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Dystopia is a cyberpunk-themed mod for Half-Life 2. Its first playable build was released on September 9, 2005, after a year of planning and nine months of development. The first full version was released on February 24, 2007. A version 1.1 was released on March 17, 2007.
Dystopia is a cyberpunk-themed total conversion, multiplayer-only Mod that takes place in a futuristic world where two factions battle for control - the Punk Mercenaries and the Corporate Security Forces. Dystopia is a first-person shooter, and like many other mods, it is team-based. The "Corps" all have a certain blue tint to their armor and equipment, and the "Punks" have a red color scheme. Although each class on each team appears different, the same implants and weapons are available to both sides.
A customizable implant system is available to all players. Players may customize various implants on their character each time they spawn, enabling a wide variety of strategies.
Being a cyberpunk-themed mod, Dystopia maps naturally all have some sort of cyberspace in them. To access cyberspace, a player must equip one of two "cyberdeck" implants and find a jack-in point, or JIP. Cyberspace is a representation of the computer network in the particular map, and certain actions in cyberspace will trigger events in reality ('Meatspace').
Version 1 implements a new global ranking feature. Beside a player's name, several icons may appear depending on his performance in the game. For example, a tiny RJ-45 icon may appear next to the player who globally has the most hacking points in cyberspace, and a small heart with a dollar sign inside means the player is a monetary supporter of Team Dystopia.
Whether or not Dystopia will remain a free mod is still under consideration. As the team member "Fuzzy" puts it:
If Dystopia's demo is a huge hit (which we obviously hope it will be), with help from Valve we will investigate the possibility of turning Dystopia into a stand alone game ... I can honestly state however; we have no intention of charging for Dystopia unless it's a stand alone product. - Fuzzy
Dystopia Version 1 was released after 3 years of development on Saturday February 24, 2007.
Dystopia features a system of "implants" which allow players to tweak their abilities to match their playing style or role within their team. Implants give players special abilities, such as thermal vision or cloaking. There are two categories of implants: HeadSpace implants and BodySpace implants. Each class has a different amount of HeadSpace and BodySpace available for implants; the heavier the class, the less space for implants. The implants are listed below:
- CyberDeck - Allows user to jack-in to cyberspace via JIPs throughout the map.
- Enhanced CyberDeck - A less space-friendly cyberdeck implant that adds additional security programs and a minigame to speed up security programs.
- TAC (Target Acquisition & Correlation) Scanner - Scans the local area for Iff frequencies and displays them to the team.
- Thermal Vision - Turns on heat-signature tracking vision.
- Sound Wave Triangulator (SWT) - Tracks sounds of enemy movement and action through walls.
- Cortex Bomb - A self-destructive explosive device that triggers at low health.
- IFF Info - Displays a player's health, armor, and energy levels, along with their implants.
- Stealth - An active camouflage suit that rapidly drains energy when activated.
- Sound Suppressor - Silences nearly all actions.
- MediPlant - Heals the user and nearby allies when activated.
- Cold Suit - Hides the user from all thermal tracking.
- Leg Boosters - Allows for higher jumps and sprinting, as well as the 'Goomba' attack.
- Wired Reflexes - Shortens weapon swapping and reload times.
- Superconductor Capacitor Storage (SCS) - Increases energy capacity.
Dystopia is class-based, and as such, each class is unique in terms of weapons, implants, and overall performance during gameplay. Classes are identical for both factions, but have different appearances. Each class has four unique weapons, only one of which can be carried at a time. Players are also outfitted with a semi-silenced Machine Pistol(with the exception of Light/Smartlocks), a mêlée weapon, and some type of hand grenade.
There are three classes:
- Light - The quickest, most agile class, with the least amount of armor. Can use Stealth and has the most implant space.
- Primary Weapon Choices: Shotgun, Boltgun, Laser Rifle, Dual Smartlock Pistols
- Grenades: 3 EMP grenades
- Medium - Class with average speed, armor, and implant space.
