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Project Xenome : First Day

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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Post Posted: 19 Jan 2010, 18:48

Finally finished Xenome : First Day on Hard.
And Hard it was. On Medium it wasn't daunting but on Hard there were sections which required some advanced strategies, and because the plainforward shoot and kill tactics (which still work on Medium) fail, it was an even more pleasurable experience this time.

Maybe I'll try Unreal difficulty in a couple of weeks but now I'm spent :B

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User avatar GreenWorld
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Post Posted: 21 Jan 2010, 04:06

Finished it on Unreal. It's the first custom Unreal mappack where I ever had to resort to things like running away from or across Skaarj in the hopes of either avoiding them or coincidentally reaching through more advantageous chokepoint to take them down, and significant "shoot and retreat" through the fortunately spacious areas and non locked down corridors of the last levels, instead of plain run, strafe and gun.

Despite some rough edges here on gameplay balance and there, I really loved it. The gameplay department really outshines here and remembered me of what was lost regarding challenge factor after the regen health because a fad in all FPS games. [insert rant about how COD4:MW was a dull experience as a single-player game with less gameplay hours than this mappack here]

Also, maybe my memory is a bit blurry, but I can notice some differences between it and the old polemic version of this pack which I finished, and it changed for better in gameplay.

Actually, I liked the fact that not all indoors areas are cramped. Some of them, particularly in the before last level, were really well made from a gameplay perspective. However, for the same reason I liked Unreal more than Half-Life, I really would like to see more outdoors levels.

Also, I'm not sure if "inviting the Skaarj for swimming" counts as an advanced tactic. :B I did that in the outdoors area of one of the levels, the one where the Skaarjs come out of a Skaarj APC sort of thing. I killed most of the Skaarj in the water with a DP after a sort of run for your life retreat move while having to dodge rockets from Skaarj Gunners.

One more thing: the Enforcer is worthless compared to the dispersion pistol when facing Skaarjs in a distance shorter than the UnrealED equivalent of two to five blocks, really. The fact there is little ammo for it during the latter half of this pack may be a nod to that.
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Post Posted: 21 Jan 2010, 11:56

GreenWorld wrote:Also, I'm not sure if "inviting the Skaarj for swimming" counts as an advanced tactic. :B I did that in the outdoors area of one of the levels, the one where the Skaarjs come out of a Skaarj APC sort of thing. I killed most of the Skaarj in the water with a DP after a sort of run for your life retreat move while having to dodge rockets from Skaarj Gunners.

I used the phrase "advanced tactics" exactly because there are situations where going head-on is impossible (except for the few dead accurate über-players). In the area you mentioned (I think) I retreated into the room so that the Skaarj had to come in through the narrow passage between the wall and the vehicle, slowing their forward movement and improving my hit/miss ratio. The Skaarj Gunner stays on the ledge and can later be taken out with the DP at no risk.

But we seem to agree on the fact that combat situations have great variety and it makes the pack very interesting (and enjoyable).

GreenWorld wrote:One more thing: the Enforcer is worthless compared to the dispersion pistol when facing Skaarjs in a distance shorter than the UnrealED equivalent of two to five blocks, really. The fact there is little ammo for it during the latter half of this pack may be a nod to that.


I also found the DP one of the most useful weapons (if only because ammo is scarce). I played on Medium first which gave me a headstart on Hard concerning which weapons to use in which situation. The enforcer however is very useful due to its instanthit - I really don't want to envision having to play this pack on Unreal without the enforcer :shock:

BTW congrats on beating this on Unreal difficulty. There is one section (you have to enter a code to get a conveyor in the next room to work) where I had to try say like 10 times if not more (on Hard) - 4 Skaarj , 2 of which are the Lord type, come out of an opening door, the entrance door from which you came is now locked and the next room is closed until you deliver enough damage to the Skaarj. Also on Medium that was the thoughest section for me.

What eventually worked, was loading 6 rockets before the door opens, fire, retreating while loading 6 more rockets, fire. By then they are very near and the weapon that fires the laser beam (forgot its name) can hold them back just long enough. How did you pass that section?

User avatar jazz
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Post Posted: 21 Jan 2010, 22:04

Interesting posts there.

Because I only play on medium for the most part, I find that ‘hard and unreal’ difficulty are sometimes too much for me, so in this pack I wanted the player to use the surroundings more rather than just steam in there Rambo style. The water bend in ‘sour water’ was actually placed there for the player to use rather than to say oh look some water!
I have played this on hard and I found using parts of the level to hide, ambush or circumvent is probably the best option (for me anyway, not played on unreal yet).
In hindsight it was probably not a good idea to filter ammo and health to such a degree. A fact that I may look into when all three are spliced into one.
Like to know your thoughts on this point.

Here are some preliminary screens from the next pack which will be called Project Xenome: Interloper

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You start off at the same point you left and proceed down into a short storm drain at which point you exit to the surface.

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Oh dear... The aftermath of your exploits down in disposal is felt soon after!

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This is from the second level and is like an abandoned outpost on the outskirts of the base. This level is about 2/3rds complete and needs much work on textures and lighting.

