Each year we see a flurry of 'Game of the Year' awards features. We have even seen some 'Mod of the Year' awards, however, they have often been small uneventful features, judged by a few biased reporters and limited to one game. Not anymore; 2004 marks the first year when the public who make and play the mods out there get to decide which are the best going round.
The outcome will be interesting; will the next-generation mods on the next-generation engines prevail or will the old classics come through with the goods? Will the popular games with tons of mods win by masses of numbers, or will the games with a few mods fuelled by cult followings prove a force to be reckoned with? Well January 2005 has come and gone so the results are in!
After 2 months, 8 thousand votes and 1.4 million mod profile visitors, the 2004 Golden Spanner Mod of the Year Awards have been decided, by you the visitors and gamers who know best. Read on for the results & analysis!
Posted by INtense! on Jan 5th, 2005
In 2004 we decided to tackle a different angle when deciding the Mods of the Year. Previously, the staffers basically got together, listed their favorite mods and before we knew it ‘BLAM’ mod of the year was decided. This was much to the anguish and disappointment of you, the gamers and visitors who didn’t necessarily share our opinion and before we knew it we had a riot on our hands. Rightly so, we don’t know best you do as you are the people out there playing these mods day-in and day-out!
Therefore 2004 marks the first ‘Golden Spanner Mod of the Year Awards’ which is just a fancy name for ‘Peoples choice Mod of the Year Awards’. Whilst we don’t entertain any fantasies that these results will be to the liking of everyone out there, they were decided by 8000 different voters without our intervention or biased opinions AT ALL! But hey start debates / riots / arguments etc.. whatever you want because that’s what these awards are all about. Besides, mods wouldn’t get to where they do without constant shameless pimping so don’t stop now!
As for the results, well they are largely what I hoped and expected as it seems the more active a mod the better its showing in the awards. This is how it should be too, furthermore it was great to see a good mix of mods from various games receiving awards which previously have been largely dominated by the Halflife engine mods!
The awards are divided into two separate categories been ‘Design’ and ‘Gameplay’. These are futher divided into the following categories of which the top 3 mods from 2004 will be listed on the following pages.
Firstly thanks goes out to the 8000 people who voted. Lets double that number next year! Kudos to Howling who created all trophy images mod teams are now showing off around the web. Also thanks to BlueWolf72 and BigBird who wrote a large part of this feature. Finally I'd like to thank ForK and frosty-theaussie who largely initated this competition and started the ball rolling.
Without further aimless banter lets get onto the awards!
Project Revolution is a WarCraft3 : Frozen Throne Mod, that will turn StarCraft:BroodWar into 3D. With the release of the new Website comes a nifty gift to the community: Spinners. Spinners are gif animations of our Unit models, turning them 360°, so you can take a close look at them from every angle. And what a great view is too.. great models and this award is certainly deserved and great to see a non-FPS mod receive such recognition!
The Mechmod team has already released a primary Alpha 1.0 version of the mod, which was based on mechs taken from the Gundam and Macross/Robotech series. Alpha 1.0 was a 'test' release which the team put together while waiting for Half-Life 2 to go public, and the Alpha is also considered as a stepping stone towards something much bigger and with sweet huge mech-models who can complain?
The Insurgency team spends a lot of time perfecting all of our art so that it looks great ingame and makes the game feel realistic not only in the way its played but how it looks. There are a lot of people working on the art, whether it be models or skins in the mod, to make it look as good as it does. There's Spydr, who did most of the weapon models, Fiblah who did quite a few, Spezz who did a couple, and Jeremy who did some. However, the models would be nothing if it weren't for the wonderful skinners on the team; DarkNemesis, Polygon, and Seth. Jeremy spends lots of time perfecting the character models to make them how they will eventually turn out by the time the mod will release. Expect the artwork to only improve as the time ticks down to release. From hanging in the teams chat room they appreciate all of you who appreciate all of our hard work in the artwork/modelling part of the mod!
Eternal Silence 2 picks up where the original promising Battlefield 1942 modification left off by harnessing the power of the new Half Life 2 SDK. Have a look at some of the models below... beautiful in every sense of the word. Can't wait to use them in-game!
