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[RELEASE] Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius full 14-map episode  ""A one-way trip!""

User is online   ck3D 

#271

That is some crucially important info for me in the bug chasing/fixing department, thanks. Could have fooled me for a long time, I had some slight Polymost suspicion around Embarco's Most Blasted and Incapharnaum but took level 5 and then your word to be sure. That is reassuring as the discrepancies between classic and Polymost used to be more important and there's quite a lot around the levels I've continuously been trying to address 'blind' (since I can't Polymost), throughout all the updates, just based on video feedback, so it looks like some of that harmonization effort so far is working. Norilsk and Hotel Atlantis I guess are the two maps left that potentially still break the matrix, Polymost will crash them (sometimes after some short-lived funny business) whereas classic mode will just generate weird HOM in the same situations the exceptional extent of which seems dependent on user settings on an even finer level than renderer choice, for instance I seem to have observed players running the game in classic but in a higher resolution than I do seem to get glitches around Norilsk from places and angles where I don't (probably sounds silly but that is the only common denominator, or lack thereof, that I could think of). Duke Du Quatrain used to bug out the same (inconsistent) ways too but eventually I managed to fix that one.

Besides breakage there are some visual inconsistencies as minor as the bus windows around the Paris map looking off in Polymost and as major as some invisible enemies (in Incapharnaum in particular, some might clip into the sky), or I remember the 'central' effect in Postmortem also broke in Polymost for Aleks around beta testing time which at the time really upset me, maybe it still can.

In Zarathustra I had one lone report once of someone for which the giant drill never formed the hole, somehow. I tried reproducing that running the effect dozens of times but also couldn't do it. Although that is not renderer related and just one more mystery.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 26 August 2023 - 07:35 PM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#272

Do you keep up to date with the latest EDuke32 builds? I have never experienced Blast Radius crash on me while using polymost.
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User is online   ck3D 

#273

To a degree - I stopped being able to update sometime around last year it seems, newer builds will refuse to launch on my machine, I never reported that because no one else ever had an issue so it pretty clearly is on my machine or on me as a user. Crashes in Polymost in general is a phenomenon I've got reports on, or observed in streams since day one, happening to players with recent builds. Myself I can't even run that renderer, hence why limited compatibility, and visible discrepancies in the product I originally was quite discouraged for a bit realizing they existed.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 27 August 2023 - 02:08 AM

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#274

I have been in NYC during the last week, and now I understand the perspectives of the 3rd map much more. We had been on a guided tour in Manhattan (also visited Niagara, Washington, Baltimore and the Hershey Chocolate World), sadly, we weren't going to Brooklyn due to our inept guide (only walking through the bridge on a very hot sunny day), but now I understand the city's structure much more, and granted: the level takes place in Brooklyn, not in Manhattan, the borough often confused by NYC itself. Outside of Manhattan, the city (also the nearby Jersey City, NJ) is pretty flat, very few scrapers can be found at the river coasts, but that's it. Manhattan would have worked well for a Duke map, especially for a BR map (especially Times Square and the nearby broadway theaters), but we got something similar from Tokyo in map9.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 27 August 2023 - 03:32 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#275

That is great, I'm glad you could see the city, shame you didn't get to see much around Brooklyn but at least you walked the bridge and looking down, maybe you got (or could have gotten) a chance to see the real life version of the brick pits. Like I've said before, out of all the city 'recreations' the NYC level probably is the most abstract one, it incorporates mostly references to the real locations and reuses some of the architectural trends (copious number of cellar doors, views on the cityscape from the piers, etc.) but otherwise is mainly layout-focused (practical/traditional in the first half, confusing/modern in the second half).

Out of all the other U.S. city maps (which is easy to sort since there are only three levels with that theme) I think SF is the most representative of the city, the layout in that level really copies the one of a large chunk of the business center downtown from the Ferry Building all the way up Market Street (the main street through SF) to Powell, traversing the Embarcadero, I remember you saying you might be going to SF a while back, not sure if that ever happened yet but I think you might catch the feeling of the Build version quite well once you do, might even surprise your guide. The LA level is based on one particular LA block too but the scale is smaller and the reference specific, you probably couldn't be sure of much until you'd visit the exact block.

Paris and Tokyo (and to a degree Pula) also are high fidelity re: entire city blocks and landmarks. Norilsk and Dubai (secret 2) are looser since to both places I've never been (otherwise I directly am familiar with all the other earthly locations to a degree).

This post has been edited by ck3D: 27 August 2023 - 04:23 AM

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#276

View Postck3D, on 27 August 2023 - 04:20 AM, said:

That is great, I'm glad you could see the city, shame you didn't get to see much around Brooklyn but at least you walked the bridge and looking down, maybe you got (or could have gotten) a chance to see the real life version of the brick pits. Like I've said before, out of all the city 'recreations' the NYC level probably is the most abstract one, it incorporates mostly references to the real locations and reuses some of the architectural trends (copious number of cellar doors, views on the cityscape from the piers, etc.) but otherwise is mainly layout-focused (practical/traditional in the first half, confusing/modern in the second half).

