Mod News: Independence Day

By Lewis Denby on February 23rd, 2011 at 9:59 am.


Another week, another excellent Half-Life 2 mod announces that it’s going indie. This time, it’s one I hadn’t expected, but it is one I quite enjoyed. I went to Egypt when I was younger, and this mod brought back quite a few memories of standing around the pyramids at Giza. Can you guess what I’m talking about? Read on, either way.

NEWS

It’s Curse! Last week it was Dear Esther; this week it’s the Egyptian-themed mummy-slaying fest whose first episode was released ages ago, before everything went quite silent for a while. There’s nothing but an announcement yet, but there’s the promise of new media to come. I liked Curse quite a lot, but it never struck me as a perfect candidate for a full release. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. ModDB’s reaction is a little more measured over this than over Esther last week, although there are still a few who believe going commercial is “selling out”. It’s an interesting world.

There’s a new screenshot, and a speck of new information, for StarCraft II mod Project Warfare. This is a total conversaion by Blue Isle Studios (really?), which they’re keeping rather under wraps. The new image showcases a desert environment, which is supposedly significant to the story in some unspecified way. Take a look.

Dino D-Day, a Half-Life 2 mod, will be hitting beta on March 1st. There’ll be a month-long closed beta session to iron out some final creases before the mod sees its full release on Steam at the end of March. This is a multiplayer mod which “packs Nazis and dinosaurs into one explosive package”. Beyond this link there is a picture of a dinosaur with a BLOODY TANK on its back, which is why this mod is suddenly very important to me.

Doom III mod Thievious, which has a terrible name, is currently in prototype phase: all the basic features that the devs have aimed for are now implemented and basically working. But those greedy souls want more, so the team is looking to take on some new recruits. They’ve also released a new video, which looks really nice, even though this is the shiniest mod in the world.

Finally, there’s a really nice media update for HL2 multiplayer mod Off Limits. I’ve been following this one for a while, and it’s looking even more exciting than ever. Release is, apparently, not far away.

RELEASES

StarCraft II mod War of Seven Temples has seen its first alpha release. As that suggests, it’s very much a work in progress. At present, it’s a custom map with a new tech tree, new units and suchlike, but the idea is to expand upon the idea, adding custom artwork and other gubbins to develop Seven Temples into a larger project. For now, here‘s where you can get the alpha.

And this is a nice little something. Not a full-blown total conversion, or anything, but an hour of new music added to Call of Pripyat. Here’s where you can get it – there’s a little preview beyond that link, too.

UPDATES

There’s a new beta for Oblivion mod Dibella’s Watch. This mod adds a new island to the mother game, complete with a major city, castles, villages and the like. It’s still very much a work-in-progress, but very much playable. Grab it from ModDB.

AND THE REST

I briefly mentioned the mod community’s reaction to Dear Esther’s commercialisation before, and I think this is worth reading. Here’s Tom Jubert, of Penumbra fame, talking about why he understands it. Key quote: “It’s that age-old thing of finding a band you love; spending months trying in vain to get your mates to listen to them; then the band making Top of the Pops and everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Dear Esther has – on a professional level at least – outgrown the community that first gave it a leg up.”

‘Til next week.

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27 Comments »

  1. cytokindness says:

    Dear Esther was an hour long and had huge sections where you had to bunny-hop through to stop falling asleep from boredom.
    I’m not sure how they’re going to try and justify the $15 price.

    Curse could work, perhaps, but the game had the problem that you could go through the entire thing without even realising that there was entirely new modes to be unlocked and even a full boss fight. (This happened to me.)

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Has there been a price announced for Esther? Last I heard they were aiming for £5-10, but nothing had been confirmed.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The screenshots of the new Dear Esther look bloody convincing to me. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but it looks like it could end up being one of the prettiest games so far.

  2. Heliosicle says:

    aaaaaaaand the complete mod for CoP is in its final stage of testing before release! :D

    • Premium User Badge

      P7uen says:

      !!!!!!!!!!

      The internet should be taken down and this message be put up in its place!

      I have delayed playing CoP(BLOPS) until Complete was done, and after Metro I’ve been hankering to get back into some Eastern Bloc apocalii.

    • Brahms says:

      Is there a feature list for Complete? I installed Complete for Shadow of Chernobyl and it gave me a really annoying head bob when I got wounded that meant I couldn’t get anywhere.

    • Tom4J says:

      When this does happen, i think i’ll be hitting the “donate” button on artistpavel.com. This series has been amazing!

  3. mod the world says:

    A better comparision regarding Dear Esther’s commercialisation would be:
    You find a great band that never charges anything for their concerts because their lead singer is a communist. You support this band by telling all your friends how great they are because of giving free gigs. Then suddenly, when they get 1000s of fans at their concerts, they start charging 100€ for tickets.

