S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fan-remake Lost Alpha gets a major update for the holidays

STALKER: Lost Alpha

We’ve previously covered Lost Alpha, a massive labor-of-love project to rebuild the original Shadow of Chernobyl from the ground up, reinstating concepts and content that never quite made the final cut. While the first release of Lost Alpha suffered nearly as badly from a messy development cycle as the original game, the updates have continued, and the massive patch released this week makes it a far more tempting prospect, whether or not you’ve played a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game before.

Earlier this year, Dezowave’s Lost Alpha saw a massive re-launch under the Developer’s Cut banner. The DC release made major improvements to performance, stability and injected a chunk of new content into the world to help flesh out the expansive but previously under-populated new maps introduced in the remake. The new update (Version 1.4005, full patch notes here) brings an enormous list of tweaks and changes, many of which are balance and polish-oriented, including several improvements to the underlying renderer and engine.

The simulationist/survival aspects of Lost Alpha have been built on a little more in this new update as well. Healing in combat is now a riskier proposition than it used to be, with the process becoming a little more Far Cry-esque: weapon holstered, medkit applied, and the restoration of your stats takes effect over a short period rather than immediately healing your gaping bullet-wounds. Not everything is harder on the player, thankfully, with tweaks made so that hunger and dehydration will wake you from your sleep, instead of just silently kill you.

You can pick up S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha via ModDB now – a hefty 6gb download, either all in one via torrent or split into four parts – a much simpler process than in previous releases. While of questionable legality, it’s an entirely standalone release, and requires no game in the series to be installed.

25 Comments

  1. fish99 says:

    Cool, I was thinking of playing this again.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Incredible dedication. 👍

  3. fuggles says:

    Why is it of questionable legality? They built it from a freeware release of early stalkers. You may know this was going to be a commercial release until someone leaked it? As such criticising the initial release is somewhat putting the boot in. The directors cut label was used to differentiate between damage control of leak and version they wanted released.

    I think anyway.

    It’s on my to play list as I love stalker but have no time to game.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      It’s of questionable legality (along with several other major standalone STALKER fan-releases) because it uses materials and the engine from the original games, repacked and re-released without requiring any existing purchase.

      Fortunately, nobody seems to mind. It also feels strangely fitting that the STALKER fan-scene would adopt such a devil-may-care attitude and just improvise and bodge stuff together.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        Lost Alpha has its own section at STALKER’s official forum (I am the forum’s moderator). It’s not in any trouble with GSC.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        With STALKER, it’s not a case of a devil-may-care attitude, but:

        1. GSC explicitly allowing the use of its game assets in non-commercial mods for STALKER and even other games.
        2. GSC having given a working alpha build of the game to the community — hence the mod’s title.

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          Aaah, I didn’t know about the non-commercial fan-works clause. Interesting. I’d imagine that there still may be some objection from a publisher if one was still even involved, but I think the series has just kinda faded into the background of PC gaming as a whole, and everyone is just kinda chill with how everything is used. Same kinda deal as the Doom scene, only much more recent.

        • Smaug says:

          Also, the original GSC Game World was disbanded in 2011 and the former STALKER 2 dev team formed their own studio.

          So buying the games now wont give any money to the people who made it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Don Reba says:

            No, GSC is still around, with some of the same people that used to work there. It always had high churn — all three games were made by largely different groups with different leads.

  4. Red_Fox says:

    The Zone must be respected… Or else it will punish…

  5. buzzmong says:

    Yeeesss! Performance fixes were needed, they caused me to stop playing.

  6. mrfriki says:

    So I got the Stalker pack from Steam sales. I’m pretty new to PC gaming and modding. Should I play the vanilla games first and then try this mod or should I dive straightforward into the modded version?

    • haldolium says:

      I would recommend to play the first Stalker (Shadows of Chernobyl) vanilla, or with other mods (graphics, slight gameplay fixes) first and then may fall in love with it for all the more Stalker in Call of Pripyat and all the mods waiting for both titles.

    • buzzmong says:

      If it’s your first time, play them with the Complete mods. It’s mostly just bug fixes and graphical overhauls.
      Most other mods actually restore/reenable cut content and change quite a bit.

      • technivore says:

        I disagree– while they add some nice graphical effects, the Complete mods are unmaintained and make the game too easy. “Zone Reclamation Project” (ZRP) is the preferred, up-to-date bugfix mod that will give you a smoother vanilla Stalker experience, and that’s how I recommend people play it for the first time.

      • PineMaple says:

        While the Complete mods are advertised as being “just” graphical overhauls and bug fixes, they actually change a good deal of gameplay mechanics. It increases accuracy for all weapons and decreases damage, greatly reduces NPC’s vision and hearing ranges to the point where it trivializes a good deal of encounters, allows you to pick up explosive red barrels and place them around the map (meaning you can kill certain characters by exploding the barrels but not be blamed by their faction), adds repair kits and repair dialogue functions to certain characters, and allows you to bribe factions to reverse negative relations, undoing the consequences of your actions. And the bug fixes aren’t as comprehensive or as up to date as the ZRP.

        • sege says:

          wow, i did not know this. I have never heard of the Zone Reclamation Project and only ever played with the complete mod as at the time people also said it was mainly vanilla but with stability and graphical improvements. I was actually unable to run the game vanilla so the complete mod saved me. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. SoC is my favourite game of all time. So does this mean that I haven’t actually ‘played’ my favourite game of all time and need to install ZRP…sounds like it! Sounds like it will be far tougher than i’m used to though if the guns are much more inaccurate and enemy view distances increase…

    • hijuisuis says:

      I played through Shadow of Chernobyl recently for the first time as vanilla. I read a lot and decided risk of bugs and balance changes would not be good for the experience I wanted.

      It was one of the best gaming experiences of my life.

      There are a lot of people who would recommend modded, just check what the gameplay changes are first.

  7. Xantonze says:

    I tried to play this, and then stopped when I got to the big city and realized you have to follow the outer wall for 10 mn before getting to a maze-like opening.
    Has the geography changed a bit?

  8. shrieki says:

    wow afterall i got a christmas present! and the best ever ! :D

  9. Cyrus says:

    Hmm, only played CoP due it being recommended as the most “complete” of the games. Really liked it, great atmosphere as in many eastern games. Haven’t really dare to go for Chernobyl, vanilla. Though with mods it could be viable, graphic mainly since it’s so dated.

    • fish99 says:

      I still think SoC is the best of the series and you should absolutely play it IMO (with graphical mods). I really enjoyed Clear Skies too, maybe more than CoP. SoC has the most complete, interesting and coherent story and a bunch of endings.

  10. HumpX says:

    The thing I loved about this game is that the devs didnt slavishly follow a budget or corporate mandate. They made a game THEY wanted to play. It took a lot of years and a lot of frustrated fans but the resulting games were amazing. Granted, they were buggy as hell but that was easily overlooked due to the quality of gameplay. Its a shame that they werent followed up with a next gen set of sequels.

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