Mod News: There’s Life In Her Yet

Usually we expect mods – amateur creations, let’s not forget – to utilise game engines to a less effective degree than professional developers would manage. But what I love about the mod scene is that sometimes we’re thrown a complete curveball in that respect. We’ve seen what Robert Briscoe’s doing with Dear Esther, for example. And sometimes, it’s an even older engine that has new life breathed into it by some talented bedroom coders. Have a read below the jump to see what I’m talking about, and to peruse the week’s mod news.

So yes, this is extraordinary. Half-Life 1 mod Cry of Fear, which has been in development for a hundred thousand years, has always looked impressive. But I don’t think I’ve seen it look quite this impressive before. There’s a new trailer beyond this link. Do keep in mind, especially during the opening scene, that Half-Life effectively runs on a modified Quake engine.

Meanwhile, A Half-Life 2 mod is shouting at me. I glossed over this initially, assuming it to be something a bit crass from that big red command. But then I clicked through to the mod itself, and it’s looking interesting, particularly with that visual style. Less so the generic setup: you wake up with amnesia, and have to escape from a place. But it’ll be out in January, and I’ll be keeping my eye on it.

Then there’s a bunch of new Morrowind Rebirth screenshots, from the city of Gnisis. Rebirth is an attempt to turn Morrowind into a game which is a bit more like the one the mod’s dev envisioned. Which is a great thing about the mod scene: you can make what you want, not what you reckon other people will. Anyway, the grabs are here.

Pirates, Vikings and Knights II, the popular multiplayer HL2 mod, is due an update shortly. Its developers have written up a preview of version 2.4, including some new videos. Take a look, if you’re interested.

And FUEL: REFUELED’s next update will allow for user-created content, its developers have revealed. Custom challenges and custom vehicle colours will be allowed, and players’ creations will be shareable on the mod’s forum. The update, beta 4, will be available in the next few days.

Here’s Dynamic Itano Circus for Freelancer. Basically, there was once a mod called Itano Circus, which a lot of people liked. Including the devs of this one. So they got in touch to ask if they could take their work and add their own touches to it. The result is a completely new mod which expands on the old one. Exquisite stuff.

Meanwhile, over in Left 4 Deadsville, there’s a new campaign called Last Night. At least, a demo of it. My understanding is that it contains the first map, and an early version of the second, but I’ve only just spotted it now, so I haven’t played it.

GoldenEye: Source received a massive update at the weekend. Now at version 4.1, it’s no longer considered to be in beta. There’s an enormo-list of all the changes here, and you can grab the download from the torrent linked on ModDB.

Also updated this week, Payne Effect 3 is now at version 1.4. The Max Payne 2 mod – which adds a bit of extra realism to the game’s gunplay, as well as making things a touch more cinematic – includes some bug-fixes, performance tweaks, and new animations.

And there’s another update for Eidan Mod for Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King. “In creating this version, we have focussed on fixing flaws and errors in our previous release to allow for a much smoother gaming experience,” say the devs. A full list of what this means is beyond the link above.

Finally, the Christmas Map Pack was released for Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality. Grab it here.

‘Til next week, lovers.


  1. Schmung says:

    I wonder how the hell Cry of Fear bloke did that water in goldsrc. I can only assume it’s some sort of custom *.dll or something. It’s lovely, but it does look a bit incongruous next to everything else. Still, looks dead impressive nonetheless.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, it does look amazing. But the modified Quake engine argument doesn’t really make any sense. Look at any thing running on source, that’s a modified version of the Quake engine. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare? Modified Quake engine.

      I’m not saying it’s not impressive that one guy has made such a great looking game. I’m just saying, don’t diss the Quake engine. It’s bleeding brilliant.

    • panther says:

      I REALLY don’t get why your arguing that point at all. For goldsrc that is amazing and worth noting. Hardly an attack on the quake engine.

  2. stahlwerk says:

    I could go for a row boat & fishing mod for Half life. Survival Horror? Not so much. But looks great, nonetheless.

  3. Saul says:

    Yeah, Cry of Fear looks damned impressive. Hopefully, will actually be released before Half-Life 3 :)

  4. Brumisator says:

    Cry of Fear sure looks damn impressive. I just wonder if the devs are too stuck in the past.
    I mean, what’s the point? If the goal is to make a game, why not use modern technology.
    If the goal is to make fancy coding, why not build your own engine from the ground up?

    “-Look, I modded my ford T to go almost as fast as a ford Mustang
    -Why didn’t you get a Mustang in the 1st place?”

    • Crane says:

      Because there are times when it’s easier to make a fairly large effort to make a toolset/engine that you know work for what you want to do than it is to learn a new toolset.

