Aeon commentary

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:24

I told Dugit I was writing a lot of commentary about Aeon as I was playing through it. Critical commentary is really important at every stage of development for any product, but especially in this case, as the project is starting to come together to form a cohesive whole. It's far enough in that all/most of the concepts have actually been brought out, so piecemeal commentary on that is actually feasible, and one can also see the big picture and comment on that.

I was going to post this in the Aeon thread, but this is really long and has a ton of pictures, so I figured I'd post it separately. Forthcoming is all the commentary, but I'll start with the intro levels. Note that I wrote these all out beforehand, so I'm just pretty much batch uploading into this thread.

00. Our Lives a Mimicry and 01. Apoptosis
I'm not really sure both of these levels need to be here? I have no problems with an intro level to a scenario, I suppose, but why two? Of the two, Apoptosis is really stupid, so I'd just dump that one entirely. Mimicry is pretty solid, though. I'd just delete all the monsters on Mimicry, since they don't really add anything of value to the level, and have that lead straight into Founder Effect.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:24

02. Founder Effect
This is the first of several levels where a save should be available right away. The beginning fight on this level is tough, and dying here sends you back to Mimicry, which is obnoxious. Actually, the opening wave is not so bad, but the second wave (once you enter the building) is usually enough to do me in.

Also, the mission is not clear. It's not evident when you're "done" killing things. Find a way to write the terminals better, so you know that once you kill the Juggernaut, you're done.


All these computer panels are bouncy. Generally, bouncy walls seem to happen at points where the polygon edge and the wall are less than 0.25 WU apart. Deepen the indentation to 0.25 WU and you'll be fine. (I noticed you tried to put solid lines in front of them; these lines need to hold a texture of some kind, either a lattice or a lower/upper ledge, in order for it to work.)

In the room with the MOAH, you have water just standing around. Water should always have either a flow or a tide, or both; standing water might be realistic, but it looks bad.


In a level with a lot of bad texturing, this room actually stood out to me as really good. First of all, you have a constrained palette; gray rocks with blue paint and water to offset it, and a couple green lights. You really need to play with a constrained palette, with some sensible colors that work with each other. This becomes a little less of a problem later in the game, but in the opposite direction -- the levels become too flat. This level is really garish.


This in particular stood out as a really nice, subtle detail. Very few people would think to do that at all, and fewer still would waste the polygons to make that lighting effect. It's nice that you're consistent with it, too, if I remember correctly. The lighting in the rest of the room, unfortunately, is pretty flat -- you can see there is no differential shading in the rock walls above that light tube. I'd rather have more of that, personally.


This picture is an example of how the textures you're using look too different from each other to be used in the same area. I can see textures from M1, M2, Infinity, Evil, and TI in this shot alone, in addition to kinda clunky photoshops, and they all have different "feels" to them. I actually only took this pic for the M2 light panel in the center, but afterward I realized just how horrible the whole picture is altogether.


These are more examples of mishmashing textures, both from different sources and different sets from each source. Throughout the game, you need to apply a more even hand with your texture usage. This helps differentiate your maps from each other, as well as just making them all work together better.


This is an example of poorly composed battles. I want to like this level, because it has a pretty smart layout and could be a very good "first level," but the battles are awful, and that's what brings me down. This picture is of a narrow rocky staircase, and on that ledge in the background there were two Enforcers. There is no way to dodge these attacks, so you either have to ignore them or take a bunch of damage while you whittle them down. It's annoying. I'd probably just have no monsters at all in here.

There are several instances of monsters teleporting in inches behind you. These sorts of ambushes almost never are fun unless you have a lot of room to react, in which case it seems like less of a cheap ambush and more of a proper flank by the enemy. I recognize it as poorly-placed monsters and triggers, but some people might see it as a dirty trick; either way, it's not good.

There's a battle with an MOAH at one point, and it stinks; it does nothing but kill the pacing. It's not hard, since you have free access to a 2x recharger, so I'd probably just get rid of it.

The last battle I can think of is the Juggernaut battle. First of all, the blue Juggernaut looks terrible. But beyond that, the opening area isn't well-composed for a Juggernaut fight. It's got too much awkward geometry, and it's too small, so you pretty much have to whore the recharger. The rest of the "final fight" isn't bad.

On the whole, this level could be good but it needs a lot of cleaning up. I would honestly probably nuke all the objects and start over, recomposing all the fights. I will address problems with monster/weapon progression as a whole later, but between the size of the fights, the variety of monsters, and all the weapons you get on this first level, it doesn't feel very first-level-y.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:25

03. Eternal Lucid Dream
What strikes me right away is the palette swaps. The main story of the game (the white bloods) relies on a palette swap to distinguish them from regular Pfhor/Bobs. I would not add in more palette swaps just because. If nothing else, using regular palettes would actually add a good amount of color to a drab-looking level.


Besides, you can get results like this. Hideous.


You would have a better-looking backdrop here with fewer textures and more distinct lighting. Compare it with the Phoenix shot next to it. You still get a good feel for the geometry without having a bazillion textures thrown in your face.

On the whole, though, this level is pretty fun. It's linear, with a bunch of hallways, but the battles are usually well-composed and enjoyable. There's just the problem with BS ambushes, like on Founder Effect. For example, right at the beginning, there is a monster trigger that teleports in Enforcers and Troopers all around you. There's no room to dodge or otherwise avoid taking damage; it's just a stupid cheap shot, and your level isn't "harder" for it.


I like how this room works. Again: good color choices and the textures work together. I'll attribute the drabness to the fog effect (which is reasonable, and done well).


This pisses me off. If you fall back here, you get stuck. I know you are aware of it, because you put in a teleporter to un-stick you. Why not just fix the geometry so you can't get stuck! The curved steps just look weird in the square hallway, so I'd probably adjust the wall so it conforms with the curve.

I don't mind this level. I know I had problems with it in the past, but it's a bit better now. Just fix the nonsense ambushes and you'd have a fun, short little romp. But uh...

04. Pfherrous Oxide
You have a two-part level here, and I think the only reason why is to have respawning enemies in the second half. I don't like this concept, first of all; respawning monsters don't usually work well in single player levels. This one is okay because the level is so short, but there's still no real payoff; if the level just had normal monsters, I don't think it would be any less fun.

