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[RELEASE] Back in Business episode  "Christmas came early this year!"

User is online   Aleks 

#1

So, today marks the 17th anniversary of the release of my first (and only one so far) user map for Duke 3D, Alex City 1: Bank Heist. About that time I started working on this episode, took a longer break from Duke community after finishing the first 3 maps, but now I'm back in business and it's about a time to release this thing! Here's 4 new levels for you to enjoy. They're all strongly mission-based, so the narrative/storyline is usually a bit deeper than "kill aliens, find a button, proceed". Make sure to read all the hints, viewscreens and mission briefings on your way! Some puzzles might feel a bit unintuitive after playing the game for 25 years, but it's all the build engine stuff - just try to interact with your environment by pressing "use" on it and you might be in for some nice surprise, especially in the 4th level!

This episode requires newer versions of EDuke32 to play. Works best with Polymost renderer (although Classic is also supported - just will look way uglier, so if you can run Polymost, then that's the recommended way). Please read the included ReadMe file for more information on installation and compatibility/requirements (and a lot of my additional babbling, including more elaborate description).

Story:
After fighting off the alien invasions one after another for a couple of years, Duke finally decided to settle down a bit and concentrate on his own business. As a successful entrepreneur, he founded a chain network of fast food restaurants, strip clubs, bars and casinos. Today marks the opening of his newest casino in Los Angeles, “The Lady Killer Casino”. With everything ready and in place, Duke watched some porn on his laptop, took a sip of Martini with vodka (shaken, not stirred!), decided it tastes like shit after years of abusing Jack Daniels and fat-ass Cuban cigars, and poured the contents of his glass into the plant. “Cheers”, sneered Duke, as the ground beneath the plant greedily drained every last drip of the alcohol. Duke looked at his watch and noticed it’s quarter to 8 – that means 15 more minutes until the casino opens. Should be enough time for a quicky with the new croupier chick, Millie Perkins, who’s been eyeballing him all the time during the opening preparations (while ostentatiously licking or sucking on her fingers whenever their eyes met). Before leaving his office, he made sure the pistol is safely stored in a hideout behind a painting – just in case if anything goes wrong…

Some screenshots:
Attached Image: duke0036.png Attached Image: duke0039.png Attached Image: duke0042.png Attached Image: duke0048.png Attached Image: duke0055.png Attached Image: duke0057.png Attached Image: duke0061.png Attached Image: duke0063.png Attached Image: duke0069.png

DOWNLOAD LINK: DOWNLOAD FROM GOOGLE DRIVE

Also, I have quite carefully chosen the music that would fit best each level, and I strongly recommend to play the levels with each of the provided tracks. However, if you REALLY don't like the music for some reason, here's an alternative USER.CON: Attached File  BACKINBUSINESS_ALTERNATIVE_MUSIC.zip (10.98K)
Number of downloads: 152

Last but not least, enormous thank you to my beta-testers, especially to ck3D and Merlijn, without whose help it would be impossible to release this thing!

Hope you have fun! Any feedback or comments would be greatly appreciated!
22

User is online   ck3D 

#2

Congrats on releasing this work of a lifetime Aleks!

I'd recommend checking out this episode to everyone for sure. Like you're saying, some aspects are a slight departure from the base Duke 3D but I believe you've made every objective as clear as possible given the mission style and now, it just feels like a unique take of your own on that universe (which is the way it should be), like you sprinkled your style over that cake and handicrafted an extra dimension to layer on top of it. Those who liked your little constructions in AlexCity will love all the smart ones in here punctuating the rhythm of every room with great use of some Build tricks that usually aren't pushed to such an extent; the street area in the first level is actually a great spiritual successor to AlexCity or so I find. It's also worth noting that the maps have great replay value due to the variety of objectives and 100% completion of those levels (secrets included) won't come easy unless you're an exploration fiend, in which case Back In Business will keep you busy for a long time for sure. A couple of them especially would probably lend themselves to speedrunning pretty well too.

My favorite map of the pack has to be the third one, although the fourth one is obviously the most ambitious and really something else entirely. You know I kept reloading just to replay those 'waves' over and over, that's probably one of my favorite sequences in Duke 3D in a while, although the open spaces of the fourth map are epic and come close, but I will only comment any further a bit later as to not spoil anything for other people!

