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Duke Map/Mod of the Month Club - June 2021  "Let's hope it will last!"

User is online   ck3D 

#61

 Aleks, on 21 June 2021 - 10:04 AM, said:

Personally, I can't really understand this kind of behaviour



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User is online   Aleks 

#62

 ck3D, on 21 June 2021 - 10:31 AM, said:




I love how this was posted here just minutes after I sent a link to this topic on Discord saying we have such an enlightened discussion going on in here :D
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

#63

I still feel like I'm being a bit misunderstood re: the combat... It's not that it isn't hard that I have an issue. Again, I find Alejandro's maps pretty easy but still enjoy the combat, even if it isn't challenging me very much.


It's really just down to the pacing of it. Alejandro's maps are easy but the encounters are very fast, even with the abundance of shotgun combat. Roch Island is a lot harder but because there's a lot more going on that needs to be accounted for, it also feels fast.

Combat in Roch though is really slow and tends to drag on for quite a bit, again the problem of stuffing a lot of tanky enemies in not-so-spacious locations. Not to the point of being unfair or anything, but to where you just kinda hold the fire button until they die and not much else.


Again, I know this won't change anyone's opinions on anything, and that's fine. I just want to make it clear for the record where I stand: I don't have a problem with easy combat. Do I like harder combat more? Absolutely and I won't pretend otherwise. But easy combat is also fine. I just don't much care for slow combat where not much happens, which is where I put Roch under.

I realize I could have worded that sentiment a lot better previously, but I'm notoriously bad at being able to explain myself properly until days after the fact. One last time, I know this won't change opinions. That's cool, we're adults, we can disagree. I just want to make it clear that I don't dislike a map just because the combat is easy. That's not true at all. I've played far too many Duke maps to have an appreciation for only the harder ones. It's just all about the pace of the combat that really makes or breaks it for me.

Part of the problem is probably exacerbated by me being a completionist, and never accepting anything less than complete and total genocide.
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User is offline   Merlijn 

#64

^no worries, and thanks for your further elaboration. :)

I do get where you're coming from, but in some respects we'll have to agree to disagree. In fact, to me the gameplay in ADG gets kinda dull pretty fast while Roch remains pretty enjoyable. Most of ADG is knocking down pig cops with your shotgun, which gets too repetitive for me after a while. At least Roch uses more enemy variety and different types of encounters, plus the level layout always remains interesting which in my opinion keeps it more engaging even when it's not perfect. But hey, we all have our preferences. :)
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User is online   Aleks 

#65

Finally got to playing Dogville 2012, which indeed is an improvement from the previous version. This time I played "Waterworld" as the soundtrack and it was a good choice considering how long the map took me and how this classical track is not very involving to the point of distracting after a while.

The sheer size of this level is really impressive - it took me 73 minutes to finish on CGS, which is similar to monsters like Woudrichem War. I also really dig how the map looks back on itself, revisiting previous locations via clever interconnections (for example how part of the sewers is initially closed and only accessible towards the end, which then leads us back to the sushi restaurant at the beginning to grab a blue keycard, or how the final battle takes place around the first part of the map). This felt especially appropriate here, since otherwise the map would really feel like 2-3 completely disconnected, different maps.

As for the locations, my favourite ones where the train station towards the end, which involved a cool sequence of riding a train (the fact that you have to use a train to move through the level speaks again on its size!), the luxury mansion at the beginning of the "2nd" part of the map (after sewers), also the strip club with a peeping Tom's appartment next to it was pretty neat idea. The 2nd part looked notably cleaner than the first one, but then again it felt completely different than Roch maps which have this meticulously planned urban layout - all the decorative doors, bold use of palettes and some natural environment didn't really made this one visually coherent in my opinion, it might have contrasted too much with the architecture (also I sometimes felt like the modern, out of the box architecture was a bit overpresent here, e.g. the brick facade with protrusions in that small, more industrial oriented area with the gears). This criticism might seem a bit too vocal - by no means it makes the map any worse on its own really, it's a great map and if anything it's cool how it diverges from the Roch in the end, despite all the similar ideas used. Just that aesthetically I personally prefer how Roch maps are structured.

