The start of an unnamed campagin

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

The start of an unnamed campagin

Post Jul 8th '15, 04:44

Just in time for the last hour of Bungie day.

One level I've uploaded to Simplicity: http://simplici7y.com/items/colony-mod-2

I started working on 3 maps about a year ago. They were an intro to an ~11 map single player campaign. The second map is almost done (whatever that means) and the third map has 90% of the polygons down, but no texturing or lighting (which, for me, is the most arduous and hateful part of map making). It was taking too long to finish all three of them, and the first one was just sitting there, so I polished it a bit and posted it.

New gun mechanics, some new monster behavior, no new art.

This first map was more focused on atmosphere. Trying to recreate the feeling of tension and fear that I felt when I first played Marathon.

Check it out. Feel free to engage in some thoughtful critique. I'm not too interested in my visual design, I know my texturing and lightning isn't good. I'm more interested in hearing about my weapon, monster, level, and encounter design.

Thanks.

EDIT: Level 2
Spoiler:
This is a large (over 1k polygons), "nonlinear" map. It has a lot more going on than level 1 and I did some fun tricks. There's also a new type of Hunter.

Weapons that are a part of these two maps:

Pistol:
    No dual wielding
    Secondary fire is grenade
    Three grenades per magazine

Fusion Pistol:
    Primary fire does extra damage against cybernetic units
    Secondary fire does not
    Secondary fire travels through multiple enemies

Shotgun:
    No dual wielding
    Primary fire shoots double "bullets" as classic shotgun, but less accurate
    Secondary fire is a charge-up attack with higher accuracy than primary attack

You can experiment with these and other guns in the cheat room, which is in each level and can be accessed through a hidden door at the start area.
Last edited by philtron on Jul 23rd '15, 21:48, edited 3 times in total.
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philtron

Post Jul 8th '15, 13:46

Just noticed a few things weren't working right, including an important switch, so I've uploaded a fixed version.
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philtron

Post Jul 21st '15, 11:31

I liked it. I played on TC and found having only one pistol and an occasional grenade a challenge (and was constantly whining about it) but at the end - I believe it was the end: the room with the Zeus and terminal about the stuff found down below - there I was so I can't argue it wasn't enough. It did force a lot more attention to tactics. I like the pistol with a grenade launcher and limited to a two grenade magazine. A little extra in a pinch but not enough for a primary tactic.

The only thing I didn’t like was a switch late in the level that required a grenade to activate.

At times the fighters moved very quickly (was that new behavior or a glitch on my computer?). The rapid firing compilers that you couldn't sneak up on were a problem since the only effective way of dealing with compilers was with fists, but you can deal with 'em.

Pfhor sneaking up behind you adds to the tension. One or two times it appeared as if troopers were actually tracking me which also added to the tension. More could be added by some random Pfhor chatter in the hallway and maze areas. When you turn the corner and nothing is there were you imagining it or have they just moved on? I liked the back alley too. A couple or three good sized rats would be good atmosphere.

Too bad about Erik Sorenson. I think a nice touch would be if the room had had three or four fighter bodies in it. He said he traveled alone so he would probably go down swinging and his room had a good bottleneck.

Don't know if they are glitches or just 'cause it's incomplete, but there was a large room with a save terminal that didn't work and the central transporter to take you to the visitors' lobby crashed to an error message.

So, after the 11 level planetside campaign, is our hero going to be teleported to the Marathon and the final room with the Security Officer thereby justifying the two people in the closing graphic?
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HelviusRufus

Post Jul 21st '15, 17:49

HelviusRufus wrote:I liked it. I played on TC and found having only one pistol and an occasional grenade a challenge (and was constantly whining about it) but at the end - I believe it was the end: the room with the Zeus and terminal about the stuff found down below - there I was so I can't argue it wasn't enough.


That room with the Fusion Pistol is actually a secret room. The end of the level is the teleporter terminal that says it will transport you to the visitor's lobby; it crashes because it's supposed to take you to the next level but there is no next level, yet.

