Mod News: The First Mod News

RPS says: Ugh, Moddb is down at the minute, so some of these links are dead.

RPS needs more mod coverage, you say? Who they gonna call? Me, Lewis Denby, apparently. So here’s a digest of the more interesting happenings on the modding scene from the last week-and-a-bit.

– For some reason, I’ve not been able to get people as excited about this as I am. So let’s try again: here‘s an upcoming HL2 mod called Dual Reality. It’s a puzzle game in which you can split the world into two different versions of itself in order to destroy Antlions and Combine soliders and stuff. Explaining it in words is tricky, so have a look at the latest trailer. As a game mechanic, that’s exciting, right?

– I’ve been playing around with a beta version of Desura, the new digital distribution service with a focus on mods and indie games. I’m writing a feature on it elsewhere, so can’t say too much, but some very brief impressions are here.

– Hey, remember Dear Esther? Remember how much I like it? Remember it’s being remade by Mirror’s Edge level designer Robert Briscoe? He’s released a new batch of screenshots. The Source Engine is an incredibly flexible beast, but that someone can make it look quite so good, five years after its launch, is just spectacular.

– Kieron picked up on this already, but it’s so tremendously awesome that it’s worth repeating a thousand times: System Shock with mouselook! I played through System Shock again last year, and the only barrier to my enjoyment was that silly viewpoint-slider thing. It remains an absolutely exceptional game some 16 years on. This mod allegedly works with System Shock Portable, too, making an absolute classic of PC gaming basically playable for everyone today.

– Warhammer-based HL2 multiplayer mod Exterminatus has gone public-beta. I had a quick bash around in this. First impressions: the servers are very quiet, and it’s very much rough around the edges, but could prove interesting as it develops. Grab it at ModDB.

– Really don’t know what to make of this one. Arcadia – Rise and Fall is a “utopian point-and-click adventure” mod for Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, which is conceptually based on the Hermetic Principles of… something or other. Philosophy mods ahoy! It took me a while to realise the images on its ModDB page are actually remarkably colourful in-game screenshots. I have no idea what a utopian point-and-click adventure /is/, but I’m keeping my eye on this one. It’s set for a late-February release.

– Company of Heroes mod Eastern Front released a bit ago. I’ve not tried it, but I hear it’s exceptional. Review here.

– A very small sneak-peek at the new Radiator, in the form of an aerial view of one of the environments and a load of AI-related lines. Obviously Robert Yang is completely wrong about everything, so this will undoubtedly turn out to be rubbish, even though the first two instalments were outstanding. Fnar!

– Shameless self promotion! How I made HL2 mod Nestlings in three days.

More? You want more? Go on, then: head on over to UserCreated for daily news and general mod-related ponderings.


  1. Pl4t0 says:

    It seems that ModDB is having some issues currently. Completely unable to connect at all.

  2. Glove says:

    This post is both great on its own merit, and a sign of very welcome things to come, so yay for mods! And coverage of them!

  3. AndrewC says:

    Quick round ups are good, but i’ll bet there are plenty of people in the same positon as me: which is slightly overwhelmed by choice with little idea of where to start or how to approach these entirely unknown beasts. How am I supposed to know how to feel about a game if there’s been no PR campaign to tell me?

    A bit of hand-holding and gentle-but-in-depth introduction to specific mods would break down that barrier to entry for foolish but well-meaning sheep like me. The Dear Esther piece was some good stuff, as was the Research & Development piece.

    If nothing else a ‘what-to-do-in-the-first-five-minutes-of-the-game’ would remove the fear-of-the-unknown. Why get you RPSers to write this stuff? We know what you are like and we trust you.

  4. Adam Whitehead says:

    EASTERN FRONT is very good but needs some ironing out. The game has a rather annoying intermittent bug where just as one side starts to win (say, by reaching the enemy base with a strong force) one of the players will crash out for no reason. That’s happened to me and my two co-op players several times. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

    Aside from that, it’s a pretty strong game, reflecting the Red Army ethos of feeding tons of cheap units into the grinder to hold back the Wehrmacht long enough for the decent tanks to enter the fray. The T-34 is probably a little underpowered (in RL these things made mincemeat of Panzer IVs and the upgraded version performed respectably against Panthers) but the heavier tanks are extremely formidable.

    Biggest problem the game has at the moment is that the Red Army cannot salvage abandoned weapons or equipment, which is annoying. Apparently this is a hard-coded limitation which cannot be overcome without Relic getting involved.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I got the opposite impression for the infantry; they’re incredibly cheap to produce and even unupgraded will roll over absolutely everything the enemy can throw at me short of Brit artillery on overwatch and even then, I can sprint past them with the officer.

    • Rich says:

      Just couldn’t hold as a Russians against the regular Germans. They don’t at all play to my favoured style of play, which to be honest, is turtling. Anything with a light machine gun just rips through the early infantry, and I find it impossible to hold the line.

      It does instil a real and honest hatred of tanks that you just don’t get with the regular COH factions.

    • BooleanBob says:

      @ Alexander: I’d be very interested to know how you set up a Ruskies vs Brits match, what with them being allied factions..?

