Winter II

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Post Nov 16th '09, 00:42

Ok, I changed the blue in the Highres, but the low res is bitching at me. Just imagine it dark blue i guess when editing :P

[attachment=3301:34.jpg]

And here's some more high res textures, sadly my map isn't done yet and Forge won't let me add monsters till its finished (weird coloring error in visual mode)

[attachment=3304:29.jpg]
[attachment=3305:44.jpg]
[attachment=3303:55.jpg]
Sure, on that last one I could have just enlarged the Rubicon X version and sharpened it, but it was quite a learning experience making it from scratch. Hopefully Scott wont mind :P
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Shadowbreaker
Melbourne, Victoria

Post Nov 16th '09, 07:24

That last one does look like the one from Rubicon X- maybe you could implement a similar texture just with the black as transparent, like on Rubicon X?
Polyplicity my second (less sucky) net pack. Go on. Download it. You know you don't want to.
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Nov 18th '09, 23:27

Well, things are winding down with my map. All that's left is some lighting detail, cleanup, and testing.






I really liked the vertical concept of the landscape, so I tried to express that by creating the upper parts of a large vertical structure, although I tried not to make everything too much the same.

There are parts where you can fall off and die. I thought this was a good dynamic, which hasn't been used enough even though it can be made to work with just a little Lua. It's not overwhelmingly easy to do, and if you use some common sense it probably won't be a hassle, but I thought that it would feel right to die if you fell more than 20 WU down. It's like all those times your parents warned you not to run around cliffs, stairways, large drops offs, and 10km tall arcology ledges.

Oh, and I do wait longingly for the final high-res textures. Kicking around in visual mode with those will make me happy.
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 18th '09, 23:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 18th '09, 23:46

Your map seems way more city like than my maps, good job :P My maps are basically just huge structures overlooking the landscape.

Also, the landscape will look much nicer in the final release, like, it'll be high res and stuff.

EDIT: I just saw your high-res comment... given the size of this set it will definately take me a while to get them all working, I might be able to send you a few of them some time though.
Last edited by Shadowbreaker on Nov 18th '09, 23:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Shadowbreaker
Melbourne, Victoria

Post Nov 19th '09, 00:46

Shadowbreaker wrote:Your map seems way more city like than my maps, good job :P My maps are basically just huge structures overlooking the landscape.

Also, the landscape will look much nicer in the final release, like, it'll be high res and stuff.

EDIT: I just saw your high-res comment... given the size of this set it will definately take me a while to get them all working, I might be able to send you a few of them some time though.


Well, in all honesty, the majority of the time you will be playing on this map will be indoors. Lots of spooky tunnels, and clogged pipes to deal with. Well, one clogged pipe.

I guess if it takes a while, then I'll just have more time to tweak and play around with the map. Not a bad thing by any means. I guess it's best if you just hold off on putting up the textures until they are all completed, since it will be easier that way to just go through and make sure everything looks right. Sometimes you just squeek by with low-res on alignment in certain places...

EDIT:

Oh yeah, terminals. If you finish those, I want to see them. Are they .5 x 1 WU, or .25 x 1 WU like in the low-res?
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 19th '09, 00:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 19th '09, 00:56

Kurinn wrote:Oh yeah, terminals. If you finish those, I want to see them. Are they .5 x 1 WU, or .25 x 1 WU like in the low-res?


I want to change the appearance of all of the switches, so they dont look the same as last year (in other words, basically the same as Xmas 3), but they will all definately keep the same aspect ratios. It's no discredit to Drictelt, who made them, but this city isn't a Jjaro city! So, yes, the terms will .25 WU x 1 WU, the Pattern Buffer will be .5 WU x 1 WU, and the switches will be the same too but look different.

Also, most likely the bottom terminal will not display Pfhor writing, probably writing from this "Super cool evil AI"
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Shadowbreaker
Melbourne, Victoria

Post Nov 19th '09, 02:35

Shadowbreaker wrote:I want to change the appearance of all of the switches, so they dont look the same as last year (in other words, basically the same as Xmas 3), but they will all definately keep the same aspect ratios. It's no discredit to Drictelt, who made them, but this city isn't a Jjaro city! So, yes, the terms will .25 WU x 1 WU, the Pattern Buffer will be .5 WU x 1 WU, and the switches will be the same too but look different.

Also, most likely the bottom terminal will not display Pfhor writing, probably writing from this "Super cool evil AI"


Okay, sounds cool. I really look forward to seeing them.

I hope that there is an appropriate "wires" part to the switch graphic.



