Have An A-Mod-Zing Weekend

By Craig Pearson on July 12th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Mods, sir. We're surrounded.
Jim is basically the J. Jonah Jameson of RPS: I was handsomely making sweet news for you guys when he stormed into the forbidden RPS chatroom of mystery, slammed his fists on the desk with the rage that only an editor can muster, and demanded I find some mods. “It’s the weekend!”, he angrily typed. “If you don’t find at least three mods by the end of the day that the readers can play, you can go and beg VG247 forra job.” And then he stormed out, muttering about page impressions, tea, and robots. Luckily I’ve been on a bit of a modding binge of late, so I have a few interesting things for you. Do you have Arma 3 installed? That’s nice.

That means you can install Mission Control Center Sandbox 3. This is kind of a cheat mod because it’s actually a mission editor. Yes, Arma 3 has one of those, but this makes it all a little bit easier, and makes it live. That second point is key: if you’re playing with it online on a sever that allows it, it’ll enable one player on a server to act like an Arma GM. That said, you’d be better off practicing in single-player first.

It’s a powerful tool that takes control of any mission you’re running. It can be a pre-canned mission or something you’ve cooked up in the editor. All you need to do is select ‘mission builder’ from the action menu and you’ll see an iPad pop up. Click on ‘login’ and you’re now in charge. What can you do? Set the time of day, place units in zones, set their behaviour, give them patrol waypoints, create mission states. You can fiddle with the ambiance, even add audio cues to the map. all while the game’s running. The most interesting addition for me is the 3D editor. I’m not very good with high-level map views, but plopping down units on the live map was super easy, and I could easily mock-up a mission for myself. I’ve only just started meddling with it this week, between bouts of Stalker, but this video helped me figure out the basics. It needs CBA installed, btw.

Though if all that is still a struggle, and it can be if all you’re interested in is shooting things, just install Whole Lotta Stratis: it’s a dynamic mission set across the whole island.

What’s that? You don’t have Arma 3 but you do have Skyrim? And you’ve spent a long time in Skyrim and need a few new skills to liven the world up? You go on to say that in addition to owning Skyrim, you love all Bethesda games and wish there was a way to have Dishonored’s skills in Skyrim. You lovely fanboy, you. I have just the thing. The Void Walker for Skyrim adds all of Corvo’s magic skills into whatever mannequin you’ve chosen to inhabit.

I like the reverence this mod has for Dishonored: there’s a fully voiced quest surrounding the acquisition of the skills, including a trip to the gravitationally-challenged void world. With that out the way, and a few trips over the world, you can get your inner Corvo on. I’m in danger of just writing out all of Dishonored’s skills, but in a surprised tone. But that’s what the mod does: I didn’t imagine it would enable the player to possess a guard, but you can pop into a body, slice people up, and then extract yourself without any worry of being arrested for the hideous crime you just committed. You can summon attack rats, which is hilarious. Blink is there as Void Leap, Time Shift will allow you to slow everyone else down, and Tempest gives you another route to Fus Ro Dah. If you don’t buy Dishonored in the current Steam sale, this should do instead.

I don’t play Crusader Kings II, but I do play the Game Of Thrones mod for it. You should too. Not only does it simplify the terrifying scale of the original game, but I play it because I know the history of Westeros better than I know medieval history. 1066 to 1453? Not a clue, but give me a house to run during Robert Baratheon’s short reign of Westeros and I’ll know pretty much every sneaky back-stabbing bastard on the board. I’ll know what sons are likely to take power, I’ll know who’s plotting against me, and I’ll know who I can marry off. And that information does help in the initial turns.

You can select any era of that grim land’s rotten history, covering the time of dragons all the way up the Clash Of Kings. Pick a major player or minor vassal and see what you can do to the world. Eventually your whims will take over: I spent most of my time playing this staring at lines of succession and pondering the best way to turn all of Westeros into one big extended family. Aerys Targaryen might be colloquially known as “The Mad King”, but my Eddard Stark was probably known as “The Wedding Planner” after I kept match-making.

Westeros, all dolled up like a cloth map, is beautiful to look at. Places you’ve caught glimpses of on TV, or read about years ago, right under your mouse. I spent as much time tracing the borders, marveling at the continental quilt, as I did pandering to my baser needs. The CKII story engine merrily driving your own Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction is a wonderful thing, as Rich over at PC Gamer is finding out.

Finally, if all of the above requires too much effort, then why not wear a t-shirt that says “PC gaming” and play this TrackMania 2: Stadium track. It is the most PC of all things.

Enjoy your weekend, lovelies!

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31 Comments »

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  1. Pich says:

    To get the true trackmania experience you must pay while listening to crappy techno remixes.

    • Alexander says:

      How about some retro-futuristic (Perturbator et al)?

    • charlist05 says:

      just before I looked at the receipt for $9131, I didn’t believe that my friend actualey taking home money parttime from there new laptop.. there moms best frend had bean doing this for only about nineteen months and resently paid for the loans on their condo and bourt themselves a Lancia Straton. this is where I went, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> bidznew.COM

  2. nimzy says:

    I WANT PICTURES, CRAIG! PICTURES OF MODS!

  3. serioussgtstu says:

    My only problem with the Whole Lotta Stratis mission is how ridiculously overpowered the ground vehicles are. A squad of infantry should be able to take one out with light weapons; it got very frustrating.

    That Dishonoured mod sounds amazing, definitely reinstalling Skyrim now, cheers Craig.

