Modding tools for Just Cause 3 aren’t out yet, but we already have a selection of simple mods available. For these you can thank Rick, also known as Gibbed. Rick is the reason for almost every Just Cause 2 mod you’ve ever played; mods that inspired many of Just Cause 3’s flagship features would never have existed were it not for for his efforts to develop a toolset for the second game. This toolset has allowed thousands of Just Cause fans to break into the code and get creative, which resulted in the fantastic Just Cause 2 mods library that we’ve hosted for over five years. Now that we’re working a bit more closely with Rick, an interview to help the Just Cause modding community learn more about the modder who’s ultimately responsible for the chaotic modding community seems like a natural step.
This interview was conducted by Zenin/Draconio and features Rick (Gibbed).
Z/D: Give us some insight into your modding history.
R(G): I started modding games over 15 years ago. Early on it was mostly limited to whatever the game developers provided, for example, I did a bit of programming in QuakeC and mapping for Quakeworld. Some of my more known efforts these days would be the tools I put together for Just Cause 2, Far Cry series, Saints row series or the save editors for Mass Effect series, and Borderlands series. Aside from those, if it’s a game I’ve played and enjoyed. I’ve probably poked at it in some fashion.
Z/D: What leads you to start developing mod tools for games?
R(G): That’s simply from a lack of existing tools, or I feel the existing tools don’t work as well as they should. It’s pretty rare for official tools to be released these days unless the game is specifically built for user made content from the ground up.
Z/D: What type of software do you use to work on your toolsets?
R(G): Nearly all of my tools are written in C# (or rarely C++), I use Visual Studio as my development environment.
Z/D: What stood out to you about Just Cause 2 that influenced your decision to work on the well known toolset that we have today?
R(G): I actually started with the Just Cause 2 demo, before the game was released. The demo was just so great that I wanted just a bit more. That led to modding the game after it was released.
Z/D: What kind of obstacles do you face when developing your toolsets? What games in particular have been easier, harder, or seemingly impossible to work out?
R(G): Researching everything involved, file formats can be wildly different even within the same engine in different games. Anything unknown can throw things off. An easy example is Far Cry 2, I spent years working on that game passively until I made a significant breakthrough with how things are handled. Part of that I think, was my own skill getting better over time at understanding things. That research lent very well to the stuff I did with Far Cry 3.
Z/D: When Just Cause 3 was released, the presence of the Denuvo anti-tamper software, which was used for Mad Max, caused quite a scare for the future of modding. Were these concerns justified by what you’ve seen in your efforts thus far?
R(G): Denuvo makes things way more difficult in two ways: It makes it much harder to analyze how things work, and it generally prevents modification of game code (thus “anti-tampering”). Thankfully, Just Cause 3’s use of Denuvo isn’t actually as aggressive as seen in other games (such as Mad Max). As most of the stuff put together with my tools for Just Cause 2 (and Just Cause 3) are changes to data, that’s mostly not an issue aside from the development of tools to help with modding.
Z/D: Have you found anything interesting, unusual, or noteworthy in the game’s files?
R(G): Sure! An easy example is that there is leftover data from Just Cause 2 and Mad Max still in the game files.
Z/D: Do you think you will be able to release a toolset for JC3?
R(G): Some tools are working, though there’s the issue of figuring out the actual underlying data for many things. There’s still plenty of research to be done, but basic mods are already possible.