When we started to work on Nuclear Dawn back in 2009, one of the first things that I wanted to make sure of was that we would support the community in a way that would help both server administrators and players to work with Nuclear Dawn in every possible way. After all, as avid Source fans, we had run and customized our fair share of servers, and knew just how frustrating an uncooperative developer could be.
At the other end of the spectrum, as a developer, our concern was that if we allowed any plugin or modification to be installed for the game, the end result could be that there would quickly only be completely modified, hacked or stats cheating servers. And ofcourse that’s not what we want.
So, when development of Nuclear Dawn started, we first though of implementing a system where we would approve each and every single plugin that would be installed on each server running Nuclear Dawn. If a plugin was not approved by us, the server would ‘simply’ become unranked. Plugins that were approved already could just be installed and the server would still be ranking players. It seemed however that after testing this and talking to the awesome team at SourceMod (Alliedmodders), there was no real way for us to check and make sure every single plugin we would approve would actually also still be the same plugin.
Though we all love SourceMod very much, from a game developers point of view, it can be a pain in the backside. Plugin developers could submit a plugin to our system, we would approve it and than a few hours later they could create the same plugin again (same name etc) with modifications that we wouldn’t really allow. This would make Nuclear Dawn look bad or impossible to play the game as it was designed.
The next idea was to do some complicated checks on each version of a plugin to make sure it matches the data stored in our databases, every time it gets loaded. Also there, we found ways that people could program around it quite easily, so that also turned out to be not an option. We wanted administrators and players to have fun with the game, not create a draconian submission system that could be easily circumvented by those with a mind to it.
The end result of all this basically is that we decided NOT to check on plugins and other installed server applications. We figured out that sometimes, you just don’t really have a choice. You can go against the cheaters, hackers and developers that want to ruin the gameplay and try to solve it over and over, but that is an endless, vicious battle that just never ends.
So, in keeping with our original spirit of gaming fanatics and server administrators, we leave it up to you, the player and the server administrator. After all, most people implement simple utility plugins and small modifications to customize their experience, and it’s just not fair to punish them because of some ‘special’ people who prefer to watch grenades floating in mid-air.
Do what you want with your server and play Nuclear Dawn the way you want. We are not going to enforce anyone, we just hope that people see why we made decisions on the game’s specific functions and ways of playing and prefer to play it as it was meant to be!