Shattered Horizons is a team-based modification for Half-Life 2, based in a fantasy medieval setting. A meteor is rocketing towards the planet's surface, and the only hope is to teleport to safety. Each of the two team starts out with four Crystal Shards (used to power portals), and their ultimate goal is to get all (eight) of the shards into their base to activate their portal. Each player is only able to carry a single crystal at a time. Forget the gameplay though and scope out the models below.. brilliant stuff!
Jedi: Timeline aims to span the full history of the republic all the way from the Sith Era to the New Jedi Order. It will be a SP, and MP mod where you will be able to play as a vast number of characters, with many different weapons. Star wars based stuff has always been renowned for its awe-inspiring graphics and models and this mod looks set not to dissapoint at all. A well deserved win here.
Half-Life: Nightwatch level design is probably what this mod is best known for, and it's something we take pretty seriously. One of the things we've tried to accomplish with the mod is a quality of level design not commonly found in other amateur products. Although for the original Half-Life versions of our maps pushing the limits was often a fact of life, it's not really a question of intentionally testing the boundaries of the engine quite so much as maximizing the amount of detail in each scene, trying to make as immersive an environment as possible. We've also had a strong focus on the gameplay that will be present within those environments. These are the things that haven't really changed about our level design during development, despite ongoing improvements to our design documentation, notable increases in the total number of staff members, and the loss of several level designers to professional design jobs and other commitments.
You can look forward to seeing some work by the Nightwatch level design team for the Source engine in early 2005, as we move forward with our Source development plans.
Red Alert: A Path Beyond is a true total conversion of Renegade. All the infantry have also been changed from Renegade, and many weapons have been remodeled (in fact, all weapons will be remodeled for the beta 0.994 release). New units include Tanya, Volkov, Heavy Tanks, V2 Rocket Launchers, Rangers, Tesla Tanks, Shock Troopers, and many more. Other units share similarities with Renegade in name only - for instance, the Flamethrower launches fireballs that explode on impact with another object, rather than a constant stream of fire. In addition, there are several new structures, such as the Construction Yard, Radar Dome, and Service Depot. (For a full unit and structure list, read the Renegade alert manual.) = HOT LOOKING MAPS
Natural Selection is one mod that does EVERYTHING well. Mapping is of course no exception. Beautiful environments combined with great gameplay and you've got yourself another well deserved-winner.
The Black Mesa site is short and sweet with nothing to fancy and thats why it probably recieved so many votes. The intro (flash) is eye catching so good work to the team!
The Bloodthirst website creates a techno type of look for a genre that is often portrayed as ancient and historic. The use of colours and sharp lines has served well in creating a interesting website, that suits the theme well.
Mechmod's website really doesn't encapsulate the mod's theme but rather places the viewer into a setting that looks very futuristic. The site overall works well for the mod and helps deliver the needed information to the user.
The Trenches: Half-Life is a great mod. Smooth realistic animation sets really add alot to a games atmosphere and feeling. Hence its great to see mods like this who do this kind of work so damn well!
The Specialists though another old-skool mod still wins hands down in this category largely thanks to the totally over-the-top moves which are possible. With gameplay that involves fast paced, ducking, diving and doing insane monouvers its great to see it winning a category such as this!
Earth's Special Forces... one of so many mods that has tried to capture Dragon-Ball in gameplay form and none have succeeded before this one came along. Beautiful 'over the top' style gameplay which really does distract you at times from the game :D (whos complaining!?)
Forgotten Hope is a modification for Battlefield 1942 that concentrates on adding both a more realistic and more enjoyable playing experience than the original BF1942 and includes many new specially designed custom maps to play in.
The mod includes over 250 new pieces of authentic equipment (more than any other Second World War FPS), with tanks such as the mighty Russian IS-2 heavy tank and the diminutive Japanese Ha-Go light tank, aircraft from the rugged American P47 Thunderbolt to the antiquated British Fairey Swordfish seaplane, warships such as the British Ark Royal aircraft carrier and the German Battleship Tirpitz and weapons including the powerful German Panzerfausts and the fearsome Russian PPSh-41 submachine gun. And ALL of these look great so this award is certainly well deserved.