I should have level two out any day now; it was actually "finished" over a week ago but my perfectionism borders on OCD so here I am still nitpicking and polishing the level.

HelviusRufus wrote:It did force a lot more attention to tactics. I like the pistol with a grenade launcher and limited to a two grenade magazine. A little extra in a pinch but not enough for a primary tactic.


I'm glad it worked out. I did want this level to focus more on tactics and tension. When I add level two the pistol will have 3 grenades instead of two, I think it works a little better that way.


HelviusRufus wrote:At times the fighters moved very quickly (was that new behavior or a glitch on my computer?). The rapid firing compilers that you couldn't sneak up on were a problem since the only effective way of dealing with compilers was with fists, but you can deal with 'em.


Yes, the fighter minors move at nearly double their normal speed. The fighter majors move at the classic Marathon speed. And of course the minor/major mechanic doesn't exist in my mod; majors and minors are different enemies and they don't get swapped as you change difficulty levels.

I've made the Compilers weak to fists so that should have made it a little easier to deal with them.

HelviusRufus wrote:So, after the 11 level planetside campaign, is our hero going to be teleported to the Marathon and the final room with the Security Officer thereby justifying the two people in the closing graphic?


In this first level I hint that the player character is searching for someone. My original idea was that this search eventually leads the player to beam up to the Pfhor ship where Durandal captures the player and puts him in stasis. My thought was that if I ever finished this episode I could have an episode 2 where Durandal wakes up the player character and the other Bobs on Lh'owen.

I don't know what you mean by "closing graphic" but, no, I never intended the character in my mod to meet up with the Security Officer in Marathon.

Anyway, thanks for playing, I'm glad you enjoyed what little was there.
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philtron

Post Jul 21st '15, 18:33

Oh yeah, and which save terminal wasn't working?
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philtron

Post Jul 22nd '15, 14:09

philtron wrote:Oh yeah, and which save terminal wasn't working?


The one in the same room as the exit transporter to the visitor's lobby.
I just play 'em; I don't know how they work.
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HelviusRufus

Post Jul 23rd '15, 02:38

Added level two to the map file. Download from Simplicity; remember to have Aleph One use my shapes file since it is a little different than the original.

Am updating my first at the top to give some more information.
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philtron

Post Jul 25th '15, 18:20

I played through this level. I like the overall topography of the level--it is very reminiscent of classic Marathon. More variety in texturing, as I'm sure you know, would improve the level. I'm a little less than thrilled with the changes in the physics. With a vibe of vanilla Marathon that you have going here, I feel it should stick to the original physics. I was also never a fan of changing the physics for existing monsters just for the sake of it (I think with such behavioral changes, it's better to have a brand new enemy--but I understand why this is more difficult to do than simply saying so, as not many of us are good graphical artists).

Also, you have all these secret platforms where Bob corpses are. Is this simply there to crush live Bobs for scenery purposes? If so, since you have a unique shapes file, just replace one of the useless scenery pieces with a Bob corpse!
doctorbenjiphd

Post Jul 25th '15, 23:58

doctorbenjiphd wrote:More variety in texturing, as I'm sure you know, would improve the level.


Yeah, I know, but I'm terrible at visual design and I hate texturing. So, I have a "Pathways into Darkness" strategy of picking one texture for all the walls and one texture for the ceilings/floors and then just going with it.

doctorbenjiphd wrote:I'm a little less than thrilled with the changes in the physics. With a vibe of vanilla Marathon that you have going here, I feel it should stick to the original physics. I was also never a fan of changing the physics for existing monsters just for the sake of it (I think with such behavioral changes, it's better to have a brand new enemy--but I understand why this is more difficult to do than simply saying so, as not many of us are good graphical artists).


Oh well. I'm actually pleased with the new gun and monster physics, but I know not everyone is going to like it.

