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While most gamers find plenty of fun in playing games, some want to go beyond interacting with a world and dive head-first into creation. Customization of levels, characters, items and more can, if available, give creative players hundreds of hours of enjoyment.

Sadly, most games don’t indulge the whims of those who want to customize their experience. There are, however, a few titles that don’t just give players some power to customize, but embrace the concept fully, giving players the power to change almost everything in the game world.

Minecraft

Minecraft

This game became famous for its procedural sandbox world that the player can terraform at will to create everything from simple abodes to massive towers and replicas of real-world locations. But what’s kept the game alive for many players are the mods 5 Of The Greatest Minecraft Mods Found Online 5 Of The Greatest Minecraft Mods Found Online An interesting thing about Minecraft is the ability to play it in your own way. However, sometimes, the already established rules of the game are just not enough. Fortunately, a few Minecraft enthusiasts have taken... Read More . A look at the game’s biggest mod forum reveals texture packs, character skins, new monsters, new gameplay modes, new items, new features, and much more. Want to add intercontinental missiles? Why not! Want better gardening? Sure! Want raccoons, ants, and more fish? Well…that can be handled, I guess.

The possibilities really are endless, not just because there are tons of mods available, but also because Minecraft is one of the easiest games to mod. If you’ve never tried modding before, it’s a great place to start.

Minecraft sells for about $30 (19.95 euros) on Windows and Mac. The Xbox 360 edition is just $19.99, but it doesn’t allow mods.

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Trackmania

At first glance, Trackmania just looks like another racing game. In truth, it’s far more than that. This unusual yet popular series has carved a consistent niche for itself not through realism, but instead through customization.

The game’s appeal lies in its track editor, which is not only comprehensive, but also lets players break the laws of physics. Why stick to a boring racetrack when you can race off cliff-sides, through cork-screws and across valleys? Once you’d made a track, you can race it alone, or share it online and play with friends.

The latest version of the game, Trackmania Valley, is $19.99 and only available for Windows. Other versions of the game provide different environments to design tracks in.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

skyrim_world

Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series has cultivated a reputation for customization because of its level editor, first available in Morrowind. With the latest game in the series, Skyrim, customization has been made even easier with Steam Workshop 8 Things You Didn't Know About Steam 8 Things You Didn't Know About Steam Steam started out as an annoying program that came with Half-Life 2, but it’s grown into the PC game store of choice for most PC gamers. Although some people aren’t fans and prefer alternative stores,... Read More integration. Now you can add or share mods through a single easy-to-use platform that handles the mod distribution.

The customization available is impressive even if you don’t want to make your own mods. You can improve the graphics with high-res textures and more detailed models, add new player housing, download new quests, and obtain new weapons. Some players have even added new continents.

The PC version of Skyrim can be purchased for $25. Console versions do not allow mods and don’t include the level editor.

Starcraft 2

starcraft2mod

The original Starcraft was popular not only because of its eSports scene but also because of its editor. Blizzard wasn’t oblivious to this success, so it added an even more robust editor to Starcraft 2 5 Websites All Beginner Starcraft II Players Need To Read 5 Websites All Beginner Starcraft II Players Need To Read Starcraft II is a complicated game filled with deep nuances and intense strategy that can be rather intimidating for newer players to get a hold off. Many hours of dedication are required, and if you... Read More , giving players not just the ability to create levels but also script entirely new games.

Predictably, this has resulted in an incredible selection of custom content like tower defense games, side-scrolling shooters and miniature RPGs. But such extreme projects are only part of what’s possible. The level editor is equally good for gamers who just want to jump in, make a few custom maps, and generally mess around.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is the base game and is available for $19.99 on PC or Mac. The expansion, Heart of the Swarm, is $29.99, but you don’t need it to use the level editor.

Neverwinter Nights

Released in 2002, BioWare’s version of Neverwinter Nights was an attempt to bring old-school D&D story-telling to the PC. Though it shipped with a campaign, the real highlight of the game was its level editor, which allowed for the creation of whole new worlds. This was expanded upon by a series of mods and Neverwinter Nights 2, which slightly tweaked gameplay and improved the graphics.

Even if you don’t want to bother with editing, which can take some time, you can keep yourself entertained with modules (the game’s name for a user-created campaign) made by others. There are literally thousands to choose from.

Neverwinter Nights is $9.99 on GOG, and Neverwinter Nights 2 is $19.99.

LittleBigPlanet

This PlayStation exclusive platformer released with an editor that let players create levels and share them with others. This was, at the game’s 2008 release, a very unique feature, and LittleBigPlanet remains a gem of customization among console games. The sequel, LittleBigPlanet2, added to that reputation with more environments and more customization. The big changes include improvements to enemy character creation and new items.

LittleBigPlanet can be purchased for $15, and the sequel sells for $20. I recommend skipping to the second, as it has a more robust editor.

Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4

halo4swat1

Bungie jumped into the user-created content game with Halo 3’s Forge, a partial level editor that lets players change how existing maps work by adding new structures, changing weapon locations, or changing the game’s rules. This feature has re-appeared in Halo: Reach and Halo 4, with improvements each time. If you’re looking for some couch co-op fun 6 Video Games With Fantastic Local Multiplayer For Dorm Room Gaming 6 Video Games With Fantastic Local Multiplayer For Dorm Room Gaming There are still some titles that faithfully provide an excellent couch experience for multiple players. They either allows for up to four people to play at once, or provide an entertaining enough experience to keep... Read More , this is the way to go; just messing around with a friend can be a laugh.

