Timed Morbidity: The Haunted

By Jim Rossignol on August 6th, 2009 at 11:22 am.


Having been messing around with UT3 again in the wake of the ongoing Make Something Unreal competition, I’ve picked up a load of levels and mods, some of which I’ll probably post about here in the next few days. The one that I want to get out of the way first is the excellent third-person demon/zombie shooter, The Haunted. (It’s an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, obviously.) Now I’m betting there are few people here who will sign for a moratorium on zombie games in 2010, but until then this is a genuinely excellent piece of work. There’s a single player game, and multiplayer in which “humans” take on demons controlled by other players. The core concept for solo play is “just try and stay alive”. And that really does become tricky as the ammo runs out and the baddies pile in. It’s beautifully conceived and executed, and supernaturally bleak weather rolls in as the game unfolds, making it even more threatening. Get it here, or watch the video below for more flavour.

PLAY THAT GUITAR! Nneeeaaaoooowooooo! Note: the mod does not feature terrible ax.

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84 Comments »

  1. skrat says:

    Seems like a massive combination of a variety of games… resi 4, zombie master, killing floor, left 4 dead etc. etc. Otherwise looks and seems rather good.

  2. Davee says:

    @skrat: And a little Gears of War thrown in i think. But yes, it does look good! Too bad I haven’t gotten around to buy UT3 yet. Maby some of these mods will change that – the last competition sure did with Red Orchestra.

  3. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Oh my god, that’s some funky gib!

  4. LewieP says:

    1:20
    FALLLCCCOOONNN PUNCH!

  5. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    I’ll sign a petition AGAINST a moratorium on zombie games in 2010.

    There is no such thing as too many zombies.

  6. Fenchurch says:

    @The Fanciest of Pants

    And in the game, too!

  7. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I noticed last night that UT3 is on my Steam games “not currently installed” list. I don’t remember buying it but it’s something called the “Black Edition” which sounds like something I might have bought in a sale (according to my receipts I bought it last year for not very much money which supports this hypothesis).

    Are there any ads for UT3 mods that don’t involve zombies and/or horrific geeeeeetar solos?

    The Make Something Unreal tournament did once throw up a mod I absolutely loved; I can’t remember the name of it but it was the one where you roll about in different balls solving rolly-ball type physics puzzles like a giant hamster from MENSA. Very much fun.

  8. Howard says:

    Dear God.

    First up, that was my first and LAST UT3 mod – whichever moron designed the login feature for that game and forced you to make a new account for a mod needs bloody shooting.

    Second up, AWFUL mod. Desperately ugly with the least inspired model design I have ever seen.
    That aside, why is that people who make zombie games insist on them being terrible? Why the obsession with no ammo? Why the obsession with piss-poor controls? Why the obsession with piss-poor cameras? I just don’t get it…

  9. Nafe says:

    I think RPS should have a whip-round to pay for Howards stickuphisarseectomy.

  10. David says:

    Strewth. Nothing about that video appealed to me. The guitar might have been the best bit.

  11. Janos says:

    This is really fun if you know how to play it. The quality is definitely above normal mod standarts.

  12. Dominic White says:

    Well, Howard loathes this mod with unholy passion.

    So I’ll be downloading it. I’m fairly sure he’s from Bizarro world, and hates everything good and fun, and his hate is usually a good inverse metric of quality.

  13. Howard says:

    Dom, do you REALLY have nothing better to do than turn up here to troll for me? Should I be flattered or something? Just because I DARED to point out that ARMA2 has more than its share of bugs you have now embarked on a singularly boring and childish vendetta to hound me whenever I post.

    Also. saying that a mod is a) a pain to get working and b) very unoriginal does not translate to “loathes this mod with unholy passion”. Get a bloody grip…

  14. Jim Rossignol says:

    Now, now. Howard can a bit grumpy, but there’s no need to be mean.

    No more flamishness, please.

  15. Krondonian says:

    I got this a while ago, but the lack of decent servers/people on them prevented me from playing. All the cool weapons have to be unlocked too, which is annoying.

    I had no idea about that Zombie Master style controlling the undead, nor the singleplayer. Time to try it again, I think.

