Mod News: The Expanding Mod-o-Sphere

Yeah, we probably need a new pic. Why not make one? 600x200 to contact@rockpapershotgun.com please!

It’s been a week of people announcing that it will be possible to make mods for things in the future. We might not be easily able to mod the below games for now, but it’s looking like the next few months will see some exciting new additions to the moddable titlesphere. You want to know which games, don’t you? Unless you already know. You might. But read on anyway, for all the latest mod-related gubbins. This week: Minecraft, Crysis 2, HL2 meets Shock 2, STALKER, the Witcher and… Wolfenstein 3D.

NEWS

So, mods are coming to Minecraft. Notch announced that we’ll have to pay a small amount for the privilege of being able to make mods, but then everyone shouted at him, so he changed his mind. (I continue to be intrigued by how angry people get with Notch, one of the most user-focused game developers I’ve ever come across, every time he tries to do something slightly different from expectations.) A lovely idea, though, is that Mojang will be looking for the best mods, licensing them, and releasing them as commercial products. A great way for amateur devs to make a bit of cash? Perhaps so.

Meanwhile, at the slightly less indie end of the gaming spectrum, it’s been revealed by community manager Josh Olin that Call of Duty: Black Ops is to see an SDK release next month. It had previously been suggested that ‘Blops would get mod tools, but there had been no word for a while, and we know that Modern Warfare 2 never got any. So this is probably good news.

And Crytek have been all over the mod-related reveals, too, announcing that Crysis 2 will be moddable from “early summer”. They’ll also be launching a full SDK later in the year, which will support full indie development. Seems like Crytek have taken a leaf out of Epic’s book, saying they’ll offer “an innovative low cost licensing model” should you wish to release your game commercially. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes: straying away from what is strictly my remit for a second, and quickly jumping into an indie games point, this means what is probably the most powerful game engine in the world is going to be available for tiny developers to utilise. Wonderful news.

There has actually been some news released by mod teams themselves, too. Firstly there’s these new screenshots of The Gate 2, a mod that looks better every time I see it. Mainly because the media releases are getting better each time they happen. This Half-Life 2 single-player mod now has something approaching its own style, by the looks of things. I’m looking forward to playing it when it’s released in The Future.

Talking of things having a visual style, do you want to see a Half-Life 2 mod looking almost exactly like System Shock 2?

I found that really interesting. It’s a HL2:Ep1 mod called NovaCor: The Fringe, “an exciting sci-fi adventure with a blend of FPS combat and puzzle solving.” So, not quite the same central mechanics as Shock 2, then, but I was genuinely struck by how similar the visual style is.

Moving on once more, it’s probably worth quickly talking about Way of the Wolf, the Call of Pripyat total conversion that’s lookin’ pretty rockin’. In a new news update, the team has released a trio of new screenshots, as well as a bunch of new info about what’s been going on behind the scenes. I like this sort of open development. More please.

RELEASES

Do you remember just over a year ago, when RPS accidentally walked into a portal that flung them back to the early ’90s? I think it’s happened again, because I’m about to report on the release of a Wolfenstein 3D mod called Unsung. It’s a mod set in the trench-ridden horror of the Great War, and I’m actually impressed with the look of this, even though it’s obviously all pixellated and muddy.

But the big release this week is an absolutely huge mod for The Witcher, which I really want to play, and so am heartbroken that I returned my copy to its rightful owner after an admittedly ludicrous period of time. It’s called And A Curse, And Love, And Betrayal, which is a lovely name for a thing. Three years in the making, And A Curse… offers up to 12 hours of play time, with a branching central narrative and a whole heap of side quests. A massive achievement for the team. Play it and tell me what I’m missing out on.

UPDATES

Temple of Elemental Evil modpack Circle of Eight has received some updates this week, pushing it up to version 6.0.0. There’s a big list of tweaks on ModDB, far too many to detail here. An absolutely huge update, so presumably well worth getting if you’re a Circle of Eight fan, as I seem to remember a couple of people were last time I posted about it.

And Star Trek: Armada II mod Fleet Operations has hit version 3.2.0. Four months in development, this patch focuses mainly on balancing, but also adds new art assets and suchlike. Grab it, as you might have guessed, on ModDB.

That’s all for now. ‘Til next time, friendly NPCs.

25 Comments

  1. thepaleking says:

    Did you forget to write up a Witcher mod? There is a screenshot there, but no mention of a mod other than in the first paragraph…

    Edit: I see it now. I beg forgiveness.

  2. Inigo says:

    Your Wolfenstein link seems to have partially devoured the rest of the article.