I'm talking about this right here. Please don't change this any more than you have to. Something that size, with visible damage on the off-side.

I don't know why, but I love these things.
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 19th '09, 02:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 19th '09, 07:02

Hmm... so do I. I think I remember those made a few appearances in Xmas, but rarely appeared in the actual trilogy.

Kurinn, love the map.

Vale,
Dugit
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 Nov 19th '09, 13:33

Man, I wish I could think of making aesthetics like that.
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tehWastedJamacan
SuFu, SD

Post Nov 19th '09, 16:55

I've just noticed that in Kurinn's second screenshot, the landing platform looks a bit like a bathtub.
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 Nov 19th '09, 21:47

WastdJamacan wrote:Man, I wish I could think of making aesthetics like that.


You can, you just need to lose some sanity and stop sleeping so much...

Heh, I'm half joking.

Seriously though, these concepts come from careful observation of other things you see all the time. Keep your eyes open, and don't be afraid to copy stuff you like. Especially stuff you see in other maps (just be reasonable about it. I'm sure they bore you enough in school explaining the definition of plagiarism!)

If you want to see what I was doing a bunch of years ago, go look at the first X-Mas scenario. The 3rd map, "Reverse Osmosis". I just looked at it last night for fun, and I was shocked at what awful crap detail it had, but I was still happy with how the overall aesthetic worked with those interesting textures. It's a horrible map in terms of quality control, and the play mechanics are out of whack, but I was glad I tried weird shit out. Of course, now that I am a little better at lighting, it would at least look somewhat better if I remade it today, I think

My method of mapping involves thinking up some weird idea, then just going with it until I get tired, then when I look at it again, I either delete the whole mess, or I refine it with detail. It's kind of like the way you would make a sculpture, as opposed to how you would build an actual structure. Don't start out looking for that kind of finesse right from the get-go, you'll just get worn out and frustrated if it doesn't look perfect after playing around with one little room. Try to figure out simple spaces, and then work your way from there. If you slowly polish things down and refine them, eventually that kind of aesthetic you are looking for will appear.

By the time I've already got the map I spend lots of time going back and forth between Weland and Visual Mode, just so I can adjust little details. But the good thing is that by that time, if I want to add anything significant, I already know how everything should look, and it's much easier to deal with at that point.

So just start out with big ideas, and try not to get frustrated. It takes time.

Dugit wrote:I've just noticed that in Kurinn's second screenshot, the landing platform looks a bit like a bathtub.


Maybe I took the idea of curved surfaces a little too far this time...



I'm starting to think that I've taken this map to the edges of Aleph One's reliability. Some issues are probably just line overlaps at different levels resulting in drawing errors, not too many of those, maybe one place where that happens. Otherwise there are transient problems where a textured ledge can be walked through, and then you end up climbing a good 5 WU all of the sudden. I figure both of these problems can be dealt with by redoing some lines. Also, sometimes the map actually causes Aleph One to crash right before it loads the map. In window mode, the way it looks usually is that the window will resize after you click "begin new game", and it will begin loading. With this crash, the program crashes just prior to the window resizing or any loadscreen appearing. However, if I play a different map, leave that game, and then set the map back to the troublemaker in question and begin a new game, the crash does not occur. This only started to happen once I got somewhere above 1050 polygons.



But it still works enough that I am confident it can be fixed somehow.
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 19th '09, 21:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 19th '09, 22:02

The overhead view of your map from weeland is beautiful.

I remember when you sent reverse osmosis to me during Xmas1, it too, came with a couple of weird glitches. :)

If you've placed sound objects in the level, IMO delete them before you start deleting lines. I don't know how many times I've seen sound objects fuck levels up.
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goran

Post Nov 19th '09, 22:07

Goran wrote:...
I don't know how many times I've seen sound objects fuck levels up.


Amen.
Thank the sun that went nova so that Earth could have iron and silicon.
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effigy

Post Nov 19th '09, 22:12

Goran wrote:The overhead view of your map from weeland is beautiful.

I remember when you sent reverse osmosis to me during Xmas1, it too, came with a couple of weird glitches. :)

If you've placed sound objects in the level, IMO delete them before you start deleting lines. I don't know how many times I've seen sound objects fuck levels up.



Ah, that may very well be the problem.

I'll root around in JUICE and see if anything looks weird.

Thanks for the advice.


EDIT:

Well, that did nothing to help. Nuked all the objects, but I'm not sure that's the problem. Like I said, none of these issues even showed up until a certain point, and I think whatever objects may have been offending were there before that. I suspect it's a geometry issue with Aleph One.

