Sunday, June 16, 2024

Meet the queer professional modder who is improving games for everyone

Arco “Tex” Dielhof is a prolific modder in the Overwolf community — a software platform for developers of mods and other in-game add-ons to distribute their work to players and earn an income doing so. Some of the mods Tex has worked on include several for World of Warcraft, and even some for Baldur’s Gate 3. Tex also identifies as LGBTQ+, and is very open about being queer online.

We got the chance to speak with Tex about modding, working as an LGBTQ+ developer, and more.

Gayming: How did you first get into modding?

Tex: It was about five, six years ago, I think, there was a new patch for World of Warcraft. And there was a high requirement to farm rare monsters that would spawn anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes after they got killed already. And there were like 50 of them in different zones. So it was super important to actually go for them on a daily basis because they could drop daily loot.

Screenshot of a faun character from World of Warcraft
Image source: Blizzard

And I remembered that there was an add-on, like 10 years earlier, that kept track of something like that when we had it before. And that clearly didn’t work anymore, because it wasn’t up to date. I tried to get in contact with the person that created that originally hoping that it might have been updated. I managed to get in contact with her. She couldn’t update it because she was too busy. And I was like, ‘Well, what’s your thoughts about me recreating it? Because I’m a developer.’

And that was awesome. And it helped out so many people. Three days later, I had over 10,000 downloads.

How did you feel when you got into your account the next day and saw all of those downloads?

It felt great to be able to do what my profession is, as a developer. Because I had done an education as programmer. And using that for games is always secretly a dream for every programmer, right? I mean, we can all imagine that.

But most of us, don’t get to do that. And at that moment, I was like, “whoo! whoo!” You know, it’s like, in a way, living your dream. And a few days in, someone from [the mod site administrators] actually poked me like, ‘Hey, you haven’t activated the revenue share. So you’re not making money on this, but you could.’

And that’s, that’s kind of when things triggered in me. Because then it wasn’t just developing for, for gamers anymore. It was developing for gamers and making money on it, and all of a sudden, it hit me that I might actually have a shot at that, and not just not just it being a dream or a goal for so many programmers. And that’s when I started thinking about more add-ons, more mods, expanding on everything.

So how do you pick which games you end up wanting to make your mods for?

My add-ons were solely for World of Warcraft, because it’s my main game. So that was the easiest to start off with.

I realized that it wasn’t making money quick enough for my taste. Mainly because I was done with my education, I needed a full time income. I started looking at Overwolf apps. That’s also around the time where Overwolf bowled over CurseForge. So that’s how I got in contact with them. And I realized there was more money in Overwolf apps quicker, and I could potentially help more people at the same time.

And, of course, my first overview of app was for World of Warcraft, because that was what I was familiar with. It’s the game I’ve been playing for almost 20 years. So I know the ins and outs I’ve been writing at a high level. I’ve been server first. Not just as Raider, but also as raid leader. So naturally, that was my first.

Overwolf website logo
Image source: Overwolf

It was just where do I see opportunities? During the two years that I focused on add-ons for World of Warcraft, I think I learned where people struggle in games. I started seeing where there were issues with games, or not necessarily issues in that things are broken, but it could be better, right? And I started trying to think, if I would create the game, how would I? How would I do this differently? How would I make the user get that information better, or get it easier, get it more constantly get it more on demand. And I started looking at how I could improve the game with add-ons. And I think I’ve learned a lot from that time.

So when I started working more, with Overwolf apps, I basically just did what I already did with my World of Warcraft add-ons, I just did it for Overwolf apps and in multiple games. So I just did it on a on a broader level.

What has been your experience working in modding as an LGBTQ+ developer?

Actually, for 98%, it’s not even a factor, it doesn’t come up, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t change anything. There’s always users that are homophobic in the same way, as there’s always users that will be racist. And there’s always users that will have a problem with female developers over male developers. You’re never going to get rid of it entirely.

But it’s, it’s actually extremely rare that me being gay, even though I’m openly gay — I mean, my boyfriend writes with us. He’s one of our core members. He helps out development in our Discord. It’s pretty visible that we’re LGBT friendly. It’s actually extremely rare that it matters at all. And so to be fair, I don’t think it does much difference for me. We all have something that opens us up for discrimination of some kind. And I think just being gay is my thing.

What do you like best about doing mod work specifically?

I fucking love it when people come into the Discord and just say like, ‘Dude, what the fuck this thing is amazing. Like this, this does exactly what I have been having issues with.’

And having people… how do I put this? Enjoy what you create? Because as a as a developer, you have to kinda like writing code, right? That’s, that’s a given. If you don’t like that you’re not going to last. So that’s great. Like, I love what I’m doing on that front.

Making money is something that everyone needs to do, because otherwise you can’t live. So that that working out is great. But I’m specifically developing software for users. And specifically for gamers, so if gamers really enjoy what I create, that’s, that’s amazing. It’s it’s so lovely to hear how people were not appreciating something that was happening in the game or didn’t like how certain things were hard to do or hard to get or information was hard to come by. And you just fixed it for them, you know? In a way it’s it’s it’s the best kind of service I can imagine me doing with my background as a developer, of course. So I think it’s it’s definitely the users opening up about their experiences and how much better things can get because of mods, add-ons, apps, all that kind of stuff.

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4 thoughts on “Meet the queer professional modder who is improving games for everyone

  • Thank you so much for the awesome article! It is great to get some coverage like this and I appreciate the time that went into it.

    @Ty: You are an amazing person and it was lovely to chat with you and I hope it is not the last time we hear from one another! Thank you in particular for the article!

    For anyone who wants to know more about what I do, or wants to get to use some of my software, the easiest is to get to all the Overwolf apps should be linked on there, as well as all our (open and of course woman and LGBTQ+ friendly) Gaming Communities socials!

  • Developers like Tex are the true life blood of the gaming world.

    Filled with passion and drive to deliver products that the customers want and need. Hats off to him, his team and their body of work. Their dedication to creating inclusive and diverse gaming experiences is truly commendable and a testament to the positive impact they’re making in the gaming community.

  • Nice article! Congratulations Tex! i have played with Tex for two years(?) in his wow raid community, its a warm and welcoming comminity for everyone , even the bad (🤣) nice to see you finally get the attention you deserve! I use meny of his add ons in wow, also his Ow apps, recommend checkinc out his D4 and the new Palworld app!

  • Tex is a sweetheart and takes ideas even if you think it might be silly like the companion mod for wow colors for certain things to make it easier visually for some people and cant recomend the d4 interactive map enough it really makes things easier

    im proud to concider him a friend and im proud of his work too a smart man with a good sense of what is needed be it a mod an app or even a push to do better as a raider

    good to see you still trucking on and you are still amazing keep at it

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