    • Berzee says:

      And the Witcher mod and the Wolfenstein one seem to be blended into a sort of mutant modification of madness.

    • bglamb says:

      I like it. hiding part of the article in hyper-links so only the truly dedicated can read it!

    • Wilson says:

      Hehe, that’s quite funny. I thought ‘And A Curse, And Love, And Betrayal’ was an interesting name for a Wolfenstein 3D mod, and the branching central narrative and side quests sounded amazing :)

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Apologies. I wrote this at half 7 in the morning. My HTML skills are weak upon awaking.

    • AndrewC says:

      There are no excuses, and there is no mercy.

  3. Fwiffo says:

    [Obligatory Black Mesa post.]

    • dragonhunter21 says:

      [Obligatory assertion that Black Mesa will never be released]

  4. pakoito says:

    [Mandatory Nehrim review petition]

  5. baby snot says:

    NovaCor: The Fringe has already undergone a redesign since that video was released. New screens at the MODDB page.

    • Baka says:

      That video really redefined the phrase “corridor shooter” for me.

    • mod the world says:

      I love it when mods announce a release date at the end of their trailers. It’s always fun to tease the developers with such a date when they miss it by a couple of years.

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Still looks pretty much like Shock 2 to me.

      Shock!
      Not Shock!

    • agent00kevin says:

      Though it apparently very much resembles System Shock, I am going to continue development in its current design. I spent months designing this style and I will not be reworking the basic design, though I have added much detail in the last few days. I never got the pleasure of playing System Shock; the most I have ever known of it was a review in Game Informer a few years back. It was in the top 10 creepiest endings or something like that.

      Its also not a corridor blaster ( I also thought I made that term up) but I made that video waaayyy too soon and didnt have much else to show. I regret it now as it got too much exposure before it was ready to have it, and may now have turned off some of the audience. There is much more to this Mod than hallway after hallway, and much more to the combat than the video shows.

      Hopefully you will visit the Moddb page and see the drastic alterations that have already been made.

      link to moddb.com

  6. Urael says:

    Star Trek: Armada II mod Fleet Operations (now at version 3.2.1 after a quick hotfix) is my favourite mod of all time ever, because of the way it takes the parent game and upgrades and improves the utter hell out of it. However it is fantastically difficult to recommend it to anyone due to the increasingly ridiculous requirement that you need a copy of the diamond-in-minecraft rare Armada 2 game disc itself physically in the drive to be able to play it.

    Legally there’s just no practical way of getting hold of one without paying a small fortune on eBay. Which is a shame because although Skirmish is good it gets predictable after the first six years or so, so finding new people to play against is harder than it really ought to be (although when you do find someone it’s now much easier to set up a game thanks to the integrated Tunngle facility).

  7. Dominic White says:

    Gonna sing the praises for the Circle Of Eight pack here. ToEE was a very, very rushed game, but thanks to the enormous efforts of the community, it’s probably the best tactical D&D game you’re going to get. It’s pretty much a modern update of the old Gold Box stuff these days.

    You can get the game cheap off GOG.com DRM free, and just slap the Co8 (NC version ideally, which doubles as an expansion) pack on it for instant Dungeons & Dragons fun times. I very strongly advise against playing the game ‘vanilla’. It was a mess.

    It really helps if you’re familiar with D&D 3.5 rules, too. It’s the most accurate computer adaptation of them to date by a fairly large margin.

  8. Benny says:

    You do realise you dont need the CD to play the witcher after patch 1.5 (if my memory isn’t failing me). So you should be able to play that mod asuming you still have the game installed, and the mod works with that patch i guess.

  9. agent00kevin says:

    Hey – I am the creator of NovaCor: The Fringe.
    That video is already outdated. I am very excited to have been covered though! The problem is that the construction is still underway – those structural members have been drasticaly changed in appearance, and the floor textures changed, lots of stuff!
    I made that video way way too early, and should have waited.
    Check it out now:
    link to xfire.com
    And the Moddb page:
    link to moddb.com

    Also, I have never played System Shock. The most I ever knew about it was a review in Game Informer a few years ago, though I am happy to hear what I designed is very similar to something that was a commercial title!

  10. agent00kevin says:

    I just looked at probably 100 screens of System Shock 2. I see where the comparasin comes from. The floor textures might as well be identical twins! And I do see some similarities in the wall texture in a couple areas (I have no idea how long this area lasts in System Shock though) I definitely wouldnt say the actual structural design is reminescent of System Shock though; unless I missed something, which is entirely possible.
    Thanks again for covering a bit of my Mod!