A Review/Diary of Eternal X

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

Post Mar 9th '08, 07:26

EDIT

By popular request, here are direct links to each part of my review/journal.
Chapter 1 - You are here. Just scroll down.
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

And here's the original text file. The formatting will differ, since it was formatted once as bbcode and once as rich text.
[attachment=3466:Eternal_comments.rtf]

----------
So, I downloaded Eternal X and have been playing through it. What I like to do these days is keep a big long text file of all my thoughts as I'm playing. General comments, specific bugs, and sometimes a ramble about the plot. Because I tend to write volumes of text, I thought I'd make a separate thread. I'm playing Eternal 10.0.1, and I've never played Eternal before, so I have no pre-existing opinions or knowledge of the scenario.

Let's get started, then. Here are my notes from Chapter 1.

----------
Prologue & Chapter 1

The first thing I notice is there are no interface options to adjust the crosshairs, even when using the default theme. That's a problem with Aleph One, not Eternal, but it should be added back in to the engine, because messing with your preferences file in a text editor is much less convenient.

The Far Side of Nowhere

This map was big, bleak, and dreary. The first terminal has good information but is super long. The map didn't provide good clues on where to go next, so if I didn't have high expectations for future levels, I might have gotten bored and given up. I mean, atmosphere is great, but it's a game: it still needs to be fun. The central hourglass of liquidy stuff looked nice.

Deja Vu All Over Again

As a suggestion, if Hathor's software is still mostly contained within the player, the player might get information (e.g. terminal text) without having to log onto a terminal console. We did this a few times in EMR, using lua.

Your hand changes sizes noticeably between your fists and the shock staff.

The S'pht compiler bolts look great! In fact, all the high-res projectiles look much better.

The textures only show a passing resemblance to the Marathon. Let's see if that's explained later in the game...

Though the player is coming from the future, I expected an explanation that the Enforcer weapon had been studied and analyzed, before it appeared as a 'normal' weapon with a proper name and working ammo counter in your HUD.

You may want to re-assess weapon balance. In this one level, I've picked up over 30 staff charges, and each clip lasts for a really long time.

Septococcal Pfhoryngitis

So far the music is excellent, building on existing themes in Marathon while being unique and mood-setting.

You 'breathe in' through the left speaker, and 'breathe out' through the right speaker. I love the little touches like that.

The wasps and lookers are notably smaller, which I like. In the NW corner there's a big light on the ceiling shaped like the Marathon logo, and the wasps flitter around it just like real insects. That's great.

I'm disappointed the ceiling lights and standing lights can't be destroyed. They were undestroyable in Infinity, but Bungie made destroyed sprites for them anyway.

Dysmentria

Whoa, some of the best Pfhor set textures I've seen. Though maybe I'm just happy to see some COLOR at last [MSmile] .

The Enforcers punch you. Too bad there isn't an accompanying animation.

The shock staff can push enemies over ten yards back; even hunters go flying.

I really get the sense that the Enforcers out-rank the fighters, because they get a better weapon, something I didn't get from the original games.

Hmm, Troopers still drop a weapon even when killed with grenades. Usually explosives destroy a monster and his weapon.

My overall impression is, what a fun, pretty, well designed level. Now let's see why I was sent into the Pfhor ship...

Sakhmet Rising

One thing that may or may not be worth fixing: if you use 3rd person view, you see the player is still holding the old weapons: the Trooper rifle looks like a flamethrower etc.

The game crashed shortly after command-entering back into fullscreen, just after the framerate recovered from loading the textures in again. The log is recorded in Eternal Crash 1.log.

What a contrast in Tycho's demeanor and outlook compared to his later, rampant state. Though I also have to wonder if he timed his message to me to take just long enough to read that I'm in danger of suffocating [MSmile] .

glitch: The switch controlling platform 322 doesn't light up when activated.

Unwired

So, it seems the scenario is nonlinear. I hope I have time to examine the replay value. It's also clear now that Hathor used to be a Battleroid before she became an AI: I look forward to seeing how that came about.

I notice the S'pht compilers also have a gray color table. I think gray is overused in Marathon scenarios; it's the lazy way to make a new color table.

It's sometimes evident what photoshop filters you've used to enhance the textures. For instance, a number of textures seem 'fuzzy' which, while detailed, doesn't really feel right.

Durandal says he's apathetic about humanity one way or the other. I don't think that's accurate: he speaks multiple times in the original games about what he does or doesn't owe the humanity that created him.

It seems odd that I hear wind and loons inside the Marathon.

The area around polygon 138, once you get the platforms running, is actually enough to drop my framerate from 30 to 20. Now's as good a time as any to say I'm playing on a 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro. 20 frames per second is playable for me, but on lower hardware that could get down to unplayable rates. I'll have to experiment with mipmap settings to see if that helps.