Now about the combat... Basically, I could just copy paste all the Ninety-Six' criticism of Roch series in this aspect here. I'm not sure if it's a matter of different playing styles or maybe the version of EDuke I was using messed something up about the enemy AI. The enemy placement seems to be really an afterthought here, besides a few interesting encounters. A lot of indoor areas seem very cramped (especially in the earlier part, which is understandable as it was built in 2004), but also a lot of stuff in the streets feels awkwardly blocked (also the invisible walls in locations that feel quite inviting for platforming exploration). There's a lot of cheap tricks with enemy placement indoors (turrets in the blind spots in a small room after entering, ducking pig cops right after a cramped corner), but really it's the outdoors that suffers the most. I felt like almost every enemy should have been changed from stayput to normal and vice versa really :D There's been awkwardly sleeping stayput enemies which would just try to walk towards me without attacking like sitting ducks (which was the case with most stayput battlelords, besides 1 or 2 in the first area), and other times just wandering into weird corners of the map. What's the point of spawning a horde of troopers on the floor, not directly near the player - that's basically just fuel for mindless keeping the button on the trigger. The funniest thing was around the vet shop - a switch spawned a bunch of troopers outside which all started shooting towards my direction, but before I managed to reach them, like 5 of them already got killed with their companion's friendly fire. Even the larger battles seemed mostly like sniping monsters through the whole map or luring them out into a more narrow backalley from where you just emerged. Maybe I wouldn't feel so disappointed by this aspect, but since the map had almost 380 enemies, took about an hour to finish, it became so strikingly tedious.

Anyway, since it's almost the end of the month, it's time to choose the next month's pick! So far there were 2 propositions. Please copy the form below and add a "+" for whichever option you would like to vote - you can also add another option, but too keep it smooth let's keep it only to 4 options max.

Dark Place series by Taivo Maripuu
All the maps by Maarten Pinxten +
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

#66

Dark Place series by Taivo Maripuu
All the maps by Maarten Pinxten ++
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User is online   ck3D 

#67

Dark Place series by Taivo Maripuu +
All the maps by Maarten Pinxten ++

Both great options really, only favoring Taivo because Maarten Pinxten's maps always felt a bit bland to me (I do respect the style and his legacy undeniably is worthy of mentions in here, it's really just personal taste). Don't listen to me though, I didn't even play a single Roch map this month (well, it's not over yet!).

I think another good idea sometime would be Billy Boy's maps. He didn't release that many, so working them into the format here should be easy, e.g.. select his four best and have people play one per week throughout the month with optional discussion on his other stuff on the side.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 June 2021 - 09:39 AM

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User is online   Aleks 

#68

View Postck3D, on 26 June 2021 - 06:39 AM, said:

I think another good idea sometime would be Billy Boy's maps. He didn't release that many, so working them into the format here should be easy, e.g.. select his four best and have people play one per week throughout the month with optional discussion on his other stuff on the side.


As much as I love Billy Boy's maps, I think they might be a little too obscure at least now, for now I'd like this to be as open and welcoming as possible, so even people who haven't played much user maps so far would pick up on it. Stuff like Bedrone, Clearwater/Cranium, Deadfall or Lighthouse definitely should be played by everyone, but then these seem to be the maps that you appreciate more based on how many other maps you played before. It's a bit similar with Zaxtor's stuff really.
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#69

Was actually thinking of Billy Boy's stuff. It probably is, as you say, a bit of a high barrier to entry though as they tended to be rather difficult for one reason or another... That and his name makes me think of bad 90s music that then plays in my head the whole time the map is being played.

In the meantime, all Roch maps played. Gonna give spoilers because I might have come off as extremely harsh here, but 3-5 is definitely a major low point and my words might come as a surprise in 6-8. As the month is dying, I'll get these two up for now and try to get the remaining four up tomorrow.

Roch 3

I don't think this map is terrible. It makes progress in some ways, but then is worse in others. Overall forgettable.

Roch 4

Highlights something that, looking back now, is a bit of a shame. I think this map would have worked a lot better if it'd had just focused on the mansion part - Pascal actually seems to do really well when he builds something that's not a city, the problem being he only builds cities. If he'd just made the mansion but bigger, this map would probably have been fun. Unfortunately by the time I got to it, the mood was already soured.

Believe it or not, I don't actually like being critical of other people's work when it's obvious they put a lot of time into it, but then a lot of the issues could be fixed quickly with very little effort. There are also things like that little dipped piece of road in Roch 4 that are just plain weird, almost like something I'd expect an AI to come out with if one was trained to build levels, or maybe it's just me coming from somewhere uncommonly flat and below sea level.


For the record, I probably won't do future lots of maps in video form, but it started this way with Roch, so those can be finished this way too.
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User is online   Sanek 

#70

I was away from my PC for almost a month, sorry that I missed this thing!
First off - great idea, Aleks! We should've done it years ago! Second - I would pick something less well-known than Roch; I'm sure pretty much everyone who's still here played the series at least a couple of times. I'd recommend something like FMX series, which imo didn't get as much recognition as it deserves.

