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"Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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User avatar UBerserker
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Subject: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 12 Jun 2017, 17:49

Sole project leader: Jarrod Burgess

Project Xenome: First Day
Author: JazzyB
Released in: January 2nd, 2010
Platform: Unreal Tournament
Review Score: 81%

Synopsis: Project Xenome: First Day is the first and currently only release in the Xenome series by breakout mapper JazzyB. You play as a now civilian, ex-marine, who has just arrived in a Liandri facility for his first day of new work. Just when in the meanwhile, Skaarj decide to lead a full-blown assault against the whole Liandri settlement on the planet you're on. Now you're on your own, with few marine allies along the way and a weird plasma Skaarj constantly stalking you.
Project Xenome is a masterpiece of industrial architecture with challenging gameplay, very inspired from Half Life, coming from a mapper who was absolutely new to the scene and impressed everyone. The mappack was the only major custom release to make use of the ONP gametype, including the infinite DP and human allies.
A sequel is in the works and according to JazzyB, it's almost done.

User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 13 Jun 2017, 05:50

I have a lot of respect for this mapper and this pack for the design quality. If I remember correctly...was this the pack that was brainstormed while the author (Jazzy) was employed on an Oil Rig?

Funnily enough the Half-Life inspired levels are the ones I recall the least because of how closely matched they were to the maps made by Valve and since it has been a while since my last playthrough I simply remember those moments where I was seeing a mirror image of Black Mesa. It's funny because the good, original stuff outshines those levels by such a margin.

It also took me awhile to get the nerve to replay it after all the changes from the original controversial release, but I'm glad I got back to it. I lump this in with Zephon as the two campaigns that followed Xidia for the tech-themed campaign style, post UT SP thing, and took that theme to the furthest it was going to ever go on the old engine. While Zephon has more mappers and is generally considered by a lot of people to be the more boundary breaking in terms of visuals, I actually prefer playing Xenome more. And I have a heck of a lot of respect for small man crews, and in this case there was just one guy. I see a lot of Turboman in Jazzy's approach to Xenome, in that sometimes influences help get the creative juices going before the really new stuff comes through. least the Firestorm I played, has several Unreal/RTNP inspired levels at the beginning that look almost carbon copied at times. And then you get past them Xenome has a touch of that and it's totally fine, and worth the continued play time. :tup:

User avatar UBerserker
Nali Priest Nali Priest
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 13 Jun 2017, 12:51

I pm'd jazzy, hopefully he can comment in this thread some day.

User avatar jazz
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 22:46

Thx UB for the PM.

Ah! Yes, the original megapack! I remember it well. I had to go right back to the drawing board with that one and i'm glad I did.
I remember looking at all the other packs in the editor after playing each one and thinking how did they do it, scrutinizing each level detail before ripping my old one apart and starting again. Luckily at that time I had alot of time on my hands to punch out nine levels.

Any budding mapper out there would do well to check out the level design tips by Mr Prophet, Drevlin, eVOLVE and Scrag as I did back in the day, there's some great info there to be had.

Although the visuals are human predominantly and not unreal-ish as it were, it sort of went that way after a while. Some of the levels were borrowed from the original but expanded upon to fill in certain gaps, like trying to flesh out some kind of story that I had in my head, also making levels less of a filler. It is a problem with one of the new levels i'm making where it seems like a filler scenario to get from one place to another is prevalent.

I'm happy with the visuals for the most part but my problem lies with enemy placement to get the best out of a situation, sometimes they are too obvious and others just random placements with little thought, it is something i need to address for the future.

The story is pretty standard I suppose where the player wakes up unreal style and finds his first day shit-canned. He finds some dude giving him up-dates where the Skaarj have taken over blah, blah. The second pack expands on the player and the Liandri corp intentions where a cryptic message by the administrator of the base gives you a heads up on what's occuring! It seems you are.... well... you'll have to wait and see.
I'm impressed with the visuals on this one but it goes more in depth with the story unlike the first pack which was more or less get to the surface any way you can and get off planet somehow.
My other gripe was there was no other locales apart from human which i have addressed in this new one which includes Skaarj, Human, Nali, Ancient, and another planet with a good range of creatures to fight.
We have but one world
But we all live in different ones

User avatar salsaSkaarj
Gilded Claw Gilded Claw
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 22:54

Ah ... Xenome.
I can't really say anything more than I have before.
Considering the fact that I have played Xenome on Medium, on Hard and on Unreal, and then the slightly reworked version on Medium (not sure about Hard, certainly not on Unreal), it probably qualifies as my favourite UT mappack.
The first time when I played it, I thought it was damn hard (on Easy) but actually it was me who hadn't mastered the technique of using the terrain properly nor did I see the dangerous attacks coming.
Xenome completely changed my way of playing anything Unreal-related: I started looking for and finding dangerous situations and started planning my battles, strategies, evasion techniques and rest and recuperation areas whenever I noticed something potentially detremental to my health.
It was a learning curve on my first playthrough, sometimes even thinking that I woudln't make it. But that first playthrough really improved my game, and luckily because each next difficulty level brought slightly different difficulties which sometimes forced a different approach. So in terms of gameplay balance I thought it offered something for every skill-level except perhaps for the supercracks (If I can beat in on Unreal then it doesn't have the difficulty level Xidia has).
Build (as far as I can judge) is expectionally good with so much detail it's incredible that this is a one-man release.
Visually it's stunning in many places with some exceptionaly detailed and realistic areas, both inside and outside.
It does have one flaw however!! It ended too soon but I'm hoping the continuation of Xenome is forthcoming.
I've been very inactive the last 2 years but I'm really feeling the itch to replay all packs again, starting with Xenome (actually I think I never finished the debugged version).

edit: jazz posted while I was typing: Yaaaay, I think I'll be forced to stat playing Unreal again :tup:

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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 15 Jun 2017, 00:59

I need to get back to this some day...
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