Eternal X 1.2

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Re: Eternal X 1.2

Post Apr 25th '18, 03:02

I've been posting alphas of 1.2 in this thread, here is the latest as of now:

http://eternal.bungie.org/files/_releas ... v120a2.zip

The map in that alpha is less up-to-date than what's on Github but the rest of it is the latest of its kind.

And yep, just use Atque to merge the maps. They don't need to be zipped, you can just drop the unmerged folder onto Atque.

Thanks again!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 25th '18, 05:34

No problem.

I've made it through several levels already (using the earlier revisions of shapes, sounds, etc., though, apart from the shapes patches I already mentioned). Some things I've noticed:

One way to make the info dump on "The Far Side of Nowhere" less daunting might be to use three or four terminals and have some of them trigger tag switches. That way you don't have such a wall of text at once, and you also don't feel like you're just engaged in a switch/item hunt; you're learning the game's back story while progressing through the level.

Occasional jiggle problems, including at least one particularly nasty one in the third level (it may have had two). Can't recall exactly where; I saved a film I can post at some point if that would be helpful. (I wasn't playing on the only real difficulty setting; I probably will play it that way eventually, or at least as much of it as I can hack, but I wanted to reacquaint myself with the levels and focus on level design rather than combat first.)

"Dysmenteria" could still have better differential shading, though I think it's better than I recall it from 1.0. May see if I can come up with something I like more in VML later. I think it's a particular problem on this level because all the textures of a given colour are basically the same colour, and I think that may be more of a problem in the Pfhor ship sets because they have higher contrast.

Noticed fighter projectile flyby sound doesn't play on "Unwired". Not sure if it's like that on all of them - was it taken out?

There's at least one platform on "Unwired" that should be sped up a lot IMO - it takes probably four or five seconds to climb from bottom to top. I'll look at it in Weland and provide a polygon # eventually, but it's pretty near the start of the level. There are a few others that aren't quite that slow but could still be sped up slightly. Overall, the platforms are way faster than they were in 1.0 and you have to do way less waiting around for them, which is good. Occasionally, I think it makes sense to have a slow platform to break up the flow of combat, but add too many and it becomes monotonous, and they should probably be platforms that only activate once.

A few switches can't trigger by being punched. I'm not sure if this is intentional or a bug. I'll provide more detail at some point if wanted; I don't remember specific info.

There's a trooper in "Unwired" who doesn't really activate due to being unable to move - he only has access to one or two polygons at a time due to platform motion. Might just be worth getting rid of him, unless that's intentional.

More to come later; given that it's almost 2am, I'm probably going to head off to bed pretty shortly. "Roots and Radicals" seemed like a good stopping point given that you'd have to try to run out of ammo on it (and even then, I don't think you'd be able to), so if having recordings is helpful, I can just do a fresh start from there. (I really hope the AO bug that screwed up level transitions in film recordings has been fixed, though I'm pretty sure it was.)
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 25th '18, 05:54

The Man wrote:One way to make the info dump on "The Far Side of Nowhere" less daunting might be to use three or four terminals and have some of them trigger tag switches. That way you don't have such a wall of text at once, and you also don't feel like you're just engaged in a switch/item hunt; you're learning the game's back story while progressing through the level.

The only problem with that is that it makes no sense narratively. It's your own journal entry, that you presumably just wrote, so there's no reason that you would be wandering around reading it on multiple computers, or that reading it would trigger any important functions in the place you're in.

The rest of that is all great feedback though, and feel free to fix any of it that you like!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 25th '18, 08:49

That makes sense narratively (I presume the opening/closing room is the Security Officer's quarters), but I'm reminded of Star Trek. There'd be something like "Captain's Log, supplemental" after each commercial break. Presumably Picard doesn't actually make a new log entry while he's in the midst of fighting the Borg, but it's done to ensure the audience knows what going on (particularly those who joined with the commercial break), and it's usually considered an acceptable narrative convention despite not really making sense if you stop to think about it for too long.

