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Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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Subject: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 11 Apr 2017, 16:57

Main project leader: Mike "Hellscrag" Wilberforce

Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited v2.01
Author: Team UnrealSP
Released in: June 30th, 2004
Platform: Unreal Tournament
Review Score: 70%
DOWNLOAD: http://unrealarchives.com/deja-vu-gryphon-revisited/ (no link found for the original version)









Synopsis: Juan Brie, a survivor of the crashed ISV-Kran, is sent on a mission by the Inuit Corporation: retrieve an artifact from the same planet Juan Brie escaped from. With the artifact nowhere to be located, Juan's mission turns into another escape from the Skaarj - a déjà vu of sorts.
Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited was originally released in June 2003 to commemorate UnrealSP.org's second anniversary but it ended up being a short and mediocre mappack due to the lack of time and effort put into it. Exactly a year later, for the website's third anniversary, a heavily enhanced version of Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited (dubbed 2.01) with more maps was made, becoming quite the big hit in classic-style Unreal mappack history.


Battle For Na Pali
Author: Team UnrealSP
Released in: Shelved
Platform: Unreal Tournament
Moddb: http://www.moddb.com/mods/battle-for-na-pali

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azQNBatBBA0

Synopsis: Battle For Na Pali was planned to be an unofficial successor to the original Unreal campaigns, much like Firestorm. It was going to have around 36 maps, new weapons, new enemies and new music.
Sadly, the project proved to be too massive to be worked on and was shelved in January 20th, 2008. Content that was made for it was moved onto Residual Decay.

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 12 Apr 2017, 12:36

Not even UnrealArchive got a link to DV 1 lol

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 12 Apr 2017, 16:56

UBerserker wrote:Not even UnrealArchive got a link to DV 1 lol


Found one: http://ut-files.com/index.php?dir=Maps/ ... vu-101.zip
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Recent plays: New Alcatraz, 13 Mutants, Thrall Village, Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited 1.01, Unreal v200, Unreal: Return to Na Pali v224, The Triamid Ruins, Enslaved, Unreal II: The Awakening, Project: Xenome: Interloper

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 12 Apr 2017, 21:25

It bothers me a little that the only project released by Team UnrealSP was the one with the rough, rushed planning and design (Deja Vu) and not the really big one (BfNP). The real potential of many of the Team UnrealSP mappers has never been seen, as at what was probably the peak of our mapping abilities we were all absorbed into this mammoth project that never managed to go anywhere.

If I do manage to release playable versions of my most complete BfNP maps, I will at least be able to scratch that itch on a personal level.

I'll throw one thing into the mix re Deja Vu - the story of the 'artifact' was meant to be a bit further developed, but the map that was going to feature it - Nuk'Ratha Village - was never built. Willis' map was meant to feature both the valley and village, but he made the decision to split it into two maps and only had time to finish the first one. Nuk'Ratha Village was going to be a battleground, with Skaarj and Mercs vying for possession of the artifact. Having said that, I don't think we ever developed a very clear idea of what the artifact was going to be. Remember - the first version of Deja Vu was speedmapped over the course of one month to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of UnrealSP.Org.
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 12 Apr 2017, 23:14

Some things watching that BFNP trailer that slapped me in the face.

1. I think I wrote those lines of text that were voiced in the first half.

2. The EAR fires purple instead of green, like I coulda sworn it did.

3. None of the maps I worked on are in the video. This is because they developed poorly due to my other mapping commitments. When the project disbanded these scraplings were added to RD levels (all Skaarj stuff, unless I've forgotten. I don't remember if I picked the Skaarj themed levels for BFNP or if they were assigned to me. But what is true is that these levels have survived).

I'm hardly the best representative of Team USP. I was at my most present and my most active during story brainstorming and general discussions on the team forum. My contributions to BFNP, objectively, were two-fold; I helped hash out many of the major story elements that ended up sticking to the wall during the early and middle part of development. I'm also, sadly, the person that has been the project's gravewarden since...2008?

