Eternal X 1.2

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Re: Eternal X 1.2

Post Aug 16th '18, 13:05

I’m not disagreeing with your advice, but doesn’t bloom currently not function properly with 3D effects on? Though I guess the 3D effects would slow things down on older computers too.

Anyhow, I might not do level-by-level reviews of the whole scenario, but I’ll provide detailed thoughts on levels where I feel they’re relevant. (I don’t have too many thoughts on “Deja Vu” and “Septococcal”, apart from the odd Enforcer behaviour in the former and the motion glitch in the latter. I think the Enforcer behaviour might be fixable by putting monster & item impassable polygons in; they’re just marked as normal right now. No idea on the motion glitch; you can implement a teleporter as a band-aid fix, but it’d be better to fix it properly. I won’t attempt to implement either myself right now because IDK if you’re still working on those levels.)

“Unlucky Pfhor Some”: I attempted to vid this one, but I’m not good enough for it yet. If I keep practising, maybe I’ll get it; I don’t think it’s beyond my skill level once I familiarise myself more with its idiosyncrasies. Some scattered observations on how to improve it from my recent TC completion, though:

  • After finishing this level on TC, the player will probably have more fusion ammo necessary than will ever be necessary to complete the scenario. I had some 590 fusion batteries after finishing it. (I’d actually gotten to over 600, but I used several in the final battle.) Not complaining – lack of ammo shouldn’t ever be a problem with a scenario such as Eternal, given its mechanic of collecting ammo from foes. I just found it amusing. To be fair, I actually went out and collected as much ammo as possible from dead Bobs because I am insane. (I probably wouldn’t collect that many if I were actually vidding – maybe 200.) It’s also kind of staggering how many dead Bobs that indicates, because surely the ones killed by Juggernauts would either have been fried or blown up. What.

    It might be worth beefing up the VacBobs’ physics a bit; they have much higher vitality in Blood Tides of Lh’owon than they do in Infinity’s standard physics, so this wouldn’t be a departure from established canon. It looks like this level’s VacBobs only have 20, 25, and 30 vitality, which is inherited from the standard physics; compare with “Foe Hammer”, where they have vitalities of 80, 90, and 112. (I haven’t looked at all the Infinity levels, but I think they have similar physics even when you’re fighting them; I specifically looked at “Foe Hammer” because it’s a level where the Bobs are allied with the player.) I expect you’d still end up with a lot of dead Bobs by employing those settings, but probably not so comically many. There actually end up being so many Bob corpses and fusion batteries that it would probably slow down older computers, particularly when not playing on TC where the player can’t possibly pick up and use all those fusion batteries. Of course, this isn’t an issue on my three-year-old MacBook Pro, but I haven’t tested this level on my 10+-year-old Dell since the 3D textures were introduced. I expect it’d be far worse on the Dell.

  • Kill the fucking drones in the northwestern corner of the level, please. They’re not threatening, intimidating, or challenging; they’re just incomprehensibly fucking annoying. (I think the trope “Goddamned Bats” [warning: TV Tropes link] is made precisely to describe such enemy placement.) You can leave them regenerating at some rate, but the minimum count should be 0 for all of them. Or else just provide a way to permanently lower the door and trap them. It takes like five minutes to pass that part of the level purely because the player has to catch a lucky break to escape with shields intact. (Again, not a particularly serious threat – the player can almost always retreat to the beginning of the level to recharge if needed, since it’s rare for one of the hostiles in the outside battle to lock onto the player.) If there’s some method to bypass that particular annoyance, I haven’t yet figured it out, and it should be less esoteric if it exists. I should also note that I’m fine requiring players to deal with the drones during the first trip through that segment of the level, but there should be a way to avoid having to deal with them again afterwards.

  • Speaking of drones, do the ones in the western segment of the level ever actually do anything? It’s entirely possible that, due to their physics, they don’t. It looks like their physics prohibit them from making ledge jumps of more than -5 WU. If my mathematics are correct, they’d have to make a jump of -6.8 WU to get off the ledge and engage in the central battle. Another thing that should probably be fixed in the physics, unless you just want to replace them with some other enemy. As it sits now they’re just adding extra sprites to an already sprite-intensive level.

  • The segment at the very east of the level seems to be a trap. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but there should either be some way to get out, or there should be a Lua script to kill players should they chance to fall in there. Fill the area with goo, or make a teleporter, or just raise the floor elevation to 5.000. The temptation of collectable ammo in there may cause players to jump down, expecting to have some way out. (At least it caused me to do so, but I may be atypical as evidenced by the fact that I ended the level with 590 fusion batteries.)

  • There should maybe also be a few more rechargers so the level doesn’t require so much backtracking. The southwestern and northeastern areas stick out for this. There is a recharger in the northwestern corner, but the player has to clear out most of the area before doing so. I get that the rationale for not including rechargers might have been that the outside battle could pose a threat, causing players to need to conserve shields somewhat… but really, it’s not much of a threat most of the time. It’s not so much a test of skill as it is a test of the RNG. Whether a Juggernaut locks onto the player and fires a bunch of missiles while the player crosses that region doesn’t have much to do with the player’s skill. On the whole, I tend to think that the less backtracking a level requires, the better. It’d probably shave around three boring minutes off of most TC films of this level if there were a couple more strategically placed rechargers. I’d put one at polygon 882 and another at polygon 291. I may come up with another good location for a few others at some point; I’ll let you know.

