I will play every level in Marathon and comment on them

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

Re: I will play every level in Marathon and comment on them

Post May 9th '18, 15:28

Yeah, as long as you have some discretion with what actually ends up in the project then there's obviously nothing wrong with trying out a bunch of different ideas. If the additions you make end up being something that you and your testers like then by all means why not keep them.
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$lave

Post May 18th '18, 08:04

It's interesting that you have no complaints about making a non-vacuum level into a vacuum level but the moment someone mentions adding an uplink chip (or two or something), that's a big no-no. From a gameplay perspective, the level would be very similar. From a story perspective, it would change the level from a level where you, uh, where you... wait, just what do you do on this level to begin with??? Durandal isn't known for being helpful, and he uses this level as an opportunity to talk about the impending closure of the universe and not about what the player needs to do. That's a style that could easily be mirrored even if there were a few uplink chips.

Anyway, isn't "Run to the end and shoot anything that gets in your way" about as vanilla as is possible (except for maybe extermination)? At least Shake Before Using had neat traps to keep things interesting.

Does anyone else think of Escape Velocity when they see the Pfhor chapter screen?

Level 16: Pfhor Your Eyes Only...
Tour of duty link: http://forums.bungie.org/story/?read=63811

This is a fact finding mission. Which is interesting since Durandal tells us at the beginning of No Artificial Colors that we learned about the reduced gravity and the disrupted motion sensor. I feel like Durandal probably had something more in mind than factors that concerned our welfare. Maybe we learned about the creation of Hunters? Just what are those scenery objects? What comes to my mind for a fact-finding mission would be finding terminals that contain interesting data.

Speaking of those terminals,

Just what do you plan to do with the alien terminals other than make them full color? Can the player read them? He doesn't speak Pfhor, but Durandal can communicate with them (was mentioned sometime earlier in the story). Since Durandal seems to be able to see everything you see, is he translating for you? It doesn't feel within his character to do that for you, he'd rather just read the information for himself while leaving the player in the dark.

If the player doesn't get to read the Pfhor writing, then it is down to any pictures to tell the story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and used right, they definitely could be. Take the mysterious hunter creation process, for instance. If there was a terminal that explained that, the player may not need to read the details of the process if he could see pictures detailing the different steps, for instance.

Another obvious terminal idea would be to have one detailing the human slavery side of things. Maybe a picture of slaves at work, slaves in pens, or slaves being punished?

Of course, this means that we'll get a healthy does of Radix's anime. I haven't minded it too much up to this point since between the monochrome and other effects it does mask the style a little (though it is still visible). However, I wonder if there is some way to de-animeify the artwork in any way, or find some other way to make it mesh better with the rest of the scenario. Here are a few possibilities:
-Find someone else with artistic talent to do the artwork
-Find a way to make the anime style less noticeable
-Just accept that this is gonna be an anime scenario
-Make another scenario have the title of Marathon: Anime so this scenario looks clean by comparison. This could be done by creating an actual Marathon: Anime scenario (just think of the possible stories we could make that would be so terrible but make fun of the genre!) or by turning an already created scenario into the anime scenario. All you have to do is give an existing scenario a shapes patch that confers that style upon it. Just think about the special sense of justice if you gave Yuge the first anime shapes patch, Radix! (I'd try that if you spent the gajillions of effort required to make it)

On a more serious note, let's talk about the gameplay of the level. I ended up using relatively little human ammo; I scavenged the enforcers for their rather powerful guns. This is something I do even on some of the remakes of the level, including that Rubicon one (I end up having so much ammo afterwards since I scavenge so many alien guns, but that's a sidetrack). The scatter rifle itself is very powerful, but is balanced by the fact that you have to pick up each individual one (or not pick them up until you need them on TC). If this gun gets the same treatment as the staff/trooper gun, then it could be a tad OP. It's perfectly conceivable that Durandal tells you how to reload the gun as part of the fact finding mission (maybe during No Artificial Colors), but balance would need to be addressed. I personally like scavenging the individual guns, but that may just be me.

Allowing the alien gun to reload would sure make the secret more rewarding, though there may be better ways to do that (if at all).

