Is crafting silly hats for Team Fortress 2 just not artistically challenging enough? It's time to move on, my friend, and reach for the stars—of StarCraft 2, that is, thanks to Blizzard's newly released Art Tools.
WeloveSkyrimmods. A new, noteworthy one for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Falskaar, was released over the weekend, and it is quite a doozy. Falskaar adds almost 25 hours of content, a land mass a third the size of the original game, new characters, new voices, and dozens of quests. As impressive as it is, though, it’s nowhere near as impressive as the creative force behind it: Alexander J. Velicky, a 19-year-old gunning for a job with Bethesda with his first try at modding Skyrim.
If you give PC gamers a chance, you'll see some special things happen. The deep and fascinating community that operates behind the Witcher 2 has begun to assemble and release tutorials for the REDkit mod tool set that recently entered its public beta phase.
After last week's false start, CD Projekt RED have now officially released the Witcher 2's mod maker, REDKit. It's a powerful looking suite, giving you the opportunity to design quests, build lands, create NPCs, customise combat and "plant realistic forests in just a few clicks." That last one is probably the limit of what I'd be able to achieve.
The joys of being a PC gamer! Thanks to the modability of our platform, only we can patch the ugly out of a game, utilize tools to help us keep track of WoW's economy, and randomly slap Iron Man into GTA4, no questions asked. That's pretty badass. We understand that some folks, though, don't always have the time to unzip things, crawl through directories hidden all over their PCs, do forum research, and tussle with conflicting mods. Cue Gmod. This mod-management tool's aim is to greatly ease the mod-enabling process, expediting, say, the restoration of truly fearsome dragons in Skyrim again.
Reflex Gamers has made a brilliant addition to its 24/7 cs_office server for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—the map now features the "Sourcemod Entertainment System" (SMES), a playable console which runs "Super Mareo Bruhs" on a TV in the projector room.
Tripwire Interactive is one of the handful of studios that have made the jump from modest modding origins to professional, full-time, make-your-mom-proud game development. Until last year, the studio operated out of the bottom floor of a Georgia church. And through releasing Red Orchestra 2 and the 1.7-million-selling Killing Floor (originally a mod), Tripwire has encouraged and regularly rewarded modders and map-makers.
As Red Orchestra 2 was being developed, Tripwire committed to creating an SDK during development, allowing modders to get cracking before the game's release. With modding support for modern games less ubiquitous than we'd like it to be, I asked Tripwire President John Gibson how hard it was for Tripwire to build mod support while they were developing the game itself.
Ubisoft Toronto Managing Director Jade Raymond believes more developers should focus on user-generated content as a means to expand communities and drive down development costs, according to a Gamasutra interview. Raymond didn't explicitly use the word "mod," but confusingly said "custom experience."
There must be some sort of magical lure for stories dealing with trenchcoated, cybernetic soldiers wearing sunglasses indoors and uncovering nefarious schemes from world-domineering organizations, because Deus Ex just keeps augmenting itself with fantastic-looking mods. Nihilum has kept hidden in its development lab for a few years, but its ready to emerge this June as a fully voiced alternate tale involving the green-loving UNATCO and a mission to a futuristic Hong Kong.
Yes, there's actually a bunch of Sonic games on Steam. They're easy to miss in the piles of other action games, but 2011's Sonic Generations deserves special notice for its thriving mod community. That's right, mods and Sonic is a thing, a pair as expected as hedgehogs and racing. The latest user-generated triumph is the Unleashed Project, a massive port of some of the daytime (read: good) levels from the console-only Sonic Unleashed.
As far as giving an older game the Source treatment, GhorsHammer's gmDoom port project is probably the quickest to elicit a "Holy %)#@" out of me since Black Mesa. It chainsaws out the UI, enemy, and weapon sprites from the proto-FPS and stitches them into Garry's Mod with astonishing smoothness. I can't imagine how downing a Strider with a blast from the BFG would work, but after seeing it in action in GhorsHammer's video, I can't imagine how it wouldn't work.
If you think you've reached the end of Legend of Grimrock's twisting stone warrens and clever traps, the Master Quest is here to remind you that the mighty crawl never ends. Creator Komag's substantial work is a custom super-dungeon that tosses in more challenging enemies, puzzles, and even a value tracker for all the loot your party lugs around.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a lot of custom maps. Seriously, browse its Steam Workshop page and see for yourself. We've talked about some of our favorites (all of which appear in our CS:GO sessions on our server), but a classic map layout we've yet to see a worthy update for is de_rats' bomb-defusal play in an oversized kitchen. DJ PC820 and TastySlopsicle's de_dolls_csgo is perhaps the best spiritual iteration we've spotted yet.
Crytek sparked hope for TimeSplitters fans last year when it bestowed its blessing upon the community-driven TimeSplitters Rewind PC mod to use the powerful CryEngine 3. And there was much rejoicing, for although Crytek bought series developer Free Radical Design a few years ago, it left any future TimeSplitters games in question as it refocused the team's talents onto Crysis development. It's been a while since the Facebook-turned-mod-group announced the good news, so project manager Michael Hubicka shares a whole bunch of new info in a Cooking with Grenades interview (via Escapist). Monkeys: confirmed.
Luftahraan is a mod for Skyrim that—yes, yes, I know I talk about Skyrim mods a lot. How can I not? When ambitious projects such as this collaborative work from modding team Archon Entertainment challenge the depth and scale of Bethesda's own professional add-ons, it's only proper to acknowledge their quality. That's why I'm looking forward to stepping foot onto the streets of Luftahraan (bless you), the titular city-state of Nordic flair housing a full storyline, voiced NPCs, custom music, and optional activities.
I remember the Bionicle toys as one of my earliest obsessions—I even memorized all the cool Maori-sounding character names. File this one under "all of my childhood wants," then: the early concepts for Skyrim's Legend of the Toa mod is just the beginning for a planned total conversion to the island of Mata Nui and its biomechanical guardians.
Arma 3's alpha is just over a week old, but a few promising add-ons are already taking advantage of Bohemia's out-the-gate moddability. An inevitable carryover from the hardcore Arma 2 community is ACRE, or Advanced Combat Radio Environment, a mod-turned-mainstay for the majority of players for its realistic voice-comm behavior influenced by range, direction, terrain, and facing. It's as certain to appear in Arma 3 as scores of DayZ knockoffs, and this video shows off an already working early prototype in multiplayer.
The frigid fjords of Skyrim constantly remind you that it's cold. Freezing gales howl down from ridges and sweep in fresh flurries of frost, and the arctic air means anything less than a full-blown mammoth pelt wrapped against yourself will probably cause some Seinfeldian shrinkage. It's time for an escape. It's time for a change. It's time for toucans. I can already feel the warmth blasting my face after installing the Tropical Skyrim overhaul to turn the Nords' bleak homeland into a lush jungle sprawl.
It all makes sense now. Doom 2's nefarious UAC wasn't experimenting on secret portal technology within its shadowy Martian facility. As creator Mr. Fiat's Byngu multiplayer mod reveals, the morally bankrupt corporation was attempting to create the unholy combination of cars, fireball spam, and gladiator-style arena fights. Those monsters.
Plenty of gameplay-tweaking mods for Skyrim sparkle like Ayleid gems in our roundup, but LogRaam's Duel Combat Realism overhaul somehow evaded our stealth detection. It's one of the oldest mods around for Bethesda's RPG, restructuring enemy and weapon behavior for a more realistic level of challenge above the game's stock hack-and-slash design.