  • This level seems to have been a case where the mapmaker ran out of polygons; some areas of the level have much simpler geometry than surrounding areas, and there are areas with skeletons of polygons that aren’t filled in. The new release would be a good time to take advantage of Weland raising the polygon limit. I’m looking at the northeastern corner of the central area in particular, which looks like it was initially intended to be a lot more complicated. I’ll abstain from attempting to alter the geometry myself for now, unless you think I should. There are a lot of items whose placement I’d have to reinstate should I actually delete polygon 417, though I might be able to get away with just deleting polygon 599 and possibly polygon 803, in which case I’d only need to reinstate one Bob.

  • There should be a pattern buffer near the start of the level – maybe on the other side of Leela’s terminal. I tend to hold by the gameplay philosophy that players should be able to save both at the beginning of a level and near the end, with only a handful of exceptions. (I’ll admit that I’ve violated this philosophy myself in several levels in Chronicles, and I actually intend to fix it in a couple of levels soon, but there are a couple of others where I’m going to wait for feedback from playtesters.) There was a point when I’d find the absence of pattern buffers challenging, but on the whole, these days I can’t always spend 30 minutes playing a level at once (my lengthy vid films notwithstanding). I’m fortunate enough to have multiple computers, so I can just pause when I need to, but not everyone has that luxury.

  • The final battle isn’t quite as challenging as I expected, but that’s fine. I only died once, I think, and that was my own stupidity in thinking I had more room than I did to blow up Mothers of All Hunters.

  • I’m currently playing with the miner’s lamp at 0.375, but if it gets changed to 0, this level’s lighting will need to be overhauled significantly; it’s a very dark level. The outside region is almost all 0% light, rarely higher than 15%. Oddly, many (though not all) of the indoor regions are more brightly lit; I guess the reasoning is that there’s artificial lighting there, but the outside is just night. Still, even at night, there’s usually some light from the moon and such. I’ll also note that the rationale for the lighting of the floors of polygons 509 and 510 confounds me. I assume there was one, but you have 0% lighting for the very bottom of the level, then it jumps to 10%, then 15%, then 20% for the rest of the steps, but then back to 15% for most of the rest of that balcony. I’m fine with changing the lighting to reflect the updated miner’s lamp settings, but I must admit the lighting in this level is already quite striking. (This is a major reason I’ve decided to use level-by-level changes to the miner’s lamp in Chronicles; I liked some of the levels fine the way they were. But I can certainly understand wanting to use one setting for the whole scenario.)

  • Overall, I really like this level, despite the annoyances listed above. The central battle and the final battle both make it a really, really fun level. Once at least the issue with the drones is fixed, I’ll probably give vidding it another go.


…scattered other thoughts about random levels:

  • I went in with Vasara and it does look like putting transparent textures over windows to space might lessen the oddity of having fog nestled up against space textures. It’s ultimately up to you whether this affects your approach to “Dysmentria”, but I do think it looks pretty cool with purple fog.

  • “Sakhmet Rising”. I haven’t properly played this one on TC yet, but I have a couple of architectural observations. I get why you have the polygons for the towers (polygons 734, 735, 736…). I even kind of get why you have the polygons behind them (752, 753, 783…). There is, however, a slight danger of a player doing something stupid or exceptionally unlucky and getting trapped. I don’t know how it would happen, but I feel it’s better to prepare for all eventualities rather than say “no player would possibly…”. So… I’d either make those polygons teleporters, or else just make lines 2208, 2170, 2339… solid, and then place some texture on them to make it impossible to walk into the inescapable area. Or, really, both, since sometimes Marathon ignores solid walls when a player has a high enough external velocity.

    Alternately, you can just raise the height of those areas so that the player can escape them should it become necessary; it’s not as though any of them are ever visible to the player during normal gameplay. It looks like the lowest point at any of those walls is 4.5, so… 4.25? Something like that.

    Also, polygon 750 is untextured.

    What’s the purpose of polygons 755-763, though? I’m stumped; they seem utterly identical to all the surrounding polygons. Is it a remnant of some geometry that was planned for an earlier version of the level, but ultimately abandoned? The automap doesn’t display all the sides of polygon 12 (I assume this is due to landscape texturing that we can’t see); was polygon 758 intended to counteract that? But that doesn’t explain the others.

  • Also in “Sakhmet Rising”: “strong suite” → “strong suit”.

  • “Unlucky Pfhor Some”: “to become like a god outside of it's control” → “to become like a god outside of its control”. I should probably go through all the terminals outside of the game and look for things like that. And, for that matter, see if I can’t condense some of the wordiness without removing either meaning or style, if that’s OK with you. Eternal has a great story, but a lot of the terminals do get really long-winded.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 16th '18, 14:44

The Man wrote:I didn’t actually realise there’s a second uplink chip in “Septococcal Pfhoryngitis” until looking in Weland. Is there a purpose for it? Is it a secret intended to save players time in later levels? Or is it an accident?

