BetterDiscord permits customers to tailor Discord’s desktop app to their very own private aesthetic and UX preferences, and introduces different quality-of-life enhancements main and minor. Simply obtain and set up the free software program, after which choose and select plug-ins and skins from BetterDiscord’s database. Different adjustments mechanically seem, like a button for perusing an inventory of user-submitted servers and a brand new emote structure. (The software program doesn’t work with the cell app or within the browser.) Your Discord window background could be the face of your favourite anime waifu, and you’ll delete that pesky Reward button to the best of the textual content field. You can also make Discord appear like it did three years in the past or add in a Google Translate choice.
The expertise remembers an earlier web period, when black-and-green terminal-style Winamp skins had been standard, and every part downloaded on-line was customizable—formally or not. BetterDiscord shouldn’t be an formally sanctioned app; and certain it breaks Discord’s phrases of service, which prohibit modifying Discord. However the software program has been put in greater than 5.3 million occasions since 2015, and its builders say they haven’t seen Discord take motion towards customers for modifying the consumer.
BetterDiscord is the work of a unfastened group of volunteer devs, led by a 27-year-old full-time firmware engineer named Zack Rauen. The venture started simply months after Discord launched in 2015. At first, BetterDiscord was patching small holes within the chat app and including new options like search. Rauen, who hopped onto the venture in 2016, mentioned he began off making a plug-in that allow customers with totally different “roles” in a server select totally different colours for his or her names and textual content. Later, he coded within the skill to ignore Discord’s minimal window dimension requirement, and to take away annoying buttons he by no means used.
Since then, the venture has expanded. And though Discord has formally built-in some options previously solely accessible via BetterDiscord, BetterDiscord continues to be one step forward. Dozens of customers have submitted skins and plug-ins, for instance, detailing who “reacted” to a message, figuring out what number of associates are on-line, displaying server member counts, or blurring NSFW posts. BetterDiscord’s high three plug-ins have every been downloaded from its web site greater than 100,000 occasions. Amongst its best-trafficked: one which provides in a Spotify management panel, one other that exhibits how a lot time you’ve been in a voice name, and a 3rd that shows all of a server’s hidden channels.
“We have seen new customers are available as a result of they just like the visible customization of themes, and we have seen them are available as a result of they just like the purposeful adjustments that plug-ins can present,” says Rauen. Since a lot content material is user-submitted, he and others carry out handbook safety evaluations of every part that comes their manner, searching for malicious code. Additionally they plan to launch an in-app retailer for BetterDiscord someday this 12 months, which is able to let customers browse, obtain, and set up add-ins from inside their Discord window.
Options like that might be notably helpful to newer Discord customers—and there are many extra of these now than there have been only a 12 months or two in the past. Initially an edgelord group-chat platform for avid gamers, Discord rocketed into the mainstream in 2020, when the very and not-very on-line alike had been looking for methods to remain in contact. Individuals use the chat app to observe motion pictures along with its screen-share performance, to share memes (with out logging into Fb), and even to show faculty programs. By final summer season, Discord jettisoned its “for avid gamers” branding and adopted a brand new tagline: “Your home to speak.” This 12 months, it added a Clubhouse-like function known as Levels. As we speak it has greater than 300 million customers, whose pursuits transcend video video games to issues like knitting, steel music, tabletop video games, beloved YouTubers, and extra.
As Discord shifts an increasing number of into “one thing for everyone,” BetterDiscord brings out the spirit of an earlier web period, serving to Discord customers categorical themselves, unfettered by what one firm thinks is finest.