Nice one again, cool to see you back in business yourself after all these years. Cheers!

This post has been edited by ck3D: 14 December 2020 - 08:55 AM

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User is offline   Merlijn 

#3

Congrats on the release, I was happy to test it! I agree with ck3d (although my favorite is the last level ;) ).
Will leave a detailled review once I've replayed the pack!
2

User is offline   Ninety-Six 

#4

What sort of "ugly" problems can be expected in classic?
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User is online   Aleks 

#5

View PostNinety-Six, on 14 December 2020 - 10:07 AM, said:

What sort of "ugly" problems can be expected in classic?


It's mostly some more complex spriteworks glitching, nothing really serious though. In fact both Merlijn and MRCK played it in classic and they did enjoy the game it seems. And I actually realised I should make it more classic-friendly after reading one of your posts a couple weeks ago, where you said you can only play in classic in some other thread. Fixed some more serious stuff like parallaxed skies getting weird and some spriteworks since then.

For people who have to play in classic mode:
Spoiler


1

User is online   ck3D 

#6

View PostNinety-Six, on 14 December 2020 - 10:07 AM, said:

What sort of "ugly" problems can be expected in classic?


Nothing practical and barely anything observable really when you know the maps were primarily designed for Polymost. Some sprites can occasionally overlap each other from certain angles here and there (mostly in the last map) and that's it. It does kind of make one specific puzzle somewhere halfway through the last map a bit unfair to classic mode users like us, as one of the hints the map gives you is sprite-based in a tiny space and thus it's easy to miss part of the hint if those sprites overlap, you have to look at it from both angles for proper display. Otherwise every time I've played the full set has been in classic and I've had no complaints, in fact the only time I could even tell the difference as the player was when I got stuck on that puzzle as it was the only thing really screaming 'wrong renderer' at me, otherwise I'd go as far as saying it's totally good for classic with no ugliness per se - it's just Aleks has this perfectionist author's vision of how he'd prefer the map to be played.

edit - that puzzle I'm talking about is exactly what Aleks just beat me to describing.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 14 December 2020 - 10:39 AM

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User is offline   MetHy 

#7

Fair warning: do not have Military Madness in your root folder :lol:
3

User is online   brullov 

  • Senior Artist at TGK

#8

Congrats on the release, downloading! I advise using itch.io for hosting. You can setup a page with screenshots, videos, anything.

EDIT: I followed the instructions, but I don't have GRP in the custom game section.

This post has been edited by brullov: 14 December 2020 - 11:26 AM

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User is online   Aleks 

#9

View Postbrullov, on 14 December 2020 - 11:20 AM, said:

Congrats on the release, downloading! I advise using itch.io for hosting. You can setup a page with screenshots, videos, anything.

EDIT: I followed the instructions, but I don't have GRP in the custom game section.


It has to be put into a separate directory inside the EDuke directory, i.e. you should just unpack the whole "Back in Business" directory to your EDuke directory, then EDuke loading screen should let you choose it from the drop-down list.
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User is online   ck3D 

#10

View Postbrullov, on 14 December 2020 - 11:20 AM, said:

Congrats on the release, downloading! I advise using itch.io for hosting. You can setup a page with screenshots, videos, anything.


Random side note but what's the general consensus on ModDB? Been seeing quite a few pages on that website for Duke- and Build-related projects, some of them still ongoing. When it comes to presenting works like this it looks pretty enticing, is there anything in particular that authors should know about before they start using it themselves or nah?

Also another thing worth pointing out is the new swinging door behavior will sometimes make things a bit problematic here and there, with active enemies potentially ending up in the way of a few of the doors in particular in sections where they've respawned, wandered about in and that you have to backtrack through. That's all RNG and engine-related though and from my experience there's always a way around the problem, even if sometimes you have to force things a bit (for instance to get out of elevators or re-open a certain door with quite the amount of active Newbeasts in the room behind it), in the end I could always win over those random 'sequence breaks' with no cheats.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 14 December 2020 - 11:54 AM

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User is offline   MetHy 

#11

View Postck3D, on 14 December 2020 - 11:54 AM, said:

Also another thing worth pointing out is the new swinging door behavior will sometimes make things a bit problematic here and there, with active enemies potentially ending up in the way of a few of the doors in particular in sections where they've respawned, wandered about in and that you have to backtrack through. That's all RNG and engine-related though and from my experience there's always a way around the problem, even if sometimes you have to force things a bit (for instance to get out of elevators or re-open a certain door with quite the amount of active Newbeasts in the room behind it), in the end I could always win over those random 'sequence breaks' with no cheats.


