Doing what developers aren't
Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.
“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”
Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.
The response from other players was overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »
Mod of Flanders
Crusader Kings 2 [official site] is (somehow) now five years old. Adam raised a glass to its humour and humanity last month in celebration of its half-decade anniversary, so I thought I’d delve into its modding community to mark the occasion too.
Much like the digital empires depicted in-game, many of its mods have risen and fallen since my last visit, however the following list sends the best into battle. Given how involved CK 2 can be at times, I’ve tried my best to link videos where possible so as to properly showcase each mod’s worth. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that in 2004 Valve launched Half-Life 2 [official site]? And did you know that Episode 1 followed two years later and Episode 2 a year after that? Did you know it’s now been ten years and besides a mass of rumours, bad jokes and conversations with unverified sources, Gordon Freeman’s elusive third Half-Life outing – be that Half-Life 3 or HL2: Episode 3 – is still Not A Thing?
I’m sure you did. Let me now ask you this: do you know about Half-Life 2’s modding scene – a community which has been producing consistently brilliant tweaks and tinkerings to Freeman’s Combine-killing shooter for over a decade? Built from Valve’s Source Engine, the following list is comprised of single and multiplayer mods for the Seattle-based dev’s seminal and ever-enduring FPS – some of which are set in Freeman-familiar worlds, others which take on completely new looks entirely.
I know it’s hard to swallow, but Half-Life 3 might never happen. Play these mods instead. Read the rest of this entry »
Mods within mods
Those of you familiar with XCOM 2’s Long War 2 [official site] mod will know it needs little introduction. Crafted by Pavonis Interactive (formerly Long War Studios), it’s the indirect follow-up to Enemy Unknown’s Long War – a total conversion mod that expands upon Firaxis’ core concepts and ideas, making just about every little detail more difficult along the way.
Long War 2 offers much of the same, and, as Adam aptly noted in his hands-on last month, stars “tougher recruits for a tougher war.” Given its broad size and scope Long War 2 feels as much a standalone game as it does a total conversion, therefore it’s of little surprise modders of the base game have been updating their works so as to be compatible with Pavonis’ ambitious venture. Shy of regurgitating our best XCOM 2 mods list from last year, the following collection gathers those which have helped me (attempt) to conquer the long, Long War.
Read the rest of this entry »