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Editor's Choice is here! See what Mod DB editors have picked as their most notable of 2007.

Posted by stenchy on Feb 4th, 2008
Event Coverage

Editors Choice

Now that the Mod of the Year contest has finished and the winners have been revealed, it seems like the popular choices of the year were the realistic military shooters of the multiplayer variety. While most enjoy a good shooter that focuses on tactical realism, I can say with great certainty that I'm burned out on the genre for a while. I've logged many hours playing the top 5 of this year to see what all the winners had to offer and while they are all worthy, it was almost too much of a good thing.

Taking nominations from the staff and doing some digging myself, I've come up with a list of shining gems from our very own database. The list focuses on projects that have been pushed to the sidelines in a flood of constant media and news updates, yet merit some of their own time under the spotlight. Each of them embodies the overall spirit of modding in their effort to introduce new concepts and gaming experiences. You might also notice that this year there are no specific awards or ranking. ModDB has done away with the categorization this year to just focus on the gaming experience that each offering provides (or hopes to provide). Most of all, we tried to represent the many facets of the modding community with these choices, including the quality and variety available. Without further ado, here are the 2007 Editor's Choice winners:

Mind

(Unreleased: Doom 3, Singleplayer)
Mind is one man's journey through the minimalistic spaces in his own head as he tries to comprehend the dire situation he's placed in. At least, that what I gathered from the information provided:

"Your name is Jack and you're under arrest. They say you were on drugs. They say you killed your wife. All you know is the back of the police car smells like vomit. Maybe you are on drugs because now you're seeing things .... and suddenly ... you're very ... tired...."

In any case, Mind promises to be a puzzle oriented game with no firearms involved. The only weapons being your fists, flares and some telekinesis thrown in for good measure. The footage below shows the unique style and situations they are aiming for. The aesthetics of the level design concentrate the focus on a surreal environment where anything can happen. Mind is being put together on the ID Tech 4 Engine accompanied with an original soundtrack. So far, the release date is unannounced, but we look forward to Mind bringing us an intellectually challenging experience.

Temple Ruins The City


E.Y.E.

(Unreleased: Half Life 2, Singleplayer/Multiplayer)
Inspired from a custom RPG board game made from the creators in 1998, E.Y.E. is an evolution of a concept that the development team has been shaping for years. What does E.Y.E. stand for? I have no idea, but they are group of elite rebel warriors trained in "cyber and parapsychic arts" that fight against the oppressive multi-planetary government referred to as the 'Federation'.

Equal parts RPG and FPS, E.Y.E. will not only incorporate single player and multiplayer but tie the two together, presumably through some sort of character progression. Released footage is almost 6 months old, but shows an encouraging amount of polish with their own adept AI system included as well. One can only assume that a possible beta is on the horizon. This mod goes above and beyond the task of just creating another point-and-shoot clone. It aims to create a wholly unique experience on the Source platform.

Temple screenshot Temple Level Screenshot #1



Eternal Silence

(Half Life 2, Multiplayer)
Disrupt the blackness of space with dizzying space combat. Invade and conquer the opposing faction's capital ship before they can do the same to you. Eternal Silence brings a welcome change to the shooter genre by intertwining it with a healthy dose of space sim. It allows for two different game archetypes to co-exist within the same space and pulls it off with grace. While this mod has its dedicated group of small players, it surprises me that it isn't more popular considering its more than just your ground troop warfare variety. The Eternal Silence team themselves have been releasing a steady stream of updates and it sounds like they are in the final stages of a major update. In the meantime though, do yourself a favor (if you own Half-Life 2) and check this one out.

ES_Asteroid Space Combat 2 Sad Face!


C&C Generals: Shockwave

(C&C Generals Zero Hour, Singleplayer/Multiplayer)
Fans of the Command & Conquer series have always enjoyed variety within their games and Shockwave certainly delivers on that point. A plethora of new units and 3 brand new generals await you here. Shockwave hearkens back to the old days of modding when not everything had to be a total conversion and players were just happy with adding on to an existing experience. Unit and general diversity adds even more customization and options that allow you to further tailor your play style. Compete online or tackle the new challenge maps made with each of the new generals in mind. Custom made sound effects, music and particles also compliment the new additions to this mod. All of this makes C&C Generals: Shockwave a must have.

new R.A.D. tank for General Tao Scourge Missile launcher for Dr. Thrax


Paranoia

(Half Life 1, Singleplayer)
Paranoia manages to look, sound and play great. The kicker here is: it's doing it on the Half Life 1 engine. While the technical merits alone allow Paranoia to compete for attention amongst its current generation rivals, the team has also made good on the overall narrative and pacing within this single player offering. The story puts you in the role of a Russian officer in the secret service as you and your squad mates end up exploring an underground genetic laboratory. The build up to the climax is great, you actually feel like you're interacting with characters and everything is routine until things go awry. While I did encounter some minor problems with the AI, Paranoia is worth a download as it manages to comes close to putting together a complete package.

