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[RELEASE] Poison Heart  "Snow city / Xmas / hi-tech"

User is offline   ck3D 

#1

Hey, here's my new map. Poison Heart is a snowy city / Xmas-themed / hi-tech level that should last you about 50 mins on your first playthrough. In a rush right now so see the .txt file for details! Hope you enjoy.

Attached thumbnail(s)

  • Attached Image: poisonheart3.png
  • Attached Image: poisonheart2.png
  • Attached Image: posionheart1.png

26

User is online   Sanek 

#2

Well, what a surprise! Gonna play this out asap! :)

This post has been edited by Sanek: 26 February 2019 - 06:09 AM

1

User is online   Dr.Panico 

#3

Been playing this level. So far, very good. Lovely visuals, awesome effects, lots of action.

But i'm stuck: i've opened the Beta door on the Power Station and there's an elevator i can't activate. Don't know what to do here.
1

User is offline   ck3D 

#4

EDIT - please find updated file here


____________

former pre-update post:


View PostDr.Panico, on 26 February 2019 - 07:26 AM, said:

Been playing this level. So far, very good. Lovely visuals, awesome effects, lots of action.

But i'm stuck: i've opened the Beta door on the Power Station and there's an elevator i can't activate. Don't know what to do here.


Thanks for the kind words,

Odd, I just tested that section again to make sure I didn't accidentally give the switch a palette or something (which would result in it not showing up in SP) but no, it does show up and the elevator works perfectly on my computer. So yeah, there should be a switch on one of the walls in between those red bars, can you see it? Can you press it? Because of how uneven the entrance to it is, it's rather easy to make the elevator act buggy jamming it over and over again but I just tried my hardest to mess it up and eventually could always successfully navigate from floor to floor.

Spoiler

Attached thumbnail(s)

  • Attached Image: elevator.png


This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 01:10 PM

0

User is offline   MetHy 

#5

The elevator was up for me as well, couldn't use it because I couldn't get inside it.
1

User is offline   ck3D 

#6

damn. I think I know why, if the elevator is upstairs by the time you make it to it then it must be a hitag / lotag-related problem. Sorry for this, it never happened to me during the playtesting phase somehow, I'll update the map right now if I can figure out the problem. Taking the original file down for now. Thanks a lot for reporting.

EDIT - see below for the file

This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 12:35 PM

0

User is offline   ck3D 

#7

Sorry for the double post, here's a version of the map in which the problem should be fixed, but I'm still testing it to make sure every other feature is still working right so I'm not promising anything, will post the confirmation that's it's full playable later (it should be, but...). My apologies for you guys' saves. The map was heavily tested but somehow that problem never occured to us.

Attached File(s)



This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 10:25 AM

4

User is offline   Forge 

#8

get a beta-tester, rookie
1

User is offline   ck3D 

#9

View PostForge, on 26 February 2019 - 10:28 AM, said:

get a beta-tester, rookie


After putting so much effort into this map (for me) you better believe I felt played on Let's Rook mistagging an elevator. The problem was completely on my end too, I made the elevators switch-operated because Merlijn (who betatested the map) brought up that the (originally manual) elevators kept interfering with the doors, which was indeed true and annoying. So I added the switches, played the map three times and not once encountered a problem. As it was a lo- or hi-tag interfering with another effect in the map I guess the problem would occur depending on whether the player had triggered the interfering effect earlier in their playthrough or not. I use a very outdated version of Mapster32 (it runs best on my old computer) that doesn't have the smart tagging system (which I've used before and is really convenient, but I don't mind being old school), so when it comes to remembering which exact lo- and hi-tags I've used I have no safety net.

Big thanks to the moderator who addressed my issue and removed the link in the OP for me.

I just intensively tested the new version of the map again making sure to remember to trigger everything possible just to be as certain as possible and didn't have a problem with the elevator. So it should be the definitive, fully playable version, however if anybody runs into a similar problem again please don't hesitate to notify me (I could always make that elevator manual but then you'd get stuck at the top because of the door. You'd have a way out though so maybe that'd be better than staying stuck at the bottom? Which can happen in this version if the player triggers the elevator by jumping onto it then somehow backs off and retreats to the cave for some reason). This map uses up almost all of the 999 available custom tags (probably with some random gaps here and there) so it's a bit tricky for me to touch one without being paranoid about messing something else up in a completely different section of the level. This version should be good though.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 12:05 PM

0

User is online   Trooper Dan 

  • Duke Plus Developer

#10

Stupid question, but: are those 2 newbeasts at the beginning supposed to be tiny? I'm playing it with vanilla Duke. They are like green elves, I guess. It seems you are taking advantage of a bug, there.
0

User is offline   ck3D 

#11

View PostTrooper Dan, on 26 February 2019 - 12:13 PM, said:

Stupid question, but: are those 2 newbeasts at the beginning supposed to be tiny? I'm playing it with vanilla Duke. They are like green elves, I guess. It seems you are taking advantage of a bug, there.


