Issue #1 24th May 2009
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Welcome to the first in a hopefully repeating style of threads based on the intention to showing the regular Company of Heroes community members the wonderful work that our modding community creates. Throughout the course of this thread I will be explaining some information on the modding community itself, highlighting some of the great work that the modding community is doing and hopefully, get some of you interested in even trying out some of the parts that I bring up in this thread.
To get started, I thought I would do a brief introduction onto what Modding actually is, just in case your not to sure on what I am talking about. You could also just click the links below to skip to a section that will interest you more.
Introduction to Modding Back to top
Modding, or Modifying (in the sense of PC Games) is the act of changing game files to create something different. This usually involves a person(s) working on creating something new an enjoyable, using the existing game as a basis in which to create there own product.
For example, games such as Counter Strike and Team Fortress were all once game modifications which used the Half Life and Quake engines as a backbone to further the creators vision of what a good game would be. Now, they are incredibly popular retail games. So while usually, Modding is a non-profit affair, there are some lucky teams that get picked up to work on commercial products (most recently with Tripwire)
Modding in Company of Heroes takes a tad different affair as there is limitations to what you can and can't do. You create new units from existing ones, you can add new units into the game (which is still time consuming and hard to work) and you can generally do most of what you want. But the limitations within the game itself can prevent a lot of mod teams from fully creating exactly what they want; this usually results in little to no total conversions and a rather small modding community when compared to Relic's other title; Dawn of War which has a rather large modding community.
While this limitations are generally hard on the mod teams themselves, limiting ideas and control. This hasn't stop the Company of Heroes modding community from becoming a highly dedicated and resourceful bunch of coders, skinners and artists. Some of their works even rival some of the parts that Relic has implemented into the main game.
Now it comes to the main section of this thread, the Mod of the Month. How I judge whether or not a mod can be eligible for the Mod of the Month spot light is through the following criteria:
- Does the Modification work with the latest version of Company of Heroes? (2.502)
- Is the Modification in a complete enough state?
- Is the Modification still being actively worked on?
With these three questions in hand, I located the first Mod of the Month spotlight candidate:
Have you ever thought to yourself;
"I've been playing this game for about 4 years now; it's great and all that. But I've beaten all the single player missions, played online to death and that Stonewall gameplay mode, while fun is too easy. I want a Challenge that doesn't require me going into automatch games "
Then you need to download the absolutely brilliant Joint Operations mod as soon as possible. While not a traditional modification in the sense of adding new units everywhere, what it does is present you with is an impressive collection of custom scripted missions that you can take on the AI, but that's not the end of it. There is also a selection of maps that you and your friends can play cooperatively with your friends, either online or via LAN. Each map is creatively crafted and looks spot on Relic quality thanks to the brilliant creators behind the mod: Mannerheim and Henry666.
The maps also play differently depending on which map you've selected: From the classic D-Day where its all about holding off the Allied beach landings for as long as possible to Prisoners of War, where its all about rescuing prisoners from the Allies while sneaking around with Storm troopers and gaining reinforcements as you go along. Did I mention it was via a recreation of the worlds first helicopter!?
These aren't your run of the mill missions either, where it's all about out massing your opponent AI and simply Attack Moving to their base, killing everything on the way there. No Sir, these are deadly hard missions that will take you some time to beat. While play testing Prisoners of War with 2 friends, it took use almost two and a half hours to complete, even then we failed to complete the secondary objectives. We were constantly communicating between each other throughout the entire course of the mission, telling each other when enemy patrols were coming and screaming at each other when one of us would be spotted; resulting in a horde of Allied Soldiers coming to that position. It was heart pounding and devilishly fun with the completion of the map feeling like a real achievement.
Then I logged onto the Joint Operations server and checked out their fully functional High Scores
tracking system and saw how pathetic we actually did compared to some of the players out there. Which only fuelled my desire to do better next time, but perhaps without my team mates 'holding me back'.
So I fired up one of the three Single player missions that are included in the modification; and while these present themselves with a rather normal 'Defend' style of camping game play; it's mixed up with secondary objectives. These can include things such as holding a point away from your main base, meaning you'll need to split up your forces, to killing an artillery spotter before the time runs out, or hell will rain down on your base; making defending harder. These missions are cut throat and don't hold back on throwing everything at you that it possibly can, so don't expect simple missions with easy objectives.
