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Mod News: All Quiet In New Mexico

I've got to be honest: I was expecting a Black Mesa update. It's been tradition to do one around this time every year - a big post with new information, a trailer, some new screenshots or, last year, a big apology for having not released the mod yet. But nothing. No word. I'll keep my eyes peeled, but I gave up trying to get in touch with the devs ages ago. Fingers crossed for next week, eh? Until then, here's some mod news.


Hey, look, it's Dear Esther! Which, sadly, won't make its December 2010 ETA, as was kind of expected. Man, what a disappointing week! Still, there's a big old Q&A on its ModDB page now, along with several more ludicrously beautiful screenshots. Most excellently, it's going to be localised for a whole bunch of different languages, hopefully allowing a lot more people to play the game.

Still on Source, here's a bit of a mystery mod. A delightful reader points me in the direction if this YouTube video, which appears to showcase a rather splendid looking Half-Life 2 mod in which you're running around as a big, stompy dinosaur. But there's no other information to be found, by the looks of it, and someone over at German website HL Portal reckons there's a chance it could just be a tech demo for a job application. Let's hope it's more than that, and we'll be able to get our hands on this at some unspecified point in the future, because /dinosaurs/.

Over on the opposing fronts in the company of heroes, there's a Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts mod called Eastern Front, which you might have heard of already. Released in January, it's proven rather popular, and there's been an update revealing some gumph about the upcoming 1.30 patch. Some new images and details await.

Then there's Crysis mod Butterfly: The Prelude, which... I'm still struggling to figure out exactly what's going on here, actually. What I understand is that work has halted on Butterfly itself, he's making Prelude, then returning to that. But then in this new update the dev, Lenox47, says he's "decided that each episode would take a year of development to come out really successful." So, yeah. He's also feeling a bit disappointed at the lack of recent community activity. Show him you care, if you do.

Alien Swarm mod Jatsian Summer continues with its regular updates. This one teases the reveal of a new game mechanic which has never been seen before in the Alien Swarm universe. Ooh!

There are some more Open Outcast screenshots, too, along with some info about how they're getting on with stuff. And the Men of War WW1 Mod's multiplayer component has been unveiled.

But my favourite mod news of the week has to be the fact that Return to Mana is back. This was an incredibly exciting-looking Half-Life 2 mod that sadly ceased production in 2007. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there's a bunch of new screenshots, a 2011 ETA, and it's all looking extraordinary. It's a co-op action-RPG for up to three players, with an absolutely beautiful art style. Wonderful news!

A Halo: Combat Evolved mod has been released. It's called Project Lumoria, it takes place on a brand new planet of the same name, and the first episode's available to download now. Early reports suggest it's rather good indeed, though I've not had chance to play it yet. Anyone?

Meanwhile, there's a new mission released for Thief-inspired Doom 3 toolset The Dark Mod. It's called Flakebridge Monastery, and it is here.

Ghosts of Arnor, a mod for Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King, has seen an update. According to its developer, it's "VASTLY improved" over the last version, with too many improvements to list, but the main updates seem to concern the hero skills and faction abilities.

I like this. People thought Chamber 29 in Portal mod Gamma Energy was overly difficult and not very good. So the developer has been working to change it, and he's documented the week-long process in a post on ModDB. Worth a read, I say.

Also worth a look is the Mod Hall of Fame, a new website set up by the ModDB folks. It's basically a timeline of pivotal and important mods, and while I can think of a whole load more that deserve to be on here, apparently it's going to be updated with both new and old mods each year.

'Til next time, folks. Lob me an email if you spot anything tasty!

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