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18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

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User avatar Sat42
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Subject: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 18 May 2024, 20:49

Map Title: The Descent: 'Overture'
Authors: nikosv, SteadZ & ebd
From: The Descent
Filename: TD-00-Begin.unr




Video Playthroughs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8J3ieBysI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTNLXDKXlX8

Synopsis: You were approached by the Do'gradji family with the pleaded request that you rescue their child from a mysterious location known as "The Forbidden Caves". As a highly esteemed mercenary you wouldn't normally accept such a petty job, but one look in their heartbroken eyes told you this was no place for a child - plus the advance deposit is nothing to sniff at!
Information surrounding these enigmatic "Forbidden Caves" is little-to-none, but the Nali are notoriously secretive; what strange and dark secrets could possibly be hiding down there?

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: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 19 May 2024, 04:24

A good intro for the set; it introduces and foreshadows a bunch of things (along with hinting at the later levels, as well as some worldbuilding by implying multiple entrances), and looks good with multiple events to set the scene like the Skaarj/Mercenary fight and the traffic crossing. Plus while there's plenty to look at it's also structured so you can move on pretty fast if you just want to get to the main set of levels.
Formerly Mman

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Subject: Re: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 19 May 2024, 10:14

In early versions of this map there were a few oddly placed rock meshes hiding some BSP atrocities that the world just isn't ready for, but thanks to SteadZ's BSP sorceries, things ended up very clean. The final version does still have the one BSP rock added explicitly to keep a supercut from shredding the entire map into pieces. I can only guess that no one dared to tempt the UnrealEd Goblin any more than necessary...

No commentary playthrough
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTNLXDKXlX8

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Subject: Re: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 19 May 2024, 19:56

Hopefully Niko sees this and manages to have a chance to talk a bit on the terrain creation! Was great to have someone take on the task, just a shame that the engine hated the brushes so much for some reason.

The idea with this entrance was to imply that the player had been following the trail of the enigmatic "child" (there are some footsteps at the beginning that imply this). Think originally we were going to have some combat but decided that it would be more in the style of what came after to begin with nothing and just experience a few eastereggs and sequences.

ebd did a stellar job on both the section he added and the billboard too (ironically this was produced wayyy before I was able to start work on the map itself). Interestingly looking back at niko's notes in the .blend file (which I completely missed), the entrance to the next level was supposed to be in the cave which has the temple entrance (supposedly leading to pla's level) but I'm so thankful we have the Weedrow-reminiscent area populated by the rival scare and merc gangs that we got :D

I wanted to add another area that would only be accessible by the player after they complete the campaign and choose the "destroy" ending but never got around to it... maybe in v1.2 :P
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Subject: Re: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 20 May 2024, 12:23

A great level to start The Descent, it's very similar to Vortex Rikers in the sense that you don't get to shoot anything and just explore your surroundings, also just like Vortex it sets the mood of what the campaign is going to be with lots of character interactions and messages to find. Also it was interesting to find out that all the creatures (except the mantas) are actually normal pawns, I always thought they were decorations that played animations to fool people into thinking they were real pawns.

This map uses lots of stuff from the 227 patch including Dynamic Coronas, Dynamic Zones, Projectors, Static Meshes, Emitters and more stuff from the mappack itself. I also have to mention the footstep manager, such a great tool that I wished it was in the original Unreal from the start, I don't know if it would be possible to create an actor like that in Unreal pre 227 since those versions of the game don't have decals. This level uses the original game's decorations in very creative ways, my favorite part is the store before the end of the map, this might be the first map that I've played that uses the DrawScale3D from 227, great stuff :tup: . Also interesting to see what projectors can do, the blood in that crime scene was a nice touch.

The terrain at the beginning of the map is one of the most impressive brushes I have ever seen, I can't believe that the mountains, terrain and caves all are one brush. I'm a mapper and I would never make the terrain like that (also I think the terrain was made in a different software, I don't think the original terrain brush can create geometry like that), I would use multiple tessellated cubes to create the shapes I want, you know, the old fashion way :D .

ebd wrote:In early versions of this map there were a few oddly placed rock meshes hiding some BSP atrocities that the world just isn't ready for, but thanks to SteadZ's BSP sorceries, things ended up very clean. The final version does still have the one BSP rock added explicitly to keep a supercut from shredding the entire map into pieces.

I wonder if Brush 519 or 517 are the brushes that ebd mentioned that prevent the map from collapsing :P .

Note to self: don't open this map in the editor using the Software Render, you are going to have a bad time :wink: .
Somewhere in Nevada...

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Subject: Re: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 24 May 2024, 17:31

Yeah, this is a really great level :)

As an intro map, it may seem odd that it doesn't do the job of introducing you to the gameplay but The Descent is designed around flexibility and can change the rules at any map, so it's the individual levels that are responsible for easing players into whatever the focus is gameplay-wise. In terms of aesthetics however, 'Overture' certainly does introduce players to the generally much higher build standards of the campaign compared to the original Unreal. That opening outdoor area by Niko is fantastic (also I love the dynamic sun lens flare effect), and reminded me of the first time I saw Operation Na Pali and thought "can you really get this good with this engine?"... but better still, it is first and foremost full of surprises, delighting newcomers with completely unexpected stuff like the opening scripted sequence (I remember thinking "uh-oh!" and trying to keep a safe distance! took a while to dare approach a Merc Police Officer after that - couldn't find a weapon, you see :) ), friendly pawns (i.e., not just Nali!) and the traffic crossing - that last one is my favourite, I'd never seen something like actual traffic (pedestrians + vehicles) in this engine before!

And there are so many nice touches throughout, lots of worldbuilding from the multiple entrances to "The Forbidden Caves" (even a reference to the SCP universe) to the different denizens (incl. the "Scare Gang" :) ) and lots of bespoke art assets... yeah, like the motorbikes! when I realised how they were made (only at the end of the map! where you can check out a couple of parked bikes), well... suffice to say, if you know someone's specialised work, you can immediately recognise their touch when encountering new work of similar nature! wouldn't you agree, ebd? :D and cheers to SteadZ for taking the design and implementing the traffic!

It's pretty fitting for a collaborative project to start with a collaborative map, and honestly this is one of the best from The Descent.
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: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 25 May 2024, 07:25

SCARE GANG

There's a whole lot of talent behind this collaboration. Great visuals, humor, and scripted sequences that had me stick around instead of going straight to the end. Even without shooting elements, it's a fantastic intro that sets a high standard for the rest of the pack.

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Subject: Re: 18/05/2024 - "The Descent: 'Overture'" by nikosv, SteadZ & ebd

Post Posted: 25 May 2024, 14:15

A sweet experience with the usual ebd charm paired with some "l33t visuals". Admittedly theres a bit of a disconnect between that starting terrain and the rest of the map, some stylistic dissonance, but both are plenty enjoyable in their own right, with the quirky and comedic elements of the latter part being a great preference.
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