Eternal X 1.2

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Re: Eternal X 1.2

Post Aug 28th '18, 18:06

On phone so this'll be brief.

Using Leela/Covenant Dance once: makes sense; that's a really important level from a story perspective, too, and at least it's pretty long.

The thing about Tommy's music also makes sense and is why I suggested keeping Phasmidia in, though I guess the later wasn't specifically written for Eternal, so there's that.

Sounds good regarding the other two.

Babylon X video description:

One of the most memorable Eternal levels, to my reckoning. It's very distinctive visually; it doesn't particularly resemble any other levels I can think of. It's also pretty fun, though it's also quite easy - in case it wasn't obvious from the amount of wandering around I do in this film, this was my first time playing it in some ten years. But coming off the previous level, which is one of the toughest levels (to vid, at least) in the game (hence the lack of a film to this point), that's fine.

Honestly, the only significant change I can think of is a story-related one, namely that I don't entirely grok why the Drinniol are hostile to the player. I mean, on one hand, the player is a skinny biped using Pfhor weapons, but are we really to believe that they can't tell the player is killing every Pfhor they encounter? On the first level of this chapter I can buy that perhaps they wouldn't have clocked onto it yet, but by this point it seems a bit odd. Granted, later in the chapter the Drinniol do stop attacking the player, but it doesn't make sense to me that Leela wouldn't already have found a way to communicate with them before then. There's probably a story explanation for this that I've missed/forgotten.

The drones are a little bit annoying here, but as on the revised "Unlucky Pfhor Some", they're really only a minor nuisance, so they're probably not worth changing.

Other than that, probably only cosmetic changes to this level - ambient sounds, platform speeds, and the like. Notably, I haven't yet modified this level at all - everything between "The Incredible Hulk" and "Echoes of Eden" represents levels I haven't modified yet. Maybe I'll get to that today.

I'm sure Pfhorrest has an answer for my story confusion though.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 28th '18, 19:57

Story answer is basically just that it's the middle of war and you're an unknown armed agent who has already engaged in combat with Drinniol forces (even if they attacked first, you still shot back) so best for them to treat you as hostile until proven otherwise. Leela may indeed already be in talks with their leadership (we don't know, we're not in contact with her until the level after this), but out here on the battlefield that word hasn't propagated yet (possibly for the same reason Leela can't reach us right now).

Really, it's just because I didn't choose this as the level for them to switch allegiance. It could be, I guess, but since it's already pretty easy combat-wise already, I don't see a need for it to be.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 28th '18, 21:00

Makes sense; “Babylon X” is definitely already easy enough, and if the Drinniol were to be made allies to the player in the latter, we’d probably at least have to add a lot more Pfhor. From a gameplay standpoint it might actually make sense to swap the order of “Babylon X” and “The Incredible Hulk”, then make the Drinniol allies to the player in the latter, but I assume it would require a considerable rewrite to the story and I’m not sure it could be justified within the story. I’ll keep trying “The Incredible Hulk”; I think if I survive to one of the rechargers I can clear the rest with few problems, but we’ll see.

I actually have finished “Pfhor får lamm”, even on TC, without attacking a single Drinniol; they’re pretty easy to evade on that one. (I don’t remember if I saved a film.) That’s probably impossible with “The Incredible Hulk”, though.

I’ll look into revising the geometry in “Unlucky Pfhor Some” tonight, though IDK if I’ll have time to complete it.

ETA: I’ve completed “The Incredible Hulk”. Once you survive the opening, the rest of the level is actually really easy. (This doesn’t really surprise me judging from Ryoko’s review of the level.) The film clearly suffers from the obvious fact that I hadn’t played the level in some 10 years; I very obviously don’t know where to go in a few parts. I need to get used to the mechanic that it’s sometimes necessary to read terminals in Eternal to progress; even though I used it occasionally myself as well in Chronicles, I sometimes don’t think of it, and as a result I spent about five minutes in this film just wandering around, very clearly having no idea where to go. There are also several parts where I played a lot more cautiously than was required, though the opening is not one of them; you pretty much have to wait until the Hulks kill the Enforcers before progressing in order to have even the slightest chance of surviving to the recharger.

This is another level where the 3x recharger might be overkill for the earliest parts of the level. It’s probably justifiable by the time you get to that final segment – otherwise you might need to make numerous trips back to it.

Fixes to the level: ambient sound stuff; platforms; and the outdoor areas could be made a lot more detailed. I think sometime within the next few months I’m going to try to give it my best Phoenix pastiche treatment and see if I can’t add some detail to those segments without spoiling the flow. The rock formations should really look a lot more… weathered, I think you’d say. Right now they’re pretty angular, which doesn’t actually look all that natural. I can actually see a defence for having constructed the level that way in 2008; it would’ve slowed down a lot of older computers to have too much detail in that large an open space. But I think these days that’s less likely to be a consideration.

I’ll encode the film pretty soon.

…also got “Once More Unto the Breach…”. I think I can probably also get “Genie in a Bottle” now that I know the layout of the level, but it might take a few attempts.

I definitely like “Phasmidia” as the soundtrack to “Genie”.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 29th '18, 05:59

Ryoko wrote:Hysterical Womb

I actually enjoy this level.


Well, that was easy. Guess I'm done for the day.

He has complaints, but they're the kind of thing the whole map would have to be rebuilt to address, so I'm just gonna leave good enough alone.

I ran through it looking for texturing and lighting to improve anyway.

Crater Creator wrote:Oops. Enforcers with napalm cannons switch to a sprite of them with a scatter rifle for at least one of the frames they use.

I know this issue has been looked into a bunch of times to try to fix it, but I just have no idea what's causing it. I just re-checked the sequences and the physics again and can't see anything that would cause it; all the sequences have the right frames in them, and the physics reference all the right sequences. Anyone else have any ideas?

As a matter of weapon balance, I would make the scatter gun's second trigger not use as much ammunition. The number of times I want to expend half a clip, 56 shots, are few and far between. 28 shots would be plenty.

I made this change to the master physics files and will propagate it along with any other changes to all the levels for beta 2 in a few weeks.

Ryoko wrote:A Friend In Need

I like this level quite a lot.


Man, I guess I just get this week off easy don't I?

Wait, not so fast...

In fact, if I were to complain in general, it would mostly be nitpicky stuff, because there are no significant faults with this level in any aspect. But I'll discuss the little things now, in pictures:

TI STAIRS STRIKE AGAIN! That's the beginning of the level and, for the first half of it or so, the only recharger and save. Plus, if you miss the uplink chip up there, you have to go back up there anyway. In a scenario that's normally strong on its lighting, this is in bad form. Also, the "broken wall" thing doesn't work whatsoever with the texture set. I think just normal stairs would have been fine.


I was going to improve the lighting on these stairs, but it looks like that was already done at some point since this was written. I tried to improve it some more anyway.

This Juggernaut never activated; I just stood there and pelted it with dual Fusion for a few minutes.

I can't figure out why this would be the case. He's not deaf or blind, he's got room to move, there's even a dual monster trigger in front of him. There's zone borders surrounding the big door just before him so that he won't activate until you open the door, but monsters can *see* and attack across zone borders if there's a literal line of sight, right? Like, if an arena is partitioned only by a zone border and the player shoots across the open arena at an enemy, it should shoot back, right?

If that's not the case, then how do I have this Juggernaut sit quietly on the other side of a door until you open it and it can see you?

...and when playtesting, the Jug seemed to activate just fine for me, so maybe whatever was causing it before was already fixed?

I walked by this switch five or six times. It's really difficult to see

I tried to use lighting and texturing to make it easier to see. It's literally bright pink flashing lights now.

Crater Creator wrote:Polygon 132 glitches: sometimes as you walk through it, you spontaneously teleport to the right.

I tried to fix this by jiggering some points around... and then discovered that I had already fixed it with some solid lines. Oh well, no harm.

There's a lot of new stuff in this level: the return of the Hulk, a second fusion pistol, and the fusion cannon. I wonder if the second pistol should've been introduced earlier, so that it wouldn't be quickly overshadowed by the fusion cannon.

You've had dual fusion since the first level for quite some time now, so hopefully this is less of a problem than it was then.

Ryoko wrote:Unlucky For Some

Here's a level that should be awesome, but isn't [...] the biggest problem is that the level is extremely, extremely easy. It's so easy that it has the same problem TI had: it works against the urgency of the plot. Pretty much all you fight on this level are Fighters...


Most of his complaints, largely about the boring combat, were already majorly improved back shortly after he wrote this.

So I'll just improved the exterior lighting to alleviate the complaint about the general darkness, once Aaron is done with his tweaks to this level.

If that's not tomorrow, then I'll probably run through these two again tomorrow just looking for anything more I can fix up on them, though I've also got a few random other things I've decided I want to fix up (mostly S'pht texture things I thought of changing while watching Aaron's vids of ch3 levels), so I might do that instead.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 29th '18, 06:22

I have no idea what’s causing the Enforcer glitch.

I haven’t gotten around to making any further tweaks to “Unlucky Pfhor Some” yet, because I vidded three levels tonight and then made a bunch more additions to my latest Chronicles map; if you want to start making changes to the map, feel free and I’ll just wait until you’re done before I start editing it again.

I was wondering why Alex thought that map was boring! The fact that it was overhauled after he wrote that review explains a lot.

I actually only have two Eternal levels left to vid: “Bug-Eyed in Space” and “Run, Coward!” The former of those is probably actually impossible in its current form, due to the brutal opening; I haven’t tried the latter yet, but given the preponderance of 3x rechargers, it might be possible without any further changes once I learn the layout of the level.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 29th '18, 06:25

Pfhorrest wrote:
Crater Creator wrote:Oops. Enforcers with napalm cannons switch to a sprite of them with a scatter rifle for at least one of the frames they use.

