Eternal X 1.2

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.
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Pfhorrest
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thanks, pr merged, haven't had time to check it out yet, probably won't get to it until I do my ch3 testing in a few weeks but really appreciate everything meanwhile!
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ravenshining
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erm, okay, there are a few angles where you could see the door. and the silly split door got misaligned again. whoops! Annnd I failed to fix that before you got my PR. Well, here's another one, sorry about that!

and yeah, I saw your schedule and wanted to get these done before you got to chapter 3 testing!
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The Man
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Seems good. I will note that if you make a door activate only once, it should always have the “can’t deactivate externally” flag set as well (and if it’s a door, it should either deactivate “never” or “at each level”). Otherwise, if a player shoots it twice with the fusion cannon or something, the level may be impossible to complete. I’ll make those changes and upload the revision momentarily.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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ravenshining
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Oooh, good catch. All the doors I set were already "each level" but I didn't check for "can’t deactivate externally." The fusion rifle would easily wreck the level.

New view out the first window. Was an absurdly high blank wall in 1.1, and then just empty landscape until now:
SphtHappens_0006.jpg
Altered view out the last window to accommodate above (because 2.5D), also showing recharger and new distant building:
SphtHappens_0007.jpg
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The Man
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Thanks. And yeah, the new architecture you added is a huge improvement. Have you done anything since your latest PR or should I go ahead and upload my changes? And I just vidded the level on the first try, so the formerly unfair start is completely alleviated with the 1x recharger there.

There are still about five misaligned doors, but I’ll get that tomorrow as it’s already 4:45 am.

It’s also still possible to trap oneself if one grenade jumps out the opening window into the lava pool, but IIRC, using teleporter polygons can mess up monster path building, or am I just misremembering? That’s another thing that could stand to get fixed.

In any case, the new version of the level looks way more like an ancient citadel than any previous one, so great job on that.

…went ahead and uploaded the fix; if you’ve done anything else just feel free to supplant this as it took me about 5 minutes. I also went ahead and made it so the door to the basement area activated outside the citadel also stays propped open, just so all doors in the level behave the same way.
Attachments
S'pht Happens.sceA.zip
(80.83 KiB) Downloaded 76 times
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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ravenshining
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I'm done for the moment, go ahead! Drat those misaligned doors.

Yeah, teleporters are considered impassable. So if you use them, they need to be somewhere out-of-the-way, and that area is definitely in the way. Fortunately, there's lava, so you can kill yourself. I suppose the tower's front door could be set like the side doors - partially open at first, and then shut once Tag 1 is triggered. If you do that, make sure the opening is less than 1 WU, so the Defenders don't escape. Maybe move the noncombatants in that room down below, and have a couple coloured defenders or a black defender facing the door. Then you'll only get stuck if you're silly enough to jump out after completing the objective of sealing the doors.

Screenshots from S'pht'ia:

Defender shooting ticks outside the window
Sphtia_0001.jpeg
Restored M2 geometry:
Sphtia_0004.jpeg
Restored M2 geometry:
Sphtia_0005.jpeg
New hallway to west wing from the bottom of the elevator:
Sphtia_0006.jpeg
View from new west wing hallway across the top of the elevator:
Sphtia_0008.jpeg
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The Man
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Well, the other possibility is to set only *one* of those polygons as a teleporter. That way monsters can go around it. I’m leaning towards doing that

It’s odd, though, since the teleporters in the “Corporation” levels don’t seem to mess up the drones that much. I don’t get what’s up with the engine sometimes.

The new “S’pht’ia” screenshots look cool. I’ll try it tomorrow.

…ok, I found a motion glitch in “S’pht’ia”, specifically regarding polygon 841. I’ve fixed this, but I figure I’ll wait to submit a revision until I implement some more 5D space. I think I may want to implement some of the architecture from “S’pht Happens” as well.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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ravenshining
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841, that's... ah, that's there to keep you from seeing landscape on the back side of the elevator while you're falling. You don't actually traversere that polygon... but you do traverse 835, underneath it, and that's glitching. I can see how I missed that, while testing I probably just jumped out of the trench rather than going back down that annoying elevator. I hate that glitch.
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Pfhorrest
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should I merge in that map file Aaron attached a few posts up, or is that pending conflict resolution?
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The Man
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The version of “S’pht Happens” I posted should be the most recent.

