Hello everyone! Recently, we at /r/kotor hosted a general survey about the games and posting habits on the subreddit. Most of these results aren't very interesting for Deadlystream and modding in general, but we also asked some specific questions about modding and modding habits which we restricted to only users on the subreddit which had previously installed a mod for either KOTOR or KOTOR 2. I think these results are both very interesting and quite relevant to Deadlystream, and so I thought to bring it to everyone's attention.
The survey thread, which includes links to all the various sections of collated survey responses, can be found here. But, for those who just want to see what's relevant, we're most interested in the two modding sections--here and here.
Now, there are some really interesting results in these two categories, including how frequently users on the subreddit mod each of the individual games, how many users have used the mod builds and the ways in which they choose to do so, and some feedback and usage statistics on K1R, TSLRCM, and M4-78; for anyone here with any fingers in those pies, it's worth taking a look at the results. There are two charts I really want to bring to everyone's attention, however, and I'll repost the first of these here:
As you can see, these are the usage values for typical modding sites, with the one on the left representing usage for all users, and the one on the right excluding those who have only ever installed TSLRCM before (which we suspected granted the Steam Workshop disproportionate weight, and was largely borne out). These charts show clearly that Deadlystream sits in third place for all major modding sites, even the Steam Workshop, and even after excluding TSLRCM-only users. This means that the Workshop, which only hosts content for KOTOR 2 (and a very small selection at that), and which is only available to users who own the games via Steam, is beating out Deadlystream for usage on the subreddit. This is despite official subreddit resources like the mod builds utilizing Deadlystream; this is despite official and regular subreddit warnings about the Workshop's reliability; and this is despite our policy to link to mods on Deadlystream and recommend Deadlystream's usage whenever a user comes to us with a modding question.
Now, if it was just a battle between the Workshop and Deadlystream that would be more understandable, as convenience can always win out against common-sense, and other responses to the survey showed that KOTOR 2 is by far the more modded game out of the two. But we have here the Nexus as well, which is also beating out DS on usage. It's very clear from these results that, despite the subreddit's partnership with Deadlystream and all our best efforts to encourage its use, DS is losing the race on convenience (the Workshop) and popular usage/word-of-mouth (Nexus). And this is on a site which is partnered with DS and where we do our best to support it; the prognosis for use outside reddit is likely more grim still.
I bring this to everyone's attention not to be a doomsayer, but instead to illuminate the issue and open up a dialogue about how we can fix it. As everyone here knows, Deadlystream is now where the most (and the most-updated) mods are hosted; users who utilize the Workshop and Nexus not only deprive themselves of many mods, but also deprive themselves of stability due to the Workshop's poor architecture and the outdated nature of many of the mods on the Nexus. This, then, is not merely a perception problem affecting the userbase here--wherein users quite likely believe the KOTOR mod community anemic or even dead based off of perceptions surrounding the infrequent uploading and support of mods to the Workshop and Nexus--but also a usage problem, in that the end-user is being deprived of a stable game with maximum available content.
I've already looped @Tyvokka into this discussion and we had a chat earlier today about wiki integration and how the subreddit (which is tied to reddit's very limited wiki functions at present) might migrate our entire wiki here in the future, which might well serve to encourage more cross-site traffic and familiarity. We also again discussed cross-site administration, events and support, and hopefully on the administrative level we can do some cooperative work to combat this trend. As has been mentioned before, at the very least when wiki support is added here and the mod builds are next updated I'll post them here, and begin dual-site support between reddit and DS.
I don't want to understate the work that can be done on the level of the individual user here either, however. For example, let's take a look at the second chart, I spoke of earlier, an entirely more hopeful one:
As you can see, about 50% of polled users would be potentially interested in making a KOTOR mod! The subreddit currently has a little over 37,000 subscribers, of which I'd estimate about 15,000 are still for accounts which are active on the site. I know this is a bit of guesswork, but let's just say that 75% of the "Maybe" category will eventually decide they don't want to make a mod or modding tools, and 85% of the remainder doesn't have the skills to do so and will never learn them. If you add them all up, that's still 450 users who would want to make a mod and would have the skills to do so. And I fully admit these are hypothetical approximations of skill, availability and dedication, but it's not a number to scoff at. Regardless of outcome, it's clear that there is potential here; a userbase which contains individuals who are at least willing to try their hand at modding for KOTOR, but have not as yet.
I see the subreddit as a pool of potential resources for users on deadlystream, potentially containing not just users willing to do the gruntwork of testing mods, but also artists, users with modeling experience, and maybe even programmers with sufficient skill to make tools still desperately-needed by the modding community. Not everyone will agree with the need (or desirability) to look to the subreddit and its userbase for work which, in some modders' minds, is perhaps not even necessary; that's okay. I understand that considerations for mod development differ, both based on the mod and the user. But I point out this base of interest because, for those who do see potential in it, I want you to know it's there, and as subreddit staff, we're entirely on board with any efforts to harness it. We firmly believe that greater cooperation and collaboration between Deadlystream and the subreddit--which is certainly the largest KOTOR fan community on the internet now--will help drive the word-of-mouth which will help present Deadlystream as the principal KOTOR modding site, and in so doing reverse any false presumptions in the KOTOR fanbase at large that KOTOR modding is dead. Beyond that, with the recent announcement that a KOTOR movie is likely in the works, there's little better time to present a strong and vital face for the classic games than now, when interest in the series is revitalizing.
Of course, the subreddit does not necessarily need to factor into this at all, beyond serving as the vehicle for bringing this issue to everyone's attention. I invite anyone reading here to share their thoughts, possible solutions, and even further concerns; we all use Deadlystream, and how frequently it's used for its intended purpose impacts all of us in one way or another. Anything that could help, even if it's impractical to implement at present (or at an administrative level), is worth mentioning.
Thanks everyone for your time!