Oh my goodness, it's late. Sorry. My calendar totally whizzed back in time, or something. Quick, before anyone notices, let's get down to business: here's what's been going down on the mod scene in the past eight days.
So, this has appeared out of nowhere. Overwatch is a Half-Life 2 mod which combines FPS and RTS mechanics to create something that looks bloomin' excellent - and is out soon. In some capacity, at least - its first closed release is less than a couple of weeks away. This looks tight, polished and professional, and certainly worth following very closely.
Also up this week is a CoD 4: Modern Warfare mod called Apocalypse 2012 - a single-player dealie about an asteroid hitting the Earth. It looks to be literally exploding with originality, as you'll have guessed. But, er, actually, some of the level design appears neat. Have a look at the first public in-game video here.
Oh, and you know how I always moan about Stalker mods changing the visual feel of the game too much for my liking? Yeah, well, I think I might be prepared to let it go a little for AtmosFear 2, the Call of Pripyat tweak-pack. Here, for example, is what blowouts are going to look like. I can certainly get behind that, thank you very much.
And here's some new stuff on Bloodlines mod Antitribu, which adds seven new clans, new disciplines, new weapons, new textures and new story elements to Troika's officially-the-third-best-PC-game-ever-remember. New content for Bloodlines is always worth keeping at least half a lazy eye on, right?
Red Alert 3 mod Paradox is out! Well, a public beta of it, anyway. Here's a total conversion set in the aftermath of the mother game, the global superpowers having been devastated by war and so forth. There's not enough modding tackled for Red Alert 3, so this is probably worth checking out by default - let alone for the fact that early reports suggest it's pretty good.
And of course there's the Ultima 6 Project for Dungeon Siege. Should this be in Updates? There's been public betas before, but this is the bona fide 1.0 release, so since the Releases section of this column was looking a little bare, it goes here. Kieron's already written some brief stuff about this, though, so I refer you to his words here.
Bouncy bouncy Half-Life 2 multiplayer mod GraviNULL, which has been going down a treat so far, has his its first open beta. The mod, in which you move around only by grappling through zero-G space, has been picking up interest since its public alpha release back in February, and word suggests this beta version is another step in very much the right direction. One to dive into and keep an eye on, I suspect.
Meanwhile, and less overhauly, Orion (also HL2 multiplayer) has reached Beta version 1.2a. It's server side updates with 20 fixes and additions relating to the weapons. More excitingly, perhaps, is a tremendously intriguing announcement! Of, um, an announcement. Yes, the Orion developers are promising something will be revealed on the 18th. Something is better than nothing!
AND THE REST
At UserCreated, here's Matthew Lee writing in depth about how to polish up Mount & Blade: Warband. I suspect people should be writing more of these tutorials about how to decently mod games, rather than develop mods for games, if you see what I mean.
And over at Something Awful there's some stuff on how to make Morrowind all pretty. Which, to be honest, I'd say still is pretty without mods. But these screenshots do look uncommonly beautiful for a game so old.
There'll be more mod-stuff, no doubt, at UserCreated across the week. The next Mod News might be a little less substantial than usual, since I'll have to scrawl it all out on Monday, what with my being in Brighton for the Develop Conference after that. Let's hope the mod scene goes barmy in the next few days, then. Ta-ra.
Jim's note: lovely new logo by Jake Ozga.