In this day and age it only takes one good idea to get your indie title or mod noticed by the gaming community at large. It needs to be something that the big studios aren’t doing but everyone clamors for. The team behind the Arma 2 mod Day Z managed to find their zeitgeist by transforming Arma 2′s 225 km squared landscape into an open-world zombie survival sandbox. When the world is covered by zombies and you’re stuggling to survive, the gloves come off and that’s exactly what this mod encapsulates.
Players live an average of four hours, just to give you an idea of how tough it is to survive out there. You start off with meager supplies and you need to keep yourself fed, watered and breathing all while contending not only with hordes of roaming undead but also other players. It’s safe to assume in Day Z that everyone is out for themselves and the game features a humanity meter to chart your interactions with other survivors. Malevolent players can earn a “Bandit” ranking that changes their outward appearance and makes them a target for frontier justice. There are a ton of player guides to help you out, but the true genius of Day Z is the moment to moment gameplay and what emerges out of that.
A video chronicling some of what happens in Day Z by YouTube user SideStrafe.
Day Z requires both Arma 2 and its expansion Operation Arrowhead, and the Combined Operations package has cracked the top five sales on Steam, surpassing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Here’s a handy installation guide for Day Z to get you started on your journey, including some tips for living longer than a few minutes.
Since Day Z has taken off in such a huge way, we decided to get in touch with the developers behind the mod and ask them a few questions. Dean “Rocket” Hall was kind enough to provide us with some answers about how the mod came about, what sort of reaction they’ve seen from Bohemia Interactive, and what’s next for Day Z.
I think this is what Skyrim players have been waiting for. Or at least, the PC Skyrim players have been waiting for this. That’s right, it seems the mod community has a huge reason to celebrate with the release of a new video from Bethesda which details the Skyrim Creation Kit. Like the tool set from Fallout and Oblivion before it, the Creation Kit gives modders all the same features that the developers had at their own disposal, which will allow them to create anything from crazy swords to whole campaigns.
What’s really interesting is the integration with Steam, with the ability to subscribe or follow projects that you’re interested in, along with some easy ways to browse and find new content. I could be ignorant of some other games that make good use of this, but I’m a huge fan of the way Valve is making that accessible.
No word on an official release date, although Bethesda says the Creation Kit will be out soon.
Personally, even though I don’t own Skyrim on the PC (although I imagine I’ll grab it at some point just to have it), I’m super excited about this. Even without this kind of huge tool kit, we’ve already seen a number of creative things from the community. Part of that comes because the game just has so much content, but also because the community itself has such a great passion for the game and everything about it.
Any modders out there? Any of you excited about this?
Of all the things to mod into Skyrim, I’m not sure that Randy Savage was at the top of the list, but here we are in 2012 and someone has found a way to put the Macho Man into the game. The video detailing the mod is three minutes of pure terror and hilarity.
Originally I thought the mod would just replace the voices of the dragons with soundbites of Randy Savage, but when I saw what had become of their appearance, well, that’s a whole other story. I just couldn’t stop laughing when the guards heard the cry of at the beginning of the video and started acting scared. Good stuff! Here’s the link if you want to try out the Skyrim Macho Man mod for yourself.
Skyrim has been out for just over two weeks, even though it might feel like you’ve already put a lifetime into that game. For those of us playing on the PC, we have the added benefit of modding our expereience and the kind folks over at PC Gamer put together a list of the 20 best Skyrim mods as of right now. If you’re playing on consoles you had best look away, lest you get all jealous like.
Modding is nothing new to Bethesda games as Oblivion and the two Fallout titles have seen a slew of great user-created enhancements, and Skyrim is shaping up to top all of them. Included in PC Gamer’s list are things like a fully 3D map, a crafting enhancement where you can melt down pots and pans into usable ore and several custom tweaks that improve the faces of NPCs right down to their lips (seriously). There’s even a couple goofy ones in here like the one that replaces the spiders with other creatures like bears but keeps the animation model so you have a giant bear scuttling towards you like a spider.
This is just the beginning, though, as I’m sure that there are plenty more of these in the works. You may think that my image for this post is a joke, but oh no, someone is actually working on a dragon riding mod. So, Skyrim PC gamers, what do you think? Any of these mods catch your fancy? Anything that blew your mind? I didn’t think that the water in this game could get any nicer looking, but I learned a thing or two from these mods.
