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Ion Fury  "formerly Ion Maiden, launching August 15!"

User is offline   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#3871

Themes (music) are the same. Reason why preview enemies are different is because every code/art/etc.. change has been incremental so what you get in full version is basically "1.0".
Colour was changed around because the old one was very badly visible in darker areas. The cultists went through like 3-4 major hue changes so what you see is just one of the them :)
Altfire simply didn't exist during preview and we never coded any way to disable existing functionality so that's why you get that.

As for A.I. -- It definitely uses a lot more compared to other build games as the enemies seek towards the player much better. Why they run against walls is mostly due to the geometry, build falls apart here. The functions for A.I. are just not suited for this, a lot of workarounds had to be made (i.e. marking sectors that they're not allowed to go into are done manually and so on).
Dodge, crouch, etc.. is all random in the old games, SW/Blood perhaps utilize this a bit more but only on some enemies. It's still very hard to make a "smart" A.I. with what there is, you could say that the complexity of the game doesn't match the A.I. well.

Patrols are definitely in, enemies can walk, patrol, stop and do various things (Not present to this degree in other build games), it's all hand-crafted. Not absolutely every area has patrols but many areas do, also many respawn sprites "route" enemies to their spot. :P
But yeah, doing more complex A.I. does require quite a bit of extra effort, especially with build. I guess Fury hits the kind of late 90s era where it's more reasonable to expect HL-like A.I. but build is a bit iffy for some of this. We actually had plans for some hostage/defusal stuff at some point but it would've required too much development time that we couldn't afford, plus it distracted from the main game.
In the end, we scrapped the extra fluff and went with what is there. NPCs were scrapped as a first thing, the game would need more focus on plot for these to make sense.
Fury in many ways is sort of Duke3D in it's gameplay loop.
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User is online   Danukem 

  • Duke Plus Developer

#3872

Build engine does make it difficult to overcome the kinds of problems that MrFlibble listed, but it can be done -- mostly. I've had a lot of success with pathfinding and preventing enemies from going into bad places. It's not enough to use a few invisible waypoints to define patrols, you have to have them all over the level to define the entire space that actors are allowed to move in. Then you need a recursive pathfinding algorithm that can lead actors where they need to go (not necessarily to the player). You basically have to use waypoints to make a simplified version of their area that the actors can "see" because it's extremely difficult for them to evaluate the level geometry otherwise. Even then, it's pretty tough (but not impossible) to make them properly use doors in pursuit, let alone elevators; there's about a hundred pitfalls. Level design has to follow certain rules to make it work with the pathing system and if the level designer doesn't understand that or the system doesn't exist at the time the level is built, that poses another challenge. I think you guys know this already and you made a decision early on to make a more "classic" style build game in terms of simple enemy AI.

Enemy dodging can be handled very well without waypoints but it's important to have additional animations to really sell it, like a rolling animation for example. Also make the enemy do some hitscans in several different directions so they know what a good direction to move in is -- never lazily make them roll into a wall with a random angle change if they had better options. And don't overdo it -- it's annoying and frustrating when an enemy dodges all the time, and I actually suspect that's the main reason enemies in Ion Fury do not dodge much. One method I use a lot is I have non-hitscan projectiles constantly do hitscan checks on their flightpath, and if they are hitscanning an actor, send a signal to the actor with the projectile ID, so the actors knows a projectile is coming right at them and they can decide what (if anything) to do about it. That's way better than the "ifbulletnear" garbage in Duke 3D.

The classic method of beating enemies in build is to have either you or the enemy near a corner, then time your strafing so that the enemy shoots into a wall. It could be a chase around a pillar, or it could be at an intersection in a corridor. To some extent this works in any shooter, but build is especially susceptible to it, apparently. Part of the issue is enemies not using waypoints, as mentioned above. If waypoints are placed in known good locations then when an enemy engages they can be programmed to check and see if they are in a known good location, and in many cases that will prompt them to move away from an exploitable corner. The other issue is that when the enemy is checking for whether to fire, we need a more sophisticated check than line of sight to the player. A good location to shoot from will allow a certain amount of variance -- if small changes in the position of the shooter or target invalidate the shot, that's evidence that it's a very "brittle" position and it's probably time to move to a better one. It's extra work, but line of sight checks can be run testing different coordinates to see how robust the current position is. This last bit is something I have not really used, though, so take that with a grain of salt.
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User is offline   necroslut 

