Stalker: Call of Pripyat: not gorgeous enough

, | Game diaries

I bought the game when a mod called Call of Pripyat Complete had just been released. It’s a huge mod with tons of new high-definition textures, expanded view distance, enchanced vegetation, and a ton of small changes to the AI, NPC behavior, UI, and soundscape. Apparently a similar mod has been released for the previous two games to great acclaim. Lots of people like this mod. And I want to, too!

After the jump, addicted to mods

I mod as many of my games as I can, because I usually find some little aspect I wish was different. At one point, I had more than 40 mods running in Oblivion. Fallout 3 was slightly less intense, with only about 10 mods running at once. I’ve personally written a mod for Just Cause 2 to change the Chaos values for objects, and I’ve modded Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl to change things like the carry weight.

Once I identify something that I’d like to change, and discover I can change it, I’m off and running. Suddenly everything in the game is at my discretion. Don’t like the leveling system? Mod it! Don’t like the length of the day/night cycle? Mod it! Don’t like the default gun sounds? Mod ’em!

But I also find that as soon as I get mod fever, my engagement with it as an imaginative exploratory experience drops off a cliff. My play time declines. Time spent looking for, installing, and tweaking mods rises. I end up spending more time with the mods than the game. I get frustrated with the things I can’t change, and I stop playing. My interest in modding a game tends to signal the end of my pure enjoyment of that game. It’s usually a harbinger of the end.

But I haven’t modded this game at all. There’s a carry weight mod I really want to install, but I’m not doing it. I don’t know why. Maybe I don’t want to begin the process that leads to the end. Maybe I want this public play-through to be untainted. But whatever the case, the bottom line is that even though I want to use the Complete mod, I can’t.

You see, Complete has steep memory requirements beyond the capabilities of my PC. I was able to load it and play for a while, glorying in the gorgeous new visuals, but it would always crash after maybe 10 minutes. When I installed an optimization patch, the mod wouldn’t work at all.

And man, I tried to get that bastard to work. I probably installed and uninstalled it 15 times before I gave up. Giving up was good, because I realized it had become a matter of just enjoying the base game or upgrading my PC. And for God’s sake, I don’t need a new PC.

But I wanted this bastard of a mod to work. I even posted my troubles on the author’s website. In response, he promised a lite version that will run on PCs that satisfy the game’s basic system requirements. So now I check his website every day, sometimes twice a day. Damn you, mod fever. Damn you.

UPDATE: The Complete Mod for Call of Pripyat has been updated to version 1.0.1, and now offers the install option of either Normal mode, which remains within the recommended system requirements of the original game, and Advanced, which is for burly-ass computers and people who don’t mind longish load times. It can be found here.

Up next, I finally make some friends.
Click here for the previous Stalker entry.

DoomMunky is also Mick, a theater and voiceover actor in the Bay Area. He bikes everywhere and recently became a pretty damn good pie maker.