Mod News: Silence Is Golden

By Lewis Denby on May 25th, 2011 at 1:00 pm.

It’s been an unusually quiet week in the world of mod news. Perhaps all our humble developers have been scurrying away in front of their PCs actually getting some work done, and that’s why we’ve seen very few items of news but another collection of new releases and updates, ready for you to play right now. This week: the first Portal 2 mod, a new version of Action Half-Life 2 after several years, fan creations for Oblivion, Fuel, Battlefield 2 and – goodness me – a bunch more below the jump.

NEWS

Here’s a new Half-Life 2 mod for you, and it has an awesome name, even if I do suspect the apostrophe is misplaced. In Peremptorys’ Shadow attempts to “bring some realism back to the classic horror and adventure story that always came before massive graphics.” I’m not sure “realism” was the word being reached for there, but whatever: this sets out to be a traditional horror, and the early screenshots look fairly nice.

Still in Half-Life 2 mode, Firearms: Source has a few upcoming player models to show off. A surprising amount of thought has gone into them, and not just from an aesthetic point of view; having a read of the text beyond that link is very well advised.

Also, Battlefield 2 mod Forgotten Hope 2 is preparing for a big ol’ update, and today its developers have released some screenshots of and information about one of the maps included. “In this snowy landscape,” reads the description, “players will find themselves using all the elements of combined arms as either German or American soldiers, tankers, pilots, and artillery gunners.” There’s more, as you’ll have guessed, on ModDB.

RELEASES

Colours is, I believe, the first Portal 2 mod to emerge. Certainly the first I’ve paid attention to, anyway. Only the first four maps have been released thus far, since the mod’s creator has had to go back to focusing on his job as a professional game developer for the time being. Colours seems to be mainly “Portal with added hues” – and although there doesn’t appear to be much new other than the tasty colour palette, the puzzles are supposedly more challenging too. Grab it from ModDB.

There’s also a new Amnesia: The Dark Descent mod, called Labyrinth. It’s only a small one, by the looks of it, but I continue to be intrigued by what people are making with Amnesia’s tools. I’ll be checking this out as soon as I can. Feel free to do so yourself in the meantime.

UPDATES

FUEL: REFUELED, with all its sexy capital letters, has been updated to a spectacular v15.4. Fifteen-point-four! The changes this time around are mainly to do with vehicles, letting quad bikes do wheelies and various off-road monsters go faster. More changes can be spied in the relevant ModDB post, from where the update can also be downloaded.

There’s also a Battlefield 1942 mod called Battlefield 1918 which, three years after development started, has reached the ripe old age of Version 3.1. And with it comes the end: this is to be its last update, the devs now considering their work complete. The mod is, obviously, a World War 1 total conversion, and during the time it’s been alive it’s been extremely well-received. Download the final version from ModDB.

And the new version of delightful multiplayer mod Action Half-Life 2 has been released, as well. Already there are some bug reports, which are being looked into, but early talk is good. Here, have a release trailer.

Finally, huge Oblivion mod Dibella’s Watch has received another update. Beta 09 focuses mainly on changes to the landscape – in fact, it’s said to be the largest landscape update to date. As well as added ground detail and the like, there are a couple of new settlements. Have a look at the full changelog, and grab the download.

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25 Comments »

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  1. pakoito says:

    Yadda yadda write-up on Nehrim blepblepblp

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I keep playing a few minutes of Nehrim and then having to look at something else. Which probably says something.

    • pakoito says:

      How far did you get? Newbie island is at least two hours long but the actual game is what’s awesome and people love. The cinematic scrips are decent-to-good, highly scripted (and lore-ful) sidequests, random encounters, tweaked skill system, increased “lively” people, easter eggs galore, level-based areas and travel…Hell, I was almost 12 hours in and I had just started act 2.

