Mods

Mod of the Week: Monstrous Megapack, for Dungeons of Dredmor

Christopher Livingston at

Gaslamp Games recently delayed the release of Clockwork Empires by a few months, but perhaps we can kill the time with another romp through their 2011 roguelike, Dungeons of Dredmor. With the random level generation and robust character customization, every game of Dredmor already feels different, but that's no reason not to add hundreds more differences. The recently updated Monstrous Megapack adds over a hundred items and artifacts, scores of new rooms and dungeon features, plus several new breeds of baddies, boogies, and bosses.


Mod of the Week: For the Enclave, for Fallout New Vegas

Christopher Livingston at

In the Fallout universe, The Enclave -- deservedly -- have a bit of a bad reputation. On the other hand, they have cool armor and they're always landing vertibirds all over the place like total badasses, and while that doesn't make me like them, it at least makes me think they're kinda cool. That's why For The Enclave, which recently released its final version, is the Fallout New Vegas mod for anyone who's always wanted to join the Enclave.


Euro Truck Simulator 2 Multiplayer mod moves into open alpha

Phil Savage at

One of two things are usually the case if a game has "Simulator" in its title. Either it's an overly earnest attempt to provide accurate simulation, or it's a joke. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is something of a rarity. It's the former, sure, but avoids the usual trap of being buggy, obtuse and transparent in its limitations. It's good. You're probably sick of people saying its good, but by all logic it shouldn't be, so it bears repeating.

Only one thing could make it better, and that's the inclusion of friends. Strong is the draw of a convoy, especially when filled with folks hauling concrete across Belgium. That dream is increasingly approaching reality. Today, the ETS2 Multiplayer mod launches into open alpha.


Morrowind Rebirth mod 2.7 update improves textures, adds new areas and items

Omri Petitte at

Tamriel's ashy homeland of the Dark Elves is the source for many a Elder Scrolls hero's first memories—exploring ancient Dwemer ruins, sticking a spear into Dagoth Ur, or cursing the very words "cliff racer"—so it's small wonder a number of large-scale mods focus on overhauling the 2002 RPG. The massive Skywind effort is certainly exciting to look forward to, but some older projects are still steaming along quite nicely. Morrowind Rebirth has been around for a few years, and its latest update adds new areas to the game's already massive world.


Deus Ex: Revision video shows remastered levels, teases "near future" release

Phil Savage at

This new Deus Ex: Revision video is the perfect encapsulation of the heroicly scrappy spirit of the modding community. It's professionally created, contains interesting insights, and features an audio mix that muffles the majority of its narrator's speech. Still, while the words are are bonus, the real treat is a to see the souped up, gorgeously lit recreations at the heart of the game's "re-imagining".


Stalker: Lost Alpha released, restores cut content to Shadow of Chernobyl

Phil Savage at

Usually, to make a STALKER mod, it's required that you make everything 700% harder, possibly while pouring homebrewed vodka into any available orifice and glueing beard-extending bear fur directly to your face. Lost Alpha is a little more subtle. It started life as a pure restoration of Shadow of Chernobyl's cut levels, but later expanded into a more expansive project: creating a new parallel story that takes place across these restored and recreated zones.

The mod has now been officially released, after an unfortunate leak dashed the creators chances of having their work become an official paid-for expansion to the series. Now, it's instead a great, free excuse to dig the oldest Stalker out from its bunker.


Mod of the Week: Thinking With Time Machine, for Portal 2

Christopher Livingston at

I've never really gotten into playing custom levels for Portal 2—I just don't find the game that much fun without the inclusion of Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and GLaDOS. That's why it's great when Portal 2 mods add something new to make up for what's missing. In this case, the added element is a hand-held time device that lets Chell make a time-shifted duplicate of herself, and team up with it to solve puzzles. Thinking with portals is no longer enough, now you're Thinking With Time Machine.