I was pleased to replay the series for billionth time and I must say, that the series is still as good as ever! It's really the greatest series in the annals of mapping history - thanks to great design and innovative ideas, it never gets old! Even the first one! The only way it may become old is because of sheer repetition.
If I remember my mapping history, it was the first "modern maps" that I ever played, after years of nothing but 1996 shovelware crap. So I always had a soft spot for the series.
btw, after seeing the alien ship in Roch 8, makes me wonder how Pascal would handle other themes of the game - like alien or space maps. He shoulda stay longer that's for sure!
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User is online   ck3D 

#71

View PostHigh Treason, on 27 June 2021 - 04:54 PM, said:

For the record, I probably won't do future lots of maps in video form, but it started this way with Roch, so those can be finished this way too.


Of course you do as you wish, but I've been really enjoying those videos. I feel like if you kept at them, you might become Duke4's very own Civvie11 of user maps (which you may or may not want).

About the monthly picks and how obscure you really want them to get, I guess that's where things are really bound to become divisive in this thread and so might as well all establish things early there. Personally I know I'd be the kind to plug Billy Boy and tons of more obscure stuff at the expense of the most already popular names, but I'm also aware that popular interest would quickly drop if one didn't also feature those and nobody discussed the standards. So I believe the solution is simple and comes down to a mere balance to be found, alternating in between the stuff most everybody is familiar with and the 'did you know?' moments, which in the end would also allow for covering as much of Duke 3D mapping at large as possible. Featuring Roch is a bit funny but as an introduction to this kind of thing, it actually makes a lot of sense, the options for next month so far are already more interesting and so there is no doubt this thread won't be running out of cool juice anytime soon.
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User is offline   Merlijn 

#72

^
I agree, this topic would be best if we find a balance between the more well known and the more obscure stuff so things keep being interesting.

As for next month, I think both options are worthy so if I had a say we will do one next month and the other the month after that. :)
Since I brought up Pinxten first, I'll vote for him for the upcoming month.

Dark Place series by Taivo Maripuu +
All the maps by Maarten Pinxten +++

Quote

I think this map would have worked a lot better if it'd had just focused on the mansion part - Pascal actually seems to do really well when he builds something that's not a city, the problem being he only builds cities.


That's funny, we're coming from very different perspectives yet I agree with this, in fact I said something similar earlier in this thread.
I think the Roch series would have been even cooler if Roch 5 was a countryside / mansion map and then Roch 6 would move back to the city.
And then the spaceship in Roch 8 would take you to a final fight... *inhales* in spaaaaaace!

This post has been edited by Merlijn: 29 June 2021 - 07:04 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#73

Oh that reminds me, about the front yard of the mansion being textured like carpet. I think Pascal's general idea there was to try and convey the style of Hergé's depiction of the château de Moulinsart in the Tintin comics. The rather plain tones I always saw as a direct reference to the bold coloring of those comics (the green and brown in particular are really alike), and when you have those aesthetics in mind then the effect actually really works. Unfortunately, when you miss them then the product just speaks for itself with the texturing only clashing in tone with the classic Duke 3D theme and so that perspective is viable too. The place would have looked more credible with proper grass and dirt textures, but it would have been less of an experiment and while part of me always regretted that choice of Pascal's, another also always liked it, the intent is brilliant (just easy to miss) and at the end of the day makes for one section of the level that especially stands out from the rest, as if detached and part of its own little dimension, which is pretty cool and interesting to explore in level design. And that too is bold in a way, funnily enough. But Pascal always seemed like the bold type, didn't he? As in, if he could have released his levels in bold then he would have done it. Yeah I know about the green in my sig. Now why am I picturing a space map with a blue sky.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 29 June 2021 - 07:37 AM

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#74

Ahem! Forum! Why did you get rid of my link on the "bad 90s music" part.
Suppose we'll see about continuing in video form, though there are of course limits to what can be run in the original DOS executable.
Texturing is something where I sure feel like my opinion is in the minority, as I think Pascal is pretty bad at it overall. Many areas really do look like an AI chose them rather than a human, with so many weird choices and over-stretched tiles everywhere. There are areas that look really good, but then they're connected to areas that are made up of all kinds of inexplicable decisions - oh look, another wall made out of overstretched cardboard and mailboxes. Strangely, this is another problem that seemed to go away when he made something that wasn't a city.


And now, what turned out to be the worst map of the bunch, Roch 5:


Really have nothing else to say about it, followed by...

Wait, this one's actually good!? Roch 6:


I shall forgive it for crashing the game.

This one actually comes off as a little tired, like Pascal was running out of steam with the series, but at least managed to execute things quite competently by now. Roch 7:
(Apparently there's an embed limit)

Texturing certainly becomes somewhat more sane, but it's made up for by some bizarre sound choices. Nothing major, it was alright.

Lastly, Roch 8:
(Apparently there's an embed limit)

The start is a tad rough, though it does pick up quite quickly. Still, a lot of issues present in the rest of the series persist throughout. That said, this one was actually quite fun.

Never said while summarizing in the video, but I think it's pretty clear I consider Roch 5 the worst by far. Roch 6 or 8 would probably be the one I enjoyed most.
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User is online   Aleks 

#75

Quote

Oh that reminds me, about the front yard of the mansion being textured like carpet.