Anyway, the level transition is unnecessary. In Anvil and Shapefusion, you can copy monster data wholesale -- just highlight the monster name in the list, copy, and paste it into another slot you aren't using (Ticks are good for this). Then you can just copy the Troopers into the Tick slot, have the Ticks respawn, and be done with it. It would get rid of the awkward level transition.

Also, the level transition into Rise and Fall sucks. That level begins with a huge, chaotic battle that you can't possibly be expecting, and right when you start you're being fired upon. It sucks as a transition, because you're running from a chaotic battle in this level, and you don't get time to figure out why there's so much nonsense happening. A smoother transition would be better -- maybe have a saferoom at the end of this level, or put an expository level between this level and the next one to better set the scene.


I do like the staging of the chip room, though. The level itself is composed very well, and it's not really offensive, but I think you're just shooting yourself in the foot with the respawning monsters bit. Maybe expand the level out a little more and just have normal fights (maybe a boss of some kind), and you'd have a much better payoff.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:25

05. The Rise and Fall of Dugit
Before I begin, I want to establish something. My computer can run Crysis on maximum settings. If your level dips my framerate, you're going to make a LOT of people upset and possibly unable to play your game entirely. This is sort of the turning point, where your geometry gets so ridiculously complex for increasingly minimal gains. You could chop the polygon count on this level in half, and everything would still look great.

Like I said earlier, this level would benefit a lot if there was a safe transition between the last level and this one. If nothing else, a chance to save between the two would be greatly appreciated.


You're aware this terminal doesn't work, right?


This is where my framerate dipped. Despite that, I love the composition of this transition from the last room to this one. The huge architecture works pretty well here, and the sky in the background looks great.

The annoying thing is the 2x recharger that's to the player's right in this picture. Trying to use it triggers the first wave of monsters in this area, which isn't really fair. Rather than moving the trigger further into the room, I'd just move the recharger to a safe area in the first room. Same with the save point.


This is the boss room. First of all, it introduces the new MOACs, which I don't really like. The Juggernaut missiles are good, but the Fusion bolts are very overpowered. Getting hit by a full blast is pretty much instant death regardless of your health. But then, this also plays in your favor, because properly kited they pretty much shredded everyone else in this room, and one of them killed the other as well. I would probably change the attack to normal Fusion bolts, or use one of the Unused projectile shots to create your own, less-powerful attack.

Also, this room has way too much "junk" in it. I died many times trying to run away from the MOACs only to get caught on some rocks and eat a full blast of Fusion. Simplify the center area.

Speaking of funny physics, the Drones on this level shoot a really long blast of Compiler bolts. Besides the attack being weirdly dissonant with the monster, the burst is too long. Flying enemies have strange behavior while attacking. I would reduce their attack burst to 2 or so. In fact, I don't really think the monster concept pays off -- it seems to be weird for its own sake, when normal Drones are fine.

I think if the transitions from fight to fight were smoother, this map would be a lot of fun. Oh yeah: I don't think the teleporter is a good idea. I'm a fan of areas being physically connected for the sake of continuity. Just have a ledge you have to drop down or something to lock the player into the final area, and it'll be a much smoother experience.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:26

06. The Asphodel Meadows
The first thing I noticed is your music choice. Lightless Dawn is too mellow and mysterious for an action-packed extermination level.

I took a lot of screenshots for this level, but I didn't write many notes. This level is probably the high point of the game, but it still has some annoying bits that could be tightened up.


I do appreciate the minute level of detail you put into your levels. I suspect most people wouldn't even notice this part. It's almost completely wasted effort, but it's a nice bit of realism and I liked it.


I actually just like this composition in general, coming from a dark narrow hallway into an open area, comparing dark shadowy areas to the bright orange sky. For a level entirely composed of setpieces, this is the high point for me.


These stairs suck; you can't get back down through the door once you climb up. If you missed a bunch of enemies down there, you could probably screw yourself out of the entire level because you can't get back there.


This room slaughtered my framerate.

Also, this battle sucks. The first Juggernaut is annoying enough; it took ~12 Fusion batteries to kill it, and with the endless supply of 3x health it was just time-consuming more than anything else. The fact that a second Juggernaut teleports in after you kill this one sucks a whole lot more. You have to be really conservative with your use of Juggernauts, because they can really slow down the pacing of your map if employed poorly. The first one here is okay, but it has too much health; the second one was awful.

Other than that, this room rules, and I love all the lighting in the man-made architecture versus the natural geometry. Very cool. Like I said, I like this level probably the most of all of them, and it's one of the best-looking too. You just have to greatly simplify this big room, because it is so taxing and complex.

Also, this level is (I think?) the split between the storylines. I'll talk about that later. I just level-skipped to In Our Dreams Awake.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:26

07. Blaze
I didn't write a bunch about this level either. I think you already know that it's not good.

This level just kinda slams the white-blood plot in your face out of nowhere. I think that's the core storyline of your scenario, and there's no introduction or any indication that an infection that makes people EVIL~~~ is coming up until it's already here. That's one reason as to why The Asphodel Meadows makes such an odd transition into the storyline split.

And then, of course, the level starts and you get so completely destroyed by the Compilers that you spend too much time running around desperately without knowing what's going on. Maybe that's the point, and you did it on purpose, but I'm not sure it's the best for your narrative. The hard opening works against you, at least in part because it's really obnoxious.


It would be better if the level started in this part of the map. First of all, it looks creepy and really cool, but also, you can use all the terminals to set up the desperate "run across the courtyard" part that forms the centerpiece of your level. It's like a joke: you need a setup for the punchline to work. As is, the transition from regular Pfhor carnage to zombie infection rage virus whatever is really awkward and doesn't work.

Also, this level ALSO kills my framerate.

Lastly, the Compiler physics are aggressively terrible. I've explained this before. The shots are nearly impossible to dodge on TC, and the velocity, damage, and nature of Compiler bolts means getting hit by one sends you flying. In this open space, getting blasted from 50 WU away by a Compiler is pretty much assured death; you get popped up 30 feet into the air and blasted out of the sky. Get rid of the seeking nature of the shot and I think you'd be better off.

