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[ut] Study In Black

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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 25 Jul 2011, 04:20

Developer: Jet v4.3.5
Status: Pre-Production

Synopsis: NOTE: This Synopsis is currently a Work In Progress. Further information will be provided after major pre-production work, and even more will be revealed as the project leaves pre-production and enters actual production.

-Don West watches his vast empire from the blood-red moon of Uiwau. His kingdom moves beneath his wretched hands in a torturous writhing fashion, and luxury passes through each trembling creature below to his own fingertips in broken, sickening streams of money and power culminating from the suffering of those far below him, forming a throne of immeasurable wealth in the name of his glorified countenance. His face is pasted within the souls of his subjects, willingly and completely, and they bow to his kindly smile with religious passion and wholehearted ignorance to the horrors of his discord. They take the evil he flaunts upon them, and claim it amongst themselves and their brothers as a blessing to all.
-Andrew Kraven watches as men of will work in the dark passages of a godless foundry below the hand and the gaze of Mister West. He sits alone, and works only to protect them from the ravaging beings upon the planet known as Daspein, where the foundry and nearby mine sits. His home is a shelter of wood and scrap metal, perched alongside, not within, the hell of the facility of which he is the chief of security. On a day like any other, the power is suddenly cut off. Backup power illuminates the halls with an eerie red gloom from the emergency lights, and the doors must be manually opened. All is quiet in the first few hours of power loss. The rumbles of the machinery are all that fill the halls and work floors, with only a few knocks ringing in echos through the darkness beyond each worker's sight. In a jarring instant, screams erupt through the halls; a slaughter and siege rages from an unknown force as the workers, both human and alien, are ripped apart by the dark intruders which rage for the coldness of bloodshed.

Features:/!\WARNING - STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS BELOW/!\

While I may be setting myself up here for a great number of headaches, one of the main goals of this particular pack (so far I'm calling it Study in Black, though that will likely change) is to provide a variety of choices that hold up well against several other choices, and with the player's abilities -to go from point A to point B, to respond to a threat, to overcome an obstacle, or to deal with an optional yet rewarding challenge in interesting and creative ways- in mind. While this is likely not to go quite as far as, for instance, Deus Ex was able to go, it's still an opportunity to reach out into an area I'm extremely interested in learning about. The gameplay is just too addicting and fun.

Now, for the bits about story and gameplay.

As of right now, I'm very inexperienced with UScript. I cannot simply sit and write code, actually, as the only thing I've ever managed to do was to copy and paste code from other classes into new classes, if that gives you a good idea of my lackluster excuse for skills. But I feel I have ambition, and so I appeal to it

Overall, the universe is that of Unreal's, although quite disconnected and isolated from the goings-on of main events and things like the UMS and USM, and all the other goodies. What this will (hopefully) allow me to do is give me an opportunity to create and expand upon my own little corner of the Unreal Universe that hasn't been explored before in story because of its isolation. There will be very little that I'll have to check myself on if I pull this one off right, and the story is likely to change a lot anyway. That said, this does effect the technology that will be seen somewhat and the arsenal and tools that the player will have at its disposal. A few weapons will clearly be evolved versions of some seen in Unreal and possibly some seen in other packs, but others, some of which I've already put concepts into, will be entirely new.

Also, as in System Shock 2, there may be two modes: Shoot and Use. I'm considering it. There will likely be some inventory menu of some sort, but whether or not it will stop the happenings of the game is questionable. At this stage, I don't really know.

With these goals in place, meeting each will probably be slow and tedious, but hey, I'm young and I have an excess of time on my hands, so let's see what I can pull off. That said, I'm going to do my best to produce the bulk of the pack's level design. At that point, we'll see what can be pulled off where extra content creation and scripting is concerned.

Finally, if things go REALLY well, tons of level items, such as buttons, doors, messages, etc., will be triggered by using an action key! (I'm obsessed with that feature) My point is that there will hopefully be small interactive features in many areas in the environment, be they a row of simple lockers, a cargo lift, a giant fuel pump, and what have we.

/!\END STREAM/!\

Latest News: Features updated.

Overall pre-production concept stage is mostly complete. Hopefully I'll be able to begin level work very soon, if I don't get distracted.

Links: NONE AT PRESENT
Last edited by Jet v4.3.5 on 28 May 2012, 17:59, edited 2 times in total.
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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: [ut] A Study In Black

Post Posted: 23 Nov 2011, 02:34

http://www.mediafire.com/?cc4i8dcmh83xcd9

EDIT: Whoops! How did that get in there!
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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 23 Nov 2011, 03:19

Allright, so here's the deal. I've been pumping out concept ideas and several buttloads of pages of general location, gameplay, and story ideas into a notebook. What I want to know, and what my question is, is what kinds of things in a number of FPS games really do it for you?