I’m kind of a sucker for awesome mods and sadly they’re kind of going out of vogue with the video game industry. While there is still the odd company that still has mod support in their games, these are few and far between. Even though active modders can’t really look forward to new releases and the possibilities there, they can go back to older games and create some really neat stuff. Take this video I found of a Total War conversion that puts Legend of Zelda skins on the various armies as an example. There’s a ton of attention to detail here, and it’s guaranteed to make you nerd out at least a little bit.
Pretty cool, right? I really hope that Nintendo lets this guy continue with the project because they’re notoriously harsh about the use of their IPs. What did you guys think of this mod? Pretty sweet? Would you try it out?
Hello, gorgeous Liberty City. If you haven’t heard, iCEnhancer is a mod, created by modder iCE La GlacE, that will add a set of visual and behind-the-scenes improvements to Grand Theft Auto IV on the PC. Among these technical upgrades are new car models, high-res textures for roads, buildings and the like, some fancy visual enhancements and even smart new AI that allows NPCs to break the law. While some of that might sound like old hat, a new video demonstration of the visual effects should prove otherwise.
This video pretty much did what I thought was impossible – it made me miss Liberty City and also made me hungry for Grand Theft Auto V. As much as I’ve bagged on GTA IV in the past (which I won’t do again here), the city was seriously a technical marvel. Even in the midst of some of the game’s issues, I was always amazed at what Rockstar did with Liberty City, and to see it re-created in such a way is actually sort of breathtaking. See for yourselves.
The biggest reason I would never get an Elder Scrolls game for a console may be going out the window with the upcoming installment, Skyrim. This news is huge and is something that would change console games dramatically. Todd Howard, Bethesda’s executive producer, was spotted as saying user created content may come to the consoles.
The Creation Kit, part of the development engine used to make Skyrim (Much like the Construction Set used for Morrowind and Oblivion) will be available to users on the PC to create their own content. This feature allows users to mod the game and extends gameplay beyond what even DLC can do. Todd Howard was quoted with the following
“It works on all the consoles,” he said. “As far as the 360 and PS3, right now there’s not an avenue for us to make that available, but we’d very much like to find a way. We have talked to Microsoft and Sony, and so there’s a chance it might happen one day, [but] I don’t see it happening for release.”
He also makes mention that there is no problem with content made on the PC running on consoles. Apparently 90 percent of Elder Scrolls gamers use consoles; meaning only 10 percent gets to see the wonder of modding. Hopefully this will be a feature that is extended into Skyrim and will allow the console world to enjoy the extended gameplay that the Elder Scrolls series has to offer. So what do you guys think about this news? Are you worried this will blur the line too much? Does this change what platform you will get Skyrim on?
As if the excitement for Infamous 2 isn’t palpable enough, Sucker Punch decided to…well…sucker punch us with the news that the sequel to the popular super hero/open world game will have user-made missions, as reported by 1UP. That’s right, you can devise all kinds of crazy ways to put Cole through his paces and piss your friends right off.
The missions can be uploaded online and will actually appear in the game world on the map, though user-created content will be marked by a different color and also display the creator’s username. The levels range from races to puzzles to regular missions where you kill lots and lots of enemies. There appears to be quite a bit of options, including action triggers and enemy placement.
I was already pretty pumped about this, but now I think Infamous 2 might be in my top 5 most anticipated games of 2011. Does something like this interest you? Do you think more open world games should incorporate features like this? Sound off!
Personally, this is pretty exciting news and hopefully the first step in a new gaming paradigm, where PC, 360 and PS3 gamers all can benefit from the creativity of their fellow gamers. I’m amazed by what I see people do on something like LittleBigPlanet and the chance to have some insane puzzles in Portal 2 from the addled minds of the masses makes me tingle in all the right spots.
What say you? Are you glad that Valve is pushing the industry in this direction? Would you want to see the mod tools brought over to the consoles in the future? Comments, plz!
