Earlier this week, I took a look at a number of free tools designed to give your Windows 7 desktop a bit of a makeover. One of these, Rainmeter, is a comprehensive application that can substantially alter the look and feel of your desktop beyond anything you could possibly modify with Windows' default settings. Just how much can you mess around, you ask? If this week's "Download of the Week" is any indication, then the possibilities are near-limitless. For DeviantArt user UltraBE has transformed the plain ol' Windows desktop into a HUD from the popular zombie shooter Left 4 Dead--and this new look isn't just cosmetic. It's a fully-functional statistics engine for your system.
You might think I'm joking; you might even think that this amalgam of a gaming interface and the Windows desktop is just too far from reality to make sense. Still, you can't deny the sheer coolness of this comprehensive skin. Instead of a list of Left4Dead survivors and their health, the people-in-your-party boxes transform into usage meters and battery life indicators for your system. The individual icons representing gear that your party would be holding are now buttons that can be customized to launch programs, folders, registry keys, or Rainmeter add-ons, amongst other options. The system clock and computer uptime is integrated into the desktop as if it was a countdown before your helicopter to safety takes off.
According to UltraBE, the skin itself is super-customizable to better recreate the Left 4 Dead experience on your desktop. Ten separate wallpapers are included with the Left 4 Dead HUD Desktop and, a nod to detail, you can even change the icon of the gun on the right-hand side of the screen to reflect what's being used in the real screenshot. Although the entire Rainmeter-based display adjusts to fit your specific resolution, UltraBE warns that the design isn't made for desktops below a resolution width of 1280 pixels--sorry, tiny netbooks.
As you would expect, you have to first install Rainmeter to benefit from this zombie-charged interface. Selecting the new look is as easy as hopping into the newly released RainBrowser utility, which allows you to select, configure, and preview new Rainmeter skins prior to applying them.
Every Wednesday, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.