The origin of the Unforchers
I think, this was also the point when I started building small cells with bars more frequently, making it appear like an ancient prison. But only when I was finished with my brushwork, I created a story around the environment (this results in a rather dull atmosphere). Since the maps became their own project, the decision to loop the whole story was a great way to escape the need for having a proper ending. It made sense, too! Several delays occurred, but after ~ 10 months of mapping, the two maps saw their release on June 8th 2009. On its initial release, Unforchers didn’t work perfectly: The loading time of the first map was immense, the Conrop didn’t work when you picked up the Dispersion Pistol, the gameplay was too hard. Revelation gave the map a score of 65%, which I think is fair – and I was proud of it, especially since a higher score was suggested, if I had done a few improvements.
So, in the following two months, for the first bonus pack I tried to incorporate any feedback I got, without changing the fundamentals of the maps. This second, fully working version, I still regard as my greatest achievement in the Unreal scene (there are not many anyway :p) ... yet.
Unforchers Episode 2 - the original plan
This didn’t stop me from continuing on what I had titled “Episode 2” of Unforchers ([spoiler=http://www.abload.de/img/potu5r5x2.jpg]my signature for a very long time), albeit progress considerably slowed down: There was no one that could kick me in the ass by reminding me of deadlines, and the two final years of school began, in which I decided to study more (the school year I had made Unforchers in, I had my lowest average ever). As time went by, I realized I couldn’t make it in the near future as I had planned (a year, just as the original Unforchers), so I asked my best friends, in the Unreal community known as Mr. Tom and mr hapflinger, if they could help me out with unfinished works that I could integrate into the further course of the game. For my 18th birthday in 2010, both provided me with small Ancient.utx-themed temples that they have never got around finishing – and they never intended to, as they had started a new project of their own (more on that later). I found a nice solution to combine them with my previous efforts, and voila, quickly, a third map was ready! Only a fourth map (due to symmetry) was needed, conceptually not even an overwhelming task: A tower, the lower levels with puzzles, the uppermost level with a final fight revealing the true nature of “The Great Day” and the purpose of the environment...
The transitioning phase: Hardships
1. I was involved in new projects, namely “Vandora's Secret Passage” and the ut99.org Community map, of which I later became the leader. Additionally, I attempted to participate in several mapping contests (ut99.org XMas 2012, 8th anniversary, 10th anniversary), but only in the latter I could deliver a playable map, which essentially consisted of one room (I do still think “SP-Inside” has some merit).
2. Apart from the aforementioned real-life duties (plus some more), the joy in mapping on a regular basis slowly decreased, meeting an all-time low between 2012 and 2014, in which I spent most of my free time playing an MMORPG instead.
3. In 2015, my hand severely hurt, so I refrained from doing any unnecessary mouse work for another year.
4. I went back to mapping on the second map again. Why? One of Unforcher’s features, the freedom to choose a path, didn’t feel valid anymore: The second way is considerably shorter and less interesting (it focused more on fights rather than puzzles). This was a result of the time restriction of the initial development phase, where I just needed to quickly end the proliferations that emerged. Now that I had all the time in the world, my aim was to expand the second map so far that it matches the length of the first map. In the end, it probably surpassed it.
5. As time went by, I learned more about story-telling, lighting, creating an atmosphere, architecture. All of this led to the decision to not only change the second map, but also to change the first one. The style between the two maps differed quite a lot in comparison, I noticed more awkward-looking structures and gameplay-decisions, so I worked on the first map again, not necessarily expanding it, but updating the whole feel to the newer version of my maps – with respect to new or less punishing gameplay mechanics.
