Since some questions, both direct and indirect, have popped up about modding, I figured I'd go ahead and lay out the base plan for how modding will work with Delver's Drop. Before I go on, here are two very important things to consider!
1. Everything said here is tentative. The below outlines the current plan, but since we are early in development and even now still working out kinks in our workflow, any of this could be subject to change by the time the game is released.
2. Not all of the modding support may be available right at launch. It is possible that only basic modding is available at launch with more advanced features later or perhaps everything goes well and the mod capabilities are as desired straight out of the box. It is simply too early to tell.
With those disclaimers out of the way let us begin the speculative hi-jinks!
The core goals of the modding system for Delver's Drop are such:
1: Allow users to make modifications to the base game's content to create new, interesting, and challenging alterations.
2: Allow users to create their own wholly self contained extensions to the base game's content.
3: Allow users to create their own wholly self contained projects which do not use the base game's content at all.
To better understand what those 3 goals are, here are some examples of each.
1: A user jacks up the damage, hp, and whatever else stats for all the game's enemies so they are incredibly difficult.
2: A user creates an entire new zone that the player can encounter in the base game. E.g. Simon's Dimension X Zone.
3: A user creates an entirely different game that has very little to do with Delver's Drop other than working within the same framework. E.g. An HD remake of some retro action adventure/RPG game.
The difficulty, and even possibility, of creating those kinds of Mods are in descending order, conveniently. In other words, creating a type 2 Mod is much more difficult than a type 1 Mod, but much much easier than a type 3 Mod.
The system for using Mods will be pretty simple: any Mods you create will live in your user folder (not the game's folder) and you can simply zip them up, share them, and drop them into your user folder. From the game, you will be able to select any Mod living in that folder to play. In this way, it is very convenient for people to play mods and have no risk of messing up the actual game data used. Just as a note, all achievements/trophies/etc. will be disabled when playing a Mod.
What does a Mod consist of? Effectively, any or all of three things:
Meta-Data is information that describes overarching functionality of a Mod group. This kind of information would be used for determining things like whether a level (for Type 2 or Type 3 Mods) should be randomly composed or if it is static (all hand made.)
Data refers to all thousands of numbers behind the scenes that drive the game. Modifying data (which for Delver's Drop is all in XML and thus very easy to edit) would allow you to change everything from what properties an item has, to how fast an enemy is, to how many blue particles are emitted in an explosion. This is also where custom enemies, characters, items, etc. would be created. A sub-group of data would be scripts, which control behaviors and conditions of the environment and things within the environment. Virtually all Mods will be manipulating some form of data.
Assets refer to the graphics and sounds in the game. For some Mods, there may be no assets involved, while others (like creating a zone) may contain lots of custom assets. The process we set up for assets to be used in the game will be documented so that this process is relatively painless. Relatively
That is a super high level overview of what we are wanting to provide. Here are a few generic question and answers that I will try to predict!
Q: Can I modify character data or better yet, create our own character class?
A: Yes! Simply modifying the data is easy, creating a new class is easy from the data side but quite time intensive from the art side if you want custom visuals.
Q: Can I make new rooms, levels, and zones?
A: Yes! You'll be able to create static rooms or rooms that use the random system, and you can also create the data necessary to have an entire level of custom rooms, and then a zone of custom levels.
Q: Can I modify enemy behaviors or add new ones?
A: Yes! There will be some scripting building blocks that you can use to create new behaviors or modify existing ones.
Q: Can I remake A Link to the Past with HD visuals?
A: Maybe! This would be an incredible amount of work and at this point in time, I don't know if we will have enough scriptable things exposed to perfectly capture all of the things in LttP (or any other game), but I would wager that you could get fairly close.
Q: Can I make a sexy Delver's Drop side scroller?
A: Maybe! Again, it's hard to know right now if enough functionality will be exposed to so dramatically alter the game but it would be a very interesting experiment. And again, it would take a lot of time.
If you have any other questions, please let me know!