I know this issue has been looked into a bunch of times to try to fix it, but I just have no idea what's causing it. I just re-checked the sequences and the physics again and can't see anything that would cause it; all the sequences have the right frames in them, and the physics reference all the right sequences. Anyone else have any ideas?

When I added the melee frames for both Enforcers, I also cleaned up some of the other sequences, bitmaps and frames where things were off. I’m not sure when this quote is from, but I suspect the frame in question has since been fixed. I can give it another look, though, and compare to an older Shapes file just to be sure.
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President People

Post Aug 29th '18, 06:38

The glitch still happens frequently. I’ve probably encountered it at least thirty times in my run through the game. I once thought I noticed it happening only from some angles, though maybe I just imagined that. I looked at the shapes file and the physics models and can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s happening.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 29th '18, 06:54

wrt Unlucky For Some, I guess maybe it'd be safest if I just do my edits on it myself tomorrow, so that's out of the way on my schedule, and then you can follow through after me, and I'll spend Thursday which I was planning to dedicate to that doing catchup and stuff and leave Unlucky alone until you're done with it.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 29th '18, 15:51

Sounds reasonable.

The Incredible Hulk

Once More Unto the Breach…

“Genie in a Bottle” film is still encoding; hopefully it finishes before I have to leave so I can start uploading it. Since I should be doing that in about fifteen minutes, I’ll write descriptions/commentary for all of these later.

ETA: Genie in a Bottle
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 29th '18, 18:29

Alright, I think I've solved the Enforcer bug.

Sequence 8 ("flame stationary") had both a Loop Frame and a Key Frame assigned, but since the sequence only has one frame to begin with, they were referencing non-existent frames beyond, and it appears in-game to have defaulted to Frame 0 (which happens to be the Scatter Enforcer's idle frame). Setting the Loop and Key frames to 0 fixes this problem.

Looks like I missed that one while I was cleaning up the sequences, and I hope that was the only issue going on.
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President People

Post Aug 29th '18, 20:03

Awesome, thanks! I've changed those values in the Shapes on my HD.

FYI the earlier posts I PM'd you about was this one, but it looks like perhaps only the first item there (making some lights breakable) is the only thing still outstanding.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '18, 02:39

Thanks for figuring that out; it was driving me bonkers.

Run, Coward!
I got this on my first try, but I’m not too enthused with it; I don’t know the level very well (I probably hadn’t played it in ten years before tonight) and came close to dying a few times. To be honest, I’m not too enthused with the level, either. I don’t usually care for the idea of having to run from foes in Marathon; despite the name, it’s mostly about shooting, not about running. I also don’t care for foes that I’m not able to defeat. I didn’t care for the maser turrets in Rubicon and I’m not fond of the orbs in Eternal. Mercifully, they’re only used as foes in this one level, and it’s really short. (This might actually be the shortest Eternal level that has any actual combat in it unless you count the failure dreams, and those can be a lot longer if you clear them out and/or get lost, as I am wont to do.)

The map design itself is cool, despite my reservations with the level concept, and makes about as effective a use of the orbs as foes as I could realistically expect. They don’t always seem to see me; I’m not sure if that’s deliberate or a quirk of the physics/map design. If it’s not deliberate, I wouldn’t necessarily advise changing it; this level is already enough of a crapshoot that it’s not worth making it *more* of a luck-based mission. As I said, I survived on my first try, but there was a fair amount of luck involved.


Only one level (“Bug-Eyed in Space”) left to go, and that one might require a minor tweak to be viddable. (The player’s starting position in a roomful of Troopers and Enforcers is currently outright sadistic. I’ll probably move the start point to another room, probably a hallway similar to the start point from “Once More Unto the Breach…”)

my descriptions for the YouTube videos in my previous post:

The Incredible Hulk
Yet another Eternal level with a difficult opening (it seems like that’s half of them). The rest of the level is really, really easy; in fact, the 3x recharger is probably overkill, at least until you reach the final climb to the next level. It’s a great level overall; the introduction to the wave motion cannon is particularly strong.

I played extremely cautiously, perhaps to a fault; I’ll probably redo this film after I’ve overhauled the level somewhat. (I plan to redesign the outside areas to resemble actual rock formations more, no doubt taking some inspiration from Alex Bolton’s level designs for Phoenix.) Though, having deprecated my own playing, I should note that I do demonstrate some clever methods for causing Troopers to kill themselves, and the strategy I use at the start of the level is probably *required* to vid the level, perhaps unless you’re one of those people who can vid “Acme Station”. I do kill *almost* all the Pfhor (I leave one Trooper alive fighting a Juggernaut) and all except one Juggernaut (see above), but I leave a lot of the Drinniol alive, as it’s not necessary to fight all of them, and even if they don’t trust us yet, we’re supposed to be helping them. There’s also one segment where I spend quite awhile causing a Juggernaut to damage itself on some of the outside rocks.

Anyway, great level overall; apart from the architecture concerns I mentioned, the main changes I can see making are cosmetic.


Once More Unto the Breach…
This level is challenging, but not too difficult; I got it on about the fifth or sixth try, I think. Not too much to say about the gameplay here; it’s a standard extermination mission, and there are no survivors. I don’t have too many thoughts about the level itself, either; apart from small cosmetic changes to platforms, sounds, and the like, I can’t imagine making too many changes to it. The gameplay is already balanced skilfully enough that I can leave well enough alone, and it looks fine visually.

One possible point of interest is that this level has a substantial amount of architectural overlap with “Bug-Eyed in Space”, its counterpart from the failure timeline; several segments of the levels are in fact identical, but at the time Eternal was created, polygon limits and physical space limits would’ve prevented them from being merged together as a single level. The polygon limits are no longer a concern, but there still wouldn’t be enough space. There are actually at least three such pairs of levels in Eternal, some of which are even intended to be the same space (“Pissing on the Corporation” and “Burning Down the Corporation” from chapter two; these could now be merged in A1), and some of which aren’t (“Roots and Radicals” and “Heart of Fusion” from chapter one, which represent two different Marathon AI cores and thus have quite a bit of architecture in common).

(“Bug-Eyed in Space” may very well be impossible to vid in its present form, because the player starts off in a roomful of Troopers and scatter-gun Enforcers with 1x shields and no nearby recharger. I’ll probably move the player’s starting location, but leave the rest of the level unchanged.)


Genie in a Bottle
Pretty good level, and a pretty good film, I think. Some room for improvement, perhaps, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. This was another Eternal level I hadn’t played in probably about a decade before today, but this film shows my second time playing through the level, as I died midway through my first attempt after saving my game and decided to keep playing to learn the layout of the level a bit better. This is a pretty strange level as you teleport midway through the mission, which means that you have to find at least two different energy rechargers if you want to survive. It’s also strange in that it’s a Pfhor ship that doesn’t have low gravity! I’m not sure if that’s intentional; it probably would be possible to grenade-jump back up past some points that are supposed to be points of no return, so maybe so, but it is a bit annoying because there’s a lot of Enforcer ammo that can’t be collected.

Miscellaneous mapmaking note: There’s one bit with a couple of flame Enforcers who don’t activate. They should either be given more polygons to move on or just moved down.

I might think of more to write about this level tomorrow, but I’m honestly about to pass out from exhaustion, so I’ll cut this short for now.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 30th '18, 03:09

A lot of those level pairs in two branches with identical geometry are actually meant to be the exact same place, visited in two different timelines, exploring slightly different sections with some overlap. Bug-Eyed/Once More and Pissing On/Burning Down definitely are, at least. I'm pretty sure the latter two are (at least started off as) the exact same geometry, but then had some doors locked and things differently between them so that you explore one part of the place in one timeline and a different part of the exact same place in another timeline, just to change things up.

The non-low-grav on Genie In A Bottle is probably an oversight. I was just thinking earlier today that I should check to make sure all the Pfhor ship levels actually are set to low gravity, because I'm not really sure if they are or not.

Also, those turrets on Run Coward seem to be messed up, like they're embedded in the ceiling. I made some changes to their hover height globally to try to get them to behave better on other levels, but it seems to have screwed them up here. I'd love if someone could figure out how to make them behave properly on every level. (I want them to stay in one place laterally and move up and down as necessary to get a clear shot on their targets).

Also, I've been thinking that maybe their rate of fire should be toned down a bit, as it seems insanely high on TC.

I wouldn't object to there being some (non-trivial) way to destroy them, either, if that makes things more fun and interesting.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '18, 03:30

I’d be 100% OK with both of those changes. “Run, Coward!” isn’t really a very fun level as it sits. Even if you could just destroy them only with the Jjaro weapons – which would make sense since they are, in fact, literally Jjaro weapons themselves – they’d be much better enemies. It’d probably be worth throwing in a few ZPMs on that level if we decide to go down that route, though. Alternatively, we could give them the same weaknesses as the banshees – but then we might have to throw in fusion batteries. Then again, we’ve already decided that the Jjaro know how to make fusion batteries, so that’s probably no big deal.

Anyway, I somehow figured out how to survive the opening to “Bug-Eyed in Space”, so that’s it; I’ve completed the Marathon Eternal Vidmaster’s Challenge as of August 29, 2018. I still want to change the opening, though, because the tactic I had to use was really, really cheap. You’ll probably laugh when you see it. (I’ll encode a film soon. Might or might not upload tonight; it’s probably really long and I expect I’ll go to bed soon.)

Also I kinda figured that the two Pfhor ship extermination levels in chapter four and the two “Corporation” levels were the same physical space. They definitely do have a lot of the exact same geometry. I can’t find any similar geometry in pairs of chapter three or chapter five levels, though, so it might just be those three pairs of levels that have shared geometry. I expect the chapter two and chapter four levels were split up at least partially due to the number of polygons that would’ve been required to keep them together, plus, like I said, the physical space in the case of the chapter four levels.

