For players who may have been disappointed with the lack of traditional dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new set of modding tools is helping players add dungeons inspired by previous games.
As spotted by PC Gamer, Earth Temple is a mod that adds the dungeon of the same name from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Created by a modder who goes by Kreny for the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild, the dungeon comes complete with tons of lava, platforming puzzles, and even a boss fight. While it’s not a one-to-one recreation of the original Earth Temple, it seems to get the spirit of it right.
The mod was made possible in part thanks to the visual editor “Ice-Spear” and collision data tool “Ice-Hall,” both of which were created by a modder called HailtoDodongo in order to help Breath of the Wild fans make more advanced dungeons for the game. “My goal is to get the feeling of old, bigger Zelda dungeons,” the modder told PC Gamer in an interview last month. While HailtoDodongo’s work includes ambitious additions like the Sky Maze dungeon, the tools are one small step toward a sort of unofficial “Zelda Maker” for the Wii U.
At this year’s E3, Nintendo announced it was making a sequel to Breath of the Wild that effectively grew out of how ambitious its original DLC plans for the game were. In light of the lack of new content then, it’s nice to see fans being able to add their own creations to the game to give players new dungeons to explore, at least for those with the Wii U version of the game.
Debuting 20 years ago this month in Japan, Capcom’s short-lived Dino Crisis seriesasked, “What if dinosaurs instead of zombies?” Now, some fans have taken it upon themselves to remake Dino Crisis using Unreal Engine 4.
The first Dino Crisis game remains a bright spot in the PS1 catalog, and despite the longing of fans eager to see it reemerge all these years later, it wasn’t part of the PlayStation Classic’s library and isn’t available as part of any HD collection. Given the anniversary, this seemed like as good a year as any for Capcom to announce some sort of remake similar to Resident Evil 2, but E3 came and went without any news.
No wonder, then, that the modder group Team Arklay has taken it upon themselves to try and give Dino Crisis a second life in Unreal Engine 4. As first spotted by DSO Gaming, the team has been releasing videos of its work on YouTube in recent weeks.
The latest includes a deep dive into eerie, steel-plated hallways. There aren’t any dinosaurs in them…yet. But it doesn’t take much imagination to see just how terrifying stumbling through this lifelike research facility in first-person with giant hungry lizards hiding behind every turn would be.
There hasn’t been a new addition to the series since 2003’s Dino Crisis 3, a not-entirely-bad Xbox game that was ill-served by its terrible in-game camera. According to its YouTube page, Arklay only consists of five people, so a full-fledged fan remake seems like a long shot, especially given the threat of getting a DMCA notice from Capcom.
Even if we only end up getting one playable level, though, it could be an interesting proof of concept for the real thing and a nice treat for the long-ignored Dino Crisis heads out there.
Slay the Spire is really two games in one. There’s the version the creators at MegaCrit made with a campaign that spans three acts and includes three heroes. Then there’s the version that allows mods, through which the game’s many fans have cooked up all sorts of custom campaigns featuring alternative heroes and new cards. Of the dozens of Slay the Spire mods I’ve tried though, “The Senshi” featuring Sailor Moon has quickly become one of my favorites.
Created by Steam user Aelie and uploaded to the platform’s Workshop last week, The Senshi adds a bunch of Sailor Moon-themed cards and mechanics as well as the titular hero herself, letting you attempt to traverse the campaign’s brutal dungeons with a new set of abilities. All of Sailor Moon’s attack cards are augmented by her Magic, a stat that can be raised during battle using various support cards. When her Magic stat maxes out she can use another card to transform, just like in the show. That lifts the ceiling on her power so the stat can be boosted even higher.
Outside of this strategy, the mod introduces a bunch of other cards—75 in all—that tie-into other characters and moments from the anime. There’s Luna’s Bite, in which Sailor Moon’s feline guardian deals three damage to an enemy three times in a row, as well as Rose Throw, in which she channels Tuxedo Mask’s iconic entrance to weaken an enemy’s attack and defense. My favorite is Late For School in which oversleeping allows Sailor Moon to sacrifice two points of Determination to draw two extra cards.