Out of all the other U.S. city maps (which is easy to sort since there are only three levels with that theme) I think SF is the most representative of the city, the layout in that level really copies the one of a large chunk of the business center downtown from the Ferry Building all the way up Market Street (the main street through SF) to Powell, traversing the Embarcadero, I remember you saying you might be going to SF a while back, not sure if that ever happened yet but I think you might catch the feeling of the Build version quite well once you do, might even surprise your guide. The LA level is based on one particular LA block too but the scale is smaller and the reference specific, you probably couldn't be sure of much until you'd visit the exact block.

Paris and Tokyo (and to a degree Pula) also are high fidelity re: entire city blocks and landmarks. Norilsk and Dubai (secret 2) are looser since to both places I've never been (otherwise I directly am familiar with all the other earthly locations to a degree).


When I was in Frisco, it was pretty cold and cloudy, and from what I've heard, that's the norm there (think about the famous Mark Twain quote). Your map had a strong recreation of it's harbour, but it felt like a scorched earth (more than any other map in the game, including Peru), and that alone gave me a bit of LA vibe to it. The map is great, one of the best ones, but the Frisco temperatures are different in my perceptions. Golden Carnage's darkness caught that part more.
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User is online   ck3D 

#277

Hmm, San Francisco has a few months in the year where the weather actually is really nice, but I see what you mean. I considered going for the 'cliché' foggy look for it but NYC already had a polluted type sky (all the more so in the beta version with the blue/Van Goghish 'noise') and so I needed contrast, with SF as the second level I also wanted to really overwhelm the player with the 'new' scale (including of the destruction) and so needed brightness and visibility to boost that effect. I also intended it to feel like a prolongation of the first LA map with a red theme, just 20x bigger, level needed to remain 'classic Duke' in terms of looks to play on familarity all the while disorienting with the scope. There would be a lot to say to justify the choice but I otherwise agree Golden Carnage made the foggy look work all the while presenting scale and being crystal clear to read, in the context of an otherwise colorful World Tour as a late level especially functioned, I guess it's one of those moments where the general game design takes priority over single map pretentions and specifics. My version clearly is scorched as fuck!
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#278

View Postck3D, on 27 August 2023 - 10:12 AM, said:

Hmm, San Francisco has a few months in the year where the weather actually is really nice, but I see what you mean. I considered going for the 'cliché' foggy look for it but NYC already had a polluted type sky (all the more so in the beta version with the blue/Van Goghish 'noise') and so I needed contrast, with SF as the second level I also wanted to really overwhelm the player with the 'new' scale (including of the destruction) and so needed brightness and visibility to boost that effect. I also intended it to feel like a prolongation of the first LA map with a red theme, just 20x bigger, level needed to remain 'classic Duke' in terms of looks to play on familarity all the while disorienting with the scope. There would be a lot to say to justify the choice but I otherwise agree Golden Carnage made the foggy look work all the while presenting scale and being crystal clear to read, in the context of an otherwise colorful World Tour as a late level especially functioned, I guess it's one of those moments where the general game design takes priority over single map pretentions and specifics. My version clearly is scorched as fuck!



I actually forgot Pula. That one is more scorched than Frisco, so I give the noble silver medal to Map2. :D

As for Golden Carnage, it was great that for just one level, Allen Blum remembered what made Duke3D design special. The "colorfulness" of World Tour was actually the bane of it sadly. Your maps have lots of colors too, but they are not intended to replicate classic style and went into a different level design method. Unfortunately, Blum and especially Levelord mixed their own classic styles with Roch and other stuff they have played during the 20 year hiatus.
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User is online   ck3D 

#279

Radar's Pula, Croatia visit:



Some really cool moments, non stop action in the beginning and then complete domination of the underground arena. Also was interesting seeing Duke miss the other access point through the collapsed building then belltower completely, during dev for a while I was considering that one to be the main entry into the depths of the city and the whole point of finding a jetpack around the map (an act that in itself used to take a quest for Steroids first, in order to allow a boosted jump). Then the more I implemented and tested gameplay the more evident it became the map was cool enough if everything item really was left as loose as possible and the only central objective would be to just find one switch then leave. So it's oddly reassuring now seeing players really can get around the level in any way they want and aren't restricted to a particular path, to the point where they totally can get by despite skipping bits I used to consider essential during design.

TLOD's long running traversal of the episode also is nearing its end (he must have dozens of hours worth of Blast Radius vids up at this point), after he beat Zarathustra in about four hours, I'd recommend following his YouTube channel for Build content, he's been learning the editor too and picking it up really fast, I'm guessing he'll do Closure next week:



This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 August 2023 - 04:07 PM

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User is offline   DNSKILL5 

  • Honored Donor

#280

I still fully intend on finishing my DIG run, just been too busy lately to really do any videos. I’m glad to see all this coverage still ongoing!
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User is online   ck3D 

#281

Radar in Paris, pretty cool to see someone traversing the map 'normally' (it's easy to just get lost exploring or skip to the end) and the flow of it working. Was reassured to see classic mode used for this one too (I know I was told it wasn't, but now am doubting it from the footage because the bus windows look correct and some of the sprite behavior I saw is typical of classic), some of the most convoluted/unnecessary secrets missed (still waiting for someone to find the red apartment) but otherwise a perfect representation of the level, made it look fun:



This post has been edited by ck3D: 01 September 2023 - 09:20 AM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#282

That is 100% polymost. Besides the perspective correct tilting, a dead giveaway is the shadow underneath the HUD sprites.
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User is online   ck3D 

#283

Neat, I stand corrected (again), then I guess I just have to accept I'm more lost than I thought when it comes to renderer discrepancies. So far absolutely everyone I had seen run this particular level in what I knew for sure was Polymost had been getting the messed up bus windows thing, skybox clipping issues with part of the Eiffel Tower disappearing around the top from weird angles, and various problematic tiny bits and bobs of detail I thought I had learned to recognize. Again more than happy to be wrong in this case, I'd rather have a rather standard product around than something that is too specific and/or intrusive to set up, the levels suddenly looking good in more renderers than I thought I knew they did isn't information I'd complain about. Maybe Polymost has been worked on recently and I just don't realize. Or I've retouched the stuff around the level in an update but then absolutely do not remember. Sweet either way!