Only one chip ever actually shows up, but its location is randomly in one spot or the other. This is accomplished via item parameters.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 16th '18, 17:27

That makes sense. I don’t think I remember ever finding the chip there before, though. Odd. Is it new in 1.2? (Or, for that matter, 1.1; IDK what the last version I played was.)

Also, new film of “This Message Will Self-Destruct”. I don’t think the level needs many further changes. The number of W’rk nightmares is probably fine now: enough to be threatening and challenging; not enough to be infuriatingly difficult. I might change all of the 2x rechargers (and 1x, if there are any) to 3x, just to minimise the amount of backtracking needed. Apart from that and the changes to the gravitronic blades (which I think are probably going to have to use Lua; I can only raise the number of shots by around 4.5x, since each swing of a blade fires 49 shots), I think it’s pretty much ready to go.

…also, I noticed there is bloom in Pfhorrest’s earlier screenshots of the game. Turns out I’d been playing Eternal this whole time without bloom, but it still works with 3D effects and bump mapping. I hadn’t thought to fix it in the preferences. What was that I’d read before about them being incompatible, though? Was that just wrong?

Anyway, also, thoughts on “My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse”:

  • The opening battle is ridiculous. I think it might be OK if you beefed up the Bobs somewhat (see notes on “Unlucky Pfhor Some”) and perhaps gave the player a second invisibility powerup and/or a 2x or 3x canister. I get what the goal here was, but it’s almost impossible to figure out the correct path when playing with 1x shields on TC. Even when you know the correct path, it’s a matter of luck whether you survive.

  • Even after you survive the opening, that bit with the Enforcers, Hulks, and Fighters is a bit difficult. It wouldn’t be too unfair on its own, but after coming in from that battle, you may very well have 0.2x shields or thereabouts. Perhaps there should be another recharge canister on the platform that takes you up to the main part of the level. 1x would probably be fine there.

  • Once you’ve passed that, the rest of the level isn’t too challenging as long as you don’t advance too quickly, which is fine. It’s actually a really fun level, and it’s quite pleasing aesthetically. Apart from my concerns about the opening, I don’t know that I’d make too many other major changes to it.
Vid film of this level will be up at some point within the next 24 hours, though IDK if I’ll render it immediately.

(As you can see, I’m pretty much just randomly trying to vid whatever levels suit my fancy at a given moment. Some – “Third Rock from Lh’owon” among them – are far beyond my skill level, though.)
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 16th '18, 17:34

The chip thing is new in 1.1, I think.

I'll check out that Self-Destruct vid later tonight. Thanks again for polishing that up, and feel free to do likewise to My Kingdom.

I had had bloom turned off myself earlier in the development process, and realized that that was why my glow maps didn't seem particularly impressive. Maybe you're remembering that?

Also FWIW I could not reproduce that slowdown that Crater Creator mentioned on Unwired, and didn't see any areas that seemed like huge expansive views needing to be broken up with negative space.

And I fixed the charger bump maps already this morning. Might try terminals tonight too.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 16th '18, 18:14

No problem.

I don’t think I was remembering your comments about bloom. I thought I remembered seeing something from one of the developers that bloom wouldn’t show up when you had either 3D effects or bump maps turned on (I don’t remember which). That obviously isn’t the case, though; it’s obvious that there’s both bump mapping and bloom in the “My Kingdom” vid I’m currently rendering on my MacBook. Unless I’m hallucinating that, but I don’t think so; the textures look pretty bumpy. Perhaps all of that was referring to an earlier version of A1 than 1.2.1, but I thought it was a fairly recent post. Perhaps “3D effects” refers to something different that isn’t used in Eternal (perhaps bump mapping doesn’t qualify under that). IDK. My medium-term memory is... not reliable right now.

“My Kingdom” should be done rendering in about 10 minutes, and judging from the length I’d estimate about 20 minutes to upload/process; I’ll either amend this post (if no one else has replied) or make a new one (if they have) when it’s done. I did also notice a switch that isn’t aligned properly, which I don’t think is the bump maps; I think it’s the actual texture alignment.

Glad to hear the chargers are fixed. That was bugging me.

ETA: about to step out; YouTube is indicating that “My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse” will be done uploading at around 15:11 EDT. I’d expect it to be done processing by 15:16, unless there’s something wrong on YouTube’s end. It’ll be here when finished.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 17th '18, 00:40

I just now noticed that long message at the start of this page of the thread, that I missed before probably because it was on another page.

I'm having a lot of trouble just keeping up on my schedule for levels I have planned to work on day by day, so I'm not sure when I will have time to double back to fix things on the levels I've already done (up through Sakhmet), but I'm pretty much done with them for my part now, so if you want to make the fixes you describe to them that would be great! (Let's not do anything about windows of fog on Dysmentria for now, though). Also also any levels I haven't gotten to yet.