By late in this level, I'm coming around to the idea that the shock staff is your 'workhorse' weapon, with nearly unlimited ammo, but it isn't the best weapon. Another thing that occurs to me is that you can stun enemies for a good 2 seconds with one hit, making the name "shock" staff appropriate.

Gee, too bad the hunters don't drop they shoulder cannons as a useable weapon, but I don't hold it against the scenario that they don't.

Shouldn't the gray mothers-of-all-hunters always explode, like in the original games?

The shock staff weapon-in-hand sprites could really use a facelift. A dithering pattern is very apparent.

I would've liked to see an animation for the Hunter punching you. C'mon, they've got these big sharp stabby arms; put them to good use [MSmile]

A small typo: "There no way to even try to access it." should be "There is" or "There's"

And in conclusion...my gosh this level was enormous. Are they all going to be this long? [MSmile]

Roots and Radicals

Whoa, that 'radar screen' looks awesome. Very clever, very convincing.

Hmm, I didn't think there were fusion BoBs on the Marathon...

Heh. I fired grenades into the circular room with 4 switches instead of taking the teleporter first.

The fact that the battle rages endlessly in this level makes for an almost comical number of Trooper rifles littering the ground, enough to slow the game down.

Oh no you don't...I purposefully didn't pick up Durandal's primal pattern. I wanted to ignore him and continue following Hathor, hoping for a branching storyline. But Hathor still acts all hurt as if I'd betrayed her. It seems I have no choice but to switch sides, but it was presented as if I did have a choice.

I do like the concept that the battle rages on, while the player rises above it with better things to do, very much.

The Tangent Universe

Hmm, where am I? When am I? Why is my helmet display different (i.e. extravision)? I sure hope I don't have to fight anything while under the trip-o-vision [MSmile] .

Shouldn't the 'outdoor' lighting for this level reflect the giant sun shining from the west?

Hmm. These 2 MADDs open up an airlock to come in, yet I still don't start using oxygen. I think that could be changed dynamically with lua.

Sakhmet Rising

This map crashed on me the second time around, too. See Eternal Crash 2.log.

If this is indeed the exact same level, and not a different copy of it a la the Electric Sheep levels, then that was exquisite. That was masterful. Not just a single level to indicate the path was a dead end, but a huge, significant chunk of the game dedicated to what is a dead end. And by going to the actual same level, it really feels like you're going back in time, moreso than in Infinity. I love it.

Once you play this level the 'right' way, it ends up having a G-4 Sunbathing feel to it: running back and forth in vacuum hitting switches in a radial-shaped area of the ship.

The moon in the landscape appears to have an atmosphere. Did we colonize the moon? And if so, shouldn't there be some green on there?

Core Done Blew

Gah, atrocious pun! :P

This map has a lot of solid panes of glass. I would've used a semitransparent texture to make it obvious which openings have glass.

The fog was quite effective. For the first time I can recall in an Aleph One map, the fog wasn't oppressively dense, yet it still obscured far-off parts of the map I presume the mapmaker didn't want me to see.

Hathor migrates over to Tycho's core to avoid her own destruction. Her logic, presumedly, is that Tycho wouldn't want to kill himself. Yet Tycho dismisses any need for self-preservation almost immediately, in the same terminal. On the one hand, it makes Hathor more human to assume Tycho wouldn't be willing to die. But on the other hand, Hathor is an A.I. that is on par with Tycho, probably superior given the advantage of her ability to time travel. So we would expect her to anticipate Tycho's quick decision that he is expendable.

Heart of Fusion

Well, I managed to get myself stuck. I had the bright idea of waiting until the 2 troopers around polygon 831 opened the door while I waited in the room to the west that overlooks that area. Then I lobbed grenades to hit the switch in front of polygon 842. How clever I thought I was...until my grenades hit the switch twice, raising the platform just enough to block my exit from the shaft, and killed the troopers so they couldn't open the door again. Thank goodness I didn't save after that!

"Welcome to my mind." That makes me laugh [MLaugh] .

The end of this level really drives home the fact that Durandal and Tycho are modeled after the same Traxus template. It's curious just how similar their architectures are, though, since Tycho said this area of the ship had been repurposed many times.

I think the problem I have with the textures isn't too much gray, per se. It's that most textures are monochromatic. That is, they use only one, occasionally two hues for the entire texture. If it had more variety, I think I wouldn't mind the mutedness as much.

I'm confused from the terminal text on what this Cybernetic Junction is, and what you need to use one.

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

Boy, this level is killing my framerate, now down to 15 fps.

