Battlefield 3 is finally getting a proper PC version, with custom server rules, a spectator mode and lots of other features unlocked or revealed for the first time. The Venice Unleashed project is an excavation of the shooter's code and is the work of NoFaTe, who previously performed similar work on Bad Company 2. Beta signups are open now, as testing takes place, and NoFaTe reckons this could give the game a bright future: "Using our powerful Extension System, which exposes lots of engine/game functions and abilities, you can now create your own unique mods and gamemodes, without the need of performing complicated and game-breaking file modifications."
In ye olden times, when a game lived in a box, on a disc, and nobody knew what you were doing with it once you'd paid your money and taken it home, tinkering and tweaking wouldn't attract anyone's attention. Times have changed though and if you do have a copy of Battlefield 3, it may feel like EA still have one hand on it, or have installed CCTV cameras in your face so they can see what you see whenever you open Origin. The very sight of a customised server might cause the nano-bomb that you inhaled the moment you first installed the game to detonate, leaving you slumped in front of the computer with smoke curling from your nostrils and a substance resembling sausage chutney swilling around inside your skull.
I wouldn't know if it's possible to circumvent such a messy end because I've never played Battlefield 3 and have therefore never felt the need to seek out the kind of modifications that allow legitimately paid for versions of the game to run independently of Origin.
Will this be enough to bring you back to the game, or did you never stop battling the fields?