Although, I don't think any of my monsters have their physics changed just for the sake of it. I changed the monsters physics to either make them more challenging to fight, or to serve a particular gameplay purpose. If I could create new artwork I would, but there's zero chance of that happening and looking even competent.

doctorbenjiphd wrote:Also, you have all these secret platforms where Bob corpses are. Is this simply there to crush live Bobs for scenery purposes? If so, since you have a unique shapes file, just replace one of the useless scenery pieces with a Bob corpse!


Yes, you're right. I know it's a clunky solution. I just don't know how to change the actual images in the shapes file. I'm sure there's some instruction somewhere on this forum, but I'm just too lazy to try and learn it.

Well, thank you for playing and commenting on it.

Btw, doctorbenjiphd, what did you think of the nonlinearity of the level, or did this not come up when you played it?
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philtron

Post Aug 4th '15, 06:45

My impressions of level two:

I played TC and thought it was fun. Scratch starting is touch and go until you get the Zeus. I liked the puzzle in the little machine room with the red herring bobs and I liked the Pfhor fighters loafing, catching some z's, smoking, in the cool fusion chamber area. I wonder what the punishment for loafing on duty is?

Re the two switch 2x charger. Later in the scenario I went back there but the switches no longer opened the door. Does it only work a set number of times or is there something somewhere that disables it?

Also, you have all these secret platforms where Bob corpses are. Is this simply there to crush live Bobs for scenery purposes?

I don't know about the secret crusher (?) platforms, but in this type of action I would expect to see lots o bodies lying around. The Pfhor are not friendly folks.

More variety in texturing, as I'm sure you know, would improve the level.

I got the impression that most of the customer/visitor traffic would be by transporter so what I was in were basically service areas/routes which probably wouldn't have a lot of interior design attention: I've never been struck by a lack of variety in any of the Marathon games I've played. I can see the lack of variety in PiD (I've not played but I've watched videos), but that is an extreme case and I don't think your map is anything like that. I really liked the final room - if I owned the tower, I'd make it my personal lounge.

I went and looked at the other weapons and they're OK except I thought the toaster was way too powerful. And while the napalm grenades (?) are interesting and fun, there's just something elemental about the wall of flame of the ordinary toaster.
I'm actually pleased with the new gun and monster physics, but I know not everyone is going to like it.

Your map is a different environment. It's possible that planetside weapon variants might have unforeseen drawbacks in space and wouldn't be used there but would still be common on the ground. I think your changes are justifiable and it isn't really all that different. I like it and it doesn't jar with the rest of my concept of the Marathon universe.

I don't understand about nonlinearity. I don't expect the terminals to be chronological, after all I'm snooping, and if you're talking about the building, any large building is a labyrinth once you get out o the public areas.

I noticed that polygons 288, 646-649 and polygons 1000 - 1007 (though I don't remember seeing 1001 & 1004) don't have any sound. I wasn't looking for this but I noticed the silence and used F10 to see the number. I know nothing about mapmaking so just referencing the polygon number may not be sufficient?

This is what a Marathon "remake" should be: a parallel story planetside. Depending upon the size of the colony, there could be several stories there. You already have a second story going. If as you say "the player character is searching for someone" I would hope that to be Shotgun Sally who sounds like a capable person. Obviously not your run of the mill technician. Reminds me of a cook on the USS Missouri.
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HelviusRufus

Post Aug 5th '15, 02:24

HelviusRufus wrote:My impressions of level two:


So, it seems like people are only playing level two. Is there a reason for this? Are you guys trying level one and not liking it? Or is there something else? I'm just curious.

HelviusRufus wrote:Re the two switch 2x charger. Later in the scenario I went back there but the switches no longer opened the door. Does it only work a set number of times or is there something somewhere that disables it?


It should work everytime. You do need to activate the first switch everytime though, and it stays active for only a short time. I'll look into it to make sure it works correctly, thanks for letting me know.