      I’m a big fan of what the Eastern Front team have achieved; the faction is fully-fledged and of a standard (both in terms of design and production values) that feels not far short of an official expansion. Unit/Command Power balance is potentially something of an issue, but then it’s difficult to tell because of their other remarkable achievement: while sticking to the same basic play mechanics (re-crewing and retreating aside), the Russians play unlike any other army in the game. And as Adam notes, they do so whilst performing a smart sort of microcosm – a potted history, if you will – of the Soviets in WW2: initial under-supply and disarray, desperate infantry-led stalling tactics, and gradual and inexorable end-game momentum if Jerry fails to get his early knock-out. Brilliant stuff.

  5. Lewis says:

    Yep, spectacular timing here, as ModDB appears to be down.

  6. Sinnerman says:

    Mods vs Indie Rockers, who would win?

    Mods have thousands of hours of training in violent first person murder simulators and most of the Indie gamers are sensitive arty types. On the other hand the mods are spending the afternoon waffling on about immersion and emergent gameplay while the Indie gamers are honing their reflexes by one credit clearing Thunder Force IV.

  7. KindredPhantom says:

    Dual Reality looks like a really interesting mod.

    Also mod coverage on RPS, nice. But still you could do with a bit more in depth coverage of mods.

    • AVarotsis says:

      Check out UserCreated, that’s all we cover :P

      Also, for those who care, ModDB is back! Nice to see more of Lewis’ stuff on RPS :)

    • KindredPhantom says:

      @AVarotsis I already do, that is where i first discovered Dual Reality. The site is nice and hopefully will fill the need for a proper site for mods.

  8. Newblade says:

    That Dear Esther update looks absolutely gorgeous.

  9. Cooper says:

    fuck. me.

    Those Dear Esther shots are stunning

  10. Vandelay says:

    Dual Reality looks like it could be really interesting. The video was a bit confusing initially, but things started to make sense as the puzzle progressed. Don’t think this is the first time I’ve seen something like it, but can’t think of any first person games that have done it.

    And those Dear Esther shots are stunning. Truly shows that art assets are much more important than fancy special effects most engines splatter all over the screen.

    Edit: Also, you missed the link to the Eastern Front review. Downloading that now. I really should play more Company of Heroes, so this is a good excuse.

    • Newblade says:

      It reminded me of Lemmings, with an alternate reality twist.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Project reality just hit 0.9 adding the ISDF and Hamas and about a million other things. Its not battlefield 2 anymore, its a totally different game.

  12. Lewis says:

    Oh, formatting mistake in the post – the Eastern Front review is here.

  13. jsutcliffe says:

    I really don’t understand why people attempt to make unlicensed Warhammer mods. Games Workshop’s IP cops are among the most unforgiving out there.

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Huh?That’s not true, in fact GW has always been surprisingly tolerant towards mods.

      What they don’t like is mixing their IP with another (eg. Warhammer VS Star Wars would probably get shut down). Hell I can’t think of a single mod they’ve closed.

  14. KillahMate says:

    That Dual Reality is HOLY SHIT. Mind-expanding stuff.

  15. A-Scale says:

    “Review here”


  16. mrSaturn says:

    Am I the only one having problems with the links? And I don’t mean because moddb is down. For some reason the first link sent me to a pizzahut site(something about wing street), and the second link took me to something about the scientology rundown.(neither of them being sites I’ve ever visited. I’m a papa johns man myself)

    Refreshing the page seems to have fixed everything, but I thought it was strange.

  17. Pirada says:

    What about Pirates Vikings and Knights, the new update should be out this week.

  18. mejobloggs says:

    I love mods! More mod coverage!

  19. billyboob says:

    quick nod to the just released HL2 mod Human Error

    link to

    • Lewis says:

      Already in the Google doc for next week. I played it yesterday, shortly after writing this column.

  20. Duck says:


    Quite possibly the biggest mod release of the year, and it’s only February!

  21. Glenn says:

    Aha! So YOU are the villain responsible for Nestlings.

    You, sir, done made some good atmospheres. Yes indeeds. However, for some odd reason, I found the attic rather… odd. Perhaps it was the lighting, but suddenly the aforementioned atmosphere was a bit drained. Nonetheless, grand job for three days.

    • Lewis says:

      Thanks. Yeah, the attic was tricky, and very much a victim of the time constraint. As in, the sequence that occurs in there, not the setup. The setup worked pretty magically, I think. But yeah – it’s all there in that dev notes thing. Cheers for the kind words!

  22. Wulf says:

    I want to play that remake of Dear Esther… very, very much. If only to just wander around and marvel at it a bit.

  23. Octaeder says:

    So it’s already been said, but…

    Holy crap, those Dear Esther screenshots… Holy Crap!

  24. Anthony says:

    That Dear Esther remake looks awesome.

    Hard to believe the Source engine still has these kind of legs, but then again it is Valve.

  25. Scott says:

    Our first and longest downtime in over a year. Had to take down the “mother” box and couldn’t avoid it. Back now to our 99.99% uptime track record!

  26. Paul says:

    Oh good, I’ll look forward to this column. The Dear Esther update looks very nice, but I can’t help but feel the standing stones were a relatively important feature of the landscape.

    I never mentioned this before, but am I alone in getting a feel of the film Vargtimmen from Dear Esther? A lot of the early portion of the game, before the caves, seems taken straight from it…

  27. A-Scale says:

    I really, REALLY enjoyed Dear Esther. I can’t believe it came out 5 years ago. And I thought I was so hip playing it last year. I was bloody confused about why it was being retextured, but now I dig that it’s a remake. Very exciting.

    • Lewis says:

      No-no-no. Dear Esther didn’t come out five years ago. It’s the Source engine that’s five years old. Esther was 2008.