Edit: BTW, I forgot to relay this email from Dr Sumner concerning “The Far Side of Nowhere”:

Aaron I started playing Eternal - beta 1 tonight. After each level, I thought I’d notify you of any relevant comments or problems. I also plan to read every terminal and watch for any spelling errors or awkward sentences (as best a mathematician can!). I’m also starting a new email thread for this.

Level 1: The Far Side of Nowhere

There are three things of note for this level

1. Spelling error in the opening terminal —> “insistance” should be “insistence”.

2. The elevator at polygon 84 can be entered from any side. You can walk through the cross bars.

3. Line 634 is very sticky. You can’t walk across it (from SE to NW) though you should be able to.

I’ll play the levels as fast I can. But my style of play has always been slow, methodical and calculating.

There’s a similar problem to #2 with one of the platforms in both Marathon AI cores (I’ll find a polygon ID later if needed, but I’m encoding the aforementioned “Bug-Eyed” film on my Mac right now and haven’t figured out how to get Weland to run in Windows; in any case, you can see the glitch demonstrated in the film of, I think, “Heart of Fusion”. Probably. Maybe it was “Roots and Radicals”). I’m 99% sure this is caused by a glitch in Weland regarding solid, transparent platform walls; it’s such a persistent glitch that it actually caused me to have to overhaul how one of the levels in Chronicles worked.

There’s also, as I’ve noted, a similar motion glitch to #3 in “Third Rock from Lh’owon”. If I figure out a fix for either level I’ll let you know.
Last edited by The Man on Aug 30th '18, 03:57, edited 3 times in total.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 30th '18, 03:45

I'd love it if you would play with the Orb physics to get them to your liking.

Also, what I was saying about the levels with shared geometry was explicitly that they weren't split up for space or poly limitations or anything: it wouldn't make any sense to have them as one map, because they take place in separate timelines, so it's not like you would play through all of one and then all of the other in a row. You'd only ever play one of them at a time.

And in the case of the Corporation levels, I think you do (or at least did at one point) actually have the full structure present in both maps, but in each one, you're locked out of part of it, so that if you play through both branches, you don't just reply the exact same level twice. (Well, besides the fork level).
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '18, 03:51

I’ll mess about with them sometime over the next week until I find something I like.

That makes sense regarding the splits, but in any case the “Corporation” levels would require 1,400 polygons or something if you put them back together - “Pissing” has 1,015 polygons and “Burning Down” has 987, and there are probably at least 400 polygons that aren’t shared between them. There aren’t outlines of the missing polygons in either map, either. Similarly, “Bug-Eyed” has 988 polygons and “Once More” has 951. I’d be curious to see how many polygons it would require to put each pair of levels back together, though the chapter four levels would also require more physical space than is possible in a Marathon map (currently, at least - TL, is there any chance of overhauling this? I know it’s a matter of variable size, since right now we have -32,768 to 32,767 as possible X and Y values, but there have definitely been several levels where I’ve run out of map space).

Note that I edited in a message from Dr Sumner while you were posting. I’d have made a new post for it, but flood control sucks.

...for my own amusement I mocked up what the chapter 2 and 4 pairs would look like (on the automap, at least) if they were combined back into one level each, so I’m attaching them.

chapter 2 level mockup.png


chapter 4 level mockup.png
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 30th '18, 05:20

Oh, thanks for pointing out that message from Dr. Sumner! And for getting him to play test, it'll be great to have his feedback.

I just corrected that typo, and the other two problems, yeah, I'm not sure exactly how to fix either of them, and I know at some point I just accepted that #2 was going to have to be that way because to fix it would cause some other major problem, I don't remember what now. But if you can figure it out, that'd be awesome!

ETA: Just wrapped up my edits to Unlucky For Some and they're up on GitHub now (along with that fixed typo, and some other bugfixes from this morning). It's all yours to work on now Aaron. Thanks!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '18, 07:20

Thanks; I’m glad we got him involved too. I think once he saw how much less annoying the current “Deep Into the Grotto” revision is, he had no problem getting involved. Beyond what he said about his methodical play style, he is the chair of his department, though, so it probably will take him awhile to get through the whole game.

I’ll take a look at the latest version of “Unlucky” tomorrow, probably.

About to go to bed, since the “Bug-Eyed in Space” film is almost finished encoding. I’ll throw in a link momentarily, but it probably won’t actually be done uploading for at least a half an hour.

This was the final Eternal level to fall, for good reason – the opening seemed impossible to me until I figured out the trick to clearing it out. It turns out there’s a hilariously simple solution: run forward as quickly as possible as soon as the level loads, then… I won’t spoil the rest; I’ll let you watch for yourself, as it really is quite amusing.

I’m probably going to revise the opening, though. As much as I love having discovered this strategy, I don’t much care for level openings that kill you within a second if you don’t react.

Apart from that, though, I can’t think of too many changes to make to this one. Gameplay-wise, it’s a straightforward extermination mission, exactly like its counterpart in the success timeline (“Once More Unto the Breach”).

While I’m pleased to have finished this one (and by extension the whole game), I’m not 100% satisfied with my gameplay here; I didn’t dive into the melee nearly as much as I could’ve, and in fact I played a few sections quite cheaply, inducing Pfhor to kill themselves with doors or taking advantage of their berserker status and letting them clear out large portions of rooms for me. I’ll probably redo this one (and several others), but at this point I’m happy just to have the whole “vid every level in Eternal” project done.


ETA: here’s the link; it says thirteen minutes from the current time until it finishes (0405 EDT), and it’ll probably take a few minutes to process after that, since the film is 35:34 long.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 30th '18, 21:01

I’ll copy and paste my comments for each level’s most recent video, as I think they’ll be helpful to both Forrest and to me going forward. There’s a fair bit of commentary on what needs fixing for each level, a lot of which I don’t remember; they’ll also serve as reminders to myself for things to fix in subsequent gameplay. I also added a little bit of extra commentary noting either things that are already fixed, other things I want to fix that I’d forgotten at the time, and one bit of confusion I have regarding the design of “She Is the Dark One”.

Note also that the “Dread Not” film linked below is a new one I recorded a few hours ago, done entirely fists-only this time. I’m probably going to attempt to do several other levels fists-only, though I don’t suspect all of them are possible that way. I’m also likely to re-record several other levels for various other reasons.

Spoiler tagged because holy wall of text, Batman.

Spoiler:
 
“Deja Vu All Over Again”
An Enforcer behaves very strangely at around the 10:00 mark in this playback. Other than that, pretty standard fists-only vid film, though I don't know this level that well yet, so there's a bit of wandering around as I recall the level's mission. All enemies defeated, all areas fully explored, all ammo collected (AFAIK). I probably forgot to kill some Bobs; I wasn't thinking much of that because it was about 4 am.

(The Enforcer behaviour is hopefully fixed already; I’ll find out next time I play the level.)

“Septococcal Pfhoryngitis”
Haven’t fixed the odd glitch that occurred during my previous attempt to vid this level (https://youtu.be/ZHdaCqxlZtM); I’ll wait until Pfhorrest is done working on the level before trying to figure out a fix. In the meantime, here’s a fists only vid film. All areas fully explored, all items collected except the infravision powerup (which I was saving in case I needed it later, since it’s actually not annoying in this scenario, but ultimately never used it) and a second uplink chip that I had no idea was there until I looked in Weland, all accessible enemies defeated – as far as I know, anyway. This film is probably fairly solid evidence that I don’t actually know this level very well. No Bobs were left alive in this film, either, though I didn’t kill any myself.

(still haven’t figured out a proper fix for the glitch; for now we just put a teleporter on the offending polygon)

“Dysmentria”
New encode, this time showing off Eternal 1.2’s new HD bump-mapped textures. There was a problem with the MML for collection three (Jjaro set) that resulted in the last nine textures of that set, plus all of collections four and five (Human and Pfhor), not displaying properly. This version of the map isn’t up to date; the fog script in this level has been changed, as has some of the differential shading.

My original comments on this video:

“Vidded this level while testing out the updated miner’s light settings. The differential shading is actually visible now; it’s almost literally a night-and-day improvement. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten the HD textures to work on either my MacBook or my Dell, so you’re stuck with the crude 128-pixel versions. This version of the level, I realised after making the film, is also a couple weeks old, so it might look a bit different now; the fog script in particular has almost certainly changed.”

New encodes of “This Message Will Self-Destruct” and any “Pfhor får lamm” videos I may have posted will follow at some point, though maybe not immediately.


“Sakhmet Rising”
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).

There are two exits from this level; one takes the player to the “failure” branch (“Unwired”, “Roots and Radicals”, “The Tangent Universe”), which will ultimately dump the player back at this level, and one takes the player to the “success” branch (“Core Done Blew”, “Heart of Fusion”, “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”), which ultimately takes the player to the next chapter. This film displays the “success” exit; I honestly don’t even remember what the player has to do to get to the “failure” exit, but maybe I’ll make another film of it someday.


“Unwired”
HOLY BALLS THIS IS A LONG LEVEL. Not that it’s a bad one, but I really wasn’t expecting this film to turn out sixty-four minutes long. I can probably do a better film of it at some point, but it’ll probably be awhile before I bother due to its length; this was a first attempt and I played cautiously since I didn’t remember the level too well. I think I defeated all enemies and collected all accessible ammo, but it’s possible I missed a few enemies that teleported in, or that there’s a secret I’m not aware of.

Incidentally, I believe this makes twenty Eternal levels that I’ve vidded (though for whatever reason I never uploaded the “S’pht’ia” one; I think I must’ve thought it was boring.)


“Roots and Radicals”
A couple of annoying platforms that still need to be sped up. I think there may have been a misaligned door texture too. Other than that, pretty good as is, I think, though large portions of it are quite empty and could perhaps stand to have more enemies added. I still miss the troopers from 1.0, but I understand why they were removed – players would have a ridiculous amount of ammo by the end of the level.