#3873

While the AI might be "smarter" on a technical level, I do have to agree that it "feels" dumber than in Duke, SW or Blood. Quite possibly a lot of this comes down to the more complex levels, but also – I think – to the lack of "secondary actions" for the enemies. They don't jump, roll, fly or use secondary attacks, like a lot of the classic Build enemies did. It might have been triggered randomly, but the way it interacted with the level designs still worked.
And while I noticed that patrols were in, you're much less likely to notice it in any meaningful way than in Shadow Warrior or even Wolf 3D. I guess this comes down to level design mostly, but it does feel underutilized, and the enemies on the whole feel very basic.

This post has been edited by necroslut: 06 June 2020 - 12:07 PM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3874

Thanks for the detailed answers guys!

View Postoasiz, on 06 June 2020 - 10:13 AM, said:

But yeah, doing more complex A.I. does require quite a bit of extra effort, especially with build. I guess Fury hits the kind of late 90s era where it's more reasonable to expect HL-like A.I. but build is a bit iffy for some of this. We actually had plans for some hostage/defusal stuff at some point but it would've required too much development time that we couldn't afford, plus it distracted from the main game.
In the end, we scrapped the extra fluff and went with what is there. NPCs were scrapped as a first thing, the game would need more focus on plot for these to make sense.
Fury in many ways is sort of Duke3D in it's gameplay loop.

Perhaps these ideas could be implemented in the expansion/sequel? I totally agree that IF is a lot like Duke3D in the core gameplay elements, but somehow, somehow it feels different in a multitude of ways. The enemies are more human and you kind of expect them to act as such, especially as you can hear coherent utterances in their radio chatter (compare this to Quake humanoids that are intended to be drones). Again, action in many places makes you feel like it's a more realistic military operation or something.

On the whole IF feels more mature (not in the sense of "adult content") compared to Duke3D, which should be unsurprising considering the many years of mapping and coding experience of the developers, and the community on the whole.

View PostTrooper Dan, on 06 June 2020 - 11:47 AM, said:

Build engine does make it difficult to overcome the kinds of problems that MrFlibble listed, but it can be done -- mostly.

Indeed I'd not be asking about the features above if it weren't for Alien Armageddon and AMC TC. These prove that neutral and allied NPCs work exceedingly well in Build (at least, to my mind).

Ion Fury's levels are very well crafted but I had a feeling of the urban areas being completely deserted -- again, something that I'd never think about when playing Duke3D or Shadow Warrior. It isn't like I had some sort of different expectations, but I guess playing Alien Armageddon in-between the preview campaign and the full release has affected my perception.

I'm thinking that the more vast and complex nature of the levels (compared to classic Build titles) has played its part in exposing the limitations of the AI. But at the same time it seems to me that there is potential for developing this aspect of gameplay further, and maybe creating novel situations for the player to find themselves in. The protagonist's character and the setting are quite conducive to exploring these directions IMO.

I think it could be quite organically woven into story/gameplay that Shelly

  • works alongside other GDF members, either present physically as allies or communicating over radio/wrist console/whatever

  • carries out various missions (not just shoot everyone and reach exit) in a concerted effort against Heskel or other threat

  • sometimes has to operate in populated areas with civilians

  • does not always resort to the gung ho attitude and can use stealth in the face of numerically superior opponents

  • can (maybe?) have a choice of missions, with a branching/non-linear plot

  • maybe can upgrade weapons at the home GDF base, or something along those lines

As a Dark Forces fan I am convinced that the above features can be seamlessly combined with the classic run-and-gun, explore-for-secrets classic Build FPS gameplay. And imagine how the level of detail in the maps could contribute to some unusual missions, something like infiltrating an enemy installation and then finding an escape route. I guess the Build engine could even allow for something like Hitman missions (especially in later games where you have sprawling locations) with several ways of completing the objectives.

But I have to apologise in advance if any of the above is contrary to the authors' vision of the game and the character, it's just the ideas I got from the game concept, artistic direction and gameplay, plus the aforementioned community mods for Duke3D :)
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User is online   Danukem 

  • Duke Plus Developer

#3875

View Postnecroslut, on 06 June 2020 - 12:06 PM, said:

While the AI might be "smarter" on a technical level, I do have to agree that it "feels" dumber than in Duke, SW or Blood. Quite possibly a lot of this comes down to the more complex levels, but also – I think – to the lack of "secondary actions" for the enemies.