I think I'll try to keep everyone abreast here of what I plan on working on a week in advance, so you can feel free to touch up anything I'm not currently in the middle of. Today I'm doing Unwired and Roots and Radicals. Next week I'm doing Core Done Blew, Heart of Fusion, and hopefully finishing off Giants, probably on a Tue-Wed-Thu schedule one level each day.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 03:15

Pfhorrest wrote:
The Man wrote:I didn’t actually realise there’s a second uplink chip in “Septococcal Pfhoryngitis” until looking in Weland. Is there a purpose for it? Is it a secret intended to save players time in later levels? Or is it an accident?

Only one chip ever actually shows up, but its location is randomly in one spot or the other. This is accomplished via item parameters.


Does this actually work properly? In my experience the game will always favor the first-placed item location over the second in this situation.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 17th '18, 03:51

Yep. I was actually worried that that might be happening when I was touching up and testing that level recently, because it seemed to keep being in the same place, but then on another run-through it was in the other place, and then back in the first place again next time, and then back at the other again the next time, so I guess I just got a random run of the first location, but it's definitely randomly switching them.

And Aaron, those vids were great fun to watch over dinner, especially This Message Will Self-Destruct. I do worry that maybe the goo rises a little bit too slowly now, though... I do want it to be nipping at the player's heels on the way up the stairs.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 04:19

Glad you enjoyed them. And yeah, I was also thinking the delay in “Self-Destruct” might be too long now. I thought I remembered reading a review saying that there should be ten seconds before the goo started to rise, but that’s obviously an eternity of gameplay. I’ll try five seconds at some point in the future and see if that’s more appropriate.

As for the long post on “Unlucky Pfhor Some”, I figured that was happened – that or you just ran out of time to respond.

Tonight’s changes:

https://www84.zippyshare.com/v/mEHMauMM/file.html

There are a couple I’m not entirely sure I’m going to keep as is. I think I traded one drone annoyance for another in “Unlucky Pfhor Some”, though the newer one takes a lot less time to pass and isn’t as consistent of an annoyance. The level’s still challenging enough despite the added rechargers; I haven’t successfully vidded it yet. (I also think I accidentally misaligned one of the textures below the first recharger). I’ll fix that tomorrow, time permitting, and assuming I’m not dead tired after work.

It’s also possible that the opening of “My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse” might actually be too easy now. It’s difficult to get the balance of these kinds of things right.

Overall, the following maps should have changes:

Deja Vu All Over Again
Septococcal Pfhoryngitis
Sakhmet Rising
Unlucky Pfhor Some
Pissing on the Corporation
My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse
Burning Down the Corporation

Mostly discussed above. The “Corporation” levels had the platform glitch fixed by just changing the innermost platform to a stationary polygon – this shouldn’t meaningfully affect gameplay. On “Deja Vu” I tried to fix the enforcer glitch by marking the relevant polygons as monster & item impassable. (On the whole a lot of polygons that should be marked monster & item impassable in Eternal aren’t, but I definitely don’t have time to go through and look for all of them right now; it’s probably something worth doing if you have time & patience as you go through the levels, though.) On “Septococcal”, since I couldn’t figure out what caused that motion glitch, for the time being I just put a teleporter on that polygon. The other stuff was basically what I discussed above.

Physics models modified:

Unlucky Pfhor Some
My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse

(stronger Bobs as discussed above, plus increasing the drones’ ledge jump in Unlucky)

Deep Into the Grotto
Frog Blast the Vent Core
I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This
The Philosophy of Time Travel
This Message Will Self-Destruct
We Met Once in the Garden
Where Giants Have Fallen

(raise gravitronic blades to 32,767 rounds per zero-point module; still need to implement Lua to make them effectively infinite, but this is better than nothing for the interim)

I forgot to make those grammar fixes; remind me tomorrow.

I’ll leave off with a “Burning Down the Corporation” vid film (bonus “S’pht’ia” video as well; while not technically a vid film, I use little but fists and fusion, and the player automatically gets bumped to 3x shields at the start of the level, so it probably comes close enough).
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 17th '18, 04:31

Thanks for all of this! I made the grammar fixes myself already so no worries about those.

ETA: When I went to merge things I spot-checked that some of the latest changed I'd made to Deja Vu (two days ago) were there in your version of Deja Vu and it seems that they're not (some monster impassibly polygons fixing the behavior of that second Compiler), so for now I'm not going to merge those ch1 maps you've modified that I've been working on in case there's other missing things like that. I'll post here later when everything for tonight is up on GitHub, and after that can you download the latest from there and re-implement your changed to those levels? Thanks!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 04:59

Yeah, that’s fine. I don’t think I made much in the way of changes to either level; in fact you can probably replicate them yourself in a minute:

Deja Vu: 240, 241, 242, 243, 250, 251, 254, 255 to monster & item impassable

Septococcal: 288 to teleporter to 271

I don’t think I’d realised you’d made any changes to either level in the last couple of days. I’ll grab the latest Github version whenever it’s up.

BTW, if you didn’t notice yet, I added a vid film of “Burning Down the Corporation” to the end of my last post at about the same time you made yours.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 17th '18, 05:32

Thanks again! I reimplemented those changes to Deja Vu and Septococcal myself, though it sounded like you had some more extensive changes to Sakhmet that maybe you could reimplement yourself? I'm feeling weird tonight and not mentally competent to be doing finnicky things without screwing them up.

