Prematch: Postscript

By Kieron Gillen on November 30th, 2009 at 11:10 am.

France has infused my body with garlic

We don’t often post about pre-release mods, but I’m making an exception for Postscript. Occasional RPS-contributor and Resolution top-dog Lewis Denby is working on a Half-life 2 mod. “File it next to things like Dear Esther and Radiator, probably, except more game-like than the former, and more formally-structured than the latter,” he says. In other word, short-form, experimental, character-driven narrative game mods. Since he’s written probably more extensively than any other critic on this sort of game – from the Path to Dear Esther, Denby’s been all over it – I’m intrigued to see what he ends up creating. You can follow its progress on its own site and the teaser-trailer follows…

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39 Comments »

  1. Robert Yang says:

    Indie pretension on the HL2 engine: unite!!

    • negativedge says:

      please refrain from Big Words you don’t know the meaning of

    • negativedge says:

      really though, I wouldn’t debase yourself with such an empty word

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Edge: Calm down. He’s being celebratory, not insulting.

      EDIT: And I only just noticed you’re mocking Robert Yang, man. *He’s Mr Radiator*.

      KG

    • Jon says:

      Owies.

    • TCM says:

      This is why you should make sure you know who exactly you’re mocking before you dive in.

    • Wulf says:

      Someone saying something that could be interpreted as an insult of their own works, which might mask the relation between them and their works thus raising the ire of their own fans is such a bleedin’ Sk’elep thing to do.

      S’fine though! Personally, I like ‘yotes.

    • negativedge says:

      I noticed who I was calling an idiot about five seconds after I did it, and replied with an “I’m a raging idiot” followup that was apparently deleted. I guess one isn’t allowed to insult himself on RPS!

    • Robert Yang says:

      Sorry, I was celebrating. You have to own your labels, yes?

      Well, it’s partly about the concern with authenticity in the indie game scene, right — who’s a pretentious poser and who’s the real deal? It’s healthy debate. And I want to see it with HL2 mods again, like what makes my mod “less formal”? etc.

      I just think it’s funny how there’s a bit of a burgeoning single player HL2 mod scene now, developed to the point that Mr. Denby takes care to situate himself among us, yet it was all pretty dead back when Dear Esther first rolled out.

      Usually, the mod community tends to keep dying after its first “golden age” (I saw it with Starcraft and with HL1) but here there’s a weird sort of rebound. Or maybe it’s still too soon to say.

      I think it’s all good, though. We’re all helping each other by tricking people into keeping their Ep2 installations around, making them more likely to play our stuff. (Meanwhile, you have a huge production like the Dark Mod getting a measly ~5000 downloads because they’re on an old engine no one cares to keep anymore, vs. Research & Development with 50,000 at least)

      Who knows. Maybe some big fancy magazine will do a feature on all of us. Cough.

    • fearian says:

      I don’t know, I think your opinion of the mod scene could be tainted by your own actions. I think the source mod scene is still in a dying state, but when get interested in making a map, I look deeper into it and see more stuff and think there might be more projects that I realised. I would imagine that when you started working on radiator you saw other people projects around mapcore and it gets you feeling like the scene is bigger than you thought.

      Just a theory. But then Dear Esther did of press, bringing the spotlight back a bit.

    • fearian says:

      Oh, I want to weasel in that Dear Esther is being remade by the glorious Robert Briscoe to levels I never thought could be possible in the source engine.

    • Lewis says:

      Robert: I don’t know if what you’re saying is necessarily how it is.

      Is there a ‘scene’ for this sort of thing? There are countless mods posted on ModDB every day, yet in the past year I can only think of three mods of this kind being released. Two of them were yours, and the other one is so horribly cynical that I was instantly turned off by it despite its creativity. The reason I namechecked Radiator and Esther , despite Post Script being fairly substantially different to both, was that they’re pretty much the only two notable examples that spring to mind. I wouldn’t say that’s evidence of a new scene within mods. Hell, I don’t think it’s a scene within games more generally, as only Tale of Tales – that I know of – are really doing anything like this commercially.

      That said, I do suspect we will see an emergence of something resembling a ‘scene’ in the next couple of years. I think people are going to start experimenting with game engines used for new means, and vast deviations away from the usual challenge/reward structure of the medium.

      Which, re-reading what you wrote, seems like we don’t really disagree. Heh. Either way, I can’t wait to see what any potential scene could reproduce.