Gamers who want customization should first check out Halo 4, which sells for $30 and still has an active community. Halo 3 is $14.99 and Halo: Reach is about $20.

Warzone 2100

warzone2100

A hidden gem in the real-time strategy genre, Warzone 2100 Build An Army & Wage War Playing Warzone 2100 Build An Army & Wage War Playing Warzone 2100 Read More released to little fanfare in 1999 despite its unusual unit customization feature. Instead of building specifically designed units, players construct their own by combing a chassis, drive system and mounted weapon.

This was not enough to make the game standout in the flood of strategy games that followed Starcraft’s success, but unlike other forgotten games of the era, Warzone 2100 has been given a second lease on life. The developers released the source code of the game in 2004, leaving it wide-open for players to mod and customize however they please. A level editor has since been added, giving players the chance to create new maps.

Warzone 2100 is free and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Unreal Tournament 3

unrealtournament3

Unreal Tournament 3 is now six years old, but it remains one of the best multi-player shooters ever made. This is one of the last great old-school FPS games , and like so many other titles in the genre, UT3 offers plenty of customization through mods.

Almost everything can be changed; levels, weapons, player skins, game rules. You name it, and it can probably be tweaked, and probably has been. There are literally hundreds of maps available, and you might be surprised to learn you can actually play some of them with others, as gamers are still enjoying this classic. Those lacking access to online play can fight bots, and once those provided by the game have been mastered, you can download a mod to make them fight harder.

Unreal Tournament 3 is $14.95 on the PC. Surprisingly, the PlayStation 3 version of the game also has mod support, but the online community for the console version has virtually disappeared.

Eve Online

Eve Online, unlike the other games in this list, doesn’t offer any customization through mods or level editors. Yet players do have the power to customize both their character and their ship in an amazing assortment of ways. You can train skills, add implants, buy new ships, and buy new items for them.

While there are more options than any one player could ever unlock, what really drives the game’s customization is the fact that almost everything is crafted by players. Want to buy a fancy new laser gun for you ship? Then you either have to find a seller, or make it yourself.

This gives serious weight to customization. Configuring your character and your ships takes time and money, but you can also make a lot of in-game currency by crafting items that help other players improve their own characters and ships.

You can play a 14-day trial for Eve Online on a PC or Mac, after which the game is $14.99 per month.

Conclusion

These ten games really stand out as highpoints in customization. They offer players the chance to entirely re-make their own experience and play in an entirely new way. Yet these are obviously not the only games to offer level editors or user-generated content, so let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments below!

  1. Jordan
    August 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    EVE is an amazing game

  2. Rev
    July 17, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Where is Garry's Mod? This game has nothing except creating stuff. Its also a popular game.

  3. TotalFailure
    February 20, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Warzone's customization is akin to that in a TBS. A TBS released only a year later - Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. You research unit parts: Propulsion, function/weapon, etc.
    A comparable concept in a game you missed was Impossible Creatures, though you only had 2 animals to mix per unit. But that was enough - Chambat is an invisible unit that exposes other invisible/burrowed units. Impossible Creatures was my second RTS!

  4. Shadow Scoundrel
    January 8, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Call Of Duty World at War (PC) A LOT Of custom zombie maps/Multiplayer maps made by the community.

  5. Constantin C
    September 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    a Eve Online giveaway on makeuseof would be nice :D

  6. Tim Bain
    September 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Entropia Universe is as customisable as EVE , you can even be a hairdresser or some similar profession and make money doing work on other avatars even though that's not the point of the game. Actually, there IS no real point, you make your own path rather than it all being scripted. Complex like EVE , maybe more so.

  7. ???????? ?
    September 14, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Where Is Lord Of The Rings: Batle For Middle Earth

    • Neferius
      December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      For that matter, where is Entropia. The game has been around for more than a decade now, during which time it underwent critical graphics upgrades and now it uses the Crysis 2 engine. The game itself plays like an fps/rpg with a very complex skill leveling system where you gain levels in certain professions as you practice them. Stuff like Shooting, mining for ores or crafting items, all of it in a stunning 3D environment. The thing garnered a mind-boggling ammount of items and customization over the years, from 6 different developers that have added to it's content, each with their own Planet (one of the devs went bankrupt and stopped updating but the planet [New Island] is still accessible) ...oh-yea, the game is placed in a sci-fi setting with a heavy set on exploration and with space travel and combat elements too! xD

  8. pix
    September 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    While Second Life may not specifically be considered a goal oriented "video game" it does feature some mmorpg gaming aspects on RP sims within its massive structure. Second Life as well as any number of open source virtual worlds built on game engines feature content that is almost exclusively created by the users, some of which can then be modified by other users (depending on the permissions granted on each original creation). One need only look at the Second Life online marketplace to peruse through tens of thousands of original content items created by users. Since Second Life has recently added mesh (collada / dae file format) and new materials support in their most recent viewing client releases, the user created original content is becoming more and more sophisticated.

  9. Bumferry H
    September 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I might be missing the point of this article, but I am surprised that Civilisation or Sim city are not not mentioned, what with them being games where the sole purpose is to create original and varied worlds and cities. Each game can be a totally different experience depending on your mood or outlook.
    I'm not a big gamer, but Civ and Sim City are the ones that I expected to see on an article like this. :)

    • stephen
      September 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      yes you are missing the point.

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