HelviusRufus wrote:I went and looked at the other weapons and they're OK except I thought the toaster was way too powerful. And while the napalm grenades (?) are interesting and fun, there's just something elemental about the wall of flame of the ordinary toaster.


I'm still working on those other weapons. I'm having trouble increasing the firing speed of the fusion pistol and the shotgun; no matter how I change the numbers in the shapes and physics files the firing stays at the same rate.

The flame thrower will probably end up having the regular fire plus the napalm rockets as a secondary fire and affected by gravity. I'll probably revert the rocket launcher back to the original Marathon mechanic.

HelviusRufus wrote:
I'm actually pleased with the new gun and monster physics, but I know not everyone is going to like it.

Your map is a different environment. It's possible that planetside weapon variants might have unforeseen drawbacks in space and wouldn't be used there but would still be common on the ground. I think your changes are justifiable and it isn't really all that different. I like it and it doesn't jar with the rest of my concept of the Marathon universe.


Thank you, I'm glad you like it and that you think my new guns still fit the Marathon world.

HelviusRufus wrote:I don't understand about nonlinearity. I don't expect the terminals to be chronological, after all I'm snooping, and if you're talking about the building, any large building is a labyrinth once you get out o the public areas.


I'm talking about how there are sometimes multiple routes in my maps. You'll see this a little bit in map 1 (where you start by either going left or right around an entire circle), you'll see it more so on the 1st floor of map 2, and especially on the 2nd floor of map 2. I designed map 2 so that the player can take alternate routes and the battles are slightly different based on the direction you approach the encounter. In map 2 there's also shortcuts that let you skip half the level or approach parts of the level backwards.

I was wondering if anyone actually noticed that, and whether they thought it was fun, and whether they thought it worked.


HelviusRufus wrote:I noticed that polygons 288, 646-649 and polygons 1000 - 1007 (though I don't remember seeing 1001 & 1004) don't have any sound. I wasn't looking for this but I noticed the silence and used F10 to see the number. I know nothing about mapmaking so just referencing the polygon number may not be sufficient?


That is sufficient, thank you. I'll look into it.

Thanks for your compliments and your feedback. I hope to get a third map up before the end of August, but you never know what life will throw at you.
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philtron

Post Aug 13th '15, 21:07

My how time flies. I was going to write this long ago....

I was wrong about the 2x charger switches. After a lot of testing, they work properly but you just, on my computer at least, have to be calm and precise in your aiming. I think that's a good thing.

Another thing I like is that the enemies aren't constantly zzzhhhhingggg transporting in; they are already there, lounging around, waiting to jump out and say boo!

Ah, now I understand about linearity. Thanks.

One suggestion (that may not be possible - remember I don't know about mapmaking) is that the bad guys in the lobby be visible from the start. Since this is the only way to go, it would create tension and, since they were moving, it would make you seriously consider when to jump and run. Nothing like starting to run and have one o the bugs step right in front of you! OTOH there'd have to be some mechanism to prevent you from shooting at them until after you jump. Or perhaps just a lot o Pfhor chatter: you know they're there but, with your limited view, not where. Well, maybe it's just a bad idea.

Oh, ...in the little machine room at the start, I jumped into the chomper to see what would happen and was not harmed. Obviously Perun Technologies is an OSHA compliant company concerned about the safety and health of its employees. :)
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HelviusRufus

Post Nov 19th '15, 22:13

I just played this the other night. I had a lot of fun with it. It was fun coming across the BOB corpses and the hand gun with just the few grenades was a cool touch. It really made me feel like a regular security guard/human. Not like the super soldier that you normally play as.
I liked the level design but I just have one complaint with the first level. The hallways were too small. The BOB's would get in my way. I don't like killing off my fellow humans as much as I did when I was a kid. Heh...
But I really want to see more from this! The terminals were interesting to read. I really dug the one terminal with the write up about how the dead worker was scared and how he had no one on Tau Ceti with him and didn't want to die alone. Pretty grim and bleak.
I hope that you finish this eventually. What you have so far is pretty good in my books.
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Silent Wobby

Post Nov 20th '15, 07:37

Thanks. I scrapped the third mapped because it wasn't working, and then I started on a new third map. The new one turned out to be a lot of fun in some unexpected ways.