I'm anticipating by now that whenever there's a level with permanent extravision, it indicates no combat (I really hope!), and it's a 'failed future' ending.

Nice to see someone else making use of multiple landscape images per level.
----------

Chapter 2 comments coming whenever I finish it.
Attachments

[The extension rtf has been deactivated and can no longer be displayed.]

Last edited by Crater Creator on Jan 2nd '10, 03:53, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

Crater Creator

Post Mar 9th '08, 08:18

Maybe you meant to post this on the Eternal Story Forums? ;)

Seriously though, the ability to adjust the crosshairs in the interface isn't in the current alephone release. But it should be in there for the next release, as far as I know.
User avatar

Wrkncacnter

Post Mar 9th '08, 08:33

Crater Creator wrote:So, I downloaded Eternal X and have been playing through it. What I like to do these days is keep a big long text file of all my thoughts as I'm playing. General comments, specific bugs, and sometimes a ramble about the plot. Because I tend to write volumes of text, I thought I'd make a separate thread. I'm playing Eternal 10.0.1, and I've never played Eternal before, so I have no pre-existing opinions or knowledge of the scenario.

Let's get started, then. Here are my notes from Chapter 1.


Ooh this is awesome, I love this sort of thing! Thank you so much :-)

GRR... there's a limit to the number of quotes allowed? Fine... your text goes in bold then...


The Far Side of Nowhere
This map was big, bleak, and dreary.

Is that a good thing, or at lease acceptable? Cause it was intentional - the feeling I was going for was "cold and dead".

Deja Vu All Over Again
As a suggestion, if Hathor's software is still mostly contained within the player, the player might get information (e.g. terminal text) without having to log onto a terminal console. We did this a few times in EMR, using lua.

There used to be a longer exit terminal on Far Side, a sort of fouth-wall-preserving newbie's guide to Marathon, which explained why you need to use terminals. But the text on that level was too long already, so I cut down that last terminal a lot.


Your hand changes sizes noticeably between your fists and the shock staff.

Yeah, that's a known problem, but all the weapon graphics are being completely replaced in Eternal X Omega, so for now it's just a known problem...

The S'pht compiler bolts look great! In fact, all the high-res projectiles look much better.
That's just James Hastings-Trew's "shots fired" package, integrated (with permission) into Eternal, but it's available for M2/Infinity too. The only significant difference is that my seeking compiler bolts are green with golden tails, which was a happy accident.

The textures only show a passing resemblance to the Marathon. Let's see if that's explained later in the game...
I'll spoil it for you: there's no explanation. This is just my reenvisioning of the Marathon. Then again, Eternal Ch1 takes place almost entirely inside of Engineering, which we didn't see much if any of in the original Marathon.

Though the player is coming from the future, I expected an explanation that the Enforcer weapon had been studied and analyzed, before it appeared as a 'normal' weapon with a proper name and working ammo counter in your HUD.
That information also used to be in the longer end terminal on Far Side, and will again be featured in some sort of players guide or wiki or documentation of some sort, soon hopefully.

You may want to re-assess weapon balance. In this one level, I've picked up over 30 staff charges, and each clip lasts for a really long time.
Already fixed in 1.0.3.

Septococcal Pfhoryngitis
So far the music is excellent, building on existing themes in Marathon while being unique and mood-setting.

Craig Hardgrove rocks.

You 'breathe in' through the left speaker, and 'breathe out' through the right speaker. I love the little touches like that.
Apparently I rock too. (I made that sound).

I'm disappointed the ceiling lights and standing lights can't be destroyed. They were undestroyable in Infinity, but Bungie made destroyed sprites for them anyway.
Hmm... I should put that on my to-do list for Omega.

The Enforcers punch you. Too bad there isn't an accompanying animation.
Hmm, it should use the same firing animation minus the muzzle flash frame. Smacking you with the barrel of their gun.

Hmm, Troopers still drop a weapon even when killed with grenades. Usually explosives destroy a monster and his weapon.
That's because Troopers never had a Hard Death sequence; you just couldn't tell before, cause they never dropped anything. Chalk it up to their armor and weapons being just that beefy.

My overall impression is, what a fun, pretty, well designed level. Now let's see why I was sent into the Pfhor ship...
What, no sense of panic? Not even with the fast-paced music? Also: Goran Svensson rocks.

Sakhmet Rising
One thing that may or may not be worth fixing: if you use 3rd person view, you see the player is still holding the old weapons: the Trooper rifle looks like a flamethrower etc.

That is also being fixed in Omega. All new player and weapon graphics, for exactly that reason.

Unwired
So, it seems the scenario is nonlinear. I hope I have time to examine the replay value. It's also clear now that Hathor used to be a Battleroid before she became an AI: I look forward to seeing how that came about.