Remember to double check that Jetpack capabilities still work in Redux, since Redux is based on M1A1 which needed tweaks to get grenade jumping to work as was done in the original.

I haven't actually looked, but anyone know what that one switch does? One of them operates the secret lift, but there's another one and I don't know what it does. Is it just cosmetic? Is it there to make the secret switch less conspicuous?

I'd like to say that the architecture feels both very alien and still somewhat functional. This is by no means true for many of the alien levels, which all feel alien but generally don't feel even a little functional.
CluckyInventor

Post May 18th '18, 12:50

CluckyInventor wrote:-Make another scenario have the title of Marathon: Anime so this scenario looks clean by comparison. This could be done by creating an actual Marathon: Anime scenario (just think of the possible stories we could make that would be so terrible but make fun of the genre!) or by turning an already created scenario into the anime scenario. All you have to do is give an existing scenario a shapes patch that confers that style upon it. Just think about the special sense of justice if you gave Yuge the first anime shapes patch, Radix! (I'd try that if you spent the gajillions of effort required to make it)


Yannow, I've actually thought about both of these things on and off (not necessarily a scenario subtitled like that, but illustrating my own). Two major hurdles I'm faced with right now:

1) I don't know enough about Weland or level design in general yet to make netmaps, let alone a whole scenario. That's not a job I'd want to allocate to others on my first project.

2) Not sure whether or not it'd be easier to draw my own shapes patch frames from scratch, or edit the existing sprites into my AU designs for the Pfhor (example here. I'm concerned that I wouldn't be able to make the edited bits mesh with the existing ones, and both roads lead to "how do I make the actual patch or even a normal .shpA file".

I guess that if someone else was willing to assemble the patch, I could try drawing the frames, though I can't guarantee it'll be done quickly.
welcome to the scene of the crash
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General-RADIX

Post May 18th '18, 21:02

CluckyInventor wrote:It's interesting that you have no complaints about making a non-vacuum level into a vacuum level but the moment someone mentions adding an uplink chip (or two or something), that's a big no-no.


I'm not discounting the idea, I'm just trying to be cautious, and in a roundabout way asking for ideas on how to implement it. I'm only considering vacuum for NHNL because Bungie's level notes say it was to be vacuum.

CluckyInventor wrote:Which is interesting since Durandal tells us at the beginning of No Artificial Colors that we learned about the reduced gravity and the disrupted motion sensor. I feel like Durandal probably had something more in mind than factors that concerned our welfare. Maybe we learned about the creation of Hunters? Just what are those scenery objects? What comes to my mind for a fact-finding mission would be finding terminals that contain interesting data.


It could be Durandal was able to detect the gravity and magnetism remotely - or maybe he teleported over a probe (or a MADD) before sending you, and that was all he was able to learn before it was destroyed. This is the first level where the player encounters Enforcers, although apparently some BoBs have encountered them and lived to tell the tale to Leela (and Durandal, though it doesn't end well). He could be like Grand Admiral Thrawn, psychologically analysing the Pfhor based on their material culture.

CluckyInventor wrote:He doesn't speak Pfhor, but Durandal can communicate with them (was mentioned sometime earlier in the story). Since Durandal seems to be able to see everything you see, is he translating for you? It doesn't feel within his character to do that for you, he'd rather just read the information for himself while leaving the player in the dark.

If the player doesn't get to read the Pfhor writing, then it is down to any pictures to tell the story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and used right, they definitely could be. Take the mysterious hunter creation process, for instance. If there was a terminal that explained that, the player may not need to read the details of the process if he could see pictures detailing the different steps, for instance.

Another obvious terminal idea would be to have one detailing the human slavery side of things. Maybe a picture of slaves at work, slaves in pens, or slaves being punished?


All very good ideas. Another reason not to have intelligible Pfhor writing is that Durandal may only speak S'pht and not yet understand Pfhoric. There could be the possibility of there being a S'pht terminal in English at some point, not necessarily on this level.

