Mods

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".


Supreme Commander Supreme Battlefeel mod gives SupCom a supreme makeover

Tom Senior at

Ever fantasised about what Supreme Commander 3 might look like? Would it be darker, more detailed, with advanced smoke effects and oily orange explosions? The excellently named Supreme Battlefeel mod retextures Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, and combines beautifully with the Firey Explosion Mod to give seven-year-old game a modern makeover. Take a look at the results in the two videos below.


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.


Diary of a Droid Jedi - Star Wars Conquest, part 4

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.

It’s always embarrassing to be defeated by the elderly. Last week Emperor Palpatine gave me a lightsaber-whipping on the wooded arena of Endor, gutting my army with his formidable gang of gutless thugs and fascists: Stormtroopers, Imperial Navy Troopers, and Imperial Pilots.

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: 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.


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

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

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

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.