Update on Project Vaulderie…

A project that hasn’t faded away yet? How novel… After the break…

Update on Project Vaulderie…

Anyone who has read this blog for a sufficient length of time knows that:

  • I really, really hate the state of PC gaming representation in brick-and-mortar stores…
  • I really, really do not like Steam and other intrusive Internet-based copy protection (“DRM”).

I will be the first to confess that I do not know all things about all PC games. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I do not enjoy reading a good post-mortem or reading fan forums for games that have all but faded from the gaming community. The Quake 1 community continues to churn out an astounding degree of content for a game that is old enough to operate a motor vehicle and vote in elections; The community for Thief 1 & 2 (as well as the “sister game” of System Shock 2) continues to generate so much content that you could play one “mission” per week and never run out of missions for years… And doesn’t even include the spiritual successor for Thief 1 & 2, “The Dark Mod” (Did I mention that “The Dark Mod” is free, constantly updated and that you can download it right now? At this moment?! I just did… And so should you. Do yourself a favor and experience the joy of Thief 1 & 2 by playing “The Dark Mod”. And, yes, that was a brutally shameless plug but also a richly deserved one).

The Unreal series, The Elder Scrolls series (OpenMW, anyone?), Doom, Command & Conquer, Total Annihilation… I could continue to write about older games that have obscenely devoted fan bases but I need to stop because I want to comment on a project that I have not been keeping tabs on lately but should.

“Project Vaulderie” is a project to update the game “Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines” beyond the limitations of the Source engine (the one that powered Valve’s “Half-Life 2” game). The Bloodlines game, one of three designed by the ill-fated game designer Troika games, has since become a cult classic for deep but flawed first-person gameplay that attempted to meld both action and role-playing in the vein of Deus Ex 1. With the lack of an official SDK, VtM:B has, for years, been kept alive by a group of incredibly obsessed and obsessively incredible fans who have stretched the original game well past it’s limits in an attempt to tease out all of the features and smash all of the bugs that Troika was unable to fulfill due to a rushed schedule and an overly ambitious game design. Having played the game in it’s heyday, I can attest that the game deserves the fan popularity that it has.

Yet a game’s engine, especially when not properly supported, can only be stretched and extended so far without needing a minor in computer science to keep it up-to-date (Oblivion’s “OBSE,” anyone?). “Project Vaulderie” is an attempt to recreate the magic of VtM:B without the hassle of dealing with the peculiarities of the actual game itself.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t followed “Project Vaulderie” closely like some other projects but that doesn’t mean that I’m not rooting for them. VtM:B was a great game to play, warts and all. It’s been 10 years (yes, that’s a decade) since the game has hit store shelves and it’s time for it to receive a fresh update. The people at “Project Vaulderie” should be applauded for their fine work so far in fulfilling a vision to have VtM:B finally realize it’s full potential to a modern audience in the vein that “The Darm Mod” did for the Thief 1 & 2 games. They’ve been giving regular updates to their fans and a message board for enthusiasts.

I’m glad that “Project Vaulderie” is still going and that it is making great progress. Their continued success means that everyone is that much closer to having a great gaming experience in the future.

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