      Example: I’m just walking in the capital and see a little ad on the wall. It’s a quest to look for some ancient stuff. I go to the guy’s house, get the quest, explore his rooms and I find a key to a box in the bank. “Hehe I just broke the game, I’m such a great thief”. I go to the bank, get into secure chambers, use the key and what’s in the box? a note: “Stop stealing my key”. But on my way I noticed another 20 boxes and a excelent-placed book stating which box belongs to who. HEY LISTEN, EXPLICIT SIDEQUEST: “Steal this bank…if you can”.

    • Nim says:

      Nehrim was amazing. Must have taken me about 50 hours in total to finish and I hadn’t not even explored half the stuff they put into it. I will however recognize that it did take painfully long to get going and that it CTD:d every 15 minutes in places.

    • A-Scale says:

      I want to love Nehrim but my god the fps is so bad. I have a beast of a computer and I’m still getting 10-30 fps regularly.

  2. Dominic White says:

    In addition to completely reworking the campaign mode, the biggest change to FUEL: Refueled is the handling.

    Here’s a lovely comparison video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVHJ2_EqPpc

    The handling in the launch version can only be described as insane. That truck does donuts the moment it touches dirt, and shoots off like a dragster on road. The revised handling, while still arcadey, is HUGELY more coherent.

    Much better game with that mod.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kemuel says:

      There any changes to the race AI in Fuel? I remember enjoying the game for the first six hours or so until I got sick of cars identical to mine accelerating 2km in the first five seconds of the race, then having to spend the next 15 minutes simply catching up to their artificial lead.

      Sounds like its worth a second look at least.. the beauty of the world alone was enough to keep me hanging on to it on my harddrive for weeks after I’d lost interest.

    • Dominic White says:

      The AI is still very arcade style (yes, you’ve got to play catch-up, but having grown up with a steady diet of Ridge Racers and Sega Rallies, that’s okay with me), but they do seem to behave with a bit more variety as you’re up against everything from dirtbikes to big-rigs in a single race.

      The modder, Vetron, mentions that most of the AI behaviour is hardcoded, but he’s currently going and reworking some checkpoint placement to encourage it to move in more natural ways.

      If I had to give silly, arbitrary numbers to the game, it would have been a mid-60s sorta score at launch. Now I’d rank it a high 70s, low 80s kinda deal, taking the price into consideration.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Are there any FUEL players reading? Does REFUELED make the game feel any less pointless? I gave up on it after only a handful of hours playing because it all seemed quite samey, but I’m itching to pick up a driving game — is it worth a reinstall?

    Of course, with Dirt 3 just around the corner …

    edit: Mr. White you scallywag, all making me look like I don’t read other comments!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’m installing it now to find out.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you absolutely hated the structure of the game, you’ll still hate it now. The campaign revisions are basically:

      More vehicles per race.
      All vehicle types allowed in each race (with a few exceptions).
      Speed-classes assigned to vehicles – you can enter any race so long as you come under the maximum speed class.
      Reworked, simpler economy. Each speed tier of vehicles is more expensive than the last.

      But the actual core gameplay – the driving, racing, etc – is much more fun now, as the handling makes sense and there’s more variety to opponents in races. It’s not an amazing game, but it’s $10 now and well worth the price with the mod. Much closer to what the developers intended.

      That said, if you’ve got a beefy PC, and $50 isn’t an issue, Dirt 3 does look fantastic.

  4. Knef says:

    Judging by the screenshot, I think Amnesia modders are taking some inspiration from HL2.

    [Edit] You corrected it.

  5. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    FUCK YOU ACTION HALF LIFE! I mean sure you’re made by a capable team to whom I feel compassion and respect, but where’s THE SPECIALISTS: SOURCE? Sure, Action Half-Life has nothing to do with or even implicitly prevents the former mod from coming out, it’s- it… fuck amok, I just need something to take out my despair… The Specialists mod was fucking stunning and… and I just want a source version… FUCK YOU WORLD FOR BEING SO INTOLERABLY SHITTY.

    Addendum: People who’ve played The Specialists will know what I mean.

