The Starfield Community Patch (opens in a new tab) is a fledgling group effort in hopes of addressing star fieldBethesda’s inevitable bugs, and the mod writers behind it are already setting the stage for Bethesda’s next open-world epic.
We spoke to members of the SCP to find out more about the group’s plans – namely, how you prepare to modify a game that hasn’t even been released and uses a new engine. At this point, the group is focused on preventing any roadblocks that might slow mod development once the game is released, but proof-of-concept tools are also being worked on alongside organizational pieces.
“If you look at other major modding projects that exist today, you’ll find that a lot of them suffered from growing pains at some point in development,” the SCP told GamesRadar+. “These issues often stem from questions about ownership, copyright, vision, etc. That’s why we think it’s worth using the time before the game’s release to clarify these details so that anyone chooses to contribute to the project be aware of how it all works, what is expected and how their submission will be shared.”
The group’s goal is to establish a core team responsible for compiling major versions of the SCP, “but this team is not fixed as modders may come and go as their interest in the project wanes or they no longer have the spare time to contribute.” The larger project, as the name suggests, will be a community effort supported by Nexus Mods and built on a mix of what mainstream modders dig up and what players report, including comments sent through the SCP. Discord (opens in a new tab)wikis and forum (opens in a new tab).
“Traditionally, Bethesda evolves the systems that make up its engine over time instead of wholesale swapping them out with each new game,” the SCP points out. “Whereas [Starfield’s] Creation Engine 2 seems like a significant upgrade, there’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue – you can still find relics of the Gamebryo engine used for Morrowind in the Skyrim game data. If you have eagle eyes, you can spot a few snippets of the SDK that the devs use in the various Starfield trailers, which strongly resembles the existing SDK tool proposed for Fallout 4 and Skyrim. .”
The SCP also works with the teams behind the mod libraries like Wabbajack (opens in a new tab) and Mutagen (opens in a new tab) in hopes of “significantly improving collaborative work on Creation Engine games”. He’s even reached out to Bethesda to directly seek “any engine or game details” to help get his foot in the door, though it doesn’t appear those requests have yielded any results just yet – which doesn’t is not surprising considering that the month of May Starfield delay pushed the game to early 2023.
It goes without saying that Starfield will launch with bugs; you can’t make a game without them, and you certainly can’t make a galaxy of more than 1,000 planets without them. The sheer size of Starfield ensures that bugs will make it through production, either because they won’t be caught until millions of players have played the game, or because there just won’t be the time to sort and fix everything before launch. This is where the SCP hopes to help players who might find their experience hampered or outright interrupted by technical issues.
“The thing to keep in mind is that a community patch like this doesn’t necessarily exist because the game is bad,” the group states. “There are often small issues that don’t really detract from the overall experience but would be considered bugs. Examples include things like objects hanging loosely from walls or missing texture on the side of an object that you almost never see. It’s pretty understandable that the good folks at Bethesda don’t have the time to fix every issue like this.
“We are confident that the final version of Starfield will be a solid, fully playable game at launch. While there are almost always a few rough edges that need to be ironed out… Our hope is that Starfield will be as groundbreaking as Oblivion was back. Bethesda has traditionally favored complex game systems over flashy graphics, so we expect the game to be filled with intricate gameplay loops and immersive stories.
Somewhere else, Starfield Fans Reverse-Engine Star System Maps using trailer snippets.