This post has been edited by ck3D: 01 September 2023 - 11:36 AM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#284

Which EDuke32 build are you using? (I think it's the first line in eduke32.log) Ever since polymost went commercial with Ion Fury, it's been a solid renderer. I think its only downside is that some extreme TROR kills it. When it comes to complex SOS or sprite work, I don't believe it renders any worse than classic.
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User is online   ck3D 

#285

I think the builds I'm running the most these days are from 2017 and 2021 since updating didn't work for me the last times I tried but I don't think that matters since it was player/streamer footage I had observed the discrepancies from (in general; was several people over an extended period of time) and I know they were using a fresh version of EDuke they had downloaded just for the occasion (so post Feb 2023) most of the time. So if change there has been, it would be recent which would be good news in my case. I can barely preview what Polymost even looks like on my machine, just in the editor every frame takes maybe 20 seconds to refresh, I guess it has no graphics card or something. Over half of Blast Radius was made using a 2008 (I think, may be 2009) build of Mapster before I realized how much I was missing out on re: features, and then switching to the 2017 build essentially changed my workflow, I'm pretty sure it ended up influencing the design of some of the levels as well.

I know Polymost generally is mostly in line with software and just better, I guess it's just exceptional cracks that only start showing whenever something particularly weird, uncommon, technically improper or overly ambitious is thrown into a map with neither consideration for, nor preview of some few things it handles differently. The offset of some wall sprites sometimes will result in really weird looks, or one specific parallaxed sky sector will look off due to now apparent conflicts, or the panning of certain textures will be off (in one of your videos that would be the floor underneath the secret jetpack in the plane map, after you got the yellow key from the avionics, or the alignment of the conveyor belts down the central elevator near the cargo). Mostly mapper OCD, very rarely anything as obviously broken as it would be in Polymer, but the sum of this and that mistake adds up so I try and stay vigilant to address and now prevent as many issues as I can whenever I spot one.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 01 September 2023 - 02:39 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#286

Radar visits my hometown in secret level 1/Anarchy City remix/Duke Du Quatrain:



Was pretty great seeing a blind take on the traversal already coming in with the necessary inventory items to complete the map (it normally is a Metroidvania type of level off pistol start where each island conceals one new inventory item to help cross more and more of the purple lava), I appreciated that despite not knowing anything about the level the player instinct was to go right to the final island. It's validating that I made it particular enough a landmark to highlight it as such, especially since some other players have told me before that their first impression would have been to expect the ending at the watertower (which I can understand: it's also quite prominent). It's possible to skip most of the map off pistol start exactly like that, too, thanks to a secret place on the starting island that also holds all the inventory items Duke needs (in fact it's visible on the video thumbnail).

Midi in this one I also thought sounded particularly good with Radar's set up. Part of the sprite flickering on the final island is due to all the monsters and items on the other islands still being present but to be completely fair I also clearly went a bit nuts with spritework around that entire plaza.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 05 September 2023 - 10:34 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#287

Radar's rampage in Norilsk:



Watched it with the renderer switch moment in mind to try and catch the whole time and while I think I've become decent at spotting the various save cuts (notably because then the MIDI skips a little) I couldn't tell when it happened for sure. For a while I hesitated with prior to climbing the blue rooftop, then thought for sure it must be upon retrieving the red key, and then later the city went nuts as you were fighting the Troopers and the Octabrains from the industrial side and there was a split second behind the cover of that dumpster where you may have tried fixing things for good. Those bugs kind of suck whenever intrusive but thankfully it's only the case to a degree, I'm still hoping to fix them now that I know for sure Polymost isn't the only trigger, but now I wonder why I can't reproduce them. (EDuke build I'm using is a tad dated but still.)

Some really cool action, I think my favorite moment was the Overlord + Scorpion Tank fight in the first courtyard, that was pretty wild and crazy.

TLOD also finally conquered the episode last night after a six month grind and we exchanged some thoughts via chat, spoilers for the final level ahead and also the best thumbnail:



This post has been edited by ck3D: 10 September 2023 - 11:30 AM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#288

View Postck3D, on 10 September 2023 - 11:29 AM, said:

Watched it with the renderer switch moment in mind to try and catch the whole time and while I think I've become decent at spotting the various save cuts (notably because then the MIDI skips a little) I couldn't tell when it happened for sure. For a while I hesitated with prior to climbing the blue rooftop, then thought for sure it must be upon retrieving the red key, and then later the city went nuts as you were fighting the Troopers and the Octabrains from the industrial side and there was a split second behind the cover of that dumpster where you may have tried fixing things for good. Those bugs kind of suck whenever intrusive but thankfully it's only the case to a degree, I'm still hoping to fix them now that I know for sure Polymost isn't the only trigger, but now I wonder why I can't reproduce them. (EDuke build I'm using is a tad dated but still.)