08. Lapsus Linguae
Not much to say about this level that hasn't been said. I really like the look of it, though; it's probably the most visually appealing map in the game. People have already complained about the switches being too hard to see, which I agree with.

I think it needs a recharger, too.

09. Words Which I Command
I've already said everything I think I need to about this level in another thread. This level would be fine with a save point, and maybe one or two more cans to benefit slower readers. I skimmed through some of the longer ones, because on TC oxygen drains so quickly you have very little time to waste.


I do like the blue/gray look of the level though. Nice work!
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:27

10. Asking a Shadow to Dance
So this game has two ending levels, and of the two, this one functions much better as a "last level" than Jjaro Jjaro Evolution. It has the simplicity and big battles that help make the level feel like a climactic showdown. I've already said this before: putting a save at the start would be good etiquette if nothing else, since I died several times climbing up the stairs.

One thing I noticed is that the white bloods have about twice as much health as they should. I think, on TC, some enemies have thousands of hit points. And I just mean normal enemies, not bosses. Also, the attack bursts are too long; enemies just stand there and shoot shoot shoot. They'd be more entertaining if they had less health but moved faster and attacked more aggressively instead. The fight in the big water pit in the center was particularly annoying, because of the size of the room, the lack of cover, and the huge amount of accumulated HP between all the enemies. It was very tedious.

But for the most part, the level is pretty fun, and a good place to dump all of the rockets I had when starting the level.


This is the only really bad part. Through this doorway is a narrow tunnel leading into a save room. That room has a ton of Troopers and Hunters, and it's really dangerous. It took me forever to clear out this room, because of course, charging into the room is guaranteed death. I had to tediously pick off enemies from the corridor; they refused to follow me back out.


Very cool and dramatic lighting effects. I did notice that you released a promotional picture of the latter room, but facing the other direction, where there's nothing to look at but white texture, and it looked terrible. This angle, however, looks great.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the game is supposed to continue on from here or not. I don't think it needs to, except that I'm not really sure what I did on this level.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:28

11. In Our Dreams Awake
On to the issue of the plot split.

I'm not really sure that the structuring of the plot actually is working out for you. Personally, I think the "infection" storyline is really stupid, and not implemented well. Compare it to Rubicon: the divergent stories are very different from each other, so when you play all of them you get a large-scale, complete picture of the world and setting that Rubicon has. In this game, though, if you go along with the Jjaro, you see... the same storyline, but from the other point of view, and I don't think it's executed well.

I would actually recommend scrubbing this entire plot point, and finding a way to repurpose this level and Frameshift Mutation to fit into the other storyline. Then you can flesh that one out a bit more, give it a little more oomph, and just altogether have one neatly-composed story rather than two that are sort of shallow. Know what I mean?

Also, the execution of the split doesn't work at all. If you take terminal A, you go to storyline A; terminal B takes you to storyline B. There's no actual decision made because there's no indication that the story would split, or that your actions would change anything. Rubicon's storyline splits either revolve around the explicit success/failure of a mission (which is explained clearly by Durandal) or an explicit decision made by the player to help Durandal or Tycho.

The other, other, other dumb thing about this plot line is that every level is a Rebellion, and I don't really see the point of it.

The only problem with this actual level is that it needs a save at the end to account for the difficult beginning of the next level.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:28

12. Frameshift Mutation
I actually really like this level; it's probably my third-favorite, behind Asphodel and Lapsus. It has a very distinct visual appearance (for most of the level) and some seriously creepy vibes. So, good job with that.

Some of your white blood/Pfhor/Human fights don't work well. It's because you have each enemy flagged as activated by "player" and not "nearest hostile," so they'll blatantly ignore each other to attack you, even when it doesn't make sense. Also, vanilla Defenders make awful enemies; they just camp and shoot at you with their very powerful and difficult to avoid attacks.


The fight behind that door sucks. The only way I was able to beat it was to open the door, run in to trigger everyone, and retreat back into this room before the door closed. Then just wait for the enemies in there to kill themselves off, go back in, and run circles around the six or so MOACs until they kill each other with those ridiculous Fusion blasts.


Seriously.

I don't think you gain anything by having the door close behind you like that, since it's so easily cheesed anyway. Just broaden the doorway and leave it open, so at least you can continue the fight after you start it.

13. Vae Victis
I just think it's really lazy to reuse levels like this when the plot is divergent. Aeon isn't a long game, and the levels therein are really short too, so reusing levels on top of it seems really sloppy. This is another reason why I'd scrub this storyline; the overlap is unnecessary.

(For the benefit of other readers: this level is the same as Words Which I Command, except you're fighting Bobs instead of Troopers, and it's not a vacuum.)
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:29

14. Jjaro Jjaro Evolution
Aeon has only one bad level, and this is it. It's one where, if Dugit had tested the level on TC, he'd realize that the concept doesn't work at all and the level's a huge nightmarish pain in the ass.

The first leg of the level is really tedious. With no weapons, you have to run through a long cave with Fighters and a Trooper. There isn't really a lot of room in here. Punching the Fighters down isn't hard, but Troopers are very difficult enemies to kill without guns or a recharger to rely on, so you have to slowly kite it into a more open area to run around it. There is no save point after this cave, so every time you die in the insanely difficult back half of the map, you have to do the cave over again. It's miserable.


I can't tell if this effect is cool or annoying. I'm going to side with annoying, since you can see the seams where the door is. It's at least a very unique and cool effort.

The back half of the level is all Compilers and Defenders with no room to dodge stuff, and all you have is the Fusion Pistol. Getting hit by a Compiler is usually instant death, since, if you don't get popped into the air and juggled to death, you get blasted back into a lava pit and die anyway. The Defender bolts move lightning-fast and you have no room to dodge that stuff either, and it does a stupid amount of damage. Every single Defender ambush killed me the first time, since I would die before I could figure out where it was and how I could cheese it to death. All these enemies have far too much health.


You really need more colors, or at least more shades of gray. I don't think the black and white look is working for you here.

