"PC mod scene... already in trouble"

In the wake of the recent revelation from Epic's Mark Rein that the developer is planning to bring Unreal Tournament modifications to Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360 and our feature looking at the impact of this, Red Orchestra developer Tripwire dropped us a line offering to comment on mods heading to console.

Tripwire is a developer that knows a thing or two about game modifications. It created Red Orchestra originally as a mod - or total conversion - based on Epic's Unreal Engine 2.5, and its project went on to win Epic's Make Something Unreal competition. Subsequently, RO became a commercial product, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45.

Currently, it appears Epic only plans to bring existing or established UT mods to Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360. But that could be the catalyst for development of a full-on mod scene in the console world, emulating an element of PC videogaming that has previously only existed with that platform.

John Gibson, president of Tripwire, airs his views...

From a technical point of view, what would you envisage being the biggest challenges of porting a PC mod over to console?

Gibson: Probably the biggest challenge in taking a mod from PC to console will be the control scheme and how that affects design and gameplay, especially for first-person shooters. This is actually an issue that affects not just modders but the games industry as a whole right now. With a mouse you have very precise almost instant directional aiming. Gameplay and level designs are created with this type of aiming in mind.

With a console controller you don't have that fast precision aiming, so gameplay and level designs that work well with a mouse might not work well for a console. Modders are going to have to try and strike a balance between which platform they design for. Even professional game development studios have trouble with this, which is why you see games that do really well on consoles not do well on the PC and vice versa.