ividyon will never get this done, will he.

EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 v2.1

For public discussion of all things EXU2.

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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 25 Sep 2010, 04:33

Here's an idea I've had kicking around in my head for the past few days:

Unlockable story-related documents. You download EXU2, install it, and find an EXUDocs folder in your UT\Help directory. Inside is a series of password-protected zip files, all of which contain different actual primary sources (classified documents, information about enemy bases and installations, images, possibly even video and audio, even bonus maps, etc). In order to open these files, you have to look around in the maps and recover data from various sources, such as books or computer terminals or recovered text/voice fragments which contain passwords.

The archives would be labeled non-descriptively, i.e. something like D0058, D0059, etc. In any messages you read which referenced some kind of secret information, you'd find a document number and either an explicitly mentioned password for it, or an implied password. Some passwords would not be recoverable from the game, but WOULD be recoverable from note scraps (recovered from other archive files) that contain lists of recent or known passwords. Obviously, some of these documents would have profoundly useful gameplay functions, while others would just be for show, but they would all be 100% optional to dig up.

The whole system would be designed to simulate your PDA device thing's ability to download and store a wide variety of information, even scanning pages out of books and the like, all without actually bothering to implement such a system ingame (because EXU2 is all about the action gameplay and this kind of extraneous stuff doesn't fit in with that). You could even go so far as to download some password cracker for zip files (not like I care) if you wanted, it would be like hacking your PDA to recover potentially lifesaving information in the field! But if you wanna do that, you better do it in Map 5 without pausing the game for the full effect >:E

I think they would be fun to make; do you think they would be fun to crack open?
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 25 Sep 2010, 15:11

lol, sure. It's just another touch to the game that some would appreciate, and it's a good idea in general. Funny too, just due to the idea of trying to find all that shit while still trying not to get screwed in the process. Certainly something I'd have a crack at if it were implemented.
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 25 Sep 2010, 18:48

I like that idea a lot. Being entirely optional means it won't harm anyone, and I would have fun with it at least. :tup:

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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 27 Sep 2010, 03:40

GOD DAMN this took way too long to censor. Thanks, Word 2007 and Photoshop for being dicks

Anyway, this is the kind of stuff you can expect to recover from passwords found ingame, including uncensored versions of documents like these:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/w ... NSORED.png

(Yes, this is heavily inspired by the SCP Foundation ;) )
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 27 Sep 2010, 11:45

Shadow hive is the boss in this gig

HAHA this makes me think about the Kran.
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 04 Oct 2010, 06:29

GOD DAMN (MKII)

Due to peer pressure / recommendations from game developers I listened to at SIEGE over the weekend (which was AWESOME) / etc. I now have a Twitter account - Waffnuffly of course. You can follow me posting bullshit about development progress which probably won't happen TOO too much. Also, if you have any recommendations on people/things I should follow, let me know.

At the very least, using it should help me condense my sentences. Impactful word choice is critical when you only have 140 characters, as pointed out by a story designer at CCP, so this should be good practice at helping me curb my naturally-wordy writing style. Especially because, as discussed, "nobody reads your story" in games. Nobody. Your shit is useless beyond a very small number of words, so you need to know how to deliver a story effectively using as little text as possible.

Needless to say, there's gonna be a lot more design focus on scripted events in EXU2 rather than translator messages. I'm gonna try to gut some of the longer-winded transmissions and recovered text fragments and shit in favor of subtler storytelling devices via the level design, but it should be worth it.

I also listened to a really great panel on balancing games from a couple of designers at Firaxis. Lots of wonderful information from them; I'm gonna be trying out all kinds of new things now!

SIEGE was one hell of a great event; I recommend going to any sort of similar conference near you (if your area has one) as soon as possible if you care at all about working in the games industry or just really like talking about how games are made and work. I can't wait for next year's.
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 04 Oct 2010, 06:54

Any documentation about SIEGE? Never heard of it, but am interested in reading about it, if there is anything. What country is it in anyway? BTW, if you mind me asking, due to my curious nature - what is the line of profession you are currently in? :)
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 04 Oct 2010, 13:36

Man if there are gaming conferences where I live >:E

Anyway, holy crap, playing my own EXU2 conversion maps. I used a shitcanister thrown in a lake where Demon Skaarj where accidentally bathing - the explosions made them jump in the sky and their rate of fire were screwed, meaning they were shooting PentaShots at an impressive speed (only when they were in the air).
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 04 Oct 2010, 15:01

WhirlWindWabbit wrote:Any documentation about SIEGE? Never heard of it, but am interested in reading about it, if there is anything. What country is it in anyway? BTW, if you mind me asking, due to my curious nature - what is the line of profession you are currently in? :)

I just graduated in May, so I'm still working my campus tech support job for the time being, which I'm fine with. But eventually I will be applying for positions as a level designer with intent to work up to a broader form of designer once I've learned more of the trade.

SIEGE = http://www.siegecon.net/SIEGE2010/
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 04 Oct 2010, 19:23

Good luck! :tup:
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"Good, we can attack in any direction."

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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 05 Oct 2010, 04:58

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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 05 Oct 2010, 06:50

I love it how there is a ton of pentagrams just fading over eachother into the background :tup:

Just let me print this out and I'll go grab some candles :o
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"Good, we can attack in any direction."

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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 05 Oct 2010, 18:03

OK, one more thing:

It's almost patch time! V2 is gonna be released probably by this weekend. I've made a lot of changes and while there's a few outstanding bugs left, I think it's time to finish off Demo 4 for good.