Thanks for the analysis. :) I switched to classic at 38:28.
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User is online   ck3D 

#289

Tokyo is on the Radar today:



Freezer Enforcer survival was neat, I love the gamble of those moments. Pretty nifty maneuvering around all the Commander rockets to get to the shrinking of that penultimate mini Battlelord too. It's one of my favorite levels to watch people play, also because it just about announces the end game and potentially the last city level, feels like a legitimate good bye to Earth.

The original location/block: https://en.wikipedia...Nakano_Sunplaza

This post has been edited by ck3D: 12 September 2023 - 02:19 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#290

Radar survives Postmortem:



Another instance of a MIDI I think sounded particularly good, traversal was interesting too because it seemed to flow (but maybe the moments the player would be stuck were cut) and that is despite an issue this version had where one of the walls should have blown up earlier and facilitated some of the traversal. Still found the long way back around though, through the suspended water tunnel. Moment in the underwater alien tunnel with the Queen Jr. on 6 health was pretty intense.

Re: the lore (see description) it's actually the slimer that drops onto the button that activates the machine and destroys the planet, just on this playthrough Duke landed right on top of the button simultaneously which actually works too, the slimer only is supposed to spawn when Duke gets really close to inspecting the button so it's a curiosity killed the cat scenario either way. Then it's a reenactment of the Overlord fight/stakes at the end of episode 2 except with a tragic outcome. Duke actually comments on a lot of the situations around the level when Duke Talk is not turned off (which I assume is to avoid possible conflicts while editing), the situation definitely involves him/the player and their literal existing position in the universe but besides that the blame isn't completely on them and more so on the design. But guilt is supposed to be felt, also throughout the empty backtracking through the level that ensues which is Duke's walk of shame as he processes the events and reconsiders his purpose. Duke does save humanity (or what's left of it) at the end of Blast Radius, it ends on a ray of hope with the prisoners escaping so it's not that bleak and as a universal hero he still lands on the highest note possible.

Also the huge fight in the cockpit/weapon of doom always looks so easy when someone else plays it. Originally I intended that moment to be tough especially for deathless speedruns (coming towards the end of a long map) and even just on CGS it regularly kicks my own ass. And whenever I complete this map I'm amused to remember it technically started in Tokyo.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 September 2023 - 08:50 AM

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User is offline   Aleks 

#291

About a time I started my playthrough of the final (?) version of Blast Radius, it's been about half a year since I beta-tested the last of it, so I can assume it's going to be pretty fresh start for me without too many "spoilers".

Sunset Suicide

I think a couple of things were slightly upgraded since the last version I played, mostly for the readability/progression. Two places I still don't like too much are the switch at the top of the Directors Guild building and the climb through the crack where the pig cops first emerge from, as looking up is wonky as hell in classic and it's kinda difficult to spot where you are supposed to go if you don't wanna use the jetpack. Also I'm not a big fan of the nukebutton being available just like that while there's still a whole street area to explore. On the other hand, this map works great as the starting level for something bigger, with mostly assault troopers, but in such amounts that the combat still can get pretty interesting (and of course it also does when the scorpion tanks are introduced). I really dig the overall vibe of the level and how it is consistently kept throughout the whole map. Love the architecture of the car wash, Directors Guild and that building across the street from it, with the rounded balcony. Found all the 20 secrets (I think there were a couple less in the beta?), remembered about 10 of them, 5 more I did recall upon entering and the final one took me about 7-10 minutes to locate, was one of the ledges. Combat-wise, the assault generals are a bit too much of bullet sponges - luckily, you can get the RPG with plenty ammo quite early on to deal with them in a more swift manner.

Rating: 93/100
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User is online   ck3D 

#292

So cool you're playing it again, hope you have fun and the current version doesn't feel too easy compared to six months ago, lots of stuff was cleaned up and/or facilitated, I'm sure you'll breeze through things. Curious about what your experience will be like in the maps you haven't played yet too. Will you persist into the Zero Zone?

Re: Sunset Suicide ending I still stand by it, 95% of the level is familiarity fakeout as Hollywood Holocaust Deluxe and then only when things normally end the player is allowed a 'safe' zone to get acquainted with the derivations that start popping up as soon as the next map: tougher enemies and traps, open combat, optional areas and plenty of secrets to reward seemingly mindless wanderings, if the map just stopped or the Nukebutton were blocked the player wouldn't learn anything. From what I've observed and heard the effect really works, but I agree I'm not a big fan of the power switch on the directors guild building, the average casual or blind player seems to regularly miss it and so sometime I might move it. It's a bit hidden so that the players would have a basic puzzle set-up to teach them to look at all the security screens but it seems like in 2023 no one uses those anymore (and what a shame as they allow for so much cool shit).

Version you're playing pretty much is final yes, I'm keeping fixing small issues as I spot them but at this point it's purely minor cosmetics or semi invisible texturing OCD with every new, less and less frequent update. I'm trying to post one more by the end of next week that really just adjusts one sprite and two wall textures around the whole thing. Fixing the few sky glitches that are left would be big. I'm taking a break from mapping these days but whenever I do come back my efforts will be focused on Zero Zone.

