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"Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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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%
DOWNLOAD: http://unrealarchives.com/project-xenome-first-day/








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.

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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. Firestorm....at 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 and...wow. Xenome has a touch of that and it's totally fine, and worth the continued play time. :tup:
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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.
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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
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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...
Life sucks.

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

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2017, 10:02

Hey Jazz, do you have a download link to the Project Xenome patch? The original thread has a broken link, and I don't seem to have a saved version of it on my HD.

Also, how is work coming along for part 2? Last I heard, you had 8 maps completed!
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2017, 12:27

Lightning Hunter wrote:Hey Jazz, do you have a download link to the Project Xenome patch? The original thread has a broken link, and I don't seem to have a saved version of it on my HD.

Also, how is work coming along for part 2? Last I heard, you had 8 maps completed!


jazz wrote:

so he gets noted.
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2017, 13:31

I think this is the one LH.

http://www.mediafire.com/file/9d5a9md85 ... hdelta.zip

I'm on the last map, literally at the end.... But!... I've run into a problem.

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This is the end were the player is to take out this node thing; however, the triggers are not working for some reason. I've checked the tags and events a few times and everything appears to be normal. For it to work one trigger enables another allowing it to be shot. The player is then teleported away to fight another day.
Once i've sorted it, it's a case of sounds, monsters, pathing and a good playtest and i'll be good to go.
I'll get there in the end.
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2017, 14:58

Omg, those are awesome news. SInce I too want to see the sequel as soon as possible, just making sure here... Is the second trigger InitialState=OtherTriggerTurnsOn, bInitiallyActive=False, TriggerType=TTShoot and DamageThreshold>0? Do all of these Movers involved have the InitialState=TriggerOpenTimed or at least something not PlayerBump? Is the first Trigger bTriggerOnceOnly? (maybe you trigger it too often)

Xenome was basically the first set of high tech Unreal maps that I thoroughly enjoyed (I am normally a sucker for ancient themed ones and I played Xidia afterwards). What helped sell the maps is that they were convincing as places with purpose. Also, even though there were some repetitive moments of "find panel to open your next destination", the gameplay made me stay due to the surprise encounters (which, admittedly became predictable halfway through) and parts that were totally unique to an Unreal high tech experience (such as the jumping from box to box above slime part which I heard was inspired by Half Life, well I never played that, so it was new to me :D) I too admired the change in designs for each map making every one of them feel special despite most of them purely underground facilities. In a sense, it felt like the original Diablo where you just stepped deeper and deeper and the places became darker and grittier.

Having said that, I am most excited to visit the different locales the sequel has to offer. I bet "Day Two" delivers its very own experience in that regard.
Mr.Prophet wrote: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.

I would like to elaborate more on and kind of disagree with the first part of your statement here since I have a fresh memory of Zephon. In comparison - of course, because it was only one mapper involved - Xenome is generally more consistent in the visuals. If I have to decide between Zephon and Xenome visually, I am leaning towards consistency. I would rather have a pack full of maps with a score in visuals of 8 or 9, than a pack with a scores ranging from 7 to 10, because the worse looking maps, even though they still do look nice, just seem worse than they are if they are sandwiched in between the best looking maps ever. Thus, the pleasure of the visuals becomes pretty uneven, whcih is not the case if everything delivers on the same high level.

Besides, I wouldnt even call Zephons best maps "boundary breaking" (at least having the release date of 2007 in mind) as none of them beat Hourences "Genome Warriors", which was released many years prior, in terms of detail. Of course, this is kind of the engines fault, but a polycount of 3000 or higher wouldnt change anything even back in 2007, the old graphics remain outdated, whereas in 2002-2004 the architectural details (just level design, not meshes or effects) between UE2 titles and Xidia Gold were almost comparable.

Lastly, what I would dub the "2D shape style", that was popular with the releases of Xidia and ONP and onwards, is often coupled with staleness in terms of floorplan or design ideas in general - something I fell a victim of with Unforchers 1, though I still tried to make the most of it - and it became so apparent in most of Zephons levels too. That is to say that there are quite some mappers who, creatively, did exceptionally well with that high detail style. However, from a design perspective at least I personally take for example the final area of the first playable Xenome map over any random long, huge hallway with crazy supports.
The Unforchers will come again soon...

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

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2017, 22:33

Thx Dave.

Although all of the points you mentioned were verified on inspection it turned out to be a random SmokeGenerator that was holding things up. It sounds strange but the operation was far more complicated than what i let on. Anyway I believe I may have sussed it :tup:

With the power of hindsight there are many things i would change with 'first day'. Being a one man band it is like having blinkers on with respect to all aspects of the build.
Alot of the members on this forum have great insight into what makes a game like unreal (and it's mods) so enjoyable to play. I suppose when it was WIP I did'nt take any consideration into the opinions of others in the early days.
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 03 Jul 2017, 07:06

jazz wrote:I think this is the one LH.

http://www.mediafire.com/file/9d5a9md85 ... hdelta.zip


I think I'm still at least one patch behind! The version of "First Day" I have is from 2010, and I don't see a version number in the readme (just a release date of "Early 2010"). The thread here mentions a patch that is 73mb large. How many patches are there?

I think we need a standalone version of First Day that is fully patched to avoid any confusion!

By the way, that is great news about part 2!
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 03 Jul 2017, 09:31

Sorry LH, I believe this is the link your looking for.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0

The 'delta' patch is experimental for a later date and was'nt meant for release just yet until all three packs were complete.
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Subject: Re: "Project Xenome" by Jarrod "JazzyB" Burgess

Post Posted: 03 Jul 2017, 13:08

Well, my thoughts are in the review of the set, although I still need to update it for the patched version sometime. I wondered if a thread like this might be better after Xenome 2 comes out and it starts to become a series, but I guess this is becoming the release thread for it now, and it's good to hear it should be coming soon.
Formerly Mman

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

Post Posted: 04 Jul 2017, 10:20

jazz wrote:Sorry LH, I believe this is the link your looking for.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0

The 'delta' patch is experimental for a later date and was'nt meant for release just yet until all three packs were complete.


I think that is the right one. Thanks! :)
For High-Res Unreal skins, click here.
For the RTNP "Ultimate Edition" HD, click here.

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