ividyon will never get this done, will he.

Project Xenome : First Day

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User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 10:11

How is this project coming along, anyway? I'm still waiting for all the parts to be completed and compiled into a full release before I play this. 8)
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 12:13

Xezr wrote:Hi, I just downloaded this mappack and played for ten minutes, but I could easily point out that there are several textures and sounds ripped straight from Half-Life and I just wanted to know if the author was permissioned by Valve to do this. If not, shame on you.

You've got valid point here, and I just realised that the sound of Waff's Clusterfucker in TLF is 100% ripped from the sound I occasionally make during sleep (after a pleasant evening consuming Marguerita's and Mojito's). This is clearly unacceptable and come to think of it: Hellscrag used my bathroom noises for the killing water in VVV. Going even further I recall Forgotten using an idea I had 20 years ago involving a Skaarj Castle (which at that time I used to call an Alien Fortress). Even in RTNP itself I was never credited for the predators which I had already imagined at age 10 or less. Doom itself used doors which open when a player touches them: These were even in my house before I was born!!!

Be serious: ideas are used over and over again and sounds and textures are available on the internet in hundreds of packs. If you think a sound or texture is used in an "illegal" way why not contact Jazz in a proper way to request an explanation. Jazz has been through this before and has graciously taken steps to amend to his errors (he could also have chosen to disappear never to be heard from again) and requested permission where necessary.

There are other possibilities, e.g. it might have been an oversight in which case permission will probably be asked and credit given, or it might have been made by Jazz using existing sounds and textures as examples (which is a credit in itself) or it might even have been fabricated from scratch.

For a first post here, it is too accusing to be acceptable (at least IMHO), even if you are right (it's just sounds and textures you mention, not meshes, layouts, scripted events0. There are better (socially more acceptable) way to handle something like this!

User avatar ividyon
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 15:16

Uh, salsa, he just made a correct observation is all. There's little to no accusation to be found in that post, unless you consider "shame on you" a massive offense. :P
You guys are getting upset over things fast...!
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 15:31

After all the trouble Jazz went through in the development of PX, I think this is just a joke.
Either way if it's a real complain or not, personally it's something that can be ignored.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 15:38

sana wrote:There's little to no accusation to be found in that post, unless you consider "shame on you" a massive offense.


It is? Not necessarily the words itself but the implications of it (and how is it not an accusation?). Unless they want to target 90% of the other people here too considering the rampant use of Rune and Wheel of Time textures.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 18:19

sana wrote:...unless you consider "shame on you" a massive offense.


I would probably get pretty annoyed over that. :B

I see no problem in borrowing content if it isn't put into a commercial product and the borrower doesn't take credit. Xenome didn't visciously knife Valve, it just borrowed some stuff. :P

EDIT: I want episode 2! :wink:

User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010, 19:13

sana wrote:Uh, salsa, he just made a correct observation is all. There's little to no accusation to be found in that post, unless you consider "shame on you" a massive offense. :P
You guys are getting upset over things fast...!

"ripped" sounds like an accusation to me.
But my point was not that it isn't true; my point is that it is a trivial issue and could have been clarified in private.
I agree that if sounds and/or textures as such were used (something I cannot investigate myself), then permission could have been asked and credit given, but .... an oversight is not entirely impossible and judging by how jazzyb reacted to the criticism with his first release, my first reaction is to give him the benefit of the doubt.

User avatar Xezr
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 26 Jun 2010, 02:27

No worries people, I just wanted to know if everything was okay. Wasn't trying to 'accuse' the author of anything, I just wanted to make sure it was alright to use such outside sources. It's possible they too were stock textures and sounds that Valve used from an outside database, it's not uncommon for game companies to do this. As for the mod itself, I really like it so far, the architecture is very impressive for the engine. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can shape and form it. The sounds are very well placed too.

How some of you choose to interpreting my first post as 'jumping' the author just by pointing out a fact I found odd, learn that it's called criticism and no good mods and addons would exist without it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a mappack to finish.
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User avatar Semfry
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 26 Jun 2010, 03:40

Xezr wrote:How some of you choose to interpreting my first post as 'jumping' the author


How else could "shame on you" be interpreted in the given context? But I guess this is sorted now.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 26 Jun 2010, 04:49

Xezr wrote:How some of you choose to interpreting my first post as 'jumping' the author just by pointing out a fact I found odd, learn that it's called criticism and no good mods and addons would exist without it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a mappack to finish.