Here's the list of current changes: viewtopic.php?p=34800#p34800

If there's anything else you think I'm missing or any other last minute issues, bring them up now!
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 06 Oct 2010, 09:34

Waffnuffly wrote:
At the very least, using it should help me condense my sentences. Impactful word choice is critical when you only have 140 characters, as pointed out by a story designer at CCP, so this should be good practice at helping me curb my naturally-wordy writing style. Especially because, as discussed, "nobody reads your story" in games. Nobody. Your shit is useless beyond a very small number of words, so you need to know how to deliver a story effectively using as little text as possible.

Needless to say, there's gonna be a lot more design focus on scripted events in EXU2 rather than translator messages. I'm gonna try to gut some of the longer-winded transmissions and recovered text fragments and shit in favor of subtler storytelling devices via the level design, but it should be worth it.



It's true in the sense of first person games, anyway, or most in general.

I don't like to think that reading (or writing, for that matter) should be discouraged, but you must take the game into account first. I had an interesting time writing things for The Ball, where I had to adhere to a word maximum. It was just part of the job description, end of story. For instance, most of my "draft messages" for the ingame story clocked in at 600-900 characters. That's not 600-900 words, mind you, as spaces and punctuation were included to those totals. I had to whittle those down to a maximum of 360 characters for the finals (which meant anywhere from half that total being actual words, or maybe 25% more), and I averaged most of the messages you read in game to 340-350 characters. That's a technical juggle as well as a creative one, since I was weighing in what was ending up being an interesting (and effective) piece of reading against how much time the developers wanted their players to spend paying attention to messages, which in this case was not very long. They had to be terse and strong, each of them being different and interesting on their own and each of them filling in a piece of the puzzle at the same time.

Just the same, I don't think you should be too discouraged (or too influenced) by what some people say about how players react to the annoying habit of "words" in video game land. You're not getting paid for this. This is not a commercial title, and is quite possibly as non-profit as non-profit can get. This will be a niche release for a niche crowd, for a game that is tens years old. This is the kind of area where you should be experimenting. Or to say it better, it's the perfect breeding ground for unfettered creativity. Then again, as someone who has released a couple of these already and have a few more in the works, I'd say consider your material as a game first and foremost. Is EXU the kind of game that requires a structured storyline fleshed out by long narrative readables, whether they be unlockable or otherwise? Does this make the most of what you could be doing with unlockable (reward) content? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that the basic plot entails, "crazy demon shit has occurred, now go out there and kill everything that moves with preposterous weapons."


I think shooters get the short end of the stick here. It's really not the genre for winded exposition. It just isn't. You have to figure that the player's vision is always forward facing, their reaction always fast and quick to seek out environments (nooking crannies, basically). I believe that there is a natural tendency in every player of a first person shooter that never wants to stop moving, nor pause too long. Don't you feel that too? I'm not saying shooter players are anti-explorative....quite the opposite. It's just that...the forward momentum. It's always there. That constant need to move, search, continue. I think that's why many shooters do audio logs nowadays. It must play a factor, I'm convinced, in why games like Doom 3 or Metroid Prime don't reach Halo or Call of Duty status. It's also why many developers (stupidly) consider non-linearity a liability.

Anyway, kinda went on a rant here :-) If it helps Waff, I read three sentences of that piece you posted a few posts back (on the 26th) and stopped, telling myself I'd catch it whenever you put it in game. If that tells you anything about how you should manage writing in EXU, it's that...and this is my opinion...I think any enthusiasm followers of EXU have is for the hilarity factor and the gameplay. As long as you keep that parody spirit alive in your unlockable text then more power to you. If you opt for technical jargon (ironic-given-game-content-as-an-obvious, as it may be) I probably won't read it. Remember, people are playing EXU for entertainment mostly, since they don't really know what crazy thing you'll add next. Puzzle hunting for some nonspecific report's specimen assessment...eh, maybe not really reaching your target audience, know what I mean?
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Subject: Re: EXU2: Batshit Insane - Demo 4 [9/22/10]

Post Posted: 06 Oct 2010, 15:07

Proph, thanks for that. You bring up some good points.

EXU2's gameplay definitely is all about killing all kinds of shit with crazy weapons, but the backing story has a bit more substance to it than that, probably because I'm using it as a sort of lead-in to a larger story I'd like to write one day. But EXU2 itself might not be the best medium for that story, as the idea of parody is already so deeply entrenched in it that I don't think many players would stop to think about the implications of what's going on or what they're doing once they finish (let alone during the game).

I guess I'll hold on the extra story documents for now. I DID plan to make some focus just on story while others were brief but useful in a direct gameplay sense, like some of the images you find in Deus Ex that give away a later boss's strengths and weaknesses, etc. But ultimately, you're right: EXU2 is all about the gameplay and anything else is secondary, which is how I've always treated it. But if I do anything else, it won't be until the gameplay is polished to a shine in every map.

At the same time, I hope that as people progress through the game, they notice two things: 1) the obvious parody stuff, and 2) the larger scope of the story, which shows the stakes of your actions becoming increasingly higher up to a point where there is an enormous climax, both on gameplay AND story terms. I definitely know it's possible to make something funny AND exciting at the same time; just look at Problem Sleuth on mspaintadventures.com if you don't believe me!

All I'm really saying is that EXU2's story is a lot deeper than its gameplay. Whether people pay attention to or care about this is up to them individually. I just want to add enough stuff for people who DO notice and are curious to be able to look a little closer at it, all without divulging the whole picture (that will come later in other, non-EXU projects). :)
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