The very last enemy of this hideously annoying sequence of fights is a Defender that shoots entirely unavoidable seeking attacks. I couldn't kill it after several attempts, so I ran past it to the last terminal and mashed the buttons to exit the level. I couldn't even read it. This level is a bunch of sucky bad bullshit, and seriously, if the level had no enemies whatsoever it would be more fun -- not to mention, much more moody and atmospheric, which I think is the look you were going for anyway.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 16:30

In Conclusion
Your levels don't have a lot of variation. It's not just the visual appearance, although that doesn't help, but the nature of your levels doesn't change. Each level is a short, linear series of action setpieces. The fact that I finished the entire game on TC in a day is a testament to how short the game is.

This isn't really a bad thing, exactly, since the game is free, but it's just a samey experience that I probably wouldn't play again in a hurry, especially since the game uses mostly Infinity assets, so it's not a dramatically different experience from most other games. I would seriously consider a complete plot restructuring into one coherent storyline; rather than dropping the white bloods in halfway through the game, they should be a key player for the entire game, or at least most of it.

Also, I would spend a lot of time drafting some levels that are more complex in their layout. Maybe some nonlinear, multi-objective levels that actually have a bit of exploration involved to them, and intersperse these levels amongst your existing levels. Right now, many of your levels just run together; adding in some levels that are different both in appearance and feel would really help with the pacing and experience of the game.

What would also help in that regard is working on the monster/weapon progression. Since Aeon isn't a long game, having the arsenal quickly escalate to rockets/shotguns/etc isn't necessarily problematic, but of course, after level 3 or 4 there's nothing to look forward to. Similarly, since every level has every monster type on it, none of the fights play out particularly differently.

Your strength definitely lies in big, dramatic architecture and lighting, but your overuse of tiny polygons is working against you. The ridiculous complexity of your geometry is forcing you to make shorter, smaller levels, because you're going so far overbudget in making two big rooms that you have no space to do anything else. Especially since it doesn't pay off; I appreciate the very complex lighting effects you employ at times, but it's not necessary to make the levels look good, and you could greatly simplify without watering down the aesthetic of the game.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 14th '12, 17:46

Where it only says 'noted' or whatever, that's just for ease for collation on my part into the fix list.

RyokoTK wrote:02. Founder Effect
This is the first of several levels where a save should be available right away.
â?? Done. I'll also water down the opening battle â?? replaying it on TC and I can see why. Less troopers, more fighters.

Also, the mission is not clear. It's not evident when you're "done" killing things. Find a way to write the terminals better, so you know that once you kill the Juggernaut, you're done.
â?? Right-o.

All these computer panels are bouncy. Generally, bouncy walls seem to happen at points where the polygon edge and the wall are less than 0.25 WU apart. Deepen the indentation to 0.25 WU and you'll be fine.
â?? Neat.

In the room with the MOAH, you have water just standing around. Water should always have either a flow or a tide, or both; standing water might be realistic, but it looks bad.
â?? I never actually figured out how to make water rise and fall. I suppose I'll cheese it and give it a tide, drop its height to 0.001WU and make the floor wandering water texture. :p

This picture is an example of how the textures you're using look too different from each other to be used in the same area.
â?? Christ, I thought I got rid of the M2 light texture! Otherwise, noted.

This is an example of poorly composed battles. I want to like this level, because it has a pretty smart layout and could be a very good "first level," but the battles are awful, and that's what brings me down. This picture is of a narrow rocky staircase, and on that ledge in the background there were two Enforcers. There is no way to dodge these attacks, so you either have to ignore them or take a bunch of damage while you whittle them down. It's annoying. I'd probably just have no monsters at all in here.
â?? Done.

There are several instances of monsters teleporting in inches behind you. These sorts of ambushes almost never are fun unless you have a lot of room to react, in which case it seems like less of a cheap ambush and more of a proper flank by the enemy. I recognize it as poorly-placed monsters and triggers, but some people might see it as a dirty trick; either way, it's not good.
â?? Noted. I'll have a sweep for them.

There's a battle with an MOAH at one point, and it stinks; it does nothing but kill the pacing. It's not hard, since you have free access to a 2x recharger, so I'd probably just get rid of it.
â?? Noted.

The last battle I can think of is the Juggernaut battle. First of all, the blue Juggernaut looks terrible. But beyond that, the opening area isn't well-composed for a Juggernaut fight. It's got too much awkward geometry, and it's too small, so you pretty much have to whore the recharger. The rest of the "final fight" isn't bad.
â?? Noted.

On the whole, this level could be good but it needs a lot of cleaning up. I would honestly probably nuke all the objects and start over, recomposing all the fights. I will address problems with monster/weapon progression as a whole later, but between the size of the fights, the variety of monsters, and all the weapons you get on this first level, it doesn't feel very first-level-y.
â?? Neat idea. Will consider. More fighters, less AR-Grenades and Heavy Troopers. :)

RyokoTK wrote:03. Eternal Lucid Dream
Besides, you can get results like this. Hideous.
â?? It seems that I haven't had much luck making palettes grayscale. The gray drone and the VacBob both have dithering glitches that I'm not sure how to fix, so I guess I'll redo the CLUT altogether.

You would have a better-looking backdrop here with fewer textures and more distinct lighting. Compare it with the Phoenix shot next to it. You still get a good feel for the geometry without having a bazillion textures thrown in your face.
â?? There's going to be a universal re-texture. ELD is the prime target.

For example, right at the beginning, there is a monster trigger that teleports in Enforcers and Troopers all around you. There's no room to dodge or otherwise avoid taking damage; it's just a stupid cheap shot, and your level isn't "harder" for it.
â?? Noted. Will remove.

This pisses me off. If you fall back here, you get stuck. I know you are aware of it, because you put in a teleporter to un-stick you. Why not just fix the geometry so you can't get stuck! The curved steps just look weird in the square hallway, so I'd probably adjust the wall so it conforms with the curve.
â?? This made me smile.

04. Pfherrous Oxide (sic) â?? I guess it's too late to put ELD and PO together, but I understand your point about respawning enemies and bad transition. Will remove.

I do like the staging of the chip room, though. The level itself is composed very well, and it's not really offensive, but I think you're just shooting yourself in the foot with the respawning monsters bit. Maybe expand the level out a little more and just have normal fights (maybe a boss of some kind), and you'd have a much better payoff.
â?? Interesting idea. I think I'll give it a try.