As fun as the new cards and mechanics are, what really helps set Aelie’s mod apart is all of the new art. In addition to a fully animated sprite for Sailor Moon, each of the cards includes an image from the show illustrating the attack. There are even some cards that have a Team Work mechanic which allow the other Sailor Scouts, like Jupiter, to show up and help Moon out for a turn.
The mod is only available for the PC version of the game. It is easy to install by following the directions on the Steam page. As one commenter suggested, grab some headphones, boot up some Sailorwave, and prepare to triumph over evil.
Grand Theft Auto III has some interesting features and code hidden within the game. These hidden features were originally used by developers to debug and fix glitches during development and should have been removed. Crafty GTA fans and modders have been able to not only find these hidden features in retail copies but reactivate them and get many of them working again. The results of their efforts give us a window into how Rockstar builds its massive open worlds.
A video released earlier this week by popular GTA YouTuber Vadim M showcases a large number of debugging features that are still hidden inside GTA III. Many of these features were recently found and restored by GTA modders and data miners Fire Head and AAP. While these features are in the retail versions of the game, not all of them work as intended because the code is much older than the final game.
Many debug features in Grand Theft Auto III were created to work on PS2 dev kits. A second controller could be plugged in that would let the developers change the game in real time. This functionality was restored in the PC version of the game, though Vadim M told me he believes it could be activated on the PS2 version of the game if you used a modded copy.
With the second controller, you can instantly change the weather or time of day or remove the HUD. You can also activate a free camera, which lets you fly around the world and look closely at objects, buildings, and roads. This free camera also allowed developers to instantly teleport the game’s protagonist, Claude, to its location, which could potentially be used to skip long drives during testing. The second controller also activates the ability to play the game one frame at a time.
GTA III hackers such as Fire Head have also found debug scripts in the mobile port of the game, but not in the PS2 or Xbox versions. Using some custom code, AAP, Vadim M and Fire Head were able to get port these scripts back into other versions of the game. These scripts include the ability to despawn and respawn all vehicles, start any mission, turn on god mode, recolor any car and access developer menus.
Reactivating these hidden menus allowed Vadim M to access a model viewer, which let developers examine any of the in-game models or characters and watch their animations closely.
These scripts and hidden menus also include a bunch of tools revolving around GTA III’s pedestrians. There’s the ability to activate a color-coded overlay on the road and ground, with different colors representing different rules. One area might be where pedestrians cross the street, so a section is marked with a specific color that means NPC can cross in that specific zone. Other areas are marked to keep pedestrians from entering, such as highways.
The entire video is worth watching as it goes into more detail about many of these features and other debug options, as well as how they all worked and what Rockstar might have used them for during development.
These debug features offer us a glimpse into how a game like GTA III is made. Rockstar is a notoriously secretive company and rarely lets players see beneath the hood. But thanks to some clever and dedicated fans, players can get a better understanding of some of the game’s tools.
Halo: Reach is a very good game and will soon be coming to PC and Xbox One via an update to The Master Chief Collection. This news prompted a bit of a meme, where folks started sending pizzas to 343 Industries. That inspired one modder to brings pizzas to Halo: Reach.
Created by Halo modder Lord Zedd, this mod changes all of the textures and text in Halo: Reach into pizzas or pizza references. Every sound is even changed into the simple audio clip of someone saying “It’s Pizza Time!” The quote and music were originally heard in Spider-Man 2 on PS2 and Xbox. A single tweet inspired the mod to be created.
The full video is 17 minutes. It’s a lot of pizza. You might want to mute this video once the gameplay starts. Unless you want to hear pizza time a thousand times.
I asked Zedd how they created this delicious creation. It was done on a modded Xbox 360 using a modded copy of Reach. After adding in the sound effects and pizza textures, Zedd used a small program they created to mass replace all the textures in the game with pizza. A simple code change was all that was needed to get all text in the game to display “It’s Pizza Time!”
The end result is oddly satisfying to watch until human beings with faces appear. Then suddenly this fun little mod starts to create nightmare beings who will live in your mind for years to come.
