What makes a great mod?

Posted on 11th Jan 2010 at 11:20 by Antony Leather with 11 comments

Antony Leather
We're hoping to see 2010 be a year of many a budding modder take to our forums with scores of new and fresh ideas. With Mod of the Year in its final week and having recently started my own project, I’ve had modding on the mind for the last few weeks or so.

Something that’s got me thinking though is how some mods and scratch-builds get masses of attention, while others, equally deserving and no less amazing seem to fade into the background.

I’m deliberately not mentioning specific projects here but there have been a few that we’ve plucked from the community and had featured in Mod of the Month, that personally I thought were epic. However, despite regular updates from their makers, they fail to gain much attention.

Originality might be one factor. However, even if an awesome-looking mod isn’t entirely original in design, we’ve still seen them become massively popular. Add to this the fact that a lot of work has gone into the build and it's a bit harsh to discredit a modder for being inspired by another’s work.

What makes a great mod?
Great photography goes a long way to making your project log more interesting

Past history certainly seems to be a big factor. If a modder has a record of producing great projects then the chances are they’ll get some serious attention with their next project. Even this trend can fall over though.

An appealing project log can also make a difference. A nice intro with design images, perhaps rendered in Google Sketchup help to set the scene. Good photography always has benefits too - no-one wants to see dark, blurry images.

What makes a great mod?
Designs and planning add professionalism and anticipation to a project.

Lastly, perhaps the amount of attention a project builds up boils down to a matter of taste? You only have to look at the comments of some of the mods featured on our site to see some people appreciate the work but think a design is hideous, whilst others think it’s the most amazing thing they’ve seen.

With evidence of the latter there for all to see, what does it mean for us modders? Well for starters, if someone says something negative about your project, it’s just their own personal taste that’s talking. After all, if we all liked the same things, it would be a pretty boring world right?

More importantly though, it means you’re mod is about you, your ideas and your tastes so never be afraid to go overboard, or be excessive or overzealous. Do what you think is awesome.

What do you think makes a great mod? Let us know in the comments.


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Hugo 11th January 2010, 11:44 Quote
1) A good plan/vision
2) A regularly updated project log
3) A well made end result

Bonus: well written, descriptive, informative, instructive commentary & quality photographs.
Jamie 11th January 2010, 11:53 Quote
Attention to detail, I like to see people go to the extra effort to make the most insignificant things look good.
Nexxo 11th January 2010, 12:11 Quote
The "Six C's"
  1. Concept (the fundamental idea)
  2. Creativity (original design and innovative features)
  3. Consistency (of style, approach and materials)
  4. Compulsion (attention to detail)
  5. Capacity (it needs to actually function)
  6. Craftsmanship (quality of build)
Hugo 11th January 2010, 12:34 Quote
Originally Posted by Nexxo
The "Six C's"
One of those should really start with any letter other than C, for tradition's sake.
mi1ez 11th January 2010, 13:18 Quote
Originally Posted by HugoB
Originally Posted by Nexxo
The "Six C's"
One of those should really start with any letter other than C, for tradition's sake.

1ad7 11th January 2010, 14:29 Quote
Uniqueness that's what moves me, quality is second to that. It must be personal and original. Lastly new "tech" is always good, I like to see innovative solutions to issues or just innovative ways to mix **** up regardless of the easy way out! its gotta be a MOD not just a bunch of cool components and parts even if its ghetto

mi1ez 11th January 2010, 15:05 Quote
Personal - that's a good point 1ad7. If there is a story behind a mod, it always makes it more compelling!
death_munky 11th January 2010, 16:59 Quote
Whilst i find the bit-tech project logs very supportive of modders, i do find that some logs can just decend into sycophancy with every update followed by 20 posts stating how awesome that new fastner is.
I do prefer the smaller logs where you can see that every post has contributed to the discussion or design process of the build and that i don't have to switch to the see only authors posts to get to the good stuff
stonedsurd 12th January 2010, 07:11 Quote
It's not necessarily sycophancy, you know. Perhaps said fastener is really quite a work of art.
Jipa 12th January 2010, 11:04 Quote
1. Unique idea
2. Execution
And for a good project log
1. Regular updates
2. Good photos that serve the purpose. Not too many, too artyfarty, or too big, I just get frustrated if scrolling the page takes an hour just because there are ten pictures of the same water cooling fitting. (I also don't like the fanboy "omg sweet"-comments, but maybe that's just me)

That's it, sounds simple enough, but coming up with anything unique these days is pretty damn hard.

For good mod, on the other hand, you just need top notch quality.
Xtrafresh 16th January 2010, 21:54 Quote
For me there is only one thing that counts, and that is if i can see the builder's passion leap at me from the pages of a log. I don't care how ghetto or how detailed the endresult is, as long as it gives me the feeling that there's some geek like me on the other side loving every second of work he pours into a machine.

For bonus, it helps if there's some uniqueness and originality, or some genuinely obsessive kraftsmanship going on, but that's all fluff in the face of the passion for the machine.
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