G.H.O.S.T. OPS: The Avalon Project is a future based mod, pitting big business against government. What happens when big business has more money than the government and decides to takeover? the story, (found at the website) explains the entire scenerio, and how it goes down, really setting the mood for this game.
Featuring fast paced gameplay, and a selection of over 30 weapons, selection of 4 different players, and fast gameplay.
Cold War Crisis is a C&C Generals Zero Hour Total Conversion. It takes place from 1980-1989 and it will feature realistic units from the 80's. We want CWC to be a mixture of realism and fun. Our mod is more like the original Generals concept with base building and resource gathering. We will make it more realistic though, with real life weapon systems and side specific characteristics.
CWC will offer 3 factions: Russia, USA and Europe. The Russians tend to use tanks and artillery (for example: T72 / T80, BM-21, 2S1, RT21-M only to mention a few) while the USA rely on aircraft and high tech units (for example: F15, F16, F117, A10 etc.). The Europeans actually are something like a "Best-Of" of actual European units (these are, German Leopard, English Harrier and so on).
Also we we will have a lot of infantry in the game, not all of them will be just cannon fodder. Of course engaging a Leopard II with a US Ranger wont be a good idea and will look like G.I. Joe in the Slaughterhouse. Other infantry units can be a real pain in the ass to armored units. In general we want the players to use more infantry than in regular Generals, where infantry wasn't the big deal. In CWC Infantry can be very useful, even against tanks if you have the right soldiers.
The Trenches is a World War I mod for the Half-Life engine. Included in the first release are the British and Germans, two large players of the "Great War". Players fight for their homelands with six different weapons on many locations on the Western Front with two different kinds of gameplay.
Earth's Special Forces (ESF) is a fast paced, 3rd person fighter based on the hit anime, Dragonball Z. Select your favorite character and fly, power up, transform, melee, and beam your enemies into pulp. Each character is given signature moves and abilities to compliment different style of play, some are stronger in hand to hand combat, others are better with energy attacks. Play in three different game modes, deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the dragonballs. There is a learning curve so newbies beware. This is not your normal Half-life mod.
In 2003 Sven Coop was announced as one of the up and coming mods to look out for in 2004 during the 2003 Mod Awards here at ModDB. Being a multiplayer coop mod players must work together against computer controlled enemies and solve puzzles as a team. Sven Co-op's levels are set as missions and are generally separate from each other. Many missions span several maps, and some are collected together in a series. The aim of most levels is to reach the end or to achieve an objective. Obtaining a high score is not essential to beat a level, its just part of the fun.
Red Orchestra is the award winning state of the art total conversion for the Unreal Warfare Engine (Unreal Tournament 2004) that pits players in scale combat of the most intense and grueling warfare in history; the Eastern Front conflict of World War II. Real missions set in real scale settings -- from elite tactical units vieing for control of strategic industrial assets in close quarter combat, to brutal heavy infantry assaults and bayonet charges to take tactical objectives, to heavy mechanized armor units battling for strategic control of entire cities in blistering exchanges of fire power -- Red Orchestra delivers unprecedented tactical realism of in epic scope -- on a human scale...
Only 2 mods were nominated for this category.
Pathways Redux describes the events of a major nine-day crisis in 1994. In the twilight hours of May 7, 1994, eight Special Forces operatives were paradropped into the Yucatan Peninsula. Seven safely landed and carried the nuclear bomb into the pyramid. Hours later, they ran out of bullets.
Utopia Online's basis is you make your utopian scene and enjoy it with others. The gameplay consist of different multiplayer activities in various utopias.
UnrealSpeed is a Racing MOD for UT2K3. Many cool features like Analoge driving, karma weapons, adjustable chase cam, gears, surface slipping and many more.
After a trip to the US in 2002 for the VALVe Mod Expo that year, and being voted as a Top Mod in 2002, HL Rally was released in September 2004 to a huge IRC party and the mod just blew away rally fanatics. With a racing mod being built on a FPS engine, VALVe stood up and took notice of this mod and it is now featured in the book Half-Life 2: Raising The Bar.