    • Premium User Badge

      Luringen says:

      I can’t play Whole Lotta Stratis at all, the game stutters once every two seconds making it unplayable. Not an issue anywhere else in the game, and turning all the settings from high to low and moving the entire game from my HDD to my SSD didn’t help.

      • serioussgtstu says:

        Performance is all about reducing the view distance. That made my frame rate go up by about 15.

    • Premium User Badge

      wengart says:

      The light vehicles are MRAPS, they are designed to survive a lot of punishment including IEDs. It would be very hard to knock one out with small arms in a timely manner (timely being before it guns you down with it’s FLIR equipped HMG or AGL).

      Using multiple LMGs, MMGs, and grenades on it will work if you manage to surprise it.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        Yes but ARMA 3 is a military sim and there is no way that designers of military vehicles would make them resistant to light arms fire, it’s just not sporting. That added to the fact that there are only 4 RPG’s currently in the world and one of them was used last week so THREE RPG’s is hardly a threat.

        On a side note I really like the new Cabriolet Bradley with its BOSE ten speaker ICE, it has that battlefield cool, so American!

        • Premium User Badge

          neofit says:

          Exactly, Arma 3 is a military sim. The MRAPs are “Mine Resistant” by definition. Light weapons are, by definition, well, light. So how do you figure it should work, you reduce the vehicle health bar pixel by pixel? You chip away at the vehicle layered armor plates micron by micron? HL1-type Abramses that you can destroy with a crowbar given enough time don’t have a place here. Increasing the amount of AT weapons is the only way it should go in a military *sim*.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      The problem I have with WLS is that the respawn doesn’t work properly. If that gets fixed it’ll be a rich meaty sauce of awesome.

      (Also, “Pick-up truck drivers now throw trash, and stuff falls off the back of their truck” might be one of my favourite patch notes in a while)

  4. Wednesday says:

    You don’t play CK2 but you do play the GoT mod?

    !?!?!?!

    Edit: Also, does the mod take the gloves off a little bit? In CKII it’s pretty much untenable to play as a brazen tyrant.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Indeed I do.

      I don’t know about being a tyrant. I’m Eddard!

      • Discopanda says:

        YOU’RE FULL OF CRAP, CRAIG!!!!!11one

        …I mean. What I meant to say was, the mod actually lets you play all the way up to A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons, although it is very spoilery if you haven’t finished book 3.

        And unfortunately CK 2 doesn’t model tyranny all that well, if you’re gonna try to be Joffrey or Aerys… you’re very likely to be assassinated by your vassals, since almost EVERYBODY hates you because of negative modifiers. But, that’s part of the fun! And you can always try to get into a CK2 AGOT mod multiplayer game, the scene is small, but dedicated!

  5. Alexander says:

    So why VG247? Also, I’m sure that on his way out, Jim was also muttering something about brutalism in architecture and how to survive in post-apocalyptic Britain. Have a great weekend, everyone.

  6. YogSo says:

    A-ha! I knew Spider-Man was somehow involved in the hacking of Bohemia’s website!

  7. vivlo says:

    There are also mods for Dota 2, the new out–quite-out-for-everybody game ! they are designed to completely break the balance so finely tuned by years of careful craftmanship : http://d2ware.net/

  8. DoomMunky says:

    Brand new ENORMOUS Skyrim mod over at the Nexus called Falskaar: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/37994//?

    It’s got about 20 hours of quests, is fully voiced, and is a whole new land. It was made by one dude named Alexander; I was one of his VO actors, and man, this guy put the whole goddamn thing together himself. Took more than a year. Amazing. Go check it. It’s already getting rave reviews. :)

  9. Shooop says:

    Some people claim ambitious, game-world shaking mods are no longer being made because of the indie game boom.

    Those people are idiots.

  10. hermpesaurusrex says:

    All this stuff about Star Citizen and Elite have gotten me in a spacey mood. I’ll be playing Diaspora and Wing Commander Saga this weekend :)

  11. SuicideKing says:

    No FreeSpace 2 mods? Seriously? People still play that, Craig, you should too. :|

    Find as many as you’d like, here.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Nope. Seriously. I’ve played all the mods up there in my spare time for fun. I do play lots and lots, but can’t play everything.

      That said, I did try and fiddle with some Freespace 2 mods a few weeks ago, but made a mess of it. I’ll return to it when I have some time.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Well, ok you win :P

        I mean, you do probably play many times more games than i do, so it’s understandable. But it’s in SPACE!

        i’m not quite sure why you made a mess of it, though it is a slightly involved process, but mostly simple cut-copy-paste.

        Highly recommend Blue Planet, Diaspora, Babylon 5 and Wing Commander Total Conversion, among others.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Craaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiig!

  12. bramble says:

    RPS used to run a weekly article on the modding scene and new releases. I really wish they’d start that up again, few things are as firmly in the camp of “PC Gaming” as mods, and there are heaps of creative, innovative things out there.

    • philbot says:

      Yes I do agree that the Mod segment should come back. They regularly make announcements of big mods that are released, but stuff on small but useful mods for current and old games would be awesome.

    • malkav11 says:

      I would find one weekly post highlighting cool mods far, far more useful than any number of posts about trailers or similar pre-release nonsense. Or heck, more often than that if you really wanted.

  13. BeaverBep says:

    You realize Game of Thrones mods adds MORE complexity to CKII :/