    • Nim says:

      We didn’t get Ricochet: Source either…

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      People who played Action Half-Life (or even Action Quake 2) before The Specialists was even concieved will know that The Specialists was just a prettier version of AHL with bullet time.

      Nim who actually wants Ricochet: Source though?

      I must remember to download AHL2 & give it a shot this weekend.

    • pepper says:

      It will never happend. the TS devs said so from the start.

    • Schmung says:

      The Specialists was conceived totally independent of AHL (or indeed AQ2) and actually started as a more of a CS type of game with a bit of diving and stuff. What it ended up as was a game with far more emphasis on fluid movement than AHL and more gun freedom of the Opera. Kitchen sink sort of approach to things.

      Anyways, the Italian fellas behind it have categorically said they’ll never do a source version and all the other people who have tried (and there have been about six attempts at a spiritual successor that I can think of) have failed at varying stages of development. You can have a look at their website here :
      http://www.aureasection.com/

      If anyone does make a creditable attempt at reviving the spirit of the game in a more modern engine then I’ll be first in the queue, believe you me. I actually thought that the engine used for the rabbit based kung fu thing would be a better starting point than source (which is fucking horrible) or Uengine (which is very work intensive and doesn’t let you muck about too much with engine itself) but whichever way you look at it’s a hell of a lot of work to make from a code and art perspective.

  6. Dominic White says:

    Ah yes, I almost forgot – if you haven’t already got it, it might be a good time to snag Heroes of Might & Magic 5: Tribes of The East off Steam at the moment. It’s $6.66 at the moment, and it has two mods (of sorts) that make it a much better, more well rounded game.

    The first, is the original two campaigns. Tribes of The East is the second expansion for HoMM5, but it’s a standalone game, too. Get these files: http://www.heroes-fr.com/en/original_campaigns.php – and you can play the original HoMM5 and Hammers of Fate campaigns in the upgraded ToTE engine. They don’t even behave like modded-in content. They just appear in the campaign menu as if they’d always meant to be there.

    Secondly, a fan-patch which recently surfaced:
    http://www.bonddisc.com/ref/h5/
    UI fixes, smarter AI and much better performance during CPU thinking cycles, especially on large maps. Get the Beta version from near the bottom of the page, as the current ‘stable’ build lacks native widescreen support.

    In short, $6.66 gets you a bloody good, huge strategy-RPG with a bunch of improvements. It’s just a pity that Clash of Heroes (the Puzzle Quest-ish spinoff) isn’t coming to PC. Despite various internet tantrums over the cartoonish art-style, it’s a really, really good game.

    • Dominic White says:

      On a relevant tangent, HoMM5 also runs on this ancient laptop with a single-core processor, 512mb RAM and an Intel 915 graphics chip, as my fancypants gaming machine has died. So even if you have a PC from the stone-age, you can run it, I promise!

  7. Premium User Badge

    Coccyx says:

    I fail to see anything special about action half life 2. Seems like a bog standard source mod shooter with a button that makes you jump quite a long way. Am I missing something?

    • DrazharLn says:

      Yes. Search Action Half Life on this very website and you will find some explanatory articles by Q. Smith, Esq.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      The fact that mosts server with any players/less than 100 ping is a DM server for 18 players, whereas AHL is at its best at less than 8 and most of the AHL playerbase preferred team play, does rather count against it. The frantic pointless chaos of many-player DM on a small map is not exactly the best way to form judgements on AHL2.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      RPS has a Search function?

  8. Vinraith says:

    A mod to (somewhat, at least) fix FUEL? Now there’s some useful news, thanks Lewis!

  9. egg-zoo-bear-ant will e 91 says:

    It all seems boring compared to the Fuel Refuelled & Mad Maxified you described yonks ago, stranger Jim. I don’t get why no one has done it. It really wouldn’t need much, just groups of racing vehicles in gang colors pootling around and some the odd bat subtitle and delivery mission and our imaginations can fill in the rest… Everyone turns to extreme sports after the apocalypse because they are so bored. Tragic really.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/06/22/fuel-around-the-world-in-eight-hours/