We have minor (or major) RPG element mixes like the System- and Bio-shock series and Fallout games, as an example. Really, what specifically made you enjoy any particular game as something beyond just a run-point-shoot-objective123 kind of FPS (or 3rd person, if it still applies)? I'm extremely curious, as SIB already has some ideas attributed to it that I'm really liking and I'm definitely going to try hard for, but simultaneously, I'm wondering if I've missed an experience that I might be able to draw from for inspiration.

This isn't exactly a copy/paste for ideas I'm going for; it's more based on 1) the fact that I'm not too savvy when it comes to several of the classics or even many of the newer games that seem to really blow people away (this is mostly due to finances and parents), which in turn might be fantastic to draw inspiration from both conceptually and from a technical standpoint, and 2) I really want to settle on a large number of ideas that just work together, and then work it into the final setup for location and story, so once it's all solidified, I can move on later and really pour some effort into solving them and getting them the way I want it, even if later I have to cut the things that turn out silly or too complicated to produce to decent standards. It is my hope that direct and/or indirect inspiration may help stimulate some of the concepts I've already got cooking in my noodle.

I'm also not too sure what I can and can't do in relation to the tech I intend to use for this project. I know what I'm using, but I'm currently not taking into account the limitations of UEngine1 that may later crop up and all the other programs and pieces of hardware I may have to work with for some of the more ambitious ideas when that time comes around (I'll try really hard not to be stupid with the things I put in, though).

Anyway, this is the first big project I've tried to do, and I've hardly even started. From what I know about several other packs, projects, and games, this might just turn out all right, if not even greater than I expected. Right now I just don't know, and I can't say how well it's going to work out. It's the application of that knowledge that I need to contend with, so here's to reaching some of the goals for this project. Hope to hear from some people who might know more about this kind of stuff than I do. I'll update this a lot more once things pick up both here and on the development side.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 24 Nov 2011, 00:44

I see nobody else has replied so I'll give it a shot.

An interesting question, but if you ask me the "star" of all first person shooters is always the gun. This goes back to the first shooters for me. Wolfenstien. Doom. It goes without saying that when I play a new shooter nowadays the first thing I do when I get control of my character is to try and find a way to arm myself. I don't feel right in a shooter until this happens, when I find the first weapon. And when I do I feel comforted. I feel powerful. It's an interesting dynamic, the relationship the genre has with its star. It doesn't always have to be a gun of course. That's just what it always comes down to. Sometimes it's a plasma rifle. Sometimes my hand raises before me and I can emit magic flames or plasmids. In the original Medal of Honor pressing the shoot button in one level presented Nazi patrols with my boarding pass, allowing me to continue my covert ops infiltration mission. As James Bond in GoldenEye I had my judo chop, pp7, and a soviet tank. As long as I have that little projection in front of me I can take on anyone.

I find it intriguing when shooters focus more on story than their star, especially when the story is actually good. It's pretty strange to me that some of the most popular games of all time have been shooters, some of them acclaimed for their innovative storytelling. In fact in somes ways, the genre is one often counted on to push the boundaries of what games can do. I suppose it makes sense in a strange way. The gun is only an extension of the player anyway, and when the game around that view is epic and matches the player's potency, good things can happen. Gordon Freeman is the face behind the gun. A muted, unimposing force made into the action hero because of the gun (or crowbar). Same for our Prisoner 849. Then there are guys like Duke, love him or hate him. It taps into something human, not so removed from a latent taste for violence. Or rather, an availability to the idea of violence if it becomes necessary, which it always is in a shooter. It's this kinda thing that often kills the mood for even the most sophisticated shooter stories. My romp through Rapture in Bioshock was punctuated in the end by all the ways the game allowed me to shoot people in the face, the plot being only secondary filler.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes. The common factor in all successful shooters is that they get this part of it right. In the case of Unreal, the gun allowed the player to overcome the alien planet. The good shooters that I've played, whether my protagonist had a role to play beyond the gun or not, are the ones that remembered the basics. They remembered that the shooter ought to make us feel strong. Good level design, vibrant worlds, and amazing antagonists...they all work at the same goal. Making sure the player is enjoying themselves.