I copied your physics changes into the master physics file, along with some of my own changes from last week or so, and was going to re-duplicate and remake all of the physics files from that, but I'm not feeling clear-headed enough to make such an extensive change without screwing it up.

Is there some easier, programmatic way, or could someone programmatically inclined (W'rk?) create one, to implement changed across a whole array of physics models? Cause juggling it the way I have been just seems insane, like there has to be a better way. Like, to implement Aaron's change of the ammo capacity of one weapon, I either have to open every single physics file and copy and paste the weapon from the modified copy into all of them, or make further-re-modified copies of the modified master physics file for every level with the level-specific changes added back in. If it's just one universal change, it's easier to do it the former way, but if it's a bunch of them, the latter gets more tempting. Right now I'm looking at small modifications to like a dozen monsters and one weapon, so reduplicating all the physics files seems the better option than copy-pasting each of those changes 52 times, but either way it just seems insane and I don't know how I managed to keep track of it when I was younger and making constant changes to all the physics files all the time.

I probably listed the differences out earlier in the thread somewhere, but for my own brainsake right now, I think the level-specific differences should be:

Prologue through ch1: standard

Hysterical Womb: tanks are enemies
rest of ch2: compilers are friends (and tanks are again too)
(unless they show up somewhere in the success branch, where they might be enemies again because tycho?)

ch3: oh god there's so many weird things with the defenders now I don't even know what's going on anymore

ch4 until Dread Not: standard (except, different clut for hulks I forgot before?)
ch4 from Dread Not onward: hulks are friends
ch4 Run Coward: orbs are enemies

ch5: back to standard again?

anyway I am done for the night, my brain is fried for some reason and I should sleep after I watch that video.

everything should be up on github now.

thanks again!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 05:42

No problem.

In “Sakhmet”, I just changed the heights of all the polygons north of the wall in the starting room from 3 to 4.25, and then textured polygon 750 with whatever the surrounding polygons’ textures were. Again, no major changes – I spent the majority of time today working on those chapter two levels.

Regarding physics changes, it’s probably possible to do a quick & dirty change by just doing a bit comparison in a hex editor from the old physics model to the new physics model, then altering the same bit in each other physics model, but I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to do it than that.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 17th '18, 06:10

Awesome, I just reimplemented those changed to Sakhmet myself since they're so simple.

wrt physics, I'd love to have something that could like... show me a table of everything that's different about a list of physics models from a reference model, and allow changes to them there in that view;

and also, something that could take a selection of features from a reference model... I don't know how you would select which features; maybe give it a 'before' and 'after' model and it will take the changes between those to apply?... and apply them all to a list of physics models.

so like, if I used the first tool, selected my standard eternal physics as the reference, and gave it my merge folder to search for other models, it would show me a table where the rows are the physics models in question, and the columns are the features that vary between them (omitting columns for anything that's the same throughout, which would be most things), and the contents of each cell are the values of those attributes in those models. if everything was correct, I would just see the intended level-by-level changes between the models, but anything that was not correct would be caught that way too, and could be changed right there in the table.

and actually, the second tool could be implemented right there in that same interface, if for any value of any cell you could click something to apply it to everything in that column, i.e. across all the selected physics models. if you wanted to apply a new universal change, just change the standard reference model, compare it to the collection of all models, and apply the relevant values from the reference model down all the columns.

ETA: don't even need to specify a standard reference model now that I think about it. just point it at a folder. it finds all physics models in that folder, and builds a table of all the values (cells) of all the fields (columns) in all the models (rows), then omits all the columns that are identical across all their rows. Any differences that shouldn't be in there, you can change directly in the table. If you want to implement some universal change, just change it in any one model, generate the table, and set that whole column to the value of that changed row.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 06:49

why aren't i asleep yet

just caught a fixed a gamestopping platform bug on septococcal that could've trapped you in deep shit (literally) forever. must've introduced that myself on some recent edit by mistake.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 07:36

jesus forrest go to bed

i found another showstopping bug on Roots and Radicals where the tag 6 switch somehow got turned into a lightswitch

and some dumb floor texturing on unwired
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 15:42

That’s odd that you found two game-breaking bugs in that short a timespan.

Quick changes to “Pissing on the Corporation”. #1, it didn’t seem to have any rechargers, which made it fucking impossible. If there are any, I can’t find the damn things, and I looked in Vasara for about 10 minutes. As a result, I’ve reinstated the two 3x rechargers that are in “Burning Down the Corporation”. Feel free to redo the texturing if you think it can be done better; I might not have aligned everything perfectly, and I’m almost certain it doesn’t match the “Burning Down” texturing, which could very well be better.

#2, there are two doors that open up to the right of the eastern recharger, in order to provide a shortcut back to the innards of the level after you recharged, but they used to close again after you walked back into the room, and it was annoying to keep them open. This is now altered. They only open once and are set to “can’t deactivate externally”.

I might give vidding this level with its changes a go tonight. It might be harder than its success timeline counterpart, even with the rechargers put in, though. I think there might be several points beyond which you can’t retreat to the rechargers, and I don’t know the level very well. We’ll see how it goes.

