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Do modders prefer sword&sorcery over sci-fi?


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34 replies to this topic

#21
BeamerMiasma

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I have been curious about this ever since the modding scene exploded after Oblivion.

 

In movies and games sci-fi tends to be more popular in general.  Yes, there are mega sword&sorcery hits but as a genre sci-fi brings in much, much more money than sword&sorcery.

 

The exceptions being MMO and modding.  But even MMO has changed as the derivative more popular MOBA mostly use sci-fi settings.

 

Modding remains the one area that sword&sorcery appears to be decidedly more popular.

 

I think your view of the market may be coloured by your own tastes. Franchises like LotR, The Hobbit, Harry Potter completely overshadow any sci-fi release, even The Matrix didn't come anywhere near those numbers. And then I'm not even counting the Pirates. Of course Star Wars might throw people off but really, don't call that sci-fi, it's pure fantasy/magic/swordplay which just happens to be set on an interstellar stage.

 

As a modder though, it's more about the tools and freedom. I'm a huge sci-fi fan when it comes to books/movies myself and have little affinity with fantasy, but there just doesn't seem to be a sci-fi game that allows modding on the scale and freedom of skyrim. Also, when it comes to gameplay, I think game makers have a tendency to push gun combat into the FPS realm, because that's where traditionally most shooters come from. Big FPS titles are typically PvP, where modding is generally known under the term 'cheating' and considered a bannable offense smile.png


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#22
panthercom

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 Urghhh! No like sci-fi!! Makes head hurt!! Give axe!! Kill men!! Rape women!! Eat meat!!  :P

 

 I got burned out on fantasy books a long time ago. It began with a morbid aversion to anything

in trilogy format.

 

 I play Skyrim for the pretty girls and the beautiful scenery.


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#23
zzz72w3r

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I have been curious about this ever since the modding scene exploded after Oblivion.

 

In movies and games sci-fi tends to be more popular in general.  Yes, there are mega sword&sorcery hits but as a genre sci-fi brings in much, much more money than sword&sorcery.

 

The exceptions being MMO and modding.  But even MMO has changed as the derivative more popular MOBA mostly use sci-fi settings.

 

Modding remains the one area that sword&sorcery appears to be decidedly more popular.

 

I think your view of the market may be coloured by your own tastes. Franchises like LotR, The Hobbit, Harry Potter completely overshadow any sci-fi release, even The Matrix didn't come anywhere near those numbers. And then I'm not even counting the Pirates. Of course Star Wars might throw people off but really, don't call that sci-fi, it's pure fantasy/magic/swordplay which just happens to be set on an interstellar stage.

 

As a modder though, it's more about the tools and freedom. I'm a huge sci-fi fan when it comes to books/movies myself and have little affinity with fantasy, but there just doesn't seem to be a sci-fi game that allows modding on the scale and freedom of skyrim. Also, when it comes to gameplay, I think game makers have a tendency to push gun combat into the FPS realm, because that's where traditionally most shooters come from. Big FPS titles are typically PvP, where modding is generally known under the term 'cheating' and considered a bannable offense smile.png

 

 

Of course if we count magical tales all the way back to prehistory then there is no comparison as sci-fi only started in the 19th century :)  Mythology is, has been and likely will be by far the most popular.  After all the father of modern fantasy LoTR is Tolkien's attempt to create a native British mythology.  If we look deeper Star Wars is more magical than sci-fi as there is very little science there even with Lucas fuck with the Force in the prequels.  Yet most people would consider Star Wars as sci-fi.  So it's about the world instead of whether magic is used.  Indiana Jones is adventure films with both magic and sci-fi elements because its world is still our own.  Harry Potter and super hero contents are harder to define and perhaps their label defying quality is why they are so popular.  

