The Importance of Modding: How Indie Games Thrive on Their Modding Communities

The Importance of Modding: How Indie Games Thrive on Their Modding Communities


What keeps popular indie games going well past their launch date? It might just be the modding community behind them.

When it comes to indie titles, everyone has their favourite game in their Steam list. That one gem they’ve invested hundreds of hours into over the course of months or years. But once you’ve mastered the gameplay and completed all you can, how can you make your experience feel fresh again? Mods are the answer.

These are just a few examples where modding has given an indie game a new lease on life, or even resulted in an entirely different experience for players beyond what developers could hope to provide.


With a well-documented and highly loyal community, Rimworld has one of the most robust and well-known modding collectives in the indie game sphere. With Tynan, the colony sim’s developer, approving the creation of whatever mods the community can come up with, it’s possible to carve out an entirely new style of gameplay from the base that Rimworld offers.

From adding alien races to introducing brand-new combat features, creating eldritch cults to simply providing additional quality of life options, Rimworld thrives on its vast modding community, and it’s not unheard of for streamers and solo players alike to include hundreds of mods for a playthrough in order to gain a fresh perspective on the game.


Darkest Dungeon

A beloved and highly challenging title, Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike that goes beyond the basics, and as such has developed a large following and even bigger fanbase. While the developers of the title do a fantastic job creating new content, with each DLC being even better than the last, the support of their modding community has allowed fans to do more with the game.

The creation of new characters, additional locations and even new shopkeepers all keep players on their toes, with many modders lovingly creating their new warriors in the dark and elaborate style of the series to blend in seamlessly. Of course, there are the more lighthearted mods too – because who wouldn’t want their hound master to fight with a corgi or chihuahua by their side?

darkest dungeon

Cities: Skylines

Starting life as a small-scale title in direct defiance of the increasingly unenjoyable city building genre, Cities: Skylines has transformed the way dedicated simulation fans play their games. Regularly churning out new, expansive DLCs and improving gameplay with updates and tweaks, mods aren’t strictly needed for Cities, but that hasn’t stopped the community creating some excellent mods over the years.

From completely reworked traffic systems to redesigned buildings in the style of British housing, brand-new landscapes to play from and even tweaks to vehicles and transportation, Cities: Skyline’s supported modding community has kept its fans playing the title for thousands upon thousands of hours by injecting new life into the title.


Why Mods Are Important

Indie titles are a relatively new and peculiar breed of the gaming genre. Rather than treating their audience as passive consumers – something AAA titles are known for – many developers are turning to that audience to inject new life into existing titles and providing full modding support for their games; to turn their well-crafted content into something their communities can both enjoy and develop with their own unique skill sets.

Not only has this investment in their fanbase resulted in some truly stellar gameplay tweaks, but it’s also prolonged their titles far beyond what might be their natural sell-by date – and over time, changing the landscape of indie titles are we know it.

Do you use modded content in your indie games? Let us know in the comments below.

About author

Harriet Swartout-Phipson

Creative Digital Copywriter by day, Indie game fan by night. Give me a rogue-like, simulator or RPG to play and I'm happy.

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