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. Psychopomp says:

    It’s on the PS2, however, the “special edition” with the first person mode is only available on the original Xbox.

    It’s backwards compatible, though.

  2. Weylund says:

    @Howard: Cheers, I agree. Would, in your opinion, a faithful simulation of being trapped behind enemy lines (say, like Mogadishu) constitute survival horror? Can the terror of the situation take the place of a terror of what’s chasing you? Or does what’s chasing you have some larger metaphorical meaning – say, a death by angry mob as opposed to a stalking monster that is the stuff of nightmares?

    I personally prefer kick-ass monsters, just wanted to ask. Pity that they’re so hard to invent. There have been scant few that really capture my imagination.

    As for the Haunted… I don’t own UT3, but I’ve always been willing to buy an engine to get a mod. :) Sounds like opinions are mixed, though.

  3. Howard says:

    @Weylund
    No, I could buy that. Survival horror is all about the psychology of the situation, as long as the fear is palpable it would still qualify.

  4. Psychopomp says:

    I think it should be known, there’s nothing I fear more in all of gaming, than a good scout.

    Oh how I loathe them.

  5. Matiiou says:

    A lot of improvements have been realized between the first and the second release. This mod is clarely one of the best for UTIII and will be certainly improved again for the next phase of the MSUC.
    By The Way, the 2.5 will be released in the next weeks with a new map and special attacks for the monsters : http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-haunted/news/the-haunted-msu-wins-and-v25-announcement

  6. Dominic White says:

    Yeah, something that nobody should forget here is that Make Something Unreal is an ongoing, multi-phase contest. There’s a dozen or so mods that are jostling for position, improving with each submission phase in order to get that big prize.

    Planetstorm, for instance, was a mess near the start of the contest, but showed promise. Now it’s developing into something very impressive. It’s most likely going to win, and (unless something snaps) end up as a standalone title, ala Red Orchestra.

  7. Jambe says:

    As Howard pointed out, the “getting it running” bit of the equation is a bit of a pain. I’m personally enjoying the setting and characters, though. They’re cliched and generic, perhaps, but you can pretty much say that of any zombie shooter. I’m not having any trouble with the controls and I quite enjoy the weapon & ammo system (as Psychopomp pointed out, too much ammo = too little suspense).

    I would agree that the camera could use a bit of polish — third person shootery stuff tends to be hard to get right, I think, at least compared to 1st. The whole mod could use a bit of polish, truth be told… but considering this is free, and was done by enthusiasts in what I assume was their free time… I’m pretty satisfied. I’m not going to play it a whole helluva lot, but it’s a fun time killer.

    @l1ddl3monkey: the “Black Edition” is UT3 with some expansion stuff included (it’s the only version for sale online anymore, I believe).

  8. Lord_Mordja says:

    Man, I played this mod before it was cool. -_-

    Great fun.

  9. Chaz says:

    I’m really surprised no has done a proper Dawn of the Dead (the original Romero version) style co-op mod yet. Keep it slim say four players, struggling with limited ammo and scavenging food and aid until they can access the gun store. After which they can use the newly found fire power to try and close off the mall to invaders. Once thats done create a few crises for the group to overcome. I would make the gameplay style in the vain of a realistic tactical shooter, none of this fast and furious run and gun and gibbage stuff of games like L4D etc.

    Keep the zombies slow and shambling. Yeah they might be easy to run past, but once you make a mistake and get yourself into a situation, that’s when the fear and panic should kick in. Especially if you make the consequences severe enough, as in the films, you get bit and its all over. Surely the big fear of zombies is, that although they are slow and mostly mindless, they never sleep and they don’t stop, and just one bite will slowly turn you into one of them. By contrast in L4D you can be whaled on by hoards of fast moving zombies, only to to pop on a med kit moments later to make everything fine again, and it removes all tension and fear from the game.

  10. Wedge says:

    Well, looks better that UT3. Maybe I can find something fun to do with it now.

  11. SubEffect says:

    Good Lord that is one ugly looking mod. I’m sure the textures and models are all awesome on a monster machine but the brown, the brown!! It’s like some norovirus horror ward of endless poop laundry!

    Also with headbands.

  12. David says:

    @Chaz Zombi, while not a co-op shooter, was a cracking good* take on Dawn of the Dead. http://www.mobygames.com/game/zombi

    * If I recall correctly.

