I will play every level in Eternal X and comment on them.

For topics about the story, help in a certain level, game discussion, or finding/discussing content.

Post May 14th '10, 20:11

Treellama wrote:That will affect the kickback when the fighters use them too, though. You might want to use two different damage types; one with a high kickback for low damage fighters, and one with low kickback for the high damage cyborg.

People were complaining that the faster fighter bolts, in large barrages, were pinning them to walls and things too (I never noticed this myself), so I think having it lessen their kickback is a good idea anyway.

Also: Awesome CryoS! I'll see you online tonight to grab them. I did implement the rifle already, and tried to implement the pistols but hit a snag and then never got around to fixing it.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 14th '10, 20:12

esb2electricboogaloo
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 May 14th '10, 20:23

Pfhorrest wrote:People were complaining that the faster fighter bolts, in large barrages, were pinning them to walls and things too (I never noticed this myself), so I think having it lessen their kickback is a good idea anyway.

This happened to me, but it was a conjunction of Fighter and Compiler bolts. I kind of brushed it off though because it really only happens if you're dumb enough to try and charge down several of them using the staff.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 14th '10, 21:30

Pfhorrest wrote:It's a topic about Eternal. I'm the (main) guy behind Eternal, talking about upcoming improvements to Eternal. Can't get much more on-topic than that.

Ah, it just seemed like it was supposed to be thrown into projects, not here. Sorry 'bout that.
Miak
California

Post May 14th '10, 22:53

I think, even with the weapons done now (well... once I touch them up and get them imported properly), I'm going to wait until this thread is done (if it's not done by then) before releasing Omega, because this has been some very useful feedback so far.

- The staff kickback is fixed.

- I added trigger polys to Far Side of Nowhere so things open for you automatically now, but I also stashed fusion ammo up in the security stations to reward explorers. I also stashed an Ouranos cannon in the most obscure room on the map that people are least likely to visit, but I don't know if that's a bit of overkill, or a nice juicy reward for explorers. Opinions?

- I've beefed up the combat on Unlucky Pfhor Some, replacing many fighters with Troopers, Hunters, or Enforcers instead, adding guards to rooms that were previously empty (including the goo cannons), and I'm working on a climactic final battle in the last room. I've also tried to make the combat outside a little more intense and sustained so that it might spill over to you when crossing between towers. Unfortunately making the goo cannons not stick you seems like a no-go; making them slow enough to prevent that also prevents them from getting you across all the way. Maybe some kind of braking mechanism could be made, a thin goo force field that you get flung through or something?

I'll continue to incorporate the stuff from this thread as it goes on.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 15th '10, 00:33

Can't wait for your improved Eternal.

The Ouranos seems slightly overkill (emphasis on slightly), but considering it is the only other human weapon in the game, it does make sense (and would be awesome).
NXF
uhh, UN?

Post May 15th '10, 02:01

Unfortunately making the goo cannons not stick you seems like a no-go; making them slow enough to prevent that also prevents them from getting you across all the way. Maybe some kind of braking mechanism could be made, a thin goo force field that you get flung through or something?
I don't know how reliable that would be, but I'd give it a shot. If not, then lua will give you close control over the player's movement. If the player enters polygon landing and their external velocity is greater than max, then set the player's external velocity to max.

Pfhorrest wrote:I think, even with the weapons done now (well... once I touch them up and get them imported properly), I'm going to wait until this thread is done (if it's not done by then) before releasing Omega, because this has been some very useful feedback so far.

...Also, let us appreciate Pfhorrest's willingness to not only keep listening, but continue improving a scenario that could easily be declared finished as more people play it and provide feedback. I think that's one of the strengths of the Marathon community.
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Crater Creator

Post May 15th '10, 02:23

Pfhorrest wrote:Unfortunately making the goo cannons not stick you seems like a no-go; making them slow enough to prevent that also prevents them from getting you across all the way. Maybe some kind of braking mechanism could be made, a thin goo force field that you get flung through or something?

Yeah, I would go with a wall of water. You could just claim that it's "alien technology".
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gmanyo

Post May 15th '10, 02:30

Crater Creator wrote:...Also, let us appreciate Pfhorrest's willingness to not only keep listening, but continue improving a scenario that could easily be declared finished as more people play it and provide feedback. I think that's one of the strengths of the Marathon community.