It's been a while since I played IF and I haven't looked at the code, but... I think part of it is that enemies should often decide to move and reposition even when they have a clear shot. What I mean is, when you are coding an enemy and the enemy is already shooting, there's gonna be a point in the code where you reevaluate whether to stay in that position and keep shooting, or to do something else like move closer to the player, move sidewise, etc. If you still have a clear shot, the most natural thing is to tell the enemy to keep shooting. But if you do that too much then the enemies essentially become turrets, and just stand there and keep shooting whenever they have a clear shot. I felt like that was going on a lot when I played IF. It's a matter of degree -- I'm sure they did move around sometimes even when they had shots lined up. If you look at the enemy code in Duke 3D, enemies will often disengage and move around after shooting when they could just keep shooting. Individually, that behavior is not optimal in terms of killing the player -- if you just want the player to die, then shooting when you have a clear shot is typically the most efficient means. But when you have a group of enemies and the player's attention is divided, not only does it create a much more dynamic experience to have enemies moving around when they don't need to, it can actually make them more challenging because it's hard to track all their movements.
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User is offline   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#3876

Zone3 still has tiny remnants of this design, nothing reached beyond concepts mind you.

Basement used have some of your squadmates injured, you'd go in and Heskel would taunt you that the place was rigged with bombs and you wanted to get to upper floors in order to extract some intel.
Once you extracted this intel, you'd get to the rooftops where an extraction vehicle was shot down and you'd go down to the basement as the building gets blown up.

Further GDF stuff, missions, etc.. would have required more development time. It took us 4+ years to get this out :)
That immediately needs supporting story, more voice acting, NPC code and most importantly it should never feel like it stops or slows your progress.
It all sounds more cool on paper though.

We had a dialogue prompts but it was a bit janky and all of this ended up being a bit unnecessary in the end.
I think one of the CON files still has the temp stuff we tested it with (including these bits).

To fit guided missions, etc.. we'd have to decide if we wanted to focus on a more classic gameplay loop or make something more modern. This was the biggest reason why things got scrapped, we didn't want to handhold the player on where to go or what to do next. When it came to story, less is more.
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#3877

Zone 3 is a fan favorite for good reason
it's just master class level design trough out
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3878

View Postoasiz, on 06 June 2020 - 11:24 PM, said:

To fit guided missions, etc.. we'd have to decide if we wanted to focus on a more classic gameplay loop or make something more modern. This was the biggest reason why things got scrapped, we didn't want to handhold the player on where to go or what to do next. When it came to story, less is more.

Well, I did not mean "guided missions" in a modern sense, Dark Forces has you roam around freely but you still have more complex objectives than just find switch/keycard, and reach exit. You get briefings and occasional radio messages, but these serve to put your actions into context, not hand-hold the player through a linear path. For example, the Imperial Detention Centre is a hugely complex, nonlinear level where you have to figure a lot of stuff on your own, but the player's actions make sense for knowing that you're in a high-security prison, and the place is designed with that in mind. In fact Dark Forces is almost never simply "Doom in Star Wars decorations", yet the missions never go into hand-holding the player -- as a matter of fact that would be quite anachronistic for the time!
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User is offline   necroslut 

#3879

View PostMrFlibble, on 10 June 2020 - 07:39 AM, said:

Well, I did not mean "guided missions" in a modern sense, Dark Forces has you roam around freely but you still have more complex objectives than just find switch/keycard, and reach exit. You get briefings and occasional radio messages, but these serve to put your actions into context, not hand-hold the player through a linear path. For example, the Imperial Detention Centre is a hugely complex, nonlinear level where you have to figure a lot of stuff on your own, but the player's actions make sense for knowing that you're in a high-security prison, and the place is designed with that in mind. In fact Dark Forces is almost never simply "Doom in Star Wars decorations", yet the missions never go into hand-holding the player -- as a matter of fact that would be quite anachronistic for the time!

Dark Forces kinda sucks though.
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User is offline   t800 

#3880

Except for lack of manual saving during missions what else do you think sucks?