RyokoTK wrote:05. The Rise and Fall of Dugit
Before I begin, I want to establish something. My computer can run Crysis on maximum settings. If your level dips my framerate, you're going to make a LOT of people upset and possibly unable to play your game entirely. This is sort of the turning point, where your geometry gets so ridiculously complex for increasingly minimal gains. You could chop the polygon count on this level in half, and everything would still look great.
â?? Will review. :)

If nothing else, a chance to save between the two would be greatly appreciated.
â?? Noted.

You're aware this terminal doesn't work, right?
â?? I've always been aware and gave up a long time ago, so I just left it as an scenery object. I guess it's quite deceiving, so I'll replace the terminal texture.

The annoying thing is the 2x recharger that's to the player's right in this picture. Trying to use it triggers the first wave of monsters in this area, which isn't really fair. Rather than moving the trigger further into the room, I'd just move the recharger to a safe area in the first room. Same with the save point.
â?? Noted. I'll move forward the triggers.

This is the boss room. First of all, it introduces the new MOACs, which I don't really like. The Juggernaut missiles are good, but the Fusion bolts are very overpowered. Getting hit by a full blast is pretty much instant death regardless of your health. But then, this also plays in your favor, because properly kited they pretty much shredded everyone else in this room, and one of them killed the other as well. I would probably change the attack to normal Fusion bolts, or use one of the Unused projectile shots to create your own, less-powerful attack.
â?? Noted. Replacing with regular fusion attacks.

Also, this room has way too much "junk" in it. I died many times trying to run away from the MOACs only to get caught on some rocks and eat a full blast of Fusion. Simplify the center area.
â?? Noted.

Speaking of funny physics, the Drones on this level shoot a really long blast of Compiler bolts. Besides the attack being weirdly dissonant with the monster, the burst is too long. Flying enemies have strange behavior while attacking. I would reduce their attack burst to 2 or so. In fact, I don't really think the monster concept pays off -- it seems to be weird for its own sake, when normal Drones are fine.
â?? Noted. Reducing to a two-shot volley.

I think if the transitions from fight to fight were smoother, this map would be a lot of fun. Oh yeah: I don't think the teleporter is a good idea. I'm a fan of areas being physically connected for the sake of continuity. Just have a ledge you have to drop down or something to lock the player into the final area, and it'll be a much smoother experience.
â?? Neat idea. I'm not sure why I used a teleporter in the first place, I guess I just wanted to make cheesing the last battle by running back out impossible. Will modify.

RyokoTK wrote:06. The Asphodel Meadows
The first thing I noticed is your music choice. Lightless Dawn is too mellow and mysterious for an action-packed extermination level.
â?? I always thought it went pretty well. It was generally selected by grace of the architecture and aesthetics, not the gameplay, but I suppose it's a valid point.

I took a lot of screenshots for this level, but I didn't write many notes. This level is probably the high point of the game, but it still has some annoying bits that could be tightened up.
â?? Really? I must admit, Asphodel to me was always Aeon's sore thumb â?? a fathoming monstrosity of 2500 polygons?

These stairs suck; you can't get back down through the door once you climb up. If you missed a bunch of enemies down there, you could probably screw yourself out of the entire level because you can't get back there.
â?? Noted.


This room slaughtered my framerate.

Also, this battle sucks. The first Juggernaut is annoying enough; it took ~12 Fusion batteries to kill it, and with the endless supply of 3x health it was just time-consuming more than anything else. The fact that a second Juggernaut teleports in after you kill this one sucks a whole lot more. You have to be really conservative with your use of Juggernauts, because they can really slow down the pacing of your map if employed poorly. The first one here is okay, but it has too much health; the second one was awful.
â?? Yup. This has already been noted in the fix-list. The gray juggernaut is going to have its health stripped and the second one is going to be deleted entirely.

RyokoTK wrote:07. Blaze
It would be better if the level started in this part of the map. First of all, it looks creepy and really cool, but also, you can use all the terminals to set up the desperate "run across the courtyard" part that forms the centerpiece of your level. It's like a joke: you need a setup for the punchline to work. As is, the transition from regular Pfhor carnage to zombie infection rage virus whatever is really awkward and doesn't work.
â?? Neat idea. I must admit, you only start in the big room because that's where the map started. Will modify.

Lastly, the Compiler physics are aggressively terrible. I've explained this before. The shots are nearly impossible to dodge on TC, and the velocity, damage, and nature of Compiler bolts means getting hit by one sends you flying. In this open space, getting blasted from 50 WU away by a Compiler is pretty much assured death; you get popped up 30 feet into the air and blasted out of the sky. Get rid of the seeking nature of the shot and I think you'd be better off.
â?? Noted.

08. Lapsus Linguae
Not much to say about this level that hasn't been said. I really like the look of it, though; it's probably the most visually appealing map in the game. People have already complained about the switches being too hard to see, which I agree with.
â?? Noted.

I think it needs a recharger, too.
â?? Noted.

RyokoTK wrote:10. Asking a Shadow to Dance
One thing I noticed is that the white bloods have about twice as much health as they should. I think, on TC, some enemies have thousands of hit points. And I just mean normal enemies, not bosses. Also, the attack bursts are too long; enemies just stand there and shoot shoot shoot. They'd be more entertaining if they had less health but moved faster and attacked more aggressively instead. The fight in the big water pit in the center was particularly annoying, because of the size of the room, the lack of cover, and the huge amount of accumulated HP between all the enemies. It was very tedious.
â?? Noted. The Heavy Troopers, VacBobs and MOAHs are all getting their health curtailed. There'll be more defenders in the pit battle, too.

This is the only really bad part. Through this doorway is a narrow tunnel leading into a save room. That room has a ton of Troopers and Hunters, and it's really dangerous. It took me forever to clear out this room, because of course, charging into the room is guaranteed death. I had to tediously pick off enemies from the corridor; they refused to follow me back out.
â?? Noted. I'll water down the battle considerably, since it's so obnoxious when you're forced to fight in that area or just cheese it.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the game is supposed to continue on from here or not. I don't think it needs to, except that I'm not really sure what I did on this level.
â?? This also made me smile. I usually make the maps first and think about where they sit in the plot later. In retrospect, not always the best thing to do.

