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Keen offers $100k for Space Engineers mods

Czech studio also makes source code available to the public as an incentive to modders

Keen Software has made the source code of Space Engineers available to the public, and pledged $100,000 in funding for those interested in creating mods.

Released on Steam Early Access in October 2013, Space Engineers now has more than 3,000 mods and 100,000 items available through Steam Workshop. According to Keen, that makes it one of the top five games on Steam in terms of Workshop items.

The decision to release the full source code, and to offer $100,000 in funding for the creation of total conversion mods, was taken in recognition of the value modders have brought to Space Engineers' audience.

"We've been working for months to find a way to give our community a bigger role in Space Engineers development," said CEO and founder Marek Rosa in a post on the game's website. "We finally decided that the best way was to give them 100 per cent access to the game's source code.

"We are also aware of the risks that this decision has, but our team is prepared to face any challenge that may appear."

While an admirable move in its own right, this is also a strategic move inspired by recent events. That much is clear from the sentiments Keen chose to highlight in its official announcement. Phrases like, "more freedom to modders and the game's community," and, "bringing more and better created content," were published in bold, invoking the debate surrounding Valve and Bethesda's proposed introduction of paid mods on Steam.

Valve retreated from the own decision with remarkable speed, despite a vigorous defence from company president Gabe Newell on Reddit just days before.

As the dust began to settle, our own Rob Fahey described the introduction of "paid" mods as inevitable for a number of reasons, though principally as a way to reconcile the fast rising costs of AAA production and the slow growth of the addressable market.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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