I'm wondering if this idea could be incorporated into Eternal's opening somehow. One possibility could be a journal entry submitted to a server in multiple parts. Or perhaps the conceit could be that you're telling it to S'bhuth, but S'bhuth can only absorb so much information at once. (I can't quite discern if this would make narrative sense.) One final possibility would be just to make the first level a dream level that has a close similarity to reality, but differs enough that it would make sense for the player's internal monologue to be broadcast on computer terminals. (The last level can probably be in the real universe; an expo dump in the epilogue is probably fine. I'll point to Rubicon here. For that matter, Rubicon X also has the "dream exposition first level", though it isn't even really necessary there. It would make much more sense for Eternal, though.)

I'm probably going to brainstorm about this for awhile. The overall problem I find is that too much unbroken text without something to alter the flavour of it just starts to sail over the player's head after awhile, particularly in certain circumstances. The worst offender I can think of here is "Sakhmet Rising." It's difficult to concentrate on the reading while being constantly conscious that your oxygen meter is depleting. Unfortunately, I can't think of a solution to the exposition/vacuum problem. That level needs all that exposition, and it's one of the few in the scenario that absolutely has to be a vacuum level. (It might be the only one, though I haven't played a lot of them for awhile.) It's particularly crucial since it's the first branching failure point, and the player can easily glaze over the point of Hathor's terminal in a panic about their oxygen meter before realising it's a branch point.

One thing that would probably alleviate it somewhat is different terminal images. "Ne cede malis" from M∞ is the best example I can think of how I'd do this. Durandal is mostly providing exposition about why the W'rkncacnter is fucking up the whole universe, but while he's doing that, he's also providing images that show where the player needs to go without actually describing the level mission. It's a subtle game design choice that I'd almost compare to how Super Metroid basically teaches you to play it without any formal tutorial whatsoever (though that said, I can't think of anything that tops Super Metroid from a game design standpoint).

Obviously, making more terminal art for Eternal is a colossal undertaking, so I'm certainly not going to ask anyone else to do it, but my own graphics skills are... primitive. It seems like making collages from screenshots of key areas in both the game and the map view would be a decent project, though. Perhaps if I provide the images (once I determine where the important parts are for each level), someone else can make them look pretty.

...oh, one final scattered observation. Was it an Eternal-specific thing to make the infravision power-up no longer suck? Because well done, if so.

(My sleep pattern is weird - expect a lot of ramblings at odd hours. Probably off to bed now, though.)
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 25th '18, 21:20

Making the first level a dream level doesn't really work narratively, nor does having your journal being fed into S'bhuth (who is dead at that point). Also the last level is a dream level, and making it not a dream wouldn't make any narrative sense either.

For the long terminal on Sakhmet Rising, maybe having an oxygen charger right next to it (if there's not already) would help. That way you have a full tank as you start reading and know that as soon as you're done reading you can top off again right away.

Having images break up the text of the intro terminal sounds fine to me, if we had some appropriate images. Maps and screenshots don't make much sense in that context since it's not a terminal telling you what to do or where to go. Some kind of illustration of the things the terminal is discussing would make more sense, though I don't know what that would be. RADIX has volunteered to do terminal art before, and I've been hesitant to accept both because I don't know where else it's needed and I'm skeptical about how well it would mesh with what already exists, but possibly if it's the only kind of art used in this one unique terminal, that would fit? If she feels up to it and has ideas for things to go with the text of that terminal, that is.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 25th '18, 22:32

I couldn’t recall if S’bhuth was in a condition to hear Marcus’ narrative. I can’t think of anyone else important he’d tell his tale to, either – presumably Hathor already knows most/all that stuff. (I also completely forgot the last level was a dream. It’s probably been at least six years since I played most of the later levels, and I’m trying to go into this as blind as I can. I think it’ll be more helpful to approach this with fresh eyes.)

So I’m thinking a journal entry that just gets submitted in multiple parts, then. I’m not sure it has to make perfect sense. Having Marcus read through something he’s just written is already kind of in fridge logic territory, and I don’t think players would be disoriented much more by having the text in three or four fragments than in one big infodump. If it needs an in-universe explanation, submissions could have character limits. (There wouldn’t be a hardware limit on a system that advanced, of course, but a system administrator might impose one. Each terminal can then list the number of characters in Marcus’ message, alongside the hard limit [e.g., “4,777/5,000 characters used” or something], thus providing a reasonable Watsonian explanation for why it would’ve been submitted in multiple parts.)