 

However, I have to draw a line somewhere so I am referring to "sci-fi" and "sword-and-sorcery" in place of fantasy.  Also we are talking about gaming so the timeline shouldn't start until the 1980s.  In the 80s and 90s sword and sorcery films were considered box office poison and not until LoTR in 2001 did Hollywood start to make those contents again (and faded fast as every similar film outside Tolkien has disappointed).  I have not tallied the box office since 2001 but I am pretty sure that from 1980 to date sci-fi outsold sword and sorcery by a huge margin.  In video games the difference is perhaps not as big but sci-fi should be comfortably ahead once all media consumption is aggregated.   

 

Having said all that, after read all the replies I think the best explanation is that the modding community can only do what is given and the fact is that there has not been any epic sweep sci-fi game that is moddable.  The sample size of moddable games is heavily skewed by Beth's preference of ES over FO so any generalization is suspect at best.
 


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#24
TrinitalMod

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I am completely setting agnostic. T

The only caveat is that Fantasy / Swords and Sorcery settings lend themselves to much more creative / sexual / interesting costumes / fetishes.

Hard to compete with a setting where Magic can be used to explain away anything.

 

There are only so many ways you can design "Space Suit" sexy ware.. and only so many tentacle aliens before the setting gets a little stale.


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#25
BeamerMiasma

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I am completely setting agnostic. T

The only caveat is that Fantasy / Swords and Sorcery settings lend themselves to much more creative / sexual / interesting costumes / fetishes.

Hard to compete with a setting where Magic can be used to explain away anything.

 

There are only so many ways you can design "Space Suit" sexy ware.. and only so many tentacle aliens before the setting gets a little stale.

 

Well, remember Clarke's 3rd law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It really shouldn't be that hard to accomplish the same advantages you name for fantasy in a sci-fi setting. I remember one good example of this in gaming which was anarchy-online, which had nano-technology to replace magic and managed to keep melee combat viable regardless of the massive amount of guns (and eventually even Mechas) that it had. Of course, being a MMORPG, it was not moddable, and unfortunately it never became big enough for any sequels or spin-offs. Funcom decided to put their resources towards Conan, yet another barbarian swordplay game, go figure.

 

In the end it's like zzz72w3r concluded though, as a modder you work with the games and the tools you get, and both games and tools are lacking in the sci-fi genre compared to the sword&hammer swinging. Economically speaking there's probably also a cause and effect chain running in circles. The TES series, The Witcher, Dragon Age, they all became such big (modder) hits, now we're in a situation where if you're a game company looking at the sales and player statistics it's probably hard to justify to your share holders that you're going the sci-fi way instead of the fantasy way (the recent No Man's Sky failure probably didn't help at all there). What we need is a (unexpected) sci-fi hit at the level of the TES games to swing the market around.

 

Who knows, perhaps the upcoming VR tech will change things, it seems to me that true 3D space combat will be a lot more spectacular than VR swordplay combat. That is, if they can work out the parallax issues and keep people from having to barf every 10 minutes of course :D


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#26
Bromum

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If I were to guess it's probably because swords & sorcery is a lot more fantasy than science fiction. It's really an "anything goes" scenario, compared to Sci-fi which usually feels confined to the scientific rules and meta naturally involved with it.

 

From my perspective, a lot of Sci-Fi is just as fantastical, if not more so, due to authors who use the excuse of "futuristic technology!" to justify seemingly outrageous elements

 

Because medieval fantasy is supposed to resemble our world, writers of that genre tend to put more effort into explaining the existence of otherworldly elements such as magic in order to make it more relateable.


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#27
gregathit

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I think it is purely a case of what that individual modder likes.  Some like guns, some like swords.............hell, some like freaking both at the same time.   ;)


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#28
Bazinga

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Nuff said.  :P


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#29
odessa452

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I agree, but that also might just be be because of how enormous the Skyrim modding community has been & will continue to be (with the addition of SE) because from what I hear it is incredibly easy to mod due to the lack of restrictions, unlike games such as Fallout 4 & Mass Effect 3.

