Mods

Mod of the Week: Pilot Civilian Air Rescue, for ArmA 3

Christopher Livingston at

ArmA 3 is a challenging game to learn, especially so when it comes to piloting choppers. Enter the Pilot Civilian Air Rescue mod, which features a number of single-player Mohawk chopper missions, from insertion (transporting doctors to a combat zone), extraction (retrieving injured NPCs and delivering them to a hospital), and even search and rescue, in which you look for lost hikers or downed pilots and ferry them back to safety. It's a great way to hone your chopper flying skills offline while getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from helping NPCs in need.

Skywind trailer shows coasts, creatures and clutter

Phil Savage at

When we last caught up with Skywind, it was for its second official development diary. But as interesting as the internal workings of this Skyrim mod team are, I'm more interested in the results—a full recreation of Morrowind in Bethesda's latest engine. You can see how far the team have come in this new trailer, which not only provides long and sweeping shots of its alien locations, but also gives a look at the creatures and clutter that will populate the renewed world.


The 10 best Starbound mods

Phil Savage at

As happens with all the best sandbox game, a huge and creative community has attached itself to Starbound. While the game's still in Early Access, through the use of mods you can expand it into something more varied, more vibrant, and specifically tailored to what you want it to be. Here are ten of the best mods, chosen from the many now available in Starbound's growing mod directory.


Mod of the Week: The Citizen Returns, for Half-Life 2, Episode 2

Christopher Livingston at

The Citizen Returns, a mod for Half-Life 2: Episode 2, is a sequel to a 2008 mod called The Citizen. They're both about, as you may have guessed, a citizen. He's trying to escape City 17 at the same time Gordon Freeman is fighting the Combine elsewhere, and he's teaming up with rebel forces along the way. In addition to urban combat with enemy soldiers, zombies, and gunships, there's a fun rescue mission in which you can choose the style of your attack, either at long range as a sniper, up-close in disguise, or just plain loud, with explosives. It's like a little taste of GTA V's heists crept into the Half-Life universe.

Skyrim looks better than ever in this new RealVision ENB showcase video

Phil Savage at

Every few months, I get ambitious; abandoning my modest selection of must-have Skyrim mods, and embarking on a grand plan to build it into something impossibly beautiful. Inevitably, it all goes wrong. The lighting isn't quite right, the distant mountains look a bit off, or whole sections of water have just vanished. But its videos like this—a showcase of what can be achieved with RealVision ENB—that make me want to try all over again.


Mod of the Week: Witcher Kings, for Crusader Kings 2

Christopher Livingston at

Excited for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but can't bear to wait until next year to get some fresh Witcher action? The Witcher Kings mod for Crusader Kings II might tide you over in the meantime. This full conversion mod (still being developed) transforms medieval Europe into the Witcher's world. Go to war with Nilfgaard (or rule them), employ sorcerers and witchers in your court, and send your children to magic academies in hopes of developing their arcane talents. Or, like I did, become moderately obsessed with the idea of becoming besties with Geralt himself.


Watch Dogs "E3 2012" mod can have damaging effect on gameplay, says Ubisoft

Shaun Prescott at

There’s no doubt that discussions about the graphical fidelity of Watch Dogs have overshadowed the quality of the game itself, with many claiming that the open-world hacker looks no where near as good as it did upon unveiling in 2012. To add to the controversy, it turns out that many of the high quality assets used during that demonstration are in fact hidden in the game’s PC build, and they’ve since been unlocked by a proactive modder.


Watch Dogs mod enables "E3 2012" visual effects, improves performance

Phil Savage at

It's becoming an increasingly common practice: taking a recently released PC port, and working to improve its visual fidelity. What makes Watch Dogs slightly different is its own pre-release media. Specifically, its 2012 reveal, which promised a level of fidelity and shiny visual effects that the final release couldn't match.

Not without mods, that is. A new work-in-progress "E3 Bloom" mod not only introduces more dramatic lighting, but also comes with performance tweaks, stuttering improvements and depth-of-field effects.


Mod of the Week: Hopelessness: The Afterlife, For Half-Life

Christopher Livingston at

With another E3 come and gone and nary an official word from Valve about another Half-Life game, it's probably time to get some new content the old-fashioned way: with mods. Enter Hopelessness: The Afterlife, which gives Half-Life-hungry gamers about forty minutes of new-yet-retro action split between careful puzzle-solving and frenetic gunplay. Grab your crowbar: we're going back to Black Mesa.