  13. Psychopomp says:

    @Chaz

    A roguelike, survival horror shooter would indeed make a mess in my pants.

  14. Cutman says:

    So why aren’t we all playing this?

  15. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Oooh, that looks sweet :)

  16. ScHlAuChi says:

    @Jim Rossignol
    Thanks for posting about our mod :)

    The version in this trailer was created by 4 people (1 music guy, 1 Game/LD guy, 1Coder/Artist, 1 Lightning guy)

    Alot of things people complain about here is already fixed in the upcoming version 2.5

  17. ScHlAuChi says:

    @Howard
    Im the game and leveldesigner of Haunted, i have several years of gameindustry experience as a designer. I will completely ignore your ridicilous comments about amateur design as there are a few points that are obvious:

    a) You have not played it all and just make baseless assumptions like “lack of ammo” which isnt even the case
    b) You absolutely fail to understand the requirements of this genre and what the target audience of this game wants
    c) You clearly dont seem to understand the design reasons and differences behind 1st and 3rd person games

    Luckily for us the professionals at EPIC decided that our designs were worth four 1st places – something that isnt accomplished by calling people amateurs on forums ;)

    If anyone wants to critizise the game, go play it and then post comments on our moddb page or in our IRC channel :)
    Have fun!

  18. Howard says:

    @ScHlAuChi
    Nice attitude. Receive any criticism, lash out out the person giving it. Of course I played your mod and simply writing off my opinion as bullshit because you don’t like it is just childish. Learn to roll with the punches, son.
    There is a lack of ammo in the game, at least when compared to what I believe would be a reasonable amount. AS I have discussed above adding arbitrary, utterly non-realistic restrictions to a game ALWAYS smacks of lack of talent or at least lack of will to think outside of the norm. I mean, what on earth possessed you to think that having ammo boxes pop out of your mobs was a good idea. On no level at all does that make even a scrap of sense.

    As to level design, sorry but I have to disagree again. Gone are the days when, while making DM or MP maps, it was just acceptable to stick a vast array of walkways, doorways and ramps together and be done with it. If you were making a map for classic Quake then it would fly, but the survival horror genre requires more realism and real-world design in its make-up.

    As you say though, you have won an award for your game. Congratulations, sincerely. I’m sure you put a lot of hard work into it and I do not aim to detract from that effort (though after your snotty, tantrum of a post I am less inclined to be generous). The fact that the MSUC guys have seen to reward you for turning out something that looks very old graphically, feels very old in its design and lacks, as far as I can tell, any original features (especially, as has been pointed out, when you have been peddling this mod in one form or another for over a decade) makes me a little sad though. After previous winners have come up with wholly originally and utterly entertaining ideas like Air Buccaneers I just expect more from this competition.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Howard… There are scales of wrongness. You’re off the scale here. You really are from bizarro world, I’m afraid.

  20. Howard says:

    Yay, Captain troll has woken up and come to spout nonsense at me again. My day is never complete until Dom arrives to mock me for utterly disagreeing with everyone else, even though he fails to notice that once he stopped trolling in the thread, the vast majority of posters ACTUALLY AGREED WITH ME. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a good flame-bait, eh Dom? =)

  21. Jim Rossignol says:

    Howard, everyone, chill out plz. Take a break from getting cross. Ignoring people is often the best option.

  22. phuzz says:

    The only addition I can make to this discussion is that the original RE game (and RE2) were bloody scary when I played them, and a lot of that was the restrictions placed on you, mostly the limited opportunities to save.
    At the time it left me terrified and sweaty, knowing that at any moment I could walk round a corner, die, and end up having to re-play the last 45 minutes all over again.

    Recently I picked up the remake of RE for the DS and the lack of saves just annoyed me.
    So perhaps these arbitrary restrictions (and as others have pointed out, all games have restrictions) can work, but nowadays we expect new! and exciting! restrictions in our games.
    (although a finite ammo supply is used in pretty much every game that has ammo)

  23. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Having read all the arguing I’m going to have to play it now. I wonder how long Steam will need to download UT3? Probably a lot longer than I will like.

  24. Michael Hegemann says:

    As project lead for the haunted i need to clear a few things up. The haunted has not been in development for over a decade, in this form it’s in full production for about 2 years.
    It uses 100% custom content and is not based on UT3 or GOW, just on the engine version and rough framework.