Screenshots of Stronghold Mission Map
I've only talked about 2 of the 12
different mission maps include in Joint Operations, making having the same amount of mission maps as Tales of Valour (if you include the operation). When you download it you get:
- Defend the Outpost (1 Player)
- Defend the Town (1 Player)
- King of the Hill (1 Player)
- Das Boot (2 Player)
- Liberation (2 Player)
- Ramelle (2 Player)
- Resistance (2 Player)
- Stronghold (2 Player)
- Survival (2 Player)
- Urban Terror (2 Player)
- D-Day (3 Player)
- Prisoners of War (3 Player)
The amount of polish on each map is near perfect, with little bugs appearing thanks to Joint Operations Mod Launcher, that will keep your version of Joint Operations always up to date and automatically download new maps when they are released. The way that the Joint Operations team has built the modification is always great, as it can run side by side with your regular Company of Heroes game, meaning you don't need to close Company of Heroes to load up Joint Operations and vice versa; just simple launch Company of Heroes with the Joint Operations launcher and you'll always be ready for some cooperative action.
Joint Operations is as close as your going to get to true cooperative maps in the Company of Heroes world, so if you and your friends are sick of playing stonewall over and over again; Download Joint Operations, I guarantee, the effort and the bandwidth will be worth it. With up to countless hours of game-play and re-playability, this is one modification that no fan of Company of Heroes should miss out on. It gives you more of that great Company of Heroes flavour with zero of the cost. What more could you ask for?
Click Here to go to Joint Operations Website
The Ammo Box section is based upon the Ammo Box forum that is within the main Company of Heroes modding forum. Its about showing, what might be smaller is content than their larger modding counter parts, is in no means and less of a product. This section will be focusing mostly on the alternative skins that can be added to your Company of Heroes game, to either give it a fresh new look, or to make it feel more historical for those World War 2 buffs out there.
For the first issue, I'll be focusing on the works of a awesomely talented skinner who guys by the internet handle of GnigruG. His works focuses on re-skinning the vehicles already present in Company of Heroes and giving them a more historical look then they currently have. This can give your game an entirely different look and really shows you (while they are still some of the best skins in the business) that Relic really could have done better.
GnigruG has just also released another skin pack, this time focusing on the Panzer Elite selection of vehicles, giving them a much needed revamp. These are some of his best work yet, and when see these units in combat, it really adds to the feel of the World War 2 game.
I've included the preview images that GnigruG has for his skin packs in the spoiler link below, due to them being so big and it would mess with the page structure, so click the tag to open them up and get a nice good look of what you could have in game.
You can look at these, check out alternatives and find the download links over in his thread; GnigruH's vehicle SKINS
He is also just one of the number of talented skinners located within the armoury. Which I'll hopefully will get a chance to spotlight them all over the course of time.
Panzerkrieg, it is a fun alternative to the regular Company of Heroes gameplay, with it being all about that one tank rather than your whole army. But the problem is; there is only one map; which while interesting, gets boring fairly quickly. That is way in this months spotlight, I'm show casing a totally new Panzerkrieg map.
Community, Say hello to Panzerkrieg: Arras. A brand new map for the Panzerkrieg gameplay mod.
This map Offers a totally different experience from the default Panzerkrieg map. With a wide open flank to snipe enemy tanks, to the constantly changing Hangers on the the other flank to provide both cover and perfect ambush positions. The map looks polished and plays well, with little to no glitch or bugs found within it. The only criticism I can give it is the total lack of drastic height mapping, but then I guess; it is an Airfield.
This map is a great alternative to the normal Panzerkreig map and should be a almost instant download to fans of the new game play mod.
Incoming is all about those Modifications that are still under development and look like they will be an absolute blast to play when they are finally released. For this months Incoming Modification, How could I go past which could possibly be the most anticipated modification in Company of Heroes ever.
The Eastern Front Mod aims to bring the Russians into the Company of Heroes game, and from the looks at all their videos and screenshots; they're getting close. With an Arsenal of weapons that will include the likes of:
The team behind this modification is doing wonderful work, adding an entirely new army faction into Company of Heroes (there actually adding 2 if you included the Ostfront German Faction!), which includes new infantry, tanks, abilities and weapons. The amount of work going into this modification is mind boggling, which so much detail already present (and they haven't released even a beta with stand in models).
If your a Company of Heroes fan and you were hoping for Relic to have added in the Russians by now, then this is probably your best chance to see those Ruskies in action in a Company of Heroes game. If your still not convinced, just follow this link to check out the videos of the units in action - Eastern Front Videos
For more information about this modification, you can follow one of the following links: Eastern Front ModDB page
, Eastern Front Website
, Eastern Front Thread
Well, that is all for now my fellow Company of Heroes Players. I hope you enjoyed reading my thread and hopefully I inspired some of you to take a look into the hard working modding community that is making new and exciting ways to play this game we love. I'll be back again next month with another round of Mod of the Month, Ammo Box, Map of the Month, Incoming! and generally bring you more news on the Company of Heroes modding community.