Ultro-Mod: Stalker Complete 2009

By Alec Meer on May 21st, 2009 at 11:15 am.

Jim’s already done an extensive round-up of the more interesting mods for Stalker: Clear Sky, but me, I’m happy sticking to the original Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. While the Oblivion Lost mod and its million features is the most renowned fan-tweak, there’s much to be said for retaining the game’s original structure rather than necessarily embracing such sweeping changes. With that in mind, I’m very much enjoying replaying SHOC with the Stalker Complete 2009 modpack. Primarily, it simply makes the game much, much prettier. How pretty? This pretty:

More shots below.

There is an argument to be made that we shouldn’t get so hung up about graphics, but in a game so based around exploring a unique environment, graphics are truly part of the experience. And this mod definitely improves that experience.

Despite the size of the overhaul (some 900 new textures, a whole new sky and weather system…) It’s impressively subtle – you’re not slapped around the face with new!new!new! but rather no longer feel as though you’re playing a game from 2007. It looks and feels fresh and modern. Lighting – the new day-night cycle’s particularly spectacular – and textures are what’s most lovingly touched by the hand of mod, but on the non-graphical front much of the in-game text gets a more grammar-friendly rewrite and the HUD receives a much-needed overhaul. There’s also a ton of bugfixes in there. So, perversely, it’s an amateur effort that makes the host game more professional. Highly recommended for Stalker vets and newbies alike. Go get.

Oh – and you can also ‘dress’ NPCs by giving them new clothes. Fashion parades in the Zone: whoda thunk it?

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89 Comments »

  1. Kastanok says:

    Ooooh that IS pretty, indeed.

  2. negativedge says:

    do we have a Pynchon fan, or is zone capitalized in this too?

    someone could do a Gravity’s Rainbow video game, I swear. it would basically be Stalker with more drugs, sex and no hope of winning.

    (well ok only part 3 BUT WHATEVER)

  3. Waste_Manager says:

    This might just inspire another run through. That sky is much pretty.

  4. Lukasz says:

    well. i guess it is time to reinstall stalker and play it again!

  5. Monchberter says:

    Can we actually have some ‘clear sky’ now? The original Stalker’s weather was so oppressive it almost induced S.A.D. and i just gave up in fear of topping myself.

    Fallout 3 manages the apocalyptic wasteland setting well without feeling like a miserable experience because at least the sun came out now and again and it wasn’t always pissing it down.

  6. sierse says:

    Hehe, perfect! Just the excuse I needed to try out stalker on my new (old) 22″ crt : ) I’ll probably miss the 16:10 aspect ratio of the old lcd though… but I’m salivating to see how well he implemented the new weather system, having fiddled with it for far too many hours last year.

  7. Ian says:

    That’s mighty pretties.

  8. MurrayHewitt says:

    I guess this can’t be used in conjunction with Oblivion Lost due to the large list of changes both mods include. Which is a shame as I love the hardcore damage model you get with OL, plus the extra randomness of the anomalies, NPCs and mutants really shakes things up (obviously this isn’t to everyone’s tastes). Hell, I even like the random blowouts.

  9. mejobloggs says:

    Hawt damn that looks impressive

  10. Mr Pink says:

    I’m about to upgrade my machine. As soon as it’s done I’m installing this. Let’s see if I can finally “get” Stalker.

  11. teo says:

    STALKER can be so pretty at times

  12. Uglycat says:

    Anyone know if the mods screw up the Steam version?

  13. Davee says:

    Wow! Looks like something I’d really want to combine with OL just for the eye-candy and better grammar (OL fails in that last matter). But just like MurrayHewitt a few posts up said; They’re most likely not compatibe… Sure hope somebody makes a compability patch ;)

    And Uglycat: I think I heard somewhere that the Steam version could be freely modified whitout problems.

  14. Alec Meer says:

    Uglycat: I’m using this one with the Steam version.

  15. Will Tomas says:

    Does this mean that older computers that could cope with original Stalker wouldn’t be able to handle the stuff this mod is asking for though?

    - in other words, does it up the system specs?

  16. The Hammer says:

    Oooooh. I like the skies in these. Especially the first one.

  17. Dominic White says:

    This mod is definitely one to keep an eye on. Upcoming versions are apparently going to start adding new weapons and such, just to round out the range of stuff you find.

    It’s a really good effort all round. It also avoids doing that thing that apparently every other STALKER mod on earth does – making the guns extra damaging AND super-accurate. I think Complete 2009 tightens up the accuracy a little on the lower-end guns, but generally slightly decreases firepower, so that gunfights are long and dramatic.

  18. sfury says:

    I was looking for an excuse for a second playthrough, now I know what I’ll be doing when I get back home. Thanks! :)

  19. Super Bladesman says:

    Mighty pretty – I’ve got a new graphics card since I last slo-mo’d my way through the early stages of Stalker…

  20. MikeBiggs says:

    Yay for shiny graphics! Downloading now :D

  21. Wirbelwind says:

    Looks great, will be using it when I finally give this a playthrough.