As most of us know around here know, one of the biggest advantages of PC games is customization and modding, and StarCraft 2 is no exception. Right now the number one UMS (Use Map Settings) custom game on the EU Battle.net Server is an awesome space battle map called Star Battle. It’s almost like DotA meets Star Trek. Basically, you farm small fighters to gain income to upgrade the weapons/armor/shields/engines on your giant war ship so you can destroy the other players’ giant war ships. A note for our North American users: while the custom map is now live on the US Server, not many people know about it, so nobody is playing yet.
Here is a more in depth explanation by TotalBiscuit. The video is a little long, but you get the basic idea pretty quick.
In the discussion about mods and sandbox games, Garry’s Mod stands as one of my favorite PC sandbox tools of all time, and a standard bearer for how a mod can become a force all its own in the gaming world. It proved a valuable asset for creating our old Leet World show, and was the primary reason that we felt we could make the series to begin with.
I’m thinking of all of this because Kotaku posted an interview with Garry Newman, the creator of Garry’s Mod, and it’s quite the read. It’s got some really fascinating thoughts, not only about the success of the mod itself (Garry has made quite a bit of money, considering it’s sold over 770,000 units and he gets a cut of each sale), but also about the nature of modding and where it’s going in the future. A brief snippet:
“What’s the difference between someone modding an engine and someone licensing an engine? There’s no difference at all, it’s just what you call it. A mod isn’t just a mod anymore, it’s a game.”
He even talks a little about his interview with Valve. Seriously, this piece is totally worth the read if you’re at all interested in the subject, especially considering where PC modding have come in the last year with its rousing success stories.
So, how many of you guys have played Garry’s Mod? What are some of your other favorites and where do you see PC modding going in the future?
Wow. This is one of those stories that just oozes awesome. It’s like our “Today’s WTF” topics, but in a totally different way.
If you are a lover of Team Fortress 2, then you’ll recall that Valve launched an in-game store for virtual items, Mann Co. Store. The coolest thing about this marketplace is that it allowed users to buy items for the game that they didn’t feel like earning over the course of time. So basically, the items could either be earned for free, or bought to skip all that grinding.
As part of the launch of this new business model, Valve participated in the Polycount item contest, where users competed to see whose items could make it into the game. Well, it turns out that the five winners not only got their items added to the game, but also to the Mann Co. Store, where other users could purchase them… and Valve gave the content creators a 25% revenue share.
One of the advantages that PC gaming still maintains over consoles is its modding community. I’ve stated on numerous occasions that until 360 and PS3 games allow the same kind of tools and access as you’ll find in the PC world, the question of “have consoles surpassed PCs” is a discussion that can’t yet happen. If you’re not too keen on the exciting world of PC modding, you might have missed out on a few pieces of big news that happened this week.
Dota 2 (an adaptation of the name Defense of the Ancients 2, probably to avoid legal issues) was announced by Valve for PC and Mac in 2011. For the uninitiated in PC gaming lore, Defense of the Ancients was a Warcraft III mod that pitted teams of heroes against one another as they rushed enemy turrets, with AI controlled units battling it out between them. Valve hired project lead IceFrog to come aboard and develop a Source version.
Wow. This is one of those videos that’s so impressive there’s not really a whole lot to say about it. Project Vector is a Starcraft II Mod that was created with the goal of achieving a playable third person survival-horror game out of the popular RTS. And it looks like they’re actually making some progress, if the new Project Vector demo is of any indication. It’s pretty much Dead Space in Starcraft II’s engine, which is something I never saw happening.
According to its creators over on the SC2Mapster forums, the game is currently playable, but they are still working on some additional revisions. Since they know the entire project will take some time to finish, they’re considering releasing it in small chunks so the community can get their hands on it.
This is all kinds of awesome. And I’ll go out on a limb here: until consoles can start to do this kind of thing with this level of quality, no one can call PC gaming definitively dead. Boom.
I don’t know how many of you played Empire at War, the most recent of the Star Wars brands’ long line of mediocre Real Time Strategy titles, but I sank a fair few hours into that game. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was nothing worth writing home about, either. While the ground combat was severely lacking (you couldn’t build base structures where you wanted them), the space battles were great fun. Taking control of either the Rebellion, the Empire or Tyber Zann’s Consortium, you could duke it out with anything from X-Wings to Super Star Destroyers. As fun as it was, it was fairly limited in scope, and the Galactic Conquest mode made the space battles more of a stepping stone than a main attraction. I’ve longed for the day that I can control the Empire on a mission to take over the galaxy, and it may have finally arrived with this fan made mod for Sins of a Solar Empire.
