Mod News: If It Ain’t Broke

By Lewis Denby on March 17th, 2010 at 9:15 am.


I’m never sure what to make of mods that make changes to the original game’s mechanics or image, rather that create an experience that exists separately from it. Things like putting trees in Fallout 3 just strike me as stuff that doesn’t need to be done. So I’m always wary of mods that purport to make big alterations to the best game of a given year so far – like, say, Call of Pripyat.

That’s what one of this week’s picks is doing, though, and while I’m dubious, plenty of people are likely to be glad of it. There’s also – ooh – lots more stuff below the jump.

- So, yes. Call of Pripyat Reloaded – or, at least, a “light” version of it, has been released. It combines the already released Atmosfear mod (which, ironically, makes the game look ostensibly prettier while detracting from the atmosphere) with a selection of other graphical tweaks. Gameplay updates are on the way, apparently… which doesn’t bode well, if I’m honest. Call of Pripyat’s basically the only Stalker game that didn’t need fixing out of the box. Stop ruining everything!

- Swords-and-sorcery HL2 multiplayer mod, Kingdoms Collide, releases its first beta. Impressions: very rough around the edges, but decent potential. Here’s us having a chat about it over at UserCreated.

- I missed this last week, so here we go: Robert Yang talking about how he made the first episode of Radiator, and why he did it like that. He’s doing one for Ep 2 soon, as well. Really interesting stuff.

- Duke Nukem Eternity is released and now patched. For a Duke 3D mod, it looks exceptionally pretty.

- The Cry of Fear videocasts have been interesting. Here‘s the latest one, with in-game footage as well as discussion of how they’re going about making this extraordinary looking HL1 mod. I’ve been trying to get the team to let me play this for a while, but they won’t respond to my emails. Boo!

- Source2D (which isn’t actually rendered in 2D. Best not tell them) has released some minor news. But since this is the first time I’ve heard about the mod, it seems to make sense to link it anyway. It’s Half-Life 2 engine stuff, only side-scrolling. I suspect it’ll have to be very good to better Flipside, no matter how short that was.

- Talking of Source Engine side-scrollers – and I’ve literally just noticed this now – TF2 mod The Great Class Dash looks pretty nice. It’s “a single-player modification that transforms the game into a side-scrolling platformer,” says its ModDB page. And it’s nearly finished, apparently. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

- Blue Portals releases a Q&A session about the mod.

- An interview with the GraviNULL team.

More ramblings on mod-related topics over at UserCreated.

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47 Comments »

  1. Magic H8 Ball says:

    “Call of Pripyat’s basically the only Stalker game that didn’t need fixing out of the box. Stop ruining everything!”
    Let’s elope to Thailand, change our genders and adopt an underage boy protstitute. As if distracting you with pretty lights wasn’t enough ATMOSFEAR breaks(or can break, at least) some quests.
    The irony is, everyone is so bent on making a total conversion that no one is actually fixing the bugs – and yes, the game does have bugs and some are pretty bad. That is all considering that there are rumors of 1.6.02 being last patch. In other words, GSC won’t make any more patches for CoP.
    About only bugfix I can name is the unreachable stash fix mod, which true to its name fixes few stashes with the items lodged in the ground, etc. Well, it’s nice to have for sure, but seriously… considering the immense popularity of Zone/Sky Reclamation Project bugfix packs you’d think they’d jump right on it.

  2. Muzman says:

    Atmosfear looks nice. Indeed, graphics tuneups are the only thing I think CoP really needs. The short grass draw distances don’t work very well with the brown colour scheme. I don’t know what they can do about that. I kind of miss the tilt towards blue and green the old games had (Stalker must have been the most colourful gloomy game with the most scenic desolation you’re likely to find), but you wouldn’t want to do anything too drastic.
    I expect Call of Pripyat: Complete would be very nice in any case, should it ever turn up.