I would say instead, that it is quite enjoyable and solidly made FPS with nice classic Star Wars atmopshere. Even call it quite ambitious and advanced for its age. I mean mission objectives, jumping and crouching, alternate firing modes for weapons, primitive 3D models, dynamic music...

This post has been edited by t800: 10 June 2020 - 03:50 PM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3881

I tired out the Dark Forces demo around 2005-2006 out of simple curiosity coupled with nostalgia -- I never played that game in the 90s (maybe didn't know about it back then), and wanted to know more about the titles that I had missed -- and I got immediately hooked, and I'm not even a Star Wars fan. From the very first seconds of the demo level, the game just oozes atmosphere and feels right -- you are in the thick of Star Wars action with blasters, Stormtroopers and all the good stuff.

And the levels are really clever, the developers pushed the abilities of a Doom like engine to the max. The underlying gameplay elements -- fight enemies, collect keycards and powerups etc. -- are organically woven into a more complex narrative that plays so well with the "lone Commando against an army" setup. I would certainly compare some scenarios to Shadow Warrior levels, e.g. Talay - Tak Base drops the player into a destroyed Rebel outpost that is still occupied by Imperials, and you need to reactivate the generator to restore power in order to progress -- rather like Zilla Construction. And yes, while the power is still down there are dark areas were you need to use your headlight (IIRC you don't get the night vision goggles yet) to get around.

My idea is that in DF, the scenario of each mission creates certain logics that the player can relate to, and act upon them. Correspondingly, the level is designed so that these logics, and the respective player behaviour, can be realised. You can storm the fortified entrance to the research facility on Fest, but you'll be better off sneaking in through the back door. It's a matter of choice for the player, but it's a different kind of choice compared to the alternate routes in a typical Duke3D level.

To my mind, a big difference between DF and Build engine games is that while in both the player takes on what is literally an army of adversaries, DF is designed in such a way that you still have to rely on stealth rather than just brute force. For all the gameplay variety, many "realistic" areas in Build engine games are effectively intricate decorations, with gameplay still leaning towards the classic Doom formula, but in DF the entire layouts make sense as places -- not realistic in the sense of depicting real-life locations but coherent in their elements.

Back to Ion Fury, are there night vision goggles or the like? Those would be quite handy in spotting enemies in dark areas. (I know there's the radar, but I haven't used it much yet.)
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User is offline   necroslut 

#3882

View Postt800, on 10 June 2020 - 03:21 PM, said:

Except for lack of manual saving during missions what else do you think sucks?

I would say instead, that it is quite enjoyable and solidly made FPS with nice classic Star Wars atmopshere. Even call it quite ambitious and advanced for its age. I mean mission objectives, jumping and crouching, alternate firing modes for weapons, primitive 3D models, dynamic music...

View PostMrFlibble, on 11 June 2020 - 01:44 AM, said:

I tired out the Dark Forces demo around 2005-2006 out of simple curiosity coupled with nostalgia -- I never played that game in the 90s (maybe didn't know about it back then), and wanted to know more about the titles that I had missed -- and I got immediately hooked, and I'm not even a Star Wars fan. From the very first seconds of the demo level, the game just oozes atmosphere and feels right -- you are in the thick of Star Wars action with blasters, Stormtroopers and all the good stuff.

Dark Forces is great in theory, but I don't think it came together in the end. The presentation is great, and it does some things really well, but in the end I find it not at all enjoyable. Level design is one of its major faults, I think, but the combat is pretty sad too. Actually playing it reminds me of stuff like Operation: Bodycount.
Outlaws has many of the same issues. And, yes, I did play both back in the day.
"Sucks" is a bit exaggerated though, I must admit, but I think it's an extremely overrated title.

Quote

Back to Ion Fury, are there night vision goggles or the like? Those would be quite handy in spotting enemies in dark areas. (I know there's the radar, but I haven't used it much yet.)

No.

This post has been edited by necroslut: 11 June 2020 - 01:28 PM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3883

I played a bit more of the game. Maybe I'm primed to this already but enemies hugging walls and corners are a pretty prominent feature it seems.

Another thing I noticed is that there are certain areas in levels that are very highly detailed and meticulously crafted, but there's almost nothing going on there.

