Mod News: School’s Out


This week has been an unusually quiet one within the mod community, with very few developers churning out any hot and spicy news. However, one story has dominated the headlines, not just in the mod community, and not even just within the gaming press. What is it? If you’ve been vaguely tuned into this interesting tale, you’ll probably already have guessed. Either way, read on for all the deets.

NEWS
So yeah, the news dominating the mod scene this week is that of School Shooter: North American Tour 2012. You might have heard of this before. It first made headlines towards the end of last year: a Half-Life 2 mod in which you play as a gunman in an American high school. Hmm.

This week, it came to the attention of some of the more mainstream media, causing something of an uproar. And now, in a bold move, ModDB has chosen to remove it from its website.

The site has explained and defended its decision, saying the admins had received truckloads of abusive emails after several people had assumed they were behind the mod. Others, though, have accused ModDB of crumbling under pressure instead of sticking to its guns. As it were.

I’m not sure where exactly I stand on this. It’s an interesting one.

Yesterday, two of the mod’s devs spoke to BeefJack about their intentions. One of them comes across as fairly reasonable. The other, frankly, seems to me like a bit of a nutter. Luke Stratford, who conducted the interview, assures me that both were very aimiable and seemed genuine in their intentions. But it’s a very interesting one to watch as it unfolds. My guess? It probably isn’t going to be very good. But it’s certainly got people’s attention.

What else? Well, another HL2 mod, the rather good looking Off Limits, has reached closed beta phase. Invites are going out through Desura, and you can sign up by leaving a comment here. There are 250 places, and as I write there appear to be a good 60 or so left. Although I am writing this yesterday, because I am a time-travelling rogue.

There’s also lots of new media for Stargate – Empire at War: Pegasus. It’s a mod for Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption. Writing those two names used up a good chunk of my word count, so I’ll make this snappy: it’s a mod that replaces every Star Wars reference and asset with a Stargate one. An odd concept, but fair play. Check out the rather pretty new things here.

RELEASES
Another Stalker graphical update has been released. Absolute Nature 2 is a mod for Clear Sky which adds some delightful new textures where, before, they weren’t quite so delightful. It also allows you to choose a unique style for each are in the game, from a list of five. So if you want – say – the swamps to be dry and autumnal, you can make them be just that. Lovely! You can grab it from ModDB.

UPDATES
Age of Empires III mod The Forgotten Empires has released a new version after hundreds of emailers complained about various bugs. This 1.32 patch purports to fix them. There’s a full changelog here. I love reading changelogs out of context. Check this out, for example: “Italians can’t gather with animals at their tradecentres any longer.” Those pesky Italians.

Also, Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour mod C&C Shockwave is finished. There have been several iterations of this already, but with this release the team has deemed the mod complete, and won’t be working on it any longer. The aim of the mod, according to the devs, is to “make Zero Hour a more interesting game with more diversity between the generals, making you think twice before you select a certain general, and overall provide more choices, diversity, and strategic freedom than in Zero Hour – while keeping the spirit and design direction of the original Generals game and storyline.” Have they succeeded? Grab the mod from here to find out.

Please do email me (click on my name atop this post to do so) if you spot anything interesting in the next seven days. In the last few weeks, all that has landed in my RPS inbox is the repeated suggestion I might like to make my penis larger. If you must tell me that, try lobbing some mod news in there too. It’s what I’ve been saying to my girlfriend for, like, ages…

‘Til next week!

25 Comments

  1. GraveyardJimmy says:

    I read the interview. The guy who doesn’t sound nuts simply sounds like he is trying to give diplomatic answers (despite the interviewer saying he is sincere). The other guys attempt at (wha I think was supposed to be) a joke:

    BeefJack: One last thing – overall, as a project, as a message-in-a-game, who would you encourage to play this game?

    Pawnstick: Anyone who wants to be a school shooter, but is too big of a pussy to actually do anything.

    Is a bit weird.

    • HermitUK says:

      Yeah, I got the feeling the Anonymous modeller views the game more like GTA IV; a fairly serious treatment of the subject matter. Meanwhile, Pawnstick sees it as GTA 1 – Kill people, get points.

      Of course, neither of them seem to be aware (or care) that the mod’s intended teenage audience shouldn’t really be exposed to this sort of violent content in games anyway – GTA has always been an 18 for a reason.

    • Xercies says:

      And no teenagers under 18 have ever played GTA!

    • Anonymous Coward says:

      Sorry but I don’t see what’s the fuzz about this mod.. i mean, is shooting koreans or iraki people in war games really any better than shooting kids in schools? Especially with all the hype the call of duty games n such got?

      @ GraveyardJimmi Are war games aiming at people who want to kill others in war but are too much of a pussy to do it?

    • DrGonzo says:

      In the words of Leftover Crack, ‘I’m gonna shoot your kids at school, they’re gonna grow up to be an arsehole just like you!”