Yeah, they are grinch newbeasts, or so I intended.

Spoiler


This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 12:27 PM

0

User is offline   Forge 

#12

View Postck3D, on 26 February 2019 - 12:01 PM, said:

As it was a lo- or hi-tag interfering with another effect in the map

2D mode
aim cursor at any sprite
(L) Alt + F8
arrow down to lo tag (or hi tag - whichever it is)
enter
type the elevator switch tag number
enter
esc
use ] or [ to pan through all the sprites with that tag number

then you'll know if things outside elevator activators and elevator switches are sharing the tag number & may cause issues.

This post has been edited by Forge: 26 February 2019 - 01:38 PM

2

User is offline   ck3D 

#13

View PostForge, on 26 February 2019 - 01:36 PM, said:

2D mode
aim cursor at any sprite
(L) Alt + F8
arrow down to lo tag (or hi tag - whichever it is)
enter
type the elevator switch tag number
enter
esc
use ] or [ to pan through all the sprites with that tag number

then you'll know if things outside elevator activators and elevator switches are sharing the tag number & may cause issues.


Thank you for this. I knew this command existed but never really knew how to make it work till now, it's very handy for sure. Very convenient to track sectors down too with F7 i.e. to remember where you hid all your secret places.

So thanks to this I can confirm that the new version really is completely functional and playable, I just checked to be certain and yes that last elevator is completely independent from any other effect in the map now.

I can also provide the explanation behind the problem in the original version - the last elevator shared a tag with, actually, the first one you ever run into in the map (probably due to me copy-pasting the switch sprites on a late night, or early morning and forgetting to fix the tags). So basically, if that one first elevator was left on the upper floor (aka. the most likely scenario given the layout of the map) then the last one would have moved with it and risen to the upper floor too. Meaning that it was possible to complete the original version without cheats by going back to the first elevator just to send it back, and then coming back to the last one at the opposite corner of the map which should then have moved to the lower section as well, but yeah, that's not what anyone could possibly want to do - just saying for the people who might have an advanced save on the OG version already. Anyway level should be bug free now (with the exception of one Pigcop squishing itself whilst respawning which could be very easily fixed, but I actually kind of find it humorous so it's staying).

This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 February 2019 - 02:12 PM

0

User is online   Sanek 

#14

Finished it, in about 35 mins according to game stats. Maybe longer with all the re-loads (it's quite hard in some spots).
Overall, a rock solid city map! I like the the usual ck3d's style, original ideas (like usuing weapon's sptires as a cover for monsters) or that big slimer in the wall) and the order you're giving weapons (not the usual pistol-shotgun-chaingun trope). Cramped rooms, new ideas, lots of scripted sequences, in a new map by ck3d - it's like 2009 all over again. B)

The only negative side of the map is that some areas is very hard to jump on (poles to be exact) and I'm not sure if there's enough ammo in the latter part of the map.

But overall, a great map, somewhat tighter and more intense than your previous big city maps. It's just too bad that you release it so late, it could be a perfect fit for a holiday season. :)

This post has been edited by Sanek: 27 February 2019 - 01:21 AM

1

User is offline   ck3D 

#15

View PostSanek, on 27 February 2019 - 12:51 AM, said:

Finished it, in about 35 mins according to game stats. Maybe longer with all the re-loads (it's quite hard in some spots).
Overall, a rock solid city map! I like the the usual ck3d's style, original ideas (like usuing weapon's sptires as a cover for monsters) or that big slimer in the wall) and the order you're giving weapons (not the usual pistol-shotgun-chaingun trope). Cramped rooms, new ideas, lots of scripted sequences, in a new map by ck3d - it's like 2009 all over again. B)

The only negative side of the map is that some areas is very hard to jump on (poles to be exact) and I'm not sure if there's enough ammo in the latter part of the map.

But overall, a great map, somewhat tighter and more intense than your previous big city maps. It's just too bad that you release it so late, it could be a perfect fit for a holiday season. :)


Thank you for your feedback Sanek. Yeah originally I really wanted to get it done by Christmas, I started the map on the 5th of December with a twenty-day limit in mind but on the 25th I was 'only' up to 9000 walls. I had to decide between rushing the release (map would have stopped before the power station basically, which would have sucked as it's my favorite section in the map) or just disregarding a fictional deadline and making the effort I had put into the map all the more worth it by keeping working on it and making it as ambitious as I had in mind; I easily settled for the latter because I like to favor quality. From my experience, rushing a map (for whatever reason) is never worth it and always a rookie mistake (says the man who just publicly mistagged an elevator).