From a gameplay standpoint, this level’s pretty easy apart from the opening, which is pretty typical of early Eternal levels, which is fine. I don’t make any attempt to kill all enemies since there are infinite numbers of them. I do explore most of the level apart from the bit with the infinitely respawning Hunters, because there’s really no reason to go in there, as far as I remember.

One bit I hadn’t noticed in this playthrough is that solid wall platform glitch I’d spoken about above. It occurs in both this level and “Heart of Fusion”, as far as I know.

“The Tangent Universe”
Not much to do on this level, but I still somehow get lost a lot in it. It’s a really disorienting level; I suspect it’s intended to be. I make no attempt to kill all the Bobs; at some point I might try doing so in another film.


“Core Done Blew”
This is *easily* the most challenging level in the first chapter, and it isn’t close. The opening in particular is very difficult. That’s fine, though. Great level. I do wonder if that light texture on many of the walls and ceilings is appropriate. Can’t think of too many other changes to make.

I think I defeat all the enemies, but there might be a few that I don’t know about. I don’t think the player ever fights those Juggernauts. There’s also a bit that I don’t understand with the Enforcer and Troopers behind that door at 3:05. I pick up most of the ammo from defeated enemies, but I never get the chance to get that ammo before the door closes again.


“Heart of Fusion”
I think I did this entirely fists & staff only. This is a somewhat challenging level because of the infinitely respawning Compilers, but significant portions of the level are completely empty. That might be worth changing for the final release. A couple slow platforms that should be fixed, and one set of walls that needs to be marked as solid again (caused by a bug in Weland, I think). Other than that, not many other changes I’d suggest.


“Hysterical Womb”
The opening is pretty brutal, and it took me a few tries to survive it. The cyborg tanks are incredibly strong, and it’s a good thing the player never has to fight more than two at once on this level. Apart from that, it’s not too challenging, and once I survived the opening onslaught, I completed the rest of the level without dying. That’s fine for this stage in the game, I think. At this point, I doubt any further changes are required to this level.


“A Friend in Need”
I’m not sure if the shortcut I demonstrate in this film was intended or not. There are three fusion batteries hidden there, so… maybe?

This level seems mostly fine already, but it does need some texture realignment. The ambient sounds could be refined a bit, too.

From a gameplay standpoint, I defeat all enemies and collect all accessible ammo, but there were a few pieces of ammo that I wasn’t able to reach. I think this was probably my second or third attempt at filming this level. I don’t think any Bobs survived this level, but I don’t recall for certain.


“Unlucky Pfhor Some”
Finally got this one after probably close to twenty attempts. Probably not too many further gameplay changes required here; it’s likely the geometry of the level will be spruced up in the final game, though, in order to take advantage of Aleph One’s raised polygon limit. From a gameplay standpoint, I don’t even attempt to defeat all enemies, since a large number respawn continuously; I only fight those necessary to complete the level. However, I do collect all available ammo and explore all regions of the level.


“Unpfhorseen”
Yet another Eternal level whose opening is far more difficult than the rest of the level. I actually got this one on the first try, but just barely survived the opening. It already seems to be balanced perfectly; 3x shields are just perfect for that room with all the Wasps, Troopers, and other enemies. That was actually one of only two points where I felt like I might lose; I did play it fairly close with shield recharging after that, but the way the level is set up, you can pretty much retreat at any point you need to except for that opening stretch. I had one close call where a Trooper caught me by surprise, but luckily I had enough shields left to react.

From a level design standpoint, I can’t think of too many changes to make here, though I do wonder what the point of those indestructible wires near the start is. Other than that, there are a few ambient sound fixes I noticed; one door in particular needs an ambient sound added to its polygon, and the transitions between the “Pfhor ship” and “night wind” sounds could stand to be a bit smoother if there are enough map objects to make it work. Other than that, not much I can think of to change, though I haven’t tested to see if it’s possible to trap oneself inside the weird doors.

From a gameplay standpoint, there don’t seem to have been any survivors. I also pick up all available ammo from deceased Bobs and Pfhor. I don’t remember any secrets in this level, but I can’t say for certain. As far as I’m aware, I fully explore all areas of the level.

There are two exits from this level. Story spoilers: teleporting out with Tycho takes you to the “failure branch” (#16 “May the Pfharce Be With You”, #17 “Pissing on the Corporation”, #18 “The Living Receiver”), which takes you back to this level again. Teleporting out with Leela takes you to the “success branch” (#19 “My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse”, #20 “Burning Down the Corporation”, #21 “The World Is Hollow”), which then advances you to the third chapter. This film shows the “success branch” exit.


“May the Pfharce Be With You”
Fairly sloppy film in which I demonstrate my lack of knowledge of this level; it’d probably been some ten years since I’d last played it. After getting past the opening I survived the rest of the level with no real problems, but there was one particularly close call. As a result, I played most of the level cautiously, perhaps to a fault, but without actually violating any Vidmaster rules. Feel free to skip some of the boring bits.

From a mapmaking standpoint, there’s one really glitchy part with a phantom Hunter; it appears as though Aleph One thinks the Hunter is on a different polygon. After several false starts, I finally manage to hit him with my fists. The level seems mostly fine otherwise, but I might consider adding some new segments for 1.2 and perhaps creating ways to activate some of the currently locked doors. I’m not sure I could credibly imitate this level’s style, though.

From a gameplay standpoint, AFAIK, I fully explore all parts of the level, defeat all enemies, and collect all ammo, including the Enforcer ammo that requires a grenade-jump to reach.


“Pissing on the Corporation”
For whatever reason, there wasn‘t a recharger in this level previously. (At least, I couldn’t find one, and I looked for about ten minutes in Vasara.) I remedied this by adding two, because it was all but impossible on TC without any, but I overreacted, expecting the enemies on this level to be as powerful as those on this level’s success timeline counterpart, “Burning Down the Corporation” (most recent film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WRoXA6Q3ZU. They are, in fact, nowhere near as powerful. I’ll probably reduce the rechargers to 2x or even 1x rechargers in a future revision, since with 3x rechargers, this level is pathetically easy once you get past the opening. (Either that, or I’ll add a lot more enemies, which might actually be a lot more fun.)

Apart from that, I don’t have too many other changes I intend to make to this level. There are some teleporters I put in to enable the player to escape a potential trap, but I think I’m going to have to redirect some of them because I think they might actually teleport the player into another inescapable trap; I’d forgotten how this level worked. (I don’t think I’d played it in literally ten years before tonight.)

But it’s really fun to play. I’d still be interested to play a combined version of these two levels, though. There’s actually a plugin for Weland to combine level geometry, which I might do use make such a version for the lulz at some point, but I haven’t figured out how to get it to run. (I could just go back to Chisel to copy the lines and points and then refill the polygons in manually, but ain’t nobody got time for that.)


“The Living Receiver”
Evidently the physics are messed up in this level right now; the cyborg tanks are supposed to consider the player, humans, and Marathon drones enemies. (The humans and drones consider the tanks enemies, meanwhile, which results in the odd behaviour seen in this film where the tanks don’t fight back at all against their attackers.) Fixing that will make this level much harder, and there’s a possibility it will need to be rebalanced; I already found it the most difficult of the failure dreams in their current setup. Of course, I have a tendency to get lost in the failure dreams, which I do several times in this film. Luckily, this run taught me the architecture well enough that when I did the chapter three and four failure dreams right after it, I was able to breeze through them with little trouble.

I left some Bobs alive, which is a violation of Vidmaster rules, but it doesn’t feel particularly sporting to attack them with Eternal’s weapons. (It’s not as ridiculous at this stage as it is once the player has the gravitronic blades and can mow down scads of them with a single keystroke, though.) I do defeat all enemies, though, as far as I know.

Beyond that, not much to say; this is obviously the failure dream that is going to require the most additional work.


“My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse”
This level was easier to vid than I expected; it was really only the opening that gave me trouble. I died several times attempting to get to a point where I could use the recharger; once I managed that, I completed the rest of the level with no further deaths. The opening of the level is outright unfair; even if you know the correct path to the top of the level, you’ll need a substantial amount of luck to survive. It’ll probably be toned down in the final release (Bobs strengthened; additional powerups and/or recharge canisters; possibly further changes if needed). The rest of the level is basically fine as is.

At the end, I mess about a bit in “Burning Down the Corporation”, mostly seeing if a glitch with the platforms in the northwest corner of the map still persists (it still persists). I might give vidding that level a try later, but IDK if it’s beyond my skill level.

I hadn’t been using bloom in my previous Eternal videos; I was under the impression it didn’t work with bump mapping in A1 1.2.1. That’s obviously not true, as you can see in this video. I think it looks pretty cool. I probably won’t bother re-rendering all twenty-something of my old vids, though (especially since I’ve rendered several twice already).

From a gameplay standpoint, I kill all the Pfhor in the upper part of the level, but don’t bother with the outside enemies, because ain’t nobody got time for that. I use a wide variety of weapons to clear out the level. I might be able to pull it off with fists if I practise a lot, but at this point I think I’ll focus more on trying as many levels as possible rather than trying to hone my gameplay on specific levels; I’d like to be able to give informed commentary on as much of the game as possible, and I’ll have a lot less free time from August 20th until December.


“Burning Down the Corporation”, “The World Is Hollow”, “S’pht’ia”
0:00 - #30 Burning Down the Corporation
16:10 - #31 The World Is Hollow
17:45 - #32 S’pht’ia

“Burning Down the Corporation” isn’t too difficult; it probably only took me about five tries to vid. I don’t have many complaints with it from a gameplay/aesthetics standpoint, though I still wonder what it’d play like if it were combined with “Pissing on the Corporation” (its counterpart in the failure timelines). The biggest flaw in the level itself is the glitchy platform towards the beginning, which’ll have to be fixed in the final release. The other annoyances I can think of are more products of the way the engine handles platforms – enemies don’t drop items if killed on platforms, and motion gets really glitchy when a player moves from one moving platform to another.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I think the level looks really cool, though I’m not entirely sure the BGM fits. Oh well.