For example, the entrance to the GDF base with the tanks in Alphabet Soup. I'm playing on hard difficulty JIC. I sniped or lured out most of the enemies even without entering the open area, then took care of the turrets with Penetrator fire, and that's all. And I did miss on the entire tank vs. tank scripted part which I'm only aware of now after watching a video of the level because I probably was busy taking cover from fire or looking elsewhere when it occurred. (I'm assuming that such a scripted scene is intended to be watched by the player, so there must be a way to make sure the player does not miss it.) After that it's just an open area with some pickups scattered around, beautifully done no doubt but absolutely static.

Compare this to a somewhat similar open area sequence in Master Leep's Temple from SW, the temple courtyard. The player is more or less forced in the thick of combat because the area is entered by swimming underwater, and there is no way to back up in a corridor and shoot the ninjas safely from there.

In D.C. Meltdown, I cleared the food court in the shopping plaza without even entering it by lobbing a few grenades up there and then just waiting for the guys to come at me. After that, again, the court is a very detailed area -- possibly infinitely more detailed than any vanilla Duke map -- and undeniably beautifully crafted, but completely empty. I could say I missed on the action there for being cautious, I guess.

The theme of that area made me think of Duke Burger, and again, that level is built in such a way that the player cannot avoid certain confrontations in certain areas, e.g. you need to clear the inside of the burger by entering it, not otherwise. The level also has some puzzles for the player to solve in order to progress, including the hidden blue key. Contrast this with the red key in D.C. Meltdown, I just had to walk down a very large and straight corridor (it has elevation and escalators, and is filled with enemies, but it's still very straight). The shops on the ground floor seem like very optional decorations, I could probably skip them altogether if it were not for supplies.

Further down the D.C. meltdown level, in the area with the crashed red car in front of the ruined building, I found the grenade launcher guys rather inefficient as the grenades bounced unpredictably with little chance of hitting me. Eventually nearly all enemies there ended up flocking to the said car and stuck in the wall where I had an easy time picking them off. It is possible that my own use of the grenade launcher triggered that behaviour, not sure.

As a more general observation, playing so far I rather frequently find myself spotting a faraway enemy like a crossbowman whereas the enemy does not yet see me, but the only way to snipe him seems to be the revolver, with reduced accuracy and hence losing some ammo, or to try to get closer (which is not always possible). I'm not sure if such situations were intended and do not simply arise from the general leaning towards large, spanning areas in level design.

I hope my comments do not come across as nit-picking, I'm just trying to make sense of IF in the context of the classic Build games I have played. Because the level design and hence gameplay are undeniably different in many places, even if you ignore the difference in size/scope.
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User is offline   Micky C 

  • Honored Donor

#3884

I remember being disappointed that the tank was a scripted sequence instead of a drivable vehicle. They showed that in the trailer, and most people who see that and are familiar with Build would think it was a drivable vehicle, which made the trailer a bit misleading.
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User is online   NightFright 

  • The Truth is in here

#3885

@necroslut:

After having replayed Dark Forces a few months ago after not having touched the game since it came out, I have to mostly agree with your assessment. While the game creates a great Star Wars atmosphere in general with its locations, music and sounds, the levels themselves are just too huge and confusing (I still hate that sewer level early on in the campaign), which is probably like that to compensate that there are just 14 of them. That combined with the questionable checkpoint system which forces you to play through an entire level in one session before your progress is actually saved is what mostly breaks the game for me these days. If this can be fixed with a port (TheForceEngine, I count on you), accessibility and playability would profit a lot. Towards the end of the game it also gets overly hard with all those Dark Troopers hunting you down. If you don't have at least the impenetrable shields cheat activated in the menu, you are in for a massive loss of your hopefully accumulated extra lives.

I still think it's a great game, but the original Dark Forces campaign as it stands feels like a chore to get through the way it was realized. However, there are quite a few really nice user levels and campaigns out there which still make it worthwhile owning and playing the game. With a capable port, these mods will hopefully also see a revival by being usable far more easily.

This post has been edited by NightFright: 19 June 2020 - 05:21 AM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3886

View PostMicky C, on 19 June 2020 - 05:02 AM, said:

I remember being disappointed that the tank was a scripted sequence instead of a drivable vehicle. They showed that in the trailer, and most people who see that and are familiar with Build would think it was a drivable vehicle, which made the trailer a bit misleading.

