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Project Xenome : Interloper

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User avatar UBerserker
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 30 Jul 2017, 13:42

So for a simple fix to "connect" both mappacks without fucking up the scoreboard - it is ok enough adding an ONP teleporter for map 9 to map 10?
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User avatar jazz
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 30 Jul 2017, 14:32

Go ahead UB if you feel the need. I'll be a bit busy making no.3 for the time being. This also goes for anyone else if they want, they'll all be stitched together in the end anyway. :)
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User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 31 Jul 2017, 00:53

UBerserker wrote:So for a simple fix to "connect" both mappacks without fucking up the scoreboard - it is ok enough adding an ONP teleporter for map 9 to map 10?


Could you PM me the two maps if you do that? 8)
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 16:23

Pretty simple. Edited the main system file so it shows "Interloper" instead of "First Day", and added the rest of the maps to the mappack list.
As for Map9-Surface, when you reach the end of the final corridor you just go directly to the next map, that's about it.

So basically, for the main post, here's the list of downloads that should get in, IN ORDER:
Operation Na Pali v1.3 http://unrealarchives.com/operation-na-pali/
Xenome Episode 1 http://unrealarchives.com/project-xenome-first-day/
Xenome Episode 1 Patch https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0
Xenome Episode 2 (use the same link, unrealarchives should up this too)
Combiner http://www.mediafire.com/file/fwkr7aenk ... mbined.zip
Last edited by UBerserker on 01 Aug 2017, 19:18, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 19:05

Is the combined map09 based on the patched version of First Day?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 19:13

Started PowerPlay, (no savegame), so summoned some ammo and a shield and went into enemy territory. It didn't take long before I thought I had checked every single corridor and corner, pressed everything which looked like an button or swith or panel and got frustrated because I couldn't find any way to continue. But this time (unlike in Cobalt) I didn't give up and reminded myself that jazzy always leaves some kind of hint somewhere. And yes, he didn't let me down (and honestly the "unexpected" pathway is one of the highlights of the map, if not the mappack)..
Progress was rather straightforward from there, albeit quite slow since I didn't want to have to replay the whole map again. What is really nice in this map (can't judge the other maps because there I started each map with as much ammo as possible by retracing my steps and collection everything which was left available), is that rifle ammo and Flak are readily available (it has to be taken from the enemy though). So as a penultimate map it helps to get equipped - not that it's a simple map - resistance is plentyful but (at least it seemed that way to me) not as punishing as in some of the previous maps.
On to Core then, the final map of Interloper. Unfortunately unfinished still since the room with the blue energystreams is tricky, and without a save-option and probability of death being high, I ended up playing it twice up to that room. The third time I decided to god and ghost to that room, and on my fifth try (or sixth) I found the way forward. Unfortunately with ghosting some buttons aren't pressed and some doors probably remain locked so I'm stuck again.

On Thursday I'm leaving for about 10 days so Interloper will have to wait (unless I decide to lose more sleep tonight).

The next time I play Interloper it will be on a new and clean install of UT (I can't imagine myself being able to play it to the end without dying once).

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 19:17

Lightning Hunter wrote:Is the combined map09 based on the patched version of First Day?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0


Oh yeah, forgot about that. Add that as well to the links.
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User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 20:13

UBerserker wrote:
Lightning Hunter wrote:Is the combined map09 based on the patched version of First Day?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0


Oh yeah, forgot about that. Add that as well to the links.


But is your combined map based on the patched "ONP-Map09SurfaceX", or the original? In other words, will I be reverting the map to the unpatched version if I use your uploaded combined map?

Edit: By the way, someone needs to host the PX First Day Patch to a more permanent location. That dropbox link will disappear very quickly...
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 20:18

Lightning Hunter wrote:
UBerserker wrote:
Lightning Hunter wrote:Is the combined map09 based on the patched version of First Day?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7ehm9qo5bzcf ... h.rar?dl=0


Oh yeah, forgot about that. Add that as well to the links.


But is your combined map based on the patched "ONP-Map09SurfaceX", or the original? In other words, will I be reverting the map to the unpatched version if I use your uploaded combined map?

Edit: By the way, someone needs to host the PX First Day Patch to a more permanent location. That dropbox link will disappear very quickly...


Patched

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 01 Aug 2017, 23:28

UBerserker wrote:Patched

:tup:
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 05 Aug 2017, 02:30

Finished it. Definitely one of the best Unreal packs ever and an improvement on the original in almost every way. The theme definitely shifts a lot, and there's some pretty original stuff, along with old themes taken in different directions. The skaarj stuff also has some of the most impressive use of giant areas and moving objects I've seen in Unreal. Many of the levels also make great use of space to create giant unravelling locations, on top of the clever use of callbacks to make multiple levels feel connected together. The more linear maps are also well placed to keep the journey feel going between the more open maps. "On Thin Ice" was my favourite part despite it probably being the simplest Skaarj map in the pure geometry sense; what effects and lighting it used (blues and ambience with warm highlights kept rare) really came together to create a desolate near-abandoned base that feels cold in a way I haven't quite seen done with similar uses of the Ice Skaarj textures (where the feeling is more "this looks awesome"). The use of the colossal cave as a location you go back to throughout the end segment also added to it. There was also enough ambience that the minimal music use worked well.