“The World Is Hollow” is your standard success dream – no gameplay differences that I can see from the other four.

“S’pht’ia” is pretty empty. This might be a rare case of an Eternal level that I’d actually make more difficult. At one point, it was far too difficult because the enemy S’pht’s projectiles had mistakenly gotten marked as guided, which made the level almost impossible. Now that that’s undone, and the difficult opening has been mitigated by implementing a 3x recharger at the start, the level is pretty easy. My only other complaint with it is once again an issue that’s more a limitation of the engine: it’d be cool to have the whole S’pht Citadel of Antiquity visible rather than just two-thirds of it. But without separating “The Hard Stuff Rules” back out into its own level again, or else just making the automap look hideous, that’s not possible – there’s a limitation on physical space that the engine can incorporate.

I might give “Let Sleeping Gods Die” a try tomorrow. Or “Pissing on the Corporation”. Or something else. No promises.

“Burning Down” might not actually need 3x rechargers either; 2x might be fine. I might test that someday.

I should really upload a separate “S’pht’ia” vid at one point. The first one I made was really boring. Maybe I’ll make a better one someday.

“Let Sleeping Gods Die”
Quick vid film of this level. There are several portions that I leave completely unexplored, because they have basically the same geometry as “Six Thousand Feet Under” in Marathon 2, and it isn’t necessary to explore them. I may make a second film at some point, but this one doesn’t violate any Vidmaster rules. From a mapmaking standpoint, I can’t think of many changes that need to be made to this level.


“She Is the Dark One”
Pretty cool-looking level, but a bit light on combat. The S’pht can kill you pretty quickly if you don’t take caution, though. As there’s no ammo to pick up on this level, I don’t make any particular attempt to fight every enemy, though I do shoot a fair number of Ticks largely for my own amusement. You can see at the end of the level that I’d forgotten how to teleport out. Perhaps that should be clarified in the terminals – or perhaps it is and I’d just skimmed over it. Other than that, no real complaints about this level.

There’s a fridge logic component to this level that I didn’t think to mention in my description: if this is meant to be the space above “Six Thousand Feet Under”, it can’t possibly be as far below the surface as it seems to be in Marathon 2. Is the implication that this space was buried in the intervening two millennia? Otherwise, the landscape textures might be inappropriate here.

“S’pht Happens”
Yet another Eternal level with a difficult opening. This definitely isn’t the way this level’s creator Andreas Nuyts intended the level to be played, but after about twenty attempts, I realised this was the only way I was going to get it for now. It probably is possible to complete it the “proper” way, but it would require either a substantial amount of luck or greater skill than I currently possess. I should note that the shortcut I take is full of its own dangers – currently, it’s possible to get trapped by doing it, and if you attract too many Juggernauts’ attention, they can make pretty short work of you. In either case, once you get to the first recharger, it gets a lot easier.

Due to the nature of the level (infinitely many respawning Juggernauts and Ticks), I make no attempt to defeat all enemies. I also leave a few areas of this level left unexplored, and I tend to avoid advancing too quickly due to the potential either of running into the S’pht’s friendly fire or of accidentally hitting one of them (because they have guided bolts, it’s pretty much game over should you accidentally hit one of them).

Hopefully I’ll be able to record a film of this level the “proper” way at some point. Amongst the Eternal films I’ve recorded, this is likely to be one of my higher priorities to redo.

In any case, apart from the potential traps, I don’t think this level needs too much work.


“Eat S’pht and Die”
This is actually my second film of this level in a row. There were a couple of factors that caused me to think it was a better idea for everyone’s sake to go ahead and re-record this one, most notably that the first one contained a lot of wandering around trying to figure out what to do next, because the map objective on this one is very unclear. There currently aren’t any terminals on this level at all, and I think it would benefit from some. The S’pht aren’t very wordy or lucid at the best of times, but anything would be more helpful than the *nothing* they tell you on this one.

Apart from that, it’s not a bad level, though; it’s actually a lot of fun, though it’s also really easy. I only died a couple of times in making my two films, once of which was a cheap death caused by a crushing platform that there’s no warning about, and the other of which was my own fault for diving recklessly into the opening fight with 1x shields. To be honest, I don’t know if this level even needs a 3x recharger, despite the copious number of lava baths needed to complete it; it would certainly be more challenging if you had to do the whole thing on 2x shields. If 3x rechargers are necessary, you certainly don’t need one at the very start of the level. I think it’d be fine to make the first few rechargers 2x, and then only give access to a 3x recharger when you reach the area with the Juggernaut, the Enforcers, and the mandatory lava bath.

One oddity is that I saw not head nor hide of the Juggernaut in my first pass through the level, so I was a bit more liberal with my fusion ammo usage than I’d have been had I known what I’d be facing later in the level. I don’t have an explanation for why it showed up the second time but not the first.

Changes I’d make: Clarify mission objective; get rid of that stupid crushing platform, or else provide some sort of warning about it (it’s a cheap fuck-you death); fix ambient sounds (they’re really, really clumsily implemented); fix a few slow platforms; possibly reduce some of the 2x rechargers to 3x rechargers (it’s probably fine to start giving 3x shields once the player has to swim through lava). Can’t think of much else.

Oddly, it was probably actually less time-consuming to spend the extra time recording this second film than it would’ve been just to encode the first one, because Eternal films encode ridiculously slowly due to the super-detailed graphics. This one, despite having a fourteen-minute running time, took at least an hour to encode, even on my rather fast MacBook; judging from file sizes, the other one was probably about ten minutes longer, so it’d have probably taken at least an hour and a half to encode.


“Second to Last of the Mohicans”
Testing out some new segments in this level. They mostly work as intended; the biggest oversight is that I obviously forgot to texture one of the ceilings somehow. (I’ve already fixed this.) I also fixed the problem with the extermination mission where the player had to kill a few of the noncombatant S’pht to finish the mission, and it’s now possible to punch some of the switches (although there are a few others I still need to fix). There are a few other changes I need to make to the level, but on the whole I’m pleased with how this came out.

(I could swear I’d made another vid film since this one. I guess I haven’t encoded it yet. Anyway, I’ve fixed most of the stuff in the description; the main further changes I plan to make are mostly lighting-related.)

“The Manipulated Dead”
Monster balance seems to be reasonable now. I didn’t even attempt to clear out the level, because it contains infinitely respawning Banshees. I also left several parts of the level unexplored. It probably is possible to do the level properly, which I’ll try at some point in the future.


“Third Rock from Lh’owon”
Arguably the most difficult level up to this point in Eternal, but ultimately doable with persistence, knowledge of enemy placements, and a fair amount of luck. I’m not completely satisfied with this film; there are a few segments of the level that I don’t explore, even including one in the southeastern corner that I personally added to the level myself, as there’s a considerable amount of danger to exploring them and little upside. There are also some flaws in my playing that I could probably correct in a subsequent film. I’m probably actually going to redesign the section I added to make it less extraneous.

I’d like to thank this level’s principal creator $lave for setting me on the correct path to actually completing this map successfully; I’d been attempting to traverse the shortest distance – unsuccessfully, it turned out, for good reason. Sometimes the shortest distance between two points in this game is not a straight line.

Map balance seems pretty good. You have to stay on your toes, but it is doable, if hard. There is still a bit of random chance to whether troopers keep following you through the level, but as demonstrated in this film, it’s possible to make short work of them while taking little damage, as long as you don’t let them follow you into tight corners and make sure you circle them clockwise.

There is a segment where I keep staring at Juggernauts, seemingly doing nothing. The purpose to this is to draw their fire. They’ll damage each other without requiring you to fire upon them if you do this long enough, thus ultimately conserving ammo. I learnt the hard way that you can’t safely run through that segment if the Juggernauts are still alive – you *might* survive it with 2x shields, but it’s better not to risk it, and you very well may need those shields later. Similarly, I don’t want to use up all my fusion ammo that early in the level, since you don’t get any more at any point in this chapter, and there aren’t any other weapons that are effective enough against Juggernauts to make it worth risking firing upon the S’pht.

Regarding the gameplay in this film, this level has infinitely respawning Troopers, so I don’t make any attempt to defeat all enemies, though I (or the S’pht) do defeat most of the enemies I encounter (and I think all enemies apart from the Troopers).

I also, unfortunately, fired upon a S’pht in the closing segment of the level. I didn’t want to kill any of them, but once you anger them, you don’t really have a choice if you want to keep playing.

Anyway, like I said, I think I’m going to overhaul my new segment – maybe make that central part (polygon 1040, for those of you following along in Weland) a platform that takes you up to a recharger after you pick up the uplink chip (currently there aren’t any highly elevated segments in the new section, but I think I’ll change that). There’s a considerable amount of vertical space that I currently haven’t taken advantage of at all; I can overhaul the segment to make better use of it.

Can’t think of many other changes to make to this level, other than possibly adding even more segments to it. There’s still a conspicuous bit of unused map real estate in the northeastern corner that might be worth taking advantage of. There’s also a bit that’s currently textured sewage that probably shouldn’t be (I think it’s polygon 483 or thereabouts), and it might be possible to trap oneself in the sewage in the southwest corner (I haven’t tried yet). And there are a couple of motion glitches that I’m not entirely sure how to fix, the most noteworthy caused when the player tries to enter polygon 156 (IIRC) from the southwest. (I didn’t demonstrate this glitch in this film, because it can easily derail an attempt to make a vid film if there are enough troopers in the area.)


