It seems that even in the desktop Tuesdays and developer updates, the core dev team uses and plays around with many popular mods. Some of these mods introduce things that have wide community interest and genuinely complete the game in some aspects.
Is there both a desire, and a mechanism by which some of these mods may eventually be included in the production version of the game? Is intellectual property a significant obstacle?
From what we’ve heard from the developers in other times this question has come up, I’d say it’s unlikely that any mods will be added to the game while it’s still pre-release. There is potentially the issue of IP (although several modders have voiced their opinions that they’d be happy to let the devs use any of their work if it benefits the game, unfortunately we can’t assume that everyone is able to give that permission even if they want to; so there’s a lot of “due diligence” involved even if all parties are keen for the mod to be incorporated), but another major factor is that the devs are already grappling with the task of making the game cohesive and every mod brings with it its creator’s own ideas on what Stonehearth should be – and while that makes the game richer, it can also risk confusion or contradiction within the game (e.g. one mod might lean heavily towards a military approach to gameplay, where another leans entirely in the other direction to encourage peaceful gameplay, and fitting both of them into the game might get very difficult… but even if only one of them were to be incorporated, it would be difficult to balance it against the existing game balance.)
I don’t think the devs are steadfastly against incorporating mods, and they’re certainly not against working with modders (in fact, a couple of the devs started out as modders and joined the team to work on the game officially!); it’s just that at the moment it’s difficult to do any sort of incorporation “safely” so that the modders, the devs and the game itself are all protected against any future issues.
If I had to guess (and please be aware that I’m only guessing as an outsider here), I’d say that after Stonehearth hits full release it might become easier to incorporate really popular mods because a) there won’t be so many loose ends to worry about (e.g. “how does this effect the game design?” or “will this new system play nicely with the other systems we want to add later?” because the mods will have been working for players for a while and will have plenty of testing already done; and b) because the team will have more time to tackle the tricky edge-cases and to work with modders to ensure everything works out smoothly.
I reckon @sdee would be able to add any information I haven’t thought of; again I’m only remembering this from other conversations and extrapolating my own experiences and ideas. I’m hopeful that we will one day see amazing mods incorporated as part of the official game so that all players can enjoy the modders’ work, but in the meantime it’s awesome to see these mods being highlighted in DTs and streams
I had a couple mods that added information into the unit frame. The Alpha 23 update included those features, which is really cool.