Germany-- a great and beautiful country, or so I've heard. The glorious architecture of Berlin, the frost-tipped peaks of the majestic Alps*, the warm and friendly leiderhosen-clad country folk. And BENEATH.

That's right, at the end of September, you will be able to find all of these things in Germany.** BENEATH is scheduled to appear on the coverdisc of September's issue of PC ACTION magazine, probably Germany's leading PC gaming publication!

I'm psyched to have my map show up on newsstands and in subscribers' mailboxes across the great country of Germany. This will be the first official publication of one of my maps in a legit print enterprise, which is exciting in and of itself. But for BENEATH to glide into the hands of millions of genuinely wonderful German citizens, courtesy of that fine nation's leading PC gaming publication PC ACTION magazine? I just couldn't be happier.

Confidential to Germans: sorry in advance for the green blood or whatever. I swear when I made the map those guys weren't robots.

*possibly not in Germany




Welcome, visitors from ModDB!

You know, it took me a while to think of putting BENEATH on ModDB. I'd never really thought of the level as a 'mod' per se. But, I guess that a single-player map, that has its own story, and stands apart from the original single player game, is a sort of mini-mod. Not a total conversion, or really any sort of conversion, but a modification nonetheless. If Minerva is a mod, then BENEATH is, too.

To the ModDBers, thanks for stopping by. This blog probably won't be of any huge interest, though there's a little of the process and behind-the-scenes info here and there. Download mirrors are below if you missed them, and I hope you enjoy BENEATH.

As far as the rest of the below post goes, let's hope I spoke too soon :-)




The final version of BENEATH has been uploaded to the following download mirrors:


I made the opening more user-friendly and tweaked a few things. Everything, I believe, is just how I want it.

This morning, I announced the release of this map on a few message boards I visit, including the official VUG modding board, and the SA Games forum. I'm surprised that there really hasn't been any response in the threads at all. Are people just not interested in single-player maps? Am I aiming at the wrong audience? I haven't been able to find a solid general mapping community site. There are sites based on specific engines, such as Unreal sites or Source sites, but no "mappers' haven" that I've come across to just generally talk about mapping and level design and share your work regardless of engine. The only place I've gotten any response-- which was positive, granted-- was on www.fearmaps.com. I appreciated the feedback from the forumgoers there, but I just wonder... how does a mapper get the word out about their work, and get involved with a community? Especially when they're working with an engine that doesn't have a huge amount of fan support behind it?

It's not that I made the map for the attention it would give me. My work with WorldEdit started out as a self-driven desire to make my own single-player scenario for one of my favorite new games. Then it turned into a desire to do well in that FilePlanet contest, once that was announced. But after the contest, turning Residential Evil into BENEATH has been nothing but a labor of love, as it were. I just loved the gameplay of FEAR, and couldn't think of another game I'd rather make a single-player adventure for... and there it was, an SDK with the capability of making single-player content, right there, for free! I've enjoyed working with WorldEdit immensely, and I'm personally satisfied with the results I've come up with... but now that it's finished, it would be nice for more people to see and enjoy the actual product.

I feel like this is the way every one of my personal projects has gone. All the comics I did in high school and college had distribution that you could count on one hand. The webcomic I put 9 months of work into managed to garner about 15 fans. The Journal, while again another project I was personally very satisfied with, managed to move about 10 copies per issue. It served its purpose-- I got to write about something I really cared for, got paid freelance work out of it, and got to contact a number of my game industry heroes in the process-- but still, personal drive can only get you so far. Wouldn't it be nice for someone else to appreciate the work? I don't know. I just can't seem to get the word out.

I think I'm bad at publicity.




Okay, so!

I have what I'd call a release candidate of BENEATH prepared and ready to install! If you are somehow reading this, but haven't already been contacted by me to test the map, download it...


It's an auto-installer that provides a shortcut to run FEAR with the BENEATH module enabled. Just start a new game after launching the BENEATH shortcut.

If you play this, give me feedback: steve.gaynor@gmail.com

I'll throw in a couple of screenshots while I'm at it, to remind you what this is all about:

"This level is not considered a prequel, sequel, or continuation of the original game's story, but a "what if?" What if F.E.A.R. were a tiny, inexperienced agency, whose existence was based entirely on the whim of an eccentric Army general who'd begun to take wartime ghost stories a little too seriously? What if F.E.A.R. primarily investigated "anomalous" incidents-- flukes, rumors-- that no other agency cared to waste their time on? What if the F.E.A.R. crew never expected to stumble across any significant threats while chasing shadows... and then suddenly, they did?

Coincidentally, recruit, it's your first night on the job. And you think you're in for a walk in the park."

I am fairly confident this will be the final version, but we'll see. Let me know what you think :-)



System sellers

Since I started buying my own game consoles, I've always waited to pick up any given hardware until a game comes out, specific to that system, that I can't resist playing.

My parents bought me my NES and SNES when I was young, and I think I just wanted them for games in general. But I bought my own Playstation, and if I remember correctly, I, like so many people my age at the time, bought the PS1 "for" Final Fantasy 7. With the Dreamcast, I didn't buy one until ridiculously late in its lifespan, and for some reason it was for Phantasy Star Online. I think I really liked the character designs, and might have been attracted to it being online. But the game didn't end up being fun or engaging. On the upside, I did finally buy a nice backlog of Dreamcast games, but that was probably one system I wouldn't have missed if I'd skipped it. Again, I picked up the PS2 for a popular choice: Grand Theft Auto 3. This one was worth it for the game itself, and well as all the PS2 games that followed it; the Metal Gear Solids, the Katamaris, the Shadows of the Colossi and the rest.

Now I've been sold an Xbox 360, and the game that sold it was Dead Rising. Like other system sellers, it will only appear on its native system for the forseeable future, the gameplay it offers can't be found anywhere else, and it has a bunch of elements I'm hugely interested in. I love beat'em ups, I love games set in the 'real world,' I love games that give you free reign over the environment, I love games where you can pick up just about anything and toss it around, and I find games that are inherently short and encourage multiple playthroughs to "re-see" the narrative a really interesting approach to pacing and exploration. I've been playing the Dead Rising demo on my new 360 for a couple days now, and it looks amazing, and is huge fun to play. I'm looking forward to digging into the story and character elements of the game when it's released this week. As far as system sellers, I think this one's already made itself worthwhile.

Now that I think of it, the Wii won't need a system selling game for me. The hardware sells itself. And no game is going to sell me a PS3; that thing is a million dollars and the 360 seems like it has stolen most of their exclusives. But for now, Dead Rising has earned the 360 its place on my shelf.