Deja Vu...I'm glad to have been a part of that. A lot of really cool levels from a lot of people. There are names to this credit that were the lifeblood to this community at its best, when you had so many users actively participating not only in Unreal discussion but Unreal design.
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 12 Apr 2017, 23:52

Something that grasped me when I saw many years ago the BFNP's map list with the assigned authors - was it going to be a spiritual successor with Unreal with very similar themes and progression? I could call it right off the bat the last seven maps or so were Mothership themed. Not sure if some Sky Island stuff was planned.

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017, 00:03

My levels would have been at the end, so yes in the sense that the pack was going to culminate with a Skaarj set of packs. However, I'm fairly certain that at the time the project shut down there were levels planned after mine that would have been made by another member that continued the story to a climax set in a non-Skaarj themed setting.

I'll allow Mike to elaborate on this more, if he wants.
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017, 00:28

I'll have to be brief here - can elaborate at a later date - but BfNP was actually going to attempt a wider range of themes than Unreal, albeit all taking inspiration from the original game. There were a number of sections, which looked broadly like this:

  • An icy zone, set high in the mountains;
  • A temperate sub-tropical zone, similar to classic Unreal;
  • A jungle / swamp zone, very damp and humid, leading to the wreck of the UMS Bodega Bay and a major river;
  • The cursed lands and environs, a nighttime section of the game, again similar to classic Unreal;
  • An abandoned sky island;
  • A desert and underground zone featuring the remains of an old civilisation (the Velshan); and
  • The Skaarj Hive, possibly more organic than Mothership, set in the desert.
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017, 14:04

Best way to follow up a Skaarj Hive climax with another climax is a late afternoon empty desert settings under the hot suns.

...Shrakitha's ending really influenced me to think always about that way.

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 15 Apr 2017, 00:04

Battle for Na Pali - Image dump

Surviving screenshots and creature concepts:

Pan'thali Haven by Hellscrag

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The Errand by fashahhh

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The Experiment by GrinGoLoCo

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Numaneh Town by Kaka

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Numaneh Crypts by MMAN / Frieza

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Zorestai Jungle by Frieza

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Beortis Temple by Ultimate Weasel

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Drasseth Mine by Wael

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Canyon of the River Harvain by Frieza

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B'reklifan Dam by NicolasEymerich

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Depths of B'reklifan by NicolasEymerich

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Burhmon Castle by Hellscrag

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Halos Town by Waffnuffly

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Himul Mountain Pass by Deadkatz

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Matabakt Temple by Flunders / Hellscrag

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Abandoned Haven by Kaka

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Lake Onaka by NicolasEymerich

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The Lost Town of Hun'lana by Neutron

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Last Base of the Gilded Claw by GTD-Carthage

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The Oasis by Neutron

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The Sandy Ruins by Wael

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The Skaarj Hive by Mister Prophet

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Creature Concepts by various

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The player character

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Nali family

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Nali boy

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Nali boy (WIP mesh)

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Nali woman (WIP mesh)

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Nali wolf

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'Freakboy'

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'Freakboy'

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Cursed spirit

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Cursed spirit

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Skaarj stalker leader

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Velshan

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Velshan

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White Tusk wingless warlord

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White Tusk wingless warlord

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White Tusk paratrooper

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Vegetation
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 15 Apr 2017, 03:35

That's really mind-blowing - tons of excellent material there... thank you so much for sharing, Hellscrag!

Massive source of inspiration right there :o
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 15 Apr 2017, 12:43

Fuck, Zorestai Jungle and those desert maps at the end looked amazing.

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 15 Apr 2017, 19:14

UBerserker wrote:Fuck, Zorestai Jungle and those desert maps at the end looked amazing.

So besides what happened to these maps or if they're lost forever, what was BFNP's planned plot? Was the Freak Skaarj going to be another Scarred One?

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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 16 Apr 2017, 00:07

UBerserker wrote:
UBerserker wrote:Fuck, Zorestai Jungle and those desert maps at the end looked amazing.

So besides what happened to these maps or if they're lost forever, what was BFNP's planned plot? Was the Freak Skaarj going to be another Scarred One?


I'm not sure how much I can say without spoiling ideas that might one day see the light of day in some release of RD.