  16. Richard Beer says:

    This looks simultaneously hilarious and er… well dated would be a nice way of putting it. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Duke Nukem 3D in the way all the models move and the collisions are detected, even though all the sprites in that were in 2D.

  17. Richard Beer says:

    Actually, maybe it’s Serious Sam I’m thinking of, although that’s still waay back.

  18. Comment system, what comment system? says:

    I knew I bought UT3 for a reason!

  19. The Innocent says:

    It looks alright, though I don’t know if I’ll be trying it. The gunplay only looks so-so, but perhaps the wailing guitars distracted me. I’m curious about the parts talking about controlling the monsters, and it looks like punching a zombie turns them into a gooey pinata — both good things. Ultimately, however, I just don’t want to reinstall the joyless UT3 on my smallish hard drive.

    I’m also wondering about the plight of the survivors. Are they in a zombie-fighting mood and looking for a tussle, or are they trying to survive? Seems to me they deserve what they have coming hanging around creepy towns like that. Who wouldn’t expect zombies in such a place?

  20. Chris says:

    Well, I don’t want to pick on guys making a mod in their spare time, etc. But I can’t get over the god-awful animation in that video. I have no interest in playing if the game looks like it takes place in uncanny valley.

  21. Psychopomp says:

    There’s an obsession with limited ammo, Howard, because if you can just blow everything away *there’s no suspense.*
    The controls weren’t much worse than Resi 4/5, and those just took a few seconds of getting used to, then it was third nature.

  22. ChampionHyena says:

    ARGH THIS FREE SOFTWARE IS SUCH A PAIN IN THE BUTT

    HOW CAN THEY EXPECT TO MAKE ANY SALES WITH THIS

    AMATEURS

  23. Howard says:

    @ChampionHyena
    So because something is free it is automatically exempt from any form of criticism? Interesting…

    @PsychoPomp
    If a game designer can only add suspense and tension to their game by artificially limiting the amount of ammunition available then they are clearly far to empty headed to be making games to begin with. The exact same thing can be said for artificially making the controls unintuitive like the utterly vile Resident Evil games you mention. Design like that shows both an utter and complete lack of talent and something tantamount to outright contempt for the player.

  24. Dominic White says:

    If you hate Resident Evil 4, you have no soul. This is a scientific fact, proved in laborotory conditions by trained scienticians.

    And y’know what? Howard, you are wrong. You are very wrong. There are fewer things scarier in a game than having a dozen undead monsters shambling at you, and knowing that even if you don’t miss anything, you can only bring down ten of them.

  25. Scundoo says:

    [blockquote]Now I’m betting there are few people here who will sign for a moratorium on zombie games in 2010[/blockquote]

    Even more so than ww2 fps games.

  26. Howard says:

    Artificial restraints are the antithesis of game design. Idiocy like Resident Evil 4′s ludicrous restrictions on movement are unforgivable.

    And no, I’m not wrong, you just disagree with me. Others, you will be *astonished* to learn, agree with me Dom.

    A game should not be a test of how well I can function with my hands tied and the dev’s behind RE4/5 have freely admitted that is what made them implement that control scheme. (which is why they got roasted by everyone when number 5 was released).

  27. jalf says:

    Many popular board games are *all* artiifical restraints. What is the logical justification for the movement allowed for various Chess pieces? Is it unforgivable that they are given such arbitrary restrictions? Surely it’s completely unrealistic that the queen can move so much faster than the king, isn’t it? And that she can only move in straight lines. Arbitrary restraints are what *makes* a game. Some games just dress them up better than others, to make the restraints *seem* meaningful.

  28. jalf says:

    By the way, I should probably add that I can see your point, Howard. I just wouldn’t say that “Artificial restraints are the antithesis of game design.”

    Also that I’ve never played RE4. :p

  29. Howard says:

    @jalf
    You make a valid point if what you are trying to prove is that board games should never be compared to modern computer games as they have precisely not one thing to do with each other.

    Also confusing arbitrary restrictions with rules shows you have failed to grasp the core of the argument to begin with.

  30. Howard says:

    Gah, you posted again before I replied! lol

    I’m confused then. You see my point but you disagree with it you mean?

  31. Janos says:

    There is alot of tension to be found in the coop mode here, when you have to run for the stones to save your teammates.

    Some animations really look aweful, but the weapons are rock solid and fun to use.