I also started working on the next and last Level Lore article left for Hotel Atlantis I'm also hoping to have out by next weekend. That one is going to feature lots of comparison screenshots again just like the one for Duke Du Quatrain did.

Posted Image
Posted Image

(2023 Hotel Atlantis vs. 2021 scrapped A.W.O.L. map post texture conversion)

I also plan on developing some basic communication on YouTube and (amongst other projects) would like to start working on the trailer I've had in mind for years now, but am limited by my inability to capture gameplay video. I've been starting to consider asking Radar if they would mind me using a minute or two of their footage (with credit goes without saying), I've seen a few cuts that would be perfect for what I have in mind and fetching the files directly would be easy for me so they wouldn't have to budge a finger to upload anything extra but if that's not acceptable I'll find some other way.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 16 September 2023 - 05:16 PM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#293

View Postck3D, on 12 September 2023 - 02:17 PM, said:

Freezer Enforcer survival was neat, I love the gamble of those moments. Pretty nifty maneuvering around all the Commander rockets to get to the shrinking of that penultimate mini Battlelord too. It's one of my favorite levels to watch people play, also because it just about announces the end game and potentially the last city level, feels like a legitimate good bye to Earth.


Funny thing about that freezer moment (38:37 for those who don't want to look for it), I was actually sort of pissed when that happened and was about to reload from my previous save point, but decided to figure out if I could escape. When I made it out of there and regained all my health almost immediately I knew had to keep it. Felt good to capture successful organic moments like that.

View Postck3D, on 15 September 2023 - 08:43 AM, said:

Duke actually comments on a lot of the situations around the level when Duke Talk is not turned off (which I assume is to avoid possible conflicts while editing)


Nah that does not affect editing. Duke's voice just annoys me these days. Also I'm not a fan of these new modern clips of Duke's voice. I'm not really sure where they come from but they sound too clean and are not consistent with the original game. Perhaps down sampling the audio would help, but that might only be half the problem as my understanding is that Jon St. John isn't even acting the voice right nowadays (all the lines in Duke3D were spoken with clenched teeth). Or maybe these clips are voiced by some other actor or generated by AI. idk, they just sound bad.
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User is online   ck3D 

#294

I don't do AI, the new Duke voice clips all are by JSJ from different Duke games, but I get you, they're of varying quality in spite of my best attempts at harmonizing the whole lot. I got them from that 'Duke Nukem Vocal Collection' sound pack (that I could only ever unzip the two third of for some reason) that I curated for a while to keep maybe the best 10%, 15% from, otherwise as a whole it's pretty atrocious so there was effort to stick to the general 3D tone as much as possible. I got used to the discrepancies in quality over time myself, at this point I've heard the new lines so much I barely dissociate them from the original ones but maybe when I'll take a few steps back the contrast will hit me again. I think my favorite line in the episode in terms of impact that you won't get will be Duke's 'I'm back' when breaking out of the prison on Zarathustra. Otherwise I'm quite the fan of the delivery on 'it's a hell of a thing, killing a pig' when first meeting the Pigcops in level 1, but I know it's rather easy for most everyone to sense a moment JSJ went a different direction/arguably stopped trying.

Frozen at 1 HP happens to me quite a bit (by design; the freeze ray will drain your health in no time) and always feels like it's really the start of a mini game within the game then (to me at least), hoping that no serious threat will be catching up by the time Duke can thaw out and also that he'll be able to evade the next round as soon as then. I always try and play it like that but had never really thought of using the Steroids to escape even faster the way you did it.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 17 September 2023 - 02:39 AM

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User is offline   Radar 

  • King of SOVL

#295

Btw, feel free to use any clips from my videos you like, just give me credit. I recommend using yt-dlp to download from YouTube as it will grab the data from YouTube and restructure it locally without performing any conversion.

https://github.com/yt-dlp/yt-dlp
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User is offline   Aleks 

#296

View Postck3D, on 16 September 2023 - 04:49 PM, said:

So cool you're playing it again, hope you have fun and the current version doesn't feel too easy compared to six months ago, lots of stuff was cleaned up and/or facilitated, I'm sure you'll breeze through things. Curious about what your experience will be like in the maps you haven't played yet too. Will you persist into the Zero Zone?

That's the plan to dive right into Zero Zone after completing BR, we'll see how it works time- and motivation-wise.


View Postck3D, on 17 September 2023 - 02:37 AM, said:

I don't do AI, the new Duke voice clips all are by JSJ from different Duke games, but I get you, they're of varying quality in spite of my best attempts at harmonizing the whole lot. I got them from that 'Duke Nukem Vocal Collection' sound pack (that I could only ever unzip the two third of for some reason) that I curated for a while to keep maybe the best 10%, 15% from, otherwise as a whole it's pretty atrocious so there was effort to stick to the general 3D tone as much as possible. I got used to the discrepancies in quality over time myself, at this point I've heard the new lines so much I barely dissociate them from the original ones but maybe when I'll take a few steps back the contrast will hit me again. I think my favorite line in the episode in terms of impact that you won't get will be Duke's 'I'm back' when breaking out of the prison on Zarathustra. Otherwise I'm quite the fan of the delivery on 'it's a hell of a thing, killing a pig' when first meeting the Pigcops in level 1, but I know it's rather easy for most everyone to sense a moment JSJ went a different direction/arguably stopped trying.