    Bottom Line: If the remake of Dear Esther would have started as a commercial game, nobody would have been interested in looking at new screenshots every few weeks.

    • Lewis Denby says:

      I’m not sure that’s appropriate. Perhaps a band whose gigs were always free, even though they’d never made any particular statement of why, suddenly charging a few quid to see them…

    • jeremypeel says:

      @ Lewis Denby, @ frightlever

      Yes. It is far more like those things.

      In fact, mod the world’s comment offers intriguing insight into the sensationalist scaling that goes on inside a mad forumite’s mind; 10 euros becomes 100, engaging with a community becomes signing a pact of No Payment ‘Til Death…

    • Deano2099 says:

      I’d go with a band who suddenly hit the big time, get a commercial recording contract, and then go in to a proper studio for the first time to record with a string quartet and a brass section… and just record new versions of all the songs on their first two self-published EPs.

      It’s still kind of exciting, as it’ll be different and more polished, but I’m going to feel ripped off as I’m paying for something I essentially have already, and I’d rather they spent their time making something new and brilliant.

      Actually maybe that’s why I’m a bit annoyed by Dear Esther. Someone finally gets the chance to make an interesting, arty, commercial game, and it’s the games industry equivalent of a Hollywood remake. Yet it gets loads of press because the original was so good, while I suppose other projects, that actually do something new go un-reported. Would we really all be getting that excited if THQ announced a remake of the first Dawn of War game with updated graphics that they’d be charging for?

    • Mavvvy says:

      Those pesky developers always out to make a living at our expense…..

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      “it’s the games industry equivalent of a Hollywood remake.”

      Are you kidding?
      Since we’re now throwing ludicrous comparisons around, have another one.
      This is like as if some composer had written a catchy tune in his free time and played it to his friend, who is, in this analogy, Miles Davis. Mr. Davis likes it very much and records it masterfully. They put it on the next album and it becomes a jazz standard, with the writing credit going to the composer, who then gets flamed out of JazzDB for selling out. Wait what?

    • Deano2099 says:

      Fair enough analogy. But in that analogy, Miles Davis’ friends who had also already heard the song and had their own recordings of it, would probably be less excited about the re-release than they would be a new song from the same guy.

      I don’t resent the mod maker for making a living, it’s just why I’m not that interested. It is just a graphical lick of paint to something I’ve already played. And y’know, the original mod maker did ‘sell out’. So what? Pretty much all of us would sell out for the chance to make a living from something we love. There’s nothing wrong with ‘selling out’, it’s a phrase bandied around by people with skills no-one is interested in buying.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m confused by that. I’m not sure if any band ever started off charging for their gigs.

      He seems to be angry that someone wants to make a living out of their talents rather than giving you stuff for free.

      I for one was interested in Dear Esther from the screenshots alone, I can’t think of one commercial game as beautiful as what I have seen from them. And it’s not exactly new news. He hinted months and months ago that he was considering going commercial.

  4. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Also worth a mention, there’s now a patch avaliable for the (bloody brilliant) HL2 single player mod Minerva:Metastasis, which fixes the mod so it now works with the ’09 Source engine update*. You can find it here.
    If you’ve never played it, then you owe it to yourself to play one of the best mods for HL2, so good in fact that Valve hired the creator.
    (Yes, the mod has been broken for quite a while now, but CargoCult is hard at work on Portal 2 so he’s not had a chance to fix it himself. anyway, it’s working now, hooray!)

    **Edit Dino D-Day looks fantastic!. Dinosaurs truly are the new zombies.

  5. Premium User Badge

    whitebrice says:

    That Thievious video looks cool, but why does it have the most old-school Doom music ever?

    • Derpentine says:

      It’s a collection of other mods assets and doom3′s base stuff, a bit strange. Pretty tricky finding decent themed music without any restrictive licenses :)

  6. Pemptus says:

    Curse? But that mod was an absolute snorefest. Pretty, but otherwise boring.

  7. Premium User Badge

    kregg says:

    WHERE IS THE BLACK MESA MOD??
    (/obligatory)

    • Sarlix says:

      Rebuff comment (/obligatory)

      The headcrab pin cushion is the sewers accessory of choice.

  8. WJonathan says:

    Thievious looks hilarious. (It IS a comedy game, right?) I always wondered what Garrett would look like wearing Armor-Alled leather gear and a 10000 watt light source. Seriously, WTF is the overall concept they’re going for?

    • Lewis Denby says:

      That’s kinda why I like the look of it, though. It’s Thief meets Doom, which is just wonderful.

    • Derpentine says:

      How else are you meant to get that “looka me bitches, Next Gen” washed-out, detail destroying ‘HDR’ look from 2006?

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s kinda like having someone shout “SPECULAR MAPS!” right in your face.

  9. popeguilty says:

    Black Mesa still isn’t coming.