For this map I tried to experiment with platforming a lot more than before, some sections are particularly tricky indeed (certain poles and wires) but I like it that way and kind of expect the player to save in front of a situation that's obviously risky, then again I have no idea how many people swear by no-save playthroughs in Duke still. Fall damage was very much a thing in the original game, so I kind of wanted to make it a danger again. I'm actually pretty stoked on how some enemies will try to hit you from ground level if you haven't cleared up the area below some of those jumps, in fact I was actually pretty surprised with how well they interacted with the layout of the map altogether once I threw them in (this type of layout with nooks and crannies and random objects already allows for great monster placement, but I've witnessed some interesting scenarii, for instance that one Enforcer behind the antenna on the rooftop once somehow managed to make the jump from wire to wire to join me on location as I was exploring the torn-down building where a Battlelord spawns, generally speaking in this map many of the enemies have the potential to take the player by surprise). But yeah, of course, some of those jumps require precision, hopefully they're not really unfair though, I know it's a fine line sometimes.

By the latter part of the map do you mean the very final fight, I don't know if you noticed it but
Spoiler

so I'm curious to know how much of that you found. At this point of the map I kind of expect the player to be stocked up on items already, and just like I don't necessarily like following the classic pistol / shotgun / chaingun trope as you took notice of, or supplying the player with 5 RPG shells two seconds prior to encountering a Battlelord, I wanted the finale to be a bit more intense than just hey, here's the Devastator with three ammo packs coming out of nowhere and a target to mindlessly shoot at till your computer says you win. It's still kind of possible to do that here but at least the player is subjected to alternatives, that's kind of how I see the last wave of monsters.

Fun fact, I wanted to throw a Little Bigville reference somewhere in the map (I was thinking of building a travel agency that would advertise organized trips there or something) but as I kept adding to the layout I ended up deciding to build that unreachable factory instead as it looked better and was more functional than another 'flat' wall in that last section of the street area I had left. But I considered it and am not ditching the idea (hopefully I make another map though). Also that Game Boy (or Cell Block) was also supposed to be playable but I ran out of walls for what I had in mind (which is totally fine because it would have been a pain in the ass to implement).

Also it's subtle but
Spoiler


This post has been edited by ck3D: 27 February 2019 - 02:05 AM

0

User is offline   Merlijn 

#16

Congrats on the release! I've betatested the map and thought it was pretty damn impressive. It's a bit like Siebenpolis but more refined and better executed.
Plus the weird alien mutations and immersive effects from The end of the world pt. 1 are back! :) Will post more detailled feedback once I've played the final version..
1

#17

[negative Nancsi] This was a frustrating experience for so many reasons, and honestly I gave up on this map around the blue key room, when pigcops and enforcers started to appear. That was because I felt it went in the generic direction after that painful but, in some aspects, unique starting area. I still don't understand why do you like putting shitloads of sprites everywhere (without any relevance of course, and as usual with funky colours, out of proper size and sometimes upside down). It doesn't make the map prettier, in fact, it looks pretty ugly to be honest. Also these cramped, hard to move around rooms, with a not-so-obvious shrinker puzzle (figure the way out within those overdetailed rooms), almost unshootable newbeasts without weapons. Well, this was a trainwreck overall. [/negative Nancsi]

Well, good to see you return to mapping ck3D.
1

User is offline   ck3D 

#18

Thanks for the feedback,

View PostNancsi, on 27 February 2019 - 09:54 AM, said:

This was a frustrating experience for so many reasons, and honestly I gave up on this map around the blue key room, when pigcops and enforcers started to appear. That was because I felt it went in the generic direction after that painful but, in some aspects, unique starting area. I still don't understand why do you like putting shitloads of sprites everywhere (without any relevance of course, and as usual with funky colours, out of proper size and sometimes upside down). It doesn't make the map prettier, in fact, it looks pretty ugly to be honest. Also these cramped, hard to move around rooms, with a not-so-obvious shrinker puzzle (figure the way out within those overdetailed rooms), almost unshootable newbeasts without weapons. Well, this was a trainwreck overall.

Well, good to see you return to mapping ck3D.


I took the liberty to edit out your tags as the strikethrough was making it hard to read and I think being a critique is different from being negative. I know you sometimes get flack on forums for your opinions which I don't always get as such feedback from players should be encouraged if anything. I know I always like to read your criticism, or Geoffrey's, or really anybody with specific tastes and different backgrounds in gaming because one can only learn from such unique perspectives.

I actually always keep it on my mind how people with different preferences may or may not be receptive to the style of whatever it is I'm currently building when I map, I'll still build it the way I envision it because I'm not going to censor my expression but I'll wonder who will like it and who won't while I'm doing it, it's always constructive to ponder whilst in the act and pushes the creator to certain standards of quality.

You say you don't understand the style which you're completely entitled to; I'll start trying to explain it to you by first objecting the complete lack of relevancy you're claiming about the sprite and color use, though, making it sound like I build at random which would be unfair as I really consider those picks as somewhat more sophisticated than they used to be, say, in my own maps from a decade ago; a lot of the fun I find in mapping has to do with playing with color theory, or the quest for textures that naturally match without any palette alteration yet are rarely assembled - there's an attempt of science and coherence to what I build - I make the effort to analyze everything I recognize could be analyzed. I.e.. the cramped rooms used to plague my maps by default over a decade ago but nowadays I resort to them consciously whenever I want the player to feel claustrophobic, just like I will deliberately make certain rooms slightly oversized whenever I want them to feel overpowered; I like my more ambitious maps to tell stories like they were a painting with scenes, form still follows function but more in an impressionist's fashion than under the form of explicitly-designed blueprints meant to resemble the traditional style (which I have nothing but appreciation for), I'd say. Classic 3DR design is a science in itself but it's not the only science one can apply to Duke 3D design - no matter the field altogether creators will take liberties, always have, always will. But of course if the surrealistic style puts you off in the first place, I'm not going to blame you for not noticing the nuances in my works, I'm sure it all looks like a colored mess to you and there's nothing wrong about that at all, I'll just think it's funny the way you'll think my style is funny and it's all nothing but funny love.