“Flight of Icarus”
Demonstrating the new fog script in the level. Fists only except for two Hulks that I killed with the staff after I tricked them into following me into media. All enemies defeated, all areas fully explored.

To-do for self: write a Lua script that changes the under-media fog in solo games depending upon which liquid is in a polygon the player is standing on (i.e., use sewage-coloured fog under media when the player is on a sewage polygon, and water-coloured fog under media when the player is on a water polygon). We probably don’t want this to apply for multiplayer games, since it’s likely that multiple players will be standing on media and it would get borderline seizure-inducing, though it might be possible to control fog settings for each player individually; IDK enough about Marathon’s Lua implementation to know for sure.

“Pfhor får lamm”
Not too many changes to make here. The door speed should probably be made consistent – IIRC some move at 6 WU/s and some at around 1.3 WU/s, both of which I think are a bit ridiculous. I’ll try 2.5 and see if that looks good. There’s also a bug with the multi-part platform you can see in this video that’s caused when the Hulk gets on it. That can probably be solved either by raising the ceiling in that room a bit or making the platform stop 0.1 WU or 0.2 WU below its current stopping point. I’d also put in an energy powerup in that room below the goo with the Enforcer, or something else to make it worth the player’s while – visiting it on TC is cutting it very close by necessity (I barely make it out alive, as seen in this video). There are also a couple of mistextured floors. Finally, there are two walls into space that appear to be open; I’m not sure if that’s intentional (it’s possible that it’s necessary to allow the drones to enter the structure, or else that making them solid makes it impossible for the player to pass through the route in between them).

Not much else to say. This level isn’t too difficult, which isn’t a big deal; the next level more than makes up for it, and it’s going to be awhile before I can get it.


“The Incredible Hulk”
Yet another Eternal level with a difficult opening (it seems like that’s half of them). The rest of the level is really, really easy; in fact, the 3x recharger is probably overkill, at least until you reach the final climb to the next level. It’s a great level overall; the introduction to the wave motion cannon is particularly strong.

I played extremely cautiously, perhaps to a fault; I’ll probably redo this film after I’ve overhauled the level somewhat. (I plan to redesign the outside areas to resemble actual rock formations more, no doubt taking some inspiration from Alex Bolton’s level designs for Phoenix.) Though, having deprecated my own playing, I should note that I do demonstrate some clever methods for causing Troopers to kill themselves, and the strategy I use at the start of the level is probably *required* to vid the level, perhaps unless you’re one of those people who can vid “Acme Station”. I do kill *almost* all the Pfhor (I leave one Trooper alive fighting a Juggernaut) and all except one Juggernaut (see above), but I leave a lot of the Drinniol alive, as it’s not necessary to fight all of them, and even if they don’t trust us yet, we’re supposed to be helping them. There’s also one segment where I spend quite awhile causing a Juggernaut to damage itself on some of the outside rocks.

Anyway, great level overall; apart from the architecture concerns I mentioned, the main changes I can see making are cosmetic.


“Babylon X”
One of the most memorable Eternal levels, to my reckoning. It’s very distinctive visually; it doesn’t particularly resemble any other levels I can think of. It’s also pretty fun, though it’s also quite easy – in case it wasn’t obvious from the amount of wandering around I do in this film, this was my first time playing it in some ten years. But coming off the previous level, which is one of the toughest levels (to vid, at least) in the game (hence the lack of a film to this point), that’s fine.

Honestly, the only significant change I can think of is a story-related one, namely that I don't entirely grok why the Drinniol are hostile to the player. I mean, on one hand, the player is a skinny biped using Pfhor weapons, but are we really to believe that they can’t tell the player is killing every Pfhor they encounter? On the first level of this chapter I can buy that perhaps they wouldn’t have clocked onto it yet, but by this point it seems a bit odd. Granted, later in the chapter the Drinniol do stop attacking the player, but it doesn’t make sense to me that Leela wouldn’t already have found a way to communicate with them before then. There’s probably a story explanation for this that I’ve missed/forgotten.

The drones are a little bit annoying here, but as on the revised “Unlucky Pfhor Some”, they’re really only a minor nuisance, so they’re probably not worth changing.

Other than that, probably only cosmetic changes to this level – ambient sounds, platform speeds, and the like. Notably, I haven’t yet modified this level at all – everything between “The Incredible Hulk” and “Echoes of Eden” represents levels I haven’t modified yet. Maybe I’ll get to that today.

I’ll probably do the same kind of overhaul to the outside rocks for this one as I’m planning to do for “The Incredible Hulk”, also.

“Dread Not”
Replayed this level and got it using just fists this time. Not too much else to say about my gameplay or the level itself that I hadn’t said the previous time (https://youtu.be/-6kNs49Salc), so I’ll just reprint the relevant parts of my comments:

“This level is actually really, really easy, as long as you’re patient; the puzzle for getting to the success branch is the only part that’s likely to cause most players a particular challenge, and even that’s mostly just an ‘explore the whole level before teleporting out’ deal.

For some reason, this seems like the quintessential Eternal level to me: atmospheric as hell; not too many enemies; having the feeling of an abandoned, thousands-of-years-old alien structure; full of moving platforms; and very, very distinctive in appearance and architectural style. I didn’t actually remember the level perfectly when I first started playing it again this year, but it’s come back to me quite well. It’s one of my favourite levels in the game. (Also, Craig’s ‘Rapture’ remix might be my favourite track in the game.)”

The main changes I’d make to the level are fixing some bouncy walls, some ambient sound issues, and some slow platforms, plus deepening the space under the ship where you fight drones so that you don’t see their corpses littering space (it’s a pretty simple fix; just make some extra polygons with only space texture that are a lot deeper than the surrounding walls, so that the drones just fall away below your vantage point after you defeat them), but from a gameplay standpoint, it’s already pretty much perfect. It could be made more challenging without frustrating players much, but I think it’s probably fine the way it is. It’s good to have breather levels now and then.

For the record (gameplay/story spoilers), if you destroy the Cybernetic Junction (the four sets of wires), you’re taken to the “success branch” of “Once More Unto the Breach…”, “Genie in a Bottle”, and “Floating in the Void”, followed by the rest of the game; if you don’t, you’re taken to the “failure branch” consisting of “Bug-Eyed in Space”, “Run, Coward!”, and “The Ensurance Trap”, and then back here.


“Bug-Eyed in Space”
This was the final Eternal level to fall, for good reason – the opening seemed impossible to me until I figured out the trick to clearing it out. It turns out there’s a hilariously simple solution: run forward as quickly as possible as soon as the level loads, then… I won’t spoil the rest; I’ll let you watch for yourself, as it really is quite amusing.

I’m probably going to revise the opening, though. As much as I love having discovered this strategy, I don’t much care for level openings that kill you within a second if you don’t react.

Apart from that, though, I can’t think of too many changes to make to this one. Gameplay-wise, it’s a straightforward extermination mission, exactly like its counterpart in the success timeline (“Once More Unto the Breach”).

While I’m pleased to have finished this one (and by extension the whole game), I’m not 100% satisfied with my gameplay here; I didn’t dive into the melee nearly as much as I could’ve, and in fact I played a few sections quite cheaply, inducing Pfhor to kill themselves with doors or taking advantage of their berserker status and letting them clear out large portions of rooms for me. I’ll probably redo this one (and several others), but at this point I’m happy just to have the whole “vid every level in Eternal” project done.


“Run, Coward!”
I got this on my first try, but I’m not too enthused with it; I don’t know the level very well (I probably hadn’t played it in ten years before tonight) and came close to dying a few times. To be honest, I’m not too enthused with the level, either. I don’t usually care for the idea of having to run from foes in Marathon; despite the name, it’s mostly about shooting, not about running. I also don’t care for foes that I’m not able to defeat. I didn’t care for the maser turrets in Rubicon and I’m not fond of the orbs in Eternal. Mercifully, they’re only used as foes in this one level, and it’s really short. (This might actually be the shortest Eternal level that has any actual combat in it unless you count the failure dreams, and those can be a lot longer if you clear them out and/or get lost, as I am wont to do.)

The map design itself is cool, despite my reservations with the level concept, and makes about as effective a use of the orbs as foes as I could realistically expect. They don’t always seem to see me; I’m not sure if that’s deliberate or a quirk of the physics/map design. If it’s not deliberate, I wouldn’t necessarily advise changing it; this level is already enough of a crapshoot that it’s not worth making it *more* of a luck-based mission. As I said, I survived on my first try, but there was a fair amount of luck involved.


“The Ensurance Trap”
Monster balance seems to be reasonable now. I didn’t even attempt to clear out the level, because it contains infinitely respawning Banshees. I also left several parts of the level unexplored. It probably is possible to do the level properly, which I’ll try at some point in the future.


“Once More Unto the Breach…”
This level is challenging, but not too difficult; I got it on about the fifth or sixth try, I think. Not too much to say about the gameplay here; it’s a standard extermination mission, and there are no survivors. I don’t have too many thoughts about the level itself, either; apart from small cosmetic changes to platforms, sounds, and the like, I can’t imagine making too many changes to it. The gameplay is already balanced skilfully enough that I can leave well enough alone, and it looks fine visually.

One possible point of interest is that this level has a substantial amount of architectural overlap with “Bug-Eyed in Space”, its counterpart from the failure timeline; several segments of the levels are in fact identical, but at the time Eternal was created, polygon limits and physical space limits would’ve prevented them from being merged together as a single level. The polygon limits are no longer a concern, but there still wouldn’t be enough space. There are actually at least three such pairs of levels in Eternal, some of which are even intended to be the same space (“Pissing on the Corporation” and “Burning Down the Corporation” from chapter two; these could now be merged in A1), and some of which aren’t (“Roots and Radicals” and “Heart of Fusion” from chapter one, which represent two different Marathon AI cores and thus have quite a bit of architecture in common).

