Marathon 1 Redux

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Hardgrove's "Aliens Again" is VERY different from the original. Where should it be used?

On The Rose only, use the original for No Artificial Colours
1
33%
On The Rose AND No Artificial Colours
1
33%
On No Artificial Colours only, use the original for The Rose
0
No votes
Only use the original track on The Rose and No Artificial Colours
1
33%
 
Total votes : 3

Re: Marathon 1 Redux

Post Jul 12th '18, 23:12

Insane Arrival
I could have done it with one less trip through the ventilation shafts, and I regret not showing the shock staff vs. compiler, or the compiler's remains, but here you go. Insane IS conquerable.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 13th '18, 02:03

Good stuff. You might want to revise the movie_export_video_quality value in your preferences file if you haven’t yet; it looks like you might have it set to the default. I just use:

Code: Select all
movie_export_video_quality="100"


but of course that results in a gigantic file. Of course, I also just delete them after they’re done uploading most of the time. But that video will definitely help me with strategy, I think.

Were you shifting between first-person and third-person view while playing or did you do that while encoding the video? I haven’t messed around with third-person view much. I also still haven’t messed around with mouselook much, but of course, I’ve been encoding videos on my desktop 99% of the time I’ve been doing Marathon-related stuff on it, so I’ve had little opportunity to do so yet. (The trackpad on my MacBook isn’t really suitable for games.)

I’ll probably get back to playing more of this soon, too. But of course, I’ve been pretty busy myself these past few days. I may respond to some of the discussion above tomorrow, at least.
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 13th '18, 03:32

I actually encoded twice, once at 1080p, which gave the video but badly distorted sound, and again at 360p for the audio, and then muxed them with ffmpeg.

I switched perspective while recording, it doesn't seem to keep perspective, zoom, or crosshair setting you toggle while actually playing.

The key, gameplay wise, was fighting the first purple Pfhor in that first side chamber. If you try to fight them in the observation lounge, which has always been my go-to strategy, either the last one will block your path and you die (because it runs faster than on TC and is too tough to take down before you are surrounded), or you make it in, but all the Pfhor on the lower deck see you through the window and join the fight.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 13th '18, 22:09

That makes sense. I wonder why the sound distorted in your encode. It usually doesn’t in mine. You’re running Linux, right? Might be something to report to TL. Have you tried altering both the sound and audio quality settings in your prefs file?

I still don’t have the energy to respond in depth to all of the discussion above – there was a lot of insightful stuff there. A couple of things, though:

  1. I understand wanting to alter the game in response to complaints from the Doom community to a certain extent, but at the same time… Marathon and Doom are two separate games, and at the end of the day, I think Redux should still feel like Marathon. I’m not saying that Doom players haven’t raised some valid criticisms with the original game – Bungie themselves have acknowledged that the first several levels in particular could be better, so it’s worth trying to improve the game’s faults where they exist.

    But at the same time, I got into Marathon with an obsessiveness Doom has never inspired for me. A large part of that is Marathon’s cerebral storyline and worldbuilding, but I like some of the gameplay’s quirks. I like the fact that the AI is so dumb you can inspire Troopers and Cyborgs to kill themselves by standing far enough below them. I like the floaty physics and the fact that you can use the flamethrower as a jetpack in low gravity. I like the fact that you can change direction in mid-air, even though that’s tremendously unrealistic.

    Obviously there aren’t commonplace calls to change all of these in the first place, but at the end of the day, I want Marathon to feel like Marathon. If that means other FPS communities still have some complaints because it doesn’t feel like their preferred game, I’m fine with that. I have some complaints with other FPS games from the same era, but if someone were making an overhaul of, say, Doom to address commonplace complaints with the original, I’d still want the finished product to play like Doom, even though it’s not what I’m used to.

    Basically, what I’m saying is: keep in mind other communities’ opinions about the game, but don’t go so far in addressing them that the game doesn’t feel like a Marathon game anymore.