Regarding the glitch, yeah, it sucks. I got the purpose the second I tested out the vantage point from the start of the level, Moving the easternmost points of 841 a bit further east should resolve it. Of course, that risks creating another motion glitch should a player almost wander into 841, which is solved by making the boundary solid and placing a texture on it. It’s a super annoying glitch for sure.

There’s also a glitch with solid lines that are unattached to polygons, but connected to at least one point on a polygon that I don’t have time to explain at the moment. I’ll get it later.

Films:

S’pht’ia

S’pht Happens

More later. Gotta run.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
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Well, removing the ZPMs from the early part of chapter 5 has ruined it again.

The problems seem to be threefold. Number one is that there is nowhere goddamn near enough ammo on TC now. If you tripled the amount of ammo in “The Dead Live in the Catacombs”, it’s entirely probable that there still wouldn’t be enough. You’d think the fusion cannon would enable you to plow through enemies, but you’d be wrong. The truth is that it’s shockingly ineffective against… honestly pretty much all of the enemies. I don’t find it uncommon to waste an entire fusion battery vanquishing a single Banshee. At least half the shots end up being completely wasted.

And that takes us to point the second, which is that the hitboxes for the chapter 5 enemies are completely fucked. The hitboxes for Mothrids are seemingly about 33% the size they ought to be. The hitboxes for Banshees appear to be about 67% the size they ought to be. The Nightmares seem to have hitboxes about 80% the size they ought to have.

And it doesn’t help that the Banshees and Mothrids move so fucking quickly, which is the third problem. If the enemies’ hitboxes were reasonable, it wouldn’t matter quite so much that they moved this quickly, but in any case, I feel like I’m wasting about 80% of shots I take.

I somehow managed to get through “Echoes of Eden”, which I think is because it has about three times the amount of ammo that the two following levels do. “The Dead Live in the Catacombs” seems to be completely impossible with the ammo that’s present on the level. In my failed attempt just now, I had about 5 fusion batteries left in my arsenal, and I still hadn’t killed half the enemies in the level. To be fair, there were a few more batteries at a later point that I had no hope of reaching, but still nowhere near enough; I’d burned through about 15, plus about half my staff charge and half my napalm cannon.

It’s not all bad. The levels now have a much more pervasive feeling of paranoia with the reduced arsenal. But it’s been taken too far. The paranoia isn’t the problem; the problem is that the gameplay simply is not fun. I suggest a few revisions:
  • Fusion ammo regenerates infinitely, with a minimum count on each level of twenty-one.
  • More zero-point modules on each level. I’d say at least seven. Three is the bare minimum I can envision being tolerable.
  • Fix the goddamn hitboxes.
  • Maybe also add a few staff charges and napalm cannons per level. Presumably the Jjaro would be able to replicate ammo for Pfhor weapons. The others don’t matter so much since they aren’t effective against the Banshees, though I honestly wouldn’t say no to at least one additional AR on “Echoes of Eden”, because tbcr discovered a hilarious speedrun strategy that isn’t currently possible from a vid start, and it’d be nice to demonstrate in a film. (An extra AR clip should make it possible, if difficult.)
  • In response to those concessions, it’d probably be fair to raise the enemy regeneration rate by 10% or so. In the case of “Catacombs”, this might mean adding a regeneration rate, as they currently don’t have one, but it might honestly still be fine without one. It’s an at least borderline impossible level in its current state.
…unrelated to those issues, is there some reason “This Message Will Self-Destruct” isn’t a low-grav level? It seems to be a Pfhor ship, but I’ll grant that it also seems to have a planet landscape. Kind of confusing.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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Pfhorrest
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Those all sound like reasonable changes to me (except for the ammo for Pfhor weapons, because although the Jjaro could replicate it, there's not really any reason why they would).

I won't have any time to get to them for about a week though, so if there's any chance you could make those changes between now and then, that would be super convenient.

Thanks!