(“Bug-Eyed in Space” may very well be impossible to vid in its present form, because the player starts off in a roomful of Troopers and scatter-gun Enforcers with 1x shields and no nearby recharger. I’ll probably move the player’s starting location, but leave the rest of the level unchanged.)


“Genie in a Bottle”
Pretty good level, and a pretty good film, I think. Some room for improvement, perhaps, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. This was another Eternal level I hadn’t played in probably about a decade before today, but this film shows my second time playing through the level, as I died midway through my first attempt after saving my game and decided to keep playing to learn the layout of the level a bit better. This is a pretty strange level as you teleport midway through the mission, which means that you have to find at least two different energy rechargers if you want to survive. It’s also strange in that it’s a Pfhor ship that doesn’t have low gravity! I’m not sure if that’s intentional; it probably would be possible to grenade-jump back up past some points that are supposed to be points of no return, so maybe so, but it is a bit annoying because there’s a lot of Enforcer ammo that can’t be collected.

Miscellaneous mapmaking note: There’s one bit with a couple of flame Enforcers who don’t activate. They should either be given more polygons to move on or just moved down.

I might think of more to write about this level tomorrow, but I’m honestly about to pass out from exhaustion, so I’ll cut this short for now.


“Echoes of Eden”
Really not sure about the balance on this one. The main part of the level gets fairly empty, but the upper floor can get brutal. I’ll have to refine it further. It might be worth making two different copies of the W’rk enemies in the physics model (since there are no Pfhor at this point in the game, it probably doesn’t matter), and using one set on the lower floors and one on the upper; that way it’s possible to control the respawn rates in each part of the level.

From a gameplay standpoint, the enemies respawn infinitely, so I don’t even attempt to kill all of them; I just fight the ones I need to clear out to progress, and that’s it. I think most of the Bobs end up dead to the enemies, but I don’t bother double-checking that, either.

Great level, even if it still needs some work done to be perfect.


“The Dead Live in the Catacombs”
This is one of the few chapter five levels that didn’t have infinitely respawning W’rkncacnter enemies when I began working on it. I haven’t actually altered the monster balance on this one at all, to my recollection; in fact, I might not have modified anything but the physics (the Banshees are weaker than they were in 1.1) and item placement (adding several more zero-point modules so as to make it less likely for players to run out, particularly when vidding the level). It’s a pretty good level in its current state; the main thing I still want to change is to fix the ambient sounds so the transitions between areas aren’t so abrupt. I’m considering making a small number of W’rk enemies respawn; I want there to be a pervasive feeling of paranoia throughout this whole chapter so that the player never feels perfectly safe, but I’ll have to be carry about modifying the monster placement on this level because it’s already fairly challenging.

From a gameplay standpoint, I kill all enemies but leave some Bobs alive. It doesn’t feel very sporting to kill them in the Jjaro chapter; the wave motion cannon makes short work of them all. At the same time, I also don’t take too much caution in this run to keep them out of the WMC’s path; despite that, I don’t kill enough of them to cause them to turn against me.

I probably will do a “kill all Bobs” run at some point, since that *is* part of the Oath of the Vidmaster, but it really seems almost superfluous on this chapter.

On the topic of Bobs, though, it might be worth changing all the Bobs on this one (and the other Chapter Five levels) to VacBobs. The regular Bobs can’t do a thing against Banshees; the VacBobs at least can damage them with their fusion guns.


“These Caves Can’t Be a Natural Formation”
I think this might’ve taken me a couple tries. There’s one challenging segment after the player drops down that gave me trouble. The rest of the level is really, really easy, and could probably stand to be beefed up in difficulty a bit, with more monster placements added and perhaps the respawn rate raised a bit.

I don’t know if I killed every single enemy in this level; they respawn infinitely, but at a fairly low rate right now. I also don’t recall if any Bobs survived this level. It doesn’t actually feel very sporting to kill them myself given how ridiculously overpowered the gravitronic blades are. In fact, I avoided hurting them when possible purely because the player is so much more powerful by this point than they are. They almost feel like Marathon 1 Bobs to me.

At the end of the video, I just mess around a bit, grenade jumping to a number of locations the player isn’t intended to access. It doesn’t really matter; there aren’t any potential traps that I could find. It looks rather silly, but that’s the only real problem.


“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.

There are two exits from this level. Gameplay spoiler: If you don’t destroy the wires at the end and instead teleport out from the terminal next to them, you’ll go to the levels “Frog Blast the Vent Core”, “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This”, and “The Philosophy of Time Travel” before circling back to this level. If you destroy the wires and return to the beginning of the level, as demonstrated in this film, you teleport out to “This Message Will Self-Destruct”, “We Met Once in the Garden”, “Where Giants Have Fallen”, and then the epilogue. I may at some point record a second film depicting the exit to the failure branch, but for now I’m focusing on vidding other levels. If we make this one a bit more challenging than it is in the current 1.2 beta (which we probably will), I’ll probably try it again.


“Frog Blast the Vent Core”
Got this on the first try, so I think we made it too easy. The only part that was even slightly challenging was before I found the recharger. (For anyone who’s played 1.0 or 1.1, don’t worry; it’ll stay easier than it was in those versions.) Not much to say about it otherwise. I didn’t bother killing the Bobs because it doesn’t feel very sporting to mow them down with the gravitronic blades. It would be like killing M1 Bobs. Even if I’d bothered, I don’t think that would’ve made the level much more difficult. I defeat all other enemies; I don’t think the enemies in this level respawn right now. Perhaps they should, or else we should just add more of them.


“I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This”
Got this on the first try, so I think we made it too easy. The only part that was even slightly challenging was before I found the recharger. (For anyone who’s played 1.0 or 1.1, don’t worry; it’ll stay easier than it was in those versions.) Not much to say about it otherwise. I didn’t bother killing the Bobs because it doesn’t feel very sporting to mow them down with the gravitronic blades. It would be like killing M1 Bobs. Even if I’d bothered, I don’t think that would’ve made the level much more difficult. I defeat all other enemies; I don’t think the enemies in this level respawn right now. Perhaps they should, or else we should just add more of them.

(Observant readers may notice that I copied and pasted the above text from the previous level’s description. This was not an accident; every word of it applies to both levels.)


“The Philosophy of Time Travel”
I got this on the first try, so perhaps it should be beefed up in difficulty a bit from its current status. (For anyone who’s played 1.0 or 1.1, don’t worry; it’s much, much easier in 1.2 right now than it is in either of those versions, and it will remain that way. We’ve just probably overcompensated and made it a bit too easy.)

I don’t think I ever once played any of the failure dream levels without getting lost until a couple of days after I recorded this film. That’s not necessarily a flaw in the level design; it’s a really big level, and I think it might actually be intended to be disorienting. The Trip-O-Vision™ in the dream levels probably doesn’t help on that count either.

Speaking of which, there are some display glitches, mostly with the landscape, which I presume are caused by the player’s widened field of vision. I don’t know how to fix those, or if they can even be fixed, but it’s probably something to keep in mind. They occur occasionally in the success dreams, too, but usually not as conspicuously.


“This Message Will Self-Destruct”
Implemented a few more changes. There’s now a ten-second delay before the Pfhor goo starts to rise, and the W’rkncacnter nightmares respawn at a slightly higher rate (raised from 30% to 40%). I doubt there will need to be many further changes to the level for the final release. I intend to fix the gravitronic blades so that they have practically infinite ammo, but from a look at the physics models, I think I can only give them about four and a half times the amount of shots they currently have without using Lua. (There’s a limit of 32,767 shots per trigger, if memory serves, and each time you swing a blade, it fires 49 “shots”.) I’ll have to write a script for that.

From a gameplay perspective, I fully explore all areas of the level and collect all ammo from defeated enemies, including the stuff that falls under the goo. I kill all the Pfhor, but I leave some Juggernauts and W’rkncacnter nightmares alive because they respawn infinitely. I mostly use the gravitronic blades, though I use the dual fusion guns, the Enforcer scatter gun, and the wave motion cannon a bit as well. I also punch all the switches. There are a couple of close shaves, but for the most part, I didn’t have too much trouble. I think the difficulty is probably fine, though. I’ve gotten to know this level pretty well while testing my changes to it, and it still took me several attempts to make this film.

Overall, great level. Lots of fun, but still pretty challenging. I’ll be surprised if the final version ends up playing much differently from this one.


“We Met Once in the Garden” and “Where Giants Have Fallen”
0:00 - #50 We Met Once in the Garden
24:39 - #51 Where Giants Have Fallen

Testing out a number of changes to “We Met Once in the Garden”, most notably physics changes to the Banshees that makes them a lot less unbalanced and thus a lot less annoying. Previously, their attack outranged the gravitronic blades’ by 0.5 WU, which left the player all but defenceless against them at the outer perimeters of their attacks. This is now altered; the gravitronic blades now actually outrange their attacks by 0.25 WU. They’re still plenty threatening this way, especially in groups of more than two, but they’re no longer Eternal’s equivalent of Rubicon’s Enforcers (i.e., outright unfair to fight).

A couple other changes have been made to their physics beyond that: they can now be harmed by the fusion guns, the shock staff, and the N-cannon (though the fusion guns, the wave motion cannon, and the gravitronic blades deal more damage to them than the shock staff or the N-cannon), and their attacks also deal somewhat less damage (I believe they should deal about 1/5 of a bar of health of damage on Normal and above, rather than more than 1/3). Again, they’re still plenty threatening this way, but not outright *unfair*.

Beyond that, only a few changes to the level. I cut the Banshees’ respawn rate in half and reduced their maximum count from 24 to 21; I slightly reduced the respawn rates of the Nightmares and the Möthrids; I fixed a bug that could trap players at the bottom of the southeastern waterfall; and I made a few minor changes to how the level handles ambient sounds. Overall, I don’t think many further changes need to be made to this level.