RyokoTK wrote:11. In Our Dreams Awake
On to the issue of the plot split.

I'm not really sure that the structuring of the plot actually is working out for you. Personally, I think the "infection" storyline is really stupid, and not implemented well. Compare it to Rubicon: the divergent stories are very different from each other, so when you play all of them you get a large-scale, complete picture of the world and setting that Rubicon has. In this game, though, if you go along with the Jjaro, you see... the same storyline, but from the other point of view, and I don't think it's executed well.
I would actually recommend scrubbing this entire plot point, and finding a way to repurpose this level and Frameshift Mutation to fit into the other storyline. Then you can flesh that one out a bit more, give it a little more oomph, and just altogether have one neatly-composed story rather than two that are sort of shallow. Know what I mean?
â?? It's always been an idea I've toyed with. Will consider. :)

Also, the execution of the split doesn't work at all. If you take terminal A, you go to storyline A; terminal B takes you to storyline B. There's no actual decision made because there's no indication that the story would split, or that your actions would change anything. Rubicon's storyline splits either revolve around the explicit success/failure of a mission (which is explained clearly by Durandal) or an explicit decision made by the player to help Durandal or Tycho.
â?? Noted. Umm... I'm not sure how to vindicate the plot split, but I suppose I could flesh out the situation a little more in the terminals in the body of the level.

The other, other, other dumb thing about this plot line is that every level is a Rebellion, and I don't really see the point of it.
â?? Noted. Will rectify.

The only problem with this actual level is that it needs a save at the end to account for the difficult beginning of the next level.
â?? Noted.

RyokoTK wrote:12. Frameshift Mutation
Some of your white blood/Pfhor/Human fights don't work well. It's because you have each enemy flagged as activated by "player" and not "nearest hostile," so they'll blatantly ignore each other to attack you, even when it doesn't make sense. Also, vanilla Defenders make awful enemies; they just camp and shoot at you with their very powerful and difficult to avoid attacks.
â?? Both noted.

The fight behind that door sucks. The only way I was able to beat it was to open the door, run in to trigger everyone, and retreat back into this room before the door closed. Then just wait for the enemies in there to kill themselves off, go back in, and run circles around the six or so MOACs until they kill each other with those ridiculous Fusion blasts.
â?? Definitely restructuring this battle. And replacing those fusion blasts.

I don't think you gain anything by having the door close behind you like that, since it's so easily cheesed anyway. Just broaden the doorway and leave it open, so at least you can continue the fight after you start it.
â?? Noted.

RyokoTK wrote:14. Jjaro Jjaro Evolution
Aeon has only one bad level, and this is it. It's one where, if Dugit had tested the level on TC, he'd realize that the concept doesn't work at all and the level's a huge nightmarish pain in the ass.

The first leg of the level is really tedious. With no weapons, you have to run through a long cave with Fighters and a Trooper. There isn't really a lot of room in here. Punching the Fighters down isn't hard, but Troopers are very difficult enemies to kill without guns or a recharger to rely on, so you have to slowly kite it into a more open area to run around it. There is no save point after this cave, so every time you die in the insanely difficult back half of the map, you have to do the cave over again. It's miserable.

The back half of the level is all Compilers and Defenders with no room to dodge stuff, and all you have is the Fusion Pistol. Getting hit by a Compiler is usually instant death, since, if you don't get popped into the air and juggled to death, you get blasted back into a lava pit and die anyway. The Defender bolts move lightning-fast and you have no room to dodge that stuff either, and it does a stupid amount of damage. Every single Defender ambush killed me the first time, since I would die before I could figure out where it was and how I could cheese it to death. All these enemies have far too much health.

The very last enemy of this hideously annoying sequence of fights is a Defender that shoots entirely unavoidable seeking attacks. I couldn't kill it after several attempts, so I ran past it to the last terminal and mashed the buttons to exit the level. I couldn't even read it. This level is a bunch of sucky bad bullshit, and seriously, if the level had no enemies whatsoever it would be more fun -- not to mention, much more moody and atmospheric, which I think is the look you were going for anyway.
â?? Noted. Will remove compilers entirely and curtail the health of both minor and major defender types. And add a save point. And give the player some guns at the beginning.

RyokoTK wrote:In Conclusion
Your levels don't have a lot of variation. It's not just the visual appearance, although that doesn't help, but the nature of your levels doesn't change. Each level is a short, linear series of action setpieces. The fact that I finished the entire game on TC in a day is a testament to how short the game is.

This isn't really a bad thing, exactly, since the game is free, but it's just a samey experience that I probably wouldn't play again in a hurry, especially since the game uses mostly Infinity assets, so it's not a dramatically different experience from most other games. I would seriously consider a complete plot restructuring into one coherent storyline; rather than dropping the white bloods in halfway through the game, they should be a key player for the entire game, or at least most of it.

Also, I would spend a lot of time drafting some levels that are more complex in their layout. Maybe some nonlinear, multi-objective levels that actually have a bit of exploration involved to them, and intersperse these levels amongst your existing levels. Right now, many of your levels just run together; adding in some levels that are different both in appearance and feel would really help with the pacing and experience of the game.

What would also help in that regard is working on the monster/weapon progression. Since Aeon isn't a long game, having the arsenal quickly escalate to rockets/shotguns/etc isn't necessarily problematic, but of course, after level 3 or 4 there's nothing to look forward to. Similarly, since every level has every monster type on it, none of the fights play out particularly differently.

Your strength definitely lies in big, dramatic architecture and lighting, but your overuse of tiny polygons is working against you. The ridiculous complexity of your geometry is forcing you to make shorter, smaller levels, because you're going so far overbudget in making two big rooms that you have no space to do anything else. Especially since it doesn't pay off; I appreciate the very complex lighting effects you employ at times, but it's not necessary to make the levels look good, and you could greatly simplify without watering down the aesthetic of the game.