    Hopefully it won’t rape my computer hardware.

  22. Nallen says:

    No clicky this picture for this picture but all up in your face sized? :(

  23. Andy says:

    The main thing from stopping me getting into STALKER is I can’t get past the first mission. Do I really have to lower myself to putting it on Easy? The starter pistol you get is so puny it seems like I need about 10 hits to take anyone down? Any help would be appreciated.

  24. mrrobsa says:

    Always thought the night sky texture in STALKER was beautiful, hope that it is the same or better in this mod.

  25. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    @Monchberter: Glad I wasn’t the only person who felt that the zone was just a dreary, drizzly miserable place…

    Any information of the specs needed to run this?

  26. Skye Nathaniel says:

    This looks wonderful, but I’ve already modified a bunch of stuff that I don’t want to overwrite, like weapon damage and armor ratings.

  27. Heliocentric says:

    I completed the first mission without firing a shot. Let your friends help. Thats like 2.5 more pretty than stalker, can i use the mod on a current play through though? I’d hate to restart until i get through to the end, me and marked one have been through alot. Mainly running away from dogs and bandits, mostly dogs.

    I’d pay for a stalker mmofps, but i’d want the game to punish power gamers. Stalker’s isn’t a world you can really “win”.

    /harmonica emote

  28. Freudian Trip says:

    This has inspired me to give it another go. I played it on my old PC and the fact that it was unbelievably hard, grab you by the balls and force them into your mothers mouth hard, with it’s tediously long loading times I gave up very quickly.

    Does this work for Clearsky?

  29. lumpi says:

    Good thing.

    I managed to get Gametap working (after THIS: http://support.gametap.com/selfservice/template.do?id=348 and half an hour of fixing the bugs caused by borked installs), and I have to say STALKER is as buggy and meh as everyone told me. I read in forums that you shouldn’t even touch the game without installing the community-made patch-mod before. And I guess they’re right. Of course you can’t do that with DRM-tastic Gametap, so another loose for them…

    I remember the first time, I realized that when loading a save game, sometimes all enemies on screen suddenly look in your direction (even if you sneaked up from behind during the save), I had one of the most intense facepalm moments of recent weeks. Oh my.

  30. Meat Circus says:

    Can this be installed atop Oblivion Lost?

  31. sfury says:

    It seems some of you have not followed the link at the bottom – http://artistpavel.blogspot.com/2009/04/stalker-complete-2009.html

    There is a Flickr gallery full of full-sized snapshots AND full list of the MODs used – bet you can put most of those at least on your already modded game. (and maybe even the whole MOD, dunno, just read the referenced thing and then start asking people)

  32. Rei Onryou says:

    Just the mod I’ve been waiting for. Now I can go back to Stalker. Eventually. Other games come first…

  33. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    @Skye Nathaniel:
    Stalker Complete keeps most if not all of the weapons and armor at vanilla specs, so in theory you can just leave out the /config/weapons folder to keep your tweaked weapons. The mod does make a number of changes to the weapon descriptions, but those are kept in a stringtable file somewhere else I believe. Suit specs are kept in the outfit.ltx file in the same directory and aren’t changed by this mod so you’re all set there.

    @Meat Circus:
    Unfortunately it’s not easy to add pretty much anything to OL as it changes pretty much every file in the game. You can get a lot of the same look in OL by using the Argus Photorealistic zone textures plus an OL compatibility patch, the Sky4ce Skygraphics Mod, and the Panoramic Zone mod plus compatibility patch. Sorry to not provide links, but I got them all from Stalker.FileFront.com.

    So far this has been my favorite large Stalker mod. It really adds a lot to the game graphically, and it makes a ton of very subtle gameplay changes and fixes that nevertheless keep the core gameplay experience intact.

    OL, AMK, SuperModPack, etc. are fun but they push the game too far into sci-fi action movie territory for my laiking, and SMP is trying to do so much that for me anyway it isn’t always stable. And Stalker sure doesn’t need to be any less stable.

    If I could somehow get the OL-style randomized anomalies into the game it’d be pretty much perfect.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    Oh, and my favorite thing about the new weather system: the sun now rises in the east and sets in the west. Funny how the original game had so much environmental detail and got something that obvious wrong.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Nero says:

    I recently decided to finally finish it after not having played it in a while and I’m right at the end and I will try this out real quick when I’m done since right now I’m playing vanilla (with only edited carry weight and repair mod). Should be interesting to see the changes to this wonderful game.

  36. Malibu Stacey says:

    Just looking at all the stuff this mod has integrated is actually making me drool. I had installed the Float32 mod (site appears to be down currently) when I first gave S.T.A.L.K.E.R a go last year (only got as far as the second map area) but I’m definitely playing from the start with this mod installed right to the end.

    Damn nice find Mr Meer!

