There are a number of ongoing efforts to mod older games into newer engines. Black Mesa, for instance, rebuilt much of the original Half-Life in the Source Engine, and the modders behind Skywind are painstakingly crafting Morrowind in Skyrim's Creation Engine. With Doom Reborn, modders have been working diligently to recreate Doom and Doom II in Doom 3's idTech4 engine. They recently released a pre-beta version, so I thought it was a good time to see how the first FPS I ever played looked with a facelift.
Our regular mod wrangler Chris Livingston is indisposed this week—likely pruning back his INIs, and exorcising rogue RARs. Normal service will resume next week. Before that, I'd like to step in to highlight Pilgrimage, an Arma 3 scenario that, judging from the response to Andy's showcase of the game's best solo missions, is a clear community favourite.
There are nine main cities in Skyrim, seven large towns, a dozen smaller settlements, plus scads of farms, mills, shacks, camps, caves, lairs, and ruins. All together, the game sports over three hundred locations, so naturally we all have the same thought: that's just not enough, is it? The Legendary Cities mod adds ten beautiful and historical cities to Skyrim from The Elder Scrolls: Arena (the first Elder Scrolls game from 1994). This mod has been around for a while, but a recent update makes some major improvements to optimization and fixes an incompatibility with popular follower mods, meaning it's the perfect time to check it out with your favorite companion.
Chris Livingston has already extolled the virtues of Grand Theft Auto 4's amazing #WatchDogsIV mod. For the uninitiated, it brings Watch Dogs style environment hacking into GTA's Liberty City. For a full round-up of what it enables, head on over to Chris's Mod of the Week post. For a small look into the type of chaos it supports, head inside.
An absence of modding tools hardly means an absence of mods—just look at GTAIV, and the impressive modifications that have cropped up since the game's release. An SDK would obviously help the process along though, which is why it's wonderful to see the efforts over at the Saints Row Mods forum being given Volition's official blessing. The first stage of Saints Row IV's newly released modding tools allows players to make their own weapons, though you're going to have to up your game if you hope to compete with the likes of the dubstep gun.
Like me, you've probably spent dozens of hours in Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City, but often wish there was some way to cause a little destruction and mayhem. Finally, there is! The #WatchDogsIV mod summons the sullen Aiden Pearce from Watch Dogs, and more importantly, brings along Aiden's awesome Phone of Hacking +4. Traffic lights, payphones, ATMs, security cameras, and those poles that shoot up out of the street: they're now yours for the hacking! The once utterly peaceful Liberty City is about to get flip-turned upside down.
Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Cracking wise on the outskirts of space.
Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen. While space sim diehards are fighting over which modern sim is the one true king, Pixel Boost turns its eyes back to one of the greats of the past: Novalogic’s Tachyon: The Fringe. Bruce Campbell stars as sassy pilot Jake Logan, hanging out on the fringes of space and getting in all kinds of interstellar dogfights. Tachyon showed up on PC in 2000, right as the space sim genre peaked and started drifting into a black hole of obscurity, with a branching storyline and multiplayer that still lives today. The game is also easy to play at high resolutions on modern Windows. If you bought a flight stick for modern space sims, time to put it to use with a classic.
Previously, Maxis confirmed that they've no plan to extend SimCity's maximum city size. And so it falls to modders to help those feeling hemmed in by the game's virtual borders. Can it be done? Yes, sort of. Project Orion is such a boundary extending mod, and will let the game's mayors build free of the vanilla base limit. Don't plan a ribbon cutting ceremony for your city's east wing just yet, though, as its use will mean dealing with some pretty significant performance issues and glitches.
I don't know how successfully it comes across on the TV show, but the Game of Thrones book series makes the storied history of Westeros as important and intriguing as the current, rather messy state of affairs. Westeros: Age of Petty Kings, a mod for Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, is set during the Andal Invasion of Westeros, thousands of years before the events of the series, which means now you can take part in the shaping of the turbulent continent and forge your own version of the history of Westeros.
Skywind feels like such a fragile prospect. It's an ambitious idea: recreating Morrowind in Skyrim's newer engine. As with all formidable total conversions, it's hard to shake the fear that it will ultimately never happen.
Maybe this 13 minute stream VOD can help quell that fear. In it, we get to see thirteen minutes of a character just wandering about the world. It makes the whole thing feel more tangible; more real.