  3. Sarlix says:

    Thanks for another good compilation Lewis. :)

  4. Bluepixie says:

    I only just got CoP a few weeks ago, not had time to play it yet but will definitely play it vanilla first. That said, Oblivion Lost for Stalker transformed it into the game it really should have been. I agree though, the graphical “tweaks” don’t really add much to it from what the screenshots suggest. Also found a mod called, “Less Stress” – i.e. cheat your eye balls out. Why even play the game if you’re going to start removing the challenge of surviving in The Zone?

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      I’m on record in numerous places on RPS as being a massive STALKER mod fanboy. I lurved Call Of Pripyat straight out of the box, the only thing I’d like to see is proper bug fixes and some engine optimisation so it doesn’t do the stop

      go thing that it does at the moment. Most of the mods already released do things that make the game easier. Traversing the Zone is about survival against the odds and anything that breaks that spoils the game.

    • frymaster says:

      CoP is pretty much the easiest stalker game, imo, at least at the beginning (you start with a competative weapon and some ammo) so i dunno why people would want to make it easier

    • Morph says:

      I’ve only played CoP for about 10 minutes and you’re telling me you start with a decent weapon? I swear I unloaded clip after clip into a mole-rat thing and it still clawed my face off.

      At the time I told myself “It’s not me, it’s the rubbish gun.” You have shattered my illusions, now I must acknowledge that I suck.

  5. 12kill4 says:

    L.U.R.K Mod for SoC is moving towards another major release it the next few months and they have broadcasted their plans to transfer a large portion of the mod’s features over to CoP in the near future… just something for you to look forward to.

  6. ZIGS says:

    This Mod News articles are pretty great, I hope RPS will cover the orgasmic-looking 2027 mod for Deus Ex soon:

    http://www.moddb.com/mods/2027

    • Pemptus says:

      I doesn’t look orgasmic, just spruced-up with the ENB Series hack – that’s why it’s so shiny and oh-so-very dx10.

  7. Mac says:

    For Torchlight – I found Torchleech the other day. great little app for managing mods and checking for conflicts.

    There are some great mods out there for this game – my favourate one is the one which alters all textures to look handdrawn – just search for textures in Torchleech and you will see it.

  8. Blandford says:

    Whenever I see this logo, I’m sure this is going to be an article about The Who, and I get disappointed every time.

  9. AVarotsis says:

    To everybody pimping mods we may not have picked up on – thanks! It’s hard as hell to keep up with everything in the modding world :) If we’ve missed something huge, drop us an email at UserCreated!

  10. Casimir's Blake says:

    How tremendously superficial. CoP Reloaded is totally unnecessary, Atmosfear does make some pretty and appropriate enchancements to the visuals, but it’s still just mere buffing.

    Those of us that are desperate for more gameplay would do well to keep an eye on Smrtphneuser’s SMRTER mod. The upcoming version is adding extra maps, but what is there already expands the gameplay with additional stashes, a couple of quests, more varied AI and a few new weapons (plus a couple of vital tweaks: no view-bob and a more generous carry limit).

    • jabbrwokk says:

      Thanks for posting that. I finished Call of Pripyat and even though I put 37 hours into the game it felt too short! I enjoyed it that much. A mod that doesn’t screw around with the game too much but adds more quests and caches and content would be great. I’ll check out SMRTR.

      I’m also going to have to ramp up the difficulty level. Hoofing around in a fully-upgraded exoskeleton, armed with a tweaked-out SA Avalanche, I’m nearly unstoppable.

      I wish there were more upgrades, or that the upgrades were more expensive. It would be a better money sink. It’s way easier to make money in this game than the first.

      Thanks @ Samuel for the KOTORII mod news. I’m going to have to load that game up again!

  11. sexyresults says:

    Kingdoms Collide, had quite a lot of fun, but I must admit it’s terrible buggy

  12. ZeeKat says:

    It’s annoying how some of the major Stalker mods aside of having of tons of useful stuff introduced some really stupid elements like monsters spawning by hundreds, removing that “headbanging”, walking effect that I like (without it feels like you’re riding around the Zone on wheelchair) or introducing millions of not-entirely fitting guns to the game. I’m glad there are mods like ZRP or Complete that aim at not breaking anything.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Each to their own, personally I’d rather not have to play through any game of Stalker where the character moves like he’s constantly rocking out to Iron Maiden or something.