I don't have a lot of time lately, and when I do I keep having a "writer's block" keeping me from finishing it. Still, I think I might get the third map done sometime around christmas.
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philtron

Post Nov 22nd '15, 22:51

philtron wrote:Thanks. I scrapped the third mapped because it wasn't working, and then I started on a new third map. The new one turned out to be a lot of fun in some unexpected ways.

I don't have a lot of time lately, and when I do I keep having a "writer's block" keeping me from finishing it. Still, I think I might get the third map done sometime around christmas.


Awesome! I look forward to seeing it! I totally feel you on the writers block. I've been working on a short Doom episode since the summer and have lost my creativity with the maps. I hope to start doing Marathon maps soon though. I've always had ideas for scenarios. But, commitment is tough when life gets in the way.
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Silent Wobby

Post Nov 27th '15, 19:14

Dont want to sound amateur here but how do you install?
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Nov 27th '15, 20:35

Unarchive the download file. Drag the map file and the shapes file into the same folder as aleph one. In aleph one go into the preferences and in "environment" change the map and shapes to my map file and shapes file. All other files should be the default Infinity files. Then you just start a new game. I hope that helps.
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philtron

Post Nov 27th '15, 21:53

So that's what's wrong. I didn't use infinity, I juste draged the Aleph One app in to the folder.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Dec 2nd '15, 18:51

Hey! Nicely done. I really liked it. I wrote a fully fleshed-out review over on simplici7y. I think with a little more work and effort you could easily turn this into a 5-star campaign! [MUp]
XXXXTYCHOXXXX

$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Dec 3rd '15, 00:39

I have to agree with Tycho X, Very well done. Just needs a story. Also the beginning part where you're unarmed was a real pain in the @$$, I died almost 7 times in a row.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Dec 3rd '15, 14:57

3371-Alpha wrote:Just needs a story.


There actually is a story. It's just implied and not explicit. For example, there is a reason the player character decides to go to Perun Tower at the end of level 1. It's implied through a terminal and how you access the terminal in level 1. It's actually the principal motivation to the character's whole story arch. But, I'll admit, I don't execute this very well and if I ever get a chance to redo this level then I'll do a much better job with hinting towards the implied story.

3371-Alpha wrote:I died almost 7 times in a row.


Play on a lower difficulty.

Tycho X wrote:Hey! Nicely done. I really liked it. I wrote a fully fleshed-out review over on simplici7y. I think with a little more work and effort you could easily turn this into a 5-star campaign! [MUp]


Thanks for the review Tycho. It does give me some extra insight into what's going on and it's giving me more motivation to finish my third map. I'm interested to see your feedback after you've played the second one.

I'm really glad that you liked the new monster behaviors; I think you'll be interested in the third map I'm working on which has a couple new types of drones that do minor things that I don't think I've seen in any other mod.

It is difficult to get through with just a pistol, but there's actually a secret fusion pistol and secret shotgun hidden in the level as well. Still, I could probably tone down the difficulty in a few spots.

Speaking of the pistol. You actually can see the ammo for grenades, it's just located in the second pistol ammo indicator. I should probably have a terminal explaining that pretty early on. Also, yeah, I know it's annoying to pick up a second pistol but it doesn't actually change how many pistols you carry. I can't seem to figure out how to change the shotgun and pistol so that you can only pick up one; I feel like it might be hard coded in the engine, but I've seen mods that get around this, so I don't know; if anyone knows the solution to this, and how to make it so you only pick up one pistol or one shotgun, then please let me know, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again for the useful feedback. Definitely interested to see what you think when you've played more of it.
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philtron

Post Dec 3rd '15, 17:09

Hello Philtron!