I don't remember that from the trailer but I wanted to mention that too. It's hard not to have expectations in this department after Shadow Warrior's treatment of the topic. In IF the tanks are so detailed you could even think of C&C Renegade :) (and have even more unrealistic expectations)

View PostNightFright, on 19 June 2020 - 05:19 AM, said:

After having replayed Dark Forces a few months ago after not having touched the game since it came out, I have to mostly agree with your assessment. While the game creates a great Star Wars atmosphere in general with its locations, music and sounds, the levels themselves are just too huge and confusing (I still hate that sewer level early on in the campaign)

Admittedly I last played DF some ten years ago if not more, but for all the frustration with the save system I liked it a lot, still. What got me was the Kell dragon fight in Jabba's ship, which ultimately killed my will to play further (I got to the Imperial city level but couldn't force myself to play). Yet the early levels are fun IMO, I did not hate the sewer level even though it can be annoying (and I love the music in that level), and of course I had to replay almost every mission several times before I'd get it right, because of the save system. But I think its okay, the trial-and-error approach is the more rewarding once you find your way around the obstacles. The game has so much more depth compared to Doom with the variety of missions and environments, and I'd say it feels very modern, i.e. the way the story unfolds and the player is presented with it would not be out of place in an early-mid-2000s game.

As for the scope of the Dark Forces levels, again I never thought of them as confusing. Sometimes you have to figure something out to progress, but IIRC there's virtually no lengthy backtracking, if any at all. Well, the Imperial Detention Centre might be confusing because it is so complex, but you're infiltrating a high-security prison of the Galactic Empire, I mean what did you expect?

And since we touched on this topic, in Ion Fury I cannot but have this feeling that sometimes the level design seems to get carried away a little with the scope of the areas. This is the first time in any FPS that I get literally tired because of backtracking to pick up some ammo or health, because some areas are huge. But I have never played Eternal Doom (the megawad, not the new game) which I'm told is notorious or super large levels, so maybe I'm just missing on this part of the fun :P
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User is offline   t800 

#3887

View PostMicky C, on 19 June 2020 - 05:02 AM, said:

I remember being disappointed that the tank was a scripted sequence instead of a drivable vehicle. They showed that in the trailer, and most people who see that and are familiar with Build would think it was a drivable vehicle, which made the trailer a bit misleading.

Well, I wouldnt mind some rideable futuristic hoverbike for Shelly in sequel. But I would prefer having it in sprite (or even better - voxel) form akin to Redneck rather than sector based as in SW. It made them quite clunky and bit "glitchy" there.

This post has been edited by t800: 20 June 2020 - 11:03 AM

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User is offline   Mblackwell 

  • Evil Overlord

#3888

TBH, partly for fairness and partly for performance the enemies aren't as smart as they could be. It also reduces the burden on level design in terms of how much additional work they have to do.

If the encounters had been designed for a bit less of a mob-like situation more intelligent AI could be used, but to compensate for a lot of potential pitfalls ends up with a big cost in the end. In IF you end up running multiple hundreds of checks per tic, and that's after I increased some of the assumptions they can make.

Oh, I should say AI is a bit different in 1.1 though, due to tweaks and fixes. Should also be more performant.
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

  • The Sarien Encounter

#3889

I LOVE Dark Forces. The map design is ingenius in that it makes each level feel like a huge world. The levels are so lengthy (in time and size) that it's easy to get lost, but you're never TRULY lost. It took a while but I managed to nail down each and every map (including Anoat City, which isn't even the worst map in this regard). It's really a shame that Dark Forces mod for Jedi Academy was never finished. I would have loved to have seen the Executor and Arc Hammer remade. It truly feels like Star Wars. I've never seen any map designs follow it. Jedi Knight sort of is inspired by it (and its maps feel even BIGGER), but it's not the same. Dark Forces is something truly special. I still have to play through Outlaws actually. I wonder if that same map design technique is present in that game.

It's been quite a while since I've played Ion Fury. I must remedy that...

This post has been edited by MusicallyInspired: 20 June 2020 - 05:37 PM

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#3890

Outlaws kind of has that level technique, but its more focused on big open exteriors than Dark Forces was.
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3891

I got to Zone 3 and am immediately plunged into classic Duke style level design and gameplay. Very refreshing! Also the end-Zone 2 boss battle was less taxing than I was worried it would be (I have to confess, usually I don't like boss battles very much; I did not finish the preview campaign back in 2018 because of that, in fact). I appreciated the secret Duke room very much, thanks!

