Eternal X 1.2

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Re: Eternal X 1.2

Post May 6th '19, 05:10

Thanks. I’m not going to rush to complete it overnight or anything; I’m probably going to be fairly busy myself the next couple of weeks. I think the version of “Core Done Blew” I posted a couple days ago can probably just be slotted in as is; I don’t know if anyone made any further changes to the level after I did, but it doesn’t look like it. Other than that, I think the only things worth changing for 1.2.1 are “Unwired” and the “S’pht’ia” trap I noted above. The rest of my planned changes can wait until 1.3; I suspect upwards of 95% of the work is already done for all three of those, though, so I’d prefer to have them out sooner rather than later.

Upon further examination, I can’t tell why the Wasps seem so much smaller in Eternal. The scale factor appears to be the same between Eternal, M1A1, Rubicon, and Chronicles, but they definitely seem smaller in Eternal. It appears that they move significantly faster in Eternal, so they might just seem smaller because their speed makes them a lot more difficult to hit.
“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 May 7th '19, 22:38

I feel as though I owe an explanation for why I reacted so harshly above. I don’t know if I can provide one that will make sense to anyone else, because it seems that I’ve been subject to several other misreadings as well, but it’s apparent by now that I’m going to keep obsessing over this if I don’t at least attempt.

When I noticed that a couple of changes I thought I’d submitted to a few levels weren’t there, I was mildly annoyed. In particular, I knew I’d fixed a few things in “Core Done Blew” that weren’t functioning correctly in 1.2.0. So I made a brief post about it, noting that some things that were supposed to be there weren’t. At the point of that post, I thought it was about two or three hours’ worth of work that was missing. It wasn’t until my second post that I realised just how much hadn’t gotten rolled in. I wasn’t going to ask for a 1.2.1 release over two hours of missing work, but the amount missing was probably much closer to ten.

The other factor that changed my mind was that Dr Sumner was complaining about the difficulty of “Unwired”. If I have a problem with a level’s difficulty, my initial conclusion will probably be that I just suck at the level. If Dr Sumner has a problem with the difficulty, my conclusion is that the level sucks. The bit that convinced me in particular:

As much time and effort as everyone has put into the development of 1.2, it seems to me that at least a patch (no need to view it as a new numbered release) to correct these problems would be welcomed. Otherwise, I am afraid very few TC players are going to want to play this version. I will probably be one of those. I imagine I’ll have to wait until 1.3 comes out.

I found myself increasingly annoyed over this, but I was trying to be as diplomatic as possible despite that, because I absolutely didn’t want a repeat of the “Run, Coward!” drama. Obviously my attempts at diplomacy didn’t help; in hindsight, if anything, I suspect those efforts just made the argument worse in the long run. I’ll be the first to acknowledge I wasn’t trying to veil my criticism of the level balance, but I was trying to avoid arguing on any other count; indeed, I apologised something like six times on the previous page on various counts. After being accused of arguing on counts other than the level balance anyway, I no longer felt even the slightest inclination to mince words.

There were two other factors compounding my annoyance. The first is that, essentially, this particular change to the map balance was rolled into the level over my explicit objections, as documented above. If I had known that the released version of the level was going to be like that, I would have objected again before the game was even released. I was preoccupied with real-life tasks for the first part of 2019, and I hadn’t gotten around to playing the level again until fairly recently. Because I had made those objections known well in advance of the release date, I felt as though a level that – again – I spent a long time polishing up was effectively ruined over my explicit objections. This may not have been anyone’s intention, but because people seemed, for whatever reason, to be insisting that the level not be changed, it sure as hell felt personal.

The last factor was – again – that I explicitly asked three times for information about how the level was changed, and Lia flat-out ignored all three of those requests while responding directly on other counts – including to criticise me for my tone. I would have accepted “I won’t have time to write up a list until after finals” as a response; that’s a perfectly understandable excuse. Having that request flat-out ignored, however, felt like an entire day’s worth of tedious work just being blown off. Which, again, felt like a personal insult. If you have enough time to criticise the tone of a participant in an argument, you have at least enough time to say that you don’t have time to list all the changes you’ve made to a level.

None of this particularly excuses my conduct. I feel awful that things got that far out of hand. To be clear, I’m still furious. I don’t like that, because 99% of the time I have no quibble with any of you and don’t particularly like being angry at anyone here, particularly when there are far greater problems with the world. I don’t particularly know if any of this was actually intended as a personal slight, but I definitely poured more effort into “Unwired” than I did into the rest of the first chapter combined, and I certainly took it personally.

There’s a lot more at work here than a video game, though – I’ve certainly made no secret of the other issues I’m dealing with – and I strongly regret that it got this far out of hand. I’m likely to be in a rotten mood for at least a few more weeks until I find a new medication balance, and I apologise in advance for that as well. There is a chance that, apart from submitting new versions of levels when the relevant information is made available to me, I may simply not post at all.
“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 May 7th '19, 23:00

Thanks for that explanation Aaron. For my part I haven't been upset at anybody here for anything, I'm just grateful that you're all helping with my project in the first place. I'm so swamped with other stuff in life that I can barely keep track of anything anyone else is doing, and around the original intended release date when all this got mixed up, that was even worse, so I've really completely lost track of everything since then.