Today I got around to playing with your maps again, and let me tell you, replaying the first level seemed a lot less confusing than the first time! I've got to say, and I forgot to add this in the review, I love the non-linearity as well as the way the whole map is connected and loops! (Also, you did an awesome job of recreating the M1 atmosphere. Before I even knew what the scenario was about I had that... claustrophobic, creepy vibe. I loved it.)

Something else I discovered was the tiny apartment with the charger; not only did that make surviving a lot easier, but being able to close the door allowed me to stay hidden (ran out of ammo), then run back out and punch them to death :D I really liked the way you tried to design a modern/futuristic apartment with the game's engine.

One important thing I forgot to note was the fact that none of the terminal's pictures showed up. It kept saying 'Picture 1 not found'. I assume you forgot to add a resource folder and merge it with your scenario file? It took me a while to figure that out for my own scenario (which, by the way, is coming out this christmas! Well only a third of it, but still...).

So I got to the second level.. however I cannot continue my review. As silly or stupid as this may sound I got stuck after the very first battle... inside the big room with the terminal? I liked what I saw and the combat was fun, but after I finished with the aliens I couldn't find a way out. I was stuck in a huge room (yes, I did find the small hallway which showed off the x1 cannister and ammo). I assumed since I found an immense amount of grenades lying around I was supposed to parkour and grenade-jump across ledges? Well I spent a good 10 minutes trying just that, but I still couldn't find where I was supposed to go... could you post a reply and help me with this?
XXXXTYCHOXXXX

$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Dec 3rd '15, 17:38

If you do make this into a full fledged campaign I have a bit of advice: I notice your campaign uses most of the infinity resources, Try to keep it that way. Although new weapons are cool, if you change too much we can't uses the preexisting high res landscapes or textures plugins with it and that been one of my biggest complaints about alternate scenarios.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Dec 3rd '15, 21:27

Tycho X wrote:Something else I discovered was the tiny apartment with the charger; not only did that make surviving a lot easier, but being able to close the door allowed me to stay hidden (ran out of ammo), then run back out and punch them to death :D I really liked the way you tried to design a modern/futuristic apartment with the game's engine.


The apartment I think you're talking about is actually necessary to explore in order to exit the level. It's an implicit story element, but like I mentioned in my reply to 3371-Alpha, I'll have to make this work better if I ever redo the level.

Tycho X wrote:One important thing I forgot to note was the fact that none of the terminal's pictures showed up. It kept saying 'Picture 1 not found'. I assume you forgot to add a resource folder and merge it with your scenario file? It took me a while to figure that out for my own scenario (which, by the way, is coming out this christmas! Well only a third of it, but still...).


Yeah, I was too lazy to look into this because images were low on my list of priorities. But thank you for the solution.

Tycho X wrote:As silly or stupid as this may sound I got stuck after the very first battle... inside the big room with the terminal


There's no secret. There's just a dark opening that you can walk through and down a dark green hallway. Grenade jumping is not a part of this level. I've posted a screenshot. Directly "above" the right hand fist is the exit. That's what you call bad/lazy texturing on my part.

route on perun tower.jpg
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philtron

Post Dec 27th '15, 00:44

Uploaded map number 3 to Simpli7y.

Made a major update to the shotgun so that the secondary fire works as a jetpack basically. I also update the behavior of the SMG but you can only access that in the cheat room.

There's some new monster behavior and new enemy types.

Man, am I glad to be done with this map. It ended up being a lot bigger than I intended (as usual) and still doesn't quite work the way I wanted it to. But I am so sick of working on it that I'm not changing anything else with it. Ended up completely altering certain areas of the map which added a couple months of work.

Anyway, this map has some interesting level design and game flow. I recommend playing it multiple times after you get the shotgun because there's two main alternate paths you can take after that point.

As usual enjoy and let me know what you think. This is either my best or my worst map yet; I honestly can't tell anymore.

EDIT: Just fixed an issue where you didn't transport to level 3 after level 2.
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philtron

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