A GENERAL OVERVIEW TO INSTALLING MODS
Be careful when installing mods.
I know it's hard to believe, but there are some not so nice people out there who enjoy wreaking havoc with your computer, so be careful with installing patches and community mods and be sure to scan them with your anti-virus after saving the download and before installing it. You can get a feel and recommendations for certain mods and mod sites by reading game forums. Using reputable sources for anything you download is just common sense. There are many problematic games that can be fixed with mods, or configurations created by fellow gamers, so don't be afraid to utilize them.
Also, if you play online,
your server as well as fellow players, may take a very dim view of using cheats, which are also a type of modification, and this could result in the cancellation of your account. If it's Steam, (VAC
- valve anti cheat) you can be permanently banned from the game. More developers are cracking down on this and many of them do not consider ignorance to be a viable excuse, so read policy pages first. Some cheats may be intentional or fairly harmless, but others are quite malicious. The amount of hacking you run across may vary from game to game depending on what measures to prevent it have been put in place. Cheating and hacking by others can affect your gameplay in many ways and it's fairly prevalent, so just learn to expect it if your going to play multiplayer. The following is a list of things you might see - Wikipedia.
You may also run across people asking about Trainers, which are a form of cheating as well. There is not the same concern with playing offline in single-player mode. Some games even let you access the control panel in-game (usually with the tilde key) to enter cheat codes.
Installing mods can differ
slightly from game to game. I've included instructions for some games within that game's page. You can find it by clicking on Features
in the menu and then a specific game. In general, the mod has to be inserted into the main game folder that holds the .exe file. Unfortunatly, this is not always the case and modders are notoriously bad at giving instructions. I've personally set up a couple of general folders to download mods and patches to and then will copy them from here into the appropriate game folders. This also can be a frustrating experience as some modders seem to think you automatically know what to do, so once again I appeal to the community to please include specific and detailed instructions on installation.
Modifications can also be achieved
through config (configuration) files. Also usually located in the game folder under .cfg or .ini files, you can change the values of commands to tweak game resolutions and performance. I found this pretty scary the first time I did it, but soon realized it was no big deal. Just be sure to make a backup of the original file first if you plan on changing a lot of functions and something goes wrong. Then you can just replace it with the original file again. Some people are pretty savvy with what all the values mean, but if you don't want to go to the trouble of learning, you will likely find advice on what to change posted on forums.
Some mods may
automatically be installed in the right location when you double click on the mod's .exe file or you may have to install them manually to the game folder. Some may also need to be unzipped and some may have extensions that your windows zip program won't work on. If you need an additional zip program you can get the one I recommend free from cnet. It's called 7-Zip
is a well known and trusted site for all kinds of program downloads.
There are only a few sites
that host a selection of mods for a variety of games. Usually, finding them is more specific to a particular game and can be found by searching for mods for that game. You may also run across people promoting them in forums and blogs. Since these might not have a wide reputation, you have to be more careful about installing them.
seem to have the largest variety of games, but there are others. Steam carries some in store as well as in the Steam Workshop
Game updates can screw up
mods you already have installed unless the mod creator also updates the files. If you suddenly find things not working, check to see if the game has had an official automatic update.
A source port
is a software project based on the source code of a game engine that allows the game to be played on operating systems or computing platforms with which the game was not originally compatible. Source ports are often created by fans after the developer of a game releases its code to the public. They differ from mods in that they don't change the look or play of the original game other than what's necessary to make them run on newer systems. However, they can also offer support for mods which do. A legitimate source port includes only the modification of the engine portion of the game and requires the original data files to be on the user's system in order for the game to run.
With the evolution of ports, the features offered have become numerous and therefore you may see a number of source ports for the same game, all offering different features. You can therefore choose the one which best suits your style ranging from the original game to a game that is enhanced in several ways. Since the first source port, which was created for Doom, the term is now broadly applied to all source code modification projects.
The VM in the name stands for Virtual Machine and ScummVM was originally designed by a Swedish programmer named Ludvig Strigeus to play LucasArts adventure games that use the scumm system. It's a game emulator that allows you to play the games on the platform of your choice. Strigeus was quickly joined by other developers, expanding ScummVM's capabilities and it now also supports a variety of non-scumm games. ScummVM does not provide any of the assets of the game and you must own the original. You can read about Scumm VM on Wikipedia
You can see a list of games supported by Scumm VM at ScummVM games