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Fan Mission: Blackgrove Manor by ddaazzaa (2021/03/14)


ddaazzaa
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I just finished this mission. My feedback:

  • Very nice architecture and creepy atmosphere.
  • I enjoyed the puzzle of trying to find a way in to the manor. Not difficult, but more interesting than "pick the first frobable door you find".
  • The background music is nice and atmospheric, and well balanced in terms of volume. Good job.
  • Lighting is very flat and uninteresting. It looks like the whole mission is lit by a single ambient with no bright or dark areas, giving the impression that I am walking around with night-vision goggles or something. The architecture would be brought to life by some more varied and realistic light sources, even if it was just moonlight shining through windows.
  • Several local sound effects are too loud and with too small a radius. The crickets chirping outside sound like a smoke alarm going off in my ear. It would be more realistic to make them quieter and larger in size, so they gradually fade in and out as you walk around.
  • I had no performance issues outside, but I did see the LoD hedge models popping in as I approached them. I second the suggestion someone else made to just use brushes for these. If brush-based hedges don't look good, just make them walls or decorative balusters instead.
  • There is audible background noise on some of the spontaneous sound effects. It does detract from the creepiness somewhat, because it makes it obvious that it's just an audio file being played behind you, rather than a ghostly happening in the world.
  • The jump scares were effective, but would be made better if the "visible thing" appeared for longer. It seemed like only a fraction of a second before it was gone, which is not really enough time for the brain to process the image.
  • I'm not a big fan of one-way valves in missions. There were parts of the mansion I hadn't seen, but once the "climax" was reached it was no longer possible to do anything but escape, and I hadn't reached the loot goal.

Some of this may seem like nitpicking but I'm only raising such things because I think this mission has the potential to be something great, like the next Shalebridge Cradle or Rose Cottage, and smoothing off some of the rough edges might help to get closer to that level of quality.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/2/2021 at 11:40 PM, OrbWeaver said:

I just finished this mission. My feedback:

  • Very nice architecture and creepy atmosphere.
  • I enjoyed the puzzle of trying to find a way in to the manor. Not difficult, but more interesting than "pick the first frobable door you find".
  • The background music is nice and atmospheric, and well balanced in terms of volume. Good job.
  • Lighting is very flat and uninteresting. It looks like the whole mission is lit by a single ambient with no bright or dark areas, giving the impression that I am walking around with night-vision goggles or something. The architecture would be brought to life by some more varied and realistic light sources, even if it was just moonlight shining through windows.
  • Several local sound effects are too loud and with too small a radius. The crickets chirping outside sound like a smoke alarm going off in my ear. It would be more realistic to make them quieter and larger in size, so they gradually fade in and out as you walk around.
  • I had no performance issues outside, but I did see the LoD hedge models popping in as I approached them. I second the suggestion someone else made to just use brushes for these. If brush-based hedges don't look good, just make them walls or decorative balusters instead.
  • There is audible background noise on some of the spontaneous sound effects. It does detract from the creepiness somewhat, because it makes it obvious that it's just an audio file being played behind you, rather than a ghostly happening in the world.
  • The jump scares were effective, but would be made better if the "visible thing" appeared for longer. It seemed like only a fraction of a second before it was gone, which is not really enough time for the brain to process the image.
  • I'm not a big fan of one-way valves in missions. There were parts of the mansion I hadn't seen, but once the "climax" was reached it was no longer possible to do anything but escape, and I hadn't reached the loot goal.

Some of this may seem like nitpicking but I'm only raising such things because I think this mission has the potential to be something great, like the next Shalebridge Cradle or Rose Cottage, and smoothing off some of the rough edges might help to get closer to that level of quality.

* I'll look at adding some faint light around the windows to add a bit of diversity to the lighting

* I noticed the crickets are very loud. I'll probably tweak the volume and radius.

* I didn't really want to have LODs for the hedges but due to the poly count on them I ended up having to for performance. I didn't want to have to fall back to a brush based hedge. I have requested in the art assets forum if someone is able to create a lower poly hedge, that way I might be able to remove LODs for the hedges.

* All of the audio except for the voices are from the core assets. Maybe some of those assets were poorly recorded, although I didn't notice any issues with any of those sounds.

* I tried to warn players with the voice saying "beyond that door there is no turning back". Tapewolf experimented with jamming a box in the doorway to prevent the door from shutting and was able to get back into the mansion. This obviously wouldn't be possible on a first playthrough without prior knowledge of the door shutting.

Thanks for the feedback.

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1 hour ago, ddaazzaa said:

* I'll look at adding some faint light around the windows to add a bit of diversity to the lighting

That's not exactly what I mean — I am referring to the fact the the whole mansion interior seems to be lit at a fairly constant level, even without any visible light sources. The line about "I need to get the lights on" falls a little flat when I can already see perfectly fine with the lights off. Maybe I'm just playing with a much higher brightness/gamma than expected, although I haven't noticed this appearance in other missions.

I wonder if it would be creepier if the interior was almost pitch-black, except around windows? Perhaps those weird noises would be even weirder if you can barely see anything outside the radius of your own hooded lantern (which in turn makes you visible and vulnerable). There would then be a more significant difference (and sense of relief) when you finally get the lights on. Of course this would be a dramatic change from the mission as it currently is, but might be worth experimenting with.