      (It’s also interesting how it seems to be being pressed forward by people who also write about games, either academically or journalistically. We’re like the Cahiers du Cinema of interactivity!)

      As for mod scenes drying up, I’d say the Half Lives are the only games I can think of for which this isn’t true. People have been making mods consistently for HL2 since its release, and had been making HL1 mods consistently since 1998 before that. The quality might not be consistent, but the sheer amount of people at least *trying* to make a mod for Valve’s games remains impressive.

  2. Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

    This sounds like an awesome project.

    That is all.

  3. Don says:

    Good teaser, though I’m not sure how it’s going to play from those little excerpts. On the subject of mods if, like me, you stopped dropping by the Black Mesa website as nothing much new was appearing it’s worth another look. It’s had a makeover with new in game pics. Still aiming for a 2009 release so if the web site update is a precursor to the actual thing it shouldn’t be long now.

    • Rich says:

      YAY! I’ve been waiting for this particular mod since I managed to win the battle with myself over buying HL:Source. Thankfully, the screen shots and reports of buggy behaviour made it apparent that it really wasn’t worth it.

  4. Bobsy says:

    Am slightly disappointed that the square brackets did not contain an exclamation mark.

    Don’t pretend you weren’t either, Gillen.

  5. Fenchurch says:

    This looks fab! More proper 3D enginge games/mods where I’m not shooting anything and I have a dim sense of my own frailty and isolation!

    I seriously look at Unity now and get the urge to pour some hours into that to create some kind of morose Algernon Blackwood inspired horror environment.

  6. phil says:

    For the post apocalyse it looks very green and organic, having stumbled thorough miles of virtual irradiated brown desert, swamp land will be a refreshing change.

    The game description makes it sound like a collection of dour relationship driven short stories, which is in no way a criticism. If the game author is around, one question, will there be overarching narrative with a traditional antagonist or just competiting groups in various shades of grey?

  7. skalpadda says:

    Well, I’m interested, although I didn’t really understand any of that. Time to have a look at the link I guess.. :)

  8. El_MUERkO says:

    What the fuck is that?! Why is the grass so long?! Are you a borrower?! Those cars look kinda like Matchbox Trabants :/

  9. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Bet there’s no co-op.

  10. RagingLion says:

    Will definitely be following. As you say, interesting to see what Lewis can come up with having sampled lots games coming from a similar vein.

  11. Squirrelfanatic says:

    After having a look at that homepage, the FAQ and the “About” section ,this sounds like an alright idea. But the trailer just didn’t tell me anything about this idea. It didn’t tease me in any way I am afraid. :(

  12. Lewis says:

    Shit. Am I really considered a sort of leading voice for this sort of stuff? I didn’t realise I had, like, a reputation to live up to…

    Addressing a couple of questions, then:

    Phil: I think the idea of fighting a main antagonist might be completely turned on its head within the opening three lines of dialogue.

    Phil & EL_MUERkO: Funny story on the grass – the length and amount came about completely by accident, when I clicked the wrong button in Hammer and accidentally flooded an entire are of the game world with so much grass it crashed the bloody engine. I liked the look of it, though – how claustrophobic and restricting it felt to wade through it – so toned it back to engine-coping amount and wrote it into the story.

    Bobsy & Kieron: FUCK! Cassandra. Not that the square-brackets feature much outside the odd artsy flash and the fact that they surround the name of the game in the titles screen.

    Thanks for the coverage, RPS, and for the interest, its readership.

  13. KindredPhantom says:

    I don’t feel very teased by the teaser.

  14. zzzzzzzz says:

    Heavy breathing,grass at face height,cannot resist the first puddle he sees…
    Obviously a Dog simulator…

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    looks exciting!

  16. Paul says:

    Looking forward to it.

    I’m still only halfway through Korsakovia mind.

  17. Alan The Pony says:

    With Korsakovia, give weapon_crowbar and noclip are your friends.

    Otherwise the messy level design gets in the way of the story/atmosphere :(

  18. Rohit says:

    “more game-like”

    Sounds good.

  19. Scoteh says:

    Looks utterly bizarre, good-o.

    Nice to see you’re still at it Lewis, although your efforts do seem to improved since the old days! Kudos!

  20. Psychopomp says:

    FUND IT

  21. Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

    I couldn’t find my way through the submerged hospital bit in Korsakovia even with noclip, so I gave up after a couple of hours of trying. If I gave out awards, Korsakovia would surely get one for Worst Level Design.