A Link To The Filepath: Airborne


I wonder if we’re on the cusp of a golden age for Unreal Tournament 3 mods, after all these years of Half-Life 2’s friendly tyranny. In the last few months we’ve had Prometheus, The Ball (which I’ll also write about later, but I had a headache on the day I downloaded it. No, it’s okay – don’t weep for me) and now there’s Airborn – all doing clever and pretty things with Epic’s solid but strangely unlovely multiplayer shootybangbang game. Is this powerful engine gearing up for its community-led day in the sun? Back to Airborn, anyway. It’s kind of like Zelda, but with less wibbling on about fairies and more airships.

The immediately odd thing about Airborn is that a very early version of it has been released, but its creators would really rather no-one play it – even refusing to share the download link anywhere publicly. Well, do allow me to do that for you. Unfortunately, it is hosted only at Fileplanet, which made me wait 26 minutes before I was allowed to download it yesterday, bombarding me with ads all the while. Q – is Fileplanet the worst website in the whole wide world? A – Yes, it is. Even worse than those ones with videos about grandmothers and donkeys.

The release isn’t anything more than a tech demo wuth a subgke qyest, but it does demonstrate that the rather delightful visual style of the concept art and screenshots is indeed real, and manages to be superbly detailed despite going for a ‘toonish look. See?

Oh goddamm you and your broken embed code, Gametrailers. Watch it here.

The two main things to know about Airborn is that it uses almost no UT3 assets – so everything you see in its world is custom-made for it – and that it’s a third-person action adventure wotsit. So jumping and thumping, not first-person-shooting. There will be quests, there will be talking there will be flying, there will be steampunk vehicles, and there will be a pogo stick. Also, the lead character appears to be wearing a clock around his neck, like an 80s rapper in a 10 year old child’s body.

Is it just me, or is it all evoking Beyond Good & Evil just a little? Hope I’m on the money with that, seeing as BGE2 is currently looking unlikely.

Here’s a more official summary:

“Airbørn takes place in a fantastic world, eons after the earth has collapsed from over exploitation. Strangely, the world didn’t end, life went on and somehow the people of this world managed to survive and live in a peacefull manner. Well if there wouldn’t be kings that still exploit the ressources of the last islands and take even the last bits of usable sources for their good.

We place the player in that world, as Piño a small boy who wants to be a messenger just like his father was. In time he experiences a lot of adventures.”

The homepage (in fact a Moddb page with its own URL) cites a release date of September 7th, but I rather doubt that. One to keep a doe eye on, regardless.


  1. TheBlackBandit says:

    Yes please. Very yes please.

  2. OldManTick says:

    did he kick a dog in the movie?


  3. Vinraith says:

    The movie appears to be dead.

    I’m really pleased to see UT3’s mod community finally flourishing. The best aspect of UT2004 was the incredible diversity of great mods.

  4. Vinraith says:

    And then I noticed Alec’s note beneath the movie. Duh.

  5. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I have a Fileplanet subscription (for some reason) and today it downloaded the 1.08 patch for FEAR in half the time it took the actual page with all the patches listed to load.

    Fileplanet is arse on a stick.

  6. Thirith says:

    I get a faint whiff of Miyazaki in the world/environments. I also like the subtle hint of cel shading you get in the outlines.

  7. Springy says:

    I thought Ubi quashed these rumours about BG&E2’s demise?

  8. Aubrey says:

    I work with one of the coders, and used to live with one of the artists. I’m jealous of their talent. Talented bastards :(.

  9. Xercies says:

    ‘wuth a subgke qyest’

    What the hell is that supposed to mean, spelling fail…


    Anyway this does sound interesting, shame I don’t have UT3 since some of these mods do look quite good.

  10. Ansob. says:

    There’s also been Steam Racers released today over at modDB, and a new version of Archasis II. Between this, those two, Prometheus, The Ball and The Haunted, might it be worth it to make some sort of super post UT3 mod frenzy, or at least cross-linking all of them?

  11. fearian says:

    At last! I’ve been waiting on this mod for too long. Every art asset Neox and the team have posted has been beyond industry standard!

  12. Tom says:

    I get a really nice Steambot Chronicles-vibe from that trailer. Which is great, because Steambot is one of my absolute favourite games. Might even pick up UT3 if this turns about to be Steambot-good.

  13. robrob says:

    Peggle Airbjorn

  14. Blather Blob says:

    I really think Epic shot themselves in the foot with their MSU contest. It basically left mod teams with very little incentive to release their mods (and increased fear of tipping off their competition) until nearly two years after the game’s release. Which means the sales that will develop because of interest in mods aren’t going to make Epic very much money. Speaking of which, UT3 is $7 at gogamer this weekend.

  15. DarkNoghri says:

    Darnit, you guys are going to make me purchase UT3, which I hadn’t planned on doing. Well, I’ve been arguing with myself over it, and losing.

    And Blather Blob beat me to it, but I’m going to repeat it anyway: UT3 is cheap at gogamer.com this weekend.

  16. Joseph says:

    Very impressive. Looks great.

