Essential mods and add-ons to make the most of your System Shock 2 experience.
A couple of months ago a dream came true. We were finally able to add System Shock 2 to GOG.com catalog. For the first time in years everyone was able to get this excellent title and experience one of the most intense and involving stories ever told in a computer game, for as little as $9.99. The game quickly became one of GOG.com all-time bestsellers, proving that its legend was still alive, even after all those years of absence in the market. Even though virtually unobtainable, it was never forgotten, thanks to the amazing fan communities and modders this title gathered. Since the game's original release they have been keeping and archiving its lore, fine-polishing the occasional rough edge, and putting a tremendous amount of work into making System Shock 2 look, sound, and feel as good as possible. Let's take a look at the SS2 community and the mods they brought us!
Our version of System Shock 2 is--just as any other game in our offer--ready to install and play with no hassle, as soon as you download it. There are, however, many ways to enhance your experience with the game beyond its original form, using various mods. GOG.com user voodoo47 prepared an excellent comprehensive guide to recommended System Shock 2 mods and patches in our forums (thank you!). But since not all of our users tend to go as deep in the site, we thought it might be a good idea to bring this to everyone's attention. So, let's get started!
The first thing you want to do when going about modding System Shock 2 is to download and run the latest version of the SS2Tool, created by the talented programmer known as Kolya, who is also the man behind SystemShock.org, the amazing community that caters to virtually all possible SS2 needs and keeps the legend alive since the beginning of 2005 (yes, it's been 8 years of unbelievable fan dedication, already!). To assure proper functioning of the SS2Tool, make sure that your System Shock 2 installation path is no longer than 80 characters (as in: "c:gamessystem shock 2", which is fine with only 23 characters). Apart from that, it's plain and simple. You just download the tool, run it, and point it to the game's installation folder. Note that it will connect to the internet to download some additional data. When it's done--you'll be left with your game patched up with all the newest file versions and folder structure required by most mods to run properly, and updated with many small changes and fixes. From that, it should be all smooth sailing, when you install additional modifications.
What mods should you consider installing? Here are the most essential ones that voodoo47 mentions:
SHTUP--installs the high-resolution textures and fixes for in-game objects that allow the game to make the most from the large modern displays. It adds much detail to the things that surround you in the game, from potted plants, through monitor screens, up to every single graffiti. //google docs mirror
Four Hundred--another important texture pack. It makes the game's scenery look crisp and sharp by applying high-res textures to walls, floors, doors and whatnot, while remaining quite faithful to the original mood. //google docs mirror
Vurt's Space--for those of you who love stargazing. This mod applies nice high-res texture to the in-game windows, so you can admire the ominous beauty of the Tau Ceti system while looking through them. //google docs mirror
SHMUP--music update! It provides the game with better quality files of the original soundtrack, so you can admire the excellent work of the composer Eric Brosius, just as he'd wanted you to hear it. //google docs mirror
All of the above improve on the game's various aspects but don't affect the gameplay. If you don't mind to stray somewhat from the game's original feeling and concepts, there are also some mods allowing you to change such things as weapons, enemies, and AI behaviour:
ADaoB--this is a modification offering fixes to some of the original game's quirks and re-balances the gameplay. Please note that you will have to start a new game after installing, as the changes are severe enough to make the game incompatible with earlier savegames. //google docs mirror
Rebirth--enemy models modification. It replaces the original AI models with their more detailed counterparts, that make use of modern systems' power. //google docs mirror (Along with this, you should also install fixed earth.7z if you are NOT going to use ADaoB)
Tacticool--a mod that offers enhanced weapon models, so they fit with the improved looks and resolution of the game. Make sure that you install it AFTER, not before installing the ADaOB mod, otherwise the universe will implode. //google docs mirror
All mods should be unpacked into the "DataPermMods" folder that you'll find in your SS2 installation folder after applying the SS2Tool. All the mods should be unpacked directly, not into their respective folders. This will cause some overwriting, but you can allow it safely, as long as you stick to the order of installation pointed out above. Use of modloaders and modmanagers of any sort is discouraged, as they don't really work well with the latest version of the game.
As you can imagine, these few mods are just a small (but comprehensive!) part of what the modding community cooked up for the game over the years. If you'd like to investigate other modding options, make sure to visit SystemShock.org and (now slightly outdated) SShock2.com sites, where you'll find virtually limitless amount of information and fan-generated content. GOG.com would also like to take this oportunity to thank people driving the SS2 community and keeping the legend alive through all those years. People like Kolya and his friends from SystemShock.org, as well as many users in our very own forums, are what makes PC gaming so remarkable. Thank you!
Oh, so you read through the whole thing? Impressive. You do have your copy of System Shock 2 already, now don't you? If not, why don't you grab it right now on GOG.com? It's only $9.99 for a gaming experience you'll remember forever!