    • Wulf says:

      Whilst I agree that this should’ve carried an 18 rating, I don’t think ModDB should’ve removed it so much as put it behind an age gate. Taboos are an interesting aspect of modern society, because I don’t see this as being any different to No Russian, or the slaughter of nigh defenceless animals in roleplaying games. It’s all atrocity in the name of entertainment and like I said elsewhere, we’re desensitised to it.

      Where it becomes interesting is when someone tries to defend one sort of atrocity whilst decrying another. That I actually find mildly upsetting, though, because when you see people doing that in real world scenarios, it’s never to any particularly good ends. For example – decrying the actions of Nazi Germany on one hand, and then defending the Hiroshima bombing on the other. Both of which were atrocities, and neither are particularly defensible.

      Now, yes, I can tell the difference between games and reality, but what I’m saying is that we get virtual atrocities in the form of entertainment. My point is that I don’t see that one form of atrocity is any worse than another, even in the scope of a game, and we certainly shouldn’t be defending any ideas of the sort. If we’re going to pull this, then we might as well also pull any other game that presents a virtual atrocity for the player to engage themselves with.

    • steggieav says:

      No big loss. It looked pretty damn terrible, from videos I’ve seen of it. It was less ‘artistic statement’ and more ‘obvious trolling’. Reminded me of that Virginia Tech game.

    • GraveyardJimmy says:

      “Are war games aiming at people who want to kill others in war but are too much of a pussy to do it?”

      No, and thats my point. Thats what the developer said, not me.

    • Anonymous Coward says:

      @graveyardjimmi: whops sorry then, i should have read your post twice :D

  2. Bornemannen says:

    The excellent Finish Defence Mod for Arma2 was released this week as well, the FDF Mod was one of the best mods for the original Operation Flashpoint.
    Here’s a link to the FDF mod thread on the Bohemia Interactive forums: link to forums.bistudio.com

    There are a lot of interesting things being worked on for Arma 2 so it is well worth the time to read through some of the threads on the Bohemia Interactive forum.

    • KauhuK says:

      Too bad that it requires arma 2 + arrowhead. I only have the original arma 2. Maybe when arrowhead is on sale I’ll check this one out.

    • Caleb367 says:

      You do that. I’ve picked up both ArmA2 and Arrowhead in last Xmas sale on Steam, and noticed a pretty huge increase in both quality and framerate when playing the original campaign on Arrowhead. ‘sides that, better campaign and much less buggy. Get ACE2 mod also and you’re in for one hell of a treat.

    • bascule42 says:

      There’s a point, we don’t seem to see much mention of Arma (2) mods here on RPS Mod News…or is it just me?

    • Wilson says:

      I don’t remember hearing about any from here. But then I check the forums and an Arma news site regularly, so I probably wouldn’t notice if anything was mentioned here. I’m particularly excited about the upcoming ARMA II: OA release of Invasion 1944 myself.

    • Duckmeister says:

      “There’s a point, we don’t seem to see much mention of Arma (2) mods here on RPS Mod News…or is it just me?”

      This is because Lewis is a moron, like all people who do not play ArmA 2.

      I am only partially kidding.

    • Durkonkell says:

      Oh, fantastic! The original FDF Mod was outstanding, I didn’t even notice that there was a new version in development.

      This takes me back. In the days of Op Flashpoint’s FDFMod, I didn’t have broadband at home and had to sneakily download it onto an external drive at my Dad’s workplace.

      Commence downloading instantly!

  3. WASD says:

    Brutal Doom has had another update Lewis. link to skulltag.com

  4. Kollega says:

    In this screenshot, what’s written on the crane literally translates to “Given to a (hu)man”. LOLWUT? What does that even mean? Did the author just take a random word and Google-translated it into Russian? Or maybe that is supposed to be a sort of an “easter egg”? An explanation surely won’t go amiss.

  5. Fumarole says:

    Hooray for Shockwave!

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Hear, hear! It’s really one of the best mods out there.

      In fact ZH in general has some of the best mods around; that’s why I still play it after all these years.

    • Wilson says:

      Yeah, there are some amazing ZH mods around. And Shockwave is great fun.

  6. KindredPhantom says:

    PunyHuman, makers of the mod Blade Symphony are donating all the money people have donated to become PHAN club members to the red cross through the end of March.

  7. DainIronfoot says:

    “it’s a mod that replaces every Star Wars reference and asset with a Stargate one. An odd concept”

    Total conversion of a game is an odd concept?

  8. Leelad says:

    School Shooter sounds like it was started to irritate Jack Thompson. Since he was told to shut up i guess it serves no purpose.

    I think it’s main problem is that it’s recreating something horrific that actually happened. Even done humorously it’s still that side of wrong.

    Something a lot worse like playing a peado raping as many babies as possible in a minute would at least strike an electric retard style tone with some peoples humour and be less objectionable. Like it goes too far so it’s weirdly OK (if a little flat in the game play field…..probably one for flash or something)

    Guess it’s another case of OMG OMG OMG OMG games kill. And ModDB didn’t have the balls to say actually rappers do…..or something.