I definitely appreciate that he's not being a big baby about this topic. I'm doing my best to be constructive and not incendiary, though I think I tend to accentuate the negative a fair bit. One of the things you learn quickly in architecture school is the value of a good, harsh critique.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 03:15

Unpfhorseen
[attachment=3761:Unpfhorseen_0000.png]
[attachment=3762:Unpfhorseen_0002.png]

I don't like this level very much, but for different reasons from the prior level. It essentially is in two parts: the surface, which is still in a big tangled mess between the remaining Pfhor Juggernaut armada and the S'pht/human forces; and the underground area, where most of the actual mission takes place. Both of these areas are basically pretty bad.

The first part of the level, where you're avoiding the Juggernauts, is more annoying than really difficult. You teleport in with two Juggernauts facing you, and while they're busy fighting Bobs, you need to act quickly. As you can tell from the first screenshot though, this level is pretty dark and the exterior lighting is pretty poor, so it's difficult to find your way around. I think I died three or four times on this level -- and got kicked back to the previous level -- before I found the way past them, which is a big cavern with far too many Wasps. You have to make it through the entire surface battle without saving or healing, but as far as I can tell, it's not an issue of skill -- just luck and trial/error. That's not a good way to go. Plus, as with Unlucky For Some, you aren't really engaged in this battle. The way the level is laid out would encourage you to run past as many enemies as possible, and that's basically what you have to do -- not very much fun. This area could be a lot more tolerable even if there was a 3x canister somewhere as a pick-me-up, because this is a nasty endurance trial on Total Carnage.

The bulk of the level is underground in this bland, endless cavern (see the second image). It's filled to the brim with hundreds of enemies and you basically have to chew your way through the endless hordes, press a switch, more hordes, press another switch, etc. Backtracking to the 2x and save takes way too much time, but is necessary because there are just so many deadly enemies down here that you will quickly be overwhelmed.

This level is wholly unsatisfying, even though the combat is pretty decent. This is actually a plot branch level, and depending on who you choose to leave with (Leela or Tycho) I suspect one will lead to failure and one to success. Not to mention it's a pretty important level in the plot, as you try to grant Leela access into the Pfhor mainframes or something, I don't remember what. The problem is that none of this is reflected in the level; it's all just this bland, formless blob that goes on and on, and somewhere you find uplink chips and bring them back to the insertion point. There's a lot of bad guys. It's a lot like "If I Had a Rocket Launcher..." but the thing about that level was, it was specifically designed to have no real point in the plot. It advertised the SPNKR. That it had endless hordes of bad guys made perfect sense because the level basically existed beyond the plot. Not the case here; there is no gameplay prize here, and it's an important plot level, but it has the same kind of formless carnage, and it just doesn't work. This level needs a lot more structure to it, I guess is what I'm saying. If I wanted to just mow down enemies, I'd play Kill Them All.

One thing I did learn as a result of this level is just how horribly deadly the new M2 Enforcers are. Just by increasing the projectile speed, these motherfuckers are extremely hazardous. And I like it! The player is generally enough of a badass that no single enemy is really threatening to him, and this is true of most scenarios. I've tried to rectify that in Phoenix with the Defenders, but also by just being really specific about monster placement like Enforcers in general to get the most out of them from a gameplay aspect without being annoying. I think that's something that could be applied here. Enforcers are just kind of placed wherever, like they're any other monster -- but they're not. They're more threatening than anyone else here, including the MOAHs and the Troopers and whatever. Careful placement of these guys can turn them into really specific challenging obstacles. Unfortunately, what I would find is that sometimes I'd run into a small boxy room with pillars and find five or six of them in there. Not only is it annoying, but it's contrary to what Enforcers are good at, which is sniping and spamming from a distance.

Of course, this has to play in with the weapon selection. Eternal doesn't have much by way of sniping; the best choice is to use your own N-Cannon, but then you burn the Enforcer and can't stock up on flame packs. The Scattergun is okay but inaccurate at long ranges. Nothing else can match up. So, put the Enforcer too far away, and they can just spam you mercilessly and you have no defense -- this happened a couple times in my experience too.

Overall, this level is a really big missed opportunity for something cool. Instead I'm just chewing through hordes of monsters. Which is okay at times, but this is not one of those times. Architecturally, the level is a flop. It's not appealing to look at and the geometry is formless and blank.

Level design: 2/5
Architecture: 1.5/5
Combat: 3/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 04:16

My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse
[attachment=3763:MyKingdo...rse_0000.png]

Okay, I'm getting tired of these levels now. Like the previous two, this level begins with a Vacbob/Juggernaut battlefield before you sort of detach yourself from the rest of the combat and do your own thing.

First of all, this format is repetitive, and I'm tired of the setting by now. Maybe that's just me, though, but the dark purple walls with the purple fog and purple enemies shooting purple guns at me is a little bit too purple for my taste. This kind of seems like filler to me; to be honest, I don't think this chapter needs to be that long. Ever since I hooked up with Leela again, I feel like I've just been doing the same thing over and over.

