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Mod News: Black Mesa Street

Oh my. It’s been a week of mod development soap opera. Below the jump you’ll find the whole Black Mesa sorta-leak explained, along with a collection of mod-related gubbins from across the past days.

I’m hugely excited about the prospect of Amnesia: The Dark Descent mods. While I’ve only played a preview build and the demo so far, it seems like John’s Wot I Think last night is pretty much spot-on. So I was delighted to note - albeit apparently months late - that a full SDK will be available soon. I do remember watching a timelapse video of Frictional’s level designers working on a room, and the tools seemed very intuitive. I’m eager to try them out.


Obviously there are no Amnesia mods in development yet. But there are a lot of Half-Life 2 ones being made! Yes, I am the segue king. Here’s one: Dissolution. It was originally in development around five years ago, stopped, has now restarted, and is due out in the next few months. It’s a sci-fi action adventure with what looks like a fairly generic story, but the screenshots look moderately promising. I’ll be keeping my nightmare eye-stalks out.

More Half-Life 2, and Demons Vs Humans has a new video out just in time to hype up the mod’s release at the end of the month. It’s a team-based multiplayer game where the respective sides play as... well, yeah, those. It’s out on the 24th, and I’ll be eager to see what it’s like.

Here’s a video of upcoming Alien Swarm mod The Darkness, which is Alien Swarm but with more darkness. The idea is to create a tenser and more challenging atmosphere by turning off a bunch of the lights - and while I’d like to see some more ambitious stuff done with the tools, I actually think this looks to be working rather well.

The big news that’s spread across two weeks, of course, is the big malarkey concerning Black Mesa. Over a hundred screenshots had been posted by Atomic alongside their preview. Which, er, it turns out the Black Mesa team weren’t best pleased with, because there’d been strict instructions as to what Atomic were allowed to be shown and to post.

Turns out, the nasty pasty on the Black Mesa team who went to show them the build didn’t abide by the lead devs’ own rules, showed them a whole load of stuff, and said it’d be fine to post it all online. In the end it was all settled fairly amicably between the developers and the website, with the agreement being that the preview could stay up but the screenshot gallery had to come down, partly because it showcased unfinished work, and partly because there were a hundred bloomin’ screenshots which showed off basically everything in the first half of the game.

There’s still no word on a release date, and I do think it’d be one of the funniest things in the world if it ended up not being out before Duke Nukem Forever.


FreeSpace 2 mod Vassago’s Dirge, which sounds like it should have been a term used in BrassEye, released this week. It’s been in development for around 18 months, seemingly created by just one guy, it’s a nine-mission campaign telling what looks to be a nice and mysterious story.

Also out is Thrawn’s Revenge, a mod for Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption. Can you even have two colons in a thing? Anyway: in this mod you can play as one of three sides: The New Republic, Imperial Remnant, or Empire of the Hand. It features new units, updated graphics, loads of new maps, and several NPC factions, apparently. Grab it from its ModDB page.

And on top of all that, last week was the release of Call of Pripyat Redux, which I missed, so it’s here.


Sven Co-Op 4.5 has appeared. Having never played Sven Co-Op for some reason, I was curious last week after having been told it was a broken mess. Turns out that’s a fairly recent thing, so hopefully this updated version will go some way to fixing the problems that reared their heads. Here’s a big log of changes.

Return of the Dawn, a C&C: Tiberian Sun mod, has also been updated this week. It’s now on 2.8.5, fixes some bugs, improves AI, and throws a new map in for good measure. It can be found right here.


In California, Radiator 1-2: Handle With Care will be featured in the Learn To Play exhibit at the Euphrat Museum of Art. We’re starting to see a few of these games-as-art exhibits cropping up, and interestingly this is the second time I’ve seen Radiator rear its head at one. Maybe, by the time there’s another, Robert Yang will have finished the third and final part of the series, which I’ve been giddy about playing since June 2009 when it was /supposed/ to have been released. Cough.

Ta-ra for now.

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Lewis Denby