I’ll give this an earnest review tomorrow as I’m utterly exhausted, but I hopefully will be able to give Marathon
projects greater attention for awhile. Things in my personal life went better than anticipated. I will elucidate further in the Chronicles
thread tomorrow as I am exhausted.
Brief (ETA: I lied; sorry. It was supposed to be brief when I started writing it) overview of various things:
1. There’s plenty of 5D space in the original games, though admittedly a lot of it is much subtler than Lia’s implementation the AI cores. There’s a “Find 5D Intersections” somewhere on S7 that you might find interesting. Admittedly, some of these are cases like “The Hard Stuff Rules” and “Six Thousand Feet Under” where overlapping areas are used to represent the same space from different angles, but quite a few others aren’t. I honestly really enjoy them as they are; if any area on the Marathon
should have non-Euclidean geometries, it makes sense to me that it would be the AI cores. I think I’d miss the 5D space if it was removed entirely. However, because it’s so blatant, I won’t object too strongly if it’s toned down. Another possibility is making the 5D space visible, but implementing solid walls so the player can’t actually cross over into it, making it possible to rationalise as a sort of hologram or projection. Or, alternatively, we could just do a Doctor Who
-style handwave and say that AIs are bigger on the inside… which is what I’d suggest going with now that I see it written down, honestly. (I should note that there are currently some motion glitches with the 5D areas, which I’ll look to fix before we go into final version if Lia doesn’t find some way to fix them first.)
2. The TEXT resource 128 thing is only a problem with network games for Lua, from what I’m understanding. MML is sent normally, regardless of whether players have the same map file or not, and regardless of whether it’s in TEXT resource 128 or in the level folder. (I’m 99% sure this is correct; it’s what I remember the documentation explicitly saying, and it also tracks with my recollection of our network testing. Someone may wish to double-check the latest documentation, though.) I think on the whole it’s probably more convenient to use TEXT resource 128 to distribute MML, because it means that you only have to revise a given function once rather than for each level it appears in; however, I haven’t actually moved all the new MML functions I’ve implemented to the global resources folder yet, partly because it’s a pain and partly because some of them correspond with level-specific Lua that can’t
be implemented in TEXT resource 128. At the same time, it also probably won’t matter if mediafog.lua specifically is moved to TEXT resource 128, because it’s written not to have any effect in network games. I haven’t tested this, and maybe we should test it before going to final release, but I expect that it would lag horribly and cause potentially seizure-inducing changes in under-media fog at any point when one player is under media and another player is on top of a polygon containing media (doesn’t matter whether the second player is submerged or not).
3. I don’t think vacuum in “Where Giants Have Fallen” would work. It’s not just Enforcers; there are also Fighters throughout the level. Changing them to Hunters and Troopers would completely change the balance and feeling of the level. (Though the game is kind of ambiguous about whether Fighters are vacuum-enabled; a lot of levels explicitly say they aren’t, but there they are on “PNT” and “Acme”. “PNT” also has Enforcers, so really, who knows
While we’re on the subject of that level, though, I am in favour of redoing the monster balance somewhat. I like the balance when the player is starting out, but the level clears out awfully quickly. I assume this was intentional, since most of the other levels are populated with swarms of monsters, but it still feels too quick
. Perhaps there should be an extra 20 or so Fighters and Drones that spawn after the level starts before it clears out, along with however many Nightmares and Skitters you need to keep the combat going. Maybe even an extra Juggernaut or two. If this requires placing an energy recharge can somewhere along the route to keep the level fair, and maybe a few ZPMs or fusion batteries, that might not be the worst thing.
4. I’ll look into simplifying the puzzle for “Killing the Giants” soon. One thing that would help is getting rid of all the doors that close behind you – those are annoying and serve no challenge nor any real purpose beyond simply adding more switches to hit. Lia, have you done the map graphics for that? Do you need help getting a screenshot of the map for the upper deck, if not? And while I’m thinking of it, I don’t have the credits for “Forever My Greatest and Only Love” for my revised list of map credits, which is hopefully the only thing missing from that list.
5. I’m afraid I don’t fully understand how the media textures are going to be placed at the end of each collection. Is there some specific reason to use one glass texture and only one glass texture? In any case, I’d suggest also adding a completely transparent texture that can be used for the conveyor belt liquid in “Second to Last of the Mohicans” while we’re at it. The way it’s currently implemented seems to cause some glitches with the automap and the HUD – the automap won’t even display at times, at least if “overlay the map” is selected. I can also deal with putting the media splash sequences into the items collection whenever you’re done modifying the shapes, though I might need some help distributing physics changes.
6. If possible, it would be great to actually display Hathor onscreen somewhere, even if you still don’t end up (1) seeing her face or (2) fighting her. I actually strongly recommend sticking with (1); I think it’s more powerful if we just imagine what she looks like. I always thought the lack of any direct encounter with her was a strange narrative choice and could go either way on whether it would be a good idea to implement a battle with her. We could go the “scripted” route, though that would be strange from a storytelling standpoint since nothing else about the scenario is currently scripted; if we don’t, though, the battle would have to be fair and fun while making sense with the powers she’s depicted as having in the scenario to that extent. (Unless we contrive some excuse to strip her of some of her powers by this point, which I suspect could be defended by citing what Marcus had done in “Deep Into the Grotto” if my understanding of the narrative is correct.)
7. I don’t know if there’s anything I forgot. I mostly wanted an excuse to throw in another 7.
ETA: I remember #7. #7 was Hunter blood.
Hunter palette 5 in Eternal
actually looks exactly
like Hunter palette 4 from Chronicles
at far right), with one noteworthy exception. Their blood in Chronicles
is blue. Not a mild shade of blue, either; it’s 243° hue, 100% saturation, 100% brightness. You don’t get any bluer.
One other palette (palette 4, I think) also looks fairly similar to Hunter palette 3 from Chronicles
(second from right), though less than it used to. These currently have the same blood colour as MoAHs have in M2/∞.
Is there any chance of bringing these closer in line? I know the Chronicles
colours are kinda garish, but Pfhor aren’t noted for their sense of décor. I figure that if they perceive colour differently from humans (which I consider highly likely), they’ll see different things as being garish than we do, so it makes sense to me.
This isn’t a necessity – the Chronicles
Hunters actually act completely differently from M1/2/∞/Eternal
Hunters – but I would find it pretty cool.