That situation with me is not likely to change until at best October and probably later than that still, so I'm basically going to reply on one or both of you to tell me when this has all been resolved to everyone's satisfaction and to either submit a PR or a set of (only) changed files that I can roll in myself, and then I will playtest only those changes levels myself just to be sure nothing got completely broken in the process and put out a .1 release.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 30th '19, 16:56

Now that the Spring semester is over and life as Chair of my department is winding down, I decided to play Eternal 1.2 and create spoiler guides, designed for my style of play. I have always wanted to do this, so now seemed like a good time. I decided to include Aaron's latest update of Unwired and Core Done Blew. I finished Chapter 1 today and thought I would post any issues I encountered with the chapter levels. Some of these I have mentioned here before. But in the hopes that they might be considered when Eternal 1.3 is released, I am offering them here. I intend to do this after each chapter.

Level 0: The Far Side of Nowhere

1. Line 634 is very sticky when crossing it from southeast to northwest.


Level 1: Deja Vu All Over Again

1. The Compiler on polygon 262 never fights or moves.

2. The Projectile Fighter on polygon 402 is trapped in an inaccessible area and should be moved.


Level 2: Septococcal Pfhoryngitis

1. Crossing line 2454 from the north side teleports the player to a point nearby.


Level 3: Dysmentria

1. A Fighter got stuck within the lights on polygon 238.


Level 5: Unwired

1. The Wasps on polygon 176 constantly chirp, but never move.

2. The MOAH on polygon 857 keeps getting stuck in polygon 79. This happens everytime I play the level.

3. The Troopers and MOAH in the final room always seem to congregate at polygons 989 and 990. And they will not move from there. Aren't they supposed to mill about?

4. The Unfinished message in the last terminal seems rather bland given that you haven't yet completed the mission. I half expected to read a plea from Hathor to please "smash the switches already!" or something like that.


Level 6: Roots and Radicals

1. The walls at line 2792 and 2801 are very bouncy.


Level 9: Heart of Fusion

1. When I played today, the Defense Drones refused to fight the gray Compilers.

2. I cannot get the Compiler on polygon 521 to activate without having to fire a weapon. The other gray Compilers activate fine.

3. I noticed that the minimum number of gray Compilers is set to 0. So they never regenerate. Was that planned?

4. The walls at line 1346 and line 1351 are very bouncy. (same lines as in Roots and Radicals).

5. The Compiler on polygon 812 is very loathe to fight. You might get it to shoot, but most of the time it just stands there and gets pummeled.

6. Something weird is happening when I walk away from smashing the repair switches in the core. As I walk down the walkway away from the switch, when I get to the end, I am sometimes teleported to an adjacent walkway. It doesn't happen every time, but enough that I thought I'd mention it.

John
DrJohn

Post May 30th '19, 17:16

Thanks John! This kind of point by point detail should be really useful whenever I have time to revisit Eternal again, assuming Aaron or Lia or someone haven't addressed these issues without me by then.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post May 30th '19, 23:01

The Wasps on Unwired are fixed in the official release and in my precipitation version, but not in Aaron's version because his is based on an earlier, pre-lava revision.

We did reduce the spawn rate of compilers on Heart of Fusion, but the max count definitely should not be 0.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 12th '19, 06:48

Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve been kind of scarce because of one thing and another. I also decided to join another scenario development project because it’s not like I didn't already have a ton on my plate. I do intend to get back to Eternal in the near future, though, if nothing else so I can fix up “Unwired” and 1.2.1 can come out. I may also see about creating a precipitation plugin to include for 1.2.1.

There are a few other changes I want to make for various levels, but I decided it would probably be prudent to take a step back for a few weeks, because I’d obviously gotten too emotionally wound up over this stuff and I needed some distance. Hopefully I’ve attained some of that distance now, but we’ll see.

Anyway, watch this space – I might fix a couple of the other minor issues John mentioned as well. (I already noticed that Fighter from “Deja Vu” in my playthrough of 1.2 final, as people who read the descriptions of my YouTube video will have noticed.)
“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 Jun 15th '19, 19:39

I finished Chapter 2 of Eternal 1.2 today. Wow! Those first five levels are really long. Fun, but long. Here are the issues I had with some of the levels.

Level 11: Hysterical Womb

1. Why were the platforms in the three chambers set to "delay before activation"? Aren't those rooms hard enough without making the player stand on the platform like a sitting duck while waiting for the platform to activate?

2. The teleport pads in the two southern chambers teleport the player to a point near the northern chamber. Is that really necessary? It's such an unnecessary pain to have to return from there every time you need to escape the southern chambers. I realize it is meant to encourage the player to not rely on the teleport pads so much. But is seems you could change it so the player at least teleports to a somewhat closer point.


Level 12: A Friend in Need

1. Why are the switches at line 2146 and line 2147 initially active? Seems like that might confuse the player.


Level 13. Unlucky Pfhor Some

1. When I played, some of the contrails from enemy fire (e.g. Juggernaut missile) was left hanging in the air and would never leave.

2. The Hulk (object 129) on polygon 58 never appears in the game. There are three Hulks on that polygon. It is the one facing north. It appears blinking in map mode. But never appears in the fighting.