      Just look at Bethesda! (Thank God they’ve switched engines now…)

    • Brumisator says:

      Well of course. But if you’re going to spend all that time making your game look more contemporary, you could have used that time to learn a new engine.
      And afaik, Source is very similar to Goldsource.

      I’m not trying to bash the immense efforts the devs put into their mod, I applaud them for that. I just think they could have used their time better.

    • Wilson says:

      It does depend on how long they’ve spent on content already. You don’t want to change engine just to find your stuff still outdated by the time you have it all together for the new engine. I don’t know how long they’ve been working on this, but I expect they passed a no-return point for changing engines where it wouldn’t be worthwhile some time ago.

      I expect another advantage of using an older engine is that it lowers expectations for the graphics, meaning you don’t have to spend so long on every novel thing you want in, meaning you can add more stuff.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Also, being on Gldsrc means they can spend less time on levels and assets as the level of detail is much lower. That means it should be longer, more polished and have way more content etc.

    • Mistabashi says:

      You could spend less time on levels and detailling in Source too, there’s nothing about the engine that makes it more or less geometrically detailed. The Source engine has much more developed editing tools, so it would be much easier to work with, but it doesn’t have a built-in minimum detail level – you can make a simple box room in either engine.

  5. Starky says:

    Something, something, something, black mesa…

    • Navagon says:

      Black Mesa’s too racist. Mod’s new name: Rainbow Diversity Mesa.

  6. Berm says:

    No news on the amazing In Country trailer for Heroes of Stalingrad?

  7. ChrisR says:

    I want to feel like a warm so bad! Help me!

  8. James T says:

    That ‘Last Night’ blurb is hilarious.

  9. Durns says:

    I’m not trying to be mean, but I always skip over the ‘news’ segment of this post. There’s just too many vaporware mods that build up excitement then trail off into the distance. Maybe you could add some kind of vapor-o-meter that would give an idea of how likely we are to be playing this in 3-6-12 months?

    The Releases and Updates sections are always interesting, even if I rarely ever seem to have the games that are being modded for some weird reason.

    • Urthman says:

      I agree. I would much rather see a Mod News column that focused on stuff that’s actually been released. There’s a ton of good stuff that goes unnoticed. Why not wait to cover stuff like Cry of Fear or Comatose when (if) it actually gets released and instead dig a little more into the stuff that people might want to download and try right now?

    • Mistabashi says:

      While I agree it’s great to see posts about stuff you can actually download and play, I think it would be a shame to ignore mods that are in development – having people acknowledge and show interest in your work is a major motivation for modders to keep doing what they’re doing, so it’s important to support mods that aren’t yet finished. I’m sure a contributing factor in a lot of “vapourware” mods is the percieved lack of interest; it’s amazing what the odd encouraging word from an interested follower can do to spur your determination to finish (modding/game development etc. is a massively tedious chore for the most part).

  10. Bfox says:

    If you’re like me and loved the original Command and Conquer, check out this mod for TibSun:
    link to
    Now you can finally play with a friend against the AI!

  11. Jad says:

    Make a man a fire, he’s a warm for a night, light a man on fire …

  12. ACS says:

    Normally, I wouldn’t be terrifically excited about the release of a modmodmod, but I’ve been playing Wild Mana — which is a mod of Fall Further, which is a mod of Fall from Heaven, which is a mod of Civilization 4 — but it’s terrific. New hero-differentiating stuff, brand new AI (that’s better than vanilla Civ4), brand new civilization stuff, and a brand new magic system. Plus, it solves all of the runs-incredibly-slowly problems that Fall from Heaven and its spawn have had.

    I can’t praise it highly enough. 9.0 will be out later today, but if you can’t wait that long, you can either (a) watch the board or (b) find their forum and download the public beta.

  13. Wierdo says:

    I think there is mistake in link to the HL2 Modification, because attempt2survive is alredy done, but this one link to comes in January.

  14. dethtoll says:

    Cry of Fear just made me shit myself.

  15. Mistabashi says:

    If you want a warm, make a paid pal, it’s good for you! everytime, you must not miss!

  16. bagga says:

    “Usually we expect mods – amateur creations, let’s not forget – to utilise game engines to a less effective degree than professional developers would manage. But what I love about the mod scene is that sometimes we’re thrown a complete curveball in that respect. We’ve seen what Robert Briscoe’s doing with Dear Esther, for example.”

    Robert Briscoe is a professional game artist/ level designer, not really an amateur.

  17. Muzman says:

    You jokers are all lower than warms to take advantage of a defenseless bot.