- Weapon Choices: Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher, MK-808 Rifle, Tesla gun.
- Grenades: 2 Frag grenades
- Heavy - The slowest of the classes, but has the greatest amount of armor and health. Minimal space for implants.
- Weapon Choices: Rocket Launcher, Ion Cannon, Minigun, Basilisk.
- Grenades: 2 Spider grenades
- Shotgun: Shoots pellets that disperse over range. Secondary shoots two shells at once
- Laser Rifle: A Charge up laser rifle that shoot a high energy beam. Secondary Zooms
- Boltgun: Fires 3 electric bolts individually, which can be 'bounced' off surfaces if fired at an acute enough angle to them. Secondary triggers the bolts, unleashing electricity around them
- Dual Smartlock Pistols: 26 shot pistols that can track targets using tracer bullets
- Assault Rifle: Standard Issue 40 round gun. Rate of fire increases the longer the triger is held down. Secondary switched to a zoomed burst shot with pin point accuracy
- Grenade Launcher: Fires four grenades individually. Secondary can be used to detonate grenades on impact
- Mk-808 Rifle: A semi-automatic medium power rifle. Secondary zooms.
- Tesla Gun: Emits a short arc of electricity that damages anyone within range. Secondary fires an orb which damages anyone within range.
- Rocket Launcher: Fires a rocket that does massive splash damage. Secondary fires a wire guided rocket. Takes 12.5 seconds to reload
- Minigun: Spews out a continuous stream of bullets. Takes time to get spinning. Secondary can spin it up, but it slows down the player. (and also makes lots of noise)
- Ion Cannon: Fire a blue beam with perfect accuracy that does high damage at close range, and medium damage at long range. Takes about 1 second to cool down after firing
- Basilisk: An automatic shotgun that fires three high impact pellets with average accuracy. Secondary fire converts 4 shells into a grenade-like projectile that explodes on impact.
The gameplay in cyberspace is significantly different from that of the "real world." When players jack-in to a cyberspace Jack-In Point(a sort of Brain-computer interface), they merely project an avatar of themselves in cyberspace. Cyberspace inherently has no gravity and little sense of up or down. Each map's cyberspace consists of links and nodes. Links are long, curved square tunnels that resemble the fibers in a fiber optic cable. Nodes are large rooms that often appear convoluted inside, and they often resemble an MC Escher image in complexity. Inside the nodes are terminals with buttons that, when pressed, trigger events in the real world.
While in cyberspace, instead of taking damage to regular Health Points, Energy is lost when various actions are performed. When a decker's energy runs out, he is ejected from cyberspace, taking physical damage if ejected by an enemy decker's attack programs.
Apart from the aforementioned combat programs, a wide array of security programs are available to deckers to protect terminals from being easily accessed. When the Enhanced Cyberdeck implant is being used by the decker, a small minigame appears to the program runner. Playing the minigame is dangerous in that it leaves the decker's avatar open to attack, but allows the program to be completed much more quickly than usual, saving time and energy. The minigame consists of a series of buttons to be pressed as the program requests for certain commands. Security programs include Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics, ICE, walls and encryption cyphers.
Version 1 contains seven standard Punk versus Corps maps:
Four phistball maps:
The tutorial map called dys_lobby.
Each map consists of a series of three to five objectives. Except in detonate and broadcast, the Punks are always on the attack, while the Corp forces are defending. Phistball maps have no such objectives; instead to win a team has to score a certain number of times.
The creation of the Dystopia Map Testers Guild gives the dystopia mappers a unique chance to get their maps tested in a competitive environment and provides valuable feedback.
Dystopia has been awarded the following accolades by various gaming sites:
- Planet Half-Life's Mod of the Week twice 
- Independent Games Festival HL2 Mod of the Year
- ModDB.com Action Mod of the year
- ModDB.com Originality Award
- ModDB.com Mod of the Month