Actually that was described in the opening terminal on Far Side already.

I notice the S'pht compilers also have a gray color table. I think gray is overused in Marathon scenarios; it's the lazy way to make a new color table.
If you're very attentive you'll note that none of the color tables anywhere are quite the same. Everything has been fiddled with ever so slightly to fit the hue-angle 30-120-210-300 tetrad which is the basis of Eternal's color scheme.

Durandal says he's apathetic about humanity one way or the other. I don't think that's accurate: he speaks multiple times in the original games about what he does or doesn't owe the humanity that created him.
But that's later, when he's powerful enough that he can admit such sentiments. Right now, he's just Angry.

It seems odd that I hear wind and loons inside the Marathon.
Those are actually in the music, not the game :-)

Shouldn't the gray mothers-of-all-hunters always explode, like in the original games?
Hmm good catch. I dunno, you think they should?

The shock staff weapon-in-hand sprites could really use a facelift. A dithering pattern is very apparent.
Omega is coming.

I would've liked to see an animation for the Hunter punching you. C'mon, they've got these big sharp stabby arms; put them to good use [MSmile]
Like the Enforcers, they should be using the same firing sequence minus the muzzle flash. The body-check you (shoulder-punch), not actually punch you. Though if they could punch like Halo hunters, that would be damn awesome...

A small typo: "There no way to even try to access it." should be "There is" or "There's"
Good catch...


Hmm, I didn't think there were fusion BoBs on the Marathon...

I took creative liberties; figured, vacuum suits are no big deal, and they had fusion guns (we got one of them, didn't we?), so they could very well have some elite security units armed with fusion guns and vacuum armor. We just didn't see them in M1, just like we never saw anyone else with a gun in M1...

Oh no you don't...I purposefully didn't pick up Durandal's primal pattern. I wanted to ignore him and continue following Hathor, hoping for a branching storyline. But Hathor still acts all hurt as if I'd betrayed her. It seems I have no choice but to switch sides, but it was presented as if I did have a choice.
Yeah, that was an oversight I should do something about. It didn't occur to me that you could beat the game without walking over the chip, by using grenades as I presume you did. Not sure what to do about it though, other than beaming you in on top of the chip...

Shouldn't the 'outdoor' lighting for this level reflect the giant sun shining from the west?
Hmm I'll have to take a look at that...

Hmm. These 2 MADDs open up an airlock to come in, yet I still don't start using oxygen. I think that could be changed dynamically with lua.
MADDs come in from outside? Where?

If this is indeed the exact same level, and not a different copy of it a la the Electric Sheep levels, then that was exquisite. That was masterful. Not just a single level to indicate the path was a dead end, but a huge, significant chunk of the game dedicated to what is a dead end. And by going to the actual same level, it really feels like you're going back in time, moreso than in Infinity. I love it.
Yay! Somebody else who likes that idea. So far I've gotten nothing but grief for it - "you wasted me time playing three dead-end levels!", "what do I have to do to beat Tangent Universe without getting sent back? what? I HAVE to play Sakhmet Rising again?", etc. I thought Infinity's time travel was far more confusing, and tried to make Eternal's more realistic. I'm so glad you like it.

Once you play this level the 'right' way, it ends up having a G-4 Sunbathing feel to it: running back and forth in vacuum hitting switches in a radial-shaped area of the ship.
The original name for this level was "G3 Moontanning" :-)

The moon in the landscape appears to have an atmosphere. Did we colonize the moon? And if so, shouldn't there be some green on there?
That's actually Tau Ceti IV (actually it's a photoshopped picture of Mars, but lets pretend we don't know that). Marathon is the moon in orbit around it (remember, it used to be a Martian moon). And Tau Ceti IV is colonized, of course. Also, the entire thing is green - what color does it look to you? (It's supposed to look like a rocky planet covered in primitize lichens and algae, the early stages of teraforming).

Core Done Blew
Gah, atrocious pun! :P

Blame Bill Wilkinson, who came up with it. (Though the map is by Adam Ashwell, and was originally called "I Can't Believe It's Not Total Carnage!"). Then again, I love puns...

The fog was quite effective. For the first time I can recall in an Aleph One map, the fog wasn't oppressively dense, yet it still obscured far-off parts of the map I presume the mapmaker didn't want me to see.
Septococcal Pfhoryngitis and Unwired use the same fog; did they work well there? (Then again Core Done Blew is big enough that the fog can actually obscure things in the distance).

