Mods And Ends: Pick ‘N’ Mix

By Adam Smith on October 21st, 2011 at 5:51 pm.

hats give off no heat - SCIENCE FACT

This week, a few mods that I’ve been monitoring but haven’t had a chance to have a proper go at yet. In some cases, that’s because they haven’t been released yet, in others it’s because the hours in every day are sadly limited, and as well as playing games and writing about them, I very occasionally sleep. I even venture outside from time to time, although admittedly not in the current political and meteorological climate. Too chilly. Too bitter. All too real. Onward to fantasy. Preferably with decent central heating.

Jungles are hot and steamy, especially when there’s a Predator stalking through them. He even uses thermal imaging to identify his prey, which would protect me from him, since I’m about as cold as a corpse right now. So this would be the prefect time for me to take a wander in Crysis mod Predator – The Heat of the Jungle. It’s a work in progress, although you can download and play it right now. The chap developing Heat of the Jungle isn’t aiming to make a full Predator game, but rather to demonstrate how well the license could work in CryEngine 2. I’d imagine very well indeed is the answer and at a later date, perhaps after a couple more releases have seen the light of day, I may well take a closer look at this.

Guess why you're here? You can't remember! Even the mods have amnesia.

Next up is the newly released White Night mod for Amnesia. After ten months of development, the full version was released last week and I have actually tried this one, so I can be slightly less vague than in the previous paragraph. What I haven’t done is actually completed the blasted thing, which is a shame because it’s heavily story-based. I will be finishing it at some point though as it’s one of the more impressive horror mods I’ve seen, despite the rather unoriginal setting. Lack of memory and an asylum? Unheard of.

The best thing about White Night is that it plays out like an old-fashioned adventure game and that brings me to a point about Amnesia itself. I love it, from the scares to the entirely cameraless but somehow far more kinetic method of manipulating objects in the world, but part of me wishes that Frictional’s next game will have even less running and hiding. An engine like theirs could be at the core of a new breed of adventure game. I’m imagining something along the lines of Broken Sword, with small self-contained environments – a cafe in Paris, a New York penthouse, a ruined cathedral – that are built in exquisite detail and with plenty of interactive elements. Nothing destructible, nothing to shoot, nothing to flee from. Just places to explore, objects to discover and puzzles to solve.

White Night isn’t that game at all, but it’s a step in a direction that I thoroughly approve of.

the past inside the future - or at least inside the more recent past

Here’s a mod several readers have emailed me about, which was pleasing but also slightly confusing as I’ve never expressed a great deal of interest in the games it concerns – Dragon Age and Baldur’s Gate. I love them both though, so ta muchly, and all manner of mod tips are welcome at the sturdy oaken door of my email account. This particular delight is Baldur’s Gate II Redux, or at least the first module of it, which contains Irenicus’ Dungeon recreated in the Dragon Age engine. It’s an impressive piece of work, although I find myself more interested than engaged. It’s fascinating to realise how much I remember and just how natural it feels to explore this space again. Highly recommended as a curiosity, if nothing else.

There are plans to continue with future modules, which will require an installed version of Baldur’s Gate II to run, in recognition of the use of BioWare’s intellectual property. That’s very good of them. You do all own Baldur’s Gate II already though, right? Having said that, I almost definitely don’t have it installed anywhere.

Last up is The Last Days, which isn’t a snails-pace mod for the original Quake that casts the player as a sad musician. It’s actually another Mount and Blade mod, which hasn’t been released yet but is looking rather splendid. To give it its full title, The Last Days (of The Third Age of Middle Earth) is exactly what you might expect. A total conversion of the base game, adding new races and creatures, all new factions, a world’s worth of new items and, most interesting of all, a new battle system “to fit Tolkien’s books”. I don’t know what that means and won’t until I can actually play the thing, but along with A Song of Ice and Fire, a decent Lord of the Rings mod has to be up at the top of peoples’ wish lists for Mount and Blade.

I’m going to put the trailer for The Last Days at the end here but only because the voiceover sounds almost exactly like me after a heavy weekend.

Now, back to cold reality.

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34 Comments »

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  1. nimzy says:

    You talk Crysis mods and no Mechwarrior Living Legends? For shame.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I’ll be taking a close and lengthy look at it in the near-future.

    • coldvvvave says:

      I’m afraid community will die out by this time.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Mechwarrior 4 was a long standing community and that game was really quite awful for multiplayer. Natural living legends is going to be around for a long time.

  2. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    So we’re officially getting back mod news?

    Adam, I like you more and more.

  3. airtekh says:

    “An engine like theirs could be at the core of a new breed of adventure game. I’m imagining something along the lines of Broken Sword, with small self-contained environments”

    Yes!! This is the exact same thought I had upon completion of Amnesia.

    I love the game but it feels like they could get a whole new one out of the physics engine, purely because manipulating objects in Amnesia is so pleasurable.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Did you play the Penumbra games? They’ve got a fair amount of exploring and object-manipulating. Penumbra: Requiem in particular plays up the first-person puzzle-solving aspect. It got tepid reviews, but I think that’s because people were understandably expecting a new Penumbra game. If you go in with the understanding that it’s an unrelated abstract first-person puzzle game that just happens to reuse the Penumbra assets and engine, you can have quite a good time with it, or at least I did. Lots of “Hmm, now how does this work,” and no runny-hidey.

