ModDB Mod Of The Year Awards

In 4 days, the results of the ModDB 2007 Mod of the Year Contest are announced. These awards showcase the best game modifications and indie games of the last year. It’s the first year I’m participating in the contest too, with my work on the mod Nuclear Dawn. After a first round, we received a nomination for the top100 mods, which then was showcased on the ModDB website and on AMD Game.

Nuclear Dawn is a total conversion mod in development for the Valve Source Engine (the engine powering the popular FPS Half-Life 2), aiming at fast-paced action in a post-nuclear world. Yes, although the theme might seem a bit generic, the artwork and attention to detail in the mod is pretty incredible. Most of the people working on the assets and maps are industry professionals, have a look at some of the more recent media releases:

I’m working on the Linux server build and some things for the HUD and in-game dialogs, and I have to say I have learned more than I could imagine working with this talented bunch. I don’t think we stand a chance to win anything in the Most Promising category, where Black Mesa might win again.

When it comes to released Source mods this year, it’s been a fan-tas-tic-u-lar year. A short overview of the ones I’ve tried:

  • Dystopia: After a solid U4, this mod still is the best Source mod in my book, although the player count has dropped lately. Lovely futuristic theme, top-quality polish (shiny body armor is sexy, period) and balanced maps.
  • Minerva: Hats off for mister Adam Foster. A one-man, three-episode single-player adventure with lovely writing and great puzzles. Valve: hire this man !
  • Sourceforts: One of the first mods making full use of the multiplayer physics which were enabled in one of the earlier SDK updates. It’s fun to play, but has one major flaw: there always has to be an admin on the server to verify the built forts. I don’t even want to think about the deep-space math involved to check this automagically, so no harm done.
  • Empires: The closest to Battlefield you can come. When you’re playing this on a server with people who know what they’re doing, it’s fun. Otherwise you’ll be running around desert environments for ages.
  • Pirates, Vikings and Knights II : It has all that is promised in the mod’s name. Honestly, how could this fail ?
  • Zombie Master: One of the new mods that faced this year. Lovely idea, great programming for the overview mode, but somehow I’m getting tired of seeing the same City17 player models.
  • Fortress Forever: A very unlucky release date (very close to the release of Team Fortress 2, the “official” sequal to Team Fortress Classic) might have killed this mod. It’s fun to play, has all the polish it needs, but the playercount never peaks. Also, the absence of the quintessential Fortress classic 2fort in the release only makes me think this was rushed out.
  • Insurgency: Somehow the first release (beta 1) ruined it for me. I don’t have any problem with full-realism mods, but the complete lack of objective waypointing or a map makes the learning curve very steep. Also, for no apparent reason, this mod has severe performance problems on my box.

I wish the best of luck to all participating mod teams, let’s make 2008 even better !

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