Ah, wait. Checked the log and found this:

Code: Select all
vhalt: /Users/ghs/aleph-svn/Source_Files/GameWorld/map.cpp:292: line index #-1 is out of range (/Users/ghs/aleph-svn/Source_Files/CSeries/csalerts_sdl.cpp:154)


Why is there a line #-1?

Can this be fixed?


EDIT 2:

Yes, it can be fixed. I looked at it with Forge. Zero-length line. Somehow, Weland didn't find it, and saved a busted map. Oops.

Well, now it starts properly, so it isn't crashing Aleph One anymore. Now I just need to go fix whatever geometry is causing me trouble.


EDIT 3:

Wait, no, it's not fixed. I had unwittingly used the trick that got around that problem, because I had loaded another map previous to trying out the new one that I had "fixed".

Upon further scrutiny with Juice, I found that there were many lines with zero-length that did not show up in Forge, and as it turns out, are not zero-length as far as Weland is willing to tell me... (Is this because I didn't pave them??)



Things just getting stranger and stranger...
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 19th '09, 23:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 19th '09, 23:14

I don't really know much about errors like these, but the way I was able to figure out one in a similar vein was by using and old build of Aleph One NIBs, which tells you exactly what the reason for the crash is when you load the map.
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Shadowbreaker
Melbourne, Victoria

Post Nov 19th '09, 23:38

Kurinn wrote:Things just getting stranger and stranger curiouser and curiouser...


Your level looks pretty great though Kurinn, have you made a lot in the past? Aside from your Xmas 1 level I don't think I know any of yours.

I don't know how interested the Winter 2 team at large is in hearing me prattle about Winter 1, but based on what little I've seen (especially most recently), this is turning out to be a lot better, but I have some advice that I can give.

1. Avoid sprawl. A lot of Winter 1 levels were larger and more complex than they had to be, in a kind of Rubicon-style meandering. While this isn't inherently bad, it got tedious rather quickly because a lot of the "find-all-the-objective" levels seemed to hide whatever you were looking for in architecturally arbitrary locations. If that makes any sense. Shadowbreaker in particular does this a lot, which I guess is his "thing," but I would have to recommend cutting down on that kind of time-consuming gotta-catch-them-all tedium in favor of a more diverse and interesting level design. Even if you want a level to feel non-linear, it helps a lot if you feel like you're making progress after a fashion.

2. Winter 1 also suffered from some really bland architecture, which may not be the case here; Winter 1 also had a very washed-out and pale texture set, which is okay because when used well (such as in Slave's level and the second-to-last level as well), it looked passable, but for the most part the levels just seemed kind of flat. One way it might help is trying to diversify the environments that you create; if you intend to make more than one map, make them different from each other so it doesn't feel like a single huge map broken up into 8-ish pieces. This is more challenging when you only have one set, but it's not impossible; Xmas 2 did it right, and Xmas 3 did it okay as well, though not so much with Xmas 1.

3. It is going to help your cause immensely if your level styles are based more around larger spaces and less about a series of rooms. If I understand right, this scenario is set in a more urban setting, which can help you a lot if you play your cards right. Play around with Weland's abilities to make taller and more polygon-rich levels. This kind of goes hand in hand with #1 above, too. If you want to have a non-linear level, you have a much better advantage in an urban environment where you can base your level around some kind of central plaza or square and then have an assortment of landmarks around it. The flow and direction that the level takes can loop consistently in and out of that central square. This will have two advantages: one, it will make your level seem a lot more visually impressive and interesting, and two, it won't bore your players with yet another three-story maze of isolated rooms (Winter 1 had two or three of these, ESPECIALLY in the last level).

4. I've mentioned this before in this topic, but it bears repeating: use your textures thematically. As per usual, shadowbreaker provided you with a pretty long list of colorful palette swapped textures in a few color themes, but now it's up to the individual mappers to texture your levels with a bit of taste. Just because you have 110 textures or whatever doesn't mean you have to use all of them, or even most of them. Trust me, you may want to explore with the brand new texture set, but aesthetically your maps will benefit a lot with themed texturing decisions. Not to mention using the bright and glitzy textures a lot more sparingly, as details or something to specifically catch your eye. Kurinn seems to have done a good job with that, especially after my recommendations from earlier.

5. It's a lot more important to make one great level than two passable levels. I'm speaking from experience both as a contributor (Xmas 1-3) and as an outside player (Winter 1): spend your time making one level that's high-quality and good. I'd much rather have a good scenario that's only 5 levels long (Xmas 1) than a mediocre scenario that's 8 levels long (Winter 1), and it will speak much more highly of your personal contributions if your scenario as a whole is great.

