Teardown is an amazing heist game. The Teardown is more than just a showcase for Dennis Gustaffson’s amazing destruction and rendering tech. It frames the carnage in a series of sledgehammer puzzles that require you to use limited tools to find an optimal path through each stage. Part 2 of December’s Update took Teardown even further by adding two maps that allow for more possibilities in Teardown’s heists. These maps include killer robots and missions that use dense physics simulations to expand the scope.

Teardown was a time-waster until 2021 when it became an exception to the rule. teardown is my favourite game because it has strong mod support compared to Garry’s Mod.

Garry’s Mod already has a direct sequel in development. Facepunch’s follow-up to the physics sandbox has been called S&box. Gustaffson’s Voxel Playground has seen a surge in custom content since its Steam Workshop opened in March.

These are stark and immediate comparisons. GMod and Teardown both offer strong physics interactions from which to build. The former uses the Source Engine’s revolutionary suite to create a canvas full of pulleys, switches, thrusters and balloons. This transformed Half-Life 2 into an absurd playground. Source Engine was also able to pull in assets from nearly any Source Engine game. This allowed you to throw Half-Life, Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike characters into a chaotic blender (often literally).

Teardown does not have cross-title support. However, it does have a stunning destruction model and the ability to import any voxels. This means that it is easy to put together a simple map, import it into Teardown and then begin the fun task of smashing it down. Andy Kelly, our former features lad, also noted that he found a perverse pleasure in destroying a MagicaVoxel-built noodle bar.

Teardown mappers are very skilled at creating new areas to smash up. You can reconfigure Russian cities by flooding, density and detail, or create expansive Russian towns with detailed interiors. You can create miniature cities to simulate mass destruction and recreate classic Counter-Strike maps.

Some maps may have heists embedded into them, but most of these are open sandboxes that you can use to get to the town with all your tools. The Steam Workshop allows you to expand your toolbox beyond the standard sledgehammers, explosives, and other tools. You don’t have to settle for the standard pistol in the game. With the Steam Workshop, you can use miniguns to raze up skyscrapers or sinter steel beams using an industrial incinerator. It is far more powerful than the small default blowtorch.

After realizing that the Teardown workshop had a GMod Physgun, allowing you to throw entire buildings around your head, Garry’s Mod was born. You can also get the mandatory Portal Gun mod. This allows you to see through your portals but significantly lower framerate. There are also a whole set of Aperture-themed test champers that will help you plug your way through.

It works perfectly, but it is a vision of Portal and carries the risk of setting fire to the entire facility. It is a shame that it does not come with a fully articulated GLaDOS for you to use a sledgehammer. Yet.

The mods who completely reimagine Teardown are another. Basilisco is a huge, terrifying snake-bird-robot who relentlessly follows you through Russian fog while making horrible VHS howls. I wrote about it earlier this year. This is a great case for Teardown to be used as a horror video game.

Others want to improve what they perceive as the game’s weaknesses. Teardown’s destruction model may be impressive, but it does not accurately represent structural integrity. Some mods can remedy this problem with hack-together solutions to make structures collapse and fall under their weight. You can create complex tanks or helicopters using vehicle frameworks.

Although Tuxedo Labs is a small group, it embraces this scene fully, offering example maps and templates to help people get started. Modders have been given new avenues to explore with every update, not only by supporting them through documentation and test levels.

Teardown’s huge Part 2 update brought with it a host of new tools, maps, and missions. It also brought Teardown pathfinding AI via its killer robots. More physics interactions used elastic cabling and dynamic weather effects such as tornadoes and snowstorms.

Part 2 is likely to be the final major update of Teardown before it leaves Early Access. It’s given modders many tools to help them spin Teardown in new directions. It’s only a matter of time before we see FPS-style infiltration missions or horde defence, and I can only imagine how much the game’s physics systems could be improved.

Teardown does not have any multiplayer. This is the most obvious omission. Although adding multiplayer to a game that isn’t designed for it can be a daunting task, it’s easy to see how many other game types could emerge from such a simple foundation.

Teardown still has the same thrill of jumping up each morning to check out new locations in Steam Workshop–and which new toys I can download for breaking them apart. Although Tuxedo Labs may be done with its Physics Sandbox, I think I’ll continue to find new ways to disassemble Teardown.


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