Hathor migrates over to Tycho's core to avoid her own destruction. Her logic, presumedly, is that Tycho wouldn't want to kill himself. Yet Tycho dismisses any need for self-preservation almost immediately, in the same terminal. On the one hand, it makes Hathor more human to assume Tycho wouldn't be willing to die. But on the other hand, Hathor is an A.I. that is on par with Tycho, probably superior given the advantage of her ability to time travel. So we would expect her to anticipate Tycho's quick decision that he is expendable.
Hathor may be a disembodied digital intelligence, but she is in no way artificially intelligent. She's as human in her thoughts as she ever was, and as a former human, and a particularly emotional one at that, she is still severly hampered by human cognitive patterns. Her humanly personality is a major plot-driver throughout the scenario.

Heart of Fusion
Well, I managed to get myself stuck. I had the bright idea of waiting until the 2 troopers around polygon 831 opened the door while I waited in the room to the west that overlooks that area. Then I lobbed grenades to hit the switch in front of polygon 842. How clever I thought I was...until my grenades hit the switch twice, raising the platform just enough to block my exit from the shaft, and killed the troopers so they couldn't open the door again. Thank goodness I didn't save after that!

Eek! I shall have to investigate that.

The end of this level really drives home the fact that Durandal and Tycho are modeled after the same Traxus template. It's curious just how similar their architectures are, though, since Tycho said this area of the ship had been repurposed many times.
That's more in reference to the surrounding areas than to the interior of their cores (and it's actually a remnant of a barely-fourth-wall-preserving "sorry this map sucks" comment from me from an earlier version of this map which HAD been repurposed many times and was quite a mess).

I'm confused from the terminal text on what this Cybernetic Junction is, and what you need to use one.
See the first terminal on the prologue again. A Cybernetic Junction is what Thoth called an "ansible", what the Infinity epilogue called "machines your builders did not understand", and if you'll remember an obscure terminal from M2 (from which the name was taken), one of them was once foolishly implanted into a Drinniol test subject, inciting the worst slave rebellion in Pfhor history. (Now that, kids, is called foreshadowing...). The techs in the early 30th century call it your "surrogate soul". It was the pinnacle of Jjaro technology and holds the secrets to the manipulation of space and time. It is what makes time travel (and the warping of entire planetoids across the galaxy) possible.

To Sleep Perchance To Dream
Boy, this level is killing my framerate, now down to 15 fps.

Yeah... biggest, most complex single room in Marathon history. Really pushes things to their limits. Adam Ashwell rocks. Just wait until you have to go back up the mountain...

I'm anticipating by now that whenever there's a level with permanent extravision, it indicates no combat (I really hope!), and it's a 'failed future' ending.
Hmm no promises about the absence of combat, but you're close with your assumption. Not always a 'failed future' ending, but something like that... if I were remaking Infinity, the "Electric Sheep" levels, "Where Are Monsters In Dreams" et al, and "Carroll Street Station" et al, would all be hinted with extravision like that.

Chapter 2 comments coming whenever I finish it.

I await with baited breath!
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Mar 9th '08, 08:38

[edit] This reply was intended to respond to W'rkncacnter's post. Forrest got in while I was posting. [/edit]

I'm still getting a feel for where the Pfhorums fit in among the story page forums, the A1 development mailing list, and everything else. But this seemed like the right place to post.

Incidentally, I did a Volunteers-style journal of Marathon 2, which I've been thinking about posting here and/or at the story page forums. But I don't want to derail this thread.
Last edited by Crater Creator on Mar 9th '08, 08:55, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

Crater Creator

Post Mar 9th '08, 12:58

Crater Creator wrote:The first thing I notice is there are no interface options to adjust the crosshairs, even when using the default theme. That's a problem with Aleph One, not Eternal, but it should be added back in to the engine, because messing with your preferences file in a text editor is much less convenient.

Spazeroid.
User avatar

treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Mar 9th '08, 15:42

Crater Creator wrote:The first thing I notice is there are no interface options to adjust the crosshairs, even when using the default theme

This reminded me about something. Pfhorrest, I don't know if you missed the blurb in one of my earlier bug reports, but the zoom function is excruciatingly slow to work. Not that I use it, but I figured that I might as well test it, and am glad I did. I don't know if you've tried to fix it, but whatever you've done hasn't worked.
Can't speel for hist.
Phortiphy

Post Mar 9th '08, 21:27

And thank you for affirming this depth of feedback is desirable. I worry that I'm droning on too long otherwise [MSmile]

The Far Side of Nowhere
This map was big, bleak, and dreary.

Is that a good thing, or at lease acceptable? Cause it was intentional - the feeling I was going for was "cold and dead".

