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Everything posted by demagogue

  1. We could have a whole topic just on this, but what is everybody's opinion about drawing out a level in advance of building? I draw a top-down map, and sometimes in the margin I might draw how I think the scene might look. But I draw it out as a guide. Maybe about 80% of it I'll build as it is in the map, but another 20% I'll improvise as I go with buildings or orientations or features. Well, sometimes, if it's like a mazy outdoor area, I'll just leave spaces open with general comments like "trees and brush here" and completely improvise areas like that. My thinking is that, except for a few key things, nothing is sacred or set in stone, and I let myself feel free to change things around once I'm in the editor dragging stuff around. But I plan like that from the beginning. It's part of my more general strategy of node-based plotting. I plot an FM based on nodes of key events, and the whole story is connecting those nodes together. So that works for the mapping too. I'll plan out the rooms for key scenes, but the rest of it is basically connecting the nodes together in a space, and that's what I'll leave open for improvisation as I go. What are all of your thoughts and strategies for the balance between planning and improvising?
  2. The other thing along with face merging is highlighting two vertexes and hitting a button that merge them into one vertex. There are so many times I wanted to do that. (Can we even do it now? I feel like I'm behind in my DR feature knowledge.) So vertex merging and face merging would both be great ideas. This is the first time I'm hearing about that second idea, but I can already see how useful it would be. Building with positive geometry is so often: duplicate, drag, re-size. Duplicate, drag, re-size. Duplicate, drag, re-size... And that looks like it could boil it down to , click-drag, click-drag, click-drag. Or at least click-drag, resize. I already really like it.
  3. I believe we even had a torrent once, or maybe I'm mis-remembering. I'm not against it in principle. But of course once a new version rolls around it's already out of date and the new one may have very few seeds, And it takes extra work to do a job already done, and we're short-staffed as it is. I thought updater does resume partially downloaded files though, because the first thing it does is an integrity check. But I don't remember this well either.
  4. I mean some people on TTLG are fanatical about the retro TG style. So you'd probably even have fans if you brought that style to TDM. In fact, I think some of those types might be the most resistant to playing TDM because they might feel it's not authentic enough or true to the TG/T2 FM roots. So you might even help soften them up for the switch. To your larger point though, I learned mapping originally from T2 levels also, and it's definitely a change of paradigm when I started learning how TDM maps work. You can learn so much looking through some existing TDM maps though, and there are a few great tutorials, like how to set up lines of sight. Some ideas from T2 also don't translate well... Like T2 portalization does the visportal business automatically, whereas we have to thinking about it & do it ourselves, and that affects how you set up lines of sight. And we have to think more carefully about the lighting since it's real time & has a performance hit. Well there's a lot of little things like that. The most important thing is just that you stay motivated. If your favored style of building makes you productive and you feel good about it, IMO that trumps every thing else. Better you get a map out that you feel good about than trying to take on too much, losing motivation, and never get anything released at all. Do what works for you.
  5. There are lots of little tricks you can use too. It's lights overlapping a surface that has the performance hit. So you can tweak the light boxes just so they don't overlap. Or you can have a large overlapping light with shadows turned off, and then sneak in smaller shadowcasting lights to make a few key shadows. (There's a whole wiki page on performance optimizations and tweaks too that every mapper should know about.)
  6. Are you going to make a tutorial for this? It'd be useful for the rest of us.
  7. That was always my opinion. (I think that's what I said above.) Valve's entire philosophy is the entire staff choose their own work schedule, so only games that people know are going to be good get worked on. If one can't get people to work on it, it means it's really likely it'd be a bad game if you forced people to work on it anyway. And I can't say that's much worse than no game at all.
  8. Focus on Indies. There are a lot of great games by thoughtful devs still coming out. Concentrate on them.
  9. Maybe the most ambitious free roam mission is Behind Closed Doors, the first mission for the Crucible of Omens campaign. It's massive and sprawling, but it also has countless tiny places on roofs, through windows, and down alleys that you can clamber and scramble and wiggle into.
  10. You might be able to do a kind of relay trigger to get your pause and then the final end (you can have the final, final objective to be a hidden one triggered after the speech is over). But personally I'd just have that objective call a script and do it all by script, then there's no relay business. You just directly add the commands to the script: the pause, then activate the speaker, then pause while it speaks, then trigger the final hidden objective directly. And you can find the commands either in the wiki, in other example scripts, or it's basically C++ so look up the C++ way and it will probably work.
