A fascinating new mod for the Source engine sandbox Garry's Mod will send players ram-raiding through player-created maps swiped off the Steam Workshop to steal everything that isn't nailed down, stripping them of everything from antlions to light fittings. That's the big idea of Jazztronauts, which looks both incredibly clever and stupid as hell. On one hand, it's deconstructing the illusions of level design. On the other, you do smash into levels inside a giant bus, get to see your haul of trash rain down from a gameshow-y prize tube, and will be able to date cats. An excellent combination. Here, come watch this.
Here's what happened when Twitch streamer TieTuesday, some of his pals, and one of the mod's developers got a bit carried away stealing level triggers in a prison level (they do cuss but are mostly nice boys):
So! Jazztronauts is... quite a thing. It draws from the heaps of Garry's Mod player creations on the Steam Workshop, all the levels created for different mods, modes, and strange desires. Starting in a hub level, players flick through a random feed of Workshop levels on a big screen, then lock one in and hop on a bus which warps off down the bendy road between worlds then literally crashes through your destination level.
Off you and your pals hop, using special guns which can mark level entities for swipin', calling in Doctor Kleiners to warp 'em away. Trains! Tyres! Barrels! Combine troops! Lamp posts! Bottles! Fences! If it's the right kind of map object, you can steal it for money. It's a fascinating heist, slowly stripping away decoration and even some structural features, until you're left with a husk. Often this breaks levels completely. Special shards to collect also wipe out whole chunks of the world around them, revealing the glittering cat-filled pink space behind the universe. Once you're done, lay down a temporary bus stop calling for a pick-up, and a bus will smash a hole in the world wherever you choose to whisk you back to the hub.
Here, players get to total up their haul by pulling a lever that parts glittery curtains before raining their collected garbage down from a tube, a shower of trash and corpses. Ah, it's wild.
I was introduced to Jazztronauts through Tie's livestream over the weekend. And... it's quite a thing. They played for almost four hours, so do skip around in this here stream archive to see the range of antics and mishaps.
I adore the daftness of a bus ram-raiding random levels to steal garbage, fixtures, and fittings. Players have made some real weird/great/janky Garry's Mod levels, and this idly jaunts across them all. I love the idea of seeing the wide spectrum of GMod as thieves. Buses even have random comments from the map's Workshop page plastered on the side.
This is also a fascinating look behind the curtain at how Source levels are built, poking at different kinds of entities, stealing essential unseen objects, breaking scripting, teleporting through walls with a satanic gun, and getting into places that weren't meant to be seen. It celebrates the artificiality and clever tricks of virtual spaces while robbing them blind.
What a thing. No firm word yet on when Jazztronauts will be out, but obviously it'll be free. For now, you can follow the mod on Twitter.