Mods

Mod of the Week: Ironfall, for Minecraft

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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

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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.


The 10 best Elder Scrolls Online addons, tweaks, and tools

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Tyler Wilde at

The Elder Scrolls Online has been officially playable by the pre-ordering type since Sunday. Look for the first of our review impressions later this week, but for now, we expect most players will share this observation: the UI is too sparse. ESO seems ashamed of its MMO mechanics, hiding damage numbers and useful information such as experience gains.


Mod of the Week: Altis Life, for Arma 3

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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.


Mod of the Week: Metroid Mod, for Spelunky

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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.


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

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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

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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

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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!


Fan fixes Metal Gear Rising Revengeance 24hz at 1080p issue

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Emanuel Maiberg at

As our review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance pointed out, we welcome games and franchises previously known as console exclusives to the PC with open arms. Bring us more Metal Gear Solid, please, and have Platinum port Bayonetta while you’re at it. Just please, don’t ruin it over a stupid technical issue.

For example, many players reported that Revengeance’s framerate drops to an unplayable level when the resolution was set to 1920x1080. Luckily, one enterprising fan has created a fix for the issue.


Grim Fandango finally a point-and-click adventure game, thanks to modder

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Grim Fandango is one of the best adventure games ever made—an epic journey through a world that meshes Casablanca with Día de Muertos, as brilliantly imagined by Tim Schafer. First released in 1998, it was just about the peak of storytelling in the genre, but it always had one huge problem: the controls. But a new mod may solve those problems, changing the game's controls from keyboard-based "tank" movements to a point-and-click interface.


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

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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.

Deus Ex: Revision mod building a new future for a classic game

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Patrick Carlson at

It's a testament to the legacy of Deus Ex that so many still see such potential in the classic cyberpunk game. With its Revision mod, a small team of designers at Caustic Creative is working to put its own stamp on the original experience with redesigned music and environment art.


Square Enix, Amazon announce Thief: Gold modding competition

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Emanuel Maiberg at

We're big fans of The Dark Mod, a fan remake of the original Thief game that won our 2013 mod of the year award. Square Enix, which will soon publish the Thief reboot, is a fan as well. It just announced a partnership with Amazon for a Thief: Gold modding competition, and has directed participants to The Dark Mod if they're looking for helpful modding resources.


Mod of the Week: Aperture Tag, for Portal 2

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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.


Mod of the Week: Australia, for Civilization V

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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

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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.


Far Cry Z-DAY mod is not just a DayZ clone

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Emanuel Maiberg at

It's a shame to let a good engine go to waste, especially when it can expertly handle a huge, beautiful open world. DayZ is the most obvious example, but Ubisoft clearly understood this as well when it made Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which used the Far Cry 3 engine to build an '80s-themed spoof that was just as fun as the original game. The Far Cry 3 Z-DAY mod sounds a little too familiar, but the gameplay footage and explanation from the developer might win you over.


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

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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.


Mod of the Week: Network Addon Mod, for SimCity 4

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Christopher Livingston at

Since EA just spent months fixing that mistake everyone (except EA) knew they never should have made, you may find yourself tempted to finally buy the 2013 version of SimCity. Nuts to that, says I, because there are still plenty of changes, additions, and enhancements being made to 2003’s SimCity 4, courtesy of the ever-growing Network Addon Mod. NAM is entering its 10th year and still adding new features to the game's transportation system. Lots of them.


Mod of the Week: Afterschool Special, for Fallout: New Vegas

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Christopher Livingston at

School can be a drag, especially when a bunch of atomic bombs have turned your classmates into flesh-eating ghouls. This week, however, class is back in session in the Afterschool Special mod for Fallout: New Vegas, which lets you take an abandoned, decaying schoolhouse and transform it into an awesome high-tech base of operations, with a lab, a crafting center, a health station, and best of all, the CIMS: an awesome computer that can sort, organize, and store all of your worldly possessions at the touch of a button.

(Please note, the picture above of me decapitating a Fiend's attack dog with a laser rifle doesn't specifically have anything to do with the mod. It's just more exciting to look at than a picture of a schoolhouse.)