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A (final?) synopsis of our work on the SturmMOD in five acts ...
Posted by projektariel on Jul 17th, 2009
"Let me not, since I have my dukedom got
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell,
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant..."
Prospero, Act V of Shakespeare`s "The Tempest", Epilogue
After three months of learning how to map in the Far Cry Sandbox Editor and how to mod the Cryengine 1 we were finally ready to visit Prospero`s virtual island during our live performances in Hildesheim in the summer of 2008 as a part of our research on the possibilities of a creative exchange between digital media and the live medium theatre.
On the 12th of July 2008 the first version of the SturmMOD was released to the public on ModDB, followed one week later by a guide to give players hints on which spots to visit on the island. The feedback ranged from a "mod of the month" review in the September issue of the German video game culture magazine GEE over a feature in the December issue and on the DVD of the Total PC Gaming Magazine (UK) to comments of players who demanded more content, more gameplay and a better introduction to the background story of the "Tempest".
Looking forward to using the SturmMOD again for our performances at the diskursfestival (festival of young performing arts) in Gießen, we decided to develop a new version of the mod. The goal was to offer playful approaches to the situations and characters of the "Tempest" while still giving the players the freedom to find their own way over the island collecting informations about the play, our performances and our research. As some features we wanted to have in the version 1.1 were difficult to program and implement the development took longer than planned. But finally, on the 18th of May 2009, an enhanced version of the SturmMOD was uploaded to ModDB, not only in a DELUXE package with additional videos, but also in a SMALL edition for users with a low bandwith.
In 2009 projektariel took the experiment one step further by not only giving lectures on the topic "creative exchange between theatre and video games" but also by using custom versions of the SturmMOD during the lectures as an walkable virtual archive of our research and as an alternative to Powerpoint. The first lecture was held at the conference "Culture and Computer Science VII - Serious Games" in Berlin on the 15th of May 2009. It spawned not only the release of the version of the mod used in the lecture but also of the whole text of the lecture [PDF - GERMAN] to enable players to replay the lecture themselves. One week after our visit in Berlin we were invited by the Austrian video game culture club SUBOTRON. The lecture as well was captured in different media: the SturmMOD Vienna Lecture and the recording of our lecture [MP3 - GERMAN].
Never say never: Even though we hadn't planned to develop the SturmMOD any further, we were more than happy when in 2011 the renown Far Cry modder Didjay made playing Shakespeare look as good as never before by his remake of the SturmMOD (v1.2) featuring not only improved mapping but also new effects and models!
The year 2012 then saw the release of language patches for the SturmMODv1.2 making it possible to not only play the mod in FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH and FINNISH but also new in RUSSIAN! And as we ourselves were happily surprised too often on how the SturmMOD continued to evolve to new stages - like in the case of 2013's Caliban Edition - this may be the final curtain for our project ... or not ;) ...