Oh and "This Message" isn't low-grav because the ship is sitting on the ground inside the Sphere, not floating alone in space, so normal gravity is in effect.
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Pfhorrest
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ugh, tonight i double-checked and touched up the 'forerunner' textures, and made a handful of very subtle small adjustment to them, which took three fucking hours longer than i planned for because i forgot already how goddamn long it takes just to open and save these stupid files
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The Man
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I’ve gone ahead and edited the maps. I’m not entirely sure how to fix the physics issues yet, but “The Dead Live in the Catacombs” is a lot more tolerable with regenerating ammo. I think part of the problem is that the hitboxes for both Banshees and especially Mothrids are way below where their sprites indicate they should be. I’m not entirely sure how to calculate what the correct values should be. And of course, there’s also the problem that if they’re widened too much, they might not be able to make it through certain areas that they’re intended to be able to pass through.

Would it at least make sense for the Jjaro to make assault rifles? The assault rifle/grenade launcher is a pretty all-purpose weapon, after all.

(Also, while I’m thinking of it, would it be incongruous to have ammo on the chapter 3/4 failure dreams? The number of Banshees might be a bit much otherwise.)

Good luck with the textures. I did notice that the bump map for the door texture in the Forerunner set seems to have the edge problem, but hopefully that’s an easy fix.

Up-to-date vid films of “The Living Receiver”, “Echoes of Eden”, “The Dead Live in the Catacombs”, and “Where Giants Have Fallen” TK over the next day or two. (Already recorded; just a matter of encoding.)

…btw it’s possible the clustering of Banshees together in “Echoes of Eden” might be because they have each other marked as friends. I remember something similar happening with the Ticks on my net adaptation of “Converted Church” until I changed that setting. I think I marked them to regard each other as enemies, which obviously wouldn’t work with enemies that actually have attacks set. IDK how to fix 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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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DrJohn
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I suppose this is my first official reply. Just to let you know where I am at in my playing of beta 5, I am in the middle of Genie in a Bottle. I am far enough along that the rest of the level is academic. In other words, I am close to starting (once again) Chapter 5. Let me give you a bit of history of when I played that chapter the first (and only) time.

I remember getting through Echoes of Eden without too much trouble. It wasn't easy, but I was able to dodge most of the enemies. However, The Dead Live in the Catacombs was another story. This was back when there were regenerating enemies. I very nearly quit playing then. I absolutely hated that level. And it was not because I had to use ammo. I had already accepted that from some of the levels in earlier chapters. Somehow I got through it. But I was barely hanging on to my desire to continue playing. Frankly, I don't recall my thoughts on "These Caves Can't...". But when I got to "Deep Into The Grotto", that was it. I did quit. And I have never played Chapter 5 again. I believe this would have been Eternal 1.1.

Now you might be thinking "Aw... that's just Sumner. If he can't use Fists and has to use ammo, he doesn't want to play." While I admit I do have a fascination (bordering on obsession) with completing a scenario with Fists only, I know that's not possible in Eternal. I'll use ammo if I have to, as long as I am enjoying playing. And therein lies the problem. Aaron said it best in one of the above posts. Chapter 5 is just not fun as it is. And if I am not having fun while playing, then I won't. So, needless to say, I am not looking forward to starting Chapter 5. Especially given Aaron's comments above. Understand, I have had a blast playing the first four chapters. I have used some ammo when necessary, and I have encountered some hard levels, Genie in a Bottle being one. But all of it has been FUN.

I guess I just do not now, nor ever will, understand the fascination with having infinite regenerating enemies. Why in the world would I want to play a level, where I have to use ammo and possibly A LOT of ammo, only to have the enemies regenerate again, sometimes at a high rate? To me that is not much fun. It doesn't give me any reason to want to fight any enemies. I will always feel like I have wasted the ammo and have nothing to show for my efforts. If the level is short, then maybe okay. But "The Dead Live..." and "Deep Into..." are definitely not short levels. At least "The Dead.." has no regenerating enemies. (And please Aaron, don't even think about going back to it.)

So what would I like to see in Chapter 5? As crazy as it sounds, I'd do several things. First of all, I would have NO regenerating enemies at all in any level. Now, to compensate, I would include more enemies than there are now initially in each level. That seems only fair. Since the enemies are hard to defeat as it stands right now, you need to make it easier to actually hit them with the weapons you have. And make DARN sure there is enough ammo. Possibly using Aaron's suggestion of having regenerating ammo. You need to give the player something to shoot for (no pun intended), a goal in mind, the ability to defeat all the enemies, and to save for that last time before moving on to the next level. You have that in the first four chapters. But not in that last chapter.