Honestly, no, it's not a good thing. The problem is you want people to play your game, both people like me who think Infinity gets better on every playthrough, and Halo fanboys with ADD. Maybe not that extreme, but the game has to draw you in immediately, make you crave more. I'm sorry to say I didn't get that feeling that "wow, this is cool and I want to play more" until I was sent to Sahkmet Rising the second time. To someone who doesn't know anything about Eternal, this first level can come off as coming from a mapmaker that doesn't understand how to make a level that's interesting, makes good use of space, and is visually engaging. So what I'm trying to say is, you executed the style you were going for very well, but I don't think it was wise to go for that style in the first place for your first level.

So what can you do? If it were me, I might use the new tools Aleph One gives you. Here's a radical idea: replace some or all of the map with a cutscene. You can use lua to move the camera around cinematically. Radical idea #2: accompany a cutscene with a voiceover. This lets you communicate the text you need to get across, which is pretty lengthy, in a way that's more interesting than reading a long terminal.

I know where you're coming from, with a lot of information to get across that's relevant and complementary by itself, but you have to do something because it's a game and not a novel. But I don't have any great solutions you haven't already thought of (split it into more terminals, push it into another level, cut & paste it to out-of-game documentation), with the exception of the cutscene idea.

Durandal says he's apathetic about humanity one way or the other. I don't think that's accurate: he speaks multiple times in the original games about what he does or doesn't owe the humanity that created him.
But that's later, when he's powerful enough that he can admit such sentiments. Right now, he's just Angry.

I suppose. It just felt...jarring. This is not the Durandal I know. I felt the same way about Tycho's demeanor, though Tycho's character didn't really develop until Marathon 2. Angry, though? That's not the right stage for an indifferent Durandal. To quote wikipedia, "Unique for each AI, the anger stage is reached when it feels it has been "pushed too far". Similar to a one-person slave rebellion, the AI begins to hate everything â?? the installation it is attached to, its human handlers, other AIs, etc." Durandal in the Angry stage would have a definite preference for humanity perishing.

It seems odd that I hear wind and loons inside the Marathon.
Those are actually in the music, not the game :-)

Are you sure? They seemed to be confined to the large central area.

Shouldn't the gray mothers-of-all-hunters always explode, like in the original games?
Hmm good catch. I dunno, you think they should?

It's not a big deal. I would say in the absence of a reason to do something one way or the other (like, perhaps your concept of a MoaH is more like a third rank of hunter, instead of a special boss-like enemy like in the original games), the default behavior should be what happened in the original games, which in this case would be MoaHs always exploding.

Oh no you don't...I purposefully didn't pick up Durandal's primal pattern. I wanted to ignore him and continue following Hathor, hoping for a branching storyline. But Hathor still acts all hurt as if I'd betrayed her. It seems I have no choice but to switch sides, but it was presented as if I did have a choice.
Yeah, that was an oversight I should do something about. It didn't occur to me that you could beat the game without walking over the chip, by using grenades as I presume you did. Not sure what to do about it though, other than beaming you in on top of the chip...

No grenades necessary, I just carefully stepped around it. Unfortunately it would also seem cheap to funnel the player so he has to pick it up. I'll try to think of a better way.

Hmm. These 2 MADDs open up an airlock to come in, yet I still don't start using oxygen. I think that could be changed dynamically with lua.
MADDs come in from outside? Where?

There's an area with 2 big square shallow windows, each sealed from the outside by a door that splits in the middle. The right one of these opened up on its own, and in came a pair of MADDs, giving the appearance they came inside through an airlock. The left door is controllable via a switch.

If this is indeed the exact same level, and not a different copy of it a la the Electric Sheep levels, then that was exquisite. That was masterful. Not just a single level to indicate the path was a dead end, but a huge, significant chunk of the game dedicated to what is a dead end. And by going to the actual same level, it really feels like you're going back in time, moreso than in Infinity. I love it.
Yay! Somebody else who likes that idea. So far I've gotten nothing but grief for it - "you wasted me time playing three dead-end levels!", "what do I have to do to beat Tangent Universe without getting sent back? what? I HAVE to play Sakhmet Rising again?", etc. I thought Infinity's time travel was far more confusing, and tried to make Eternal's more realistic. I'm so glad you like it.

I can see how some people would hate going down such a long dead end. People say they want a nonlinear storyline without realizing what that really means: you have to play more than once to see everything, or you have to do over some parts in the case of a 'looping' storyline. Two things about Infinity: first, the dead end levels were hard to get to. You weren't supposed to go to those levels; you had to purposefully go the wrong way, for no discernible reason. And secondly, the dead ends were only one level, and after that dead end level you went on to a level you hadn't been to before. I didn't really realize what a difference it makes to actually play through the same level again, until playing Eternal. As I said earlier, that was the first point when I thought "wow, this game stays true to the intriguing time travel concepts raised in Infinity, and it actually does a better job than Infinity did. I can't wait to keep going!"