So far I've only found one quote with "jarring" low quality that I didn't like, can't remember what it said, but I think Duke said it around the dumpsters near the Director Guild building. Other than that, I think it's been mostly DNMP or DNF quotes, which I was all familiar with and which I like. To be honest, I think JSJ sounds best in DNMP, then in DNF (I don't count console games since I haven't played these yet). Surely in Duke 3D there are the most memorable quotes, but their delivery is a lot less consistent throughout than in the two games I mentioned. Also, there are some examples which I simply prefer in DNF (a good one would be "It's down to you and me, you one-eyed freak", which in DN3D is shouted way too fast and thus loses a lot of the dramatic effect, while in DNF it is almost theatrically declaimed, but works considering this is said during a 1 on 1 with the boss. Also I laughed at the "Dear diary, jackpot!" quote used so innocently after finding a secret place :P

Anyway, played more BR and also checked the 2 first articles on the level lore, which I haven't read before, but I liked them a lot (also a note, some of the screens/photos seem to be missing there, probably ModDB thing and not sure if you're willing to re-upload these). Cleared some of the doubts I had about the maps. Anyway, here's the next little review:

Embarco's Most Blasted
I love the red, sunny vibe of this level and the design (particularly of the outside areas), but gameplay-wise, it's one of my less favourite BR levels. I'm still going with a deathless run here (although was down to 35 HP one time because of the Sunburnt Battlelords at the piers), so that's a first in this map. The progression was a lot more intuitive than during the beta-testing (particularly after inputting the red keycard), which is good - however, even after reading your article I'm still not sure about the blue keycard thing. The only way I managed to get it is through a secret place from the Duke-Burger joint it seems and its use makes it easier to climb up the blown-up buildings I think, but the rooftops are accessible through the large elevator right from the beginning I think, right? Unless you need to blow them up to access the bank "normally"? Also, I must say I'm not a big fan of the bank interior, which feels way too cramped and navigating through it is kinda annoying, together with the super-slow green elevator ride. However, now the thing that I consider the biggest flaw of this map, are the super-distance sniper troopers - they come in packs all the time and due to the large distances, get extremely annoying. It might be better with auto-aiming on (however I think pistol still has some built-in auto-aiming even with the feature turned off so that there's less recoil when aiming at the enemies), but taking them out is quite a tedious hassle, yet they don't really pose much of a threat. The ones that spawn after acquiring the blue key over at the buildings are the worst, because they will shoot you across the whole map's open area while being barely visible. The Sunburnt Battlelords are also quite dickish, especially the ones spawning after accessing the wooden pier - they're in general dickish enemies becausse of having a more powerful hitscan than normal battlelords, but here it's just a punishment for the player for a very little reward (scuba gear IIRC). On the other hand, clearing the beginning of the map felt a lot funnier than during the beta-testing, maybe because I had equipment from the previous map and so didn't struggle with the first scorpion tanks so much. I tried to respect the "intended" progression so that it didn't get any more confusing and thus also had a better time with this. Found all the secrets, once again struggled with the last 2 for like 10 mins, turned out one was a box inside one of the bigger secrets (from which I already took the prize before by just running next to it) and the other one was that rock with jetpack and scuba gear, which I definitely found during the beta-testing. I'm glad shrinker was added into one of the secrets (IIRC it was empty last time I played this map) because it was quite handy in a couple situations, but also no extra ammo made every shot count. The final fight is still challenging, but a lot of fun and seems fair. Love the underwater part and I'm glad you did add another scuba gear, as I did get stuck on pillars inside the train a few times which slowed me down a bit. The use of regular pig cop tanks around the main plaza is brilliant as it allows them to shine without giving the player easy access to their self-destruct button, which turns into a more interesting fight. The yellow restaurant's interior is pretty cool, I know how difficult it can be to work with that colour in Duke, but here works very well. Last but not least, I really dig the soundtrack for this map, despite spending about 1,5 hour in it, the song didn't get annoying - and funnily enough, I imagined very similar "choreography" to it as you described within the article, with the rapid guitar riffs being the aliens/outside aggression and the bass line representing Duke's movement. In general, I think the song is also stylistically very close to Grabbag with a lot going on and a lot of different motives thrown together which somehow work well in the end.

Rating: 91/100
1

User is online   ck3D 

#297

Must be the garbage strike quote you're thinking about that is very bitcrushed, from Zero Hour IIRC, it's indeed pretty bad but I don't mind the lo-fi and I think out of the 200+ 'new' quotes only a couple in total are this compressed, so I figure it's OK, does the trick. Zero Zone (for now) uses no Duke Talk (minus the spontaneous exclamations when picking up items, or gibbing, etc.) and while it's tempting to add some later I actually kind of like that too, like the events of Blast Radius eventually taught him to maybe shut up.