Sins is a game that focuses on managing a huge empire, so the large scale of its maps (which can range from one solar system to several) is a perfect fit for the Star Wars aesthetics. The mod is fairly easy to install, too, since all of Gas Powered Games’ titles are DRM free and open to modding. As soon as you boot the program up, you’re instantly treated to Duel of the Fates, the song that plays when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Gin are dueling Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. The whole mod is fantastic, and all of the Star Wars ships look exactly like you would imagine them to. Even ships that are only present in the expanded universe, such as Lancer assault frigates, are represented in game. The models for the ships are really well detailed, and the sound effects are very true to the movies; they even replaced the phase jump sound effect with the noise of a ship jumping to hyperspace. The mod does rip quite a few sound files from Empire at War, so they loose a few points for that. Over all, this is a really high quality mod, and it got me excited enough to install Sins on my machine again. If you’ve got the game and are inclined towards Star Wars, pick up this mod. Heck, even if you’re just interested in high quality homebrew expansions, grab it as well. Hit the jump for a video of a space battle in progress:
If you listened to the totally sweet new podcast, then you’ll know that we geeked out for awhile about mods and how awesome the gaming community is at creating cool new content for our most beloved games. While this mostly happens on PC, one of the primary examples of this done well on a console is the variety of custom content produced by Halo 3′s avid Forge community. Even years later, they are still pumping out cool new game types that are totally worth playing.
Which is why Bungie has kicked it up a notch for Halo: Reach with the introduction of Forge World. There’s not really a whole lot I can say about this other than implore you to watch. Because seriously, wow… I am so excited about the possibilities that the team at Bungie is creating for this. The fact that they are even shipping some maps built in Forge World to show what all it can do is sure to inspire.
Who else just got even more excited for Halo: Reach because of this video?
One thing that makes PC gaming great: the ability to infuse new life into a gaming via the modding community. In what I hope to be the first of many Dragon Age: Origins releases, a new DLC trailer is available that showcases some hilarious tweaks made to the game and how it’s played.
Not only is this a look into what is available to modders, it also showcases some of the machinima tools available to users. I really can’t wait to see more of what people come up with. I’d have to say my favorite portion is the Morrigan slapping, as well as mastering “the taint”. Do watch this. Now.
Crysis was an underappreciated gem, in my opinion, and one of the most endearing facets of this game was that it was fairly easy to mod. During my time with Crytek’s military sci-fi shooter, I saw some pretty neat stuff, but nothing that could combine my love of video gaming with one of my favorite movies. Today, I finally get my wish. Check out the following video which features a DeLorean in Crysis. Does it travel through time? Maybe. You’ll have to find out.
If there’s two things I love, it’s Star Wars and shooting people in the face. Thankfully, a nice group of modders calling themselves blackMonkeys shares my love of sci-fi warfare and are hard at work on a total conversion kit for Call of Duty 4 called “Galactic Warfare”, which takes the silky smooth game-play of CoD and fits it in with classic Star Wars imagery.
The trailer for the mod showcases Stormtroopers and Rebel fighters battling it out in Mos Eisely, and it looks like everything that I hoped Battlefront II would be. With the future of the Battlefront series in limbo, I’m looking forward to trying this out when the mod is complete. Check out the video:
I’ve seen a lot of mash ups in my life, and they don’t always work. However, when they’re solid, they’re freaking rock solid, and this is no exception. Over on the Team Fortress 2 Maps forums, user goldenhearted has thrown together a wicked concept: a Team Fortress 2 RPG, complete with a party of the Heavy and the Medic, on a mission to locate the Scout.
The really cool part about all of it is the menus and the user interface that he’s put together, complete with the classic and colorful Team Fortress 2 look. He’s posed a few cut scenes together with GMod, and even has some loading screen mock ups. All of it is really slick and just screams to be made into an actual game. So, modders, if you’re reading this, get to it!
To check out the awesome gallery of photos, head over to TF2Maps. Thanks to Lord Ned for the heads up.