“The Far Side of Nowhere” doesn’t really need art relating to its mission, but it’s such a pretty level I doubt people would mind seeing it in the terminals.

Regarding contrasting art styles, I’ve always thought different AIs would probably use different art styles (and Tycho could use a different style after he goes Rampant). Of course, this doesn’t really help here, since all the AIs already have plenty of art, but on the other hand, a skilled graphic designer/artist can probably mimic another’s style fairly closely, so I don’t know how much of a deal that will end up being.

A few other stray observations:

“Septococcal Pfhoryngitis” said we got dumped in a sewer. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in a sewer when I started. Is this intentional to establish Hathor as unreliable, or is it something that should’ve been updated?

I understand why the infinitely respawning Troopers were taken out of “Roots and Radicals” (players on TC would presumably never again need AR ammo after that level), but they were certainly a lot of fun.

I think a few levels (“A Friend in Need” in particular) should probably have more rechargers. It’s not fun to have to backtrack through half of a level that large. (I have been plenty guilty of this sin with my own levels sometimes.)

The “O2” texture should really be written with the 2 as a subscript. I'm not sure if this is easy to change now, though.

The scatter gun is pretty much perfect for a room full of wasps.

I think I might’ve had a couple other things I’d wanted to say, but they’re not coming to mind at the moment. If I remember them, I’ll either edit or make a new post depending upon whether there are replies.

ETA: RE: “Sakhmet Rising”, I can’t actually recall whether Hathor’s terminal is near an oxygen recharge. I know Tycho’s longest one is. I don’t know that it actually helps that much; either way, I subconsciously consider vacuum levels a race against the clock, which makes me a less careful reader. One other possibility that comes to mind – which again runs up against the risk of fridge logic, but players might consider it to fall under acceptable breaks from reality – is to use a Lua script that just freezes oxygen consumption while the player is logged into a terminal.
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 26th '18, 00:27

Pfhorrest wrote:Having images break up the text of the intro terminal sounds fine to me, if we had some appropriate images. Maps and screenshots don't make much sense in that context since it's not a terminal telling you what to do or where to go. Some kind of illustration of the things the terminal is discussing would make more sense, though I don't know what that would be. RADIX has volunteered to do terminal art before, and I've been hesitant to accept both because I don't know where else it's needed and I'm skeptical about how well it would mesh with what already exists, but possibly if it's the only kind of art used in this one unique terminal, that would fit? If she feels up to it and has ideas for things to go with the text of that terminal, that is.


Lemme see...

Spoiler:
First thing to come to mind was a short sequence of double-wide images a la Rubicon; first is an old photo of all ten battleroids gathered for the camera, next two are Marcus sadly looking at it before turning away briefly and advancing to the next page. My intention is to show that not only is everyone Marcus cares about except Hathor dead, but he's aware that he's not allowed to save any of them when he heads out.

Maybe it'd go in between pages three and four? Or after page six, as a harsh reminder that, while Marcus (and Hathor) might live to see the end of time, their friends won't.

Only other real idea at the moment is a normal-size pic that Hathor might've sent Marcus before she retrieved him from the Jjaro station, as a sort of "hey, I'm still alive somehow" thing, but that would require showing her avatar as an AI, and I feel it'd be odd if she never showed her face to Marcus after that.
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 26th '18, 05:32

I like that first idea, other than wondering why Marcus would be holding a physical photograph (and how he still has it), and also because I really don't want to show his face (especially given how upset people are just about him having a name). But with high tech computer journals there's no reason they can't have accompanying illustrations (presumably by Marcus himself, via some easy-to-use, AI-augmented drawing interface), and a depictions of all the battleroids together, maybe with helmets on, in the field or something, sounds like a pretty good one.

Another idea that occurs to me is a depiction of Hathor's remains as found buried in the rubble of Tau Ceti IV.

Another idea is an image of K'lia in orbit around Earth, alongside Earth's own normal moon.

Just spitballing things right now.

I like the idea of double-wide terminal images between the pages of the journal. I still don't like the idea of trying to come up with an excuse to split it into multiple terminals. It just seems too forced to me.


