Mod News: V2.1

By Lewis Denby on September 15th, 2010 at 11:18 am.


It’s been a particularly updatey week in mods over the last seven days. There’s a grand and spectacular total of four great mods pushed forwards into new versions, as well as splendid news from around the scene, all waiting below the jump.

NEWS
Doom 3 mod Arx: The End of Sun – based on early-2000s quite-good RPG Arx Fatalis – has always been an ambitious little project. Which is presumably why its two-man team is looking to expand. Do you fancy working with a bit of id Tech to pull their ideas together? Details are beyond that link.

There’s some latest info on Open Outcast, the supermegaambitious Crysis Wars mod now based on Appeal’s classic Outcast [This has been in the works in different formats for almost a decade - Jim]. Here the developers talk about implementing the camera and quest system. I notice just now that Open Outcast works with the trial version of Crysis Wars, which is interesting, as it means no one needs to have paid a penny to play the thing.

And finally, here’s some good news for anyone who enjoyed Fairy Tale for Civilization IV. There’s been a Fairy Tale 2 announced for Civ V. Details are sketchy, but “The point will not be to change the entire gameplay of the Civilization game, but rather, supply the player with an alternate gaming world and setting,” says the developer. And it won’t be the end of Fairy Tale 1 support, which is always nice to hear.

RELEASES
Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge is probably the big one this week. It’s been out for German-speakers for some time, but the English release finally landed a few days ago. This is a huge and extraordinary looking Oblivion mod featuring an entirely new universe and story. I haven’t had the chance to play this yet, but I’m eager to do so, as word on the street is that it’s fantastic.

Also, where did this come from? It’s a single-player Half-Life 2 mod called Tactical Espionage Action – which, as the name might suggest, borrows heavily from Metal Gear Solid. Kieron’s sure to love it, then. It’s apparently pretty darn bug-ridden at this stage, but other than that appears neat. I’m downloading it now, having only just spotted its existence.

UPDATES
Popular Half-Life 2 multiplayer mod Dystopia has reached version 1.30. The update brings Dystopia to a newer version of the engine, which has allowed the team to not only fix a whole bucketful of bugs, but also add shiny new effects and the like. There’s even a whole new map. You can grab the latest version of Dystopia on Steam.

Still with Half-Life 2, there’s a new version of Fistful of Frags out. Beta 3.1 of this Wild West multiplayer mod proudly boasts the addition of free-aim revolvers and snakes, among other things. Head here for the release notes, and over to the website to grab the download.

There’s also an update to the Fallout 3 Reborn realism mod for Fallout 3. Version 8.1 [http://www.moddb.com/mods/fallout-3-reborn-a-realism-mod/news/fallout-3-reborn-v81-patch-uploaded] mainly appears to be a simple bug-fix update for Reborn, which makes weapons more powerful and characters less strong, among other things. There’s also a couple of new bits and bats added to set the mod up for Operation Anchorage.

And finally Faction Fronts, for Clear Sky, has been updated. More minor tweaks abound in this mod, of which “the primary goal [...] is to make Clear Sky a more entertaining and less tedious game,” which is something I can certainly get behind.

AND THE REST
Remember a while ago Radiator-dude Robert Yang had written about Brendan Chung? He’s lobbed up a part two. Chung is the guy behind Gravity Bone and Flotilla, and who started in game design by modding Half-Life 1. Robert’s writing smartly about design at the moment – I know I keep linking to his blog here, but it’s mainly because I can’t stop reading the bloody thing.

In a bit.

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33 Comments »

  1. KindredPhantom says:

    Woot Dystopia!

    There is a thread in the RPS forums with a date and a time for a Dystopia tutorial session for anyone that want it.

    Some light reading for new players.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Was gonna plug the tutorial but Kindred beat me to it.

      So yes, please post in the thread if you’re interested in taking part. We may have to rotate people in and out of the server if there are too many people, so I imagine we’ll meet in either the RPS group chat or the Dystopia official group one.

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    Have the guys behind Open Outcast explained why they changed the protagonist from a black guy to a white guy? It seems more than a little racially insensitive, and I’m not usually one for political correctness.

    • yhancik says:

      Cutter Slade? Black?

