Design your own FPS
And share among friends.
Although we dare say none of you is likely to get a Ferrari or a Suite 666 out of it, one of September's lesser-spoken-about releases might at least let you take a few steps toward fulfilling those game-designer fantasies.
Due out on September 15th, FPS Creator is a Windows package that lets you slot together your own custom first-person shooter - almost literally. You'll be able to drag and drop walls, doors and windows, scatter some weapons and enemies around and organise some special effects, then compile the game into a distributable executable that can be burnt to CD and shown off to your friends or even used for multiplayer battles over LANs and the Internet.
Game Creators, the UK outfit that put it together, reckons it's the first package to offer results of a high standard to gamers without the time and patience to master complicated mod kits or take up programming. "With a full physics system, great animation, death matches, excellent graphics styles and a whole lot of other clever features, the creative possibilities are both endless and comparatively easy to achieve," says commercial director Rick Vanner. "There are already over 1,000 users of our early adopter version and they're voting it a great hit."
FPS Creator's website offers more details. You'll be able to import your own media (sounds, 3D models, textures, even shaders) into the DirectX 9.0c-compatible game engine depending on your level of interest, with "virtually every single aspect of the game" controlled via script files that you can edit.
Sounds fun - and harks us back to the days we used to spend fiddling with the Build Engine editor and Worldcraft, struggling to come up with vaguely convincing Duke 3D and Quake arenas, before we lost interest and started painting miniatures and submitting dodgy electronica to MP3.com. We'll let you know how we get on with it just as soon as we've found a good place to order slabs of Red Bull from.