  37. Tim James says:

    I think I read that this mod increases the difficulty of the shootouts in some way, so be careful if you’re sensitive about those things.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    @Tim James: if the latest version of the mod is installed correctly it doesn’t really change anything in terms of difficulty… weapons retain vanilla values as do outfit protection, healing and bleeding rates etc. The AI tweaks actually make the AI less likely to spot you at night or at crazy distances, so my experience so far has been that combat is a lot easier. If you’ve played andy of the AMK/OL-based mods combat is dramatically easier than that.

    I think the folks posting on artistpavel’s blog that are having difficulty issues are either referring to an earlier version with somewhat overpowered weapons or have a mod install that got goofed up somehow… it happened to me with the earlier 1.3 patch, where it somewhat surreally still thought I had 1.2 installed.

  39. rmtx97 says:

    I became wayyy too frustrated with the difficulty of actually defeating enemies in STALKER. I tried the 1st mission of saving some guy held by 6 other guys in a warehouse and I just couldnt complete the mission. I know I can’t just waltz through guys (Oblivion) but still I was shocked that I died EVERY TIME. I just said F-this and uninstalled a week later. Maybe this mod and some encouragement will get me to try it again.

  40. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    @rmtx97:

    Stalker can be a little frustrating, because in the beginning the weapons you have available to you are inaccurate and underpowered, the leather jacket that you start with doesn’t stop bullets worth a damn, and the game really does require a more cautious, tactical style of play than most FPSs.

    A hint that might help you get over the hump: it’s possible to get a mercenary armored suit in the village where you start out… I won’t tell you exactly where, but you can find that info easily enough, or just explore until you find it. That will make you a lot more survivable in the early game without completely unbalancing things.

    Give it another shot; it’s really worth it.

  41. chequers says:

    Can you drop this on top your oblivion lost and not have stuff break?

  42. Jim Rossignol says:

    I assume you can use the mod manager to merge this with OL set priorities so that it doesn’t break too horribly.

  43. Malibu Stacey says:

    I found S.T.A.L.K.E.R to be pretty much Nintendo Hard to start with but as Anaphiel says it’s only because you’re trying to take on decent enemies who have armour & SMGs while you’re toting only a pistol and a knife. Once you get a bit of decent kit (the first rifle you find will be your friend for life) it becomes a lot more “forgiving”.
    That’s the only thing I can think of changing except for more bug fixes which this mod pack appears to do anyway. An SMG and something better than wet toilet paper to protect yourself with when you start out would help a lot of people be less frustrated with the initial difficulty. Having said that once you figure out how to use the map to locate the “hidden” caches and learn what to look for when you’re at the right spot you can get some really nice stuff.

    I only stopped playing during the second area due to real life (and Team Fortress 2) taking over at the time. The first area is pretty much your average “tutorial” section compared to what comes next.

  44. moyogo says:

    specs on the screenshot?

  45. Little Green Man says:

    Uhm, people complaining about rubbish kit at the start evidently haven’t heard of the Basix Mods. These mods changed the earlier missions so that they would give you semi-decent stuff, and you could get unique stuff in the 3rd(?) mission if you asked one of the guys in game.

  46. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    One other starting strategy is to ignore the first “kill the bandits at the car park” mission at first, make your way to the northern half of the Cordon area, and try to ambush a bandit toting an SMG or AK. There are usually just two bandits at the north-most checkpoint, and one usually has an SMG. That makes killing the eight or so bandits at the car park a lot easier.

    A cheesier but quicker method is to attack the first bandits
    along with Wolf’s crew, and stand back and see what happens.

    If Wolf’s scouts kill a lot of bandits, great! Go in and loot the bandit bodies, maybe find a better gun. If the bandits whack the scouts, great! Loot their bodies and then mop up.

  47. TeeJay says:

    I want to play STAKER or the first time but the number of different mods available is confusing me. Can anyone point me to a good condensed summary of what’s what?

  48. stormbringer951 says:

    ObLost – most popular mod. best balanced i suppose. insane jump height and artefact carry. maker is a moron.

    Priboi Story – different mod set after SHOC. you play a military guy. your framerate will plummet with their textures.

    Complete – Prettiest mod award.

    Zone Reclamation Project – made by the community as a bugfix + lite mod. You can tweak it yourself with a tool they made to suit your tastes.

    ABC Inferno – fun mod, not realistic.

  49. stormbringer951 says:

    Oh and AMK: mod that Oblivion Lost was “based” on (read: bloodily ripped off). Russian, there’s an english translation but they’re releasing a new update soon so wait for that if you like.

  50. Premium User Badge

    Anaphiel says:

    stormbringer gives a decent rundown, but I’d add SuperModPack, essentially OL plus a ton of other stuff, and also Rebalanced, which is another OL-based mod. Much less over-the-top than pure OL or AMK.

    @TeeJay, for a first playthrough I would actually suggest this mod. Complete really adds to the experience of the vanilla game, but in very subtle ways. It pretty much just sands away some of the rough edges from the vanilla game, without making huge changes to balance or feel. And it does look purty.