      (in the French version, he had the French dubs voice of Bruce Willis, which was quite fun :p)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @yhancik — the entire page of images you just linked to is a page of pictures of a black guy. He is absolutely black. His skin colour is a bit light so if we want to speculate he’s probably got one white parent, but he is absolutely a black man.

    • Big Murray says:

      Um … no, Alexander.

      http://www.planet-adelpha.net/Outcast/Artworks/model_marion.JPG

      This is a black person in the game. Cutter Slade has the same skin tone as all the other WHITE humans in the game (albeit there aren’t many of them).

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Big Murray — look at his face. He’s quite obviously not a white man. And:

      His skin colour is a bit light so if we want to speculate he’s probably got one white parent

      Non-white protagonists are so ridiculously rare that I’m rather annoyed at the prospect of losing one of the few we already have, thanks very much.

    • YogSo says:

      Yeah, it’s a pity that we have to rely on low-poly (voxely?) models and ambiguous cover art to discern if the developers really intended to make Cutter Slade a black guy. If only they had also made a high-quality , nine-minutes-long cinematic introduction…

      Oh, wait!

      But… but… but… the in-game model is clearly intended to be a black guy! That was surely a miscommunication of sorts between the game designers and the cinematic guys!

      Fair enough, it wouldn’t be the first time that happens. But, Alexander, this is how Marion (a black woman) looks in-game: Beware, ENDING SPOILERS.

    • YogSo says:

      Ugh, sorry. That wasn’t the version of the video I intended to link to. This one is much better: Outcast Intro.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @YogSo — he doesn’t look white in that; in fact, none of them do. They all look like corpses. :P

      Anyway, my point remains; you can be black without having skin the colour of charcoal, you know. It might just be extraordinarily shitty facial modelling but his face looks distinctly non-white (his forehead and nose are too pronounced), and his skin colour on the cover art and in-game is very distinctly at least half-white/half-black.

      That said, find me some designer notes and I’ll gladly concede to your point which you seem unable to make without idiotic sarcasm!

    • yhancik says:

      He surely isn’t your typical aryan, but he still doesn’t strike me as “absolutely black” either. Through the years (I’ve been a fan, and still am), Slade never ever struck me as an “ethnic” (urgh, i know) videogame character. If anything, he’s undefined… or racially ambiguous, thanks to a not completely consistent look.. You’re perfectly allowed to idealise Cutter Slade as a diversity hero. But I wouldn’t be surprised if many other people perceived him as “mostly white” without being horribly ethnocentric.

      Thus it seems a bit far-fetched to me to suspect the Open Outcast guys of racial tactlessness.

      If anything, their HD vision of Cutter Slade is a bit bland and uninspired. He could be a model from the clothes section of a supermarket’s catalogue, or some random sportman appearing in a yoghurt ad. A common, unspectacular, guy. Not the kind who travels in alien worlds, being mistaken for the messiah.

    • doC says:

      Hi, I’m creative director on OpenOutcast project and I had registered here to explain the problem you have hinted on.

      The original game “suffers” with too many features that don’t make it easy for a project that is made more then 10 years after it to interpret how old stuff should look in a “next gen” project. Namely low poly models, low res textures, lighting and so on. That doesn’t mean that Oc1 doesn’t look and plays great these days (gog version with HD patch is fabulous), but if you start to focus on the details, there are many missing because of the technological limits of those days.

      So what we are left with for the interpretation of our next gen models/textures is: Oc1 itself, artworks of Oc1 and Oc2 and also Oc1 intro video. I think that intro video gives probably the best picture of what Appeal (original developers) had in mind because it’s 3D (so it has real meshes and textures) and it’s not that much limited by realtime/ingame technologies of those days. Now I don’t want to argue too much, but I absolutely can’t see a black guy in Oc1 intro. Cutter in intro is in my opinion not a very specific “race type”, but certainly is not black. I would even say that Marion was not a black woman, rather something between. Imo oc1 engine tends to light and render all the characters a bit more dark then they are.
      Here is a diffuse texture of Cutter from the original game:
      http://img522.imageshack.us/i/cutterf.jpg/
      http://img840.imageshack.us/i/cutters.jpg/

      Doesn’t look very black to me. Don’t forget that they had to paint some shading into the diffuse too.
      Note that the NPC guys all look like black and without a blink of an eye also in our interpretation :).