Level 14: Unpfhorseen

1. The Enforcer on polygon 152 is positioned over Pfhor slime. So it dies cheaply.


Level 15: Killing the Giants as They Sleep

1. The oxygen recharger at line 177 actually functions as a 3x recharger.

2. A Fighter got stuck under the structure at polygon 922.


Level 16: Pissing on the Corporation

1. In the room with polygon 599, there are two friendly Flame Cyborgs and four friendly Compilers that activate, but only if the player fires a weapon. For those of us that do not use weapons, we are cheated out of the help. Could an "Invisible Monster Trigger" polygon be conveniently placed to activate them once you do engage the enemy?

2. The free roaming Hummers (such as on polygon 318) are supposed to be enemies of the player. But they never did fire at me as I fought them at polygon 962.


Level 19: Burning Down the Corporation

1. The ten S'pht'Kr on the level do not activate unless the player fires a weapon. As above, could an "Invisible Monster Trigger" polygon be conveniently placed to activate them once you do engage the enemy? Oddly, in the room with polygon 599, the four Compilers and two Flame Cyborgs do not need the player to fire a weapon in order to activate them. Is that because they are enemies of the player, while the S'pht'Kr are not? Even so, it seems there ought to be some consistency.

2. It seems the player can complete the level without visiting any of the southwest rooms. I think the player should be forced to complete that part of the level before reaching the repair switches in the southeast rooms.

3. The teleport pad on polygon 1280 is available (and hidden) to the player. It teleports you into the interior of the level where the Hummers roam free. However, that area has no escape.

On to Chapter 3!

John
DrJohn

Post Jun 15th '19, 20:10

IIRC, the platforms in level 11 have a delay because of their fast speed – if they activated immediately, players might not always be able to get onto them, which is a serious problem given that there’s goo underneath them. However, we may have made the activation delay too long. The problem is that if it’s not long enough, they won’t spend much time at the top, either, so there’s a balancing act involved (almost literally).

The switches in level 12 were an oversight that resulted from my saving the level in the wrong state while retexturing it. I had meant to fix it before the final release, but it’s one of several things that escaped my mind. Luckily, it’s an easy fix, and it doesn’t make the level impossible to complete. That can be another thing to fix in 1.2.1.

As can a lot of the rest of this stuff – in fact, at this point I’m half tempted just to wait for you to finish your playthrough. I agree with a lot of your suggestions.

…I definitely have no idea how that teleport pad in “Burning Down the Corporation” became accessible. That will definitely have to be fixed. I’ll see about re-routing the level to force the player to visit the southwest portions – I don’t know how much of the level would have to be overhauled to make that work.

I also wonder if the drones don’t fire at the player because of physics. It could be that their physics won’t let them jump high enough to reach the player (even though they’re set to float), which could confuse the game engine. I think I remember having to alter the drone physics for “Unlucky Pfhor Some” precisely because of this; I may have to do the same for “Pissing on the Corporation”.
“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 Jun 15th '19, 23:42

Thank you both again! I agree Aaron that it’s probably best to put off another release until John has finished his playthroughs because there are a lot of good little details in these reviews and if we’re going to follow up on some of them we may as well follow up on all of them.

Though I still won’t have time for anything myself until near the end of the year and then I’ll probably just have time for like one level a week so you’ll probably (hopefully) have gotten to most of this before I get the chance. I don’t know how you can manage to juggle three scenarios at once but I’m impressed and grateful. :)
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Jun 25th '19, 10:37

I finished playing Chapter 3 a few days ago. Here is what I found.

Level 21: S'pht'ia

1. This is not an error. Just something to check. The S'pht'Kr on polygon 68 just up and disappeared while I was playing. I could see it flying as I stood outside the room. It went out of view for a second. When I went into the room, it was gone. It is not set to teleport out.


Level 22: Let Sleeping Gods Die

1. The Lava F'lickta (object 16) on polygon 79 never appears in the game. In map mode, it is blinking. But you never see it. The same thing happens with the Tick (object 65) on polygon 127. Blinks, but never appears.


Level 23: She is the Dark One

1. Three of the six Major S'pht'Kr are set to teleport out. I would change it so that none teleport out. They are located on polygons 21, 319 and 343.


Level 24: S'pht Happens

1. It's possible for the player to exit the level on the success path without hitting both repair switches. They have to hit both to exit the level on the failure path. I think they should both be hit regardless of which path you wish to take. Just change "Unfinished" to "Finished" in the terminal 2 text. That terminal is the only one leading to the success path.

2. There are many contrails from the Juggernauts missiles that remain visible throughout the playing of the level.


Level 25: Eat S'pht and Die

1. A Lava F'lickta got stuck in polygon 580.

2. The Tick (object 80) on polygon 390 never appears in the game. In map mode, it is blinking. But you never see it.


Level 26: Second to Last of the Mohicans

1. The Juggernaut (object 208) on polygon 554 is set to teleport out. None of the other ones are set to. Since this is an extermination level, I would change it so it does not teleport out.

2. Not really an error. But it would be nice if all the doors were set to deactivate at "each level" instead of "initial level".


Level 28: Third Rock of Lh'owon

1. The switch at line 328 controlling the three platforms is initially active. That can be confusing to the player.

2. The regenerating enemies tend to congregate around the steps at polygons 153, 154 and 155. There gets to be so many of them, the player cannot climb the steps. Could something be modified to make the steps more accessible?