I guess I have written enough. Hope that struck home with some of you.

John
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The Man
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Thanks for the detailed feedback. It makes sense, and I can’t say I disagree with too much of it. To be honest, though, “Echoes” and “Catacombs” are back to being fun again with the restored ammo. And I think “Natural Formation” will probably be fine, too; the only reason I haven’t given it a serious go is because I wasted a fair deal of time faffing about trying to get the hang of a speedrun strategy that I still haven’t mastered. (Like 99% of speedrun strategies in this game, it involves the assault rifle. Won’t say much more than that yet.)

It’s worth noting that the assault rifle is seriously broken in this game, but then, it’s seriously broken in every game. Here’s a run I made of a very slightly modified “Echoes of Eden” just a moment ago. It took all of 39 seconds. The only modifications I made were starting the player out with an extra assault rifle and a 3x recharge. The 3x recharge isn’t even necessary; 2x would have more than sufficed, and I wouldn’t have even needed that if the Mothrids hadn’t trapped me. I could keep trying until I got it without the need for the recharge, but I don’t really have the time.

I wouldn’t suggest changing the architecture that makes this skip possible, though. Most games are seriously broken in speedruns, and this isn’t even the biggest skip we’ve found. And some of these are nothing compared to the skips found in the original games. Here’s “Electric Sheep One” in ten seconds, “Electric Sheep Two” in five, “For Carnage, Apply Within” (which is supposed to be one of the hardest levels in the trilogy) in twenty-eight. The skip past the pillars in “Colony Ship” is of course by now well known, and there are countless other examples like that.

As I said, I favour leaving these kinds of quirks in. First off, it makes scenarios popular with speedrunners if there are exploits like this. Secondly, casual players are never gonna figure this stuff out. This skip has been in Eternal since at least 1.0, I’d assume. The even more extreme skip I referred to has also been in there since at least 1.0.* The fact that none of these exploits are known at all outside speedrunning communities suggests that the likelihood they’ll catch on with the wider public is close to nil. And in any case, I make two separate categories of Marathon films these days: one is vid films, where I endeavour to clear out as much of the level as possible making limited use of weaponry, and the other is speedruns, where the object is just to exit the level as quickly as possible. So I’ve got a twenty-six minute vid film of “She Is the Dark One” and a three-minute TC speedrun. The existence of such exploits isn’t gonna prevent most people who play the game from trying to play it properly.

Also, some of them are just hilarious. That “Echoes of Eden” one is a good example.

Anyway, I think the chapter 5 levels are back to being reasonably good by now. If we can fix the monster physics, they’ll even be outright good.

*I would be less vague about this other skip, but I made a promise not to reveal it here until the next Eternal speedrun is completed. If I can receive assurance that it’ll stay in the game, I may be willing to relent; all I’ll say for now is that it enables a fairly long level to be completed in under 25 seconds on any difficulty setting. And I think it’s possibly even more hilarious than the “Echoes of Eden” strategy.

ETA: here’s a faster depiction of the “Echoes of Eden” strategy btw
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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Pfhorrest
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thank you both for fine tuning all of that i don't really have any time to respond in detail im drowning at work and then will be afk for most of a week and then have piles and piles of work both work work and eternal work to catch up on when i get back so i'll just have to trust the two of you to get the monster/ammo count and regeneration properly balanced

there's no reason not to have ammo on the dream levels, they're dreams, anything goes, so go ahead

the jjaro would surely be able to make AN assault rifle, but there's no reason they would make the Pfhor assault rifle, so a big No to having that placed in chapter 5. i guess if you just want it there so that you can do some cheaty thing in speedruns, you could add an easter egg if you want? a secret door somewhere to a room with it or something.

since i'll be starting my runthroughs of chapter 5 myself as soon as i get home from the holiday it would be amazing if all of these changes could be implemented already by the time i get back. i know you have great difficulty with PRs aaron but maybe Lia could help, if you post your files or send them to her she could manually add them on her end and then send me a PR? that would make integrating the changes much easier.

thank you all so much
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The Man
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Sounds reasonable. I’ll just add some secret room somewhere in one of the recesses and make the extra AR(s) teleport in.