It's too bad you left that early into the map not because I think you should obviously force yourself to play my new untouchable masterpiece (I'm joking by the way if you can't tell, I don't have those insecurities), but because I think (daring to estimate your tastes) the three quarters of the map you missed out on would have been a lot more to your liking than this exotic introduction that throws you into the pit first thing, actually (but my bad for losing your interest so quickly); the first street area is way messier and all over the place than the rest of the level - I enjoy its layout way over its general look - as it's an enclosed location that also coincides with the first impression the player gets of the level, so I kind of had to cram all those lights in to boost an original taste of the Xmas / power abuse theme; I actually tried to make do without them actually and once tried removing them but then the atmosphere really did turn out to go down a bunch of notches, so I put them back, but the rest of the map doesn't have them and follows color theory better. Most importantly with the remaining three quarters of the map I made a conscious effort to implement traditional design features from the original levels such as whole areas built at a 45 degree angle à la E1L1 (which is actually incredible for giving levels more depth; I would love to see a whole level designed with grid lock off in Mapster), open areas or largely interconnected multi-leveled layouts which I would have been curious about your reception and possible appreciation of, if only you could have handled the whole trainwreck.

The new newbeasts (newerbeasts?) are definitely part of the novelty side of this map (and you haven't even seen some of the later combat set-ups that employ bosses you need to find strategies against), but fighting them with pipebombs (there are like ten of them scattered around the starting area and then you keep getting supplied with them throughout the map) is the most fun I've had in this game in a while (then I really haven't been playing it all that much), the enemy appears in pairs again a few times later in the map on different terrain every time, I think I used it as wisely as I could for what it is and its presence results in original combat scenarii without resorting to con coding (which is a technicality certain players might not care about, but it's natural for longtime mappers to try new things), so occasionally I'll take them over the same Pigcop ambush or Commander respawn we've already seen thousands of times yeah.

Hey I could go even further lengths about this and that aspect of the level because such exchanges of impressions are part of the reason why I map, but this post has been time-consuming enough so far (definitely more than the map was for you, from the sounds of it) and if I kept going I'd start feeling like I'm trying to justify myself when I'm really not (and wouldn't need to anyway). So for now I'll just say thanks again for the feedback and that I appreciate your welcome back (although I'm never certain to stick around - every time I drop a map is the result of some kind of unreasonable miracle in my schedule, but I'll always have love for this game).

This post has been edited by ck3D: 27 February 2019 - 03:38 PM

3

User is offline   LeoD 

#19

Yess! A new MRCK map! Nice to see that when returning here. Won't play it any time soon, I'm afraid. After two years of non-gaming this is probably/hopefully too demanding for my rusty old fingers trying to cope with new mouse and keyboard. So some of the smaller releases from the last 24 months will come first. Thanks for keeping on mapping!
0

User is offline   ck3D 

#20

View PostLeoD, on 27 February 2019 - 04:39 PM, said:

Yess! A new MRCK map! Nice to see that when returning here. Won't play it any time soon, I'm afraid. After two years of non-gaming this is probably/hopefully too demanding for my rusty old fingers trying to cope with new mouse and keyboard. So some of the smaller releases from the last 24 months will come first. Thanks for keeping on mapping!


Thanks man, I really appreciate the kind words. I totally know what you mean about getting back into the game via the smaller releases first, there's a bunch of recent levels with amazing ratings I haven't touched yet myself because I feel like they would require time and focus to be fully appreciated and when you're still rusty from an unreasonably long Duke dry spell, you want to keep the more hectic stuff for last so you can enjoy it fully after shaking it all off!

Making this map was quite intense here as I'm self-employed and thus direct my own work schedule which is quite the double-edged sword meaning that all the time I spend mapping I could technically spend working, but that's a logic I've been following for so long that these days I try and make it a point to manage leisure breaks throughout my weeks, otherwise I'd just keep cornering myself into working 12-hour days / sleepless nights ad nauseam, which I've done for a very long time and actually enjoy but eventually started wearing me off. I still occasionally get anxiety from spending time doing anything that's not paid work, so your thanks for keeping on mapping mean a lot to me!