The action of BfNP was set about 15 years after the destruction of the UMS Bodega Bay. The player was a survivor of that crash, an engineer/technician with no particular rank and no personal ties to Earth. Presumed dead by the UMS, he was taken in by the Nali and restored to health. Since then he has lived high in the mountains, in the Nali town of Pan'thali Haven, undisturbed by the Skaarj and sharing a house with a Nali friend.

The remaining Skaarj on Na Pali, meanwhile, following the destruction of the Queen, split into multiple antagonistic factions. By the time of BfNP, only two factions remain: the White Tusk, who are close to eliminating the remaining Gilded Claw.

At the start of the game, the player's friend sends the player on an errand to return a crossbow to a hunter who lives in the nearby Pan'thali Vale. As he journeys to meet the hunter, he sees a convoy of Skaarj ships fly past. The hunter sends him back home to investigate, advising him to keep the crossbow to protect himself from the Skaarj and the native Nali Wolves.

Returning to Pan'thali Haven, the player finds it destroyed. The White Tusk have torn up the town, believing there to be a hidden Gilded Claw facility nearby. The player traverses the devastated town and eventually finds the body of his Nali friend and, apparently, his ghost. The ghost incites the player to set out on a quest to destroy the Skaarj once and for all, and offers to accompany him on his journey. (The destruction of the idyllic town, you see, provides the player character with the motivation to set out on his journey, and the ghost is the mouthpiece for this.)

The destruction of the town has blown open an entrance to the secret Gilded Claw facility, which turns out to be abandoned. Within the facility, the player accidentally awakens 'Freakboy', an experimental Skaarj/Nali/Human hybrid with psi powers. Mentally a blank slate, and deeply confused about its identity and purpose, Freakboy stalks the player from a distance throughout the first half of the game. Throughout the first part of his journey, the player finds evidence of Freakboy exploring the different aspects of its nature, including the violent, baser ones.

Freakboy and the player have a couple of direct confrontations during the first two thirds of the game. In the first, the player is unable to defeat Freakboy in combat but is rescued by the ghost, who is able to hurt the creature due to its psi powers. In the second, Freakboy tracks the player down once again and speaks for the first time. It challenges the ghost, claiming to have learned a lot about the ghost during its earlier attack and claiming that the ghost is not who he claims to be. In this pivotal scene, the player must make a choice about who to believe, and this affects how the rest of the game plays out.

This is probably where I should stop, but here are a few more titbits:
  • The game was also going to play out the endgame of the White Tusk / Gilded Claw conflict, and at times the player would find himself in conflict with both;
  • Freakboy was not the final boss, and the story was going to have about three different possible endings based on the choices made by the player over the course of the Freakboy story arc;
  • The wreck of the UMS Bodega Bay was to be featured, crashed in a swamp; this may have been where the player would pick up the EAR, a UMS weapon, although it was also in use by a new variety of stealth Skaarj called the Stalkers;
  • The Skaarj and Mercenaries would continue to be in conflict, and this was to impinge on the action in a series of levels in the second half of the game;
  • In the late stages the game would also have introduced the Velshan, a race of hunters native to Na Pali but believed extinct, who lived in a subterranean city and fought with crossbows loaded with a variety of different types of arrows.

I should add that none of this material had yet been implemented in the maps, but there was a story design document that explained how each map would take the story forward. It was all much more carefully planned than Deja Vu. I also had all the mappers submit detailed plans of the maps they were going to create to make sure that everyone was 'thinking big' and had understood the brief. I still have many of these.
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Subject: Re: Team UnrealSP's mappacks: "Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited" & "Battle For Na Pali"

Post Posted: 17 Apr 2017, 14:04

Reading more about BFNP makes it really sounded just too massive to be done. Plot seemed quite super complicated, 30+ NEW maps, new weapons, new monsters (making one new monster is already an over the top thing). I honestly have no idea how could you have even finished this, it sounds more like something that an indie gaming dev team would do (and iirc indie gaming wasn't still a thing 12 years ago or so).

Sadly these "super AAA projects full of new content" ideas are relics of the past, when back then there was a lot of excitement to bring always new things to the game with the likes of 7B and ONP around, Firestorm being a thing, etc... Project Xenome and Zephon are truly devoid of new content outside of maps and look what they've become.

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