Not really sure if that is what you were looking for, but it's what I try to do when I make a map or campaign and its what I try to better every time I make the attempt.
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User avatar TheIronKnuckle
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 26 Nov 2011, 08:25

For me, I suppose proph sums it up. I just want to kill interesting enemies with interesting guns in interesting places. There MUST be a backstory at minimum (cause for some reason I just need that :P), and anything else plotwise and storywise is optional.
The story should never take precedence over the shooting of interesting people in interesting places with interesting guns. If you can integrate a story in the way that unreal did it (a story that never ever took you out of the action/immerision with cutscenes etc) then fucking good on you; that's a feat that makes your game just that bit better.

For me tower of shrakitha is still the shining example of how to integrate story and gameplay seamlessly without letting the story take over and get in the way. But I'm an old man when it comes to my opinions on games :P I don't really play anything except for unreal. It doesn't ever get old for me. Seems like I found my personal perfect game.

On the other hand I can still enjoy things like Portal, The ball, Prometheus, levels in the style of my speedmap and other artsy fartsy games because they take the established formula and shake it up a lot. That in itself makes these games interesting, but then if you can refine your genre-mutation so that you actually have something fun you've got a winner.

The only thing is that this winner you've got isn't really a shooter any more.

Notes (Or a half arsed attempt at categorising some small subset of popular shooters):
Shooters which I consider to represent perfect story and gameplay integration:
Tower of Shrakitha, Unreal, Half-life, Half-life 2. (Portal would be on this list except that I really don't consider it a shooter)
Games where you get to shoot interesting things with interesting guns in interesting places:
Unreal, The Timesplitters series.
Games which have an awesome story and good gameplay (That is, they tried to mutate away from the genre but failed, so are still just shooters where story took precedence):
Second sight... and fuck, I can only think of one, although I'm sure there are others :P shows how up to date my gaming resume is.
Games which mutated away from the shooter genre effectively:
Portal, The ball, Prometheus.
Shooters which deserve a special mention cause they're awesome and I couldn't place them in the other categories (I got lazy):
Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, EXU2, The Last Fortress, Unreal Tournament

and of course, all the above is just my opinion. I'm aware of that and I hope everyone else is too. I'm not presenting any of the above as factual :P
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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 28 May 2012, 18:17

I have surprised myself! I've got updates!

Whelp, the features section of the main post has been updated to a relatively nicer overview than what I previously had. Nothing too spoilery, at least.

Anyway, I have a cluster of smaller prototype levels and assets I've put together, and I think now it is time to expand upon the level design side of this here pack. Overall, though, is my own question of whether or not SIB will really make it that far? How great will it be? I know I'd want to play it, but I'm the one actually sitting down to put it together, so currently, it's a mystery. That said, the first step I'm hoping to accomplish is basic level design. I want to show off the chunk of design I can pull off on my own from the entire pack. I'll recruit once I know more or less where I'm going with it.

Also, a simple request. All I have currently are default Unreal and UT/Oldskool assets (as I dropped the idea for using 227 for right now, though cross-platform would be great if I weren't the only one doing that crap). One thing I'd love, though, is an "action key" feature for testing. At the moment, the only functionality I really want with it is the ability to place triggers next to switches and other items that will reveal somehow that the thing the player is looking at is "interactive", then have it so that when the player presses a certain key, say their "activate inventory" key, the trigger is triggered, and in the case of the inventory key, the default function is not set off. So what I'd be able to do is go up to, say, a button, get a visual indicator that I'm looking at an item that can be activated, then press the enter key (which is usually bound to activating the selected inventory item), and then have the button pushed, which will also trigger whatever other event I might want to go off, without simultaneously throwing a flare at the button when that was not what I had intended.

Otherwise, I'll be doing my thing.
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User avatar AlCapowned
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 28 May 2012, 18:21

Maybe you could do something with the Grab key, like how some maps have it trigger buttons and levers.

Great to hear you're making progress. I really like the concept.

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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 28 May 2012, 21:45

The Grab key can be used to trigger movers. You should be able to find a way to exploit that functionality for most Use key interactions you need.
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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: [ut] Study In Black

Post Posted: 28 May 2012, 22:01

It seems I can get this to work with doors (both standalone and ones with "switches").

One thing that I did want to experiment with was the use of logs. While those aren't directly important for now, I did discover a problem in the mover grab functionality, in that when a mover is triggered this way, the "owner" that causes the event is not transferred through (like when you get points for pushing a button that crushes enemies in UT DM maps, for instance). So for things like translator events, I can't get an invisible trigger mover to do its thing and trigger a translator event in any way, and I think it's due to the translator event not knowing who to send the event to or something. For right now, though, the mover grab function seems to be good enough for me. I'll figure out what else I can do with it in the meantime.
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