  32. Dominic White says:

    I’d like to ask what the hell an ‘Aribtrary restriction’ is. Aren’t the rules of any given game ALL arbitrary restrictions? How much health you have, how much ammo you can carry, what directions you can move in, how high you can jump, etc etc. I’ve seen tons of folks complaining about stuff like this over the years, but the only unifying thread of logic seems to be that ‘Arbitrary restriction’ is crypto-nerdspeak for ‘I don’t like it’.

    What would a non-arbitrary restriction be, then?

  33. Psychopomp says:

    @Howard

    Don’t play Penumbra.
    You would hate Penumbra.

  34. Chaz says:

    For a mod that looks pretty bloody good, going by that video. It’s got a lot more features than many full priced games I could mention. Lots of cool looking weapons, several different game modes, and it looks like you can play as all the monsters too.

    Compared to most other mods that is pretty outstanding, especially considering the vast majority never get passed weapon render stage. If I had a pound for every time I’ve looked at a bunch of screen shots for a new mod, that have consisted entirely of pictures of an unskinned combat knife and a Beretta, I’d be fucking rich by now.

  35. jalf says:

    @Dominic: That was pretty much my point as well. Arbitrary restrictions are what define a game.

    I suspect Howard’s complaint is that computer games should dress these restrictions up to *seem* meaningful. Which is a valid point. When you play Civilization, there are a lot of restrictions on unit strength, movement or the techs you need to build them. Ultimately, they’re all arbitrary, and chosen simply based on what makes for the most fun game. But they’re dressed up so they seem meaningful to the player. Of *course* a tank can move further than an archer. Of course a musketman can defeat an axeman.

    The rules, the *gameplay* are fundamentally arbitrary. But a video game can and should try to assign some kind of intuitive meaning to them. I just don’t think that’s what “game design” is, and failing to do so is not “the antithesis of game design”.

  36. Psychopomp says:

    I played through Resi 4 sixteen times.

    That’s all I’m gonna say.

  37. Dominic White says:

    Well, if that’s the case, then I can’t think of anything more intuitive in a zombie horror scenario than dwindling ammo supplies in the face of a growing undead horde. It’s what every movie has taught me will happen. You WILL run out of bullets, and then you’ll have to run and will likely do something dumb and get cornered and die.

    It sounds like he’s just objecting to the concept of having tight ammo reserves, which is daft.

  38. Kieron Gillen says:

    Dominic: Arbitrary is within the context of any game, as I actually talked about within the boardgame series. Much depends on actual *purpose*. In a realistic looking game, for it not to act realistically, you trip a load of people up. If you’re moving horsey and pawns, less so.

    KG

  39. PleasingFungus says:

    Mmm, delicious split hairs! They’re my favourite.

    Anyway, not sure if anyone else noticed the ‘commander’ mode. Which seemed to be a mode in which you tried to spawn monsters right behind the players, so as to infuriate them.

    Certainly seems like that couldn’t go wrong! (I.e.: Be no fun.)

  40. Howard says:

    @Kieron
    Thank you! Knew you’d get my point (whether or not you agreed)

    @PsychoPomp
    I did play Penumbra: all of them. They were pretty good. Very piss poor to wards the end and the combat system in the first one was very poorly implemented but not bad all the same.
    I can also well believe that you played RE4 so many times. Those who liked it LOVED it. Those who didn’t fucking LOATHED it. I bought it for the GC back at launch and took it back the same day, barely able to restrain myself from destroying the skinny little nerd behind the counter at Game who stared in slack-jawed wonder when I told him his Holy Grail of gaming was worthless crap.
    Opinions vary but there is a reason that no other game ever has copied RE4′s control mech, I’m just sayin’…

  41. Weylund says:

    I’m not sure what, precisely, makes a limitation on ammunition seem arbitrary. And tension, in combat, has often been practically *defined*, especially in the last century or so when ammunition supply became far more vital due to suppression and therefore was directly involved in not getting shot, by the knowledge that when your last round leaves the pipe you’re in for a world of hurt.

    Now, the big question: what would you suggest as an alternative? If you’re going to bang on about lack of imagination, please pony up.

    The poor controls, yes, that’s just not right, and it’s one of the reasons I stopped playing Resident Evil 4.