Mod of the Week: Holidays, for Skyrim

Christopher Livingston at

I'd just installed a Skyrim mod and was standing in Whiterun, noticing that nothing seemed to be happening. Broken mod, I assumed, or more likely I installed it incorrectly. Then I noticed a few NPCs drifting into the outdoor market area. Then a few more. A couple started playing instruments, some began to dance, others stood around chatting. I noticed some decorations were up, and a couple tables of sweets had appeared. As night fell, it became a full-on party with throngs of townsfolk, followed by fireworks. It was one of several celebrations added by the Wet and Cold: Holidays Mod, one of the most enjoyable mods I've ever tried.


Starcraft 2 becomes a turn-based RPG with new mod Rogue Star

Phil Savage at

The thing that stops me from being good at Starcraft 2 is I can only manage a few minutes of furious finger work. Luckily, there's now hope for those of us without the stamina to sustain our armies: Rogue Star, a Starcraft 2 Arcade mod that transforms the game into a turn-based RPG. Take that, pro-gamers—you could be spending whole, luxurious minutes before activating your blink attacks.


Project Reality: BF2 update ensures life after Battlefield 2's GameSpy shutdown

Phil Savage at

Armed forces are closing in on the notorious multiplayer sympathiser, GameSpy. The matchmaking system is due to be terminated with extreme prejudice this coming Saturday, plunging the games it uses into an offline darkness. EA have said that many of their GameSpy-enabled games won't be updated with a new matchmaking solution. For Battlefield 2, that's meant the battle for online battles must now be fought by fans. It's not just the main game struggling to stay connected; its mods are also at risk. Thankfully, the most popular of those mods—Project Reality: BF2—has received a new update that will keep its multiplayer running.


Purgateus is a dark remix/mod for Proteus, and it looks fantastic

Tom Sykes at

Paradise/Hiversaires/Oquonie developer Devine Lu Linvega is modding Ed Key's Proteus, words which probably shouldn't feel as strange to type as they actually do. Inspired by Ian Snyder, the developer/musician is overhauling Proteus' colour scheme, reducing the palette to a collection of stark, muted shades, while adding new sprites, and crafting a new interactive soundtrack. Stick around for a trailer for Purgateus, and a link to that elegiac soundtrack.

Mod of the Week: Fistful of Frags

Christopher Livingston at

If a mod is released as a standalone game, can it still be called a mod? If a column features a mod that's almost eight years old, can it still be called "Mod of the Week"? Did cowboys in the Wild West really kick each other in the face all that often? The answer to all three questions is: who cares? Labels, dates, and historical accuracy aren't important, because Fistful of Frags, a 2007 multiplayer mod for Half-Life 2, has been released, all on its own, on Steam, for free, and you can get download it and play it and kick a bunch of cowboys in the face. Pass the whiskey!


Mod of the Week: Warsword Conquest, for Mount and Blade: Warband

Christopher Livingston at

Years in the making, Warsword Conquest is finally playable in beta: a full conversion mod for Mount and Blade: Warband that transforms the game into a world based on Warhammer fantasy. There are thirteen different factions to join, including the rat-like Skaven, the scaly Lizardmen, Chaos, pirates, and of course, dwarves, elves, and orcs. But screw all of those, because you can play as a skeleton. Don't you want to play as a skeleton? I'm gonna play as a skeleton.


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.


Diary of a Droid Jedi - Star Wars Conquest, part 5

Evan Lahti at

This is a chronicle of our absurd, canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade. Our campaign to ruin Star Wars appears each Tuesday.

Twenty hours into my Star Wars Conquest campaign, I realize that I have no idea what the game’s win state is. Is there one? Am I meant to crawl the galaxy until the end of time, endlessly gutting Stormtroopers, endlessly pillaging space farms, endlessly watching planets trade hands like used Toyotas between the immortal commanders of the Star Wars universe? By now, I’m positive that it’s impossible to actually kill off any of the game’s main figures—defeating a commander in combat results in either them escaping or being captured and eventually escaping. Hmmph.

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".