CluckyInventor wrote:Of course, this means that we'll get a healthy does of Radix's anime. I haven't minded it too much up to this point since between the monochrome and other effects it does mask the style a little (though it is still visible). However, I wonder if there is some way to de-animeify the artwork in any way, or find some other way to make it mesh better with the rest of the scenario. Here are a few possibilities:
-Find someone else with artistic talent to do the artwork
-Find a way to make the anime style less noticeable


Given the feedback I've gotten, and this one green flightsuit I happen to have, I plan on replacing Radix's BoBs with photos of humans. I just need to cover the Air Force insignia with a Marathon logo, set up a chorma-key backdrop, and find a man willing to wear the suit for the male BoBs. I'll still use what she's submitted thus far to help pose for the photos, and her Enforcers.

Absent anyone else volunteering, I can probably edit Radix's non-human work to a better degree than I have. For example, given how her art is all outlined, I could treat those as polygons and apply textures from the Enforcer sprites to the various shapes, and perhaps come out with something much better than either of us would have done on our own.

CluckyInventor wrote:The scatter rifle itself is very powerful, but is balanced by the fact that you have to pick up each individual one (or not pick them up until you need them on TC). If this gun gets the same treatment as the staff/trooper gun, then it could be a tad OP.


I do not plan on making them reloadable. If I use it's ammo item slot for anything, it will be to make the SMG grenade reload separate from the bullets, but I'm not sure how I would balance drops in that case and and currently leaning towards setting up Eternal-style lua to handle that. At some point. If I can figure it out. Incidentally, "lua" means "toilet" in Hawaiian (or any hole that has a bottom, but toilet is probably the most common usage), and that's roughly how I feel about trying to work with it.

CluckyInventor wrote:I haven't actually looked, but anyone know what that one switch does? One of them operates the secret lift, but there's another one and I don't know what it does. Is it just cosmetic? Is it there to make the secret switch less conspicuous?


I checked in Vasara, and its function is identical to the other switch. It's just farther away from the lift.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 6th '18, 08:25

Level 17: No Artificial Colors
Tour of Duty Link: http://forums.bungie.org/story/?read=63813

In my first playthroughs of this level, I thought that the name "No Artificial Colors" was a reference to the fact that every green BoB is an assimilated BoB, and that by this point we think green=exploding so non-exploding green BoBs are the artificial ones. Only later did I realize that there are non-assimilated green BoBs in that one room that has all the BoBs. So much for that theory.

As far as the gameplay itself, it's only difficult if you don't have access to the 3x charger. If you have 3x health, there's little on this level to give you a run for your money. However, if you didn't know how to access the 3x charger from the opening, then this level could pose quite a threat. I've never had to clear it without that charger, even on my very first time playing the level I found out about the secret, mostly because on my very first time playing Marathon I didn't realize that there was a health charger or save on the alien ship, so by the time I got to the 3x health charger, I was so desperate I tried it anyway.

Of course, at this point in time, the cat is out of the bag with that 3x charger. It would be an interesting idea to change the setup so that people can't just use the 3x charger unless they find a secret, to maintain the identity of that 3x charger as something that can be used but isn't obvious it can. If you do choose this route, then the less gifted players among us might appreciate a non-secret 1x health consolation charger.

Eventually, you'll come to a superdark hallway that consists of a bunch of straight segments that go back and forth. I never liked this area; why not just have solid black textures? Maybe it's just the TTEP that ships with Marathon by default, but I feel these hallways could be improved, add some flickering lights or something.

As for the crushers, I figured out on my first try that all you need to do is time it right and you can run straight from one end onto the exit lift. I didn't even realize the sides weren't crushers until I checked the automap on my most recent playthrough. Perhaps puzzles with multiple solutions are the best, though.

As for the story, I've never been impressed with the whole "look for Bernhard Strauss" thing. Even if he was present, we wouldn't be able to recognize him since all BoBs look the same and they all sound the same except for the assimilated ones. Even the simulacurums look all the same, and wasn't there some terminal that stated they were manufactured with more than 20 different face types?

A solution would be to have more terminals spread throughout the map that would allow the player to read up information on Strauss to make them feel like they are making progress towards finding him, as well as giving the mapmaker a convenient opportunity to dump a lot of backstory of the game. I'm sure the merits of this suggestion are mixed; maybe the backstory shouldn't be so easy to find.
CluckyInventor

Post Jun 7th '18, 09:40

CluckyInventor wrote:...it's only difficult if you don't have access to the 3x charger... However, if you didn't know how to access the 3x charger from the opening, then this level could pose quite a threat... even on my very first time playing the level I found out about the secret... at this point in time, the cat is out of the bag...