Off to work now – it’ll be several hours before I can do anything else.
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People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 17th '18, 18:43

thanks, i'll roll that in in a minute

both gamebreaking bugs i found late last night were ones i had just accidentally introduced that night or the night before maybe
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 17th '18, 19:27

On the topic of that physics model tool I was dreaming of, I'm not sure if ShapeFusion is still actively developed but it occurs to me that something like that could make a very handy addition to it.

Consider: "File -> Compare Models". Select a folder. It opens every physics model in that folder, displaying their contents all in one window, in a table, one row per model, one column per value, columns with the same value across all rows (so most of them usually) omitted. It's basically just another view added to the existing ShapeFusion... model (in the MVC sense). On the right side of each row, a button to open that model in the usual, existing view, in which you can introduce changes that will then open up that column in the comparison view, from where you can apply those changes across all models, or just copy them to a few if you like. One big "save" button saves all the models at once.

ETA: on the other side of things... even a terminal command to spit out a CSV file would be helpful enough for at least keeping track of things.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 18th '18, 01:04

Thanks. Unfortunately I might’ve uploaded the wrong version of the level; it doesn’t look like the changes are included in the version I just downloaded. Sorry about that. This should be the correct one. I hope. Keeping track of A1 texturing revisions is confusing. It didn’t help that I was in a rush when I uploaded it.

I agree that your suggestions would be quite handy. I don’t think I have adequate programming knowledge to pull it off myself right now, unfortunately. Maybe in a year or two.

ETA: Having played it now, I think a 3x recharger might be too much for that level. Either that, or the enemies should be beefed up. I’m almost certain it’d be absolutely impossible without any recharger, but I think 2x might be sufficient. IDK. I’ll upload a gameplay video soon. It definitely felt a lot easier to me than “Burning Down the Corporation”. I suspect the lack of large rooms in “Pissing” must’ve resulted in DMA using easier enemies on that level, since there’s not really enough room in many of them to deal with foes like Troopers and Mothers of All Hunters. In any case, the level in its current state would be absolutely impossible without any recharger, so there should at least be a 1x recharger.

Edit 2: here’s a vid film of it. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to change the rechargers to 2x or even 1x.

Edit 3: Was attempting to vid “Sakhmet” and only failed because the stupid fucking pillars trapped me. Film will come at some point; I’ll give it another go first.

Edit 4: Here’s a successful “Sakhmet” vid. I’ll post the failure at some point since it does demonstrate the problem with the pillars.

I’ve also managed a successful completion of “Deep Into the Grotto” now. I’m really not sure how to alter it, because it’s definitely not finished. I think, first off, we should probably remove the orbs. I suspect you can get away with adding a higher respawn percentage for Möthrids and Nightmares. Banshees should probably continue respawning at 20%. They do an absurd amount of damage to the player, as excessive as the Enforcers in Rubicon/Chronicles. It’s not as big a deal on “This Message Will Self-Destruct”, but this level might be outright impossible with too many of them.

I’ll encode the film later so people can give their thoughts. It’s definitely a much less annoying level now, but it also feels empty. Unfortunately, raising the number of monsters too much might run the risk of making it unfair. IDK. Getting rid of the orbs would probably help.
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People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 18th '18, 17:16

Deep Into the Grotto”. Commentary in video description – gotta run for now. I’ll encode the “Sakhmet” glitch film while AFK.

One bug I noticed: the flame Enforcers in “Unlucky Pfhor Some” sometimes display the scatter gun Enforcer sprite while idle. I assume it’s an error in the physics model.

I’m not sure I’m going to get that level anytime soon. It’s pretty difficult, and there are at least two segments that I’ve yet to formulate consistently reliable strategies for.

ETA: here’s the “Sakhmet” glitch. From a brief glance at the map view in Weland, I suspect there may be a lot of these in just this one level; I haven’t even looked at others yet. On the whole, if you can fall onto a polygon in a corner, there probably shouldn’t be a scenery object that obstructs the player’s motion too close to that corner.

I’m feeling kind of sluggish right now for some unfathomable reason, but maybe I’ll upload another revision to “Pissing on the Corporation” tonight. I probably won’t be able to contribute as consistently for the next few months, though. My schedule tightens up substantially on the 20th.

If you can’t read my “Sakhmet” video’s commentary, BTW, I’d written:

The north of the opening room has recently been revised, which is a good thing, since, as I demonstrate in this video, it’s *absurdly* easy to get knocked over the wall with grenades. (I did it on purpose in this video, but I did so almost effortlessly, which leads me to suspect that it’s probably happened unintentionally to at least one player at some point.) In the past, if you ran out of grenades, you would get stuck there and run out of oxygen.

This level is a lot of fun, and it’s the first point where Eternal starts to become challenging. The fact that it’s a tribute to “G-4 Sunbathing” from the original game goes without saying, doesn’t it?

There’s still a glitch left in this level; it’s possible to get trapped behind some of the pillars. I’m currently uploading an unsuccessful attempt to vid this level that got derailed by them (https://youtu.be/TEYvJWOnUuQ).

and:

Attempt to vid this level that went awry when I got trapped behind a damn pillar. (I was so close to dying that you couldn’t even see my shields, but I think I’d still have survived if I hadn’t been trapped, because I’d induced the troopers to kill themselves with their grenades, and I don’t think there were any other enemies that could’ve attacked me.) Fortunately, my next attempt at the level was successful (https://youtu.be/6FKfwsp9J7w).

