Older games with active modding communities
November 30, 2014 12:32 PM   Subscribe

What are some ten-year-old or older computer games that have active communities producing user-created content in 2014?

I'm interested in computer games with a bit of longevity in this question, so I am asking about games at least as old as Half-Life 2 (released in November 2004), namely ten years. I'm after those with currently active communities producing new content, which can include new maps, gameplay modifications (mods) or other kinds of playable extensions to the content that originally shipped with the game.

I'm not asking after open-ended game creation tools or communities dedicated to creating particular types of games with general-purpose programming languages. Applicable answers should ideally be able to clearly name a particular game or game series, and definitely show that an active community exists with recently released and reviewed content. Please include at least one link to a relevant web site in your answer. The games themselves can be open or closed source, free or commercial.

The Half-Life game series fits my criteria. I can show this by linking to a site called Planet Phillip that, in their own words, "lists and reviews single player maps and mods for the Half-Life series of games." Browsing the recent postings, you can easily see that several new releases came out in 2014 and they are rated and commented thoroughly. So, consider Half-Life and Half-Life 2 as noted already.

I specify the ten-year age limit and ask for demonstration of current activity to limit the potential answers to a reasonable number. I am planning to write something about computer games and their history, and modding and user-created content is something I would like to cover with a few good examples. If you can think of something that doesn't quite fit the above criteria, but is otherwise highly relevant to the modding community aspect, you can mention it. However, please do not suggest anything related to game development in general.
posted by primal to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Morrowind, thanks in large part do its deliberately mod-friendly design, fits this description to a T. Also see Falcon 4.0, which has been in continuous official, unofficial, and semi-official development since 1998.
posted by fifthrider at 12:43 PM on November 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Expanding on the previous:

The current state of the art in Falcon 4.0 mods: Benchmark Sims 4.32.
The Morrowind section at Nexus Mods.
posted by fifthrider at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grand Prix Manager 2 was released in 1996, and is still being modded to reflect the current f1 season. Links to the mod communities are in the Wikipedia article.
posted by Harpocrates at 1:08 PM on November 30, 2014

Depending on how you look at it, the Digital Combat Simulator franchise/engine could also count -- there are bits of official and unofficial content in the current simulator engine dating back at least as far as "Lock On: Modern Air Combat" (Nov, 2003) and maybe even earlier.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X misses your cutoff by 2 years, but I think fits the spirit considering that things built for earlier versions have been upgraded to work in the current iteration, and are now being updated again to work with Lockheed Martin's Prepar3d, which is a "simulation only"-licensed version of the codebase.

Garry's Mod probably counts, considering it started life as a HL2 mod and became a commercial product in its own right.

Starcraft? My understanding is that it has not been totally supplanted by SC2.
posted by Alterscape at 1:13 PM on November 30, 2014

People are still making fan missions for Thief and Thief II (1998/2000).
posted by thesmallmachine at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2014

The Sims 2 games still have a very active user group creating custom content on ModTheSims. The first Sims 2 game came out in 2004.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2014

The Baldur's Gate (I and II) community is still active. Pocket Plane Group, a pretty good clearinghouse for mods just celebrated it's 10th anniversary back in March.
posted by Hactar at 1:42 PM on November 30, 2014

Closer to 20 years old but Doom still has an active modding / multiplayer community to this day.
posted by Diskeater at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are people still working on Duke Nukem 3D, including modern hi-res rewrites of the engine itself.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:02 PM on November 30, 2014

The Marathon Trilogy games were released in '94, '95, and '96 and still have an active modding and content creation community via the open source port Aleph One.
posted by JumpW at 2:51 PM on November 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Freespace 2 not only has mods but improvements to the source code and graphics for modern machines. It came out in 1999.
posted by antiwiggle at 3:21 PM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

P.S. Extra campaigns here.
posted by antiwiggle at 3:28 PM on November 30, 2014

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines might be a good example.

Unofficial patches have been created by the game's fans to develop Bloodlines. After experiencing problems with the first versions of an unofficial patch created by Dan Upright, analytical chemist Werner Spahl continued patching the game from version 1.2 with permission and instructions. The game community tested Spahl's patches, providing reports on bugs and spelling errors. The game's complexity meant that repairing one aspect often broke another, but as work on the patches progressed Spahl began restoring removed and incomplete content in the game files, adding quests, items, weapons, and characters, with fan help to provide voice acting, models, and reinstating whole levels. The changes altered the original game so much that Spahl was criticized by some of the game's fans This resulted in two patch versions: a basic version, fixing the game's technical issues, and a "plus" version with the additional content. As of April 2014, the game has had almost 10 years of post-release support with the release of version 9 of the patch.

Patch 9.2 was released a few months ago, so it's still being updated beyond what the Wiki articles says. There are also a lot of mods for skins and clans still available online and there's still a small amount of modding going on (though not as much as a few years ago).
posted by i feel possessed at 3:55 PM on November 30, 2014

Transportation Tycoon via OpenTTD project.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:58 PM on November 30, 2014

It appears the Civilization IV mod community is still active, although it misses your 10 year cut off by a year, as the game was released in October 2005.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 5:42 PM on November 30, 2014

Seems Sensible World Of Soccer still has a community making mods for current teams worldwide.
posted by Admira at 6:12 PM on November 30, 2014

Sven Co-op all the way
posted by lalunamel at 6:50 PM on November 30, 2014

Battle for Wesnoth was originally released in 2005 and is still actively developed
posted by lisp witch at 11:26 PM on November 30, 2014

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:32 AM on December 1, 2014

I'm ecstatic to discover that Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is still actively played and developed. It was an ahead-of-its-time multiplayer mod for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. It looks like a small community at this point but it's great to see people still working at it.
posted by Dmenet at 3:09 PM on December 1, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for the answers! They're pretty much all very good, so I can't pick a few to mark as best. I marked the question as resolved instead, since there's more than enough links and leads for my needs already. (Not to prevent anyone adding some later, if you happen to visit this ask.)
posted by primal at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2014

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