The dev team growth
Since March 4th when the work on the very first model for Acheron began, quite a few things have happened.
When I created the mod's ModDB page on the April 18th, I was still a sole modeller/developer, so the progress was slow.
Fortunately, soon after that, on May 15th, General_Bradly has joined me and all of a sudden our new small team had an ability to export vehicles.
Later, in July, Anthony817 has joined us and since then his tweaks breath new life into the way the weapons work. He's also the one we're thankful to for getting the PR developers to let us use their shotgun animations.
August was the month in which we've got three reinforcements - Kiborg_UA, whose skills finally allowed us to also export new weapons to the game, NinjaTheCat, music of whom gave Acheron its own, unique character, and Pe†eR-KuN, a really talented texture artist who retextured by amateur attempts of making new textures and thus gave them a realistic vibe.
And finally, in the beginning of November, TUERIX agreed on joining us to animate some of our weapons, mainly those which wouldn't work with any existing animations as they're too sci-fi! He's done a lot of different animations for the Project Remaster mod for BF2142 where his talent is really apparent.
Plus, one of the guys at Dethklok clan agreed on being the voice actor for the USCM squad member of Acheron!
As the team now seems to be complete - or at least ready to face all the different aspects of the development - we hope to bring You new content more effectively to make sure noone will wait too long for the first release.
New content made in 2017
The original goal described in the previous article has changed a bit, we now have a final list of the selectable items and we've also decided to include the vehicles in the first release. And since the dev team has also grown, more people participate at the making of each weapon and vehicle and everyone contributes differently which makes the previous "chart" pretty much useless. That's why we've made a different, much more suitable spreadsheet which is being updated regularly, so checking it from time to time isn't a bad idea!
As You can see on the spreadsheet, the M41A Pulse Rifle is basically completed, it only needs some little sound and texture adjustments.
The Ithaca M37 Stakeout shotgun is already finished for some time, although the model could use some editing in the future, to make it resemble the actual gun of Cpl. Hicks more.
Despite the original intention was to bring the USCM vehicles later with the second release, we've decided to change this and so the M577 APC is also playable! It needs new HUD components and we're trying to make the main turret move up and down on the rails to make the APC more believable. And we'd also like to give it a detailed interior in the future to make the experience more awesome!
Gerber Mark II combat knife that the colonial marines used is now awaiting the export.
M40 Grenade is also ready for the export and it's one of the weapons that will also need some new, suitable animations.
Acheron also got its main theme which You'll be able to hear in the main menu!
Plans for 2018
Just like before, the current plan is to bring you the first of three planned releases of the mod, the goal of the first one being all the USCM handheld weapons and equipment as well as the vehicles, basically replacing the EU weaponry and vehicles.
We'll try to add as much content in 2018 as the circumstances will allow us to. And who knows? Maybe we'll manage to give You guys a proper Christmas present in the form of the first release. But probably not. We'll see.
I'm really sorry for not being more specific about this year's plans but it's hard to predict how much will be able to produce during the following 12 months.
I imagine making at least the UD-4L Cheyenne dropship so the vehicles are all ready, as well as both remaining primary (M240 Incinerator Unit and M56 Smartgun) and secondary weapons (VP-70 and M39 pistols).
For a more detailed list of what's to come in the first Acheron's releast, You can check out the dark grey slots in the spreadsheet.
Plans for the future
The second release should be the one that focuses on adding the alien/xenomorph faction, replacing the PAC. It should have the xenomorph drone and the xenomorph warrior as the "light/heavy soldier" and the queen as the vehicle (we'll do our best to make her feel like it wasn't the case, haha). They should all be capable of both claw and inner jaw attack. There was also an idea of making the alien eggs with the facehuggers working but it would probably look a way too silly to be added to the mod. Again, we'll see.
The last thing which should come in this version are new models of the marines, also both light and heavy.
The third one should then focus purely on the new levels. The Hadley's Hope complex and the USS Sulaco spaceship are the potential locations that they could take place in.
All of this is really ambitious though, so please, don't expect too much to see it all done. It's rather an idea of the possible future development, based on all the things that the game has to offer to a modder.
Keeping this in mind, we've discussed another possibility - a new version of the mod that we could work on if we managed to successfully pull of all the three releases. The idea is to bring new content that hasn't appeared in the Aliens movie but rather in the expanded universe, namely in the comics and the Aliens: Colonial Marines Techinical Manual.
Just look at all these new vehicles, weapons, suits and locations that can be found there!
And last but not least, we'd like to wish You all the best for the new year!
And thank You guys for tracking and supporting us, we hope to thank You with the mod's release when the time comes!