I haven't brought up the issue yet to anyone because I haven't tested it thoroughly, but I think this new door system can potentially lead to dead man walking scenarios; for instance with enemies getting in the way of activator based doors when the door is activated by a single touchplate or a one time activation switch.

I've also had another instance where enemies on the other side of the door were blocking it and it took me several minutes to brute force it.

This post has been edited by MetHy: 14 December 2020 - 12:23 PM

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User is online   Sanek 

#12

Congrats on the release! I finished it already!
Some remarks:

1) First off, the thing that really throw me off-guard is how interactive everthing is! I like these small CON-fueled tasks, which is not something unique but I don't remeber playing things like this in a while, so it all feels fresh!

2) The Duke's lore (babes, casino, Graves, mission read) is something that most mappers don't pay attention too - it really makes episode stand out of the crowd!

3) Design-wise the levels is great, I like the extra attention to the shadows and it's a solid piece of work all-around. I see the style/pattern that you developed during the Alexcity's development is still here!
Speaking of individual levels, CASINO CARNAGE is probably my favorite because because of all the fancy features it introduced, all the shadows and how almost every piece of the map (even chips) looks 3D.
MUTANT MAYHEM is good map too but not as long as I wished. FREEZING FEAR is my least favorite maps because it's kinda bland compared to others, not to mention the obnoxious music that I had to turn off to regain sanity.
PIGGISH PRISON is my second favorite after the first one. From what I understand it's the last map to go into development and It was the appropriate way to finish the episode, since the scope, the design, everything is here!
The only thing that felt like a letdown is the end of the episode - I expected the boss fight at least, not to mention more maps to play!

Overall, I can't say it blew away as the Oostrum's maps did but this episode is a great expierence anyway. Thanks to all the feautres I didn't expect to see in what I essentially though of as just a vanilla episode, made it one ot the most memorable releases of the year! Great job, man. B)
2

User is offline   pavigna 

#13

Finally finished it! Great work Aleks! your expansion is pretty solid, and overall it's fun, but it has a few issues here and there, mostly with balancing in the levels.
Disclosure: I played it in Come get Some.

CASINO CARNAGE: Beatiful looking map, loved the casino in all of it's details. balancing is meh, too many enemies and too little health to deal with them. love the tone and the look of the map, but the sewer area is basically a cheap respawn trigger, as there are no really interesting things down there compared to the rest of the level. Also you use and abuse commanders whenever you have the chance, which is meh.

MUTANT MAYHEM: the best map in the episode. this one is well balanced and it's pretty clear where you have to go. love the initial sequence and everything after it.

FREEZING FEAR: This map is a pain in the ass. great spritework, like in all of the other maps, but this one is the worst. the code thing was an absolute nightmare to figure out, might be because i'm an idiot but it was tough. once again, too many enemies and very little health, you just use 10hp packs everywhere and those are literally worthless. liked the final wave assault area, that was cool. EDIT: Aleks made me realize i missed the hints to check out the terminals lol, i'm just blind.

PIGGISH PRISON: Oh boy. the starting area is really bad, you have to kick a pigcop, you break out of jail and lots more pigcops appear while you have only a shotgun with 10-ish bullets. in this area, there's almost no health and that really killed the fun, i had to go back to the toilet at the start to fill my health. loved the pipebomb building sequence. once out of the prison, the surrounding area is beautiful, just detail and cool stuff everywhere, great job. loved the bridge in particular, but the bar is also a great looking area. once again, troughout the whole level there's too little health. dunno if you made the map specifically for let's rock but even in that difficulty, in which i replayed the first map, health is still scarce. Anticlimactic ending but overall a cool map.


Final results: I enjoyed this episode for the most part, but the health issue is really bad, hope you end up thinking about it when you make your next maps, if you ever do. the spritework is absolute bonkers, loved that effect with a ton of sprites very close together looking like voxels. the story and screens are really funny.


My final vote is an 8.5/10, because aside from the balancing there's nothing really wrong with the levels, just the code thing.