On Unreal difficulty it's probably among the most difficult packs around, but I mostly felt it was fair and I didn't feel starved for resources, although the ammo provision did seem to lean towards more non-standard stuff for much of the set which was interesting (the Ripper was my mainstay for most of it, and the lack of Enforcer and Rifle ammo meant the ASMD became my main "sniper" weapon). The later levels did have a habit of spawning random enemies behind you with only occasional warnings which was kind of annoying though, and there were one or two fights which didn't really seem possible without exploiting things (namely the fight on the cliffside level where you go down an elevator and there about four-five different Skaarj with almost no cover). The boss fights also had some separate issues (spoilered):

► Show Spoiler

The text could have done with a little more proof-reading, as, while it's perfectly readable overall, there are a myriad of small mistakes, including one level with a typo in the name ("To Bodly Go"). The story in general was fine though, and gave enough plenty of background while still keeping things on the minimalist side. It was also nice to see more details given of that glowing green Skaarj, as well as some actual gameplay interactions with it.

I did run into various small issues, like getting stuck (outside of damage boosts) at certain bits of geometry, but that's forgivable with how much there is. A few invisible walls to stop you doing certain things were also kind of annoying, but not that regular. Some areas like the cliffs and dam technically have the edges of the area cut off pretty abruptly, but there's only so much that can done with the engine on levels already this big I guess.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 05 Aug 2017, 11:25

Thx Semfry.

When you mentioned 'To Bodly Go' it made me chuckle. I had to check that one out to make sure you weren't kidding. It seems to be a contention of mine that no matter how much attention to detail I make a level there's always something I miss!
I playtest the levels as far as I can but a mistake like that (in a title) which is so obvious, has no excuse. Constructive critisism is always welcome.

I pick up on the bad points more than the good I guess, I think it makes me a better designer in a way. The stark contrast between 'First Day' and 'Interloper' themes reflect this.
In hindsight I think I put way too many resources into building the levels rather than looking at it from a good tactical gameplay viewpoint.
Your spoiler points are valid, the transport hub and the spinner encounters were parts that I wasn't really happy with when I built them and will be changed in the future to change the unfair fights.
If I remember, both parts were taken from the first mega-pack, so I should of designed something new in their stead.
Last edited by jazz on 05 Aug 2017, 21:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 05 Aug 2017, 13:36

Funny, I found the first big Spinner fight harder because there was less space to navigate in. I only managed it by abusing the triggers in a way so I could stay on top of the roof shooting the Spinners from above, which is probably not how it was meant to be played.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 06 Aug 2017, 22:01

Just replayed First Day on Hard since I never gave it a proper go the first time, many years ago (got fed up with UT weapons in SP, summoned Excessive equivalents instead, and went to town. This time I gave it a fair try and tolerated the UT arsenal). I'm not sure if I even played the patched version before, but I did this time.

It was a lot more fun than I remembered, even if the gameplay was very conventional. It was very much a product of its sources of inspiration, namely Half Life. I also liked the nods to Doom 3, though!

I'm still really impressed with the architecture and machinery. Really, good use of textures is what sells it the most, as going back through it I noticed the levels weren't as complex as I'd imagined. A lot of simple tricks cover up basic geometry really well through good use of light and textures.

Going to give Interloper a run soon. Looks like it's gonna be a treat!
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 08 Aug 2017, 22:13

Well... everyone's been talking about another chapter of Xenome, so I had to jump on the bandwagon and see what's in the store.

When unpacking stuff into my UT folder I was like "meh, just 15 maps" (which nowadays is actually a lot!). But man, these maps are HUGE, haven't opened them in the editor yet, but I assume they take as much space as UEngine allows. As of the architecture itself, industrial parts do look authentic, which shows your experience in real life construction work indeed. Levels are also good designed gameplay-wise: lots of running around looking for clues, passwords, rather than straight-up slaughter of enemies. And these little details like crate submerged in slime, which submerges even more when you step on it! It feels like this crate is actually floating on fluid, rather than a static brush suspended in it. I also like the way you placed ammo - there's not that much sniper rounds and flak shells around, which forces you to use sniper rifle and flak cannon reasonably. In vanilla Unreal I overused both weapons, even on the highest difficulty setting, and that makes the game boring (yup, I'm a teh flak n00b xD). But every rose has its thorns...

While I enjoyed the set-piece with green Skaarj throwing bombs at you, I just don't get why the player has to hide behind... wooden crates, of all things? Sure, it doesn't matter how surfaces are textured, the brush's geometry protects you from the blast anyway, but IMHO it could be a steel container or something like that. Second, more serious remark is about that open-pit mine with big-ass excavator. After smashing a container into a shack and powering up the generator, I couldn't find a way up to the tower! Eventually I saved my game and performed a rocket jump in the cave leading to the area because after half an hour of running around I had enough. And in Cobalt Colony one of ExplodingWall actors on grates glitched when I blew it up with BioRifle - moving brush quickly reappeared after exploding, forcing me to ghost through. Speaking of Cobalt Colony, this level reminded me of how annoying these Spinners are...

Well, now it's time to tackle that temple. I'll post my final thoughts on this mappack after a full playthrough, but I can already tell it's the best we have now. I really missed some old-fashioned (well, maybe not-so-old) SP gameplay.
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