The mad dash across the battlefield is at its worst here, too. This one is basically separated into two segments by a big wall, and you have to climb over some debris (or whatever) to reach the other half, only to find a locked door. I think the locked door opens after a certain amount of time passes, but this is unclear and I don't think that's a good idea. Especially since it basically traps you in this open box with three (?) Juggernauts and a handful of other guys.

Juggernauts are really tedious enemies. On Total Carnage, all Juggernauts are major-rank with 7500 health each. That's an absurd amount of health. I think it takes 6 or 7 fusion batteries to kill each one, and let's be honest, I don't have enough to kill them all. Especially since, if you try to fight all of them at once (and you don't really have an option in this regard), you're probably gonna die. So you have to ignore them as best you can, but in the meantime you're just getting blown up and trying to figure out how the hell to open the door. It's not very much fun.

Once you do get inside and up to the docked ship, the level quickly becomes a joke. The combat is sparse and far too easy for this point in the game, but I guess that's addressed in the plot so it gets a pass.

The ship itself is victim of criminally stupid level design, though. It's actually pretty short and linear, but what really confuses me is that there are so many switches that you have to press to progress through the level. Because it's so linear, and the rooms themselves are fairly small and without traps or anything like that, I shouldn't need to find a switch to pass through each room. Furthermore, there's just a bunch of redundant switches that kind of obfuscate the goal and complicate progression for no good reason. To wit: at one point, there's a switch in a little side room in a hallway. It's completely unprotected. Press the switch, and it opens a closet immediately to the right that's empty, except for another switch. Pressing THAT switch opens a second closet to the left that's also empty except for the switch. That switch allows you to progress. It just baffles me completely -- those switches are completely pointless, and the aside is pointless too since I'm in a linear area and I can only proceed forward anyway. Why not just have the door unlocked and call it a day?

The other thing is the first time I had to seek help -- I actually asked Pfhorrest about this one. The objective of this level is to load another stupid uplink chip for Leela to gain access to whatever she wants in the ship. Upon doing this, the exit room is opened, but the terminal therein doesn't work. In fact, you have to go back to a previous room and press another switch to turn on the terminal. There is no gameplay reason for this whatsoever. It's addressed in the first terminal, but why is it there at all? The room itself is completely inconsequential, it seems; it's just a bland little closet with two switches, one of which opens access to the uplink chip, and the other one that powers on the terminal. You can't operate the second switch until you put in the uplink chip. Why doesn't the chip turn on the terminal? Bah. The worst is that you can't tell if a switch is operable or not.

In short, it's a repetitive level that suffers from really stupid level design and poor monster placement. I hope to be done with Pfhor soon.

Level design: 1.5/5
Architecture: 2/5
Combat: 2/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 04:30

Burning Down the Corporation
[attachment=3764:BurningD...ion_0001.png]

Hm, not much to say about this one, except that I'm finally done with this obnoxious chapter. It's a shame; it started out really strong, but it got very repetitive near the end and the level design has consistently declined. Well, that's not even true; this isn't the worst level in the chapter. That's the previous level. But this one is bad too.

This level is pitifully easy, and it seems to me like it only exists to wrap up the Pfhor plot and get Hathor to move her ass onward. The level design is mostly straightforward: run through hallways, break wires, run through more hallways, etc. There's not really any neat architecture to speak of. In fact, architecturally, the level just looks awkward, like someone brought it into Chisel and scaled everything up. It's just too... big, and especially too simple for its size.

The only really annoying thing about it is the stupid design. You have to backtrack all the way through all the corridors back to the beginning of the level to exit, which is boring and unnecessary; why isn't there a terminal later on in the level to escape from? This is kind of a fiddly thing, I guess, but it's annoying anyway. There's no fast way back there. Especially since the beginning area and the rest of the level are separated by two constantly-moving slow elevators, and you will invariably get stuck behind both. Bah.

Level design: 1.5/5
Architecture: 2/5
Combat: 2/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 04:35

The World is Hollow
[attachment=3765:TheWorld...low_0000.png]

Seems to me like this is the same as the previous dream level.

Now that I know the true story about this level, I have to wonder: why is this level still in the game? I mean, I can understand that there needs to be a bit of metastory wankery here, so the existence of a dream level is important, but why this one? If the level didn't work, scrap the fuckin' thing and make one that doesn't suck.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 04:51

RyokoTK wrote:The World is Hollow
[attachment=3765:TheWorld...low_0000.png]

Seems to me like this is the same as the previous dream level.