3. The spawn rate for the Fighters and Projectile Fighters seems high at 100%. I realize it was set that high in part to compensate for the Troopers not spawning at all. Perhaps cut the Fighters and Projectile Fighters spawn rate back to 50% and allow the Troopers to spawn at 10% just like the Enforcers?


Level 29: Flight of Icarus

1. The Enforcer (object 105) on polygon 245 is positioned over water.

2. The terminal near the uplink chips tells the player to return after they have inserted the chips. When they return, they are greeted with Hathor. There is no indication that I can see that the player needs to hit the other two switches near the uplink chips. Was it considered obvious the player needs to do that?

I've already begun Chapter 4. Working as quickly as I can!

John
DrJohn

Post Jun 25th '19, 21:07

Thanks as always for your detailed feedback. I may look at many of these this weekend.

Chapter four is the portion of the game I felt least satisfied with, so if it takes you a while to finish writing up your issues, don't worry about it.
“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 Jul 2nd '19, 16:29

Lia submitted (and I accepted) a PR today of a bunch of her and Aaron's small fixes including a lot of the stuff John found. Thanks everyone for all of that!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Jul 2nd '19, 16:51

I went and fixed a bunch of stuff. Pfhorrest's already accepted the pull but here's the rundown:

deja vu
  • unstuck the reading compiler (ceiling was too low)
  • changed the stranded exterior fighter to a compiler

unwired
  • aaron's and my versions merged, w/ two minor compromises
  • another suicide trap fixed
  • spacing added for glitchy MOAHs

heart of Fusion
  • compiler fixes (bad positioning, ceiling too low, max count 0 -> 5)

killing the giants
  • fixed 02 station
  • marked ceiling furniture as impassable

pissing on the corporation
  • moved zone borders so allies teleport in
  • added exit for suicide trap

burning down the corporation
  • added triggers & borders so allies teleport in
  • added exit for suicide trap

she is the dark one
  • unset spht teleporting out

s'pht happens
  • leela shuts the citadel doors for those who speedrun there without doing so

3rd rock
  • fixed inititally lit switch
  • widened stairway
  • adjusted spawn rates

flight of icarus
  • moved enforcer in water onto stairs

=======

NOT in the PR, but included in my precipitation version:
http://simplici7y.com/items/precipitati ... rnal-1-2-0

eat spht and die
  • ashes dissapear when they hit lava
  • marked bad terrain as impassible
mohicans
  • all fighting juggernauts are able to teleport out if they lose track of you

babylon x
  • snow dissappears when it hits slime

EDIT: double ninja'd! was going to put this list in the PR before you accepted it :-)
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 3rd '19, 08:49

I finished playing Chapter 4 yesterday. Except for "Run, Coward", I had very few issues this time.

Level 33: Babylon X

1. If I am facing north and slide across line 923 from east to west, I am teleported nearby.

2. The Hulks tend to get stuck on the two steps at polygons 612 and 613. This tends to cause a clog up of Hulks as they line up down the hallway behind the stuck Hulks.

3. I had a Hulk get stuck in the Pattern Buffer at line 1652. In that same room, I had another Hulk get stuck in the window at line 1612 and line 1631.


Level 36: Run, Coward!

The three issues I have with this level deal with the vacuum component, the need for a Zone Border polygon, and having only one Pattern Buffer.

1. First, the vacuum component. My problem is not that there is a component at all. The problem I have is the player's oxygen level seems to deplete at a faster rate than it replenishes. Since there is no oxygen recharger on the level, I find myself having to constantly stop at convenient locations to wait for my oxygen level to replenish before continuing. It seems to be a unnecessary nuisance.

2. Second, the enemies that teleport into the room with the spiral staircase are activated by Dual Monster Trigger polygons at polygons 507 and 510. However, it also activates at least one Hunter in the final underground room. And that Hunter can find its way up to the spiral staircase. Plus, given that Hunters and Enforcers can regenerate "randomly", its possible to end up with lots of enemies clogging up that staircase. That was the principal thing I did not like about the level. I had that very thing happen when I played. And it was a devil trying to get those stairs unclogged. The enemies tend to congregate there.

3. Third, having only one Pattern Buffer is another unnecessary nuisance. Since my style of play is best characterized as "slow, thorough and methodical", I end up having to make repeated trips back to that one Pattern Buffer. Ever since I started playing Eternal, as far back as 1.1, I have never liked having a single Pattern Buffer on this level.

So what would I recommend without compromising the difficulty of the level? Before answering that, let me mention there are two "safe spots" that I found myself utilizing quite a bit. They are the two small octagonal rooms at polygons 74 and 338. In both places, the player can rest relatively free from enemies, and replenish their oxygen. So here are my recommendations. As always, they are meant to help make the level more fun.

My first recommendation is to place an oxygen recharger in both of those rooms I mentioned above. Given that one can "rest and replenish" there anyway, this would not compromise the difficulty of the level. And it would remove the tediousness of having to wait around while your oxygen replenishes.

My second recommendation would be to install a Zone Border polygon to keep any enemies from being activated in the final room before you actually enter that final room. At the same time, I would prevent the Hunters and Enforcers from regenerating in "random locations".

