Oh shit... Steam Workshop now allows mod authors to charge for them


Thiago Vidotto was one of the guys that created some of the early for-pay mod for this rollout. Here’s what he said in regards to the paid mod controversy:

Modders should be free to decide how their work is distributed, and not forced to keep working for free.

Last time I checked, it wasn’t a job and no one was forcing anyone to make Skyrim mods.


I like how you think. Also, If Valve want to do this again, they need to use a different formula.

  1. have an active vetting process, with any paid mod getting code compared to other existing mods. There will need to be some mechanism involved that is able to exclude comments, headers, etc. for such a scan. A common rejection should be “too close to an existing Workshop mod.” Somebody could still upload it to the Workshop, but they couldn’t sell it. This is sadly magic hand-waving at this point for me, as I don’t know what software accomplishes this task. However, I suspect something out there would get the job done.

A simple way to do this, is to have the MD5 of each file in the mod, compare against a list of existing md5. Automatically flag mods for human revision that contain files where the signature already exist. Automatically reject mods where all the files signatures already exist in Steam.

Probably not use a hash function like MD5, but one with different properties-


Thanks, Teiman - and interesting idea with the MD5-style approach. I’d be a little concerned that some nefarious individual would simply add comment lines or something to throw that kind of a system off, but it’s a great start. I wonder if maybe there’s some kind of discrete, detectable footprint for a mod once activated.


It seems to be a thing that already exist. Googling for “plagiarism checker” theres a lot of hits. But many seems designed for the education world, so are terrible and bad, and designed for detecting copied paragraph of text in containers like microsoft word.

Anyway writing one that detect pirated skyrim modules could be a fun 6 hours programming project.

Theres even papers about the issue:

So you can make it as good as you want, other people have figured out good algorithms, but even bad algorithm can give you a lot of mileage.

Heres a poor men algorithm:

poor men algorithm

Break the files in groups of 512 bytes. Make the md5 of these blocks. Take the first character of the MD5, replace the character by a space if is a 0. Build the resulting string:

F9E5 654A9A35D3B2A8338BD998D88 8FEB6 B891F12C 79B2726C4 127579F9
6283DBE63EABEC4 DA6E7B851B9E7 8D75518EF1BBC59FE6E7F7E99AE3FE15CD
464ACCB8DA2CDE 7631D877E D335BFB8EE39A52DB4A447FD832EA6B689CDAB1

build the same string for the project you are checking.

index of plagiaricing: number of “words” already in the “hash” / number of words in the hash.

This is a poor man algorithm, I would test “in the wild” then finne tunne it (block size, characters that are converted into " "), testing also simple ways people may try to cheat it. Maybe having to start the blocks in a pseudorandom offset position.

The index is a float of “how much likelly” is a thing to be plagiariced.


Customers would determine if the mod is something worth investing in, and if so then they could pledge an amount of money (whatever the price is, INCLUDING “pay what you want” if the author chose it) toward the mod via their Steam Wallet. The money is held by Valve as part of a visible, detailed, “pledged” portion of their wallet until successful completion of the mod (explained below). And yes, they get to earn interest on it even if it winds up getting refunded.

An EA system for paid mods? Are you serious?

No. Hell no.

Edit - there is by far and away enough issues with EA as it is, without introducing an EA system for mods, whereby, either way, Valve get rich off earning interest on monies pledged, regardless of success.


The Wallet system gives them security so there’s reason to still support mods that provide them with only miniscule income. Besides, if they don’t keep the interest, who should? (or is your issue with there being escrow in the first place?)

Edit - just to clarify, calling something “an EA system” isn’t enough. I’m sure they also ate lunch there, and that’s an EA system I support.


Not to mention that what’s being made is legally a derivative work that can’t be commercialized without the consent of the original copyright holder.

Which is EXACTLY what the internet hated to death in this instance.


I have not commented on this because I have been ill but this charging for mods thing was a horrid idea. I do not see how Steam could properly police it because they did an awful job while it was active.