  42. Weylund says:

    As an aside, and apropos of practically nothing, a quote from Patrick Warburton: “Maybe if I push, instead of pull, this chicken will no longer be stuck in my shirt.”

    Go Sesame Street.

  43. Tei says:

    If is the same guy, he has been tryiing to make “Haunted” for a loooooooong time. There are Quake1 versions of it. If anything, him seems motivated to make what he have in mind, If the technology at hand let him do it. Looking forward for “Hanuted 3″ for Rage engine :-)

  44. Howard says:

    I think it is possible to make a good zombie survival shooter, I just don’t think it happens 90% of the time. RE suffers from idiotic controls, L4D suffers, IMHO, from very poorly implemented weapons (no “careful aiming” mode like most FPSs, unsatisfactory “feeling” weapons in general) and this mod just suffers from amateur (I know, I know) design. The levels feel too, well, fake I guess and having the ammo pop magically out of corpses is just a ludicrous decision.
    The only zombie game so far to get even close to getting it right is, bizarrely, the free MP add-on for CoD:WaW. The setting, soldiers stranded in a ramshackle house that, by playing carefully, can be opened up as the game progresses giving you more defence options, really worked for me and the weapon dynamics, while not “realistic”, were at least solid and satisfying. Also I still believe that first-person is the only way to go with survival horror (Silent Hill being the exception, but then it is not “survival” horror) as the claustrophobic effect of that view adds massively to the immersion.
    As to ammo, having a limit is not in and off itself idiotic (ammo is a physical thing with an actual, physical limit after all) but it should be possible, through skill and (if relevant) teamwork, to obtain more.

    That better Weylund?

  45. The Innocent says:

    Man, I’m split on this. I would agree with Howard that the movement restrictions in RE4 feel extremely arbitrary — I mean, if I’m aiming at something I can move to the side (or even backwards!) without lowering my weapon, and I’m no professional zombie/infected-slaying agent. That doesn’t make the game bad by any means, but in my opinion it did decrease my enjoyment of the experience. Penumbra, on the other hand, may have had a hackneyed control system, but it felt quite real within the context because you played as a scared wimpy dude rather than a fighter, so the restrictions weren’t arbitrary, but logical (though perhaps poorly implemented).

    Now, I also disagree with one of Howard’s points, as it seems that a restriction on ammunition would make sense within the context of a zombie onslaught; but that really wasn’t his only problem with the game. However, I agree that to build suspense purely through a lack of ammunition is sort of weak. Some examples of different uses of ammo: back when I played System Shock 2, I was terribly annoyed at the lack of ammo early on, but it still made sense that I would only have three bullets when I was in the non-military section of the ship. Left 4 Dead gave players far too much ammo in my opinion, so there was never really too much danger of running out, and that struck me as an arbitrary overabundance of a resource. On the flipside, the best suspenseful games don’t rely on ammo limits, but employ them well: I liked being able to choose my ammunition amount in STALKER by stocking up before a big trek, shooting a lot at first and then slowly running out of good caliber ammo around Yantar, before finally having to drag myself back to the Bar with only a few clips left for my pistol. That was suspenseful throughout, and it was suspense that was heightened (not created) by ammo limits.

  46. Weylund says:

    Yep. Thanks. I share many of your thoughts, just wanted to see why you were thinking that way.

    So – what survival horror movies (e.g. Dog Soldiers, Aliens, Romero’s Dead series) or books (e.g. The Terror), to you, capture the experience you’re looking for in these games?

  47. Howard says:

    Alien or Aliens. Plain and simple. The horror and fear should be about what’s chasing you and the fact that they are terrifying, not that, for reasons that escape logic, you decided to wander into zombie/alien/rabid bunny territory with one broken shotgun and 24 shells.

    Also the MP on the original AVP did a cracking job.

  48. Psychopomp says:

    @Howard

    Did you ever play the Xbox edition of Fatal Frame 2? It pretty much solidifies that first person is just scarier.

  49. Howard says:

    Damn. Pressed enter too soon. Was also going to say that 28 Days Later, while I did not completely like the film, did a good job on the survival horror front. Its setting just made sense and the monsters were suitably scary.

  50. Howard says:

    @Psychopomp
    No, must of missed that one. Is it available on any other platform?

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