Scenery objects like that can be a danger when making Marathon maps, but at least I noticed it now while 1.2 is still in alpha. It’d have sucked to have to push out a 1.2.1 release for something that minor. I’m now going to look for cases like that where there are solid scenery objects in corners that it’s possible to drop into. They should probably all be removed.

As for “Deep into the Grotto”:

A lot less annoying than the 1.1 version, but still in need of some work. It gets really empty, but at the same time it’s still unfair because the damn orbs sporadically kill you if you’re not lucky. So I think we’ll probably remove those. I’ll probably raise the respawn rates for the Möthrids and the Nightmares, but I think I’ll leave the Banshees at their current rate (they do a ridiculous amount of damage per attack, basically the same as Enforcers in Rubicon).

It’s a lot less annoying than the old version, though, even in its current state. I think Dr Sumner had said he quit the scenario in frustration on this level during the 1.1 release. I can’t see anyone doing that with this version.

This remix of “Leela” is probably one of my favourite tracks in the game, BTW.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 19th '18, 15:13

“We Met Once in the Garden”: I think it’s mostly fine now. I actually suspect it might be worth reducing the respawn rate of Banshees (which I already reduced a lot), for two reasons: by this point, the player will have a gigantic cache of ammo that is utterly useless against them; and they simply aren’t fun to fight in water. In fact, they’re borderline impossible to attack effectively in water regions. I haven’t yet figured out a strategy that works effectively against them.

It might actually be worth counteracting the reduction in Banshees by causing some of the Pfhor to respawn somewhat. I’d probably go with the Enforcers and Fighters.

(Speaking of Enforcers, the “flame cell enforcer displays scatter gun sprite when idle” glitch recurred in this one, so I think it might be a global physics model problem.)

This is also one of a small number of levels in chapter five in which I haven’t yet increased the number of zero-point modules, though you effectively get ten already.

Would there be any good story reason not to include some fusion batteries on these levels, BTW?

I haven’t yet succeeded at vidding this one, but I’ve gotten to the final room by now, so maybe I’ll get it today.

ETA: Got it. It'll be awhile before I can put up the film though, and I'm not 100% happy with it since I left some parts of the map unexplored. I'll do another one soon.

BTW, it's possible to get trapped at the bottom of one of the waterfalls. I'll fix this tonight.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 19th '18, 21:07

Here’s the “Garden” film discussed above.

I’ve tried at least a dozen times since this video to clear the whole fucking level out (minus the W’rk monsters), to no avail, and I’ve come to an inescapable conclusion in the process:

Banshees suck.

Not in terms of difficulty, but in terms of being horrible, unbalanced enemies that aren’t remotely fun to fight. They’re practically invincible, and there’s no effective way to defeat them. Yes, I know, the gravitronic blades and wave motion cannon damage them, but they’re not enough. There’s no effective way to deal with more than, say, two of them. Their attack has more range than the grav blades by a full 0.5 WU (if I’m reading the physics correctly), and you can’t fire either the grav blades or the wave motion cannon fast enough to clear out a room full of them without dying.

They are awful, completely unbalanced enemies. They are the equivalent of Rubicon’s Enforcers, except worse. You could at least blow up the Enforcers, or hit them with their own weapon. You’d feel bad about it, because you wanted the stuff they dropped, but you could do it. You can’t do that with swarms of Banshees. The only thing you can possibly do is hope you notice them before they notice you, and that your attack deals enough damage to kill them.

I have three suggestions to make them at least manageable:

  • Nerf the range of their attack. Reduce it to no more than 62.5% of its current value. The gravitronic blades should be able to at least hit them before they hit you. Currently, if a Banshee attacks you, it will probably hit you, and there’s probably around a 25% chance you won’t be close enough to attack it back. In other words, it’s virtually invincible until you get close enough to it to hit it – which requires you to be within its firing range. That’s ridiculous. I mean, yes, technically, the wave motion cannon can damage them. But it fires ridiculously slowly, and it’s rare that anyone will bother using 1/3 of a precious zero-point module against anything less powerful than a Juggernaut.

  • Nerf the power of their attack. Three Banshee attacks will kill a player with 1x shields. That’s as ridiculous with the Banshees as it was with Rubicon’s Enforcers. I should note that I’ve actually used attacks with that much power in Chronicles as well, but I counteracted it by taking off the guided projectile flag for the Enforcers, and giving both the Enforcers and the Hunters greater firing error than the ones Enforcers have. Again, if a Banshee attacks you, it will probably hit you. It’s inescapable, and it’s ridiculous for it to have that much power.