6. Also speaking from experience as a long-time Marathoner, whoever's making levels that you intend to be earlier on: don't waste the player's time by slowly feeding him more and more guns. Similarly, don't make the first level pathetically easy and populate it mostly with Fighters and Drones and Flick'ta, which are all the gutter-trash monsters that populate the earliest levels of M2, Infinity, and so forth. This is not necessary. Assume your audience is experienced and cut to the chase. This is also true of such a short scenario, even if it does grow to be 8 levels or more; don't drag out the first level or two by making me use the goddamn pistols, it's not necessary.

hope this helps
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Nov 19th '09, 23:46

I wouldn't trust JUICE when it comes to line lengths. It's strange that Forge thinks there are zero length lines when Weland thinks otherwise--if someone can send me a level where this is the case I will see what is up.

For your particular overly complex map, I guess send it to me and I'll have a look. If you were running Mac OS X Leopard you'd get a nice crash report including a backtrace, rather than just the assertion failure message. Consider upgrading :)
Last edited by treellama on Nov 19th '09, 23:47, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Nov 20th '09, 00:07

Treellama wrote:I wouldn't trust JUICE when it comes to line lengths. It's strange that Forge thinks there are zero length lines when Weland thinks otherwise--if someone can send me a level where this is the case I will see what is up.

For your particular overly complex map, I guess send it to me and I'll have a look. If you were running Mac OS X Leopard you'd get a nice crash report including a backtrace, rather than just the assertion failure message. Consider upgrading :)


Here it is. Thank you Treellama.

[attachment=3310:kurinn_decent.zip]

If anyone else also wants to pick it apart, or just to have a quasi-spoiler of how this thing looks unfinished, go ahead and take a peek.

Yes, I do consider upgrading often, but I never get up the gall to pinch my beer budget.
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Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 20th '09, 00:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 20th '09, 00:15

It's a problem with one of the platforms. I don't know which yet--I'd need to build a debug build for that and I'm hungry and Weellama is fussy. But, maybe that will get you started.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Nov 20th '09, 00:36

Treellama wrote:It's a problem with one of the platforms. I don't know which yet--I'd need to build a debug build for that and I'm hungry and Weellama is fussy. But, maybe that will get you started.


Thanks, I'll start looking at that!

EDIT:

Looked at it, wasn't able to figure out anything. I tried to go the simple way and just delete all the platforms one by one, but that hasn't yielded anything so far.
Last edited by Kurinn on Nov 20th '09, 01:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurinn

Post Nov 20th '09, 01:20

Kurinn wrote:Upon further scrutiny with Juice, I found that there were many lines with zero-length that did not show up in Forge, and as it turns out, are not zero-length as far as Weland is willing to tell me... (Is this because I didn't pave them??)

JUICE relied on Forge optimizations in some cases. Line/side lengths and polygon centers are particularly problematic examples. Atque does not do these silly optimizations, and I never got around to adding much "real" geometry stuff because it was never meant to be a geometry editor. ERGO, don't trust JUICE's information on geometry.
Last edited by irons on Nov 20th '09, 01:22, edited 1 time in total.
underworld : simple fun netmaps // prahblum peack : simple rejected netmaps
azure dreams : simple horrible netmaps // v6.0!!!: thomas mann's greatest hits : simple simple netmaps
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Nov 20th '09, 01:22

RyokoTK wrote:1. Avoid sprawl. A lot of Winter 1 levels were larger and more complex than they had to be, in a kind of Rubicon-style meandering. While this isn't inherently bad, it got tedious rather quickly because a lot of the "find-all-the-objective" levels seemed to hide whatever you were looking for in architecturally arbitrary locations. If that makes any sense. Shadowbreaker in particular does this a lot, which I guess is his "thing," but I would have to recommend cutting down on that kind of time-consuming gotta-catch-them-all tedium in favor of a more diverse and interesting level design. Even if you want a level to feel non-linear, it helps a lot if you feel like you're making progress after a fashion.


Rubicon was the first scenario I ever played. Infact, I played it before I even played the full versions of M2 and Minf; and I just loved the way everything was super complex and maze like, but not so much that you could get bored (except for classic Gators of NY). I've never mastered the art of Chrislundyness, so instead my maps tend to all focus on finding a number of switches or something all branching off from a central area.