  2. Re: Craig’s remixes not having the same atmosphere as the originals, I strongly agree with this, as much as I love them. I’ve actually done mild remixes of all sixteen songs myself, but I never bothered posting them here because they’re not drastically different from the originals. Time to remedy that. I mostly added stereo panning and added some new instrument tracks that followed existing ones. You’re welcome to use them with credit if you like; I have them posted in FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, or .m4a. I think the ones I’m fondest of are “Flippant”, “New Pacific (reprise)”, “Splash (Marathon)”, “Swirls”, and “What About Bob?”. Again, these aren’t radical reinterpretations, but they keep the same atmosphere as the originals and make, I think, better usage of the QT2.5 instruments. Which I used as the base because, to me, the QT2.5 instruments have always been key to the original game’s atmosphere.
I definitely agree with a lot of the other suggestions above. I’ll add more later, perhaps, if I feel up to it. For now I’m going to encode my latest gameplay video from my own scenario.
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 14th '18, 06:06

No problem keeping it Marathon. I think the only other FPS I've ever enjoyed nearly as much as Marathon was System Shock... and to stretch the genre even further, Alien Isolation. Please don't even talk about Doom, I hate it so.

Maybe I could look into the music tomorrow. It's kinda been on the back burner since a) it works already, b) I like Craig's remixes, c) Craig has given me permission to use them, and d) there have been far more important things to worry about. But, I've downloaded a fair number of remixes, and I did take a music appreciation course at university last fall... I could sit down and take a serious listen. I think that would be a fairly relaxing thing to do that I would otherwise say "blarg I don't have time there is too much map/physics/shapes/code to do!" about.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 14th '18, 14:43

I have a particularly strange idea that I came up with at 4:20 am last night (not, alas, under the influence of 420), but it still sounds reasonable at 11 am, so I’ll go ahead and post it.

Use more than one version per level.

The main reason I’m suggesting this is because most of these levels take a long time to complete, especially on higher difficulties. There’s something to be said for not hearing the same three-minute arrangement ten times in a thirty-minute level – players might get sick of it. I’m aware that these versions have different atmospheres and establish different moods, but that’s probably fine; it might even be a good thing. And I think I remember reading that A1 can be programmed to use more than one track on the same level, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

I don’t know for certain how well it would work, nor do I understand how to write code to implement it yet, but it might be better than just designating one version of each track per level.

If needed, I can find a way to stitch multiple versions of each track together into one track, but I’d prefer having FLAC versions of each of them to work with if so.
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 14th '18, 15:15

The Man wrote:Use more than one version per level.

Flippant Sol wrote:Also, if you can make new music, why not use Lua to make it dynamic and segmented according to where the player is?


^this. I would love to do.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 14th '18, 18:01

One o the wonderful things about blue Marathon is that you can use any .ogg files you want to simply by replacing the Tracks folder file with your own. One o the files I use is over 50 minutes long. This is only the blue marathons though, the brown, silver, and green, don't have the same system. Though, I must admit, I haven't substituted any .ogg files in M1R yet so I don't know if'n it still works that way. It seems that earlier some problems were being caused by a music file.

Another thing, as I've said before, if'n you don't like M1R, you don't have to play it, you can still play the regular blue Marathons; either the single fisted one or the two fisted one. This isn't like some games, the new does not replace the old, so per laborem ad astra.

It's like Eternal X: I've got three of those; each has its pluses and minuses.
I just play 'em; I don't know how they work.
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HelviusRufus

Post Jul 14th '18, 20:34

I like the idea of changing the music based on the section of the level, but it’d have to be implemented in a way that didn’t have sudden cutoffs. Maybe it’s possible to crossfade tracks or else just only queue one up after the current one finishes. For me the ultimate case of mood-based VGM is the final battle theme for Final Fantasy VI, for my money the best VGM track that ever has been or probably ever will be composed. This is from a patched version of the SNES game and the video quality is awful, but the sound quality is decent enough to give an idea how it works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgcbShn9x8g

Of course, Uematsu composed “Dancing Mad” specifically with the intention of having each movement lead into the next. As a result, there are smooth transitions between each battle – but this requires it only to transition between movements at specific points in each piece, meaning that each time you move to a new tier of the final boss (apart from the final one, where the music fades out briefly), you may still get the old music for as long as ninety seconds or so. Ordinarily fine, since unless you’re speedrunning, you’ll probably spend at least three minutes on each segment. Note that the transitions seem to be timed unusually well in this video.