  4. Wizardry says:

    Does that Dragon Age mod use the AD&D rules?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Resting mechanic with fatigue penalty for tiredness

      Safe to say no, they’re not using AD&D2. Possibly D&D3.5 though?

    • Wizardry says:

      Cool. I wonder if your party can get ambushed while resting.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I hope it doesn’t use D&D rules at all. That was the biggest problem with the old games, they should have been developed as computer games and thrown out those rules as they make no sense in that context.

    • Vinraith says:

      Importing any D&D ruleset into the Dragon Age engine is a nice idea, regardless. DA’s ruleset was pathetic, really, but I’d love to see some new D&D modules built in that engine.

    • Nick says:

      I don’t really get why you’d want to play BG2 in the frankly shitty Dragon Age engine. I mean, I liked Dragon Age, but ugly 3D vs those hand drawn backgrounds? No thanks.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, if they were to actually complete it, it would be an insane amount of work to transplant an amazing game into a game that’s merely really good to no apparent purpose.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Go for the eyes Boo GO FOR THE EYES

      Sod this pessimism. RPS AHOY

  5. phanatic62 says:

    The Last Days sounds awesome until you find out it’s only for the original Mount & Blade, not Warband. Uhh, thanks guys, way to make it for a game that people stopped buying as soon as an updated version was released.

    • Merlkir says:

      Yes, that is a common sentiment. There are a couple of good reasons for us releasing it for MnB and not Warband.
      Anyway, the game is really cheap now, almost anyone can get it, if they don’t own it already.

      But yeah, we’re aware of this reason some people will not play it for.

    • malkav11 says:

      As someone who picked up Mount & Blade before any of this newfangled “Warband” business turned up, I am in a position to play your mod, but it’d still be nice to hear what those reasons are.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      +1 for boo hiss.

      Only have Warband for obvious reasons as well.

    • Triglav says:

      Hi.

      Some TLD developper’s notes on this issue:

      1. TLD has been in development for several years before Warband became available.

      2. Afterwards we have been developping TLD for M&B v1,011 rather than for Warband primarily because of coding restrictions Warband has in certain areas. Many features that TLD has would not be possible under Warband.

      3. Since the features and gameplay of TLD were more important to us than multiplayer and the few graphic goodies Warband offers (though we have pimped up TLD to the max of M&B’s abilities), we’re ok with being on a bit of an older engine (with all the graphics and variety we’ve added you’ll still need a decent rig with a good bit of RAM to run large battles smoothly :)

      4. M&B is available for peanuts nowadays anyway and if M&B2 is ever made a reality, we will probably port there.

      5. The way we see it, TLD isn’t a mod for fans of M&B or Warband. TLD is a mod for Tolkien fans, who want to play a good Tolkien inspired game and don’t mind getting any game that would enable them to. Similar to how I wouldn’t buy Empire: Total War on its own, but would get it solely to play the US Civil War mod on it, since I am also a fan of that theme.

      So, if you’re a Tolkien fan, you probably won’t be disappointed with TLD. Some 5 years of work by a team of over 20 people must have produced something that isn’t entirely bad. If however multiplayer and fancy graphics are the thing that does it for you, then, yes, this is an old engine, with its limitations and there are many many much fancier newer games and mods out there. :)

  6. Merlkir says:

    Many thanks for featuring TLD! We’ve been hoping to send RPS a note after we release a few patches and make the mod the best and most stable we can, but I guess the cat’s out of the bag already. :)

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I’ve been a very long time admirer of your mod and I am really glad to hear it is finally coming up. I will have to dust off my copy of Mount and Blade to play it.

      I must admit I was worried with the disappearance of AW that we would never see another version. Congratulations to the entire TLD team for overcoming the odds.

    • bill says:

      May I recommend renaming to to The Last Days of Rohan. Or The Last DaysL Revolution, or The Last Days: Requiem or anything else that gives it a TLDR abbreviation.

    • Berious says:

      Oh man The Last Days is finally coming. I’ve been anticipating that mod for years! Can’t wait to bother some hobbits.

  7. Doomsayer says:

    Half life modding is dead.

  8. Ed123 says:

    Meh. Putting BG2 into Dragon Age pretty much takes away the main draw of IE games for me – the combat mechanics. I guess it’ll be good for people who never played Bg2 and can’t get it running on newer machines or whatever.

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  10. bill says:

    Ooh… I tried playing Baldur’s Gate 2 recently so I recognized that screenshot/dungeon all by myself! Achievement!!

    That was a god awful dungeon and a terrible start to a game though…

  11. Cheese says:

    Antiques Road-show: Middle Earth
    “Tensions rise in the auction house as the tribes of Southorn gather to do the dark lords bidding. On sale, a priceless ring from the beginning of the world.”

  12. strawbilly says:

    I’d rather see Dragon Age built in the Baldur’s Gate engine. Is there a petition for that kind of thing?

  13. eryynlhanu says:

    Wow… I just skimmed thru some of it; great stuff, man. I can’t believe I missed a lot of these things and those useful notes. I’m gonna bookmark this page. Updated list for latest units (Galleon, Sub Upgrades and Super Carrier) and UI widgets (City Limits and Destination)All of these mods are placed into the Public Domain. Feel free to do with them as you wish (including bits of them in your own mod, packing them into your own mod, etc) short of passing them off as your own work! If you do bundle them together please include a link back to this page in case the user of your combined mod just wants a part of it. Great work whoward! I specially like some of the the UI mods. Love it.tui xach thoi trang