On a different topic: Lia, I just playtested your latest contributions and I like them! I made a few small terminal adjustments, just formatting really, your little additional writing fits well with my Leela's tone. I did find a bug with that first pattern buffer though:

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 10.23.02 PM.jpg



On a different different topic: The loading screen seems to have lost it's progress bar for me. I mean, the bar is still there, but it never fills up, the level just is loaded suddenly. Is anyone else having that problem on the latest alpha? (It's been happening for me for a while and I keep forgetting to look into it). Any ideas what might be happening?


On yet another different topic: I hope to touch up some of the last few weeks' disappointing textures tonight and tomorrow. I wanted to be started on that already but god i just have no fucking time lately. I hope I can get at least one done tonight.

ETA: I improved this some but somehow created a new weird problem with it as you can see:

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 12.28.41 AM.jpg


And I improved this (and its vertical counterpart) though I'm still not sure they're better than what they're replacing and if it will be possible to fix that. (Why the hell aren't Illustrator and Photoshop one program yet so I can do the things I want to do in each together in the same image without lossy back-and-forth):

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 12.30.04 AM.jpg


I'm getting depressed with this project. (Not that I'm going to stop because of that, just... yeah.)
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 26th '18, 08:54

What? I thought I fixed it. In fact, that was that that one closed PR was all about, I made one PR, realised I borked the buffer, fixed it, and made a new PR...

Try this. It should be better.
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S'pht'ia.sceA.zip
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 26th '18, 16:31

Pfhorrest wrote:I like that first idea, other than wondering why Marcus would be holding a physical photograph (and how he still has it), and also because I really don't want to show his face (especially given how upset people are just about him having a name). But with high tech computer journals there's no reason they can't have accompanying illustrations (presumably by Marcus himself, via some easy-to-use, AI-augmented drawing interface), and a depictions of all the battleroids together, maybe with helmets on, in the field or something, sounds like a pretty good one.


By "photo" I was thinking of a file, not necessarily a Polaroid. ^^; (Maybe Marcus held a copy in his internal network and transferred it to his PC on K'lia, to explain why he'd still have it)

I'll see what I can do with the above, and at minimum a depiction of K'lia orbiting Earth.

--

EDIT:

Gonna go ahead and show you the first image. There's two versions; the one I'm kinda hoping will be used is meant to be digitally signed by everyone in the photo, along with a time stamp. They're at 1064 x 614; I hope it'll shrink down properly.

I'd go ahead and start on the other two pics, but 1) it's late as I type this, and 2) I'm not sure which angle to go with: around the front (Marcus has his helmet on; one eye might be visible through the visor, to aid with emoting) or from the back (Marcus hasn't put his helmet on yet, and it's mostly body language since his face isn't visible).
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 27th '18, 07:22

will have to check out Lia and RADIX's things probably after the weekend when I get back because it's too late and I'm exhausted now

i managed to touch up most of the Pfhor textures tonight to my moderate satisfaction. there's still lots of little bump map bugs that need to be fixed but I'm more okay with the general look and feel of them now than i was before

posting in multiple posts because there's too many screenshots:
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.28.17 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.28.04 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.27.41 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.27.25 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.27.04 AM.jpg
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 27th '18, 07:58

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.29.47 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.29.37 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.29.26 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.29.17 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.29.04 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.28.47 AM.jpg
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 27th '18, 08:24

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.31.12 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.31.02 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.30.39 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 12.30.32 AM.jpg
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 27th '18, 17:00

I really like how the new Pfhor textures are coming along!
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 27th '18, 19:34

Hey, just thought I'd hop on board again and share a couple thoughts.

I'm wondering why the need to split up the terminals is a issue, especially since this is the prologue level. If the pacing regarding the switch hunt is the real issue, why not alter the map to have a path that leads directly to the exit terminal, while still showing off the base through windows or something? Cut out the switch hunt entirely.

RADIX, the photo drawing looks very nice on it's own, but for Eternal, and by extension the trilogy, the art style looks very out of place here. It would make more sense to come closer to the style of the rest of the scenario, or use altered photos of real people (like Blake in M2).