Puritan just put the map up on CGS along with some touching praise (on the front page) and great screenshots, I'm happy he liked the map so much: http://www.scent-88....ison/poison.php

I'll attach screenshots of his screenshots (...) below so that people on here get to catch another direct glimpse of the map right in this thread, as I myself suck at screenshots and I'm not sure the ones I posted really are representative of the map. so the attached screens are courtesy of Puritan / scent-88.com

I'm stoked he liked it because coincidentally, as I was building certain sections of this map they kept reminding me of Puritan's own Twin Creeks map in terms of feel for some reason. Again I find it fascinating / funny the similarities, differences and connections in style and taste from person to person and how whether a piece might or might not resonate amongst certain crowds of individuals so of course I had to bring that up, but hey I'll shut up now.

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  • Attached Image: Capture d’écran 2019-02-28 à 11.42.47.png
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This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 February 2019 - 03:07 AM

2

#21

View Postck3D, on 27 February 2019 - 03:30 PM, said:

Thanks for the feedback,



I took the liberty to edit out your tags as the strikethrough was making it hard to read and I think being a critique is different from being negative. I know you sometimes get flack on forums for your opinions which I don't always get as such feedback from players should be encouraged if anything. I know I always like to read your criticism, or Geoffrey's, or really anybody with specific tastes and different backgrounds in gaming because one can only learn from such unique perspectives.

I actually always keep it on my mind how people with different preferences may or may not be receptive to the style of whatever it is I'm currently building when I map, I'll still build it the way I envision it because I'm not going to censor my expression but I'll wonder who will like it and who won't while I'm doing it, it's always constructive to ponder whilst in the act and pushes the creator to certain standards of quality.

You say you don't understand the style which you're completely entitled to; I'll start trying to explain it to you by first objecting the complete lack of relevancy you're claiming about the sprite and color use, though, making it sound like I build at random which would be unfair as I really consider those picks as somewhat more sophisticated than they used to be, say, in my own maps from a decade ago; a lot of the fun I find in mapping has to do with playing with color theory, or the quest for textures that naturally match without any palette alteration yet are rarely assembled - there's an attempt of science and coherence to what I build - I make the effort to analyze everything I recognize could be analyzed. I.e.. the cramped rooms used to plague my maps by default over a decade ago but nowadays I resort to them consciously whenever I want the player to feel claustrophobic, just like I will deliberately make certain rooms slightly oversized whenever I want them to feel overpowered; I like my more ambitious maps to tell stories like they were a painting with scenes, form still follows function but more in an impressionist's fashion than under the form of explicitly-designed blueprints meant to resemble the traditional style (which I have nothing but appreciation for), I'd say. Classic 3DR design is a science in itself but it's not the only science one can apply to Duke 3D design - no matter the field altogether creators will take liberties, always have, always will. But of course if the surrealistic style puts you off in the first place, I'm not going to blame you for not noticing the nuances in my works, I'm sure it all looks like a colored mess to you and there's nothing wrong about that at all, I'll just think it's funny the way you'll think my style is funny and it's all nothing but funny love.

It's too bad you left that early into the map not because I think you should obviously force yourself to play my new untouchable masterpiece (I'm joking by the way if you can't tell, I don't have those insecurities), but because I think (daring to estimate your tastes) the three quarters of the map you missed out on would have been a lot more to your liking than this exotic introduction that throws you into the pit first thing, actually (but my bad for losing your interest so quickly); the first street area is way messier and all over the place than the rest of the level - I enjoy its layout way over its general look - as it's an enclosed location that also coincides with the first impression the player gets of the level, so I kind of had to cram all those lights in to boost an original taste of the Xmas / power abuse theme; I actually tried to make do without them actually and once tried removing them but then the atmosphere really did turn out to go down a bunch of notches, so I put them back, but the rest of the map doesn't have them and follows color theory better. Most importantly with the remaining three quarters of the map I made a conscious effort to implement traditional design features from the original levels such as whole areas built at a 45 degree angle à la E1L1 (which is actually incredible for giving levels more depth; I would love to see a whole level designed with grid lock off in Mapster), open areas or largely interconnected multi-leveled layouts which I would have been curious about your reception and possible appreciation of, if only you could have handled the whole trainwreck.

The new newbeasts (newerbeasts?) are definitely part of the novelty side of this map (and you haven't even seen some of the later combat set-ups that employ bosses you need to find strategies against), but fighting them with pipebombs (there are like ten of them scattered around the starting area and then you keep getting supplied with them throughout the map) is the most fun I've had in this game in a while (then I really haven't been playing it all that much), the enemy appears in pairs again a few times later in the map on different terrain every time, I think I used it as wisely as I could for what it is and its presence results in original combat scenarii without resorting to con coding (which is a technicality certain players might not care about, but it's natural for longtime mappers to try new things), so occasionally I'll take them over the same Pigcop ambush or Commander respawn we've already seen thousands of times yeah.

Hey I could go even further lengths about this and that aspect of the level because such exchanges of impressions are part of the reason why I map, but this post has been time-consuming enough so far (definitely more than the map was for you, from the sounds of it) and if I kept going I'd start feeling like I'm trying to justify myself when I'm really not (and wouldn't need to anyway). So for now I'll just say thanks again for the feedback and that I appreciate your welcome back (although I'm never certain to stick around - every time I drop a map is the result of some kind of unreasonable miracle in my schedule, but I'll always have love for this game).