Blue key in SF is the only pedestrian way into the bank, it blows up that one giant hole into the side of the vault. The place it's located inside the Carl's Jr. isn't a secret, there even is a Pigcop to mark it and the player can clearly spot the key (and make sense of the route) from the outside or on the camera screens. But maybe I'll readjust the red palette there. It's possible to skip if one finds a jetpack first (which is made very plausible), or rides up one of the four elevators up the Embarcadero Four, jumps down onto the collapsed roof, survives and then infiltrate the bank from there. I think it's perfect for the intended effect that is not just the E1L2 nod but also as a result of being uncertain if they're 'supposed' to be inside the bank just yet, and obviously visiting it in the wrong order only to then be met with a pristine vault (no hole), it gives the player the thrill that they in fact may have gotten themselves in a situation where by successfully breaking in, they are now committing a bank heist. It's designed to feel appropriately illegal and in a way responsibilize the player, Blast Radius will allow most anything which also means one will get what they asked for.

It's OK you didn't like the bank, I'm not a big fan of banks either. Myself I can still dig the general layout but would have been more practical if I didn't stick to referencing the one in They Live so hard and nowadays I wouldn't insist on switches so much. But am glad you liked the Carl's Jr. since that one I meant to feel way over the top. Elevator is slow because it's actually SE 31's/32's to prevent the sector from triggering as soon as Duke crouches in or out, but making it any faster messes up the Z offsets. Scuba gear is most precious too - it's impossible to complete the level without it unless the player has found a secret one, and if they did then that means they most likely found the jetpack too and can skip the docks entirely.

The Sunburnt Battlelords are assholes yes, the hitscan hits harder but personally I find their rockets way easier to dodge than long distance mortars and so that mitigates the pain a little. End game basically replaces them with the Madlad ones ('balls of awesome' ones) as soon as those are introduced; equally deadly but I think more fun to fight. Thanks for the detailed review. I'm curious about what you'll think of Hotel Atlantis when you get there, with perspective I feel like level 2 walked so that level 15 could run.

Also interesting hearing about the similarity you sensed with Grabbag since sometimes I do consciously look for similar or parallel motifs in the new MIDIs. Here it kind of works because the level is equally as extreme and crazy to match the pace all the while the undertones of the experience feel reminiscent.

@Radar thank you very much for allowing me to use your footage. Of course I will credit you, and also am thinking about integrating your videos to each respective Level Lore page exactly like I'm already (and of course plan on continue) doing with DNSKILL's. I'm looking forward to the video trailer editing process in fact (have been for a long time), just have no way of predicting exactly when I'll get around to tackling it just yet, but now I already know for sure I'll be having fun in advance.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 18 September 2023 - 02:03 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#298

Final Level Lore article about level 15/secret 2/Hotel Atlantis is up, it only took seven months:

https://www.moddb.co...ecret-2brl15map

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Also tells the tale of starting out as a level for AWOL before being scrapped and remade from scratch, with comparison screenshots (original version was twice the size), plus a walkthrough as per usual and more.

Updated the mod too but it's very negligible stuff, just undetectable cosmetics, can always snag the new version here: https://www.moddb.co...3d-blast-radius

Bonus funny screen:

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This post has been edited by ck3D: 18 September 2023 - 03:57 AM

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User is offline   Aleks 

#299

View Postck3D, on 17 September 2023 - 11:22 PM, said:

Blue key in SF is the only pedestrian way into the bank, it blows up that one giant hole into the side of the vault. The place it's located inside the Carl's Jr. isn't a secret, there even is a Pigcop to mark it and the player can clearly spot the key (and make sense of the route) from the outside or on the camera screens. But maybe I'll readjust the red palette there. It's possible to skip if one finds a jetpack first (which is made very plausible), or rides up one of the four elevators up the Embarcadero Four, jumps down onto the collapsed roof, survives and then infiltrate the bank from there. I think it's perfect for the intended effect that is not just the E1L2 nod but also as a result of being uncertain if they're 'supposed' to be inside the bank just yet, and obviously visiting it in the wrong order only to then be met with a pristine vault (no hole), it gives the player the thrill that they in fact may have gotten themselves in a situation where by successfully breaking in, they are now committing a bank heist. It's designed to feel appropriately illegal and in a way responsibilize the player, Blast Radius will allow most anything which also means one will get what they asked for.

Hmmm might have been me accessing it through the secret place in the vent IIRC then, but I did suspect it can be accessed normally without too much effort. Actually making a "mandatory" secret place would be another nod to Red Light District and a nice one as well, so wouldn't be that weird. I'd still say the more natural/intuitive way would be taking the large elevator which is super exposed, then jumping over the roofs to access the bank from above. I also never figured a way to the bank from the vault without having first opening the vault from inside, if there is one at all.

Quote

It's OK you didn't like the bank, I'm not a big fan of banks either. Myself I can still dig the general layout but would have been more practical if I didn't stick to referencing the one in They Live so hard and nowadays I wouldn't insist on switches so much. But am glad you liked the Carl's Jr. since that one I meant to feel way over the top. Elevator is slow because it's actually SE 31's/32's to prevent the sector from triggering as soon as Duke crouches in or out, but making it any faster messes up the Z offsets. Scuba gear is most precious too - it's impossible to complete the level without it unless the player has found a secret one, and if they did then that means they most likely found the jetpack too and can skip the docks entirely.

The design of the bank is neat and does the job at imitating "They Live" pretty good (although I think I missed the "It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum" line, which should be mandatory given the circumstances!), just it wasn't that functional with the sprite-made floor and narrow spaces/blocked sprites.

Finished the NYC map and it was definitely my favourite so far, also had more fun playing it than during the beta-testing for some reason, maybe because I kinda knew the path around so could meticulously clear it bit by bit without getting into trouble. Well, did die for the first time though!