Anyway, I doubt you’d get transitions this smooth with Lua if you simply used unaltered versions of each remix, but it might be possible to make connecting segments between each track you used in a specific level that would sound good. I don’t know if it would play seamlessly – you’d probably have to use FLAC or Ogg to get that, because MP3 and M4A usually pad the beginning and end of each track with a few frames of silence, and I doubt A1’s music player is sophisticated enough to remove them. Of course, if the silence remains between tracks even with Ogg or FLAC, it’s a moot point.

(random aside: please don’t use MP3 unless you have to. It’s a lousy, lousy format. The later versions of the LAME encoder are better than they used to be, but if you have to use a lossy format, Ogg and M4A both usually give you better audio quality for the same file size, and they seem to be better at preserving dynamic range as well. I realise MP3 has been standard for decades now, but it kinda sucks because it’s an old format. Ogg is probably best due to being open source and preserving gapless transitions, but M4A is still better than MP3.)


ETA: speaking of dynamic range, if the scenario uses music files from multiple creators it’s best to make sure the levels are reasonably consistent between songs so that a loud song doesn’t end up blasting one’s eardrums out after a quiet one. I mastered my own remixes to DR13 (with an RMS of -19.8 dB), so they’re really quiet in comparison to most modern music. (Note that the version in my Dropbox might be DR12 with RMS of -17.6 dB instead, which is still really quiet. I actually spent a fair amount of time making them more dynamic than they originally were some twenty years when I burned them to CD, applying mild declipping and a phase rotation filter.) Some modern creators may not know enough about mastering to understand the problems with making the levels too high, or simply may not care (I think Craig’s remixes probably have good dynamic range, but I haven’t listened to most of the other remixers’ work often enough to be able to tell), so this may not be consistent from track to track.

…of course, if A1’s music player pays attention to ReplayGain info, this may not actually matter
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 15th '18, 05:45

HelviusRufus wrote:One o the wonderful things about blue Marathon is that you can use any .ogg files you want to simply by replacing the Tracks folder file with your own.


You can still do that with M1R. Just make sure the name is the same.

The Man wrote:Maybe it’s possible to crossfade tracks or else just only queue one up after the current one finishes.


I'm happy with however it might possibly work. If there's a way for a Lua script to trigger when the current track ends, that might be easiest - e.g. on The Rose, play Aliens Again (original), when the track ends check the state of the mission, if unfinished play Aliens Again again, if success play What About Bob? (CH's weirdly upbeat version), if failed play Aliens Again (CH's creepy piano version).

The Man wrote:please don’t use MP3 unless you have to.


I know mp3 is dated, and obviously if a track comes to me in lossless format I'll encode it with OGG. It happens that the tracks I have came to me in mp3 format, and there's no sense in re-encoding them. And yes I am painfully aware of dynamic range issues and know how to deal with them.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 15th '18, 19:52

Yeah, I wouldn’t ever suggest someone transcode MP3 to Ogg just because the latter is a better format – you actually lose quality in so doing. If you’re converting from a lossless source, though, MP3 isn’t ideal, at least from a quality standpoint. Unfortunately, it’s still by far the most widely supported.

(For instance, my car’s inbuilt music player doesn’t support Ogg, while my father’s doesn’t support M4A, but they both support MP3. Both are fairly recent models, and I don’t understand why they don’t support formats that have existed since 2000 [Ogg] and 2001/2003 [M4A] now. This is one reason I always keep lossless sources of music when I have them, even though I can’t really tell the difference between lossless and high-quality lossy encodes anymore. [The other is that I almost always remaster modern music due to the loudness war.])

Might be worth asking Craig and the others if they still have the FLAC sources. I’d like to have them myself.

I like the idea of changing the music based on the mission outcome, though I’d still probably use more than one version of each song before the mission success/failure because many of those levels take a long time before such a branch point is possible.

I might have more to say later, but I’m the one feeling lousy now. Rotten timing, too, since I’ve just started a new job. Hopefully I can suffer through it without having to call in sick.
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 16th '18, 11:43

General-RADIX wrote:@Flippant Sol: Man, is the Doom community THAT harsh on Marathon? How high are their standards if they think the shotguns' sound effects are "anemic"?


The gold standard for shotguns is Doom 2, so, pretty high.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 16th '18, 16:16

I've always thought the doom2 super shotgun sounded like someone dropping a bag of flour more than a gun.
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