This post has been edited by pavigna: 15 December 2020 - 01:09 AM

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User is online   Aleks 

#14

Thanks for the detailed comments, guys! Actually I find it really cool that after 4 people have finished the episode, each one picked a different favourite map - now who would expect this!

The episode has also been uploaded to ModDB - here's the link in case you'd prefer that to the lousy Google Drive download: Back in Business on ModDB

BTW, there will be a 5th map, which will be kind of a boss level - but it will probably take me some time to finish, so I decided the ending of Piggish Prison was a good way to conclude the release for now.

This post has been edited by Aleks: 15 December 2020 - 01:23 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#15

View PostSanek, on 14 December 2020 - 05:12 PM, said:

I like these small CON-fueled tasks


You realize that none of the map tricks themselves are .con based, right? Only the new enemy variations and the text displays are. Or maybe that's what you meant!
1

User is online   Sanek 

#16

View Postck3D, on 15 December 2020 - 01:34 AM, said:

You realize that none of the map tricks themselves are .con based, right? Only the new enemy variations and the text displays are. Or maybe that's what you meant!


I know that everything in the map can be done via simple engine's tricks. And yes, I meant displays like "take a shower, you smell horrible" etc. I remember the last time Maarten did the "pick up the random object" thing in his space map, so nothing new here...

However, sometimes I wondered whether things work or not. When you start the prison level you've got to find the powder and the pipe and the joystick thing. I found the powder and joystick but couldn't find the pipe so I've got to cheat to get through the gate. And yes, it's kinda hard to pickup these objects for some reason.
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User is offline   jkas789 

#17

I finally finished it and I think k it was great. My personal favorites funnily enough were both the casino and freezing fear.

The only problem I have with the maps is that there were few health pickups around (or small health pickups) so I changed my way of playing the game by avoiding damage as much as I could (with the side effect bid conserving ammo).

Other than that the maps were excellent. The attention to detail was very good IMO.

Congrats and thanks for the hard work dude!

This post has been edited by jkas789: 15 December 2020 - 10:50 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#18

View PostSanek, on 15 December 2020 - 04:23 AM, said:

However, sometimes I wondered whether things work or not. When you start the prison level you've got to find the powder and the pipe and the joystick thing. I found the powder and joystick but couldn't find the pipe so I've got to cheat to get through the gate. And yes, it's kinda hard to pickup these objects for some reason.


Were you playing in classic mode or Polymost? I can only play in classic and the first time I ever played that (first section of the) map, the logic that I was picking up objects while visiting the rooms didn't sink in right away, I knew I was sort of in the process of some kind of sequence but most of the items I sort of collected by accident. Then the last and the worst culprit was the aluminum pipe because at that point I had figured out that I needed to pick up stuff, and I spent a minute revisiting the rooms until I eventually just walked on it and realized the sprite was sort of clipping through the floor, making it hard to see. I sort of blamed that on playing in classic though, which isn't recommended. I also thought the hit detection of the sprites was a bit weird but nothing bad enough to report as it would maybe take a mere extra second to find it eventually when spontaneously trying to pick up the sprite, I even wondered if it was on me being too tired to play. That section is a lot more fun the second time around though, once you know exactly what you need to do and can just go through the tasks; that actually applies to pretty much the entire episode but solving it for the first time in a way is half the fun, and then the rest is the replay value. I think this episode is not especially the most accessible one because it's not straightforward originally and requires time and attention to solve, but once you've beaten it kind of becomes a classic to breeze through and generates stress relief over the original head scratching.

It's also worth noting that Aleks has been making a gazillion of fixes to the gameplay in less than two weeks after the first beta testing phase. The original version I got to play was a whole lot more obscure, with far less hints and text messages everywhere, little to no indication in Casino Carnage about the objectives and time limit or in Freezing Fear regarding the (easy-to-miss) personal assistants and the red key card that wasn't apparent at first and needed to be printed out by activating something; I actually had to ask Aleks what was expected of me in various parts. So in comparison, for me the released version is almost a lite version of the original when it comes to the amount of patience it requires; in the end it's quite the episode for the tech-minded. But I expected no less from Aleks since Alexcity originally had a lot of similar experimentation with the player having to do some subtle detective work in order to progress, and a focus on complex constructions and effect sequences that require a certain attention span.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 December 2020 - 10:51 AM

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User is offline   Mark 

#19

I can understand not having a comp capable of playing under Polymer, but can't even use Polymost? Are you running a 30 year old 286 processor? :P
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User is online   ck3D 

#20

View PostMark, on 15 December 2020 - 11:47 AM, said:

I can understand not having a comp capable of playing under Polymer, but can't even use Polymost? Are you running a 30 year old 286 processor? :P


I could use a counter to keep track of all the calories I spend pedaling while mapping just to keep the power on for as long as possible until I finally collapse, exhausted but happy.

