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It's been about six years since the Minerva mod for Half-Life 2 was released, but after some cajoling from co-workers at Valve, developer Adam Foster has given it a new coat of paint and is releasing it on Steam as a Director's Cut.
"It's taken long enough, but via lots of nagging and prompting from fellow Valve employees I've finally got round to getting MINERVA, the Half-Life 2 mod which got me a job at Valve, up on to Steam," Foster said in an email to Shacknews. "It was originally released in late 2007 to pretty much universal acclaim, but now there's about to be a super-fancy Director's Cut edition with tweaked visuals, bug fixes, better puzzles and all kinds of subtle improvements. Nothing hugely new, just old stuff tidied and polished for this re-release."
The mod, which is still free, tasks you with uncovering the mystery of an underground Combine facility while being fed information via text by a female character named Minerva. To play, you will need Half-Life 2: Episode One installed.
I hate Adam Foster, creator of last decade’s rapturously-received Half-Life 2 mod series MINERVA (not to be confused with BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den) and more recently a Valve employee. I hate him not because he is talented, not because he works at a cool place and not because I have a pathological distaste for people called ‘Adam.’ (Smith, you’re fired). I hate him because today he has made me feel SO OLD.
One of the first long-form pieces I ever wrote for RPS was an interview with Mr Foster about his excellent, thoughtful mod, and its fine accomplishments in level design and mood. That was in 2007. Now it is 2013. Six years> later. And I am posting about MINERVA again. He now works at Valve, and meanwhile I’m still typing words into the same CMS, but older, grimmer, fatter. At least I’ve changed my chair twice since then. Something Foster has also done is repackage and spit’n'polish his mod for a well-deserved re-release on Steam today. (more…)
You, the grizzled PC gamer in the corner, you remember diving around with akimbo pistols in that Half-Life mod in The Good Old Days, don't you? No, not Action Half-Life. No, you big silly, not The Opera. Gosh, no, not Matrix Half-Life. You know, The Specialists! Some of the folks behind that side-diving, slow-motion shooter are now working on a "spiritual successor" mod, Double Action, and want Kickstarter help to finish it faster. You can give an alpha version a go now, too.
Like the Specialists, Double Action aims to recreate the jazzy action scenes of films like The Matrix and John Woo's bang-bang movies. Think dual pistols, slow-motion, and stunts, stunts, stunts!
The Specialists programmer and designer Jorge Rodriguez is leading Double Action, with other folks from the mod working on it too. The Kickstarter campaign (via PC Gamer) is looking for $18,000 so they can take time off work to finish up the initial beta release this summer. Otherwise, it'll be at least 2014 before we can go diving all over the place.
The team is currently making it as a free mod for Valve's Source SDK, which would let anyone who owns any Valve game from Half-Life 2 onwards play. But if funding goes well enough, they hope to buy a Source engine license and release Double Action through Steam as a proper free standalone, not to mention fiddle with the source for new features.
Like most mods, the first beta will be quite limited, with only a few characters, weapons and maps, but the core gameplay of zipping about and shooting men intact.
A mod team turning to Kickstarter is novel, and something I'd quite like to see more of. If this could magically happen about ten years ago, that'd be even better. A lot of modders turned pro, either landing industry jobs or trying to make commercial versions of their mods, and that unique Quake/Half-Life/Unreal Tournament mod scene feeling was lost somewhat. Mods going commercial didn't work out for many either, though some, like Natural Selection 2, have found success.
To see how Double Action is coming along, you can download the latest alpha release from the forums. And hey, development is open so you can chip in too if you fancy.