Eternal Penance is a large-scale SO:TL mod set in Walker's personal hell. The 33rd and Insurgents have turned into demonic beings, and Walker's only hope of escape is to relive his greatest failures and make the right calls.

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Tools like UPK Explorer have allowed SO:TL mods to go above and beyond stat changes and rebalances. Eternal Penance aims to explore the potential of these new tools and discoveries!

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Back when I started modding Spec Ops: The Line, you were essentially limited to Notepad++ and an INI encryptor/decryptor to change the game. There was still plenty you could do to rebalance it and change its pacing, but you can only go so far by altering game stats. The game seemed as if it was designed to thwart modders, to the point where UPK unpacker/repacker tools didn't work with it.

Fortunately, the summer of 2023 turned out to be a very eventful year to be a Spec Ops fan! First came the rediscovery of the 2010 multiplayer beta, and with that its datamining and discoveries. Then an even bigger bombshell hit: UPK Explorer's updates allowed for models to be imported and replaced, no longer limiting Spec Ops to the models in a single UPK file.

It was an exciting time, and I wanted to capitalize on the excitement by pushing forward with a wide-reaching mod concept. I had lofty ideas that got tapered back...and then eventually reintroduced as UPK Explorer was improved further. Similar to TimeSplitters 2: Haunted Edition, I felt inspired to pursue a horror theme for a large-scale mod.

I'm a sucker for horror stories, especially the surreal and ethereal ones. Spec Ops already explores psychological horror through its themes, so I wanted to take it even further and embrace other elements of survival horror games. Eternal Penance retools Walker's arsenal in unexpected and surprising ways, going beyond the expected "lower ammo counts" expected of the genre.

It has been an admittedly difficult journey with plenty of trial and error. On at least one occasion, I considered just releasing what I had and giving up when the textures kept breaking. Fortunately, reaching out to other modders helped me resolve issues or find the correct things to change to make this vision come to life.

I really want Eternal Penance to push the boundaries of Spec Ops modding and show what all can be done with the game now. Finding out new opportunities for INI modding coupled with implementing tools like model/texture replacements have given the game a breath of fresh air. I hope that players will enjoy the challenging, frantic, and exciting gameplay as much as I have when testing it!

I also hope that further innovations will arise in the small but encouraging SO:TL modding sphere. UPK Explorer's "import as copy" option seems ripe for reintroducing cut content or adding things like multiplayer weapons to singleplayer. Figuring those out might take some time, but I am convinced that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to!

I'll be polishing up Eternal Penance and prepping it for a release before 2023 ends. When it comes out, I hope it brings more interest in the Spec Ops modding scene! I would love to encourage other potential modders to give this a shot. With that in mind, I have been updating my SO:TL modding guide to include new info and discoveries made in 2023.

Other UE3 game mods have broken new ground this year, like how Dishonored modders got custom maps working in the game. Who knows what else could be accomplished with Spec Ops: The Line? I'm optimistic about its future!


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I hope Spec Ops the Line gets custom map support eventually there's a lot of levels I'd like to explore with Walker, Lugo and Adams

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