Overall:
Yes. Definitely considering making the game single-path. Nothing really more to argue on my part. I'll get on it as quickly as I can.
Polyplicity my second (less sucky) net pack. Go on. Download it. You know you don't want to.
Marathon Aeon- My scenario in the works ~on Simplici7y

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Aug 15th '12, 03:18

In the room with the MOAH, you have water just standing around. Water should always have either a flow or a tide, or both; standing water might be realistic, but it looks bad.
��â?? I never actually figured out how to make water rise and fall. I suppose I'll cheese it and give it a tide, drop its height to 0.001WU and make the floor wandering water texture. :p
Rise and fall is determined by a light; I believe it's called "tide parameter" in the liquid dialogue. Basically, the intensity of the light corresponds to the height of the liquid -- in other words, if your minimum liquid height is 2 and your maximum is 10, and the light intensity is 75, the liquid would be at 8 WU -- 75% of the distance from 2 to 10.

For pretty much every map, I always make the first new light (light 21) using the Media light preset. Any liquid that I want to have a natural tide gets that light as a parameter, and that takes care of it.

On the whole, this level [Founder Effect] could be good but it needs a lot of cleaning up. I would honestly probably nuke all the objects and start over, recomposing all the fights. I will address problems with monster/weapon progression as a whole later, but between the size of the fights, the variety of monsters, and all the weapons you get on this first level, it doesn't feel very first-level-y.
��â?? Neat idea. Will consider. More fighters, less AR-Grenades and Heavy Troopers. :)

It doesn't really have to do with your monster choices entirely. I was thinking at one point earlier tonight -- what if, on this level, all you had was Fusion and SMG? You could dial down the fights a lot without the level feeling boring, since those weapons are still pretty capable, and that would give you enough room for progression throughout the rest of your scenario.

Before I begin, I want to establish something. My computer can run Crysis on maximum settings. If your level dips my framerate, you're going to make a LOT of people upset and possibly unable to play your game entirely. This is sort of the turning point, where your geometry gets so ridiculously complex for increasingly minimal gains. You could chop the polygon count on this level in half, and everything would still look great.
��â?? Will review. :)
I think the primary culprit is your use of trimming. It looks nice, but it's not really necessary, and it adds a massive amount of polygons/transparent lines. Here's an example from Rise and Fall; I took out the trimming around the columns as well as in the little crevasse or whatever you want to call it.


Just by doing the simpler left half of this area, I cut out 85 polygons without changing the "core geometry" of the room. Good use of differential shading will still give you the crispness in the visual representation. Just popping the paved-over version open in VML was enough to fix all framerate lag problems for me. And, again, that was only half the room. (Third-party readers can compare the left half, which is my adjusted version, with the unaltered right half.)


(lol forgot to add this pic in, I'm bad at things)
Here's another, smaller-scale example. Most people won't notice this little bend in the path here. In really complex areas, sometimes every little bit helps. Just by adding in this diamond-shaped polygon, you add in three transparent lines on this side of the path, three more for the other side of the path, and one additional transparent line for the path itself to account for the bend. That adds up!

04. Pfherrous Oxide (sic)

Don't (sic) me, you jerk, that's what you called the level:


You're aware this terminal doesn't work, right?
��â?? I've always been aware and gave up a long time ago, so I just left it as an scenery object. I guess it's quite deceiving, so I'll replace the terminal texture.
It has to do with the ceiling height of the polygon in front of the terminal side. It's an engine bug. If it's not within a certain height (I'm not sure what) of the top edge of the control panel, it won't work. It's the same reason why the first switch on In Our Dreams Awake doesn't work right, except by punching.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the game is supposed to continue on from here or not. I don't think it needs to, except that I'm not really sure what I did on this level.
��â?? This also made me smile. I usually make the maps first and think about where they sit in the plot later. In retrospect, not always the best thing to do.

*shrug* This is what I do. Notice how some levels shift positions from Phoenix 1.0 to 1.2, notably The Face of Modern Gaming. A strong level stands on its own. In this case, it was from the terminal writing; it seemed ambiguous. Could be I don't know how to read.

Also, the execution of the split doesn't work at all. If you take terminal A, you go to storyline A; terminal B takes you to storyline B. There's no actual decision made because there's no indication that the story would split, or that your actions would change anything. Rubicon's storyline splits either revolve around the explicit success/failure of a mission (which is explained clearly by Durandal) or an explicit decision made by the player to help Durandal or Tycho.
��â?? Noted. Umm... I'm not sure how to vindicate the plot split, but I suppose I could flesh out the situation a little more in the terminals in the body of the level.

This is something that bugged the hell out of me in Eternal. If you want to have a plot split, it needs to be a distinct, explicit dichotomy. It should be the direct result of a known player action, either by the success/failure of a stated mission, or by a decision the player makes, when it's evident that a decision is being made. In this case, you don't have foreknowledge that you're siding with one faction or the other unless you got the information out-of-universe (i.e. you, Dugit, told me, personally). So there would have to be either some reason for the player to deliberately side with the Jjaro infection (outside of the meta-reason of wanting to play all the levels), or there needs to be a mission on Asphodel that can be failed, leading to the infection subplot as a failure branch.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, ideally you would just stick to a linear storyline.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Aug 15th '12, 05:23, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 15th '12, 12:36

RyokoTK wrote:It has to do with the ceiling height of the polygon in front of the terminal side. It's an engine bug. If it's not within a certain height (I'm not sure what) of the top edge of the control panel, it won't work. It's the same reason why the first switch on In Our Dreams Awake doesn't work right, except by punching.

I don't know about calling it an engine bug, the center of the line is kind of the only way we have to calculate the height of a control panel. You can change the angle at which you can hit control panels with the horiz attribute in the control_panels tag in MML.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Aug 15th '12, 13:27

You read this entire thread for a game you've never played just to make sure I'm not misattributing anything to Aleph One???
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 15th '12, 13:47

RyokoTK wrote:You read this entire thread for a game you've never played just to make sure I'm not misattributing anything to Aleph One???

WELL! You posted this entire thread!
Last edited by treellama on Aug 15th '12, 13:48, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Aug 15th '12, 14:10

Treellama wrote:WELL! You posted this entire thread!

Oh -- oh yeah? Well, I mean, uh

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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 16th '12, 09:57

It's glorious.
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Ares Ex Machina

Post Aug 16th '12, 20:05

Dugit wrote:Yes. Definitely considering making the game single-path. Nothing really more to argue on my part. I'll get on it as quickly as I can.

