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Have An A-Mod-Zing Weekend

"sneaky back-stabbing bastard"

Featured post Mods, sir. We're surrounded.

Jim is basically the J. Jonah Jameson of RPS: I was handsomely making sweet news for you guys when he stormed into the forbidden RPS chatroom of mystery, slammed his fists on the desk with the rage that only an editor can muster, and demanded I find some mods. “It’s the weekend!”, he angrily typed. “If you don’t find at least three mods by the end of the day that the readers can play, you can go and beg VG247 forra job.” And then he stormed out, muttering about page impressions, tea, and robots. Luckily I’ve been on a bit of a modding binge of late, so I have a few interesting things for you. Do you have Arma 3 installed? That’s nice.

That means you can install Mission Control Center Sandbox 3. This is kind of a cheat mod because it’s actually a mission editor. Yes, Arma 3 has one of those, but this makes it all a little bit easier, and makes it live. That second point is key: if you’re playing with it online on a sever that allows it, it’ll enable one player on a server to act like an Arma GM. That said, you’d be better off practicing in single-player first.

It’s a powerful tool that takes control of any mission you’re running. It can be a pre-canned mission or something you’ve cooked up in the editor. All you need to do is select ‘mission builder’ from the action menu and you’ll see an iPad pop up. Click on ‘login’ and you’re now in charge. What can you do? Set the time of day, place units in zones, set their behaviour, give them patrol waypoints, create mission states. You can fiddle with the ambiance, even add audio cues to the map. all while the game’s running. The most interesting addition for me is the 3D editor. I’m not very good with high-level map views, but plopping down units on the live map was super easy, and I could easily mock-up a mission for myself. I’ve only just started meddling with it this week, between bouts of Stalker, but this video helped me figure out the basics. It needs CBA installed, btw.

Though if all that is still a struggle, and it can be if all you’re interested in is shooting things, just install Whole Lotta Stratis: it’s a dynamic mission set across the whole island.

What’s that? You don’t have Arma 3 but you do have Skyrim? And you’ve spent a long time in Skyrim and need a few new skills to liven the world up? You go on to say that in addition to owning Skyrim, you love all Bethesda games and wish there was a way to have Dishonored’s skills in Skyrim. You lovely fanboy, you. I have just the thing. The Void Walker for Skyrim adds all of Corvo’s magic skills into whatever mannequin you’ve chosen to inhabit.

I like the reverence this mod has for Dishonored: there’s a fully voiced quest surrounding the acquisition of the skills, including a trip to the gravitationally-challenged void world. With that out the way, and a few trips over the world, you can get your inner Corvo on. I’m in danger of just writing out all of Dishonored’s skills, but in a surprised tone. But that’s what the mod does: I didn’t imagine it would enable the player to possess a guard, but you can pop into a body, slice people up, and then extract yourself without any worry of being arrested for the hideous crime you just committed. You can summon attack rats, which is hilarious. Blink is there as Void Leap, Time Shift will allow you to slow everyone else down, and Tempest gives you another route to Fus Ro Dah. If you don’t buy Dishonored in the current Steam sale, this should do instead.

I don’t play Crusader Kings II, but I do play the Game Of Thrones mod for it. You should too. Not only does it simplify the terrifying scale of the original game, but I play it because I know the history of Westeros better than I know medieval history. 1066 to 1453? Not a clue, but give me a house to run during Robert Baratheon’s short reign of Westeros and I’ll know pretty much every sneaky back-stabbing bastard on the board. I’ll know what sons are likely to take power, I’ll know who’s plotting against me, and I’ll know who I can marry off. And that information does help in the initial turns.

You can select any era of that grim land’s rotten history, covering the time of dragons all the way up the Clash Of Kings. Pick a major player or minor vassal and see what you can do to the world. Eventually your whims will take over: I spent most of my time playing this staring at lines of succession and pondering the best way to turn all of Westeros into one big extended family. Aerys Targaryen might be colloquially known as “The Mad King”, but my Eddard Stark was probably known as “The Wedding Planner” after I kept match-making.

Westeros, all dolled up like a cloth map, is beautiful to look at. Places you’ve caught glimpses of on TV, or read about years ago, right under your mouse. I spent as much time tracing the borders, marveling at the continental quilt, as I did pandering to my baser needs. The CKII story engine merrily driving your own Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction is a wonderful thing, as Rich over at PC Gamer is finding out.

Finally, if all of the above requires too much effort, then why not wear a t-shirt that says “PC gaming” and play this TrackMania 2: Stadium track. It is the most PC of all things.

Enjoy your weekend, lovelies!

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Craig Pearson

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