Dark Souls 2 modded: Durante's GeDoSaTo enables downsampling, texture modding

Wes Fenlon at

In 2012, Peter "Durante" Thoman wrote the popular mod DSfix for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die on PC, fixing its locked 1024x720 resolution and other issues. In 2013, he released a similar fix for Deadly Premonition. We asked Durante to analyze the PC port of Dark Souls 2 in a series of articles. He also modded the game. The image above is an in-game texture, not a Photoshop.

My first two articles about Dark Souls 2 investigated the PC port’s features and how generic PC tweaking tools like SweetFX can be used to further improve its graphics. Now it’s time to look at the full extent of what can be achieved by modifying Dark Souls 2 on a deeper level. First, I’ll provide a short overview of the general avenues available for PC game modding and how each applies to Dark Souls 2. Then I’ll detail the modifications I have implemented so far with a new tool I’m calling GeDoSaTo, which enables texture modding, arbitrary downsampling, and more. Consider it the successor to DSfix and DPfix—except its final goal is to work with any 3D game, not just Dark Souls 2.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines finds immortality with new 9.0 patch release

Omri Petitte at

As a game all about surviving in a hidden bloodsucker culture on the oblivious streets of Los Angeles, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines fully deserves the embrace of undeath. It was the last effort from masterful RPG studio Troika Games, and its release in 2004 drew much ardor from fans yearning to join the World of Darkness canon—but it's also known as one of the glitchiest games of recent memory.

A troubled development path caused Bloodlines to launch in an unfinished state plagued with bugs, missing dialogue, and other Broken Things. But Bloodlines' heart has kept beating thanks to nearly a decade of fan-made patches—headquartered in the online coven Planet Vampire—fixing longstanding flaws, refreshing textures, restoring hidden content, and generally piecing back together Bloodlines' intended glory. Even better: the game is currently $5/£3 on Amazon.


Portal 2 mod Thinking With Time Machine now available on Steam

Phil Savage at

Steam's Portal 2 Workshop is filled with unique twists on the space-bending puzzler's central mechanic. With such creativity lurking in the primordial soup of the Workshop, it would take something special to crawl out and into the main Steam storefront.

That something is Thinking With Time Machine, and it fits the bill for two reasons. Firstly, it introduces a new time recording mechanic, in which you can replay your actions to create a temporary clone in-level. Secondly, it lets you look at your legs.


Mod of the Week: Star Wars Ships, for Space Engineers

Christopher Livingston at

While Evan continues to make a mockery of Star Wars canon, I thought I might try something different: sticking to the celebrated story that no one has a right to change (except George Lucas, who has the right to change it but really, really shouldn't). I noticed that Space Engineers, while still in early access, is a part of Steam Workshop, and that players have been busy constructing tons of Star Wars ships and bases. While I don't know if player creations are technically mods, it's player-made content, and I figure that's close enough for my purposes.

And so I present a completely accurate and above all respectful re-telling of the original Star Wars trilogy, in screenshots!


Jedi Knight 2 HD remake mod in the works

Omri Petitte at

One of the best memories from my Star Wars gaming holocron is loading up a LAN multiplayer match in Jedi Knight 2 with a low-gravity mutation switched on and a lightsabers-only weapon restriction. It was silly loads of fun, but the Force wasn't with publisher LucasArts' wishes to continue the series, as Disney closed the studio last April. Our only hope lies with the power of JK2's lingering community, where a brave modder is taking on the huge task of uplifting the entirety of the game's graphics in a HD remake mod.


Mod of the Week: Ironfall, for Minecraft

Christopher Livingston at

For weeks I've been dying to summon a robot from outer space, have it land next to me, climb inside, and start whomping on my enemies. Unfortunately, I don't own Titanfall, and simply yelling at the sky hasn't produced a single robot from the heavens. YET. In the meantime, I can play Ironfall, a Minecraft mod that mimics Titanfall's team-based shooting and giant robot summoning. Drop your pickaxe, pick up a gun, and prepare for Ironfall!


