There are two types of people who play with Legos. One type will buy the intricate kits, build a huge fantastic landscape of pirates, castles and/or spaceships and then sit it on the shelf to be admired as a work of beauty. The other type will buy the intricate kits, build a huge fantastic landscape of pirates, castles and/or spaceships and then obliterate it into a pile of colorful plastic rubble.
The mod I have recently been playing, the Tribes 2 Construction mod, lets both types frolic freely in the virtual landscape building to their little heart's content. It's a Lego wonderland where you can build towers without fear of having them topple over, or fly to the top to add the last critical piece and never have to worry about your dog choking on that special little black piece that looks like a plunger. Read on for more.The mod starts out just like Tribes 2. You load the level and spawn next to an inventory station with a vehicle pad behind you. What happens, though, is that you look around and see that the rest of the level is completely empty. Flat and empty for miles and miles. The name of the level is literally flatland. This is your canvas on which you build and oh boy do you build. If you join a server with other people chances are there is already something there waiting for you that they built.
Your typical server looks something like this -
- with buildings and various oddities scattered around that someone took the time to build. To me this is the best part of the whole experience, just wandering around checking out other people's creations. For instance, I saw one guy build a space church about 4km up in the air for no apparent reason complete with force fields and a giant 80m tall cross. I once entered a room that was built to be a nightclub complete with colored lights and a wetbar. My friend built an AT-ST, a UFO, and a roller coaster that you could actually ride. Later when he decided a certain server sucked he built an enclosure some distance from the spawn point. He sealed the enclosure off and toiled away under that thing for a good 30 minutes with everyone wondering what he was doing in there. Then he selected everything underneath it and rotated it skyward. It was a humongous 80 meter tall Ã‚"f*ck YouÃ‚" sign, which the admin thought was hilarious. I could go on and on about the multitude of things I have seen people build on these servers. It really is amazing to just hang around on a server doing your own thing and look up to see a massive spaceship spring out of the ground thanks to some little tribal.
So how do you build these wondrous creations? It's pretty simple. You go to your inventory and select a backpack. Whereas Tribes normally has energy, repair and shield packs, you can pick from packs like Ã‚"Light Support BeamÃ‚", Ã‚"Medium WalkwayÃ‚", Ã‚"GeneratorÃ‚", Ã‚"Force FieldÃ‚" and Ã‚"TreeÃ‚". You can then use these packs to place objects in the world. You can also use your beacon, grenade and repair kit keys to rotate through options such as length and color. You can manipulate objects through the only weapon unique to the mod, the construction tool. With it you can delete objects (only your own) or rotate them.
That's pretty much it. You take your little Lego pieces and start building away. It is extremely easy to build things this way after you get the hang of it. The first thing I built was a platform about 1km in the air that shot you out of a rocket straight at the ground. It was a pretty fun ride but it took me about 3 hours at least. I've gotten substantially faster at it since then. The other night I got on and decided to build a manger scene using Tribes people as Mary and Joseph. It probably took about 15 minutes, though I really don't know why the hell I did it.
Another fun option would be to turn on PureBuild, which doesn't allow normal Tribes weapons, and let someone build their base for a set amount of time. Then turn on normal mode, which does allow weapons, and blast away. Imagine 30 minute matches on a new map every time, because you built it yourself beforehand!
Sound interesting? Give it a shot. Go download Flatland (15k) and fire it up. If you want to keep yours on the shelf for all eternity, you can download the server and host your own to save your buildings to a file. If you don't want to keep them, well there's always the admin Ã‚"NukeÃ‚" which is a whole lot of fun. If you love to play with Legos but don't want to be caught with them, try this mod. Instead you'll be caught playing Tribes 2, which is way cooler. Wait a minute....