Okay, but please don't remove Frameshift Mutation. It, along with Rise and Fall of Dugit and The Asphodel Meadows, is one of my favorite levels. If anything, just switch around the roles of the white-bloods and BoBs on the level.

On another note regarding Frameshift Mutation, I would say that the first save terminal and recharger on this map is somewhat difficult to find. I had to have most of my health eaten away by those annoying pistol-BoBs and start panicking and going "Where's a recharger?!" before I saw the door with the Pfhor symbol. Maybe I was just a little silly for this, but then again, it might be better to remove the door and just have a wide open entry. That way you're more likely to see the save terminal and use it before you get torn down by the BoBs.
Powerful experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Aug 16th '12, 20:49

PerseusSpartacus wrote:On another note regarding Frameshift Mutation, I would say that the first save terminal and recharger on this map is somewhat difficult to find. I had to have most of my health eaten away by those annoying pistol-BoBs and start panicking and going "Where's a recharger?!" before I saw the door with the Pfhor symbol. Maybe I was just a little silly for this, but then again, it might be better to remove the door and just have a wide open entry. That way you're more likely to see the save terminal and use it before you get torn down by the BoBs.

What? The save is perfectly easy to find; it's clearly visible after you open the very first door. It is difficult to reach the save though; that first battle is tricky, but probably appropriate given its current position in the game. I'd probably lighten the Pfhor ambush midway through the corridor, though.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 16th '12, 21:13

RyokoTK wrote:I'd probably lighten the Pfhor ambush midway through the corridor, though.

Noted. I'll add it to the fix list.
Polyplicity my second (less sucky) net pack. Go on. Download it. You know you don't want to.
Marathon Aeon- My scenario in the works ~on Simplici7y

riveting six-vertice amnesty ratifications
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Aug 17th '12, 03:59

I remember my main problems with the scenario when I played it were that the levels were short and the plot made no sense. The maps being too short worsened the plot because it made the plot points go too fast and they all seemed inconsequential. I don't know about the battles since I don't like fighting in any Marathon game except maybe Red and Tempus Irae; I usually play them for the lighting and plot and such. I really, really liked the level with no combat. I didn't know what the fuck it was about, but it looked cool, had moody music, and I even enjoyed reading the terminals.
Last edited by gmanyo on Aug 17th '12, 03:59, edited 1 time in total.
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gmanyo

Post Aug 17th '12, 05:16

gmanyo wrote:I remember my main problems with the scenario when I played it were that the levels were short and the plot made no sense. The maps being too short worsened the plot because it made the plot points go too fast and they all seemed inconsequential. I don't know about the battles since I don't like fighting in any Marathon game except maybe Red and Tempus Irae; I usually play them for the lighting and plot and such. I really, really liked the level with no combat. I didn't know what the fuck it was about, but it looked cool, had moody music, and I even enjoyed reading the terminals.

This is actually a good point. I didn't have an easy time following along Aeon's plot, but I chalked that up to my own faults; I sometimes struggle with Marathon storytelling. I just find myself not caring. But, Aeon is a really short game with short levels, so the distance between an event beginning and ending is really short too. That kind of ties in with my confusion as to what I was doing in each level. Asking a Shadow to Dance was the level that actually made me write that down in my notes; I just didn't know what I had done that had rendered the level complete.

It's all just a matter of pacing. Aeon is a short game now, and that's quite fine! But because it's so short, you have to minimize the number of plots and events, and also the characters. It's why I think the whole white-blood bit should be the entire plot, rather than the last four levels. You just don't have the time for an epic story arc. It's the same reason as to why I added in all those expository levels from Phoenix 1.0 to 1.2; I didn't really add more plot, I just gave a little bit more breathing room for the plot to play out. You could consider doing that as well. (I suppose In Our Dreams Awake is an expository level, though.)
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 26th '12, 17:53

RyokoTK wrote:13. Vae Victis
I just think it's really lazy to reuse levels like this when the plot is divergent. Aeon isn't a long game, and the levels therein are really short too, so reusing levels on top of it seems really sloppy. This is another reason why I'd scrub this storyline; the overlap is unnecessary.

(For the benefit of other readers: this level is the same as Words Which I Command, except you're fighting Bobs instead of Troopers, and it's not a vacuum.)


Vae Victus/Words is probably my favorite level in Aeon, and I really like that it repeats itself. The combat works well and I like the way the combat space is recontextualized by changing which enemies you fight. Ex.: In Words Which I Command, while in the hallways, it's possible to snipe the Bobs through the gaps in the corner without them spotting you; the combination of architectural design and enemy placement changed how I approached combat between the two levels which was cool regardless of whether this effect was intentional or accidental. I do think it would work better if the level repeated itself within the same timeline rather than two separate ones that way the differences in combat are more clear.

The critiques regarding oxygen canisters, spacing out the plot, etc. all make sense and it looks like you're making those changes. I personally would have Words Which I Command be not-vacuum or at least provide an oxygen recharger. I think it was you (dugit) that asked something like, "what's the point of having an oxygen recharger in a vacuum level?" The answer is the same as for shield rechargers and pattern buffers: it makes a particular location important for the player; it acts as a rubberband that pulls the player back, slows him down, and it keeps him from just barreling forward; by encouraging the player to return to a particular location it makes that location and the path to get the location stand out in the player's memory; essentially, you can use the placement of rechargers to guide the player's attention and guide the player's behavior. Whether those functions work well or poorly depends on placement and use of the recharger.

I think the level's length is also good. The short length makes sense considering the level repeats itself and it works with the style of combat here. The part I actually liked the least was the big room in the center. The best strategy, and possibly the only strategy on TC, is to arduously snipe guys from the door or lure them into the hallways. A few obstacles around this room could make it a more interesting combat space.
Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est
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philtron

Post Aug 28th '18, 21:34

So I finally got round to this.

I don't think I gave Ryoko enough credit back in the day for doing all of this, it was a titanic effort for a pretty shitty little scenario. I have some spare time now between university and more-university, and after playing through Aeon again on TC I realised how much of it could be improved with relatively little effort.

I'm not saying I'm going to finish it, I'm just saying I'm going to dot some i's and cross some t's. Expect an update in a week or so.

Ta
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

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