Patched v. 1.1 Bunkers, gate 7


Age of Chivalry

(Half Life 2, Multiplayer)
Take a step back into the past when combat was a lot more personal and the armor considerably more shiny (and heavier). Age of Chivalry forces you to holster the firearms so prevalent in most mods and dispatch of your foes medieval style - with swords, bows, maces, and daggers. The map rotation is preset to follow a campaign which links all of the maps together. Style points are given to the presentation in this mod. Crisp textures and good use of shaders make the characters and environments truly stand out. Everything from the dynamic lighting on viewmodels to the blood speckled weapons make hacking and slashing with your friends all the more enjoyable. Thanks to Age of Chivalry for taking multiplayer mayhem to the medieval ages.

1.0 Media 1.0 Media


Flipside

(Half Life 2, Singleplayer)
Flipside is all about guiding a mental institution escapee to freedom. The one twist, and likely reason for your incarceration, is the way the main character changes his perception of the environment. One minute you may be strolling through a meadow spotted with cheery bunnies and sun shining brightly, the next you're in a dark, dreary wasteland full of killer bees. The mod is short on length but challenging. Flipside is the result of an attempt to expand and challenge the conventional standards. Granted, the light/dark mirrored world game mechanic has been done before but not on the Source engine. The same can be said of the paper cutout visuals and the platforming. Flipside succeeds at creating a bold experience that stands out on the Source platform.

FLIPSIDE Screenshot 004 FLIPSIDE Screenshot 005


Europe in Ruins

(Company of Heroes, Multiplayer)
Company of Heroes won many awards for being the best of the RTS breed in 2006. While it was officially declared that Company of Heroes Online would only be delivered to China, (any word if it made it there yet?) fans took matters into their own hands and started Europe in Ruins. Europe in Ruins adds persistence to the army you control as you fight battles that decide an overall outcome. Veteran units that stay alive stay with your forces can be summoned in future battles. This places even more value on your units and strategies through discouraging hopelessly desperate rushes. While still early in development, Europe in Ruins now supports the expansion pack for Company of Heroes, Opposing Forces, and plans to include war-maps to track the progress of your side's campaign. For RTS nuts looking to add life to an already amazing game, Europe in Ruins should be a top choice.


The Hunted Chronicles

(Unreleased: Dark Places Engine, Singleplayer)
When looking at the sparse amount of information concerning The Hunted Chronicles, I was somewhat hesitant giving it the go ahead for an Editor's Choice. That was until I found a bounty of videos for THC on youtube (note: please update your mod profile THC!). The additional videos show the progress that's been made over the last few months and even at this early state, it's apparent this game has the potential to turn me into a screaming ninny (I deal with horror games with about the same aptitude as the infamous MESH). The visuals already show their capability to deliver and if everything else matches up to the same calibre, The Hunted Chronicles will be one experience you won't want to miss. Considering this is the third Hunted game in the series, there's a good chance this will see the light of day. In the meantime, check out the first two:


Searching File Cabinet Shovel


Infinity: The Quest for Earth

(Prototype Unreleased I-Novae Engine, Multiplayer)
Infinity doesn't promise the world, it promises the universe. It's a tall order, but with an impressive proprietary engine and an already massive roster of ships, Infinity has garnered a lot of well-wishers in support. Media releases have already boasted seamless transitions from outer space to a procedurally generated planetside and visuals that include a variety of celestial bodies. Those interested in doing so, can already test out the combat prototype themselves. It's hard to even grasp the sense of scale this game will introduce. Everything from planet-sized destroyers to the tiniest escape pod will be incorporated. Infinity will be an online persistent world that does away with the turn based number crunching and instead relies on wits and reflexes to come out as the top gun. Combat, trade, explore and network with others anywhere, truly anywhere, within a virtual universe. Can Infinity deliver?

