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Homebrews: Empires

What do you get when you combine a first-person shooter with a real-time strategy game and more vehicles than you know what to do with?

The answer is "Empires," a total conversion mod for "Half-Life 2."

'Empire' screenshot

This ambitious team-based game fuses FPS with RTS; one gamer is dubbed the Commander, who has a special interface designed to give orders to teammates, research new technologies, construct buildings and create vehicles. Everyone else – each divided into one of four classes -- views the game from a first-person viewpoint as they carry out the actions against the enemy.

Justin Krenz“'Empires' is the first mod to heavily feature vehicles as a central game-play element� explains Justin Krenz, team lead and lead coder for the Empires mod.

This 23-year-old modder also happens to be a nuclear engineer for the U.S. Navy, stationed in Virginia aboard the docked USS Carl Vinson.

“I've been involved in the mod scene ever since the days of Doom and I've worked on a lot of different projects� says Krenz. “I realized that I finally possessed the advanced programming skills required to accomplish the large task of creating a mod, and I could finally create the mod that I wanted, with all of the unique features and game-play that no one else has wanted to accomplish because of the time and effort required.�

"Empires," which began in January 2003 as a mod for "Battlefield 1942," moved over to the "Half-Life 2" engine two years later to the month. Krenz says it took him and his small team more than a year to get a version playable enough for public release, which debuted on the Net in March, 2006.

The team consists of Duke, responsible for all thing art-related, Megel (a modeler), El Richardo (“concept creator�) and mappers Doobie (who made all the maps in the current release) and Warfle and Grizzly (both of which have maps in the pipeline).

But it’s "Empires’" vehicle customization that will keep players talking long after they’ve logged off, believes Krenz. “That was something I put a lot of time into and I’m happy with the results; it has added a lot of uniqueness to the mod and prevented vehicles from becoming stale� he says.

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Posted by Marc Saltzman on Apr 19 2006 12:38PM

Comments (9)

Apr 19 2006 5:44PM
Apr 19 2006 7:27PM
This looks incredibly cool. Id like to try it but i down actually own H2.

I think theres a problem with this game though. I think it should be its own
standalone game, not a mod. I think this is a very unique concept thats never been
done before, integrating both game types, and i think for it to be considered only a
mod is disrespect to the game here. I see this game as not only very unique, but a
very new source of compeition. Both FPS and RTS integrated creates a level of
thinking never seen before in FPS games and a level of teamwork never truly required
in the competitive circuit of RTS. I think this game should be much more heavily
endorsed and pushed to the competitive level if at all possible. I might just get H2
for this mod alone.
Apr 20 2006 2:36AM
So you mean just like Natural Selection?
Apr 20 2006 5:27AM
or savage?
Apr 20 2006 8:36AM
been done before better in natural selection/savage
Apr 20 2006 10:43AM
uh..nope. savage and natural selection had no vehicles, and savage's mouse input
sucked in a big way, making it unecessarily hard to aim. bf1942 had no vehicle
customization and pathetic infantry combat. i haven't had a chance to download this
yet, but if it's anything like bf42 with solid netcode and infantry combat, it could
be huge.
Apr 20 2006 11:33AM
uh is hl2 turning into bf2?!
Apr 20 2006 1:58PM
hl2 isnt like bf2 cause hl2 actually runs well


cant wait for the next single player update for hl2 its going to be great
Apr 27 2006 10:54PM
I have been playing Empires from the first week it was released. I hope the
development team keeps up with this because are on to something big. I have been
playing CS since beta and games like warcraft since introduced.

For the first time as a commander your solders are real, they will ask for things,
report enemy positions, biuld the biuldings you place, and when your not being a good
comm.......... they yell!

The Empires crew has some work cut out for them, but even as a beta it pulls me
away from CS. It's just good like that.

Once the clan scene takes off empires will show its true capability. Playing as
well oiled machines a clan battle would be amazing at the least.

For the guy who might buy hl2 for this mod. Do it. Hl2, Source, and Empires make
the price of HL2 completly worth it. Not to mention HL3 wont be out for a while =)

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