Crusader Kings II is the perfect game for creating alternate history, and full conversion mods (like those for Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones) are great for creating alternate fictional history. How about alternate future history? After the End is a mod for CKII set in North America in the year 2666, after an unspecified cataclysmic event has shattered the planet and humankind is desperately trying to pick up the pieces, regain control, and understand its own murky past.
Amidst a flock of startled doves I dive left, my dual pistols blazing, and take down one enemy as another evades me by back-flipping off a wall. As I empty both clips, my dive becomes a prolonged sideways slide which takes me right off the roof of the skyscraper. I'm not alone: another thug sails over the ledge and joins me on my long plummet to the ground. While falling, I reload both guns and we trade fire all the way down to the street. Did I mention this happens in slow-motion? It's as if Jon Woo directed The Matrix when you play Double Action Boogaloo, a multiplayer mod for Half-Life 2.
Medievil was one of the highlights of the Playstation era for me: a Tim Burton/Danny Elfmanesque comedy romp through a medieval...sorry, a medievil fantasy world. It's one of those games I'd rather preserve the memory of rather than attempt to play again, but I'm thrilled to see it reborn, after a fashion, in Skyrim. Modder KorinOo is remaking the first four levels in the Construction Set, along with its undead hero Sir Daniel Fortescue and the various skellies and pumpkins he encounters along the way.
Thief Gold's HD mod is, along with the unofficial TFix patch, now a standard part of my elder Thief install. It's something of a no-brainer for the game's fans—offering a noticeably more detailed set of textures without warping the game's deliberate aesthetic. Hence my pleasure when, on a recent trawl through ModDB, I discovered that the team behind the mod are giving Thief 2 the same treatment. Even better, it's due out later this week, on August 8th.
GTA 4 modders do a good trade in bringing Rockstar's 6-year-old open world epic in line with its soon to be released on PC sequel. That and turning Niko into a horse. Here's another feature that the community have crowbarred back into the older game: selfies.
Every week I spot some new mod content for Torchlight II -- a new character class, a new pet, some small but interesting tweaks to the UI or gameplay -- but rarely something meaty enough to devote an entire column to. That's why I'm excited to have come across Haknslash Essentials, a mod that's jam-packed with other mods, fifty in total, giving you a simple one-click subscription to a whole new Torchlight II experience. With a bunch of mighty new classes, an array of interesting and colorful new pets, plus new scenery, new items, and tons more, it's the perfect collection for anyone looking to start a new game with more options than ever.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but now it can be built in a turn. A new mod for Civilization V, called CivRome, lets you play from 323 B.C., the death of Alexander the Great, to 500 A.D., the fall of the Roman Empire. You can play as one of 22 possible civilizations including the Romans (Caesar), the Egyptians (Cleopatra), the Macedonians, the Goths, the Gauls, and even the Huns (led by one Mr. Attila T. Hun). There are new technologies to research, specific attributes for some of the civs, and a beautiful, historically accurate new map to conquer. In other words, it's a toga party, Civilization-style.
My spider-sense is tingling... and it's because there's yet another superhero mod for GTA IV! This time it's the Spider-Man IV mod, which introduces Liberty City to the masked hero who shoots webs, sticks to walls, beats up policemen, and swings around from skyscrapers, just like spider can. And since Peter Parker is a photographer by trade, there's even a neat photo mode that slows down time to a crawl (heh) to easily allow you to snap pictures of everybody's favorite web-slinger.
Mods, eh? The fun, free way to extend and/or fix your games. But what's this? Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative looks like a mod, behaves like a mod, and even has the word "MOD" in the corner of its Steam icon. The difference: it's not priced like a mod. This premium package offers a new campaign for Portal 2—one that does away with portals entirely, in favour of puzzles centred around the base game's gels.
I was scrolling through ModDB's latest offerings, as I do most mornings, when the words "The Keep on the Borderlands" first caught my eye... then caught my memory. See, The Keep on the Borderlands was the first module I ever played in Dungeons & Dragons, the pen-and-paper RPG, back when I was in grade school in the early 1980's. It's been modded into The Temple of Elemental Evil, the 2003 D&D video game by now-departed developer Troika. Though the full-conversion mod is still in development, I couldn't pass up the chance to check it out while getting all nostalgic for my first D&D campaign.