I created a couple of weapon on SkryimNexus, a reskin and a new model. Nothing worth writing home about and nothing that was very popular. I did not even bother loading them to Steam. Imagine my surprise when I saw my weapons being listed for sale this weekend, both standalone and one in a weapons pack. So I had to bother with filing takedown notices - which was wonderful to do while I’ve been bedridden - neither one of which was honored before they stopped selling the mods. Someone made money on my mods. That does not sit right with me. But there is no good way to prevent it. Mods are lifted all the time from other websites and posted to Steam Workshop with no permission or attribution. Adding money into the mix makes that problem much worse.

I do not see how Steam or anyone else can police this. Someone could easily take a weapon skin, recolor it slightly and upload it as theirs. Is that a new mod? Thiago Vidotto is mentioned above. His creations were neat but they were not original. They were stolen from DOTA. Is that original content? While I can understand the desire of people wanting to be paid for their work, modding is largely not [I]their[/I] work. It is the work of the developer that you are largely and in some cases almost completely building from. Mods go from very subtle graphical changes to large, wholesale software conversions and there is no place to draw a line in the sand to say “this is worthy but that is not”.

So as someone who had his mods stolen this past week, I am not in favor of this kind of service and I am glad it has been pulled.


Here’s an album exploring the quality of these mods, complete with snarky commentary:


Wow. Some of those are truly terrible.


I saw a screenshot of someones Skyrim mod directory on 4chan that actually disturbed me. You can go to prison for possessing some of the content out there. I had no idea.


Uh, Early Access, not Electronic Arts… ;)


Sorry, I dont know the usa legal system.

Pirated music?


You should have uploaded it to the Workshop. Valve has people lined up around the block to pay for it.


Oh, for heaven’s sake! sigh
lol - well, you can’t really blame me TOO much for getting them mixed up, can you? I mean, bringing Electronic Arts (and therefore Origin) into a conversation about a digital distributor doing something stupid does make sense!


Ha! I blame the people too lazy to actually write the words “early access”. I mean, seriously, r u guys all twentysomethings raised on textspeak or something?



… ah sheesh, no wonder I’ve had a hard time following conversations in this thread. :/


Wait we were not talking about escrow accounts?



I’m still waiting for these fellows to get off my lawn while I enjoy a nice, cold Bartles & Jaymes.
And I thank you for your support.


Some of these are a few pages back, so I’m cherrypicking again. Hope you’ll tolerate the indulgence.

Yeah, actually, I do miss physical disc installs. Anecdotally speaking, that’s one of the reasons I switched from PC gaming during the GFWL/Steam insurgence to console gaming. The matter of hunting down patches was always a matter of publishers shunting the responsibility onto someone else during the Fileplanet days. Along this context, Steam has done nothing to reduce the “release now, patch later” mindset that caused us so many headaches in the past.

And if anything, there are several reasons I hate using Steam: I hate downloading patches for their crap engine nearly every time I load it up, and I especially loathe the fact that I can’t share games on my own LAN. The latter case is what pushed me over entirely to GOG simply because I wasn’t about to pay for another copy of Terraria when my daughter’s friend wanted to do multiplayer just because after making that much money and hiring that many people, Valve still can’t figure out a way to let people share games on their own network with the same account. That’s something I never had to deal with in the physical install days, and it’s something I’m never going to deal with again with GOG games.

No one cares about “coming for my games, maaaaan”. The basic point I’m still getting is that people find this whole thing needless, disingenuous, not even remotely thought out by people who make enough money to rub a few braincells together, and ultimately baffling.

It still is BS in the sense that it has never proven true at any point in Valve’s own history, and the history of Valve not being a company of ideals or wishful thinking is precisely what makes it BS. Team Fortress was not made better by being monetized into TFC, Counter-Strike was not made better by being monetized, Day of Defeat, etc. Nothing in the history of successful modmaking was ever determined by money motivation.

Valve, and Gabe specifically, know better. This is not their first rodeo and, more pointedly, not the first time they threw money and a monopoly position at really stupid infrastructure decisions. Really? It cost them 6 figures to deal with the backlash and they’ve been in business as a dev-cum-publisher-cum-distributor for HOW long? Maybe this should be a part of the game journalism thread is that’s really the case…