Eclipse – Half Life 2 Total Conversion

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      Hi, everyone. I just thought I’d share my experience with Eclipse (,  which is a Fantasy/RPG mod for Half Life 2. The player’s perspective is 3d 3rd person. It was a project completed in 5 months by a group of students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. The background story is that you are a sorceress named Violet, who’s father disappeared mysteriously 5 years prior. The game starts when you find a journal from your father in a ruin, which implores you to activate the Standing Stones and teleport to safety, as the forces of darkness are apparently closing in.

      The game is not particularly long – Probably an hour of play at the most. But given the timeframe in which the game was made, I was _very_ impressed. The graphics are amazing. I’d have to say the mappers and artists of Eclipse one-upped their counterparts on the Half Life 2 devteam. I did notice some obvious tiling on some of the grass textures as well as a few other odd things, but overall the worlds had a very good feel to them. They also used HL2’s physics engine rather creatively. Violet is telekinetic, so most of the first part of the game involves picking up lots of loose rocks and accellerating them towards your enemies with deadly results. Out of rocks? Use a dead enemy. Heh, that was a nice touch. If only HL2 let you do that for the whole game. Later on in the game you get a Hellfire spell, which lets you throw burning, explosive orbs at your enemies.

      The first level, Auld-Haven, is a lush, green, ideal fantasy forest. With all the vegetation they had, it was pretty much on par with FarCry. The developers got the atmosphere down perfectly. Looks more like a painting than a game, actually.

      The second level, Blackmoor, as you may have guessed from the name, is a nighttime spooky forest map. It had an equally impressive atmosphere and I was amazed at the realism. There are quite a few monsters here, but the developers were kind enough to leave you firefly hives which you can throw at your enemies to distract them. While they are waving their arms in the air trying to swat the insects, it’s a simple matter to pick up a nearby boulder and throw it at maximum speed.

      The third level is the Barrow, which is basically a very short dungeon level. There is a simple puzzle on this level that opens the door to the teleporter mentioned above. Once you arrive at the teleporter, you have to fight off enemies while it is charging up. After that, the game ends.

      Yes, obviously it’s a short game, but it’s definitely worth a look. To me it comes across as more of a demo than an actual game, but we have to remember that it’s an independent project slapped together by an ad-hoc group of developers in 5 months. Anyone who followed the development project here at Sierragamers knows how hard it is to make a project work, and in that respect alone I would say that Eclipse is a remarkable feat. I feel this is just the first step. My money’s on the fact that we’re going to be hearing more about these guys in the future.

      Anyone wanting more information can visit their websites for screenshots, faq, wallpapers, etc. If you own Half Life 2 and want to download it, you can get it at the following places: 

      Note that the FileRush link has a Bittorrent download, which is recommended in case the servers are slammed. My favorite BitTorrent client is Azureus:

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