Rarely have I felt so passionate about a subject like this.
Game mods, for me, have been my primary source of creative output since I was 10 years old – I’ll be turning 27 this November. I’ve been modding dozens of games for as long as most up and coming modders in my primary community have been alive. I have a library of public releases dating back to 2003 that have garnered a traceable number of over half a million downloads, I suspect though, that since this number only accounts for downloads in the last three or so years, I’ve likely hit well over a million people that have downloaded something I have made. If you account for derivative works or media that others have created that used my content as a cornerstone, that number is truly uncountable. I’ve never directly made a penny from any of this. I’ve never asked for donations, and I recently started fulfilling private contracts using my reputation to make legitimate original content for projects – even then, I held to the right to free public distribution when I could. This year, I moved into the sphere of Indie dev as an environment artist, and I don’t plan on stopping now.
Does it bother me that I never made a dime off of my years of work and contributions? No. Would I like to have gotten paid for my efforts? Well I’m not going to say no… if there’s money on the table, I’m not going to just leave it there. That said, I don’t think I would be half the artist I am today if my main goal was to make money. Allow me to extrapolate how I see modding communities split up as a result of paid mods, and why this would have made me quit a long time ago.