    • AVarotsis says:

      All I want out of a STALKER mod is an AI that responds better to stealth and the removal of that endlessly frustrating night-vision sound effect :(

    • Lack_26 says:

      Yeah, I seem to be one of the few people who enjoys the head-bob. You summed up my feelings about mods for these kinds of game really well, I hate the out-of-place addons that these mods bundle with some other really good fixs and features.

      Also, with AtmosFear, you can change the amount of bad weather and storms you get if you want it to be a bit closer to the original’s feeling. This is a fairly good compilation of configs for the mod
      http://stalker.filefront.com/file/AtmosFear_for_STALKER_Call_of_Pripyat__Option_Pack;111613

  13. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Casimir’s Blake said:
    Each to their own, personally I’d rather not have to play through any game of Stalker where the character moves like he’s constantly rocking out to Iron Maiden or something.

    I, too, don’t get up from my chair without a pair of skates. Silly headbangers.

  14. Samuel Erikson says:

    I’m assuming you weren’t aware the the KotORII: Sith Lords Restored Content Mod was released this week: http://www.deadlystream.com/forum/f123/sith-lords-restored-content-mod-final-1-5-version-here-1158.html

    Rather a bit more important than most other mods, don’t you think?

    • Lewis says:

      I don’t necessarily think that, no.

      But no, I wasn’t aware. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • Samuel Erikson says:

      That came out a bit more snippy than I intended, but I do think it’s more important than yet another FPS mod.

      That said, hey could have done an infinitely better job on announcing its release.

    • The Dark One says:

      How does this mod compare to the one Team Gizka is making?

  15. cjlr says:

    Regarding trees in Fallout 3.

    It’s two hundred years after the bombs fell. The whole eastern half of north america would be almost 100% forest. And the atmospheric dust is inexcusable as well. It’s like their aesthetic design process was, “fuck science, let’s make this shit BROWN and DIRTY.”

    If they wanted to make the setting almost right after the nuclear holocaust, like Fallout 1, why didn’t they?

    • AndrewC says:

      The bombs that dropped in the Fallout universe were a particular kind of dirty nuclear device that created a self-perpetuating eco-system based on a contaminated water table, meaning plants did not grow back and the top soil remained loose. Obvs.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      It is a common urban myth among people outside the original Fallout community that the only weapons used in WW3 were nuclear weapons.

      The REAL story has it thatnot only a-bombs but also chemical weapons and biological weapons were used, which makes the Fallout setting instantly plausible.

      (Also, in 1997, reality was only available in 16-bit colors)

    • AndrewC says:

      Wait, hold on: is that the actual in-continuity story they used? Coz I was just coming up with a bunch of pseudo-scientific claptrap in order to try and be ‘funny’.

    • Lewis says:

      It’s not the logic that jarred. It’s the fact they looked pretty ropey and added absolutely nothing to the game other than to break it atmospherically.

    • phuzz says:

      RE: trees in FO3
      I enabled that mod after the storyline involving tree wiv bloke coming out of his head (forgot his name), as I was quite disappointed that the wasteland wasn’t getting re-greened like the quest said it would.
      Also I was bored of grey/brown.

    • cjlr says:

      No, I’m quite aware of that. The weapons used in the backstory were a delightful NBC power trio. It made sense in Fallout 1, which was within the lifetime of people who saw the war.

      I don’t care what sort of weapons they were. Nothing is going to persist, for two hundred years, in such an extent as to prevent plant growth. Chemical weapons and nuclear fallout have short half-lives – within a couple years the effects are negligable and within centuries? Forget about it. Obviously cumulative exposure is still relevant for anything living through the initial period, but for a time-frame starting well after… And any biological agent is going to mutate and adapt itself to the surviving population.

      It’s not the conditions of Fallout 1 I was arguing against (wasn’t it at least 256 colour?). That was, what, 20 years post-war? And Fallout 2 had grass and trees and shit, or at least as much as would be expected in northern California.
      Maybe – maaabye – we can justify some sort of hand-wavey technobabble tongue in cheek explanation, ala AndrewC… but that necessitates a self-perpetuating source to keep levels more or less constant.