From a gameplay standpoint, I kill all the Pfhor and collect all accessible ammo (some appears to be on inaccessible ledges), and I explore the whole level. Because the Banshees, Nightmares, and Möthrids respawn infinitely, I make no effort to defeat them all and fight only the ones necessary to clear the path forward.

I also play “Where Giants Have Fallen”, exploring the level thoroughly and demonstrating multiple methods to climb the mountain while ensuring the only things left alive (if they can be called “alive”) are the orbs. None of the Pfhor, Drones, Juggernauts, Möthrids, or Nightmares have the player marked as an “enemy” in this level, but I hunt down every last one and make sure they’re all dead, anyway. I’m not sure it really matters from a story standpoint, since the ending almost serves as a reset button, but I’ve left enemies alive in so many films of this level that I felt it obligatory to clear the whole thing out once.

Someone really needs to fix the bug in Aleph One with music tracks. I’m sick of “Rushing” by the time I finish “We Met Once in the Garden” (no slur intended against Craig’s excellent remix, but it’s a 1:51 soundtrack for a level that takes almost twenty-five minutes to clear out successfully, and that’s not counting the dozens of times I died); I want to hear “Splash (Marathon)” and nothing else in “Where Giants Have Fallen”.

Not much else to report. “Where Giants Have Fallen” is still way too easy even on TC.


“Where Giants Have Fallen” (standalone)
I discovered only yesterday that I’ve been taking the long way ’round in this level for some ten years. This demonstrates the short path through the level. I’m not sure this is intentional, as it skips some 40% of the level, but it’s the only explanation for part of the level that otherwise never made sense to me.

There’s an odd motion glitch near the end which should probably be fixed.

(AFAIK the W’rk enemies have the player marked as an enemy again here, and I’d probably suggest leaving them that way; it’s too easy when they ignore the player)


(edited to fix links in video descriptions)
Last edited by The Man on Aug 30th '18, 22:56, edited 1 time in total.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 30th '18, 21:42

Thank you for that! I will definitely be referring to this going forward. I don't know when I will find any time to go back to the levels I've already tackled and fix anything left to fix in them though, so if there's any chance you could try touching those up yourself, that'd be awesome.

Monday is Labor Day which means I'll be missing a day I'd otherwise work on Eternal next week, so since I'm a day ahead this week I'm going to try to do Unpfhorseen touchups tonight, and then I won't be touching anything at all until Tuesday night at the earliest.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '18, 22:49

No problem. I’ll try to get around to the chapter one and early chapter two levels over the course of the next week. I want to go through them one last time anyway and make sure all the ambient sounds are to my liking, monster & item impassable polygons are set where they ought to be, etc. I’ll make whatever other fixes I noted at that point.

(I just remembered there are probably still a few misaligned split door textures as well. I think “Roots & Radicals” had one, “Flight of Icarus” had another, and the failure dream had a third. There may have been others.)

ETA: BTW, Dr Sumner pointed out that the appearance rate and minimum count for Banshees somehow got set back to their old values in the current revision of “The Ensurance Trap”. The minimum count should be 0, and I’d set the appearance rate at 30%, though I think we might be able to get away with bumping it up to 50% or even 100% (it looks like I got through “The Manipulated Dead” with little trouble when I’d used those settings on it, but I also barrelled through it as quickly as possible). IDK if you’re still working on the failure dreams, so I’ll let you deal with it.

One other note to myself: when I go through “Eat S’pht and Die”, mark the walls of split polygons as solid and not-transparent.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 31st '18, 05:46

Just documenting what I see when I try to load Eternal from a fresh install using Aleph One 20150907. I also tried the current main build 20150620 and got the same errors:
Image
This is what shows up on first open.
No log entry is created however.

Image
This is what the Eternal Preferences are created as. I tried Durandal as well and it created them in a different format.

When I start a new game it loads the first intro screen and then gets stuck on the "Eternal Loading" screen.

I can't get a screenshot of the error pop-up in AlephOne but this is what the log says:

Code: Select all
fatal alert (ID=-1): Aleph One has used up all available RAM and cannot continue.  Trying giving it more memory, switching to a lower bit-depth or turning off sounds and try again. (csalerts_sdl.cpp:209)
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LegacyTyphoon

Post Aug 31st '18, 07:07

That’s (probably) a known bug with the HD textures plugin on some machines that we haven’t been able to figure out how to fix. It’s probably a MML error of some sort, but I haven’t had time to look into it yet. (I don’t actually fully understand how plugins work in the first place, which doesn’t help.) Disabling the plugin should fix the error, but of course you end up with hideous textures, which are extra hideous in beta 1 for the time being. If it isn’t working for you, I recommend downloading alpha 5, then replacing the map and Eternal-Data/Images folder with the latest versions. You will have to fix a couple of things to make it truly work properly, though:

You’ll also need to change at least one and possibly two lines in the .mml to get the game to look as currently intended. The one you’ll have to change for certain is in Scripts/general.mml:

Code: Select all
   <player stripped="150" oxygen_replenish="1" light="1">


Change this to:

Code: Select all
   <player stripped="150" oxygen_replenish="1" light="0.375">


Without this change, the miner’s light will completely overpower the differential shading in the maps, except at large distances.

The one you may have to change is in Scripts/xhd-walls.mml:

Code: Select all
      <texture coll="19" bitmap="121" normal_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/5Magenta/28.dds"
         offset_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xBumpMaps/28.dds"
         offset_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xBumpMaps/28.dds"
         glow_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xGlowMaps/jjaro-glow.png"
         glow_mask="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xGlowMaps/28glow_mask.png"/>


Delete the third line of this excerpt so that it reads:

Code: Select all
      <texture coll="19" bitmap="121" normal_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/5Magenta/28.dds"
         offset_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xBumpMaps/28.dds"
         glow_image="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xGlowMaps/jjaro-glow.png"
         glow_mask="Eternal-Data/Shapes/Walls/Set3-Jjaro/xGlowMaps/28glow_mask.png"/>


Without this, the Human and Pfhor collections, as well as the last few textures of the Jjaro collection, may not load properly. I’m the only one who’s reported this problem, but it persists on both my Windows and my Mac setups.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Aug 31st '18, 07:16

Plugins are just folders containing an XML file that says what MML file to use, those MML files, and any files those MML files might reference. (Well, they can also contain other things like Lua and such, but the HD Textures plugin is just that). I basically just moved the MML files from Scripts and the texture images from Eternal-Data into a folder together (and had to change some filepaths in the MML to accompany that of course).

The Man wrote:I do wonder what the point of those indestructible wires near the start is.

*shrug* Aesthetics? Some mappers used those here and there throughout the scenario.

Other than that, there are a few ambient sound fixes I noticed; one door in particular needs an ambient sound added to its polygon, and the transitions between the “Pfhor ship” and “night wind” sounds could stand to be a bit smoother if there are enough map objects to make it work.

I tried to fix that stuff up a bit.


Crater Creator wrote:That's odd, the lookers come after me, yet the wasps and drones don't. In fact, nobody attacks me in the big SW room with 2 switches, until I attack them.

Same with most Juggernauts...virtually no one is attacking me.

I think perhaps in the old version he was playing, some monsters had been set to not target the player so that you could be in the midst of that big battle but still survive it. That definitely shouldn't be the case now.

If you look closely, the shots of the Mother of all Hunters come out of its armpit. In other words, the firing position is below where it should be.

I thought I had confirmed that behavior, but upon checking the physics to fix it, it looks like my MOAHs fire from the same offsets as stock M2/Infinity ones do. Is this something that should be changed, or is "good enough for Bungie" good enough? (Or am I missing something?)

Typo: "That last thing I wanted was to have you as my enemy..." That should be The.


"So Hathor will flee, but where to?" "but to where?" would be better.

Fixed these.


RyokoTK wrote: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.

I added two of those, and also put an invincibility powerup that teleports in next to the 3x charger right before you head down into the second half of the level, so that when you first charge down into those halls you can really dive into the melee and see how far you can mow through them before you run out of juice and then have to start hugging the recharger later. Going for a real "go in guns blazing" feel.

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.

I was going to attempt to adjust Enforcer usage in this level, but so far as I can tell they already seem to be used more or less the way he advises. Possibly I already did this back then? Or I'm just not good enough to tell what's good.

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 tried to improve the exterior lighting like I have been for other levels.

I assumed the interior wouldn't need it, but then I got to the interior and ugh it needs it too its like most of this fucking map was just painted with nothing but light 20 and im only halfway through relighting this level after hours and now its past midnight and i have to go to bed so i can do my stupid fucking real job in the morning so i guess ill finish that later

unless anyone feels like finishing that over the weekend for me

There's not much else that can be done about the rest of his complaints without completely scrapping the level.


I also adjusted some monster impassible polygons on Deja Vu to solve the weird enforcer behavior.



everything's up on github now of course
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 31st '18, 07:24

I don’t get what Alex is saying about the lack of sniper weapons apart from the N-Cannon; the dual fusion pistols are great sniper weapons. Of course, there isn’t any fusion ammo in chapters three and four, but “Unpfhorseen” is a chapter two level.

I also honestly found that opening battle manageable even on TC (in fact, I survived it on the first attempt), but then I also found “Where Giants Have Fallen” a lot more manageable than most people did. It’s probably fine to add a couple canisters. Invincibility might be overkill, but on the other hand it might be really fun to just dive in there and spam attacks as much as possible.

The MoAH thing might be different because Eternal uses M1 sprites for the Hunters. Do M1 Hunters perhaps attack from a different position than M2/∞ Hunters? If that’s the case then perhaps we ought to adjust the offsets.

Maybe I’ll look at lighting this weekend, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff I’ve said I was going to do this weekend and I’ve probably already forgotten some of it, so I can’t promise anything.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
User avatar

The Man
Sarasota, FL

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