Also the design of Heskel's office building sells the concept of cybernetic-enhancing mad scientist with good intentions just perfectly. I'd say this is a clear step above and beyond the other Build games in terms of interweaving level themes and plot narrative. I can't pinpoint the exact inspirations for this trope in movies or other games (a genius-level figure who invents a technology for the betterment of humanity and then turns a villain) but the theme is clearly coherent and is well reflected in the actual level design.

I'm still wondering about the enemy behaviours, the AI seems to work better in more closed spaces, but I can't but think if I'm missing something with what the cybers are capable of? So far each enemy appears to have just one attack, the regular technocultist (BTW, do they have official names?) and the shotgun/grenade guy appear to be able to crouch sometimes, but that's it. Whereas in Duke, each of the basic enemies has some extra quirk (jetpack, teleportation, secondary close-range spitting attack for the Enforcer; the Pig Cop was supposed to be able too butt the player with the rifle); in SW, the basic ninjas can throw shurikens in addition to the Uzi attack, jump around and crawl; coolies spawn ghosts, rippers cling to walls, ghosts phase in and out; in Blood the cultists also have secondary attacks IIRC.

View PostMblackwell, on 20 June 2020 - 03:25 PM, said:

Oh, I should say AI is a bit different in 1.1 though, due to tweaks and fixes. Should also be more performant.

Waitasec, I still have v1.02, GOG installer. Downloaded it just a few weeks ago. Did I miss something? Or is v1.1 not released yet? Do I need to get a patch?

This post has been edited by MrFlibble: 21 June 2020 - 03:18 AM

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#3892

View PostMusicallyInspired, on 20 June 2020 - 05:36 PM, said:

The levels are so lengthy (in time and size) that it's easy to get lost, but you're never TRULY lost.


That's what I call bad map design. As soon as you lose the feeling of being somewhere or moving forward or being inside an adventure, you should stop playing because the game/level doesn't worth your time anymore.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 21 June 2020 - 04:19 AM

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#3893

View PostNightFright, on 19 June 2020 - 05:19 AM, said:

@necroslut:

After having replayed Dark Forces a few months ago after not having touched the game since it came out, I have to mostly agree with your assessment. While the game creates a great Star Wars atmosphere in general with its locations, music and sounds, the levels themselves are just too huge and confusing (I still hate that sewer level early on in the campaign), which is probably like that to compensate that there are just 14 of them. That combined with the questionable checkpoint system which forces you to play through an entire level in one session before your progress is actually saved is what mostly breaks the game for me these days. If this can be fixed with a port (TheForceEngine, I count on you), accessibility and playability would profit a lot. Towards the end of the game it also gets overly hard with all those Dark Troopers hunting you down. If you don't have at least the impenetrable shields cheat activated in the menu, you are in for a massive loss of your hopefully accumulated extra lives.

I still think it's a great game, but the original Dark Forces campaign as it stands feels like a chore to get through the way it was realized. However, there are quite a few really nice user levels and campaigns out there which still make it worthwhile owning and playing the game. With a capable port, these mods will hopefully also see a revival by being usable far more easily.


I think the enemies are totally unattractive and forgettable, and the music is horrible. At least ROTT had great Lee Jackson music which might worth your time to sit through that terrible game.
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User is offline   t800 

#3894

Only passage that I found horribly confusing in Dark Forces was that puzzle with switching walls in 11th level. Had to draw plan to figure it out. :)
Going offrails again but I am wondering now, if Lucius shouldnt have 2 toggleable saving modes for his port. First vanilla with only saving at quitting game and other classic full manual saving. I mean game has lives system similar to Poweslave, so this would affect overall gameplay feeling.

Going back to Ion Fury, lack of multiple attack modes for enemies is little disappointing compared to other Build games. Let me brainstorm some:
- Charge-jumping attack for centipede while it is still complete?
- Kamikaze charge for flying skulls when they are low on health? (I think I am going to be hated for this here. :P )
- Shotgunners switching according to situation between grenades and shells? (In other words no diferrent subtypes anymore.)
- Some sort of melee attack for brown cultists?
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

  • The Sarien Encounter

#3895

View PostThe Watchtower, on 21 June 2020 - 04:22 AM, said:

I think the enemies are totally unattractive and forgettable, and the music is horrible. At least ROTT had great Lee Jackson music which might worth your time to sit through that terrible game.