    • Dominic White says:

      The entire point of Fallout is that it’s a 50s comic-book vision of a post-apocalyptic world. Nuclear cars and proud American citizens and art-deco architecture ahoy. If you changed that, sure, it’d be more realistic, but it wouldn’t be Fallout.

  16. Tim James says:

    Glad to see the community is picking up on STALKER mod skepticism. There are some cool ones for the original game but it’s still best to play mostly vanilla (maybe with a few tweaks and fixes) the first time through. Call of Pripyat looks a little ugly (due to cramming larger maps into that old engine) but plays almost perfectly fine without a single thing, other than headbob mods to taste.

    The community needs to create quest mods that utilize all the wonderful encapsulated locations GSC has created in that game, not the usual “tweak packs” that throw a bunch of shit in there or completely change the mood of the graphics.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Wait for the next SMRTER, yes it does have its fair share of additional weapons and AI, but many of the additions are “sensible”: e.g. a more reasonable weight carry (if you want realism, fine, but you’re nuts to put up with the extra journeys), additional spawns, other places to find artefacts, and soon supposedly more maps with new quests to do in them.

  17. Sidorovich says:

    I thought the Atmosfear mod was all about replacing the low res sky maps of the original with something a bit more top spec – screenshots I’ve seen of it show really moody skylines, not something that adds unnecessary ‘prettiness’.

  18. Justin says:

    I found the SMRTR mod for Call of Pripyat interesting, not for the difficulty changes or the additional weapons, but because it added all these stashes to find.

    I think the name of the series should be changed to “Don’t Die Horribly While Looking for Geocaches”. Cause really, that’s all I rtry to do.

  19. Mistabashi says:

    Those Call of Pripyat: Reloaded screenshots are worse than Microsoft’s DX10 propaganda.

    I’m mean seriously, if you’re going to try to sabotage the ‘before’ shots you could at least do it in a way this isn’t blindingly obvious to anyone with half a brain.

  20. Angel Dust says:

    I would say any of the mods that increase the draw distance of CoP are a must and most definitely increase the atmosphere. Granted the AtmosFear mod does a hell of a lot more than that but some of that is welcome too e.g. the increased weather variation.

    • Angel Dust says:

      Not to mention if someone makes a good subtitles mod I’ll be all over it and replacing the truly awful English dialog with the original Russian.

    • Pemptus says:

      Howdy ho, stalker!

  21. Breaker Morant's Ghost says:

    CoP is almost perfect out of the box, except for the weak gun sounds and the high carry weight. The real beauty of STALKER mods is that they make it worth replaying STALKER again and again. There are already some mods for CoP that make for moving anomalies, new spawns for baddies, new critters etc. If people can add in new maps (and populate them) as well as a system for generating random missions, then I can see myself happily playing CoP until STALKER 2 comes out.

    Also, I will be thrilled when someone makes a mod to fix the retarded mirrored guns firing hot brass into your face.

  22. Lightbulb says:

    I am still only just playing through STALKER 2 will get to 3 once all the mods are finished. :)

  23. Pemptus says:

    The people making Cry of Fear also made Afraid of Monsters, another HL1 mod. I don’t normally do that, but I had to quit playing that one before even finishing the first area. Jesus Christ was that scary and nerve-racking, that goddamn hospital was in my nightmares for a week or so.

  24. Samuel Erikson says:

    The Gizka one appears to be dead, or at least as good as dead. This, on the other hand, seems like it will have continued support. Plus, they’ve provided a method to get the Ultimate Saber Mod to work with their mod.

    The various people involved are also trying to recreate other material that wasn’t complete enough to include in the restoration.

    • Samuel Erikson says:

      Goddamn it. That was in reply to the following:

      The Dark One says:
      March 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      How does this mod compare to the one Team Gizka is making?

  25. glen badham says:

    Hey there when you say stalker 2 im guessing that its one after stalker cop. do you have any info on this as google is only bringing me up clear sky many thanks bro