Serious Chaos?

Hi kids… forgive me if I take ‘admin privilege’ to simply blog for a bit. There is at least a Chaos-y theme to it, so maybe stay with me for just a few minutes and let me bend your ear.

It’s been a long time since Chaotic Dreams lost it’s coder, and unfortunately there’s no change in that department. Sadly, this has led to a few years now (wow, time flies) of zero mod development. Thankfully however, there remains players here and there -both online and offline- for the various versions of the mod, and that has kept it from being completely written off into gaming history.

I have always kept the idea of a Chaotic rebirth in the back of my mind. This is because although I’ve enjoyed some other FPS games over the past few years, none of them really match the ‘True 3D’ game-play feel that Chaos brings. No matter how much fun I may have, the old 2-dimensional strafe-dance eventually starts to feel extremely limiting to me, and I find myself mashing my old grapple and grav-belt keys. Desperately trying to add some z-action to my game.

But there are usually problems with the idea. Just as an example, some PC games have actually been released – get this – that don’t even support dedicated servers! Fer cryin’ out loud, what kind of self-respecting development company can do such a thing, and still look their customers in the eye? In other cases there may be other issues that also crash the idea of trying to revive the mod ( like, relying on GameSpy for MP support. Ouch! Been there, tried that. No thanks. )

And then of course there is the oh-too-obvious trend of PC games which simply do not support mod development at all. Maybe it’s too much to ask for a quality editor, maybe they don’t want free mods released so they can sell more bonus packs, or just whatever. But it’s gotten to a point where you start to wonder if mods like Chaos are part of an era that simply has seen it’s time come and go.

Well, maybe so. And then again, maybe not. Enter Serious Sam 3.

Serious Sam 3 is a fun game, reasonably priced, and it supports dedicated servers. I have been enjoying the SP campaign with my good friend Dorian, and it’s not bad at all. Sure, there are issues (the most glaring would have to be a lack of bots for offline play, and not enough maps on release), and things I would change if I had made the game, but for the price, it’s good ‘n bloody fun.

But even better, is the fact that the creators – Croteam – have said that they plan to release an SDK for this game. Yes, it’s a Steamworks based game, and you need what is called an SDK in order to develop mods along the lines of Chaos (as opposed to basically ‘re-skin’ mods and the like). So this is good news. They have not released this SDK just yet, but I’m taking them at their word, and assuming it is in fact coming at some point.

IF that happens, and Croteam does release an SDK, I would love to see some talented coder step forward and start to make some kind of mod that adds much more ‘True 3D’ player movement to the game. Strafe dancing is Ok, but it just doesn’t create the type of addicting atmosphere that many of us who play Chaos are looking for. As Chaos fans already know, when you play Chaos, every inch of a map becomes playable. No longer are you restricted to two dimensions. No longer are you tied to the floor. You’ll play in ways that even the map maker had no idea was possible. And so on.

And if the planets were to align just right – maybe some ‘serious’ coder who is interested in doing something like that, might just decide to take advantage of the history Chaos has, and take on this old project. Sure, it’s been quite some time, and you could argue the mod has seen it’s time come and go, But then again, a Phoenix-rising story could make for some great headlines. Maybe bring some attention that a brand new mod might not get.

Anyway, I recommend SS3 to anyone out there who is looking for some good SP campaign fun, especially in co-op with a friend or two. As previously mentioned, there is a distinct lack of maps for true MP – but there is hope for that to be addressed by Croteam. And there is already one user-made map out, which I’m enjoying very much. It’s for the Survival game type (UT2004 players would know it as Invasion), and more custom made maps are on the way.

I’m just a player, I’m not a content creator. But I enjoy SS3, and I’m going to do my part to bring in some buddies to play with me. Maybe even twist an arm or two to start a server for us, try to start a humble little community based on casual fun – and every once in awhile – while enjoying a frag or two with friendly folks I meet in-game, just casually mentioning how much more fun this game would be if it had a version of this old mod I know about …

wanna join me?

Either way. Thanks for reading.

PS: if you’d like to reply to this, there’s a forum thread all ready for you.