Okay, I'm now writing off everything you're saying as bait.

View Postt800, on 21 June 2020 - 06:30 AM, said:

Only passage that I found horribly confusing in Dark Forces was that puzzle with switching walls in 11th level. Had to draw plan to figure it out. :)


Ah yes, Imperial City. The mission to retrieve the data tape. That room that's like a big vault. I figured it out without a map. The further in you go you just go back out and unlock the next door before you go back in. It's very linear actually and not really like a maze but it does require backtracking. There are only 3 layers to the vault with a handful of doors. It's one of those things that COULD be easier with a map, but if you have no problem with direction in a FPS game it's easy enough to work out.

I don't know, I love all the puzzles in Dark Forces. None come to mind right now that I truly hated. I think I had the worst time back in the day with the Arc Hammer and having to go inside the walls where all this machinery is to unlock doors to allow passage further into the ship. That one part where you have to move walls up and down with switches to match up the line holes along the wall had me confused at first.

Sorry I keep aiding in derailling. Maybe this can all be moved to the Dark Forces thread (we have one, don't we? Not related to The Force Engine thread?).

This post has been edited by MusicallyInspired: 21 June 2020 - 09:46 AM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3896

View Postt800, on 21 June 2020 - 06:30 AM, said:

oing offrails again but I am wondering now, if Lucius shouldnt have 2 toggleable saving modes for his port. First vanilla with only saving at quitting game and other classic full manual saving. I mean game has lives system similar to Poweslave, so this would affect overall gameplay feeling.

Lucius already said that the classic system won't be changed but there will be "save states".

As for secondary abilities of the enemies, there doesn't seem to be a reason not to toy with the ideas that are already there in the classic titles. How about a cultist who pleads not to shoot a la ROTT's Blitzguard? Throwing something at Shelly too would work I guess. IIRC some ninjas in SW occasionally throw flash grenades -- BTW, am I the only one a bit disappointed with the limited arsenal of useful items? Or are those being held back for later levels? So far I've only encountered the medkit and the radar as portables, and also the jumping boots (that was quite a cool section by the way) and the quad damage thing.
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User is offline   necroslut 

#3897

View PostMrFlibble, on 21 June 2020 - 12:10 PM, said:

BTW, am I the only one a bit disappointed with the limited arsenal of useful items? Or are those being held back for later levels? So far I've only encountered the medkit and the radar as portables, and also the jumping boots (that was quite a cool section by the way) and the quad damage thing.

No, it's not just you. I tought the limited inventory (both with regards to weapons and items) was disappointing and felt like a step backwards from the Build classics. The use-on-pickup items (like the double jump boots) also aren't as interesting as carryable items since you're so limited in where to use them.

View Postt800, on 21 June 2020 - 06:30 AM, said:

Going back to Ion Fury, lack of multiple attack modes for enemies is little disappointing compared to other Build games. Let me brainstorm some: -snip-

I do think alternative moves rather than attacks tend to be more interesting, they tend to change up the combat more and keep the player engaged; while alt. attacks can sometimes make combat more chaotic and random instead, and can break the "logic" which classic-style FPS combat works on.
It's definitely too late to go back and change now though (as it needs to work in tandem with level design and weapon balance etc) but I do think it's something that should be kept in mind for a future game.

This post has been edited by necroslut: 21 June 2020 - 10:12 PM

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#3898

I know you might not want to hear it
but I bet the lack of items was to make controller support easier
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User is offline   necroslut 

#3899

View PostTruck Stop Santa Claus, on 23 June 2020 - 03:58 PM, said:

I know you might not want to hear it
but I bet the lack of items was to make controller support easier

The thought had crossed my mind... but I brushed it off thinking, "no, this is a safe zone this is a safe zone, this is for us"...
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User is offline   Mblackwell 

  • Evil Overlord

#3900

More an issue of time and resources. At some point you have to cut complex bits and bobs so you can double down on what seems the most fun.

There's a public beta now on Steam btw.
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