I think it's the matter of tastes. I prefer the conceptual grandness to the micromanagement. I can very well enjoy a seemingly empty, but at the same time, relatable, believable map, but not really amazed by spritework and micro details anymore. A map like Mikko's Hoover Dam level, or Allen Blum's Egypt and Golden Gate levels, or LRWB's Back to LA level amaze me because how picturesque they are, despite their relative lack of micromanagement, ie. there are no tiny sized teddybears on every platforms, no cable sprites are drawn from the buttons. These are ok for me at small doses, but I clearly lose my focus on my gameplay when they take over and start blocking my movement or just start to inflate the actual relevant details (like the shrinker puzzle, where the vents were hard to spot in the mix of many other things).

But at the same time I respect the style you use. It's certainly a different approach and certainly much better than the random copycat mapping, when someone just remake Hollywood Holocaust or Dark Side. Just not necessary my taste.

This post has been edited by Nancsi: 28 February 2019 - 05:19 AM

2

User is offline   ck3D 

#22

View PostNancsi, on 28 February 2019 - 05:14 AM, said:

I think it's the matter of tastes. I prefer the conceptual grandness to the micromanagement. I can very well enjoy a seemingly empty, but at the same time, relatable, believable map, but not really amazed by spritework and micro details anymore. A map like Mikko's Hoover Dam level, or Allen Blum's Egypt and Golden Gate levels, or LRWB's Back to LA level amaze me because how picturesque they are, despite their relative lack of micromanagement, ie. there are no tiny sized teddybears on every platforms, no cable sprites are drawn from the buttons. These are ok for me at small doses, but I clearly lose my focus on my gameplay when they take over and start blocking my movement or just start to inflate the actual relevant details (like the shrinker puzzle, where the vents were hard to spot in the mix of many other things).

But at the same time I respect the style you use. It's certainly a different approach and certainly much better than the random copycat mapping, when someone just remake Hollywood Holocaust or Dark Side. Just not necessary my taste.


Oh I'm totally with you on conceptual grandness. In my opinion, that's the hardest type of mapping to achieve (especially if you come from a background of detailed mapping I'd say because then you have to learn to strip your own, naturally established style down to its fundamentals, which takes practice in itself and then you have to work on picking up a whole new dimension of mapping habits working from scratch again from said fundamentals, which eventually pays off by benefitting one's mapping altogether), but also eventually the most rewarding one. It makes for a different kind of magic I actually already realized a lot of my older maps lacked a while ago, and since then I've been making the conscious effort to focus on humble attempts at such a direction as the effect a massive, credible environment with solid structures can convey should go hand in hand with the surrealism (for the lack of a better term) and feeling of immersion I try to instill into my levels (also a reason behind the amount of detailing, it's an attempt at visual coherence albeit a departure from the looks of the original game). For that very reason I still think to this day Bummed Out is by far my favorite map I've ever made, although it's detailed and not necessarily a 'tall' map, the big scale and sense of space around the city block makes for a feel of coherence I wish all my other maps had (although the whole gameplay in that level was a novelty, it's really the type of immersion I want to go for).

The whole time I was working on this new map I was actually playing with what I would perceive as the best of both worlds; I spent quite some time incorporating sprinkles of basic straightforward design (i.e.. those large open air areas built at an angle with multiple levels in two corners of the level kind of meant to contrast with how claustrophobic the main street area can feel, or even the basic general layout that has the map basically loop around itself twice - you never got to any of those points though) all the while figuring hey, why not still spend the time to fine-tune the aesthetics I'm naturally inclined to use, and take advantage of the Xmas / power consumption theme as an excuse to push certain aspects of the 'colored' style to its limits with all those bright presents, teddy bears, lights, cables and coronas (fine-tuning certain areas I'd occasionally feel like I was literally trolling my own self, but besides provocation purposes I really wanted to see if I could try and blur the lines between the two different styles and aesthetics). The first section of the level you got to see doesn't represent that effort at all but it's probably more visible in the later outdoors sections where the buildings look clean but really aren't that sophisticated, with the usual gloomy textures now just contrasting with the modern Xmas lights and the detailed indoor sections. I thought that made for quite a unique look that in a way felt like hints to classic Duke 3D just modernized with bright touches of novelty but again, you - understandably - didn't make it to that part which again I can't blame you for because it is true that the beginning is full-on novelty style taken to quite an extreme.

I completely understand your points and am not feeling any disrespect whatsoever on your end. I just find it interesting to talk about tastes, expectations and intents as far as user content is concerned because communication helps expand vision and everybody benefits from this kind of talk in the end (so thank you for your time).