My final recommendation would be to include two additional Pattern Buffers. The first would be in the octagonal room at polygon 338. So that room would get a Pattern Buffer and an oxygen recharger to go with the 3x recharger. The other Pattern Buffer I would put in the final room near the 2x recharger. Imagine a player having to leave the only Pattern Buffer right now, trudging all the way to the final room, teleporting out and then dying somewhere on The Ensurance Trap (which is a distinct possibility given the uncertainty of the path one has to take), and then having to do it all again.

So those are my recommendations for this level. I might mention, this level is the first time in my current playing of 1.2 that I found myself "cursing and screaming, and embarrassing myself" mainly due to the conditions above.


Level 39: Genie in a Bottle (Wow, what a hard level.... yikes!)

1. If I run across platform 509 from west to east (so at an angle), I am teleported nearby.

I'll get started on Chapter 5 today. Big kudos to all of you that have worked to make this scenario fun. You have a talent that I could never have. And I am in awe of your abilities!

John
DrJohn

Post Jul 3rd '19, 16:35

Hey, thanks for the fresh bug report!

Aaron's updated version of Unwired not only included an extra 2x recharger in the second room, but also upgraded the 1x charger in the 1st room to a 2x. While I agree that it is cruel to send the player off to the central area and elevator room without 2x sheilds (personally, I enjoy the challenge, but understand that people may find it frustrating), I felt the 2x in the first room was just excessive. The route from the first to the second room poses very little danger, and one will never need to double back through it, so I downgraded the first room's charger back to 1x.

Secondly, with the vent shaft elevator now set to never stop, it's far too easy to just breeze through the area without falling off the catwalk, and return back up the vents after hitting the switch. So, I thought I might compromise the situation, by making the catwalk resettable and putting it on an extremely slow timer - 70 seconds. That's plenty of time to walk - not run - there and back at a leisurely pace when the rooms are empty, and speedrunners should be able to manage it in one go even with the combat, but there's a decent chance you'll make it across, hit the switch, and find that you'll have to take the other way out with the Durandal term. Players who spend more time will have hopefully used it to clear out more of the enemies, preserve more of their health, and be less inclined to skip things, so I hope that it balances itself out. For symmetry I also added a glitch to the second catwalk where it might lower on you, but it's avoidable and will likely only happen once if you do trigger it.

I think a more ideal solution to that chamber would be to have a 1x charger in the room with the switch, and to try and knock the player off on their second pass via a glue-triggered compiler ambush, but I was going for low-hanging fruit with these quick fixes.

Regarding Dr. Sumner's suggestions on Run, Coward, I'll be all for it if we can trade off that concession by increasing orb spawn rates or minimums.

Finally, here's the current spawn rates for 3rd Rock from Lh'owon:
3rdspawn.png


I heartily agreed with Dr. Sumner on reducing Fighter spawn rates while allowing Troopers to respawn. Respawning Troopers = more chaos and more ammo! Infinite respawning high-ranking Pfhor, on the other hand, seems unrealistic, so I gave them a few, but it should be possible to eliminate all the Enforcers and MOAHs if you feel like making a dent in the Pfhor forces. Pfhor get increasing spawn pools and spawn rates with decreasing rank. These rates can make the level Hunter-heavy at times, but with the extra grenades you'll grab from the Troopers, it makes for some fun chain-reactions.

I opened up the level in Forge to determine how many starting locations there were for each monster and adjust their initial distribution - Weland is lacking this feature. Defender Minor spawn rates were removed as there are no starting positions, and the physics has them fighting the Majors. Hummer Minor spawn rates were reduced to a one-time random distribution, as there are no starting positions.

I must say I was tempted to bring back in one Juggernaut, as I love having them on a large battlefield, but I realise it doesn't fit in with the story to have those nuclear-powered flying tanks on K'lia.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 3rd '19, 19:50

Lia, thanks for considering all my suggestions!

As for Unwired, having a 1x in the first room is fine. Keeping the 2x in the second room is really fine. As for the catwalk lowering after 70 seconds, I think that is okay. It will definitely change my strategy in getting to that switch. Fists only of course. I imagine Aaron has been thinking as well about how he will deal with that part Fists only. But I don't think it will cause me a problem. (fingers crossed)

As for Run, Coward, it is not a problem for me if you increase the spawn rate or minimums for the orbs. I haven't been trying to defeat them anyway. I just slog through each room and take the laser shots as they come.

John
DrJohn

Post Jul 4th '19, 03:50

I haven’t had time to actually look at all of this and may not for a few more days, so apologies if I’m misunderstanding some of this.

Aaron's updated version of Unwired not only included an extra 2x recharger in the second room, but also upgraded the 1x charger in the 1st room to a 2x. While I agree that it is cruel to send the player off to the central area and elevator room without 2x sheilds (personally, I enjoy the challenge, but understand that people may find it frustrating), I felt the 2x in the first room was just excessive. The route from the first to the second room poses very little danger, and one will never need to double back through it, so I downgraded the first room's charger back to 1x.

I think this is fine. I think I changed the 1x to 2x before I added the 2x recharger, and then forgot to change the 1x back. I think it’s appropriate to give players 2x shields before the area with all the troopers and wasps behind door 29, and IIRC, that’s still the case since I added the extra 2x recharger. I can’t remember where the extra recharger was, though, LOL. Anyway, as long as the player gets 2x before door 29, it’s fine; making players do that area with 1x shields results in a ridiculous amount of backtracking, though.