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Here's another shot. I originally meant this to be a standard run down type of level but its progressed into a sort of infested sort of feel that's full of nasties.
This next pack will feature more open style gameplay and will feature a reworked 'dam' level that will be much larger than the original (amazing how much work is involved just getting things right).
“I’m Princess Leia, y’all!”

User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Post Posted: 21 Jan 2010, 23:35

First of all, the 3rd and 4th shots are already boosting my adrenaline level. I can just imagine the tension I'll feel when entering that area. I really like the use of lighting and that sky is so fitting (radiates coldness).

jazz wrote:...
In hindsight it was probably not a good idea to filter ammo and health to such a degree. A fact that I may look into when all three are spliced into one.


As far as I am concerned difficulty on Medium and on Hard were ok. At first I said Medium was already a bit too hard but that was because of the darkness (solved with the D3D9).
It's a pity there's not very much feedback on the forum (perhaps there is in private) because that would give you a better idea about the experience with the difficulty settings.

I hope the second and third part will continue to provide situations which have to be analysed. As it stands First Day has a gameplay feeling which is hardly comparable to that in other mappacks, I hope it stays that way (nothing against other packs, but the more variation, the better).

User avatar jackrabbit
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Post Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 03:03

cool to see the second part is already full in development. Maybe a weeks notice in advance to the release of this would be a nice gesture so I can replay the first installment on Hard difficulty instead of medium.

User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Post Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 11:04

Hey Jazz, I'm getting the feeling that this pack as a whole is going to be among the best of them! I've decided to put off playing them in parts, since I'm confident that you will release the entire thing in the not-too-distant future. Keep up the work!

On a side note, I noticed a few people mention the scarcity of ammunition in your first pack. It can be very annoying not having enough ammo to complete a mission; HOWEVER, I find it equally annoying having too much ammo! I actually found that most mappers give the players too much ammo, including the original Unreal itself. In many map packs, I found that I'm able to complete them with max ammo for every weapon. It's not very fun when I'm able to use the most powerful weapons the whole game (flak cannon, rocket launcher, etc.) without ever having to switch to the weaker ones. I enjoy having to choose which weapons I use for which battle to conserve ammo.

Anyway, I say that as long as veteran players who beat the average map on Unreal skill don't have to rely on the DP most of the time, then you have found a good amount of ammo for Unreal skill. :)
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User avatar jazz
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Post Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 17:39

I find it equally annoying having too much ammo! I actually found that most mappers give the players too much ammo


I could'nt agree more unless you play on easy that is.
I think i went the other way too much to balance this out but ended up going slightly too far, this is why i need as much feedback as i can to remedy it. In the full pack i'll re-adjust filtering a tad to give the player a little more to play with on the harder difficulties, but not too much :)

Did anyone find many secret areas ? was there enough there to feed the weapons ?
“I’m Princess Leia, y’all!”

User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Post Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 21:54

jazz wrote:...
Did anyone find many secret areas ? was there enough there to feed the weapons ?


I found at least 3, but don't ask me which ones.

User avatar Legendslayer222
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Post Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 19:26

I'm having major problems when trying to download First Day. The thing will say it still has a lot of time to go until the download is done, then it will suddenly finish. If I open the file it warns me with an 'unexpected end of archive' diagnostics message.

There is no 'first day' Umod in the umod version, and in the other version, most of the files fail to appear and the ones that do appear are broke.

This is very annoying and renders First Day unplayable to me. Oh, and if it makes a difference, I don't have ONP.

User avatar jazz
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Post Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 20:34

Seems to me you may have a connection problem. I dont know if anyone else has had the same difficulty as yet.

It could also be a problem with media fire, maybe you should try again later.

You dont need ONP to play as all the files are included, however you do need a fully patched UT as some texture sets are not included because they were official packs.
“I’m Princess Leia, y’all!”

User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Post Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 20:41

Why don't you upload it to FileFront, Jazz? That would be a good alternate link, I think. :)
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User avatar jazz
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Post Posted: 25 Jan 2010, 00:15

FileFront did'nt want to play so i mirrored onto FileFactory instead (updated original post).
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User avatar Legendslayer222
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Post Posted: 31 Jan 2010, 21:15

Downloaded the mirror Umod and the thing worked just fine. I've now completed First Day. And I would like to say this: one of the best SP packs I have played ever.

Gameplay: It wasn't all just run in there and shoot stuff, there was plenty of things to think about and places to try and find. The enemies were placed well, starting with a few fights here and there before becoming tough battles as you got further into the base (that is logical, too).

Maps: They looked good, sounded good, and made sense. I liked all the little details like the sign telling you which chopping board to use. :P

I am eagerly anticipating Interloper! :)

User avatar jackrabbit
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Post Posted: 01 Feb 2010, 04:14

I didn't give much (if any) feedback for the pack, but I'd like to also share the love for the quality and quantity presented for this first installment. Some multiplayer patches / gameplay patch fixes might be a good thing to consider after the other episodes are released and then bundled together in one package.

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