P.S. also 'micromanagement" is a great term to use in this context.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 February 2019 - 04:03 PM

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User is offline   Forge 

#23

A nice selection of texture combinations, well trimmed out, and a lot of detailing create for an immersive environment. Overall the visuals paid off, but it did have its drawbacks. Some areas were pretty cramped and a bit difficult to move around in. Deliberately done for pacing, but it can be burdensome and annoying to the player.
It also hides or disguises certain aspects; like usable doors verses decoration, and also a specific switch. Luckily there was a hint on a refrigerator, or I would have given up. But even that hint can easily be passed over in the sea of eye-candy.

What made this map a positive experience for me was the layout and the combat. The aliens weren't just dropped in using a sequence of: get weapon A, encounter alien B. The variety and method was well thought out.
The floorplan was quite clever with how it used horizontal and vertical shifts; eventually circling back on itself while keeping the progression going forward. The only issue I came across with it was engine based. Near the beginning when getting up on a roof off of a fire-escape, I ducked to avoid a rocket and clipped into the sos hallway below it.

This post has been edited by Forge: 28 February 2019 - 05:05 PM

2

User is offline   ck3D 

#24

Thank you for your feedback Forge, always insightful.

I'll keep the reoccurring comments regarding the cramped indoors sections in mind for my next map if there ever is one, those are always bound to be a pain in the ass by definition as they restrict mobility but interestingly this very cringe is what I think could be exploited in certain specific scenarii in levels. I kind of tried going for that here but obviously it should be even more refined and better thought out and put together in order not to take away too much from the fun in a level. I have to say I kind of like subjecting the player to sequences of actual feelings in my maps though, whether positive or negative (but always having a big positive of sorts as a reward for enduring anything negative), but it is true that too intense frustration and environmental oppression can be a thing, the line between gameplay pacing techniques and just being plain annoying to the user can easily be crossed and should be watched with care.

I'm glad you appreciated the layout and geographical progression, as those have become my favorite aspects of level design to nerd out on over the years and I've been enjoying experimenting with funkier (albeit still basic-ish) configurations working on my last few releases. And combat in a map I think helps tell its story, so the typical pistol then Liztroops / shotgun then Pigcops / chaingun then Enforcers / RPG then Battlelords and Commanders scheme I respect (and one can only mess with the players' habits of twenty years so much before catching flack) but if a level has a special theme to offer that would only benefit from a more organic type of progression then I'd say why not try - when implemented right, the players usually find the results refreshing.

Also I have one general question: did anybody ever really struggle entering those first vents whilst shrunk? I designed the entrance sector to be 3 floor units high deliberately for various gameplay reasons, meaning that even shrunk you need to press the crouching button (at least once) in order to enter the sector which I always thought was a well-known basic move in the game (or at least a reflex for shrunk players still not able to enter small holes without crouching to try and crouch). Nobody who tried the map thus far had ever mentioned any problem entering those vents, and just in case some people would get confused I even added a "down" sign over the entrance to suggest that the player really does have to go down (both the vents, and by crouching) there to keep going. But yesterday I heard about one longtime player who was stuck in that section of the map because although they had been playing the game since its release, they still didn't know about that gameplay possibility I always thought was rudimentary for some reason. They just didn't know one could crouch whilst shrunk and it would have an effect on whether or not they could enter a tinier sector. If one person got stuck then I'm sure some others will so as to avoid such situations I'm thinking of adding an extra line about how crouching whilst shrunk is a thing to the Important Notes in the .txt file, but now I'm really wondering how widespread knowledge about that 'trick' (which I never even regarded as a 'trick' before) is, and if entering those vents (not finding them) was ever an issue to people for say, more than 5 seconds?

This post has been edited by ck3D: 01 March 2019 - 06:30 AM

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#25

View Postck3D, on 01 March 2019 - 06:13 AM, said:

Also I have one general question: did anybody ever really struggle entering those first vents whilst shrunk? I designed the entrance sector to be 3 floor units high deliberately for various gameplay reasons, meaning that even shrunk you need to press the crouching button (at least once) in order to enter the sector

I don't recall ever playing a map where I had to crouch while shrunk - even so, I only wasted one shrinker round figuring it out. By the time I realized what I had to do, it was too late to safely enter the vent. Had to go back and zap myself one more time.
It's not a game breaker.
1

#26

36 minutes on the counter, 3/6 secrets found.
Solid map, mostly enjoyed my time playing this piece, yet a lot of stuff about cramped rooms and clutter are really on point.
I got kiled several times because of that, also I had one instance when I got lost for like 3 minutes and couldn't locate red keycard door.
My main gripe with all this is that because of the amounts of the clutter and large amount of enemies present at once (up to 20-25 on screen) enemies tend to blend in with the enviroment. There were several times I got killed by enemies I couldn't see or even hear, just shit flying everywhere, lots of little objects I get caught in and etc. This resulted in several deaths on my account, like the rooftop with giant slimer (where I died the most, though the slimer was really cool), the commander spawning in your face in the yellow keycard door and several other times. Also The shrinker start was cool, I didn't mind little newbeasts in the beginning, and the map is beautiful with a lot of care put in every little detail. I just believe your gameplay style would benefit greatly from making cleaner, more stripped down maps.
Your move.
1

User is offline   Merlijn 

#27

Played the final version, I was very happy to test it for you. It didn't even occur me to mention the shrinker puzzle in the beginning, I guess I just pressed crouch automatically.

