A key issue that remains with Free-to-Play games even today has to do with what happens to the game after the developers stop developing for it. Many titles coast for ages without updates, their dedicated population of players slowly dwindling. Worse yet, the game could shut down, meeting its untimely demise much earlier than gamers may have wished. But for Buy-to-Play games, especially those that feature mod support, these sorts of developments don’t have to mean the end of the game.
New modes, additional content, and other features are added to popular games with mod support all the time. Just look at Gary’s mod, a game dedicated to mucking about with the Source engine which gave way to countless other Source mod titles, including Trouble in Terrorist Town and even No More Room in Hell, a F2P shooter in the same vein as Left 4 Dead. So when Hi-Rez announced it would be shifting its development focus away from Tribes Ascend, many felt proper mod support was needed in order to continue the franchises legacy.
Hi-Rez of course had at one point promised mod features to players in the past, but later backtracked citing costs and that their “infrastructure and development platform does not support that ability well”. As far as everyone was concerned, Tribes Ascend development was dead. That is until Reddit user Altimor released an unofficial Tribes Ascend SDK, blowing the doors open for user run dedicated servers and mod support.
Created from a leaked developer build, the SDK will allow the Tribes community to create their own content patches and remove the cash shop restrictions, effectively nullifying the need to grind for unlocks. Not only can the SDK allow a talented modder to remove unwanted features, but also add new models and optimization patches as well. The SDK could spell a whole new life for the shooter while becoming even more F2P.
Hi-Rez has yet to state whether the studio official supports the communities decision to create their own SDK. We’ve reached out to the studio for a statement.