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    StarCraft rules the roost but Star Trek owns the modding scene

    Why even mod? Gaming’s long history is one of modding and home-brewing, with the first videogames made by university students and government researchers who decided to use their powers for good. Whether it be the vast potential ushered in by those truly virtual-minded games like Spacewar! (1962), or Ralph Bayer’s forays into console creation, making videogames is always an affair of passionate modification. These days, modding is easier than ever; map editors and level creators give users visual-based tools to transform their games into ambitions expressions of their vision. 

    Much as Space was once the final frontier, entertainment that isn’t live has traditionally been a one-sided affair. Mods let players reach through the fourth wall and re-arrange the set direction. 

    Starcraft is one of many classic games designed with player customizability in mind, however players took things further than its inbuilt map editor was intended, with reskins and map packs breathing life though the game’s polygonal lungs.

    From the Orcs vs Zerg mod, to giving players a taste in anime action with Gundam Century, Starcraft  has no shortage of mods. Players who tire of the vanilla game and hunger for a bit more ‘opera’ in their space can easily scratch this itch with Star Trek: Dominion War. Announced in 2007, Dominion War was released in 2013 after languishing in development hell, a common fate for many passion projects. Currently, Dominion War can be found at moddb.com, with patches bringing it up to Alpha 1.2. Will we ever find a full release of Dominion War? Not likely, though considering you’d have to be a die-hard Trek or Craft fan to consider playing, that knowledge will grace and haunt you.

    Not enough Star Trek? Well, there’s the internet for that. No, I don’t mean that; a slew of mods for all sorts of games can be found lurking a mouse click away, just waiting to be downloaded.
    ''A whole slew of ships from The Klingon fleets, the Federation, and the Romulan Empire''
    Sins of a Solar Empire is another stellar universe, individual UI’s for each faction, and voice clips taken from the series, all add life and meaning to this mod. The quality that’s gone into building this game makes it feel more like a standalone product than a mod, especially a fanmade one.

    Not to be outdone, Homeworld 2 players made the Continuum, an absolutely gorgeous Star Trek themed mod that spreads the action over four Star Trek properties Enterprise, The Original Series, The Motion Picture and The Next Generation. Players can handle a whole slew of ships from The Klingon fleets, the Federation, and the Romulan Empire. Like in the vanilla game, maps are large, meaning intel is a vital method to win the game. This is balanced by intel probes having no warp-drives, regulating them to sub-light speeds. Ships are not the only danger, with planets themselves holding powerful defensive weapons. Using combinations of fighters and capital ships, combat quickly becomes frentic battles to survive the void.

    Fans of Star Trek Armada I and II will notice many of the sound effects were reused in Continuum, allowing the modders to focus more on models and effects than having to record the sound effects from the series again. Despite the game’s inherent bugs with modded multiplayer, Continuum can be played online using a workaround described by a Gearbox software developer on their forums. This workaround can be found on Continuum’s page, letting players easily bring the fight across the net.

    Continuum looks gorgeous, a testament both to the strength of the Homeworld engine, and the modder’s skill, letting the game run at 1920 x 1080. the mod is currently being updated to coincide for the Homeworld remaster, and can be found at Mod DB.

    Finally, for the Civilization 4 players out there, the Star Trek mod turns the  Final Frontier  mod into an adaptation of the classic series. Other modders liked the Final Frontier mod so much they decided to slap a mod on the mod. This mod includes 25 civilizations, and features from Final Frontier like black holes, asteroids, and solar systems, while bringing back unique units, heroes, and new hazards to navigate. Players also have the opportunity to play through recreations of scenarios from the Trek universe, just to tug at the nostalgia.

    The game requires players to have the Beyond the Sword  expansion for Civ 4, and is available from civfanatic.com’s forums.

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