Nah, PC is from the late 00's but just not optimized for gaming. It can run Polymost but very uncomfortably as as soon as the menu on game launch I get insane lag. It's something I had never really noticed prior to testing this, too, funnily enough, otherwise I never run anything but classic anyway in the first place.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 December 2020 - 02:50 PM

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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

#21

View PostMark, on 15 December 2020 - 11:47 AM, said:

I can understand not having a comp capable of playing under Polymer, but can't even use Polymost? Are you running a 30 year old 286 processor? :P


In my case, this computer I'm set up on is a business laptop from a few years ago.

But my actual PC which had its hdd die in January was built in 2011 out of parts that were a few years behind. That stopped being able to run Polymost at a playable framerate sometime around the r65XX-r67XX revisions. I assume due to some change in the renderer.

The laptop is able to handle polymost up to around the early r9XXXs, at which point it becomes a crapshot if it will run decently or not. And even when it does fine otherwise, some levels or rooms are pure murder. Baptized in Lunar Dust is an experiment in madness since the crate room is a slideshow that tends to end with me on the floor (This is all, of course, assuming that eduke doesn't hang 2 seconds after loading up into polymost due to a windows update or god knows what that's about).

This post has been edited by Ninety-Six: 15 December 2020 - 06:09 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#22

View PostNinety-Six, on 15 December 2020 - 06:08 PM, said:

The laptop is able to handle polymost up to around the early r9XXXs, at which point it becomes a crapshot if it will run decently or not. And even when it does fine otherwise, some levels or rooms are pure murder. Baptized in Lunar Dust is an experiment in madness since the crate room is a slideshow that tends to end with me on the floor (This is all, of course, assuming that eduke doesn't hang 2 seconds after loading up into polymost due to a windows update or god knows what that's about).


And here I was thinking it might be my PC about to crap out on me, when I was struggling with Polymost the other day, since I could have sworn it used to run it fine many years ago but it had been so long I wasn't even certain anymore. That would make more sense and is rather reassuring, thanks for sharing your experience. My machine is about a year or two older than yours and probably the same type, from the sounds of it (not technically a laptop in my case but an office type of PC). Was left unused and stored under a bed for a handful of years too so I'm expecting more life from it. It even survived my ex girlfriend once taking the initiative to cover it up with a blanket on a night I had left it on because I needed to upload huge files for work overnight because she didn't like the light, which caused it to overheat and apparently kill half the screen. Somehow the pixels all gradually came back over the following weeks - blessed.

On the other end when it comes to karma, two years ago I lost a brand new MacBook Pro (my work computer at the time too) due to opening it up one morning and realizing there was a full-on puddle of water sandwiched in between the screen and keyboard. I never understood where the fuck it came from as it had just been safely stored in a backpack (in a dry environment) for a few days, but funnily enough that was also after a night with a woman in the room (don't get me wrong I love women and stereotyping is out of question, I never even confronted her about it, the odds are just funny, and coincidentally it was blanket girl in the end who helped me get a replacement). Thing was just a few months old, salvation rice trick didn't suffice, bummed me out enough to still be rambling online about it to this day. Personal (not so) far-fetched theory so far is someone else in the house in particular didn't like me because 1/ I was working for a concurrent company doing a better job than them and 2/ they were quite obviously jealous of me hooking up with the girl. Even tried sneaking into the room one night when they thought I wasn't there then pretended to be looking for the bathroom.