Quote

oh look, another wall made out of overstretched cardboard and mailboxes

I find the texture discussion here to be quite funny, but for me it really just proves how universal the set of textures in Duke is. While there definitely are some texture choices in Roch that I would personally change, I think it was one of the first series that really started experimenting on such a scale - the full-stretched textures for some walls are one example. I remember ck3D talking to me about that Tintin inspiration on the mansion, but as far as the textures go, I've never personally considered them to be "carpet" - in fact I think the regular "grass" or even the still frame from the slime texture wouldn't look good, as the green texture simulates the neatly trimmed hedges and grass pretty well. Like looking on a football pitch, we don't see the grass per se, just stripes of differently shaded green. The pixels in this case pretty much do the job for me.

That being said, I have some textures which are rooted pretty much into my subconciousness to simulate something very specific and had a kind of uncanny valley after the first hi-res packs were released with some textures made like something I'd never think them to be. A good example would be #243 and #392 - are these wooden beams (as I always assumed) or rusty trapezoidal metal sheets?

Quote

Second - I would pick something less well-known than Roch; I'm sure pretty much everyone who's still here played the series at least a couple of times. I'd recommend something like FMX series, which imo didn't get as much recognition as it deserves.


I think Roch was a good pick for the beginning due to its easy accessibility, also from what was discussed before in the other thread, some people didn't really play any Duke maps and wanted something to begin with (Morpheus Kitami IIRC). I was also hoping that some "outsiders" would join us. Nevertheless, the discussions that went on here turned out to be more interesting than I expected and hopefully more and more people will be joining us.

Quote

About the monthly picks and how obscure you really want them to get, I guess that's where things are really bound to become divisive in this thread and so might as well all establish things early there.


While we should probably try out few more series/author based months like this one, I was thinking that an interesting idea to showcase some more obscure stuff would be "monthly picks", like a month where e.g. Merlijn chooses 5-7 or so more obscure levels that they'd like to "present" to others and the rest plays them. I don't necessarily mean the "hey I remember back in 1997 I played this map...", but there's a lot of hidden gems even up on MSDN. Hell, ck3D in the other thread mentioning Stef from AMC made me download his apparently only map on MSDN - I remember having a beta of his first map (and I probably still have it somewhere), but don't recall playing it and pretty much completely forgot about this. And yeah, Azneer13 could be one of these showcased maps :D
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

#76

Yeah, R5 was probably my least favorite, too. Very cramped, traversal from area to area is a bit of a pain, and the theme isn't all that strong either... again I don't hate it, but yeah.
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#77

View PostAleks, on 29 June 2021 - 11:46 AM, said:

I think Roch was a good pick for the beginning due to its easy accessibility, also from what was discussed before in the other thread, some people didn't really play any Duke maps and wanted something to begin with (Morpheus Kitami IIRC). I was also hoping that some "outsiders" would join us. Nevertheless, the discussions that went on here turned out to be more interesting than I expected and hopefully more and more people will be joining us.

Yeah, that was me.

Also, sorry for not playing anything but the first one. I didn't budget my time properly during the first and last weeks of this month, and I was strapped for time in general, since a project came up last minute that required as much attention as I could give it. I think I can give the next map series (which seems to be All the Maps so far) more of my attention.
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User is online   Aleks 

#78

So, the new month has begun, which means the new opportunity for Duke Map/Dod Mod of the Month Club! By the rather humble voting, it seems Mr. Pinxten has won 3:1, so it will be his maps. Should I make a new thread for it to keep it all tidy and more accessible or should we somehow continue to cramp this one, what do you guys think?

This post has been edited by Aleks: 01 July 2021 - 12:22 AM

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User is offline   quakis 

#79

Just like the DWMegawad Club, a new thread each month and provide convenient links to previous threads for ease of looking back on discussion. I'll still be posting updated Roch reviews as I get to them well into July it seems (I'm slow...), so it'll get cluttered fast as a single thread as it goes on I think.
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User is offline   quakis 

#80

When I have little to say sometimes it feels like I'm grasping at straws, so writing this one was difficult as I dislike repeating myself too often. But that's how Roch 3 felt to me, more of the same highs and lows from Roch 2. Here's the review: https://taw.duke4.ne...7/duke3d/roch3/
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User is offline   Nukem1994x 

#81

Ahhh, the Roch series. :) One of the best experiences I had playing through these from 1-8. Whatever happened to the creator, Pascal Rouaud? Anyone still hear from him or know if the Roch series is finished?
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User is offline   quakis 

#82

Liked revisting the secret level more than I thought. Review: https://taw.duke4.ne...3d/roch-secret/

Getting there, trying to pick up speed.
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