UnWheel is a driving modification for Unreal Tournament 2004. The idea behind UnWheel is not to create the ultimate racing game, or the 4x4 simulation with the best physics, or to specialise in any one area as other modifications and games do, but to simply create an assortment of gametypes and vehicles with the focus on fun driving, whether it be racing, rallying, or simply freestyle driving around.
Only 2 mods were nominated for this category.
ZooW: Alien Dimension after being in the detention cell for a couple rotations, something unusual happens. Almost all computer systems are being destroyed with some kind of new computer virus. Some of the prisoners took advantage of this situation and started a riot. The player is part of this riot and he has some genetically engineered mutations. The soldiers and guards have been given an order to terminate all mutations, escaped lab creatures and stop the riot.
Point Defense Systems is a modification for the RTS game Homeworld 2, and development of which began as a one-kid effort on the 25th of November 2003. A year later I have the honor of having 15 personnel aboard the international dev. team while PDS has virtually no competition on the gaming market. It is unique, and unlike any other gaming development project out there, has no documented objective or conceptual work besides that of experimental ships. We do what is necessary to improve upon the basis of Homeworld 2, advancing gameplay from your usual RTS with fancy graphics, into a living, dynamic battlespace with you as anything from a fighter squadron commander to fleet admiral.
Duffers golf is surprising as the name suggests. A golf mod built on a FPS engine.. that engine being of course the highly moddable Unreal Tournament 2004. A great looking. game which proves anything is possible. Heres about it:
* Completely custom physics!
* Play a round by yourself or with up to 32 people in groups of four over the Internet
* Intuitive Interface: Aim and Swing with only a Mouse
* "Fore!" – All players share the same course
* Leaderboard scoring shows the top players on the server
* Choose your character and meet up with your friends in the Clubhouse
DeathBall turns UT2004 into a mix of Football/Soccer, Rugby, Handball and War. It's a pure sports game, and at that a First Person Sports Game. It's based on UT2004, but it has nothing to do with a shooter. So you got these football pitches, and you have to get the ball into the enemy goal. You have a melee weapon and a balllauncher. With your weapon you can kick other players around, kill the enemy ballowner with 2 hits and also kick the ball away (volley). The gameplay is very easy too learn, but it's hard to master. At first it seems to be pretty simple, but the more you play the more you realise how complex it is and how many possibilities your team has. The ways to score are infinite.
International Online Soccer is a first and third person online multiplayer soccer game built on the Half-Life engine that aims to be the online equivalent of great console soccer games but with a true multiplayer teamplay experience. IOS features a large selection of International Soccer teams. IOS features a wide range of football stadia. Many of them based on real football grounds from all over the world. IOS has computer controlled goal keepers but players can take over by switching them off. IOS features built in bots for offline practice or listen server play. IOS comes with a tutorial map to help you learn the game.
StarKiller formally StarCraft 2: Xel'Naga Vengeance was once apon a time a promising looking mod on the Command and Conquer: Generals engine which was ordered by Blizzard to stop progress on the mod due to Copyright infringments of Blizzard interlectual properties.
The First Tiberian War (TFTW) converts generals into the origanal C&C. With an aim to make it as close C&C TD as we can using the generals engine, aiming to recreate the passion and thrill of the first Command and Conquer. Allowing the player to split GDI armourd colums with stealth tanks or pound them from afar with long range artillery.
Natural Selection is a highly awarded and extremely well played FPS built upon the Halfe-Life engine. Playing with two teams, the Marines and the Aliens. You will soon learn your way around the unique mouse driven user-interface communicating with team mates and morphing into other forms if an Alien. NS also uses a 2D map for the 'commander' of the Marines, so the team can interactivly build resource gathering points and other structures to fortify their base.
These are the mods that people are dying for in 2005. Firstly its great to see a mix of games here which shocked me. With so many mods in the pipeline for HL2 promising so much, i thought this category would prove a whitewash, but it strayed far from that. Perhaps the HL fanboys had too much to choose from, but no matter which way you look at it, each mod listed here was a clear winner, and a well deserved one at that!
