Nov 12, 2010
A while back we talked about Hexen: Edge of Chaos, an unofficial sequel to Hexen made in the Doom 3 engine. After more than five years of working on the project, it's finally out, and all you'll need to play is a copy of Doom 3. Read on for more details, and the launch trailer.
First you'll need to install Doom 3 and make sure it's patched up to version 1.3.1. Once that's done, the mod can be downloaded from Fun Free Games. The team say that there are plans to extend the mod, adding more levels and areas in the future. They've put out a call for extra level designers and modellers to help make that happen. If you fancy getting involved, check out the Hexen mod site for more information, and some alternative download mirrors. Meanwhile, here's the launch trailer.
Oct 26, 2010
Hexen is back! A group of modders have resurrected the classic 1996 first person demon thrasher in the form of an unofficial sequel, made entirely in the Doom 3 engine. The project is called Hexen: Edge of Chaos, and it's taken the team over five years to make. Now, it's almost finished, and it's looking fantastic.
The three classes of the original game will all feature in the mod, letting you play as the melee obsessed Fighter, the mace wielding Cleric and the fragile fireball lobber, the Mage. Hexen broke from the norm in 1996 by having big levels tied together by hub locations, allowing for puzzles that could span wide areas. Hexen: Edge of Chaos will do the same, but will take advantage of Doom 3's advanced engine to recreate the hellish atmosphere of the original in even greater detail.
The game takes place after Hexen 2, and will have a story that ties in with both Hexen games and the Deathkings of the Dark Citadel expansion pack. Though the story and most of the areas are new, the mod will be revisiting some locations from the original game. Familiar enemies will also make a return, including the double headed Ettin demons and the ever irritating flying Afrit monsters. The pixelly old creatures of the original Hexen are now fully fleshed out 3D beasts, and have been superbly realised by the team's modelers and artists.
Most of the images released so far have concentrated on the Cleric, showing perfect recreations of the Serpent staff, his trusty mace and the devastating Wraithverge, which in the original game would summon ghosts to suck the life out of your enemies and then make them explode. It's weapons like the Wraithverge staff that makes us so excited about the prospect of a new Hexen game.
It's worth blowing the dust off your copy of Doom 3, because a demo release of the mod is imminent. It will focus on a single hub, with more planned for the future if the project is successful. Head over to the Hexen: Edge of Chaos site for more information.
Oct 4, 2010
I can still remember my first schooling in the art of Quake. A young staff writer fresh out of university, I found myself working late one night, and the office Q3DM17 expert offered to give me a run-around and a few tips.
Talk about school of hard knocks. He railed me from a mile away. He railed me while performing mid-air pirouettes. He railed me when all he could see was the pixel on the top of my head. He was a frickin’ railgun prodigy, and his name, rather aptly, was Mr Chafe.
Quake Live is basically Quake III Arena playable – thanks to some astounding plugin Gandalfery – in a browser. It runs like a dream, and it’s surely a sign of things to come that a razor-edge, competitive FPS that demands sublime net-coding runs in a browser, and still taps your PC’s hardware for its needs.
The Quake Live servers are stuffed with Mr Chafes, and it’s still a game of frightening speed and precision, but it’s immediately plain that id’s Tech Engine 3 browser-streamed incarnation of Quake knows the difference between good and amazing players when matchmaking. Even so, in the beginner-grade match-ups you’ll meet some extremely skilled combatants.
Dropping into a quick match is easy, and for old hands, there’s a warm sense of familiarity to the maps. I leapt straight into The Longest Yard, and found it as insanely frenetic as ever. Every time I took the long jump to the railgun platform, the same player got right up in my grill, trying to place rockets on it just as I landed. We singled each other out repeatedly, and aside from the inevitable interference from other players, sparred riotously for the whole match.
All this is free, but ad-supported, which isn’t as intrusive as you might imagine. For a few seconds before a match starts, you’re served an ad (Fallout 3: New Vegas at time of writing), then it’s gone. You can pay for the game, which disables ads and offers you extra features, but for casual players, there’ll be little incentive to upgrade. The free-toplay version is bulging with classic Quake maps, and you can jump into all the match-types you’d expect: free-for-all, capture the flag, team deathmatch, duel and clan arena.
Blood and tiers
There are two levels of paid subscription – premium and pro, at £1.59 a month and £3.18 a month respectively – and the extra features they offer cater to the clansman. Exclusive maps, frequent content updates, clan creation tools and so forth, you only get with a subscription. Interestingly, you can only create and customise your own games if you pay for the top-tier service. Go free or premium, and you can only join rolling servers. Which for casual players who just fancy a quick blat, is fine.
Quake III Arena was sublime, and that’s what this is: sublimity in a browser window. Every match is a white-hot opera of surging gunplay that leaves the crump-and-pew of rockets and rails ringing in your ears for minutes afterwards. It’s as immersive and pure an experience as it ever was, and it’s even hard to care that the engine is showing its age. Oh, and it’s free. What are you doing? Stop reading this now, open a browser window and sign up.