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08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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Subject: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 08 Jun 2024, 23:02

Map Title: Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening
Author: Paul "TAZ" Mader
From: Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening
Filename: Tarmation2.unr




Video Playthroughs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_pLWptXA7U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFzGRFMq50

Synopsis: Descending to Sector 2 of the Tarmation complex, you were knocked out cold by a Skaarj patrol and now await to be picked up for execution...

Can you escape in time to unveil the conspiracy that brought you here in the first place?

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: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 11 Jun 2024, 16:39

The theming here isn't as coherent as the elemental style of the first map, but the strangeness along with the massive scale of some areas carries the spirit in it's own way, and it's overall more visually impressive than the original. There's also plenty of use of machinery and environmental interactions that carries over from the first map. The start of this map can be a nightmare on higher difficulties since the Skaarj is faster than you, but past that the combat is pretty straightforward, although it has a bit more going on than the original map, including more puzzles and exploration, although the vent fan puzzle is a little odd (although I recall the physics there being a bit less wild when I played in the past?). The crane ride is also a nice idea but felt a little too long.

Layout-wise one disappointment is that it doesn't actually link back up to the start and just uses a zone portal; I kind of suspected with how little vertical space you cover compared to the giant warehouse, and looking in the editor confirmed that. Even with no real additions a couple of longer elevators and corridors/curves could have probably linked it up properly which would have been a nice bonus touch. While it has it's own issues you can see the development from the first map, and it's a shame we never got any more.
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Subject: Re: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 14 Jun 2024, 01:03

I basically agree with Semfry - I also believe Tarmation 2 to be a bit better than its predecessor (and this time Lightning Hunter's review score is more reasonable: I also feel the blurb is very fitting, "almost like a dreamland"), and given how fun it was to play through the short Tarmation series, it's a shame there isn't more.

I remember the rhythm of the map's opening act really impressing me the first time round - tight gameplay, scripted sequences, impressive vistas, heavy machinery and great use of dynamic lighting... and the later parts do not disappoint either. It felt like a grand adventure! It's quite challenging - probably more so than the first map which was no cakewalk on a first playthrough either.

However, as already mentioned and as can be easily seen from the screenshots, it's true that it isn't as coherent as the first map in the series, and while the "dreamland" (or indeed "nightmareland") aspect seems to win over most people (Semfry put it most eloquently), I remember a couple of members of our community expressing the view that Tarmation 2 was a disappointing sequel - mostly because of its eclectic style. Kajgue may yet elaborate on his thoughts on this one, having hinted at them in the recent MOTW thread for Tarmation - The Tiradium Sublimation :)

Excellent overall, is what I'd say - just one small step away from greatness!

Oh, and as for the story: it doesn't amount to much (it's not even finished), but in the strictest sense the "conspiracy" is revealed here and I would say the combination of explicit and implicit storytelling did enough to feel intriguing and again this reinforces the yearning for more.
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.

User avatar Kajgue
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Subject: Re: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 14 Jun 2024, 01:32

It's been a very long time since i played this map, maybe i should play it again and see how i feel about it now vs how i did before.

When i first played it, yeah i did feel a bit disappointed - I didn't really get the same inspired feeling which i did with the first Tarmation.

Both maps do feel very surreal, the first feeling quite surreal-alien-industrial (?) I suppose. My climax 'woah' moment in Tarmation 1 was when you're lowered into that cylindrical chamber of molten fluid, and you have to insert those tarydium rods(?) into the central contraption that's suspended above the molten material. The chamber itself wasn't really anything high fidelity, it was moreso the construction and what it illustrated that really sold me - It felt like there was more purpose to the setting than simply an area to progress through, not only that but i was interacting with a facet of it's purpose.

I feel like i need a refresher of Tarmation 2, which I'll play soon and then I might be able to put what i originally thought into words, or i might view it entirely differently to how i did the first time, not sure :)
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Subject: Re: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 14 Jun 2024, 19:59

Good to read your thoughts, Kajgue! I also really liked the unorthodox objective in the first Tarmation map. Tarmation 2 has a real escape sequence, then settles into more of a journey (even if it also loops back on itself at the very end).

Hopefully you'll have time to revisit Tarmation 2 before the next MOTW! :)
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: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 15 Jun 2024, 10:53

Tarmation was a foundry inside some kind of old temple. Tarmation 2... I'm not sure what it is. It's got a lot going on. I think I enjoyed it more though and I didn't fall through a BSP hole into the lava this time. I agree about the escape sequence at the start. For something so simple, it works very well.

Youtube playthrough is still uploading and processing. The video probably won't work until it's done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFzGRFMq50

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Subject: Re: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 15 Jun 2024, 14:03

Ha, I had never realised you could softlock the game by entering then exiting the cryo chamber before destroying the door controls!

Also, I hadn't previously noticed the use of a zone portal to link back up to the start as mentioned by Semfry: ebd's video makes this unmistakable with how the Krall doesn't react to being shot at from the other side of the portal.
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.

User avatar Kajgue
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Subject: Re: 08/06/2024 - "Tarmation 2 - A Rude Awakening" by Paul "TAZ" Mader

Post Posted: 15 Jun 2024, 22:22

So I finally had a moment to replay it. And i did actually play this map on coop recently after realizing the fan part which was familiar.

So some thoughts:

- I only knew how to avoid the fan trap because i had played it on coop semi recently (and died multiple times trying to avoid it lol).

- I thought some parts definately inherited the interesting appeal of Tarmation 1. After reaching the sudden theme change (and how it was[n't] executed) between the mine look to the Decayed look was weird. I know we're all used to these texture packs by now and where they're often used, however i don't think that's why it stood out so much. I think that the change of areas was just brushworked and textured really badly.

- The pod holding the ASMD was really cool and does remind me of Tarmation's style.

- I felt the last part with the pools either side, kinda like some tech church, was done really nicely, and Taz at this point i think nailed how to combine textures with geo (or in some cases), such as the nali jesus wall murals which were really nicely inset.

I've also been trying to narrow down exactly why so much in this map feels off, and i think it's mostly because due to the scale of some of the areas and in some cases, textured very slapdash, that they don't have enough 'contents' within those areas to match the scale. They end up just feeling weird and empty. I still enjoyed it and it was unfortunate it felt so short, because if Taz continued Tarmation, or Unreal mapping itself then i'm sure he could have gotten alot better. This kind of style is certainly unique and in some cases i liked it, especially when it comes to Tarmation 1.

Edit: I also forgot to comment on the trope of maps overusing warlord.umx for basically any mood lol. This map unfortunately did that at the start including while you're walking around and not fighting anything.
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