Now that I know the true story about this level, I have to wonder: why is this level still in the game? I mean, I can understand that there needs to be a bit of metastory wankery here, so the existence of a dream level is important, but why this one? If the level didn't work, scrap the fuckin' thing and make one that doesn't suck.


The fact that you are dreaming about this particular location is significant to the plot later on.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 15th '10, 05:01

S'pht'ia
[attachment=3766:Sphtia_0000.png]
[attachment=3767:Sphtia_0001.png]

This level is a retread of the levels "Eat It, Vid Boi!" and "The Hard Stuff Rules" from Marathon 2, only now it's two thousand years before the events of that game. In this level, though, it appears dusty, old, and unkempt -- and, even worse, it's almost empty, except for a handful of Flick'ta and some hostile Defenders.

I don't know how I feel about this. It obviously has plot relevance to Eternal X. But "Eat It" is one of the best levels in the entire Trilogy, mostly because of the extremely dynamic combat throughout and some neat architecture relative to the rest of the game. Additionally, both levels offer a wealth of insight into the game's backstory, so both are extremely relevant to the plot of M2 in general. Stripping the maps of almost all of their enemies is a real shame; stripping them of their terminals as well smacks of laziness -- somehow, Fobo couldn't find it in him to write some more?

There isn't a lot to say. I actually really like these textures, so far. Architecturally, I wish someone had just taken the time to redraw the level from scratch. This is my own opinion, of course, but if you're going to go over old ground in a new level, you should at least make it nicer to look at. The texturing is entirely different, so why not just beef up the architecture? Eat It is probably my favorite M2 level, and this just feels like a quick attempt to cover some plot ground without putting in the time to make it a good piece of work on its own.

Level design: not applicable
Architecture: 3/5
Combat: 2/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 05:03

Pfhorrest wrote:The fact that you are dreaming about this particular location is significant to the plot later on.

But you're missing the point. I don't mind that you're reusing the same dream level for each dream -- even I can conclude that it's going to mean something later on. But why can't you make a different level and use that for all of the dreams instead? oh forget it
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 05:16

Let Sleeping Gods Die
[attachment=3768:LetSleep...Die_0000.png]

It's "6000 Feet Under" again.

Really, I have nothing to say about this one that I didn't say about S'pht'ia. I like where this branch is going so far, with the de-emphasizing of combat; I just can't wait to see some original levels.

Level design: not applicable
Architecture: 3/5
Combat: 3/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 07:15

How did you miss both failure branches?

In fact, that may be part of the problem for you; missing the first failure branch in this game means missing a fair chunk of non-pfhor levels. If you do the failure branch, by the time you get to the pfhor levels the purples and greens are much more welcome. That, and the failure dream level is much better than the non-failure one. Maybe just switch them around?
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gmanyo

Post May 15th '10, 12:54

gmanyo wrote:How did you miss both failure branches?

In fact, that may be part of the problem for you; missing the first failure branch in this game means missing a fair chunk of non-pfhor levels. If you do the failure branch, by the time you get to the pfhor levels the purples and greens are much more welcome. That, and the failure dream level is much better than the non-failure one. Maybe just switch them around?

So if I'm following you correctly, I should sabotage my own experience so I can play extra mediocre levels that will make me tired of the Marathon set, and that'll make me not tired of the Pfhor set?
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 13:29

gmanyo wrote:How did you miss both failure branches?

RyokoTk nevur pfhails.
What are you, if not seven different shades of stupid?
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CryoS
The Dungeon

Post May 15th '10, 14:53

She is the Dark One
[attachment=3771:SheIsThe...One_0000.png]

We're continuing with this very mellow chapter of plot-not-carnage. This is the first original level, and it looks nice enough.

There's basically nothing on this level except putting two uplink chips into their slots. There are a handful of angry Defenders, but they're a trivial obstacle, and unless you miss a couple jumps and fall in the lava you're not at any peril.

While I appreciate the effort of these levels, it would be nice from a gameplay perspective to have something more to do. Plot-based levels does not mean you can't have good combat, and it would help relieve some of the monotony of running through these long empty corridors.

Other than that, there isn't a lot to say.

Level design: 3/5
Architecture: 4/5
Combat: 2/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 15:17

S'pht Happens

Wow! Sudden time warp, and now it's only 1,000 years prior to the events of M2, and you're in the Citadel of Antiquity helping fight off the Pfhor attack that was the basis of the entirety of that game.

