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New Blood boss wanted Dusk to be as moddable as Doom and Skyrim: 'If there's not anime big tiddy waifus in Dusk by the time we're done with the SDK, then we haven't done it right'

 Dusk Wendigo approaching player.
Dusk Wendigo approaching player.

Before Dusk HD ballooned into a full overhaul of the game's graphics, it was meant to be a companion piece to an oft-requested feature for the beloved 2018 boomer shooter: a full software development kit (SDK) for modders to run wild with, alongside Steam Workshop support for those mods.

"You see what people do with Skyrim," New Blood boss Dave Oshry said in a recent interview. "If there's not anime big tiddy waifus in Dusk by the time we're done with the SDK, then we haven't done it right.

"We're not going to make those official, contrary to popular belief. 'Dusk Very HD.'"

The studio head was (maybe?) kidding when he invoked those most colorful cultural exports of NexusMods, but it came from a very real place of wanting Dusk to have that potential as a modding destination: "People can do whatever they want to Dusk. Dusk HD might have gotten carried away and become this crazy project, but at the end of the day, it's supposed to be a showcase for what you can do with a five-year-old game and the added modules."

To that end, maybe the coolest thing about the SDK is its ability to load map files from a bevy of classic FPS engines.

"Early on, we made the decision that the game would load .bsp files, which are the same levels Quake, Half-Life, and the Source engine used," said New Blood programmer Ben "Zombie" Moir.

"It's kind of insane, because for a lot of different games, you can just copy the maps in and Dusk will load them. It just works."

It wasn't an easy process⁠—when asked what it took to implement such broad compatibility, Moir merely quipped, "What went into it? Years of my life."

Moir seems grateful for the challenge, though, noting that he's now a much more experienced programmer than at the project's start. He also notes that the continuity with FPS history could really set Dusk modding apart: "It means that when people make custom levels, there's all these different tools, and there's all this documentation and videos and references out there that they can use, and this big community of decades of people making maps for other games that they can pull resources from."

New Blood already showcased a Half-Life map conversion for Dusk all the way back at the SDK's alpha release in 2020, but I'm really eager to see where people go with Source stuff in particular⁠—a lot of my adolescence was on that engine, and I want Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines map conversions for Dusk yesterday.