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27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

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Subject: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 27 Apr 2024, 20:12

Map Title: Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation
Author: Paul "TAZ" Mader
From: Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation
Filename: Tarmation.unr




Video Playthroughs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhNiIdDeCeM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAEEGKwTMj4

Synopsis: Your research team is trapped in a subterranean vault under the surface of an ice planet. Complex heating systems ensure life underground. But a huge ice block prevents your escape...
Activate the melting systems to free your way!

Discuss!
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 27 Apr 2024, 21:46

Interesting architectural choices here with a blend of styles. Pretty light on story, and there were a few curious gameplay choices. The largest fault I could find with it is with the lighting, some of the triggers needed to progress were difficult to spot, leading to a lot of backtracking wondering if I had missed something.

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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 27 Apr 2024, 21:48

I actually used to appreciate this map alot, for the most part i still do - there are alot of areas that are technically crude but the creative exercise of ideas aswel as the mood and lighting let it carry through well. My main complaint is that it's too short, I'd have really liked to play more of this kind of experience.
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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 28 Apr 2024, 00:21

Yeah I thought you guys might enjoy the creativity on display here with the unusual (sometimes thoroughly outlandish, dare I say unreal) architecture and designs. 8)

I think the map's review score is way too low, don't know what Lightning Hunter (whom I otherwise appreciate a lot :) ) was smoking :P But to be fair the passage of time has erased at least one problem mentioned in the review: frame rate issues... provided you're not still relying on a PC with late 90s specs, that is. Anyway, this once again illustrates how people shouldn't automatically neglect the SP community maps rated below 50% - some are still very good experiences, even if rough around the edges.

HOWEVER, there is one genuinely problematical bug - a BSP hole which everyone who plays the map for the first time falls victim to: thanks to ebd, we got that on tape! (link takes you to the 90-second mark)

https://youtu.be/aAEEGKwTMj4?si=xRNiw3pbS5mXs28Q&t=90

And I agree with ebd that the progression is sometimes unintentionally obscure, and even upon replaying the map (for the first time in years mind you) I got stumped for a bit at one point (at the bottom of the massive lift, like ebd). But as already said, the creative architecture and level design, along with the bold use of lighting and good choice of music, does elevate the experience - I love the atmosphere here. And while limited in the narrative department, at least there's a clear main objective - one which is also pretty original, like the rest of the level.

Like Kajgue, I'd also have liked to play more of this kind of adventure :tup:
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 28 Apr 2024, 23:38

As said on the discord there's a version of the map with the BSP issue fixed coming soon.

This is still a really unique map thematically even years after release, and the visuals mostly hold up and remain interesting now. It also does a good job implying a general goal at the start before you go into the main lava areas. The gameplay is fine beyond the slightly awkward elevators but there's nothing special about it, it does enough to keep you occupied while enjoying the environment though. It also makes a lot of use of heavily weakened enemies but with standard numbers; maybe some bigger enemy numbers could have given this level a unique style but I guess it was already really taxing on release so more enemies would have made it unplayable FPS-wise back then. With how singular in style they are it's a shame Tarmation didn't go beyond two maps, although it seems the author went on to some professional game design after, so he might have been picked up for his work here.
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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 01 May 2024, 13:04

Semfry wrote:As said on the discord there's a version of the map with the BSP issue fixed coming soon.


Looking forward to this and the official MOTW playthrough video to showcase it :)

And I didn't know TAZ joined the gaming industry after this - yet another example of a modder turned professional game designer!
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 01 May 2024, 16:30

I was wondering whether to do a playthrough since EBD already made one, but I have now. The download is also updated with the fixed version thanks to Delacroix (it also links the two maps but that doesn't work too well since Unreal doesn't remove weapons between levels even with the VRikers gamemode so it breaks map 2 if you treat it as continuous).
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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 01 May 2024, 16:56

That's great Semfry, thanks for your video! and thank you Delacroix for fixing the problematical bug of the level :)

Yeah I'll continue to play the Tarmation maps separately to not break the author's intent.

I'm glad MOTW can provide this sort of impetus to fix old SP releases from time to time :D

EDIT: also, the one little addition of the navigator corpse and associated log is tastefully done, foreshadowing what we learn in Tarmation 2 :wink:
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 03 May 2024, 17:36

I take no credit for fixing the bridge issue. Another party did that in the past and IDK how old the fix is exactly.

The Tarmation set is one of the better early Unreal custom SP outings. I liked the sudden crush trap early on and the overall metroidvania feel to the level that forces the player to backtrack once new venues of progress are unlocked. It's a typical excavation / foundry facility so for the enjoyers of those, this will scratch the itch no doubt.

Perhaps someone smarter than I will fully fix the transition so that T2 is started in Vrikersgame without the inventory as intended, but for the time being, separate map starting is a must.
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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 03 May 2024, 21:52

Delacroix wrote:I liked the sudden crush trap early on and the overall metroidvania feel to the level that forces the player to backtrack once new venues of progress are unlocked.


I actually wonder if there's something more to that as the room when you enter the facility (and access the exit) has multiple doorways you don't open, and I wonder if the intent for a larger Tarmation series was for you to return there as a sort of hub to access different parts of the location, but since it never went past map 2 it's impossible to tell.
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Subject: Re: 27/04/2024 - "Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 03 May 2024, 22:16

Semfry wrote:
Delacroix wrote:I liked the sudden crush trap early on and the overall metroidvania feel to the level that forces the player to backtrack once new venues of progress are unlocked.


I actually wonder if there's something more to that as the room when you enter the facility (and access the exit) has multiple doorways you don't open, and I wonder if the intent for a larger Tarmation series was for you to return there as a sort of hub to access different parts of the location [...].


I really like this idea even if it's speculative whether or not TAZ meant to go down this route - after all, he certainly consciously implemented the level looping back on itself - and Tarmation 2 does loop back on itself eventually as well. So it seems like a favoured design approach of his, and he was also a contemporary of EZKeel who really liked this sort of design (Xerania's Fall was already out).
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.


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