ICP 2.0.k screenshot ICP 2.1 Screenshot

Post comment Comments  (50 - 70 of 70)
Chandler
Chandler Feb 5 2008, 3:41pm says:

Play something different*.

*But only if it's a shooter for a mod-friendly engine.

Honestly, MOTY was a major disappointment and daresay failure this year. Certainly Player's Choice lacked diversity, but at least that was to be expected. But not Editor's Choice. This is nothing more than a reaction to the players' picks - and a poor one at that. It still fails to be representative of the different engines and genres of the Top 100.

Why is representation important? I've been modding for a long time and I can say from experience that it's a lot easier to produce a FPS than, say, a RPG or an RTS. Not only that, but you'll get better results in terms of graphics (the most important selling factor) because of the camera position. You cannot, after all, screenshot the AI. It's no surprise that the vast majority of winners on both sides are shooters, because there were no categories to ensure anything else.

Furthermore, it's much harder to mod a game with no SDK opposed to one that gives you free reign. Again, this is from having done both. The engine I'm currently working on has no source code access, you cannot alter the main style of gameplay, and there's no control over the interface. As a result, I've had to scrap about half of the ideas I come up with because they're just plain impossible to implement. That's not lack of originality - that's lack of SDK. But I guess starting with a GOTY pretty much makes you a shoe-in for MOTY.

In a community of gamers, it's a travesty that you've been unable to ensure balance in a simple awards competition. I hope that drastic changes are made to the event next year - and prior to the results - on threat of becoming trivialized.

+6 votes     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Feb 5 2008, 5:21pm replied:

I'll agree on the trivialized part, but FPS aren't the easiest games to make as opposed to adventure games. It's obvious that FPS mods are designed purely out of popularity not out of ease else moddb would be loaded with adventure games..

Popularity is what is killing the diversity hence why player's choice is so unbalanced. The editor's choice is a lot more accurate as it rewards the projects that have made major contributions to the site, I think a majority of the mods on this list have done that as opposed to player's choice.

0 votes     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Feb 6 2008, 10:44am replied:

I disagree in this point. FPS games are easier to make. They compose of a few things only: a set of guns, some linear maps, some mobs spawning in at predictable times, keycard hunting sequences, maybe a few cutscenes. Most of those things are already in the game you mod for included. The only tricky part is to get weapons balanced so people don't pick all the same gun in the end. Story is usually a no-go since FPS are about shooting things ( which is wrong but this is the major consense about it ). If you want to make for example an adventure you need a real good plot, clever maps which are especially not linear, good puzzles which are not so easy to build, interaction with your environment and people, very good characters since this makes or breaks the mood.

Hence for an FPS just make a gun and something to shoot at and you have 50% of the job already done. For other genre types it takes much more before you have something on the dishes.

+2 votes     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Feb 6 2008, 7:06pm replied:

You are saying what a "Good adventure game" is, I was just saying make an adventure game. Take Day Of the Tentacle for instance, its incredibly linear. The story was excelent though due to its simplistic zany style, it doesn't get bogged down like adventure games. The fact that adventure games require less thought to game play compared to FPS is what really makes me think they are easier (since you are playing the game strictly for the story as opposed to FPS which is for the gameplay)

Maybe we should agree that FPS and Adventure games are just as easy as each other.. so why then are FPSes more popular to make games for? because the majority of the demographics appear to be action junkies that don't like to think when they play games.

This is why I suggested that FPSes are made purely out of popularity and this is why adventure games aren't made as much anymore. I'm having trouble grasping that most of the old genre's are now Niches.

+1 vote     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Feb 6 2008, 7:08pm replied:

The fact that adventure games require less thought to game play compared to FPS is what really makes me think they are easier - I made a typo,

The fact that adventure games require less thought to PRODUCE A STORY as opposed to concentrating on gameplay is why I suggested that Adventure games are easier.