Just trying to give Aleks ideas for a new episode (or the boss map). Gotta get them creative juices flowing.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 December 2020 - 07:33 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#23

Here's my review for CGS, should be up soon (page is already up here):

Quote

Back In Business as a title bears a double entendre as this original fan Duke 3D episode also marks the return of its author, the Poland-based Alex/Aleks Pistol to the community after a long hiatus, only to release this considerable piece of work on the very seventeenth anniversary of the drop of his classic user map AlexCity 1: Bank Heist, a much celebrated one in the early naughts (to the point of being cultivated by some as emblematic of that time period). AlexCity 1 (and only, for nearly two decades, till today) featured a rather unique approach to both design and gameplay, involving nifty, smart sector- and sprite-based constructions and effects in the player's progression. That niche principle resulted in a level that could be a bit of a head scratcher to begin figuring out in some parts but, as a result, conquering for the first time felt not only satisfying but also like just the start of the fun - the replay value greatly benefiting from the user's newly acquired intel and better grasp of all the little functionalities of the map.

Essentially, the exact same could be said about Back In Business. The episode is a succession of mission-based levels where you'll have to keep an eye out for detail and clues, and is bound to have you spend at least some time figuring out not where to go next (as special care has been put always indicating that fairly well with constant messages, viewscreens and efficient respawns), but how to actually get there. Every map's structure is coherent (Aleks also doubling up as a civil engineer, which really shows) and thus test the limits of your (Build game) logic in a rarely unfair manner. It is also worth noting that although the first levels in the set are historically much older than the last, the author has constantly been refreshing them over the years and in the end, they all share comparable qualities both in the progression patterns and the high-quality design (again with top notch sprite and shadow work, clever sector construction, impressive engine manipulation, particularly close attention to detail and even some new .art that manages not to clash against the original Duke 3D universe).

The first level is a short (and timed) rush through a small but beautiful and well-constructed casino-themed city level where you have objectives to complete in any order before you can automatically lose against the watch. While it's rather unlikely that your first attempt will be a success, it should definitely suffice to get a solid grasp on the map so that the second will be a no-brainer (and it's indeed easy to get sidetracked by staring at the surrounding eye-candy, or level of interactivity with the props). A computer is there in the starting room to guide you through this little journey with hints that keep updating themselves; chances are you won't be going back there after you leave it if you're focused on making it on time, still it exists, representing how the experience here really depends on your constant judgement and choices as the player. There is one elevator that may or may not malfunction if operated improperly, which may lead you to spend a few precious minutes making it out should you ever get stuck, but it's doable and - in a way - hilariously realistic.

Second and third level are both base maps with, again, objectives to complete. The first one of the duo, Mutant Mayhem, is an average-length romp through a facility where experiments are being conducted on aliens, in labs you're charged to sabotage. The general mood is actually pretty dark (and complete with Lost Highway references), but the level plays well with a straightforward layout and some original Build tricks on display when destroying the experiments. Ambition-wise, it's quite reminiscent of the typical user map of the 2000's which makes sense as it was built pre-1024+ sector limit originally, so in terms of scope but also of general feel. The next map, Freezing Fear is a personal favorite and partially takes place in more open spaces with great visibility relying on white textures and strongly contrasted lighting. While its navigation may be slightly confusing at first if you don't know what the personal assistant type of devices you're supposed to find look like (it doesn't help that they are small objects situated at floor level and some of them don't have a practical purpose but one of welcome comedic relief), once the clue picked up, the layout and its flow should become crystal clear. The map makes good use of vertical terrain variation, and the final fight sequence consisting in several waves of enemy assault culminating in some engine mindfuckery is especially amazing.

The fourth map is called Piggish Prison and the most ambitious (and recent) one of the whole lot. Your objective here is a lot more explicit and won't rely on scripted tasks as much (at least past your escape, itself an adventure of its own) and instead way more on exploration. Once out in the open, there are vast amounts of space to comb through and navigate in between firefights that easily could have gone the slaughter map route in the hands on a less experienced mapper due to the available room, but actually take a very wise route instead relying on scientific monster positioning and choice, as well as top notch use of respawns and savantly partitioned and orchestrated action sequences. The environments are credible and so is the constant feeling of adventure rampaging through the prison ward and the surrounding cliffs, riding a motor boat, looking through binoculars. The progression itself is sequenced around different zones the player has to explore in succession, solving the occasional Zelda-flavored puzzle and witnessing some great sights on the way, and leads to an ending scene you really should have seen coming but probably thought couldn't be done in Build.