This is a pretty good level. First of all, it's nice to be fighting things again, if only because three levels of empty switch hunting is a little too much to handle for me. Second of all, it's a good position to be in in the plot, and all this time travel nonsense puts a new spin on the events of that game anyway. Not to mention all of the dicking around in the last three levels has finally built up to something important, so it's a pretty decent payoff for all of the kind of humdrum nonsense earlier.

The level itself begins to drag after a little while though. Although we're back to fighting Pfhor, I have to say that this level is exceptionally easy. I'm now pretty much halfway through the game by this point, and you'd think the Pfhor army attacking the last S'pht citadel would be a little more complete than a handful of Troopers and Fighters. From a level design aspect, it's a lot of hallways and a lot of switch hunting. You spend a little time in the basement of the citadel, and down there it's basically a maze of switches and locked doors. It's really pretty uninteresting, actually.

The exit terminal with Leela goes on for pages and pages and pages and pages. I think it's the most burdensome info dump I've ever seen in a single terminal. While I'm not against reading, there comes a point where you have to pare down your text and continue with the gameplay, especially if you want everyone to actually read what you wrote. While I did read it, it seems like some of it could have been trimmed away to keep up the game's pacing.

Level design: 2.5/5
Architecture: 4/5
Combat: 2.5/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 15:37

Second to Last of the Mohicans
[attachment=3772:Secondto...ans_0000.png]

PADDING. This level is nothing but padding because the chapter has to have exactly 10 maps.

So the idea here is that you need to make your way on to the nearby Pfhor ship by working your way through a Pfhor-controlled installation up to a big teleporter. It's a pretty white bread concept for a map to begin with, but that's okay; done right, it could be a really excellently crafted map with a neat design.

Done wrong, it's another corridor shooter/switch maze mess.

Which is what this one is.

The S'pht chapter, it seems, has the same precipitous dropoff in quality that the Pfhor chapter did. The novelty of the concept begins to wear off because the levels are really samey. This one is the same kind of tedious switch-hunting that the last two levels had. All of the rooms are really flat and empty, and there's a lot of corridors, and a million locked doors that you need to push through one by one. As far as I can tell, there are no terminals or anything whatsoever on this level, so it really is just a "carnage break" sort of level. Except, like the rest of this chapter, it's unusually light on the carnage. It's better in that respect than the other S'pht levels, but I think if all you're going to have on your level is fighting, it had better be pretty good.

Fun fact: you can easily combo MOAHs to death with the melee attack on the staff. It doesn't knock them back, and they don't attack fast enough (even on TC) to hit you between strikes, and they don't always hard-death like they do in M2/Infinity so there's no risk.

There's not much to say about this level, because it's just so dull and it's pretty clear that there's nothing to this one.

Level design: 1.5/5
Architecture: 3/5
Combat: 3/5
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 15th '10, 21:05

RyokoTK wrote:While I appreciate the effort of these levels, it would be nice from a gameplay perspective to have something more to do. Plot-based levels does not mean you can't have good combat, and it would help relieve some of the monotony of running through these long empty corridors.

The reason these first few levels of the S'pht chapter are so light on combat is because there's no way to get weapons or ammo to you (story-wise), since Leela doesn't have a ship full of ammo in this time frame she can beam things down to you from, and there are no Pfhor here yet to steal weapons from. So you could very quickly run out of ammo if you didn't come in with a shit tone from the previous chapter.

If you can think of a way of increasing the combat without making it a "fuck you, no-ammo-boy" to the player, I'd be happy to implement it.

Also, I'm beginning to wonder if this point if you're intentionally dodging the failure branches using "out of character" knowledge (i.e. knowledge a first-time player wouldn't have, without reading forums etc) of which branch is the "right" branch. Some of my favorite levels are in the failure branches. EDIT: wait a sec... you went with Leela and ended up on "Second To Last Of The Mohicans"? "S'pht Happens" should take you either to "Eat S'pht and Die" or "Third Rock From Lh'owon". Bug?
Last edited by Pfhorrest on May 15th '10, 21:08, edited 1 time in total.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 16th '10, 05:29

gmanyo wrote:...
the failure dream level is much better than the non-failure one. Maybe just switch them around?


I'll have to 3rd this (having already asked you about it, Ryoko). It would be nice if you were make it a point to play this level, even if you have to get there via ctrl+click.

Having finally completed this scenario (started Aug '08) I can say switching the two dream levels would stink.

Also, I had assumed that there are two dream levels so the player can know going into it that he has failed/succeeded . Maybe you disagree with that information being so obvious to the player (the indication the indication of how the timeline has been altered)? I admit I went back to a previous save a few times when the fail level rendered after teleportation.
Thank the sun that went nova so that Earth could have iron and silicon.
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effigy

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