    Each form of critisim is being looked at, but blind bashing is ignored. We don’t try to justify things that people don’t like, the game is not finished and we improve it with every release.

    Anway, give the tongue-in-cheek survival action that the haunted is a try if you own UT3. You’ll see that it is different than others in this genre. If this ain’t enough, you will find more originality in the battle mode. With infinite ammo ;)

  25. ScHlAuChi says:

    @Howard
    You are not critizising the game, you are critizising a genre for what it is, thats like complaining that James Bond movies are unrealistic.

    When 2 out of the 3 weapons are empty ammo is dropped automatically. If that for whatever reason is not enough the player still has his melee and Charge-Kills.

    As for the ammo boxes popping out of enemies – what made Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 two of the highest rated games do that? Maybe because its a mechanic that works?

    Why do you think Haunted has arena type maps? Could it be that its simply impossible for 2 people to do what you expect? Capcom needed 4 years, over 200 people and had a huge budget. Also, whats the point of realism in a game where you fight Hell monsters?

    Where are all these awesome original mods now?
    They are all dead and almost no one plays them anymore!
    So how many units did Air Buccaneer sell compared to the totally original Red Orchestra? Oh yeah zero!

    Dont get me wrong, im all for innovation and quirky game ideas, but in this case if we ever want to sell this afterwards, we have to do what the target audience wants which you clearly is not ;)

  26. Miker says:

    are there going to be RPS posts about The Ball? I’ve heard that it’s a great mod, even won moddb’s best single player mod award some time ago

  27. Psychopomp says:

    @Howard
    One of the problems here is that you’re expect a modicum of realism, in an arcade-y action game. For once, *stop thinking,* and just play.

  28. Howard says:

    @ScHlAuChi
    So now I’m not only allowed to criticise precious little you, but I am also forbidden from poking holes in a genre? Well shit, at least you are here to clear that up for me.

    You cannot see the flaws in your pat project; that is understandable. It does not mean they are not there. Many genres are DOA and the type you have ascribed to is one of them. Break the mould: do something new. Go crazy and dare to live the dream that we as PC gamers hold dear.

    But you wont because you are comfortable.

    And yes, your mod has been in development for over a decade. Engine changes mean nothing

  29. Howard says:

    @ Psychopomp
    Stop thinking? Are you for real? You cannot possibly have posted that when sober, my friend…

  30. TCM says:

    @Howard:

    TBH, I saw nothing wrong with RE4′s controls, and RE5 only tightened that up. RE1-3 were control trainwrecks, though…

    Also, as fas as survival horror goes…I LIKE most of the “arbitrary restrictions” you complain about. I like limited ammo, it makes me carefully consider whether I should fight an enemy or avoid them. I like the close over the shoulder camera with little freedom of movement, it leads to me actually having to look around, as opposed to just rotating and repositioning the camera like I would do in other games. I can’t say I care for limited movement or poor controls, but I also can’t say I noticed those qualities in RE4 or 5 (I doubt I will play this mod, mainly as I don’t own UT3, and have no intention of buying it)

  31. ScHlAuChi says:

    @Howard
    Huh? Where did you get that idea from – we never changed engine, this mod started last May on UT3. It never existed on any other engine before.

    You can critizise a genre as much as you want, but guess what multiple genres are good for – to satisfy different audiences ;)
    Its like critizising that Metallica doesnt sound like Mozart – and its clear that this type of critizism is illogical.

    With that said, im out and let you guys have fun with Howard ;)

  32. Psychopomp says:

    @Howard

    No, I was completely sober. There’s such a thing as thinking too much.

    In Devil May Cry, you break apart a chair, and find crystallized demons blood.

    In most brawlers, enemies will drop *entire fucking chickens.*

    In Burnout, for some reason, driving really close to other people magically fills your gas tank with NOS.

    Realism is not what arcade-style games are going. They run off nothing more than

    (This is aimed solely at the mosters dropping ammo, BTW. The rest is entirely your personal opinion, although calling the devs “talentless” is incredibly out of line.)

  33. Psychopomp says:

    Oh dear, I fail at HTML apparently

  34. Melf_Himself says:

    Howard: learn2gamedesign
    Others: learn2notarguewithpeoplewhoblatantlyignorelogicalarguments

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