  11. Does TortoiseSVN work the same when it's on GitHub? The shell for git is kind of nightmarish to work with. I still have to use a tutorial to walk through the steps to do basic things.
  12. I got them. I bought the DVD-R's and mailed them to him with a self-addressed stamped envelope. I still have the folder on my computer where I downloaded them into (well, via probably 4 or 5 laptops in between). It was from around the same time. The top of the readme says *** FINAL-FINAL KOMAG DVDs MAY 2012 ***
  13. Is it possible to delete it and spawn a new one at the new location?
  14. Thanks for everything you're doing taaaki. While it will be nice when we get a dark theme, I'm just happy we have our forum back. Take the time you need to do things right, of course.
  15. It, uh, has a nice personality?
  16. Epic Store is a disgrace, but that doesn't stop me & everyone from taking their monthly free giveaways anyway. And I've almost always taken the devs side for most things, given what I know about it just form TDM's own development dramas. While sometimes devs can be the engineers of their own dev hell, a lot of times the problem comes from management and the marketing/business side (something we've been blissfully free of for the most part), which I feel like devs are also burdened with handling without much credit.
  17. From the perspective of fans it sucks, but as a business model it's a smart system, and I could even argue it's better for the fans in the end. Their business model is every staff picks the projects they want to work on. So if a project can't sustain enough people to make progress, then it means that people don't believe in it and the project was doomed to begin with. In the long run, it means the projects that do make it out are the ones that could sustain people, so they're going to be worthwhile games the devs believed in. And as for the ones we never see, it's probably better that we don't see them. It means you would have had people working on a project they didn't believe in just to satisfy management, which is always a recipe for dev hell and ultimately a bad game. So all in all I'm okay with it. Better a great new game coming out than a piss poor 3
  18. Thanks to taaaki and anyone else that got us back in working order! This is definitely a case of not realizing how much a thing means to you until it's gone.
  19. I understand what you mean, although I have a different take. Speaking of dev time, my dream is that someone makes an immersive platform in which first-person-interactive-fictions (I don't like the term walking sim) could be made. Then they don't lose time working on the systems and can focus directly on the storytelling and gameplay design. You might recall in the heydays of Minecraft modding, there were quite a few storytelling maps that came out on that platform. A lot were a bit juvenile (it's the core audience) but many of them were great with mixing gameplay and story, although there weren't many ways to do good storytelling. But it did give me the vision that what we really need is a system that spawns open worlds with all the immersive mechanics already in place, like Minecraft, in a realistic looking world like, well I would have said Skyrim a few years ago, but I'd say Kingdom Come Deliverance now, where you can build your own architecture directly in-game, make your map that way, and populate it with all the storytelling things you need. To your more general point though, I agree it really depends on what kind of game you want and what kind of story you want to tell, as different systems will allow you to meet your dev goals better or worse. So you need the system that works best for your vision, and visions differ. To that I'd just say that the kind of games you could make like Minecraft story maps in a realistic world that tell good stories like in IF would be the kind of game in this genre I'd like to play, a game like Firewatch is probably the closest to this vision (could have used a touch more interactivity, but the storytelling and gameplay progression it did have were all top notch), and then I recognize there are other games in this genre that are more like Life is Strange or Edith Finch that aren't really for me but I can appreciate them.
  20. I sympathize that there's a real development problem at the base of that. You can have a rich story or you can have good puzzles, but it's very difficult to get those two things to mix. So difficult it's hard to even think of games that do both well. I can just think of the Interactive Fiction Anchorhead, and maybe a few other IFs. (One complaint I have about walking sims is that they don't build on all of the hard-won lessons figured out by 40 years of interactive fiction games how to mix story & gameplay.) So devs can feel forced to pick one or the other. This is one reason why I like Thief & TDM's stealth genre. It's all great gameplay, but because you're supposed to be staying in the shadows and not interfering with the world, you can have great storytelling going on around the player, through readables and conversations. And, like immersive sims generally, it doesn't rely on puzzles at all. It's about simulating a world and solving problems in open and creative ways, not trying to read the devs mind and do the thing he or she wants. This was another major lesson of gaming that walking sims haven't really caught on to yet, leading them to fall into immersive-breaking puzzles or just glorified movies you can walk around in, and why I'm still a partisan of the immersive sim approach. That said, I can still appreciate walking sims as glorified movies you can walk around in. It's just not how I'd make them, and I'd push the genre in another direction if I could make every game I that wanted to.
  21. demagogue