Secondly, with the vent shaft elevator now set to never stop, it's far too easy to just breeze through the area without falling off the catwalk, and return back up the vents after hitting the switch.

…but that’s how the level always worked before 1.2.0, except the player could just control the vent shaft elevator whenever they wanted, rather than it never turning off. It shouldn’t be an absurdly difficult level; it’s level number six. There’s such a thing as a difficulty curve, after all. I set the vent shaft elevator to not deactivate because players could get trapped there in network games, though on second thought, a more elegant solution would’ve been to introduce switches to allow players to get un-stuck, and I think I favour that approach now that I’ve thought of it (switches for platforms 83, 85, 87, and 89 are probably also called for).

So, I thought I might compromise the situation, by making the catwalk resettable and putting it on an extremely slow timer - 70 seconds. That's plenty of time to walk - not run - there and back at a leisurely pace when the rooms are empty, and speedrunners should be able to manage it in one go even with the combat, but there's a decent chance you'll make it across, hit the switch, and find that you'll have to take the other way out with the Durandal term. Players who spend more time will have hopefully used it to clear out more of the enemies, preserve more of their health, and be less inclined to skip things, so I hope that it balances itself out. For symmetry I also added a glitch to the second catwalk where it might lower on you, but it's avoidable and will likely only happen once if you do trigger it.

If I’m understanding this correctly, I strongly dislike this idea, honestly. The whole point in making the vent shaft elevator continue running was to make the level resemble the original release of the game. This would be less obscenely difficult than 1.2.0, but it is very likely to strand players without warning, which is a dick move. Players are liable to look, think, “oh, I don’t have to bother with this whole swarm of monsters until later,” and ration their shields accordingly. They have no rational reason to expect the catwalks to retract. I suppose a warning could be inserted into the terminals somewhere, but it would be really easy to miss or forget about.

I might still be willing to live with this if there were:

  • a 2x recharge canister somewhere in the bottom room and 2x rechargers somewhere on both sides of each catwalk;
  • 3x rechargers on both sides of each catwalk; or
  • a recharger (not canister) in the bottom room (it probably doesn’t matter which kind).

I am strongly opposed to implementing it with no concessions for difficulty. In the original layout of the level, I only ever cleared out that room when I had fully charged 3x shields, and even then I found it a challenge. And that wasn’t when I was playing fists only, mind you.

Regarding Dr. Sumner's suggestions on Run, Coward, I'll be all for it if we can trade off that concession by increasing orb spawn rates or minimums.

I’d probably be OK with moderately increasing the spawn rates. 1.2.0 had 21%; 30% would be OK. I’m not OK with increasing the minimums. I was vehemently against minimums in the first place. Still am.

Re: Third Rock, I think 1.2.0 might’ve actually been slightly too easy, so I’m OK with most of those suggestions. There are two I’m very much not OK with: that’s way too many Troopers, and way too few Enforcers. Enforcer ammo has always been easy to run out of in Eternal, and I really liked that 1.2.0 finally gave you a level where you’d get a lot of it. I’d suggest making the total available of both varieties at least 49. I’d prefer a much higher number, but I realise that might be overkill.

Furthermore, that’s a ridiculously large maximum number of Troopers, and it’s not too much lower a spawn rate than 1.1. In fact, that’s a much larger maximum number of Troopers than 1.1 had; 1.1 had a max count of 10 for minor Troopers and 25 for major Troopers, and the appearance % was 80 for minor and 95 for major. That means your proposal would very likely end up with more Troopers on it than 1.1 at many if not most times. I’d suggest an appearance % of 10 at most, and maximum should be something like 7 of each. That at least wouldn’t result in a ridiculous number.

Honestly, I’d prefer increasing the number of Enforcers over 1.2.0 and having Troopers not respawn at all, but I understand that some people like them. Troopers are much more unpredictable (and IMO, difficult) enemies than either variety of Enforcer, though, and should respawn sparingly.
“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

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jul 4th '19, 06:36

it just seems like a bug to me, that it's so easy to skip an entire portion of the level without even trying, and then Pfhorrest said that's the intended route, past Durandal's terminal. unlike in 1.2.0, you can now go down, kill the hunter, go up, kill a bunch of stuff, go back, recharge, and proceed before committing or being committed to the lower path.

it might kill a first-time player if they are unprepared, sure, but that's what Marathon's all about - learning from your mistakes from beyond the grave. once they've fallen for it once, they shouldn't again.

=======

On 3rd rock, there could be more enforcers, if ya'll think that better fits the ammo balance as a whole. I was thinking from a story perspective - enforcers are the highest-ranking combat troops and it doesn't make sense to have more of them than other castes on a chaotic battlefield where many are likely to die. I actually added three *more* Enforcer Major spawnpoints, and I didn't remove a single one from any enemy; spawnpoints seem to have a much larger impact than spawn rates do. As I said, a lot of the previous numbers were kinda bogus because Weland doesn't make the same checks that Forge did on starting positions.

I spent a great deal of time balancing the combat so neither side was able to completely dominate on any difficulty level. In my final tests, Troopers were a minor component of the battle, mostly serving as a convenient ammo drip. Enforcers were nasty at first, but once the first wave was taken down, they diminished to the same significance as the troopers. Hunters and fighters were the main combatants. Adjusting the minimums for the Defenders - and to a lesser extent, widening the staircase - did more to control the battlefield than any other individual adjustment.