Hey it's cool, that is all well and good. Though I don't think anyone was actually jumping on you aside from maybe one or two people; it's just hard to gauge tone on the internet, hence the response you got in general ;) Welcome to the forums either way!
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User avatar Darkon
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 22 Jul 2010, 17:21

Might want to rename this thread btw.. as [RELEASED] Project Xenome: First Day. (I'll leave that up to Jazz).

Any updates on episode 2 btw? :-)
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 23 Dec 2010, 22:38

I finally got around to playing this and on my god, the maps, they ARE BEAUTIFUL, holy SHIT. You are absolutely godlike when it comes to making convincing, well-textured, well-designed visuals for human installations, and even that Skaarj teleporter thing at the end looked pretty cool. MAJOR cudos for the visuals in this project, because they were top-notch.

Gameplay, though, I thought was the polar opposite, unfortunately. I played on Hard and didn't find the battles challenging so much as just frustrating and uninteresting. Enemy placement was predictable and rarely ever inventive, and I really hate the UT / ONP weapons, especially the pulse gun, since the beam can reflect off doors and hit you in the face and this happened to me repeatedly. I also got really tired of the run around, hit button, run around, hit another button, repeat forever and ever level design. Even the seemingly-non-linear maps were still ultimately linear since you had to do everything in a certain order.

After the third map I just summoned other weapons and went to town blowing shit up instead of using the provided guns, but there wasn't even a lot of combat, just exploration. And at the point where I found a Shock Rifle and Eightball, my spirits SOARED with joy! FINALLY SOME DECENT FUCKING WEAPONS! And then I find out they are broken. That just really pissed me off; don't do that! I don't want to spend more than a single map using nothing but the DP and Enforcer (which is a lot shittier than the Automag)! And I don't think a real Shock Rifle ever even showed up; that could have dramatically improved the gameplay. UT guns in SP just don't feel right to me, especially ONP's edits.

But while the gameplay was definitely the low point for me and while it made me decide I don't want to play the maps again, I really do want to reiterate how incredibly good you are at making convincing environments. PLEASE KEEP MAKING MAPS!!! You can only improve your gameplay and level design skills! You already have the 3D art and texturing side down solid. Get people to playtest for you on all skill levels if you can, too.

Here are some tips that I hope might help you out in the future:

  • Don't limit the player to shitty weapons for long stretches of time! Let them have access to at least a few guns, and if you're not going to provide the full arsenal, don't give them two crappy guns and one decent one, let alone three crappy ones (DP, Enforcer, and Pulse Gun was awful). Give them a DP, Shock Rifle, and Flak Cannon at least. Something that makes the player feel a lot more powerful.
  • Don't limit health/armor/ammo so much. Even good players will make a lot of mistakes mid-combat and take hits. When you don't give the players much health, you're not really making the game more challenging - you're just artificially boosting the difficulty and forcing people to reload quicksaves constantly until they get their combat encounter down PERFECTLY. That's not good gameplay - that's basically only a step above "learn-by-dying" gameplay design. Instead, you want to give people plenty of health (and especially armor) to survive some fuckups so they don't have to reload saves so much. Punish the reckless, not the careful. Even when I was careful, I kept getting killed simply because I was always below 30 or so health and any two shots would do me in. Two shots isn't a very big margin of error. Keep this in mind; you can give players twice as much health and armor, and then throw in twice as many (weaker) enemies and, with the right arsenal + ammo amounts, the game can become much more challenging AND more fun without requiring insane amounts of quickloading.
  • Make the player feel powerful even if he/she isn't. If the player is against a very strong, overwhelming force, you still want them to feel like they can handle it even if realistically they should be getting their ass kicked left and right. You can do this without making the game any easier by providing better guns and more enemies to kill, for one, and then adding extra ammo, health, and armor to increase the margin of error for any mistakes made in combat (and mistakes will increase dramatically the more enemies a player faces at once). Similarly, you can place enemies in tactically-advantageous positions which favor the enemy, but not too much. I noticed you did this once or twice with an ambush of three troopers, one of which was high above you and had an Eightball and could fire downwards to increase the chance of rocket splash hitting you. This was a good choice - but it was made more of a pain because you had two other troopers on more level ground with rapidfire weapons (i.e. pulse guns). Having three Eightball troopers all high up might provide a significant challenge without making the game too difficult to handle, because the player can focus in one direction. Otherwise, you could have troopers in all different areas, but give the highest troopers weapons WITHOUT splash so their advantages aren't overpowering.
  • Script your enemies more so they seem like they are actually doing things. There were a lot of enemies that were just sitting around, and while a lot of them came from doorways, it was always right after some triggered event. You want a little bit more unpredictable randomness to make things feel more lifelike. Instead of having Skaarj come through a doorway when a player pushes a button, have a trigger NEAR the button set off a Dispatcher that waits for some amount of time before spawning the enemy. That way, the player may rush to the button and have the Skaarj appear later, or the player may loiter around a bit and have the Skaarj appear before the button. It greatly increases the variance of when the enemy appears and makes it feel less obviously scripted. You want to script your enemies in a way that makes them feel like they aren't scripted, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I think you definitely have the ability to make some utterly amazing stuff if you polish up the gameplay and put a little more thought into the level design instead of falling into the "push button to unlock door, push another button to unlock another door" trap. And work on your grammar and story construction, too; it felt a bit rough in Xenome.

