Mods

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.


The beautiful madness of Just Cause 2: Multiplayer Mod's construction sandbox

Phil Savage at

At first glance, Freeroam Construction Sandbox seems like any other Just Cause 2: Multiplayer server. Its small series of events fail to impose any meaningful structure, its airport is filled with a constant stream of exploding planes, and its chat is openly and bewilderingly hostile. It's all a ruse. Beneath the surface of the server, a surreal other world exists. Here, all-powerful god-players have shaped the land, utilising limited abilities and low attention spans to conjure a bizarre series of crude settlements and half-finished projects. It's JC2:MP's own private Twilight Zone.

If you explore this shadow Panau, you'll see physics-defying structures, complicated aerial transit networks, and boats placed where no boat should ever be. Here's my guide to some of the weirdest landmarks and strangest sights of the FCS server's build world.


Mod of the Week: Mouse Interface, for Grim Fandango

Christopher Livingston at

By now you’ve heard some clever modder has added mouse controls to the LucasArts classic adventure Grim Fandango, allowing you to play the game without having to awkwardly steer Manny Calavera around like a friggin' cargo barge. I've actually tried it out, and I can answer all of your questions. Is the mod hard to install? Not really! Does it work? Almost entirely! Can I squeeze an entire column out of telling you how to get it running? Most definitely. Read on to learn how you can point -- finally point -- in Grim Fandango. Just like Manny's doing!


Mod of the Week: The Last Days, for Mount and Blade: Warband

Christopher Livingston at

The last time I played a Lord of the Rings mod, I made Aragorn marry a giant spider. This time, I'm not looking for weird fan-fiction nuptials but for massive fan-fiction battles. The Last Days (of The Third Age of Middle Earth) was originally released in 2011, but it's been recently updated and made newly compatible with Mount & Blade: Warband, transforming the game into Tolkien's Middle Earth.

Source SDK mod Estranged: Act I now on Steam for free

Omri Petitte at

It's always nice to see a mod progress from humble beginnings to its own Steam product page, and Estranged is fully deserving of the achievement. Alan Edwardes' spooky, puzzle-filled FPS plays and looks like a first-person Alan Wake, and it's an excellent deviation from standard run-and-gun zombie-fragging with its supernatural twists and an atmospheric sense of foreboding. The first act is available on Steam as a free download independent of any Source-based game, so you won't need Half-Life 2 to jump in and start exploring.


Mod of the Week: Aperture Tag, for Portal 2

Christopher Livingston at

Without his gravity gun, Gordon Freeman is just another geek. Without his grappling hook, Rico Rodriguez is just another agent. And, without her portal gun, Chell is just... fine? As it turns out, removing the portal gun from Portal 2 isn't that much of a detriment, provided you replace it with a gun that shoots endless streams of science gel. That's what the Aperture Tag mod plans to do, and now you can get a little preview of how it'll work.


Just Cause 2 Multiplayer's best server is Build World, and it's full of amazing creations

Wes Fenlon at

On the Just Cause 2 Multiplayer server Jman100's Freeroam Construction Sandbox, players can build cities, obstacle courses, and incredibly creepy statues. Jman100 scripted a custom server instance that he calls Build World. Build World includes an expansive build menu listing hundreds of objects from Just Cause 2. After only a couple weeks, players are building weird and hilarious things. Jman showed us around his server and told us how he built it.

Today we're sharing a gallery of our favorite sights from around Build World and an interview with Jman100. On Friday, we'll be back with video touring some of Build World's most impressive creations and showing off the hilarious physics of Just Cause 2 multiplayer. There will be buses. And stunt jumps.


Portal 2 mod swaps portals with paint in 26 new maps

Omri Petitte at

When billionaire bro Cave Johnson turned his vision away from the exciting world of shower curtains to tossing money at a bunch of science stuff, what if paint guns instead of portals were the result? That's the setting for Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative, a fledgling Portal 2 mod boasting 26 new puzzle floors designed for no portals whatsoever. Instead, we'll sail through that exit door by laying down carpets and dollops of the much-adored red and blue paint for speedy acceleration and longer airtime.


Mod of the Week: Australia, for Civilization V

Christopher Livingston at

If you're anything like me, everything you know about Australia comes from Mad Max, the first half of Crocodile Dundee, the second half of Crocodile Dundee II, and that Monty Python sketch about the Bruces. Let's change that right now with a history lesson! No, not recited out of some stuffy history textbook full of facts, but with a mod that brings Australia into Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World!


Mod of the Week: Mass Effect Edition, for Starbound

Christopher Livingston at

With early access becoming more and more popular, you don't need to wait for games to be complete to start playing them. And, with mods, you don't need to wait for games to be complete before you start changing them, either. The Mass Effect Edition mod for Starbound (which is currently in early access beta) lets you play as a Turian or an Asari, gives you control of the Normandy SR-1, lets you craft some of Mass Effect's guns and armor, and even includes biotic powers.


The Dark Mod's 2.01 update released, alongside info on new fan-made missions

Phil Savage at

If you haven't yet downloaded The Dark Mod, you should. It's an excellent stealth game, our Mod of the Year for 2013, and a refreshing reminder of Thief's better qualities ahead of what would seem to be a troubling sequel. If you have downloaded The Dark Mod, you should probably do it again (or at least run the game's update application). The standalone spiritual platform for larcenous levels has received a new update, bringing the game to 2.01. It's a minor update, as the one hundredth of an increase suggests, but it releases alongside details of some brand new missions for taffers to anticipate.


Mod of the Week: The Middle Earth Project, for Crusader Kings II

Christopher Livingston at

"Do you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, also known as Strider, from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, take Shelob, a huge terrifying man-eating spider, as your wedded wife?" I do. I did. I married a giant spider! And that's just one of the many bizarre fan-fiction adventures you can have with The Middle Earth Project mod for Crusader Kings II. If marrying a spider sounds weird, it'll make more sense when I explain that I began the game playing as Aragorn's liege: a Balrog.


STALKER: Lost Alpha mod video shows the promise of an expanded Chernobyl

Phil Savage at

People are never satisfied with what they've got. That's okay, we're an aspirational species. Although, I do question the healthiness of that impulsion when it comes to STALKER: Lost Alpha. It's being created by a group seemingly dissatisfied with GSC's final version of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. As such, they're trying to bring the game back to its 2002-era screenshots, when certain areas were larger, and more open. That's right: this is a group of people who want STALKER to be larger, more overwhelming and, of course, more harrowing.

They've been working on it for a long time, too. We last reported on the mod back in December 2012. Over a year later, and a new video provides a lengthy demo of their progress, and reveals why - despite its expanded bleakness - Lost Alpha is a place you may well want to visit.