I'm not sure I follow you here. Since when is the 3x charger a secret or hard to get to? It's like, right there out in the open, you don't even have to jump or trigger anything to use it. How is it even possible to not have access to it?

CluckyInventor wrote:It would be an interesting idea to change the setup so that people can't just use the 3x charger unless they find a secret, to maintain the identity of that 3x charger as something that can be used but isn't obvious it can. If you do choose this route, then the less gifted players among us might appreciate a non-secret 1x health consolation charger.


No.

CluckyInventor wrote:Eventually, you'll come to a superdark hallway that consists of a bunch of straight segments that go back and forth. I never liked this area; why not just have solid black textures? Maybe it's just the TTEP that ships with Marathon by default, but I feel these hallways could be improved, add some flickering lights or something.


Hmm, I'll have a look at it. I'll put it in the list with a question mark.

CluckyInventor wrote:A solution would be to have more terminals spread throughout the map that would allow the player to read up information on Strauss to make them feel like they are making progress towards finding him, as well as giving the mapmaker a convenient opportunity to dump a lot of backstory of the game. I'm sure the merits of this suggestion are mixed; maybe the backstory shouldn't be so easy to find.


There are more terminals planned, per the Bungie level notes there ought to be logs discussing computers, cyborgs, coups, and cyborgs on the colony. Radix suggested having Strauss and MIDA terminals as well.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 4th '18, 08:41

If lava is as orange and yellow as it is in M1 and M2, you would totally sink in, and totally die instantly


I actually want to note that this isn't true, molten metal or rock is very dense, and thus really any depiction where people sink into it is completely unrealistic, you'd float on top of any magma due to it's density

And if lava is as orange and yellow as it is in Marathon, in reality you'd burn up before even getting near it due to the sheer heat, but it's a vidya game so that bit is often thrown out, very few games have convection as a mechanic
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HunterOfShadows

Post Jul 4th '18, 17:53

I used the word "sink" quite liberally. Perhaps it would be more precise to say it would deform under your weight, but you certainly wouldn't walk atop as though 'twere a soild (assuming you were invulnerable).

When I walked across a river of lava, red underneath with a good 4 inches of black crust or so on top, I would, much to my horror, occasionally feel it start to give way under my feet, letting me know I should step somewhere else.

From my experience, orange lava is quite pliable and one can readily poke through it with sticks. Whether or not it's too hot to get close depends more on how much there is of it, a couple feet of dribble sure I'd walk up and play with it, a whole river of it like the one behind me in my userpic and you'll get burns on any skin facing it- radiation seemed to be more in play than convection.

I've never seen yellow lava up close, and cannot speak to it's properties other than that it would be hotter and less viscous than any lava I've messed with. Also, I have only ever encountered basaltic pahoehoe lava, other chemistries may vary in their properties.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jul 23rd '18, 06:51

I've been giving some thought to this lava problem. Granted, M1 it's never a problem, as there isn't any liquid, and in M1A1 it's only ankle-deep, which is about how far a person would sink into lava. The geothermal pumping station in M2, on the other hand, is a bit of a problem.

One way of approaching it is to say, maybe other things float in lava, but YOU sink, because you're a battleroid with metal parts. Hm, but how much of you is metal? As a random example, if you replaced all your bones with platinum, which is both dense and used in medical implants, you could have a density as high as 1.77 g/cm3. Unfortunately, that's still very low compared to most things that are liquid at 1000°C, but it's not lower than (after a quick search):

-Lithium - 0.535 g/cm3 - a human could sink in molten lithium, that is until they evaporated.
-Salt (NaCl) - 1.549 g/cm3 @ 1000°C
-Calcium - 1.55 g/cm3
-Magnesium - 1.738 g/cm3

Lh'owon could have high concentrations of any of these in it's mantle and you might sink, and as long as it's not magnesium your bones could be made out of a lighter metal.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

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