SS:2845 has been a loooong time in the making but who cares when it looks so-damn-fine! Every little detail from the maps, to the models and guns are crafted with true care, which is why a mod like this on a game that has been out a while now and doesn't have the biggest following can still come through with the goods now and keep people on the edge of there seat until they do! Now for those that don't know, this is what this mod is all about.
The game will have air and land vehicles as well as ground based infantry units. The battlefields will consist of everything from earthlike terrain to lunar landscapes and other alien settings.
Players will be able to outfit their chosen avatars with weaponry and special components in such a way as to enhance their specific playing styles.
Project Revolution win shows just how-damn-much people love Blizzards games Starcraft and Warcraft. Hence what do you get when you bring Starcraft to the Warcraft III 3D engine? You get the 2nd most anticipated mod of 2004 of course! Forgetting this fact, what this team has done so far (as demonstrated via the images below) is just beautiful and I for one cannot wait to see these little-fellas in game! Heres about the mod
For All those guys who are eagerly awaiting an announcement of SC2, this is the Mod to check out. The Mod has been in developement for almost 3 years now, and we think what we've accomplished reflects that.
The Mod will stay true to the original StarCraft:Broodwar. No Races will be added, no heroes, no Units or skills. Just plain old SC.
Sven-coop for Halflife was a beautiful mod, which was released around a time when so many modding teams just came and went. Every mod promised so much and only one delivered, this been 'Sven Coop' of course! The same seems to apply now as everyone whos ever played a HL mod, trusts that the Sven Coop team will deliever the goods we crave so much once more!
The formula for this mod is so ridiculously simple and that is players vs. computer controlled enemies. It just goes to show that even the most obvious classic gameplay ideas recreated with perfection equals a game you cannot put down. Besides, what better feeling is there than playing side-by-side with you mate and covering his back. (well i guess there is a better feeling and thats not covering his back and claiming the glory for yourself muahaha! :D)
With the exception of this years winner, it seems the old classics, the peoples long-time favourites have come through another year topping the Mod Database Mod of the Year Competition. It will be interesting to see how these mods fare in 2005 with alot of big name titles coming out in 2004... Irrespective of what happens in 2005, its clear to all that these mods will always sit on our hardrives - a favourite that none will tire of!
Earths Special Forces... They came, they created, they conquered.
Like clockwork, each day a Dragonball modification is added to the Mod Database. There is something all these mods generally share in common.
Earths Special Forces like a select few other mods based on the DB:Z/X series is an exception to this rule. Gameplay is fast, furious, original and smooth. And the models and effects are HUGE and just amazing! Heres about the mod:
Can someone please defeat this mod!? Three years running now, Sven-coop has featured in the Mod Database Best Mods of the Year Competition. Whats more, Sven-Coop II the highly anticipated sequal WON Best Upcoming Mod!
It seems this mod team has not done a thing wrong over the past few years by continually churning out high-quality updates which never dissapointed there loyal and large band of followers!
The idea is simple, players vs. computer AI and its done damn well. Besides, as I said on the previous page what is more fun that playing with a mate and watching him fight out a huge battle, only for you to come in right at the end when he is on his last legs and cheaply steal the kill and glory? Nothing, thats what! Simply put, if you haven't played this mod before then do yourself a favour and round up a few mates and give it a go. You won't be dissapointed!
After 8,000 voters and 1.5million profile visits its come down to this, Red Orchestra is the Mod of the Year for 2005. Throughout the competition I was worried that someone would find a way to spam the voting, and some obsecure mod with one weapon and a plain test map would come through with the win, but that wasn't the case!
The voting system held up, and as such, YOU the people out there have spoken and this is your favourite mod for 2004. I personally couldn't agree more with the outcome of this competition, and its certainly being a big and celebrated year for Red Orchestra.
They have won awards left right and center, including some stages of the $1 million dollar Make Something Unreal competition!
When I was thinking what to write about this mod to do it justice, I happened to stumble across a comment posted by a fan [CC]Nimrod which I believe sums up everyones impression of this mod pretty-damn-well!
To sum things up; if you're into realism, WWII games, intense infantry combat and tactical gameplay, Red Orchestra is the game for you. Download it today and you'll be instantly hooked.