How are you about adding secrets to other levels? I’ve got a few places in other levels where I could see adding some, too.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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Pfhorrest
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if they're really secret secrets (like the door just looks like a wall and is marked as "Secret" and it's otherwise clear that this is something hidden by the mapmakers and not a part of the canonical geometry of the place the map represents) then that's fine by me.

also thanks for mentioning the door edge bump map problem, i didn't catch that last night and that's important so i found a few seconds here and there across the course of the day today to slowly fix that too
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The Man
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No problem, and that sounds perfectly reasonable. Good luck with all the work/family stuff BTW.

I think I've formulated a decent compromise regarding respawning enemies: they respawn some, but there's a finite limit to the number that can show up. Right now we have them just regenerating infinitely, which I'll allow is kind of extreme, even with the minimum count dropped to 0. I doubt any of them need that many, though how many we'd leave in could depend on the level somewhat. For "Deep into the Grotto", I'm fine leaving the number fairly high. The mission isn't actually as complicated as it seems at first glance (in fact, we discovered during speedrun planning that it's only actually necessary to deactivate two of the computer banks to complete the level), but if the number is only 21 or something, you'd run out of stuff to fight fairly quickly. Other levels, like "Echoes of Eden", don't take so much time to complete and don't need as many regenerating enemies, though I think I could also make that one work by just adding more spawn points to the lower level of the level and removing the respawning entirely.

The levels that probably need some number of enemy respawns are, at a glance, "Deep Into the Grotto", "This Message Will Self-Destruct", and "We Met Once in the Garden". And maybe "Where Giants Have Fallen", which doesn't currently have any.

"Deep Into the Grotto" is (for players going in blind, at least) a heavily exploration-based mission where most (all?) of the enemy spawn points are near the start of the level. If enemies don't respawn, it'll clear out pretty quickly and it'll just feel like wandering around in Vasara. There'll be no sense of urgency or paranoia to the mission. Plus, there have to be some W'rk enemies left to fight the Pfhor at the end, or the intended effect of having the Pfhor arrive late and fight the W'rk enemies is destroyed. Granted, one other possible solution is to add some more spawn points that only open up when the mission is finished. I could see a defensible case for that.

"This Message Will Self-Destruct" depends upon the player wandering through a massive battle between the Pfhor and the W'rk enemies in order to maintain its effect. It's sort of the chapter 5 equivalent of "Unlucky Pfhor Some" or "Third Rock from Lh'owon". I'm fine keeping the number of regenerating enemies finite, but it should be fairly high. It might need to be very high, since the Pfhor and W'rk fight each other. (The same deal goes for "Unlucky" and "Third Rock" if we decide to reduce the "total available" on those to anything below infinity - the count would probably have to be in the hundreds if not thousands for those levels, given how much the enemies and allies fight each other.)

"We Met Once in the Garden" and "Where Giants Have Fallen" are both basically just mad dashes from enemies to get to the end. If you can completely clear out the level, it might destroy the atmosphere. I can see a defensible case for making it possible to do so regardless, but it should be a challenge, and it shouldn't be possible to do quickly. And again, the enemies in "We Met Once" fight each other a lot, so we'd again need a high count to maintain the effect for any appreciable amount of time. "Where Giants Have Fallen" is actually currently one of the easiest levels in the latter half of the scenario, especially when you learn the skip that enables you to bypass the eastern half of the level. If you can survive the opening, you'll probably be OK. And it often clears out rather quickly, though there's a fair degree of Random Number God to that. It's not like it used to be, where survival was purely dependent upon random chance. (Though, to be fair, part of that may be due to my discovery of the aforementioned skip.) I'd like to make it harder, but without making it a luck-based mission. That'll be a difficult needle to thread and may take some time.

I'll add that the last time I vidded "We Met Once in the Garden", I ran across numerous cases of monster freeze. I think the limit on monster paths is currently 128. Is it possible to raise that to 256? It might make sense for the final release.

Also, what's the final thinking on secret levels? Yay or nay? I've got a couple of ideas if we decide to go for it.

I'll see what I can do about resolving the Github issues. Looks like it might require some command-line stuff. At worst case I'll just message my new revisions to Lia and she can make a PR.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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ravenshining
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I really like levels where you have infinite spawning enemies. They force you to shift priorities away from carnage and towards your objective.