3. It is going to help your cause immensely if your level styles are based more around larger spaces and less about a series of rooms. If I understand right, this scenario is set in a more urban setting, which can help you a lot if you play your cards right. Play around with Weland's abilities to make taller and more polygon-rich levels. This kind of goes hand in hand with #1 above, too. If you want to have a non-linear level, you have a much better advantage in an urban environment where you can base your level around some kind of central plaza or square and then have an assortment of landmarks around it. The flow and direction that the level takes can loop consistently in and out of that central square. This will have two advantages: one, it will make your level seem a lot more visually impressive and interesting, and two, it won't bore your players with yet another three-story maze of isolated rooms (Winter 1 had two or three of these, ESPECIALLY in the last level).


Well, it was a sewage set, keep in mind, which a lot of people just generally don't like. Ironically, I'm always wittering on to people about adding contrast to textures, but my maps usually focus more on sheer size than detail (but not so much that they look like that map in Acepholosity or whatever which was unbelievably terrible and went on for like an hour).

I guess the reason you think the last level of Winter I was a three story maze is because the terminal at the beginning is extremely long and uninteresting to read. It did give directions to activate the switches on the middle level, collect the chips on the top level, and insert them in the bottom level, but I'll try to make the terminals a bit more concise and clear this yeat.

4.something about coloring
I don't think making different looking rooms will be a problem here.

5. It's a lot more important to make one great level than two passable levels. I'm speaking from experience both as a contributor (Xmas 1-3) and as an outside player (Winter 1): spend your time making one level that's high-quality and good. I'd much rather have a good scenario that's only 5 levels long (Xmas 1) than a mediocre scenario that's 8 levels long (Winter 1), and it will speak much more highly of your personal contributions if your scenario as a whole is great.


tbqh I sort of mass produced the second level just so there'd be a sort of introduction to the big science complex. Now I am thoroughly unproud of that level ;_;

Note to scenario makers! Don't make stupid introduction levels like that! And if you do, at least have the good curtousy to make them look as nice as Vedi Vini Cursavi (sp)!

6. dont make the first levels easy and stuff


Given my strange fixation on having the metalloids in this scenario (which can make pretty worthy opponents), giving the player crappy guns would make it way too difficult. They won't be nearly as cheap or colorless as they were in RED, but they are much more powerful than the Pfhor.
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Shadowbreaker
Melbourne, Victoria

Post Nov 20th '09, 02:03

irons wrote:JUICE relied on Forge optimizations in some cases. Line/side lengths and polygon centers are particularly problematic examples. Atque does not do these silly optimizations, and I never got around to adding much "real" geometry stuff because it was never meant to be a geometry editor. ERGO, don't trust JUICE's information on geometry.


Ah, I see. Well, it's still a really useful tool.

Oh, and another thing I noticed is that some of the normal polygons were marked -1 under permutation, while others were marked 0. Does this have any meaning?
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Kurinn

Post Nov 20th '09, 02:18

OK, I found the problem. Your map is too complex, and overflows the 16-bit map indexes Marathon 2 uses to speed up rendering, collision detection, sounds, etc.

The only solution is to start removing polygons, lines, points, etc.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Nov 20th '09, 02:26

Kurinn wrote:Oh, and another thing I noticed is that some of the normal polygons were marked -1 under permutation, while others were marked 0. Does this have any meaning?


Not really. I'm guessing maybe some of those 0s were polygons of a type other than "Normal" and their permutation fields were set to a default (e.g. 0 is the default teleporter destination). There are some fun little tricks you can do with permutations. For example, if you use the formula -1 * index - 1 in an Automatic Exit polygon's permutation, where index is a polygon, you will have a teleporter that sends a player to that polygon only if the mission state is "successful." The CTF level "Porkchop Express" uses this trick in combination with a "repair" mission type and some light settings so you can activate or deactivate the teleporters with a switch. If you do the same thing on a regular teleporter polygon (-1 * index - 1), but where index is a level index, you will have an interlevel teleporter that teleports a player regardless of the mission success state.

You can also do some really strange things with platforms. Setting a platform polygon's permutation to some other platform index, you can make that polygon trigger the place where the platform is really located. I haven't thought of a use for this, because the Activate Platform trigger does the same thing, but it's neat to know. I used a hex editor to set the platform of some index so its home polygon was not the one it was actually "in," and it had some other effect I can't remember.
Last edited by irons on Nov 20th '09, 02:27, edited 1 time in total.
underworld : simple fun netmaps // prahblum peack : simple rejected netmaps
azure dreams : simple horrible netmaps // v6.0!!!: thomas mann's greatest hits : simple simple netmaps
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irons
(.Y.)

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