The growth stage
While proliferating my maps, my friends kept making progress on their own project, a Roman-themed building that has been used as a museum in the not so distant past, but that is now abandoned. You were to sneak your way through the (mostly dark) building, uncovering the mysteries found in there with minimal combat (in the manner of the game “Thief”). Mr. Tom and mr hapflinger have created astonishing structures as well as meshes and scripts, but as life goes by and people change, interests change and time wants to be used differently. In 2015, development has been halted and as a result, they left mapping for Unreal behind completely. In 2017, it was obvious that the “Museum” wouldn’t be touched again with the same rigor experienced in the past, so, yet again on my birthday (the 25th), I was officially being entrusted with every map they made, with the hope that they may eventually be released in one form or another.
Fast forward to today: As of now, I’m still in the process of improving and expanding the old maps. However, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter and brighter. When I’m finished with this, I will use parts of the “Museum” to create the final showdown (probably several maps, if I don’t cut down the details too much).
Recently, I chose to change the name of this project. Since almost none of the original work is present in its current state, I can hardly tell it’s the continuation of a previous release. One top of that, the story will differ considerably. It’s the same universe, but it’s another story being told, at another time. That’s why I will call it “Unforchers Retold” from now on.
I can’t say when I’m done, but let me assure you: Some time in the future, you will get the opportunity to play “Unforchers Retold”!
Have a look at the stats so you can have an idea of how the project’s scope has exploded. Keep in mind, when I changed the architecture of the original maps, I rather reduced the detail, instead of adding to it, which means they are considerably longer/more sophisticated now. The “Museum” instead focuses much more on details and vast rooms. This means these five maps are maybe not even half the length of what I did (sometimes with fragments of other releases, as indicated below).
01 by editor Dave: 3413 Brushes – 20101 Polys – 55819 Nodes – 742 Lights
02 by editor Dave, Mr. Tom: 1468 Brushes – 8111 Polys – 20302 Nodes – 190 Lights
=> 4881 Brushes, 28212 Polys
01a by editor Dave: 4300 Brushes – 22301 Polys – 57119 Nodes – 588 Lights
01b by editor Dave: 2750 Brushes – 14235 Polys – 36109 Nodes – 588 Lights
02 by editor Dave, 5069 Brushes – 22085 Polys – 53683 Nodes – 698 Lights
Mr. Tom (the arena, unchanged, but completely rebuilt as a more grid-friendly version)
03 by editor Dave 3125 Brushes – 17688 Polys – 50573 Nodes – 496 Lights
Mr. Tom (originally separate: a small temple, a canal and a library, merged into one)
mr hapflinger (small complex, retextured)
04 by mr hapflinger, 2833 Brushes – 14754 Polys – 39013 Nodes – 382 Lights
editor Dave (linking passages, merging several smaller passages by hapf into one)
05 by Mr. Tom (small temple, retextured) 1236 Brushes – 7659 Polys – 21346 Nodes – 287 Lights
editor Dave (Ex-Vandora’s Secret Passage)
=> 19340 Brushes, 98732 Polys
06a-c by mr hapflinger: 2103 Brushes – 7710 Polys – 15241 Nodes ("Audimax")
(all part of the « Museum ») 3481 Brushes – 8644 Polys – 18557 Nodes ("Foyer")
6557 Brushes – 26825 Polys – 60850 Nodes (“Gallery”)
3460 Brushes – 8875 Polys – 19080 Nodes (“Stairwell”)
3111 Brushes – 11989 Polys – 26084 Nodes (“Inner Courtyard”)
=> 18720 Brushes, 64.043 Polys
First of all, a collection of every previously released screenshot.
03: https://ut99.org/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=6 ... =30#p77735
03: https://ut99.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12 ... 40#p109540
01a by editor Dave
06x (Museum) by mr hapflinger
Previously, I was worried over announcement threads like these, since often projects dissolve into nothing, without the author’s notice. I’ve never wanted to own a thread where the only discussion is a “What’s new?” post every now and then, tied with the uncertainty whether progress has been made at all, if there is indeed a response. To counteract this, from now on I plan to update this thread regularly, maybe twice a year, in which I post what progress I have made. You can then compare the stats yourself. Maybe I won’t post a screenshot every time, because I don’t want to spoil everything, but I make sure the updates will be an interesting read (hopefully).