For our next instalment of Hidden Gems Iím going to show you a couple of cool Mod Packs which will really spice up the nature of your scenarios. So come and take a trip down to the AOKH Zoo and discover some of the coolest animals mods to be found.
Lets start in the Aquarium where we will discover some of the most dangerous aquatic creatures in the world.
Our first aquatic creature is the Shark mod by The Vampire Slayer. This little mod as you can see below represents a sharkís fin circling around in the water. This can be used as cool little bit of eye-candy for those large open seas to spice up the design and can be also used a cool little storytelling device. Imagine your boat load of heroes being circled in the open ocean by this? How would they escape? The graphic is simple but it creates a great effect and is a really nice add-on to any piece of aquatic map design.
The Vampire Slayerís shark mod is a really nice piece of eye candy but what if you wanted a shark as an actual unit, which you could control and attack with. Thatís where Gallasí mod pack comes into play. This unit has all of SLPs youíll need to make a shark unit (idle, attack, die, rot and move). The graphics are coloured in a way to make it look as though the shark is being seen through water, rather than gliding on top of it, with just the sharks fin sticking out of the water. With the correct editing you can make this shark a player owned unit to control (much like the hunting wolf) or a wild animal that can hunt down a players boats.
Our final aquatic animal of our trip is Mithrandirís Whale Mod. It give the appearance of a whale popping its head out the water and then diving back under with its tail fin tossing out and in again. Its look very realistic and can add another great piece of eye candy to the oceans of your maps. Its graphics are well designed and add a nice little effect. Youíll have to utilises this one well because it can look a little weird looping around multiple times in the same place, but it can be a great addition for a little cutscene based onboard a ship.
Continuing our tour of the zoo let us enter the Prehistoric area and see what wonders lie ahead.
Yep, here we have a Dinosaur unit. Now this may be a unit that doesnít really fit the theme of most AOK a creative designer might be compelled to design a scenario set in the age of the dinosaurs and cavemen (yeah I know itís not entirely scientifically accurate) or maybe even a fantasy/sci-fi scenario in which dinosaurs are brought into the future via magic. The design of this unit is great with all the SLPs you will need to create a fully functioning units. If you extract it correctly from the AKX files you will also be able to find a custom icon and custom sounds for the dinosaur as well.
Something a little different here, and thatís because it is a unit extracted from another game. Now personally Iím not the greatest fan of graphics converted from other games because I feel as though a lot of them donít fit in well with the original graphics of AOK. However, there are one or two exceptions to this and I believe that this is one of them. Whilst itís not perfect it is a good unit that has some decent uses. The graphics are great, they blend in well with the rest of the game and can be used in all sorts of different ways. As a sabre tooth tiger it will be perfect for a unique scenario set in Earthís earliest history, but it could also be used as a more generic fantasy monster for a unique scenario, maybe even a warlordís vicious pet that allows him to command with fear.
Now weíre entering the nocturnal suite where we get to see a fearsome flying beast.
Hereís a unit that can spice up your storylines, especially if you ever have a scene set within a dark spooky cave. Dark_Bladeís bat unit is a really simple graphic but represent a flying bat really well. Just imagine the scene. Your character steps inside the cave and a swarm of these fly out and swarm him. Will he have to fight his way out or simply let them pass by him. Maybe youíve got a fantasy scenario where you have a vampire character who can transform into a bat for fast travel.
Finally we are going over to the Farm. Weíve already seen a couple of livestock animals in the game, Sheep and Turkeyís and we even got a Cow in the HD edition. But what about probably one of the most common farm animals ever?
This cute little unit from Mahazona is exactly as you would expect. A pig unit that can be added onto farms and fields to create additional life into those farmstead. It creates a great little bit of additional eye candy and you can even give it a food substance to spice up the gameplay from simply only using sheep and cows. How many films have you seen where the main character has to go and find somebody only to find them out back sleeping with the pigs? Well now you can recreate those types of scenes for yourself using this mod. Itís only drawback - a lack of player colour so it will be difficult to know who owns which pig.
That concludes our trip to the Zoo. Which animals did you enjoy seeing the most and will you be taking any of them home to add to your mod packs and scenarios? Thereís no limit to what you can do with these types of units if your use your imagination.