    Outer Wilds

    Empyrion was early access the last time I played it, but that was probably like 6 months ago. I didn't mention the X series because I don't recall being able to visit planets. If we're just doing space sandbox, there are a few more to add, like the new Elite and Avorion, and a few others. Void Destroyer 2 is getting great reviews. (And if you only focused on the alien planet side without the space travel, Subnautica is one of my favorite games of the last few years.) I'm a big fan of Avorion because the ship-building is complete sandbox. You make a ship or station like you would make something in Minecraft. And it's all randomized and kind of rogue-like. It doesn't have a story, but I play that one zen style, so I don't mind. I really like the X series too. It's has both realism and a cartoonish goofy side to it, and is also way more open and sandbox than something like Elite. X4 has had a buggy & bumpy start. I'm giving it a year or two after a bunch of patches come out, the review have a consensus that it's fixed all the bugs and is a complete game, and it's on a good sale. I think I'll like it after that point. Ah, so many good space games and only so many blocs of 100s of hours to sink into them.
  22. demagogue

    Outer Wilds

    Space Engine is amazing. I cruise in that all the time, but I wouldn't really call it a game. It's just a pure space travel sim. My favorite game in this genre is called Empyrion - Galactic Survival, where you just start on some alien planet and first just have to survive, then start building tech, work your way up to building a ship, and then exploring other planets. It's still wonky, but it's better than No Man's Land & Space Engineers IMO, the other contenders. Well if you like pretty simple gameplay, nice stylized visuals, and don't mind the game getting repetitive, you just jump to a planet, do the thing, then off to the next one, you just like the Zen flow of it or whatever, that's No Man's Land. If you like designing complicated machinery, basically Minecraft's Buildcraft in space, but there's really no interaction with the universe outside of that, that's Space Engineers. And if you like an open universe with lots of variety and interaction with the worlds, lots to do over a long and hard-won progression, some cool story, and you still get to build stuff (just not as complicated as SE), that's Empyrion. And now there's this, Outer Wilds. I really don't know where to place it in comparison to those others, so any opinions on that would be interesting to me.
  23. demagogue

    Outer Wilds

    I often like that kind of concept, although the trailer itself was giving me bad vibes. There are a number of open space exploration games that have been misses recently, where it's interesting at first but eventually gets repetitive when you've seen the basic content. I don't know if this game will be like that, but I got those vibes. But I'm open minded. This is the kind of game, like Obra Dinn too, where I'll wait for reviews to come in and once a consensus really starts forming I'll think about if I should get it, wait for a sale, or what... One of my favorite puzzles games with this hook was an interactive fiction called "Rematch", where actually you only have one move before the game ends, but you make that one move 100s of times until you know that world inside out and crack the situation you're put into. I really liked how that unfolded. Afterwards I scripted a few of my own games like that. The one I remember was set in a stadium basketball game with like 2 minutes left (or maybe 10?), and a bomb goes off right when the buzzer goes off. So you can always see the clock and know how much time you have to find the bomb & defuse it. Interestingly, right after I scripted it, the movie Sourcecode came out with the same kind of hook. I like the idea that you can build a lot of storytelling into that mechanic, beyond it being a cool mechanic for a puzzle.
  24. It might be cool if someone made some good box art. In my younger days I might have even printed it out on cardboard stock and made my own box, in addition to jewelbox and CD art, but these days I'd be content with just having an image of it in my TDM fodder folder.
  25. Stalker was one game where the bugs actually contributed to its charm. It was The Zone after all. It's almost to be expected its reality would breakdown every now and then.
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