But you don't have to do Sakhmet Rising twice, right? Part of being nonlinear is actually having the choice. I made the 'wrong' choice, since I ended up at a failed future level, but it was my choice to make, and I got to go back and choose again. I thought I was making the right choice at the time, which means the writer successfully steered me in the direction he wanted without forcing me [MUp] .

I'm weird that way, though: oftentimes in games I'll make sure I go the wrong way, because the right way is the shortest path, and if someone took the time to make a wrong way, I want to see what it looks like, darnit! [MWuh]

The moon in the landscape appears to have an atmosphere. Did we colonize the moon? And if so, shouldn't there be some green on there?
That's actually Tau Ceti IV (actually it's a photoshopped picture of Mars, but lets pretend we don't know that). Marathon is the moon in orbit around it (remember, it used to be a Martian moon). And Tau Ceti IV is colonized, of course. Also, the entire thing is green - what color does it look to you? (It's supposed to look like a rocky planet covered in primitize lichens and algae, the early stages of teraforming).

The intro text said I am, for as-yet-unexplained reasons, orbitting a destroyed planet Earth. I assumed it happened to be a very high orbit that was actually closer to the Moon than the Earth, and that's why the Moon dominates the landscape image. Reading it again, I see that text was describing my surroundings before the first time jump.

It does have a tinge of green, but I was ready to chalk that up to perception or atmospheric filtering or the glass on the ceiling of the ship or whatever. I think for a slightly terraformed look, I would put in faint, yet distinct lines of blue/cyan, with green fuzz around the edges. Plants would coalesce where the water is, not slowly grow ubiquitously all over the planet to give it a uniform color.

The fog was quite effective. For the first time I can recall in an Aleph One map, the fog wasn't oppressively dense, yet it still obscured far-off parts of the map I presume the mapmaker didn't want me to see.
Septococcal Pfhoryngitis and Unwired use the same fog; did they work well there? (Then again Core Done Blew is big enough that the fog can actually obscure things in the distance).

I'd have to look again; I honestly didn't notice the fog until this level.

To Sleep Perchance To Dream
Boy, this level is killing my framerate, now down to 15 fps.

Yeah... biggest, most complex single room in Marathon history. Really pushes things to their limits. Adam Ashwell rocks. Just wait until you have to go back up the mountain...

Well...killing the framerate is not a good goal [MTongue] . And this is coming from a guy who likes to do things like use 100 polygons for one hallway and fill Forge's grid from edge to edge. I suspect there are several of those diamond-shaped polygons that the player can never get onto, which could be made into negative space to significantly boost performance.
User avatar

Crater Creator

Post Mar 9th '08, 22:21

I can see how some people would hate going down such a long dead end. People say they want a nonlinear storyline without realizing what that really means: you have to play more than once to see everything, or you have to do over some parts in the case of a 'looping' storyline.
It's funny that you can bring this up with a straight face after saying this:

The problem is you want people to play your game, both people like me who think Infinity gets better on every playthrough, and Halo fanboys with ADD.


It may make sense storyline-wise to punish the main character by making a bad choice, and it may make sense storyline-wise to have the main character travel back in time to a previous level, but at the end of the day I don't want to play a level more than once unwillingly, especially if the level is exactly the same and especially if it's as easy to take the wrong path as it is in Eternal.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Mar 10th '08, 00:40

Then I guess the best thing to do would be to wait for a spoiler guide. I don't see it as punishment. If I saw playing through Marathon levels as punishment, I wouldn't play in the first place. Playing through the same level again can be boring. But Sakhmet Rising wasn't that hard a level, and if you made the wrong choice, you were only on the level for about 10 minutes anyway.
User avatar

Crater Creator

Post Mar 10th '08, 01:13

Eternal branches off in five places like that. Sakhmet Rising is not a hard or arduous level, but some of the later ones are and I don't especially want to play through them once, let alone twice if I make a bad decision.

And I meant it as punishment from a plot perspective, as that's what it is: you make a bad decision and reap the negative consequences.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Mar 10th '08, 13:26

RyokoTK wrote:Eternal branches off in five places like that. Sakhmet Rising is not a hard or arduous level, but some of the later ones are and I don't especially want to play through them once, let alone twice if I make a bad decision.

And I meant it as punishment from a plot perspective, as that's what it is: you make a bad decision and reap the negative consequences.