Overall, the map can be a bit exhausting because there's a *lot* going on, both visually and gameplay wise. Things get really hectic once you reach the power station Or I'm just getting old. ;)
But I really like the overall style you went for, the blue/white theme combined with the bright christmas lights was pulled off very well.

The scale and detail of the outdoor areas is quite impressive, and I really like the focus on vertical progression. The surrounding buildings aren't even that detailled as you said, but they do show a lot of variety in their shapes. The factory was a really cool detail.

It's also pretty awesome that you can still think of new types of enemy encounters and combat scenario's without new code or art. The grinch newbeast won't be liked by everyone but I don't think they were unfair or even too annoying.

Not much else to say, I really enjoyed this map.
1

User is offline   Radar 100 Watts 

  • Zionist Shill

#28

I am stuck after getting the jetpack. I don't know where to go. Anyone able to help?


Amazing map. I really love the "punk" art style in all your maps, if that's an accurate description. The city is massive and it's really easy to feel immersed in the game world. Only comment I would make is that I'm not sure if the mini newbeasts and slimer eggs are worth it - they are very hard to hit.
1

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#29

View PostRadar, on 01 March 2019 - 08:06 PM, said:

I am stuck after getting the jetpack. I don't know where to go. Anyone able to help?

Take a break. Run a few miles on the treadmill, then go grab a cold one out of the fridge
3

User is offline   ck3D 

#30

Thank you for the feedback Merlijn, Mister Sinister and Radar,

Mister Sinister your map has been on my queue for a little bit, of course as soon as I get to play it I'll post feedback myself, I make it a point to always do so somehow whenever I get to find the time to play a level (which is a rare occurrence, but happens) because substantial exchanges are crucial in a community based around a 20+ year old game I think, thanks for bringing it to my attention in case it weren't already still, I'm all for people sharing their work

View PostRadar, on 01 March 2019 - 08:06 PM, said:

I am stuck after getting the jetpack. I don't know where to go. Anyone able to help?


Amazing map. I really love the "punk" art style in all your maps, if that's an accurate description. The city is massive and it's really easy to feel immersed in the game world. Only comment I would make is that I'm not sure if the mini newbeasts and slimer eggs are worth it - they are very hard to hit.



Spoiler


The mini enemies I thought would have to force the player to find different ways to attack them, notably by resorting to pipebombs which I think are underutilized in most user maps but yeah, they take some kind of process to understand how to fight them, which I don't mind because I think players have been used to knowing exactly how to tackle the default enemies for too long now so it's part of my intention to throw them off at first, only for them to learn and pick up on the 'new' gameplay mechanism. Especially the mini newbeasts are deliberately almost impossible to hit with bullets until they jump, but as they mostly crawl at (or even slightly below) ground level they are super vulnerable to pipebombs. The strategy is to always keep running around them all the while facing them (which is actually a bit of a challenge as they're super fast, but as they can't hit you from afar except with the occasional shrinker ray I'd say it's fair), and waiting for the right pauses in their attack pattern to throw explosives at them, they usually take three bombs each but you can usually hit both with just one bomb when they come in pairs. They're kind of like mini-minibosses when you encounter them, a step above your average Commander in terms of challenge and a step below a mini Battlelord in terms of resistance and danger (all the while not being quite the direct health threat with hitscan weapons or explosives etc.). But yeah, I would never imagine fighting them with regular guns, which is why the player starts weaponless and is only supplied pipebombs (and the uneffective shrinker) against them for a while. I tried to build a progression in the succession of their encounters too, first group is a basic introduction on flat land, then that single one around the first fire escape is only meant for pacing purposes but consolidates the impression that they won't be just a one-time occurrence, then the next duo on the rooftop is my favorite because of the sloped terrain and risk of falling off the building if not careful. After that they only reappear twice, once in the power station area as part of a bigger battle (which is where they reach their climax as far as utilization) and then once before the last area for consistency's sake and a quick goodbye fight.

I'm loving your spontaneous designation here: 'punk' style, I never consciously looked at my maps as sharing a general kind of style that could be labeled as such because I naturally don't really think about labeling stuff but now that you've said it I can see it and understand certain aspects of my own work under a new light, so I'd say that was actually a very on-point critique and I'm not just impressed but also flattered you could read into my little Duke levels like that. The last thing of the sort somebody said on here that resonated with me that much was when MetHy brought up that Siebenpolis felt like a 'Duke Nukem Game Boy edition'. I tend to be very emotionally invested in my crafts in general so whenever I feel like people get me through them with criticism or designations I hadn't even realized myself before yet still make perfect sense to me, I feel like my expression is understood by at least a few souls which honestly is always fulfilling.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 02 March 2019 - 06:17 AM

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