And to Pfhorrest, would you be opposed to darkening those bright greens on some of the textures, similar to how you have some of the others?
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Hathomirr
The Void

Post Apr 27th '18, 22:31

There isn't any switch hunt in the current version of the prologue. There's one platform (the very first) that must be operated by a switch, but everything else just opens or moves as you approach it or step on it. There is a barrier that can be opened by a switch from an observation tower, but you don't have to because a platform trigger will do it for you as you approach, and the narrative implication is that the Bobs in the tower operated the switch for you.

I've had a chance to look at RADIX's art and I share your concern about it meshing in with the look and feel still. I'm not certain that that's a showstopper for its use in just this one terminal, but then it is the first terminal of the game and so would kinda set the mood, so maybe that needs addressing? Then again I think of term pics from M2 like these:

Image
Image

...and wonder if it would be any more out of place than they are?

And no I wouldn't be opposed to darkening the bright greens. I'm still kind of unhappy with the way they look. What I'm aiming for (with many of them at least) is something that looks like dark green metal (which basically means dark and low saturation with bright high saturation highlights), which is easy to achieve in Photoshop using the Color Dodge blending mode, but Illustrator's doesn't seem to work the same way and I haven't perfected a way to replicate it by other means yet. Maybe I'll poke around at that some more next week, if I can find time between the new textures I'll be working on then, and fixing the bump map bugs from these latest updates.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 27th '18, 22:46

It would be way more out of place than those, yes. Unless you want Eternal to be known as the anime marathon. Although I guess Marathon Redux is looking to take that title.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 28th '18, 00:51

Ah, sorry, guess I need to refresh my memory on the prologue again. From what I remember, I never had any issue with how it was. I know others have though, and wasn't sure if it was just them getting lost in the level.

Marathon certainly did have a more cartoony style at times, but it's still very different from the more traditional anime style RADIX has going on. Now that I think about it, Eternal didn't have many actual illustrations, did it? Mostly just AI logos and in-game shots (which would need to be updated to reflect the new textures). I'm wondering if additional images are really necessary for this update at all. The maps themselves and the terminal writing, sure, but maybe its better to leave certain things alone.

While I've never been a fan of any of the Pfhor textures, I do think they looked better when they were darker and less colorful in Infinity. The dark green metal sounds nice, I'm interested in seeing how that could turn out.
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Hathomirr
The Void

Post Apr 28th '18, 01:14

Can I just work on pics I was given the okay for without everyone demanding they not be used? Makes me feel like I'm wasting my time.
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 28th '18, 01:51

If Pfhorrest asks for an opinion, which is how I interpreted his post (maybe it was a rhetorical question though), I'm going to give one. I haven't seen anyone demanding anything.

Also, you're working on a marathon scenario in 2018, so it's probably best not to think about what is and isn't a waste of time.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 28th '18, 01:53

My apologies, RADIX, I did not intent for my response to be a personal jab at your work, rather just a concern for the consistency regarding an already established scenario. I was also under the impression that these were all merely suggestion concepts, not something that's already been confirmed.
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Hathomirr
The Void

Post Apr 28th '18, 02:15

@ Wrk: Maybe "demanding" was too harsh, but so far all of my potential contributions to a project have been met with comments about how my art style doesn't fit and my art shouldn't be used, and it's really disheartening.

@ Hathomirr: Apology accepted.
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 28th '18, 02:35

I mean... you're contributing anime to a non anime project... I guess I just thought it was obviously an odd choice and seeing it pointed out wouldn't bother you. Sorry. I won't say any more about it.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 28th '18, 23:01

Wrkncacnter wrote:Sorry. I won't say any more about it.


Alright. ^^

--
Hey Forrest, got the art of K'lia orbiting Earth done. I'm including a half-size version with effects (I'd have used a full-sized copy for that, but some things like scan lines don't like being shrunk down).

Also in the ZIP are sketches of the rest of that sequence I described above; I'd like to get approval on them before inking/colouring, in case I'm bending the "don't show Marcus's entire face" thing too far.
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General-RADIX

Post Apr 28th '18, 23:22

As far as location shots go, I'm definitely for the K'lia drawing (with the scanline additions).
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Hathomirr
The Void

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