  • I know you’re attached to the idea that they’re only vulnerable to Jjaro weapons, but it’s an awful, awful mechanic in any level that has anything other than Banshees, Nightmares, and Möthrids to fight. Players are going to want to use the Pfhor’s weapons against the Pfhor in many cases. But in levels with Banshees, the game punishes you for doing this, because if you’re fighting the Pfhor with their own weapons, it takes time to switch back to the grav blades, and then you’re fucking dead. Kill it. I know it’s more consistent with Pathways to give them immunities, but it’s not fun. And it’s completely fucking pointless to have the orbs firing at them if they can’t damage them.
Nightmares and Möthrids are pretty much fine, but Banshees are just awful, awful enemies in their current state. Something should be done to make them less powerful. Preferably all three of those things. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be threatening at all, but right now, the mechanics of levels with Banshees currently boil down to “hope you don’t encounter too many of them and/or that they don’t notice you” when you’re playing on TC. That is not a good mechanic. It reduces survival down to a matter of luck. It’s not fun; it’s just cheap.

In the meantime, I’m bumping the regeneration of Banshees to 20% on this level, and I’m reducing the maximum number to 6 (a quarter its current value; right now, the starting number is 12, and I’m going to leave that). But the Banshees themselves should be reduced in power as well.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 19th '18, 22:08

I have no objections to reducing Banshee range or power.

I can see possibly making them only vulnerable to energy weapons to still keep them consistent with PiD but make them more balanced for gameplay. So fusion definitely hurts them, havok and s-rifles definitely don't (not even grenades, because grenades don't hurt them in PiD), and maybe staff and n-cannon do, but perhaps less so? Because electricity and fire are kinda energy but not the same thing as concentrated fusion plasma or an artificial event horizon. So, maybe make them tougher than they are now, but weak to fusion and gravitronic weapons, and immune to everything else but flame and shock. If you want to go ahead and make that change, be my guest.

Oh and I'll check everything else out tomorrow night as I'm still away for the weekend like every weekend.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 19th '18, 22:24

Thanks; that sounds like an excellent compromise, and also gives the fusion guns something to do in later levels. Would it be acceptable to add some fusion ammo to the later levels, too, so there’s no risk of the player running out? Surely the Jjaro would know how to make them, so I don’t think it would mess with the story.

I think the best way to implement your suggestion is to make them weak to teleporter and fusion damage, then just leave the N-cannon and shock staff normal, then boost their health. I’m not 100% sure how N-cannon and shock staff correspond in the physics models to the Infinity values, though. Are they just Alien Projectile and Electrical Staff, respectively, or have they been changed?

Also, I’m not sure how weaknesses correspond to extra damage to monsters – does anyone know offhand? That’ll help me decide what their health should be. For now, I’ll boost them from 200 to 300 health, but if “weakness” actually means 2x damage rather than 1.5x damage, then it should be 400. I don’t think they have too much health, really; it’s just everything else about them that’s unfair.

Anyway, if I can figure that out, I’ll alter the Banshee weaknesses in the Jjaro chapter physics models later tonight, plus I’ll alter their range/attack strength. And was it the third chapter failure dream that also had Banshees? I’ll look later. Anyway, being able to use fusion and the N-cannon against them will at least make them better balanced.

In the meantime, I’ve altered the monster balance on “Garden” as mentioned above, plus I’ve altered some stuff with the ambient sounds. For whatever reason, Drictelt had a bunch of ambient sound objects for wind rather than just using the polygons’ native ambient sound values; given how quickly sound objects add up in the map object total, I’ve altered it so that the outdoor areas have 100% wind sounds native to their polygons, then some of the other cavernous areas have 50% wind sounds. I’m half-tempted to add either loon or thunder random sound effects to the outdoor areas, too, but haven’t gotten around to that yet. And I fixed the problem with that one waterfall. I think the other waterfalls are probably impossible for the player to get stuck under, since their height is shorter than the player’s.

And given that Banshees have been nerfed a bit, I’m also going to raise the number in “Garden” back a bit. I think I’ll make it so the maximum number that can exist is 21, and I’ll also raise their respawn rate to, IDK, 30%. That might still be a bit much, but I’ll see after playing it.

Anyway, this’ll make the whole Jjaro chapter suck a bit less, plus it’ll give the player something to do with all that extra shock staff ammo on TC that will otherwise go completely to waste. So it’s a cool change. And I also think doing all these levels staff-only would be a fun challenge, which probably wouldn’t be possible if Banshees were immune to it.


ETA: I think I’ve got most of the changes implemented correctly. The only thing I’m not really sure about is how much extra damage weaknesses cause to monsters, so it’s possible that Banshees should have something other than 300 vitality.

Also, no idea what causes the “flame enforcer showing scatter gun” glitch. It might be a problem with one of the sequences; the sequences don’t appear to be wrong for either of them.

For now I’ve only implemented the physics changes in the “Garden” physics model. For my own reference, IIRC, it involves changes in the “Tiny F’lickta” and “Oxygen Drain” slots – immunities, weaknesses, attack range, and vitality for the Tiny F’lickta, and range and damage for the Oxygen Drain.


Edit 2: I think the new physics changes are a big improvement. While we’re at it, should the Hunters’ projectiles be able to damage Banshees? I kind of think they should. They seem like energy attacks.

I’ll post a video of the updated gameplay soon. I got it on the second attempt, I think, despite an incredibly narrow escape at one point. I’ll also upload my changes to the map later tonight.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

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