Big Apple Smoke Toke
The beginning of this map is pretty wild on pistol start, but having the supplies from the previous levels, it was a lot more fun to just casually clear the first street and still challenging enough, which I liked. The first keycard part is a nice break from the constant action of level 2 which I appreciate as well, also in the 2nd part of the level it is quite easy to control the action and pace, maybe besides the battle at the docks - which is where I died, from my own RPG rocket too. Got too cocky, I ran away from the initial battlelords/trooper combo, hid at the doorway of the Supreme shop, not realising there are scorpion tanks crawling from behind - and sniping one of the battlelord with RPG, I got a barrage of rockets that moved me to the side, which resulted in my next rocket hitting the door frame and killing me, although even without it I guess I wouldn't survive long with two unnoticed scorpion tanks. Was a fair game though and I like how these scorpions serve as a mean to kinda limit player's movement during that battle. I also appreciate you getting rid of the scorpion tanks in the metro tunnel, octabrains work better there and also they mark the crack which I don't think I've found ever before, connecting the two optional areas was a nice touch. Had some fun in the sewers, as apparently it seemed one of the scorpion tanks fell/spawned there and added to the bunch of octabrains and TMNT battlelord welcoming me at the entrance. The TMNT battlelords in general serve as a kind of a "side-quest" and I like that, they don't pose too much danger unless you get shrunk, but it was a shrinker vs shrinker battle here. The two coping battlelords at the arena under the bridge were more annoying, but also perished the same way. I generally like how that area is also kinda "optional", but there's a ton of supplies and some minibosses in a setting that's only appropriate for fighting them. I like the interior areas in this map more than in the two previous ones, with the police station, pizza joint and metro stations being particularly cool for your regular, typical DN3D stuff, while CBGB and Supreme are more wild and akin to your earlier maps, with lots of details and creative use of textures/sprites. I think the ending was a bit more clear/better presented than in the beta as well, with the wall with atomic health collapsing and opening a pedestrian way to the courtyard without the requirement of climbing the slopes, which makes the battlelord fights much more fair. I've spotted the Statue of Liberty in the distance for the first time in this map, and I think it does the job, it's a nice detail and quite difficult to spot, but instantly recognisable. I probably preferred the previous, "van Gogh" sky, but I can understand why it was changed as the resolution was kinda crappy on that one and so it might have been too impresionistic/jarring, on the other hand this one has a colour that is more in balance with the general palette of the map. I appreciate the little details in the level lore, seeing the original smiling sculpture thing made me appreciate that even more, but the wild interior of this shop is generally peak creativity in Build. Had a notably easier time with finding all the secrets, this time the culprit of spending 10 more minutes looking around the map was the slope with devastator ammo near the motel sign around the CBGB entrance. I'm not a big fan of the soundtrack in this map, it's OK, but nothing that really stands out and the "silent" part is a bit weird. I'd probably compare it to "Invader", to which I have very similar feelings - it's OK, but also a bit too monotone/repetitive.

Rating: 96/100
1

User is online   ck3D 

#300

Radar's traversal of Hotel Atlantis:



I'm glad the sky glitches were much less important than I was fearing they would be (but editing probably erased some of them), I've seen people get way worse which takes me back to the interrogation of why they seem to differ so much from person to person and set-up to set-up in the same settings. The more I drive myself crazy over that the more I'm tempted to assume it may be a resolution or framerate thing, I typically play in a rather lo-fi mode (as good as my PC can smoothly support) and so maybe my display is so slow it just skips the HOM or doesn't stretch certain values so much, who knows.

Either way that was a really epic playthrough, probably my favorite one to watch so far (but I had been waiting to see that one in particular), some crazy moments like that extensive fight all around the map after triggering the blue keypad, the mean boss and miniboss spawn upon lowering the gate or even that last Scorpion Tank in a busy space right after, some wild movement. Was interesting to see skipping all of the condos/backyards at first and then also letting certain bosses live 'for now' only to have to face them later as a consequence, sometimes when you expect it the least, made me realize things really can get insane if one lets them stack up. All things considered I think that's one of my favorite maps in the episode and this traversal did it justice all the while being an interesting take on it with no dead space. Where did the Moonlight Sonata go!

@Aleks accessing the blue key card spot in SF through the vent to assume it's a secret makes perfect sense now that I see what you did, a Trooper opens the door of the bathroom on Duke there and so you probably logically entered and found the secret vent, but really there is a door into the room you reached just on the next wall (it's a bit weird and the vent is more direct so could see how you missed it).

You get into the bank through the vault after the hole in the wall has blown up, the door is locked but right outside there is a switch on a wall inside the bank you can shoot through a grate to unlock it. It's easy to forget about but very visible and the earthquake the blue key triggers also aligns the player to just the right height they need to spot or shoot it.

I agree with your criticism regarding the bank too, that's what I meant by going too hard in terms of recreation when I should have allowed myself to get looser with the design (plus They Live takes place in LA), ah well it is what it is and does what it does. The sprite floors are a bit unnecessary but I like the SOS and the connections with the vents and secret places like to the Gap sign outside.

I appreciate your review of the NYC map, I'm stoked you liked it so much. Thanks again (you and Radar) for your time.

The Van Gogh sky will be back, just somewhere else.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 18 September 2023 - 09:11 AM

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