    Will get UT3 just for this. (or can I just “download” UT3 and play mods with it? or is that poor form?)

  17. Backov says:

    You sure that’s not a compass around his neck?

  18. Joseph says:

    Didn’t realise it was only $7… I’ll buy it!

  19. Smee says:

    Lovely bit of random anti-cat violence in the trailer there. Good to see Postal 2 is still having influence.

  20. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Screamin’ Eagles!

    /Wait, wrong Airborne?

  21. Kua says:

    Joseph says:

    Didn’t realise it was only $7… I’ll buy it!

    Oh – where is it $7? Is that something a British chap can take advantage of?

  22. bobince says:

    Crikey, that’s gorgeous! But how can it even count as a ‘mod’ any more? There’s no UT left in it!

    I’d prefer to give my $7 to these guys rather than pay for Epic’s largely uninteresting shooter.

  23. hydra9 says:

    The trailer ends with a boy kicking a cat to death, then scratching his belly button. “Whimsical,” I’d say.

  24. Jonas says:

    I suspect that Scandinavians of some colour were involved in the creation of this mod. Børn means children in Danish, so… Airchildren, then? Surely that can’t just be a happy accident.

  25. Steffen says:

    @jonas: it may sound like airborn but what it means is born in the air, the danish ø was a happy accident :) we had that logo with a propeller in the o aif Airborn and when i’ve been in denmark for vacation we saw that øl (beer) can and it hit me, thats perfect! Later on i learned that it meant children, which was awesome because it totally sold the idea of people beein born and living on floating islands in the air… however the project started here in germany and had no relation to scandinavia, besides one concept artist who is now at funcom, happy little accidents :)

    About some points: yes its a compas not a clock, keen eye Backov

    @bobince: call it a total conversion then :) we have only little left of ut in it but its still based on ut

    the critter in the end is more like a rat, not a cat or a dog, its chubby and giant and a bit cute but well you know how boys are, they are mean, thank god we had no girls on the set…

    And about us not posting public yet, there are some ugly things in the MSUC Demo we have fixed, new download will come on monday, i guess one week delayed is cool. It won’t have any new gameplay or something but it way more polished.

  26. Jorgen says:

    Looking fantastic. I knew there must have been a good reason for me to get UT3 on the Steam WD a few months ago, and this seems to be it.

  27. Joseph says:

    “Oh – where is it $7? Is that something a British chap can take advantage of?” – Kuo

    It’s at “gogamer” as mentioned in the few posts above mine, but I realised this was an american retail box thing and not digital download so also for me it will be a no-go being in Australia =(

  28. DarkNoghri says:

    I wasn’t sure if gogamer shipped outside the US. I figured they would at least ship to the UK, since half their cheap stuff is imported anyhow.

  29. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Good job, Steffen. The artwork is completely fantastic. I loved the pogo stick, too; I don’t recall pogo sticks in any computer game since Commander Keen (which has a soft spot in my heart). I also like the tiny aircraft with the saddle on it instead of a cockpit, sort an “air motorbike” :)

  30. Steffen says:

    One week delayed


    the download link, exclusive on 4players for now

    This happens to be the first public release of Airbørn, a total conversion for Unreal Tournament 3. The initial version which we had to release due to the Make Something Unreal Contest deadline last week, had some bad issues here and there, therefore we decided to give that version a week of extra polish.

    The game was planned to be console based Action Adventure, therefore using the shortcuts provided by us 1280×720 (small HD) and playing Airborn with a gamepad (Xbox 360 controller) is recommended. It does work in different resolutions but the game experience might change and the HUD might not work properly. It also does work with keyboard and mouse, but it lends itself to be enjoyed with controller.

    This version of Airbørn is far from a finished game, it’s more or less a visual techdemo with basic gameplay added. Now that we have that base done we can build upon and add more to it. This is Version 0.1b, we know that there still are issues, but if you have any suggestions, feedback etc. feel free to contact us or search for updates at [url]www.airborn-game.com[/url] .

    Have fun!

    If you’ve already downloaded the previous version, here are the changes we’ve implemented since then:

    – fixed a bad jump bug that occasionally shot you over very far distances
    – fixed a dead end, when you’ve been on pogo and came close to the ledge you lost controls,
    now you’ll fall just like when you jump over the ledge
    – balance animation got fixed, now plays right
    – bird anims fixed
    – kicking tokachus is way easier now, still not perfect, but a step forward
    – changed the collision for pino to not get stuck all the time
    – updated the collision of the harbour
    – polished the pogo animations and movement to be more fluid and fun
    – fixed an issue with the quest that you couldn’t finish it even if you made it in time
    – press ‘B’ to talk now added to the quest, for keyboard users, use ‘E’
    – tweaked the hud to fit better in the game
    – ingame UI did crazy things therefore we removed it, is fixed now.
    – added new graphical assets to the harbour
    – tweaked existing shaders to fit better with the lighting
    – new start screen
    – forum added to [url]www.airborn-game.com[/url]

    Best Regards

    The Crew and me :)