Sometimes it's hard to tell, though. Or the "right" choice is hard to find. [spoiler]In dread not, I think was the level name, once you placed the chips but then saw that it was Hathor, it was hard to find the right terminal. Took me forever to think of the other one (because Hathor had already spoken through it, so I assumed it was under her control), I was looking for an opened passage or something of the sort. [/spoiler]
Can't speel for hist.
Phortiphy

Post Mar 10th '08, 14:20

I don't mind the loops at all, especially since I really enjoyed them from a story-telling point of view. I really think it would be friendly to give players some warning, though. Eternal should have a readme, anyway, and Forrest could add a sentence like "This is a time-travel story, and if you go back in time and don't do something differently, you may be caught in loop."

The slow start to the game doesn't bother me either, I thought The Far Side of Nowhere was suspenseful. I wish, though, that the elevator ride down into the city at the start of the level gave you a better view. It could be a great reveal, iho, much more dramatic than just staring at the wall on your way down.
Last edited by Elderman on Mar 10th '08, 14:24, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

Elderman

Post Mar 11th '08, 10:35

I haven't reached the abovementioned destinations yet, as I've just started the scenario, but wouldn't you, if you go back to the exact same level as before, meet yourself?
User avatar

Khnud
Sweden

Post Mar 11th '08, 14:08

No because you go into an alternate universe that looks exactly the same as well. Those Jjaro are crafty.
Volcanon

Post Mar 12th '08, 00:20

Volcanon wrote:No because you go into an alternate universe that looks exactly the same as well. Those Jjaro are crafty.

I read a book once where every time a ship went into light-speed travel, it went into a whole new universe, almost the same as the last one but one tiny difference that kept building up. Good book.
Can't speel for hist.
Phortiphy

Post Mar 12th '08, 11:40

Volcanon wrote:No because you go into an alternate universe that looks exactly the same as well. Those Jjaro are crafty.

Hmm, but on "Deja Vu All Over Again" I'm being told that my former self is en route from the colony at the same moment. So no alternative universe there.
User avatar

Khnud
Sweden

Post Mar 12th '08, 13:25

Hmm, but on "Deja Vu All Over Again" I'm being told that my former self is en route from the colony at the same moment. So no alternative universe there.


Yeah, your former self from Marathon 1.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Mar 12th '08, 14:59

Khnud wrote:Hmm, but on "Deja Vu All Over Again" I'm being told that my former self is en route from the colony at the same moment. So no alternative universe there.


I guess you didn't realize I was bullshitting you.
Volcanon

Post Mar 12th '08, 16:46

Volcanon wrote:I guess you didn't realize I was bullshitting you.

Neither did I. D:
Can't speel for hist.
Phortiphy

Post Mar 12th '08, 16:57

Sometimes you physically transport back in time, like when you jump between chapter. In those cases, you *could* run into your past self.

Other times you just rewind time, back to a previous moment, and take a different path; kind of like reverting to a saved game. In those cases, you would not run into your past self.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Mar 15th '08, 13:49

Alright, after playing "Roots and Radicals" I now have over 700 clips and grenades for the trooper rifle. Surely this isn't intentional?
User avatar

Khnud
Sweden

Post Mar 15th '08, 20:27

Khnud wrote:Alright, after playing "Roots and Radicals" I now have over 700 clips and grenades for the trooper rifle. Surely this isn't intentional?

It's not my fault there's no ammo limit on Total Carnage. All other difficulties cap you out at 49 max.

It used to be you couldn't carry ammo at all, you just had to find another weapon to use, but people didn't like that.

I don't think it's a big problem that you can have tons of ammo. It's better than having too little...
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Mar 16th '08, 02:28

a thing that buged me in this game was that I finished a level then I got sent back to a dream level and had to do all the levels over and over again I just gave up and then I found out how to pick any level on the pc and I had to skip the 3 level's I was stuck on it mad me mad that I had to do that. Does any one know y the game did that?

But man I loved every thing else the music was awsome and I loved all the cool new weapons and stuff. a most exellent game [MGrin]
User avatar

Andrew

Post Mar 16th '08, 13:14

Andrew wrote:a thing that buged me in this game was that I finished a level then I got sent back to a dream level and had to do all the levels over and over again I just gave up and then I found out how to pick any level on the pc and I had to skip the 3 level's I was stuck on it mad me mad that I had to do that. Does any one know y the game did that?

I suggest you pay closer attention to the terminals next time, and find out for yourself how to solve the levels where, if you fail, you are sent to a different reality.

Forrest: A workaround might be merging a custom physics model on that particular level, where troopers don't drop any ammo. Or have hunters teleport in instead.
User avatar

Khnud
Sweden

Post Mar 16th '08, 15:21

Eternal X is just fine.

If anything I'd change, I would have updated the Wrk's look.
It was very... odd. I wont spoil anything but Wtf.

When this is all over there should be a topic concerning Eternal's ending. I dont understand, did I win?
MoppyPuppy
Lake Nebagamon, WI

Next

Return to Marathon Discussion



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users