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On 5/11/2021 at 8:11 PM, OrbWeaver said:

That's not exactly what I mean — I am referring to the fact the the whole mansion interior seems to be lit at a fairly constant level, even without any visible light sources. The line about "I need to get the lights on" falls a little flat when I can already see perfectly fine with the lights off. Maybe I'm just playing with a much higher brightness/gamma than expected, although I haven't noticed this appearance in other missions.

I wonder if it would be creepier if the interior was almost pitch-black, except around windows? Perhaps those weird noises would be even weirder if you can barely see anything outside the radius of your own hooded lantern (which in turn makes you visible and vulnerable). There would then be a more significant difference (and sense of relief) when you finally get the lights on. Of course this would be a dramatic change from the mission as it currently is, but might be worth experimenting with.

I was never really sure whether the map was too bright or too dark as everyone has a different display and TDM brightness and gamma settings. Since the first half of the FM has no lights I tried to lean on the side of having it a little brighter as I didn't want players complaining that the map is just too dark for too long. I can look at reducing the ambient light a little. Reducing to almost pitch black would potentially create a better atmosphere for some players but others might get frusted by how dark it would be

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/4/2021 at 3:33 PM, Zerg Rush said:

Disabling indexing only has the consequence that the search for files on the disk take a little longer.

If you still want indexed search than you could use software Index Your Files . This software indexes your files in a database very fast and searches are also very fast. I see now that is multiplatform (Windows, Linux and Macos), so I could actually use it myself in Linux.

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Yes, I know, but I use also Double Commander (FOSS), which has also a very fast search function. Besides, I do not use the function to search for files more than only in leap years and therefore it is not worth using an app specifically for this.
Besides, I know where my files are.

Sys Specs Laptop Lenovo V145 15AST, AMD A9- 9425 Radeon R5 - 5 cores 3,1 GHz  RAM 8Gb, GPU 1+2 Gb -Win10 64 v21H1

Favorite online apps you may like too 😉

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think this is the best haunted mission released, though I'm having some trouble finding the location of the attic. Found pretty much everything else.

 

  

On 5/11/2021 at 6:11 PM, OrbWeaver said:

That's not exactly what I mean — I am referring to the fact the the whole mansion interior seems to be lit at a fairly constant level, even without any visible light sources. The line about "I need to get the lights on" falls a little flat when I can already see perfectly fine with the lights off. Maybe I'm just playing with a much higher brightness/gamma than expected, although I haven't noticed this appearance in other missions.

I wonder if it would be creepier if the interior was almost pitch-black, except around windows? Perhaps those weird noises would be even weirder if you can barely see anything outside the radius of your own hooded lantern (which in turn makes you visible and vulnerable). There would then be a more significant difference (and sense of relief) when you finally get the lights on. Of course this would be a dramatic change from the mission as it currently is, but might be worth experimenting with.

Its not just you, I can also see pretty much fine and I actually lowered the brightness to compensate.

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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  • 4 weeks later...

I've updated a few things.
1.03
* Tweaked lighting. Ambient world lighting is a little darker. When the manor interior is dark, I added some low brightness lights around the windows.
* Performance should be better around the hedges. Thanks to HMart for the modified hedge model.
* Fixed a small "invisible barrier" issue in the Grand Hall. Also fixed some dining room loot falling through the table when bumped. Thanks to SuaveSteve for pointing out those issues.
* Cricket volume has been lowered.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wZc_nqHoX7kQvzfg08EpoRy2hyuH7mw3/view?usp=sharing

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Amazing little mission thick with atmosphere, thank you. Loved the visuals, sound design, layout. Pretty good scares, too. The chapel one got me good.

 

Spoiler

The corpse legit creeped me out when I returned to the main hall and found it missing, then it turned out to be a normal zombie. I was kinda hoping for it to remain dead and 'teleport' around the house as you complete various objectives. Just to add to the feeling of something evil stalking you and having you know it follows your every step. 

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 2:11 PM, nbohr1more said:

Thank you! The lighting improvements are great!

I have updated the mission database.

Thanks.

On 7/14/2021 at 4:10 AM, Kopfrkingl said:

Amazing little mission thick with atmosphere, thank you. Loved the visuals, sound design, layout. Pretty good scares, too. The chapel one got me good.

Thanks for the feedback.

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  • 3 months later...

This was amazing, absolutely loved it! The atmosphere was very pleasant and well established, for such a large mansion map it's well detailed at every point. Scary as it gets too, you definitely play this one nervously and in a good way! I also like how progressive it is in what you discover and where you must go, I'm sure there are more secrets to find. Unfortunately I couldn't complete many of the optional objectives on my first try so I should get back to this and do another run eventually.

Spoiler

The final objective says "escape with or without the artifact": I was wondering if it makes a difference whether you put it back after the door closes and take the secret passage without carrying it. Any multiple endings?

Spoiler

I was also curious if the doll you find in the sewer at the end does anything. Does placing it somewhere complete a secret objective, or is it purely decorational?

 

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