Dead Air is a full-scale S.T.A.L.K.E.R. modification based on Call of Chernobyl. It changes all aspects of the game, from graphics, audio, and special effects to various gameplay and AI features. The modification evolves from the ideas started in Call of Misery, a previous project from the mod’s author. Major inspirations for Dead Air have been projects such as NLC, MISERY, Autumn Aurora, and OGSE. Dead Air prioritises the development of the game platform’s potential, gameplay complexity, and attention to detail, along with addressing both the quality and quantity of all content.
It’s been a long time since any news was posted about this project for English-speaking audiences, but Dead Air, a new free-play modification based on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl, is very much alive and well.
Dead Air Team has publicly announced and revealed a multitude of features and information regarding the upcoming project!
First of all, the modification puts high emphasis on graphical elements: the most notable addition is, perhaps, a new dynamic particle system that adds both outdoor (e.g. fog) and indoor (dust) details into the world.
New and adjustable post-processing options, water reflections, changed flora textures – this, along with a customisable colour palette and weather presets, drastically livens up the atmosphere.
The player can now use a lighter, various flashlights, and chemical sources of light, all of which have unique properties. It is worth noting that a dropped flashlight or a glow stick will not cease to operate, and some players might find unusual usage for this feature. Certain light sources in inhabited areas only work during certain time of day, while others can be switched on/off by the player, adding a small, yet palpable touch of interactivity to the world.
Staying under rain with your helmet equipped prompts the appearance of water drops on it. With a designated hotkey, the player can clean their helmet visor.
Additionally, there is a new sound base, which further enhances the feeling of the game. Sounds now produce echo where they should and can be muffled by other objects as shown below.
The melee system has been expanded: the player now has the ability to utilise various tools, such as axes, shovels, hammers, and other instruments, as melee weapons. The same is true for other NPCs, which now use them considerably more ably, whether they are in a desperate situation fighting other humans or when they are saving bullets in order to kill a wounded mutant. Another noticeable addition to the melee system is a swift knife attack, which can be performed while holding other weapons; this move can be extremely helpful in intense close-quarters skirmishes with enemies.
Some changes were made to the process of reloading weapons. It is possible to reload them by dragging ammo boxes onto them, which is handy when your belt is occupied by artifacts or you don’t have it all. Like in Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat, different outfits have a various amount of belt slots; they function similarly to the way they did previously, except when ammunition is placed in these slots, the player is able to reload faster.
Helicopters now patrol in the vicinity of the Zone during the nighttime and now have a searchlight, emitting a large, volumetric cone. Their model of crashing was changed and they now produce sound when falling.
The stealth system has not been left untouched. Previously, enemies could be highly perceptive and, in specific situations, had an ability to spot the player through myriads of bushes. Furthermore, the player’s stealthiness now depends on the weight of their gear, active light sources, and weather. Now, relaxed enemies (unaware of a threat) will not spot the player so easily if they is are properly outfitted, careful, and skillful enough.
Outside of combat, other stalkers behave more realistically. Nearby gunfire will interrupt their anecdotes and vodka drinking, and they will quickly assume combat positions. Leaving items of value in a public chest is a risky action, and you are no longer the only one in the Zone who has an interest in stashes.
For those who don’t have a powerful rig, there are good news as well:
Campfires now properly work on all renders (previously, R1 users had been experiencing static, ever-burning campfires). The Burnt Fuzz anomaly and environmental glass now also work properly with R1 and do not appear in bizarre colours anymore. Grass during foggy weather cannot be seen through the mist over large distances.
The developers have not yet announced an exact release date, but approximate milestones have already been hinted at, meaning that it will not take long.
The Dead Air Mod DB page can be found here: Moddb.com
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