So it definitley depends on how much freedom a modder has to mod a game & how popular said games actually are.
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#30
KesaraRiku

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I suspect part of the problem lies with the game itself. in FNV, you had all the quest mods and new places- Because you only need to have voiced NPCs, in FO4, you have to deal with they had a voiced PC so, it becomes that much more fun digging through all of nate and nora voice files to find appropriate responses which reduces the options.  Then there is the difficulty in adding new lands- almost all the new land mods involve editing the ini files, somthing many new modders are hesitant to do at best.

 

A FO game would get popular if they had made it as open to mod as skyrim.

 

Doesn't matter much in the end- I am happier with FNV, anyway than FO4.


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#31
arpaschad

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Shit...just put laser guns and robots and what not in a fantasy setting...problem solved...or hopefully someone would 3dfy the Shadowrun games which combines both aspects...it all falls down on the modders preference and mostly by what the people would like to see more... I think SCI-FI is an easy world devoid of any real dangers that tap into the primordial fears of mankind unlike the fantasy genre does...if there's an unknown entity that eats worlds in a sci-fi work, with the power of science and a well placed blaster shot or nuke inside the alien mothership it will all be sorted out in a jiffy...in a high fantasy setting though, the fear of seeing a demon from an ancient tomb materialize before the adventurer is palpable as well as it is fantastic...I can still have chills when reading  Robert E. Howards' The Black Colossus starring Conan as the protagonist...

 

 

plus fantasy settings is sexually rampant and diverse, what with slavery, secret rituals and other taboo being prevalent in a fantasy world, with magic in the mix...the sex in sci-fi worlds are kinda...clean and unsexy IMHO...methodical like a sex android...(LoL coming from someone who strongly advocates sex robots IRL)

 

Or I am just biased towards hot elven women...


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#32
Nuuhkia

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UT2004 had a great modding community, and it's pretty sci-fi.


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#33
deadboyss

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first off I wanna say, great topic... I've always been a fan of games movies and books that are mostly Sci-fi or Fantasy with hints of magic or Tech, or even Magical tech thrown in, I guess that's kind of why I love the game Morrowind so much because It has the Ruins of the Dwemer that look out of place in the magical setting. and I've always been a fan of the Stars books movies, and games where Sci-fi and Fantasy are woven together in a fantastic setting...

 

 


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#34
DocClox

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I am completely setting agnostic. T
The only caveat is that Fantasy / Swords and Sorcery settings lend themselves to much more creative / sexual / interesting costumes / fetishes.
Hard to compete with a setting where Magic can be used to explain away anything.


Oh, I don't know. Psionics, nanotech, pheromones, gene therapy, brainwashing, clones ... there's not a hell of a lot that you can do with magic that you can't jsutify in an S/F setting. And some of the more overtly technological things are quite hard to include in fantasy setting without breaking immersion.

 


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#35
DocClox

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Shit...just put laser guns and robots and what not in a fantasy setting...problem solved...


That gets a bit cheap though. There's only so many Ancient Dwemer DVD players and Ancient Dwemer Attack Helicopters and so forth that you can do before the joke gets stale and you're left with a setting that's lost much of its distinctiveness.

I mean you can blend the two genres in the right setting, but there are some itches that S/F scratches better for me than fantasy does.
 

if there's an unknown entity that eats worlds in a sci-fi work, with the power of science and a well placed blaster shot or nuke inside the alien mothership it will all be sorted out in a jiffy...in a high fantasy setting though, the fear of seeing a demon from an ancient tomb materialize before the adventurer is palpable as well as it is fantastic...I can still have chills when reading  Robert E. Howards' The Black Colossus starring Conan as the protagonist...


Nah. There's a wizard just out of camera shot who's going to slag that thing with Call Lightning. Bad writing is bad writing regardless of genre. Which isn't to say that REH is bad, but you're holding up genre classic against a charicature of badly written SF. It's not really a fair comparison.
 

Or I am just biased towards hot elven women...


It's possible ... :)
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