Looking forward to the second pack!

[Edit] Also wanted to add that I'm giving this feedback based on my own personal concept of what makes a map the most fun. I'm not the sole authority, or any authority, on how to make fun maps. You are welcome to disagree with me and disregard this advice at your will if you feel like the gameplay in Xenome was carefully designed for specific reasons. I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning for the choices you made if that's the case. :)
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : First Day

Post Posted: 24 Dec 2010, 01:05

Waff, you've got some valid remarks there but In my opinion the pack did provide differnt situations to (almost) everyone's liking.

Waffnuffly wrote: And at the point where I found a Shock Rifle and Eightball, my spirits SOARED with joy! FINALLY SOME DECENT FUCKING WEAPONS! And then I find out they are broken. That just really pissed me off; don't do that!

I laughed my head off here. I also thought: Finally! only to realise that these guns were broken. I found this very unexpected and a comical break from the tension.

Waffnuffly wrote:Don't limit the player to shitty weapons for long stretches of time! Let them have access to at least a few guns, and if you're not going to provide the full arsenal, don't give them two crappy guns and one decent one, let alone three crappy ones (DP, Enforcer, and Pulse Gun was awful). Give them a DP, Shock Rifle, and Flak Cannon at least. Something that makes the player feel a lot more powerful.


I have to admit that at first I thought it unfair that I had to tackle 3 Skaarj with only the DP, and later one Skaarj (Lord or Berserker) with only the DP and the enforcer. But I soon liked this situation because it made me feel weak and I had to think on how to get past them - it actually defined the Xenome gameplay: expect the unexpected and find your strategic advantages beforehand instead of learning by dying.

Later on in the pack there were quite a few situations where the heavy equipment was available and needed (sniperrifle, flak, rockets and razorjack).
It's true ammo was limited but then again there were only few times when I absolutely couldn't handle the situation without the heavy equipment. To me Xenome provided a different gameplay feeling than many other maps, just because of the ammo limitations, and contrary to Ortican I could pass without having to quicksave too often to spoil the fun.
No criticism on what you like, or what UB likes (he's also more fond of battles with the heavy equipment, I gather) but I am glad the Unreal (or UT) engine makes it possible to design all those different gameplay situations (BOB, TLF, Xidia, Xenome all have different gameplay) which means more variation and more players finding something they really like.
I hope the next installment of Xenome will contain battle situations similar to those in the first installment ( and other situations will be welcome also :)
And @ jazz: speaking of the next installment ... any news from the development centre (anything, even problems encountered)?

BTW, in case I hadn't mentioned it before: visually I thought the pack was outstanding.

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