Mod of the Week: Tame the Beasts of Skyrim II

Christopher Livingston at

As an animal lover, it sometimes bothers me to have to slaughter so much wildlife in video games, particularly in Skyrim, where wolves, bears, deer, and mammoths often give you little choice. There's an alternative, however, that lets you put down your sword and pick up a leash. Charm creatures with magic, make them your companions, feed them treats, sell them for profit, and even breed them, with Tame The Beasts of Skyrim II.

The central feature of Tame the Beasts is the Pet Shop (or petshop as it’s called in the mod). There you’ll meet Roselia, the shop owner, who will teach you a new shout. Then, you just need to run around in the wild until you find the animal you’d like to adopt, or just settle for whatever random animal you find, because believe me, when you’re out deliberately looking for a bear, you will never find a bear.


Diary of a Droid Jedi - Star Wars Conquest, part 1

Evan Lahti at

Uninstall KOTOR. Forget TIE Fighter and Star Wars Battlefront. There is only one Star Wars video game, and it’s an unfinished mod for a six-year-old medieval RPG built by an indie studio from Turkey.


Mod of the Week: Altis Life, for Arma 3

Christopher Livingston at

After two hours of tense waiting, the op was launched. The four of us, all policemen wearing night-vision goggles, slithered from our vehicles, spread out silently, and sprinted around the darkened buildings in the middle of the night. We converged on the civilian helicopter pilot who had landed nearby a moment ago, surrounding him, our weapons drawn and ready. Then we politely asked him to produce his pilot's license. He promptly did. We thanked him, dispersed, and met back at the vehicles. No illegal activity had transpired. Mission accomplished.

Altis Life, the police and civilian role-playing server mod for Arma 3, reminds me a bit of the time—the very little time—I spent on a few Garry's Mod role-playing servers. Rather than engage in multiplayer warfare, players engage in, well, virtual life. If you're playing a civilian, you buy a car, get a job, and collect a paycheck. If you're a cop, you police the civilians and enforce the law. The laws that include the requirement to have a proper license to operate vehicles such as helicopters, boats, and cars, hence the covert nighttime op.


Civilization 5 mod brings Blizzard's all-stars to turn-based strategy

Phil Savage at

I understand the desire for a lore-bending battle royale between Blizzard's various franchises. I also understand the desire for that all-star showdown to not take the form of a lane-pushing game. While Blizzard aren't about to create a 4X strategy, modders can certainly shoehorn their characters into an existing one. That's what has happened in Blizzard Allstars, which brings multiple of their factions into turn-based empire-'em-up Civilization 5: Gods & Kings.


Mod of the Week: Metroid Mod, for Spelunky

Christopher Livingston at

It was teased a couple months ago, but it's now been released! The Metroid Mod for Spelunky slickly brings the sci-fi world of spacefaring Samus Aran to the subterranean perma-death platformer. It's the best of both worlds: monsters, items, pick-ups, character skins, music, background art, and even the title and menu screens have all been Metroid-ified. The core game, however, is still pure, unfiltered Spelunky. Fans of either game -- or both -- will love it.


Misery 2.1 released, is a massive overhaul of the STALKER mod

Phil Savage at

Around seven months after the release of Misery 2.0, its team are back with a new update. Misery 2.1 might not be a big change numerically, but the STALKER mod has received some major revisions to AI, weapons, gear, economy, interface and difficulty. It's such a dramatic overhaul that the creators now consider it to be "a completed modding project", and, as such, are moving on to something else.

That something else is a Kickstarter project for The Seed: a post-apocalyptic interactive novel set in Eastern Europe. They're looking for £15,000 to finish their 2D psychological story.


Mod of the Week: Star Trek Armada 3, for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Christopher Livingston at

If you've been looking for a reason to revisit 2011's SIns of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, might I tempt you with a fresh injection of Star Trek? Galaxy-class Federation starships? Borg Cubes? Klingon Vor'cha? Romulan... whatever it is Romulans drive? The Star Trek Armada III mod completely transforms Sins into Trek, with custom models, animations, effects, and technology.