To sum things up, Back in Business is a very original piece of work and take on the Duke 3D universe, with lots of passion and care put into its own niche specificities, making for some occasionally unorthodox and disorienting gameplay but also a brand of fun of its own. While it may tickle your traditional reflexes as a seasoned Duke player, the experience presents quite the fresh challenge; some practical issues can be addressed, but the remarkable quality and structural coherence of the overall design undoubtedly suffice to make this episode worth your time. Seventeen years after AlexCity, the author has only been cultivating and refining his trademark style, of which Back In Business so far is the apex - and also as a whole, in itself, quite the Space Oddity.

Score: 96


This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 December 2020 - 08:51 PM

1

User is offline   Nukem1994x 

#24

Played the episode and it's awesome, great work! B) I'm just having one issue in the last mission in the prisons third and fourth floor. It doesn't let me go through the doors right where the stairs are as a wall just appears. I tried clipping, but i just go through the floor.

This post has been edited by Nukem1994x: 16 December 2020 - 03:14 AM

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User is online   Aleks 

#25

View PostNukem1994x, on 16 December 2020 - 03:09 AM, said:

Played the episode and it's awesome, great work! B) I'm just having one issue in the last mission in the prisons third and fourth floor. It doesn't let me go through the doors right where the stairs are as a wall just appears. I tried clipping, but i just go through the floor.


Thanks for the comments, and that glitch is weird. What version of Eduke are you using? It sounds like something went wrong with 4 layers of SOS there.

And thanks for the review, ck3D! It was very pleasant to read, and I didn't expect it so soon!

Also, while watching yesterday's stream of my episode by JBlade, I've noticed the skies in maps 3 and 4 were pitch black, which seems like some weird bug. No idea if it has to do with Eduke version or GRP or something else, but just noting it - they should be white lava and red sunset, respectively (as in screenshots). If you're experiencing something like that, you might want to check your files for proper experience - it's in no way a showstopper, but then the skies really set the mood for these maps, so it's much better to play them as intended.
1

User is offline   Nukem1994x 

#26

View PostAleks, on 16 December 2020 - 03:51 AM, said:

Thanks for the comments, and that glitch is weird. What version of Eduke are you using? It sounds like something went wrong with 4 layers of SOS there.

And thanks for the review, ck3D! It was very pleasant to read, and I didn't expect it so soon!

Also, while watching yesterday's stream of my episode by JBlade, I've noticed the skies in maps 3 and 4 were pitch black, which seems like some weird bug. No idea if it has to do with Eduke version or GRP or something else, but just noting it - they should be white lava and red sunset, respectively (as in screenshots). If you're experiencing something like that, you might want to check your files for proper experience - it's in no way a showstopper, but then the skies really set the mood for these maps, so it's much better to play them as intended.


No worries, managed to get it sorted. The glitch has gone now i'm running it off a newer version of Eduke32. :) Great episode btw will look forward to the continuation of it if it gets released someday B)

This post has been edited by Nukem1994x: 16 December 2020 - 04:14 AM

1

User is offline   Sangman 

#27

Are you supposed to restart or something when the timer elapses on the first level?

On Mutant Mayhem I was a bit thrown off by the fact that you can't jump over the fence but instead need to specifically walk through a hole in the fence :P

This post has been edited by Sangman: 20 December 2020 - 08:42 AM

0

User is online   Aleks 

#28

View PostSangman, on 20 December 2020 - 08:30 AM, said:

Are you supposed to restart or something when the timer elapses on the first level?

On Mutant Mayhem I was a bit thrown off by the fact that you can't jump over the fence but instead need to specifically walk through a hole in the fence :P


Yeah, that's why the limit is only on 1st level, so there won't be problem with people getting blocked with mid-level saves or something ;) As for blocked fence - well, Duke shouldn't be supposed to jump 2.5 m high anyway! And that will come in handy in later levels, too.

I've uploaded a short, spoiler-free teaser from bar fight in level 4 along with some interactive features showcasing - it can be viewed here: https://www.moddb.co...business/videos
0

User is offline   Sangman 

#29

Alright finished it, good stuff though I did find the last map a bit frustrating. What got on my nerves the most was small rooms where I constantly clipped up sprites which made dodging hitscan shots a bit annoying.

The snowy map was probably my favourite of the bunch.
1

User is offline   Jim 

#30

How new must the eduke32 be to play this? edit: sorry didn't read the readme

This post has been edited by Jim: 22 December 2020 - 12:56 AM

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