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DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 28 May 2017, 15:49

Gotta say ONP with the classic Na Pali terrain style feels like fresh to the eyes.
The new terrain textures are very fine but it feels like they'd fit for higher poly graphics. That grass is used everywhere in ONP and it gets extremely tiresome.

Though however I kind of enjoy it in a way if some parts of Na Pali had unique types of chain mountain designs but then you get back to P849's journey locations and the new textures are still being used, and it doesn't make sense anymore.


Strangeworld is still amazing. Sure it looks like ass nowadays, especially the skytown map but it displayed more creativity than ONP with the day/night cycle, the new weapons, the turrets. And the Skaarj vs Merc grudge worked better because you had to fight both of them - i.e. Mercs had no reason to be allied with an unknown human. Map-wise there was literally zero filler, too, and it had (even if dumb as shit) a final boss!

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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 05 Jun 2017, 10:43

In a few days the next ThingOfTheMonth, and probably the last one regarding this experiment.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 06 Jun 2017, 18:50

I didn't really participate in this one but I do like the idea of these. They are great for discussion. Even if they were not campaign or map centric, just lore discussions would be cool to me.
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User avatar editor Dave
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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 07 Jun 2017, 08:31

Just some random notes from me as this time I was as motivated to play through the whole thing again for a mini review. Though, it really, really blew me away when I first played it.

Little story time intermezzo: I only played Unreal and RTNP for the sole reason of making maps (it was two friends who introduced me to the engine, but they havent been as "active" on international forums as me). When I was done with the main campaigns, I indeed started crafting my own ideas, but from time to time I seeked inspiration, so I loaded some custom stuff, some of which was just randomly picked from oldunreal (and oftentimes I had very bad luck doing so concerning quality packs) and the others were all the packs directly supported by oldskool via "Start New Campaign". Overall, I enjoyed these maps, sometimes even more than Unreal itself (also Peril on Mars or Na Pali Odyssey) - maybe it was just the fresh take on familiar grounds that hooked me. However, with a better internet connection I decided to tackle something I had always heard of, but had never seen in action: ONP.

And yeah, compared to the other custom maps, the difference to me was towering - even in 2007/2008 it had this lasting effect. I was like: "Man, this almost looks like UT 2004, crazy!" Even the low poly maps of the later stages were still absolute eye candy for me. I wanted to create such visually striking maps from then on - thus, this style of mapping would influence me heavily for the next three years or so. <= just a confirmation how, even years after its release, ONP had a lasting impression on newbies.

Looking back at these maps in the editor recently, I was surprised that almost none of the maps had really rich detail in the brushwork (apart from Hourences mostly). I think it all comes down to the fresh textures and the new lighting approach - which I didnt even mind having applied to the original Unreal maps. I thought it was a nice upgrade.

Even from a gameplay perspective the map pack was a blast for me. However, I do think the visuals blurred my view on the gameplay - when I was in awe of the architecture while killing some boringly playced creatures, I didnt mind the latter all. I embraced the idea of having team mates on your way as well, even if the AI often messed up. The flying ship episodes were the coolest - as a JumpnRun fan I was pleased to play those. The addition of cutscenes were nice. I was rather indifferent towards the voice acting, but it somehow seemed to serve its purpose.

Having said that, all of my praise must be seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old just discovering the world of Unreal mapping. The feeling of sensation, of freshness in the vast pool of custom maps, of new ideas executed in a sufficient manner, the sense of epicness in the most grand maps such as Chicos, it was something I experienced in ONP for the first time. My guess is, if I had played similarily ambitious map packs before, ONP wouldnt have had this ecstatic impression on me. Well, you always start somewhere, and ONP is still one of the best, and still the biggest custom map pack out there.

EDIT: Oh yeah, a year ago I played Strange World. I cant compare it to ONP really, but I liked how the chain of some maps was circular, it felt you were actively changing something to the world. And mercenaries are quite rare enemies, so a plus for including those, too. :B
The Unforchers will come again soon...

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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 07 Jun 2017, 22:37

I have a fondness for ONP and a respect for it, especially because it basically got me into the single player Unreal/UT modding community overall when I was younger. I think I saw one little episode of a playthrough of it and instantly wanted to play it. I think it was just because of how good "Prisoned" was. I didn't even care about the voice acting, the first level was cool enough for me to want to go and download it. A lot of the singleplayer unreal modding scene has influenced me and my work in general, not just relating to Unreal. When you get into Unreal, it's not just the mother game, theres also all the amazing fan-content as well.

I have to thank this mod so much just on the basis that it introduced me to SP unreal mod stuff. ONP still has a lot of really awesome aspects to it, even if I don't replay it nearly as often as other packs because of it's not all that great gameplay most of the time (in my opinion.) It's not terrible, but it's easy, and the Xidia copy-paste just makes me want to go play Xidia. :D


The new tracks though, jesus fucking christ, there should've been more of them. Tyra is one of the best intro songs I've heard from like anything, and I usually modify my UT main menu theme to be Castle Gate.

I'm not going to comment on Strange World just because I just haven't had the chance to play it yet. Sounds like my cup of tea though.
(also known as Xanious)

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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 08 Jun 2017, 19:18

A lot has been said already, I think Operation Na Pali has had a great impact on many of us, I share the sentiment with others saying the campaign really helped them to get involved in the community and into mapping for Unreal/UT. It's great stuff and the fact that it isn't perfect makes it perhaps even more important as a motivator for creative minds who can see how - in retrospect - some aspects could be made even better.

And holy shit what I just said even extends to visuals as in fact my jaw dropped when I checked the "Your Friend, The Ice Texture" article under Level Design on the Legacy UnrealSP site: Prophet explains how to create even more "leet" visuals with this old game engine than can already be seen in ONP...

Generally speaking, I believe the campaign is a testimony to how much richer a game's experience can get when developers provide gamers with modding tools.

Favourite quote:
"Hey, who's that ugly son of a bitch?...
Aaah fuck,
it's me."

I have already elaborated a lot on the campaign's most memorable moments in the dedicated MOTW threads so I'll just finish by saying that I have, of course, also played Strange World (and did so before playing ONP, mind) which I thought was great but now feel is quite limited all things considered, even though it is rich in terms of ideas - which would mostly be used to better effect later!

Also: Bob - Everybody Needs a Friend is my favourite puzzle map in the whole of Unreal/UT.

DavidM, if you read this, you deserve a hug ;)
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: DavidM's best: "Strange World" and "Operation Na Pali"

Post Posted: 11 Jun 2017, 20:07

Late tomorrow the new thread.
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