      And to take care of any doubt that may left, let me say that the team working on OpenOutcast is very multinational, has every possible gender in team :), and besides a few personal meetings we have no idea if someone in team is black, white, yellow or gray (which actually a lot could be because of lot of work and only little of sun :) ).

      Hope that makes it more clear.

      doC

  3. Xercies says:

    The tactical espionage action looks like its actually a HL1 mod instead of a HL2 mod, which dissapoints me since i would love some more Metal Gear Solid kind of gameplay but i don’t have HL1 :(

  4. tomeoftom says:

    Brendon Chung is just amazing.

  5. tigershuffle says:

    SteelPanzers 1.5 mod for Steel Fury tank sim should be released today (it was Tankers Day on Sunday in Russia) but only a Russian language version initially.
    Promises to have 18 new tanks and vehicles and features such as infantry riding on tanks, bunkers, field canteens and panzerschreck teams and new missions and campaigns etc.
    Should be a beta campaign to begin with and an English language version to follow a few weeks later.
    sorry for vagueness but it due to translating the Russian forums :s
    Info gleaned from a mix of Graviteam, Sukhoi.rus and tanksim.com forums

  6. Frog says:

    Your link looks broken up there for Fallout 3 Reborn. Sort of like what happens when I poorly format a markdown link.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    So when is…

  8. Fwiffo says:

    You give column inches to the shoddy Fallout 3 Reborn and not to the gloriously consistent, customisable, high quality and supremely balanced Wanderer’s Edition that has just recieved an update? Is this because it’s not on moddb or something?

  9. merc says:

    Started Nehrim not too long ago, very impressed with the quality of what I’ve seen so far.

  10. Brulleks says:

    Never mind Black Cutter Slade, what about Black Mes…

    NO! Not this week! I shall resist!

    Nehrim, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant. I’m just astonished by how much they’ve achieved with this – it feels like a cross between Oblivion and the Gothic games (not surprising, considering its Germanic roots). For something of this quality and scale to be released for free is incredibly generous.

    It could easily have been snapped up by Bethesda as an expansion, but apparently the voice acting just didn’t break the fourth wall enough for them to buy into it. They considered it far too realistic, what with not one single character swapping comedy accents mid-speech.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well, I wasn’t going to bother playing it until you mentioned Gothic. My only problem is that I really like the levelling system in Oblivion. I hate other systems, there is no logic in them! If I kill five rats I should get better at smacking things like Oblivion. Not suddenly get better at socialising or riding horses or whatever.

  11. Krap Dagget says:

    Correction:

    Tactical Espionage Action is actually a Half-Life 1 mod?

  12. Tyler Jinks says:

    It certainly looks as good as a Half-Life 2 mod.

  13. Tyler Jinks says:

    Bah! Reply fail. This is for Xercies or Krap Dagget, whoever wants to claim it.

  14. DrGonzo says:

    The name Open Outcast should have really given it away.

  15. DrGonzo says:

    How the fuck was this not mentioned? http://www.moddb.com/mods/fallout-who/news/fallout-who-welcome

    It’s a Dr Who mod for Fallout for anyone too lazy to follow the link.

  16. Bottes UGG says:

    Votre article m’a donné beaucoup de reflexions. Allez-vous faire des folies sur une paire de bottes ugg cette saison ? Ces bottes sont très belles.

  17. Tassitassi says:

    Hi guys. I’m Tassitassi from the Open Outcast team. I thought I was gonna respond on these allegations that we’re all racists ;-)
    The Cutter model in Oasis 1.0 was done in a hurry. There was even a question about if we would include it at all. His skin tone is really confusing, like we all seem to agree on. That’s pretty much why Cutter didn’t have any pigment at all in Oasis 1.0 (almost albino!). Getting Cutter right is a major priorty since he’s a big reason to why we all love the original game. We’ve already darkened his skin a bit in this upcoming release and would love to get your feedback on this when it’s out this Saturday!

  18. Ashen says:

    About 5 hours in, I’m extremely impressed with Nehrim so far. It’s basically Oblivion married to Gothic. Excellent stuff.

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