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Mod News: Some Kind Of Sourcery

Apologies for the lack of Mod News last week. Imps came and took my eyes away, so I was unable to source any. But it’s fine, because Source is what this week’s Mod News is covered in, with various HL2 bits and bats, and even a little sprinkling of Left 4 Dead 2. But there’s more. Two Command & Conquer games and even Minecraft, of all things, receive a mention. Read on for the most interesting mod-related gubbins of the week.

NEWS
So, Firearms: Source is to be collided nose-first with Steamworks. It means Steam will handle all the updatey goodness for you, hopefully eradicating the frustration many have reported upon not being able to compete against players with a different version of the mod. It will, of course, mean having to download the thing again, through Steam this time, but it’s always nice to see amateur creations cropping up on Valve’s big service. Good for them, says I.

Meanwhile, still in the world of Source modding and Steam, Pirates, Vikings and Knights II is to be receiving updates shortly. What I’ve managed to glean from this pirate-infested PR is that the voices are being re-recorded, and there’s some improved tech chugging away in the background, including stuff to do with achievements and player model shaders. PVKII is available through Steam.

Now. This next one I originally had written more about. Then, as I was about to submit this column, John went and posted about it. See this face, John? It has a frown on it. Still, it’s worth a quick mention: Mines of the Living Dead!

And, okay, even more Half-Life 2. But when it’s a Dystopia dev’s new otherworldly duelling game, you pay attention. Especially when it’s looking quite so beautiful. Four new screenshots of the newly renamed Blade Symphony have been unveiled, demonstrating its transition from a work-in-progress project without a real name, to something that’s nearing the end of its development cycle. I can’t wait for this.

RELEASES
Dead Before Dawn is out! It’s a Left 4 Dead-based remake of Dawn of the Dead, a mod that went through an extensive public beta session last year, and is now polished up and out for real. Here’s a fun teaser. The devs will be working to port the campaign to Left 4 Dead 2 in the near future.

If strategising’s more your thing, then here’s The Forgotten. Which I thought I’d mentioned last time, but turns out I’d forgo– yeah, that. In development for three years, it’s a C&C 3: Tiberium Wars mod that focuses specifically on the Forgotten faction featured in a couple of previous Command & Conquer titles, weaving a whole new story around them. Apparently ten hours long, I still note with a smile that one or two ModDB commenters are having a good old moan about there being “only five missions”. Do the download.

UPDATES
RTS/FPS hybrid mod Empires has hit version 2.27. The class-based Half-Life 2 total conversion’s been tweaked to improve performance and balance, primarily, but there are also a couple of more overt changes, like a fancy new HUD and scoreboard. However, I notice a few people suggesting that the update may be broken, which has resulted in a handful of delightful comments. Here are some download instructions, should you want to try it.

Meanwhile, Unreal Tournament 3 mod Renegade X has been updated. It’s a Command & Conquer: Renegades mod for UT3, surprisingly – an attempt to recreate the game in a modern engine. And it actually looks really quite delightfully pretty. Unusually, its developers are inviting people to make mods of their mods, releasing custom modding tools with their work. It’ll be interesting to see what people come up with. Here’s a change list for this version, and here’s a link via which to grab the mod.

AND THE REST
Over on Gamasutra, Simon Carless has been reporting on Firaxis’ development of Civ V modding tools. Business-minded, but basically spot on, the gist is that by polishing up your SDK and releasing it as an accessible component of the game itself, you’re going to generate a whole lot more buzz in the long term than your marketing department could ever achieve. Civ V’s modding tools were released this week.

And it’s been far too long since I last linked to Robert Yang’s blog. At least two weeks, anyway. So here we go: a handful of mods and maps he’s either digging at the moment, or expects to be digging soon.

That’s it for now, but remember, I’m always eager to hear your suggestions of what to feature in Mod News. Clicking my name atop this blog post sends a message with the wonderful shiny email fairies. You should totally get in touch if you find something.

‘Til next time.

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Lewis Denby

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