Tired of getting lost in the original Doom while hunting for ammo packs and teleporters? Well there’s now a mod that takes everything in the game and unravels it along a single, unwavering path, and it’s called Linear Doom.
Created by modder DeXiaZ and uploaded to ModDB, Linear Doom takes all of the game’s clever level design and reduces it, from beginning to end, into a series of corridors. It’s still possible to move slightly to the left or right, but for the most part the game only operates along a single axis. Everything from demons to secret switches have been condensed so they all appear within a single hallway.
All of the walls from the original 3D spaces are still present; they’ve just been flattened into a new kind of especially hellish dimension. On the one hand it’s impossible to get lost; on the other hand it’s impossible to avoid enemies. Linear Doom is best played holding down the forward arrow and CTRL button like your life depends on it, because, well, it does.
It’s easy to get up and running. All you need is a copy of Doom, the GZDoom software, and a copy of Linear Doom downloaded from ModDB. If you’ve ever had dreams of speedrunning Doom, now’s your chance.
Minecraft’s latest snapshot update, 19w07a, changed the way paintings work which has allowed some crafty players to create in-game TVs. The new update, which also added adorable foxes into the game, breaks paintings into multiple textures. Before this update, paintings in Minecraft were created using a single texture. This new change has allowed modders to create working in-game TVs and computer monitors.
Reddit user Hopeabandoner created a monitor allowing him to watch a pixelated Minecraft YouTube video while playing Minecraft. I believe the kids call this “meta”.
The best looking in-game TV in Minecraft I’ve seen so far belongs to user destruc7i0n. Using multiple painting frames they were able to play a high quality copy of the Gravity Falls intro. One user commented “Better picture quality than my TV.”
While this new trick is cool, it does take up a lot of resources to pull off. One video made up of 30 frames could take up over 100 MB of space. Too many of these bigger files on servers could cause performance issues.
Maybe in the future, if Minecraft has better optimized this feature, we could see some servers or worlds create short in-game videos explaining rules and guidelines to new players.
Or folks will just set up a bunch of TVs playing Bee Movie.
Sometimes gaming enthusiasts are so preoccupied with whether or not they can, they never stop to think if they should. How else to explain one Smash Bros. fan’s decision to create an elaborate retro electronics setup so they could play 10 rounds of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the 1.8 inch screen of a Sony Watchman.
Reddit user NESNerd427 recently shared a picture on the Smash Bros. subreddit of the game’s opening menu displayed on the FD-30A Watchman, one of Sony’s old portable handheld TVs from the 80s. In an email to Kotaku, NESNerd said wasn’t too difficult to do, but it did require a bunch of different adapters and cords to ultimately transmit the HD output of the Nintendo Switch to a battery-powered gadget from three decades ago.
NESNerd427 started by running a mini HDMI from the Switch to an A/V converter box in order to switch from HD to analog. He then wired the converter to a 2001 Zenith DVD/VCR combo unit with a coaxial output. With a coaxial cord, NESNerd427 then ran the signal through a Cable/VCR VHF amplifier to boost its integrity before routing it through an RCA TV antenna, which then broadcast the game to channel 3 on a VHF TV and could then be picked up through the antenna on the Watchman.
The signal still doesn’t travel far, so NESNerd427 said they have to keep the Watchman and RCA TV very close together. Still, it makes it possible to play the crisp, colorful Smash Bros. Ultimate on one of the worst screens ever. Because the refresh rate of the Switch doesn’t quite match up with the Watchman, there are some rogue green lines, but overall it’s a retro futurist gamer’s dream.
NESNerd427 said he’s big into messing around with old electronics, including repairing stuff like old Pac-Man arcade cabinets. “I’m the kind of person that would go with a 1980s Western Electric telephone rather than a new wireless handset phone,” he told Kotaku. Naturally, trying to combine gaming’s present with technology’s past was a fun project for him.
Perhaps to give Odyssey that Smash Bros/Nintendo Museum feel, modder ItzSka has been importing custom levels into the Switch platformer, like Clanker’s Cavern from Banjo Kazooie and the exterior of Wind Waker’s Dragon Roost Island.
It’s not just the textures, either; both levels have custom collectables as well.