And here I thought you'd be pleased that I removed the infinite enemy respawns - If you hole up somewhere and wait a few hours, the battle will probably resolve itself :-) But you aren't there to battle, you're there to trick a computer, the battle is just scenery.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 4th '19, 08:41

Well, again, Pfhorrest didn't even make the level, so his recollection of the intended route isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all. Bill Wilkinson and/or Don-Martin Antell would be the ones to ask on that count. (Even if Pfhorrest had made it, though, the level is fifteen years old. I don't remember everything I intended for fifteen-year-old levels either.) I'd be more OK with requiring the player to traverse that segment of the level if it weren't a ludicrously imbalanced path for 2x shields. In 1.1, if you fall in there with low shields and die, it's your own fault for being stupid; but stranding players without warning and without a way to recharge is a cheap, unearned death. If you're going to force players to traverse that path without warning, at least allow them to recharge before they have to jump down. I agree that your revised route is at least not as ridiculously unbalanced as 1.2.0 was, but that's saying very little. The three options in my previous post are really the only way I'd be completely OK with the change. Pick one; I don't really care which. If you can't, I'm going to continue to strenuously object to any modifications to the version I submitted.

I don't usually really care about infinitely respawning enemies; that annoys John a lot more than it annoys me. I was just really annoyed about having them in "Run, Coward" specifically because I intended players to have to pick and choose which orbs to kill, a la the Defenders in "Where Are Monsters in Dreams", and having them infinitely respawn killed that entire gameplay mechanic. My pet peeve when it comes to respawning enemies is having maximum counts greater than 0. But yeah, I get that Enforcers are supposed to be more elite in-story, but they're nowhere near as deadly as Troopers.

I wasn't paying any attention to the "initial count", but the "max count" for Troopers is way too high IMO. I don't usually participate that much in the battle (I'm mostly content to run around collecting ammo after the Defenders kill the Pfhor), but Troopers can spawn in at any point and utterly wreck you because a lot of them spawn near rechargers. Unless you moved them around; I might not object as much if you did that.

Anyway, yeah, those maximum monster counts are really high, especially the Troopers. I guess the increased number of Defenders might have some impact on the difficulty, but like I said, you've got a higher maximum Trooper count than 1.1 did, and 1.1's was already too high even without any other respawning Pfhor. I'm sceptical that the added Defenders can make up the remaining difference.
“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 Jul 4th '19, 10:15

With respect to Unwired, I understand Lia's concern that the player can skip a large room and the gauntlet of Projectile Fighters. I don't think the player should be allowed to skip that. I certainly don't. However, I agree with Aaron that you need 3x shields to go through that room and gauntlet.

Having said that, I checked to see when I usually clean out that room and gauntlet. I usually do it after I raise the second catwalk, but before I trudge across it. So what if you do this. Remove the switch at line 1576. It raises the catwalk at poly 74. The player can still have 3x shields and must then clear out the room and gauntlet. At the end of the gauntlet is a switch at line 1318 that opens the door at poly 38 that allows you to escape the gauntlet. Just make that switch also raise poly 74. Then the player can continue the game as before.

So I would leave the first catwalk like it is in Aaron's map. Then modify things as above for the second catwalk. How about that?

I might add, the only concern I have with what I proposed is that there are Troopers stationed at each end of the catwalks. You can deal with the first one. The other you cannot without the catwalk raised. I don't think it will jump off either without the catwalk raised. For those of us that use Fists only, it will make the room and door to the gauntlet a bit trickier since that second Trooper is near that door.
DrJohn

Post Jul 4th '19, 11:19

I thought more about what I just posted. An alternative would be to raise the second catwalk as it is now. But make the platform on the opposite end of the catwalk inactive until the switch at the end of the gauntlet is activated. That way the player can get both Troopers on the second catwalk to activate. Then they would have to clear out the room and gauntlet.

I think I like this approach better.

John
DrJohn

Post Jul 4th '19, 11:31

The Man wrote:Well, again, Pfhorrest didn't even make the level, so his recollection of the intended route isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all.


Whoever made it and whatever they intended, it's Pfhorrest's scenario, and you ought to know that's how I see it - we've fought and you've insulted me over this before.

The Man wrote:stranding players without warning and without a way to recharge is a cheap, unearned death.


They aren't stranded, they just have to fight their way out. Besides, the original trilogy has a number of places that kill you with little to no warning. You die, rise, and know not to do that next time. That's like the entire basis for the plot of Infinity.

The Man wrote:at least allow them to recharge before they have to jump down.


They can, thanks to your changes to the vent shaft elevator. Have you even tried this yet?

The Man wrote:The three options in my previous post are really the only way I'd be completely OK with the change. Pick one; I don't really care which. If you can't, I'm going to continue to strenuously object to any modifications to the version I submitted.


Maybe if your three options weren't ridiculously overpowered they'd be worth considering. Your history of digging your heels in and demanding things be made easier for you doesn't help, either. I don't want to listen to that.

Now, I didn't want to start adding polygons and texturing things for this quick little update, but I was thinking of adding a 1x charger to the room with the switch though. Between that being right there and the 2x that you already have access to now before you go across, that should be plenty. A whole minute is a long-ass time to have up on that catwalk to shoot down at things that can't reach you between recharges.

