of the Ancients) was developed as a relatively simple modification to a standard multiplayer match.
In a recent thread, IL-2 Producer Jason Williams replied to a question about modding IL-2 with this:
We don’t currently have official support for a Mods On mode. That may change in the future, but not sure yet.
He also followed that up with further elaboration on what could be allowed in a Mods On mode and what would not be.
We can never allow mods to FMs because our mods are not .ini files or in any other easily editable format. You would need access to our source code and that’s not happening. Sorry but this is one area we cannot allow modding.
If we allow modding it will be for other parts of the sim as with ROF, but maybe a bit further if possible.
Mods in a general sense can be a good thing, hence my plan to bring back a Mods On mode. But all out modding and access to all files can be self defeating in the long run.
For those that enjoy the modding scene, having a Mods On mode similar to the one in Rise of Flight would be a huge boon to the scene. I can speculate that it even opens the door to the potential of high quality third party additions making their way into the official game – War Thunder has done this under a revenue sharing model and that has seemed successful.
In the previous iteration of IL-2, modding happened only after the source code was cracked and released widely. This did allow for some impressive third-party content to be generated and popular modding packages such as HSFX and SAS came along.
The packages splintered the multiplayer community with some sticking with the stock updates, some working with HSFX and others on SAS. There were benefits too as new players and creators were drawn in wishing to improve the overall experience.
Others worked to decrease the overall experience by using subtle and not so subtle hacks. I saw someone who tweaked the value of his bullets so that every hit from a light machine gun was the equivalent of a battleship shell. We also saw the more nefarious cheats such as near misses counting as kills and subtle increases in aircraft performance that were tough to catch unless you watched very closely.
A Mods On mode with some locked down features as Jason suggested would prevent a lot of the potential for cheating while similtaneously opening the series up to some potentially very positive community contributions.
At the moment, this proposed model is not a slam dunk. Nothing official has been confirmed, however, it sounds like Jason’s goal is to bring this mode to the game and I supect only good things can come from it.