Third Place: AirBuccanneers

MSU Finalist Image AirBuccanneers is one of the more original mods in the pack. You and your teammates man hot air balloons equipped with cannons with which you can shoot the other team's balloons from the sky. It's a little different, but very fun

What does your mod bring to the table?

There are at least two major areas where AirBuccaneers breaks the boundaries of mainstream games. First, the thematic setting with all the not-so-obvious vessels, weapons and other features is something never seen in the history of multiplayer games. We aimed at something unique and highly original and, personally, I believe we managed to deliver.

Second area is the heavy emphasis on teamplay. While there are nice amount of games encouraging teamplay. AirBuccaneers does this with full blast. We did not want to venture into the traditional character classes or skill-based roles provided by the game system. Instead, we want the players to decide what their best skills are and what roles they want to have - and even change these in the heat of the battle if necessary. Furthermore, the concept of crews in small airships explicitly supports good teamplay. Crew members are bound to be close to each other, the weakest link is immediately spotted by others, and there are numerous ways of coordinating the actions of individuals.

While the teamplay can be easily ruined by individuals who do not enjoy being part of the team, the game provides endless possibilities for those who want to experience peer support at its best. There is always room for individual heroes, but AirBuccaneers gives merit also to whole crews and teams. You can be excellent solo player, but with good mates you really rule the skies!

Will your mod be making the transition to UT2004? If so, how has the transition effected your mod?

AirBuccaneers (Beta 4) for UT2004 was released on 3rd of June, 2004. It took some time to port the code into UT2004 engine, but I think the outcome is so much better than the previous one. We already had "vehicles" in the previous versions, so now with official technological support for vehicles, our game is more stable. Furthermore, we have been able to implement some nice balloon movements with this new code-base.

Unfortunately, new technology always tends to bring more uncertainty into the development. There has been some pretty nasty surprises with Beta 4, but nothing that cannot be tackled with. We plan to release AirBuccaneers (Beta 4.1) patch around 21st of June. That will correct the most critical problems and let people fully enjoy the final stages of beta testing. The final version of AirBuccaneers will be released around August-September, 2004.

How did you react when you found out that your mod had placed in the contest?

We were absolutely thrilled! Our team has really done a lot of work and managed to do an excellent job. However, since AirBuccaneers is quite a novel concept for a game, we did not have too high hopes in terms of the contest. Naturally, we want to succeed and, thus, demonstrate to the world of gamers and game industry that there is still room for innovative game concepts. If AirBuccaneers places well in MSUC, it will be a huge victory to our team. Personally, I still think it is the best game ever, but of course I may be somewhat biased hereā€¦ Go ahead and give it a shot! Have a bunch good mates, some light discussion, plenty of time and just start conquering the skies.

Forth Place: Clockwork Cannons

MSU Finalist Image Clockwork Cannons lets you duke it out with another player using artillery. The mod uses a distinct style of art to bring a little comic relief which makes the mod enjoyable to play.

Clockwork Cannons was unavailable for comments.

Fifth Place: Marble Madness

MSU Finalist Image Marble Madness is like the old game you used to play as a child; you control a marble and your quest is to guide it through a maze. The mod is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon or two.

What does your mod bring to the table?

Marble Mania 2003 brought a lot of technical accomplishment to the contest. Since it literally could run unmodified (not talking about the menu system, just game code) on the Unreal Engine Run-Time build, it's a true TC (uses a total 50 lines of UT2003 code, the rest written by myself). I'm happy that MM2k3 was fun enough to place as a winner, though I'm saddened to learn that technical accomplishment was not a quality judged on for the MSUC.

What do you plan to change or add for Phase III?

At this point in time, Marble Mania 2003 will not make it to Phase III.

Will your mod be making the transition to UT2004? If so, how has the transition effected your mod?

This has yet to be determined. However, the only effect transitioning will have is rewriting the menu system code.

How did you react when you found out that your mod had placed in the contest?

I, personally, was pretty excited and a little proud that our work had received public recognition of that sort.