One thing that so many sizeable mods lack is good art design. You can be a technically accomplished mod-maker, crafting levels to a ludicrous level of detail, but if there's no aesthetic backbone to that craft then things begin to fall apart quickly. Which is why Butterfly, a Crysis mod, is exciting me so much with its simple but striking visual motifs. Read below the jump for some news on that, as well as a host of other mod-related gubbins from across the week.
Something interesting is afoot at Butterfly HQ. Butterfly's an absolutely gorgeous-looking Crysis mod which I've mentioned before, but which was sadly put on the back-burner a little while ago. Its developer was working on something separate, but now it seems he's setting about turning that into a to Butterfly itself. I've not quite established what this means in terms of making the full version of Butterfly a reality, but this thing is looking equally beautiful and exciting.
Also in Crysis land, someone's making a Crash Bandicoot mod. Which is always something I'll get behind. The team has released , which look just a little bland considering Crash's colourful heritage, but the mod seems to be coming along nicely. The developers even opened the floor to the community to come up with ideas for levels, which is an interesting idea. This is the one they've chosen to integrate into the game.
Finally, I've been quietly keeping an eye on Thanatos, a Half-Life 2 mod which - for my money - could go either way. This week the team have released some pictures of one of their critters, a sort of cute, one-eyed dude called Fobos. I like the idea behind Thanatos, certainly - an ambitious blend of Zelda, Ninja Gaiden, Oblivion and Doom - but am still iffy about the team's ability to pull it off, especially as the level design looks a little sub-par.
Man, people got irritated about this one. 1187's a single-player Half-Life 2 mod that's been in development forever, and always looking pretty exciting. Its developer issued a likely release date, saying he'd do his best to hit it. He didn't, and everyone started shouting. They're mods, people! Ordinary folks are making them in their spare time! But yes, it's out now, and downloading for me as we speak. Word on the street seems to be that it'd be fantastic if it weren't a bit broken at the moment. Let's hope its team keeps on patching as the weeks go on.
Still on HL2, the first part of Overheid is out. This is to be a lengthy episodic mod following a new Resistance member in City 17, split over seven maps. The first is out now, and is admittedly very short, but absolutely marvellously crafted single-player Source stuff.
Also, Space Hulk! I just love saying the name "Space Hulk." This is, of course, an adaptation of the Games Workshop game of the same name, prodded into the Dawn of War II engine. Here is where you'll grab it from.
A delightful dev got in touch this week to prod me in the direction of ScoreDoom and ScoreDoom ST, both of which received an update this week. They're Doom mods - one for single-player, the other for co-op - which add a fully-fledged scoring system to the game, and there's an additional add-on pack that provides new enemies and power-ups. Version 2.9 of ScoreDoom and its add-on come with 30 new monsters, among other things. Here's where you get it.
Then there's a Project Reality update, something always worth talking about. The new version is altered in an astonishing number of ways, including a tonne of minor tweaks as well as the addition of new vehicles, weapons, maps, and even a new faction. Project Reality has always been one of the more popular Battlefield 2 mods, and I can only imagine this update - which brings the mod to version 0.95, closing in on a final release after more than four years - will keep the buzz going. Grab the update here.
Meanwhile, back in Half-Life 2 land, Empires hit version 2.28. Empires is a splendid hybrid of FPS and RTS, and a genuinely interesting class-based multiplayer game. This version modifies some weapons, updates some maps, and does something with parallax occlusion mapping, whatever the great heck that is. Some business with shaders, I think. Grab it here.
AND THE REST
Over at PC Gamer, Tom Senior's being lovely, doing a whole load of round-ups of the best mods for a few different games. The Total War series, for example. Or Civ V, or Fallout 3. I've done one for Left 4 Dead, which I imagine will be online at some point.
'Til next week, lovelies.