The Man wrote:maximum... counts... increased number... higher maximum... 1.1... 1.1... too high


So try it and find out. Your computer doesn't have trouble with the precip version, so there's nothing stopping you from downloading the merged map that I linked. Going on and on about numbers doesn't really say anything to me.

=======

DrJohn wrote:However, I agree with Aaron that you need 3x shields to go through that room and gauntlet.


Maybe if you take it all at once, but what I think you're both missing here is that you don't have to. You aren't stuck at the bottom of that elevator, you can go back and recharge to 2x so long as you don't drop down into the room itself. I never drop down before popping those hunters.

Once that room is clear, the "gauntlet" is just Fighters that can't even walk up to or follow you - easy to dodge, easy to kill. Just swish a bunch of staff-bolts down the hall before you go. No need for any more than 1x to get though there.

DrJohn wrote:Remove the switch at line 1576. It raises the catwalk at poly 74. The player can still have 3x shields and must then clear out the room and gauntlet. At the end of the gauntlet is a switch at line 1318 that opens the door at poly 38 that allows you to escape the gauntlet. Just make that switch also raise poly 74.


That's not a bad idea at all! Nor is the other one you just ninja'd.

DrJohn wrote:I might add, the only concern I have with what I proposed is that there are Troopers stationed at each end of the catwalks. You can deal with the first one. The other you cannot without the catwalk raised. I don't think it will jump off either without the catwalk raised. For those of us that use Fists only, it will make the room and door to the gauntlet a bit trickier since that second Trooper is near that door.


Maybe that's why we're disagreeing so much on this, I don't play fists-only anymore. With guns, a lot of these obstacles you're both pointing out I find to be trivial, but I would be hesitant before plunging in fists-only. It's still no Acme Station, though. Maybe a little Colony Ship.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 4th '19, 18:09

Whoever made it and whatever they intended, it's Pfhorrest's scenario, and you ought to know that's how I see it - we've fought and you've insulted me over this before.

Pfhorrest also said he was fine restoring the behaviour to resemble how it worked in 1.1, so I don't find appeals to his authority on this matter to be convincing. And I have apologised for allowing things to escalate to that level.

Besides, the original trilogy has a number of places that kill you with little to no warning. You die, rise, and know not to do that next time. That's like the entire basis for the plot of Infinity.

Yes, you know not to do that next time. A platform on a seventy-second delay is not something where players will know what they did wrong. There's no indication of why it would retract some times and not others. Players would have to stand there next to the catwalk and see whether the platform retracts - and moreover, survive the seventy seconds in an area with little room to move around and a lot of absurdly difficult enemies. Hardly anyone will think of that and be able to pull it off.

They can, thanks to your changes to the vent shaft elevator. Have you even tried this yet?

I said I haven't had time to try it yet - it's a holiday and writing these posts has been time-consuming enough. "Unwired" is a long-ass level, which is part of why I'm digging in my heels about the change - a cheap death twenty-plus minutes into a level is infuriating. Your description says you stranded people on the other side of the catwalk. If that's the case, there's no way for them to get back to a recharger before diving down into the melee. I'm just asking to have rechargers on each side of the catwalk that are sufficiently powerful for players to survive the combat.

I think Dr Sumner's suggestions might satisfy me though. Still, this approach makes Durandal's message seem less appropriate to me - "watch your step" doesn't make so much sense if it's the player's only way out of the level. I guess it's a form of subtle trolling because he didn't leave the player any other way out, but it reads in the original version like he's taunting the player by saying they need to git gud, which I think I still like more. I could probably live with that implementation, though. I couldn't live with any version that forces you to deal with that hive with 2x shields.

So try it and find out. Your computer doesn't have trouble with the precip version, so there's nothing stopping you from downloading the merged map that I linked. Going on and on about numbers doesn't really say anything to me.

I will later. Again, it's a holiday. However, I know my combat preferences, and that's way too many Troopers. Troopers are incredibly dangerous enemies; one can kill an unsuspecting player with fully charged 1x shields. There are about a dozen Trooper spawn positions right next to the recharger that was safest to retreat to when none of them respawned. The current arrangement now has no rechargers that are particularly safe. The one near the start seems to have a ridiculous number of Fighters congregate near it for some reason (one Fighter is fine, but a room full of them can be fairly dangerous), and the two later in the level have their own dangers, not to mention they are inaccessible for much of the level.

Maybe that's why we're disagreeing so much on this, I don't play fists-only anymore. With guns, a lot of these obstacles you're both pointing out I find to be trivial, but I would be hesitant before plunging in fists-only. It's still no Acme Station, though. Maybe a little Colony Ship.

I'm fine with later levels being impossible to complete fists-only (especially given the mechanic where some enemies are completely immune to fists), but the sixth level in the game shouldn't be one of them.
“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 Jul 4th '19, 19:32

I haven't read all of this yet and probably won't have time to until tomorrow, but FWIW that route through the monsters in the pit is just the route that *I* usually took, and I don't mind at all if plays don't *have* to take it, especially if some people find it fun-ruining. So if the question is whether players should be forced through that way, then I say no, don't force them, though that should still be a way for people who (like me) just find it the obvious route forward.
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Pfhorrest
California

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