+1 vote     reply to comment
jdeuel
jdeuel Feb 9 2008, 8:31am replied:

and yet an adventure game is just an FPS set to third person and given mainly melee weapons, whats so much harder about that? an RPG?- FPS's already have stats, they're just not shown to the player. It's possible for a FPS to have a good plot too, look at games like XIII. It's also possible for adventure games to have ****** plots, look at games like Mario, God of War, Shadow of the Collosus (numerous types of adventures, but i think they all boil down to it in the end, don't they?) And yet, a plot isn't neccessary for a good game even, as evident by most of the above mentioned, and even silly games like tetris and bejeweled

All in all it's no ones place to say what is the hardest to make, although if i had to throw in my vote it would be RTS for finding good balance.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Krenzo
Krenzo Feb 6 2008, 4:14pm replied:

Regarding Chandler's comment about modding with no SDK, don't! It's just not worth it. Why would you willingly limit yourself to that situation? There are lots of games out there that have SDKs available and encourage modding. Why would you support developers who don't support the modding community by developing a mod for their game?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Chandler
Chandler Feb 8 2008, 7:33pm replied:

Because of legal entanglements with IP use. But the fact of the matter is that Petroglyph actually does support modding - up until you get to the source code. The engine just wasn't designed around being extensible that way. My point, however, is that such things should be taken into consideration in the contest instead of just assuming that every game is as versatile as Half-Life and that mod developers who don't take full advantage of said versatility, whether real or not, are therefore "unoriginal".

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tombstone1300
Tombstone1300 Feb 5 2008, 4:49pm says:

Nice to see you guys picked Paranoia. I was really suspecting it to be in the whole MOTY and such, so the fact it wasn't (besides the opening video) disappointed me.

+1 vote     reply to comment
BunnyJen
BunnyJen Feb 5 2008, 4:54pm says:

Well done winners! ^^ The games all look great!Mind and Flipside look particulary interesting :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
f0rqu3
f0rqu3 Feb 6 2008, 8:58am says:

well done
(btw I failed to find THC videos on youtube)

+1 vote     reply to comment
stenchy Author
stenchy Feb 6 2008, 2:37pm replied:

Updated the article with the link to them:
Ca.youtube.com

+1 vote   reply to comment
f0rqu3
f0rqu3 Feb 6 2008, 4:24pm replied:

thanks
"haunted" is a bad typo for "hunted" but he did a good(?) job hiding those from moddb

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ilsamir_Lord
Ilsamir_Lord Feb 6 2008, 6:22pm says:

Great to see the less well-known projects getting some attention - the player's choice awards were really disheartening to me :P !

And yes - GO INFINITY!

+1 vote     reply to comment
cryora
cryora Feb 7 2008, 12:53am says:

Woo Eternal Silence, Paranoia, Infinity, kickass.

0 votes     reply to comment
vancedylan
vancedylan Feb 7 2008, 1:19am says:

Wow, I was hoping this year you guys get it together with the awards and I have been keeping my eye out for the editor's choice awards. What's wrong with you guys. You're like a roller coaster...sometimes I visit this site and think, wow, these guys got it together and then you lame out on the big stuff and it just makes you like idiots.

Some of the staff here are awesome and are tuned into the people and projects hosted here, then there are those who have no clue, too bad it's the latter who makes the calls.

+3 votes     reply to comment
goodone
goodone Feb 7 2008, 8:27am replied:

true, it does look like that from time to time.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Silver_Back
Silver_Back Feb 8 2008, 6:32pm says:

I agree...GO INFINITY!!! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
juanmanuelsanchez
juanmanuelsanchez Feb 10 2008, 4:57pm says:

will all this mods/indy games get their prices even if they are not finished?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Noesis_Interactive
Noesis_Interactive Feb 11 2008, 2:43pm says:

Are you a member of a successful Mod Team? Are you going to be at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this year? If you answered yes to both of these questions then Noesis Interactive wants to meet with you! Noesis Interactive works with industry giants such as Valve, IGN, Softimage, and Autodesk to expand knowledge regarding game modding and development through easy to follow video modules. We’re interested in speaking with modders and developers about their roles and experiences in order to lend insight to the rest of the Mod community. This is a great opportunity to promote both your Mod and your team. So, if you’re going to be at GDC and are interested in being involved, please respond to this message or email benm@noesisinteractive.com for more details. We hope to see you there!

0 votes     reply to comment
Rimrook
Rimrook Feb 13 2008, 10:43pm says:

Mind looks like advanced early stages of my mod. Glad I reinvented it. But I see why it got editors choice. grats.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tei
Tei Feb 17 2008, 2:31pm says:

Nice work Intense.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arkeolog4
Arkeolog4 Dec 20 2008, 2:00pm says:

Long live Shockwave!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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