That said, I've given up in frustration on Deep into the Grotto myself, but I think that has less to do with the infinite enemies and more to do with the fact that you can't really harm any of them until you've found the one random niche where you get the graviton blades. Once you have those, they're easy to deal with, and the level quickly becomes too empty.

So, here's my take on it:
-Monsters still spawn infinitely
-Mothrids spawn more often, nightmares less often
-Ammo now spawns infintely
-You can't get lost in the caverns until you've activated a switch next to the recharger by the blades
-There are more places to hide. Monsters won't follow you down dead-end caverns, or harass you by recharge stations.
-If you take too long, the Pfhor start coming in. Just drones after about 15 minutes, then infantry after half an hour. The MOAH shouldn't come in until you've actually broken the panel.
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That could work. I’ll test it later tonight and see how it goes. I’ll also make my planned revisions to “Echoes of Eden” and possibly other levels.

If we were going to go with finite numbers of enemies, I’d be fine keeping the limit quite high, so that people who want to kill everything would have to stick around awhile, and so that casual players wouldn’t run out of things to fight. I think the engine can support limits of up to 32,767 or thereabouts (maybe 65,534 – I would assume one value would be left for infinity) so a limit of thousands wouldn’t be unthinkable.

I’m also going to try to connect some segments of “S’pht Happens” to “S’pht’ia”, but it’s very confusing, since the amount of 5D space in the level is quite massive. I’m going to have to sort out what bits of 5D space correspond to what physical parts of the level. I think I understand, but I’d like to be certain before fighting with the map editor only to find out that I messed it up.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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ravenshining
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Test this version, not the one I posted earlier. The other one spawned in 60 mothrids on entering resulting in fairly consistent instant death.

I take it you're either trying to add some of the rear, dry moat to S'pht'ia, or the lava crater to S'pht Happens? If you're trying to connect ground views to the upper level wings, save yourself the trouble. I've tried it, and it looks bad, Aleph One's height limit just doesn't do the tower justice. Anyway, there are only two overlapping regions at ground. The opening fall & rooftop region, and the moat region.

Also, here's a random tip I used on S'pht'ia: If you have flying enemies in an area with landscape as the floor, set the polygons to Minor Ouch, turn on "Ouch is Lava," and have them start a bit above the surface. That way, they leave no corpses on the landscape.
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Depending what you mean by “upper level wings”, I don’t think so. I didn’t want to make any of the “Hard Stuff Rules” areas visible in “Eat It, Vid Boi!” or vice versa. I just wanted the starting location from “S’pht Happens” and a couple other areas from the same level to be visible from the start of “S’pht’ia” when you fall or go exploring.

I was thinking about even making it possible to wander up into that area if the physical space is there to make it possible to include, but one argument against doing so is that it would make it possible to grenade jump out and skip most of the level. However, I guess I could make the windows solid this time to prevent that; it’d be inconsistent but that could just be attributed to the passage of a thousand years and/or Pfhor bombardment blowing out the windows.

And anyway, it might still be possible to skip a good chunk of it if you grenade jump in the right area. Not sure how much yet; haven’t worked out what switches activate what.

And yeah, I get what the two overlapping regions are now. I’ll just have to figure out how to manage them. It may result in me having to add the same areas from “S’pht Happens” twice, which would be very annoying, though doable.

I’ll try that latest “Deep Into the Grotto” revision in a few minutes, thanks. Still haven’t gotten around to it due to work on other projects.

Oh, and that’s a cool idea with the ticks. I noticed their corpses disappeared. It’s also probably possible to lower the floor significantly so they fall more before disappearing completely, though. I’ll see about trying that when I’m satisfied I’ve gotten the geometry the way I want it.

ETA: The new “Deep into the Grotto” works well for the most part, but the Pfhor no longer seem to show up after you’ve destroyed Hathor’s wires. IDK if I just got out of there too quickly or what.
“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

“The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.” —Frank Wilhoit

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Pfhorrest
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on deep into the grotto rhe pfhor can’t start coming until after you smash the wires because that’s when the time jump happens and the pfhor don’t exist before then

aaron i think the reason you’re not seeing pfhor at all is because lia changed their activation to be time based rather than wires based. please change it baxk.

oh also, no to entire secret levels, please
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