Semfry wrote:Finished it (on hard, as mentioned above), I also found all the secrets. The theme is really unique and has been done very little (at least in SP). The lighting is so bright it leads to some greenings at times, but it actually kind of works in the context of intense desert sun. The occasional large element is cubic but the huge scale geometry and structures mostly carry it. The fog use is also a standout feature and subtly adds a ton to the interior parts.
Said it on Discord few hours ago but the fog you probably see is an illusion effect caused by the sand/smoke emitters and the dim zoneinfo light, which worked very well. The skybox, the inside of the Cheope's Palace and the Ziggurat's interior are what make use of fog overall.
Anyway the fog stuff wasn't the actual thing I wanted to say. It's time to talk about how much of a pain in the ass was doing the lighting in this level. I dread to ever do something like this again, at least on UT - I'm sure 227 with the sunlight actor makes things easier, and while it may nerf the mapping skillceiling I'm absolutely pro-modern-tech and I'd love to see what I can do with it.
The map was at first lighted with huge radius cylinder lights. Hue is always 35, brightness varies wildly between 80 and 200, saturation between 80 and 140. I tried to be as consistent as possible with the cylinder lights' placement and radius, following closely the sun direction.
As far as I remember, there hasn't been a map with a similar outdoor lighting style. Also all the brushes, including movers, had textures with the high-quality shadows property on.
Some people will likely remember me whining about how bright lights (something that the Unreal engine was never expected to do, especially in large outdoor areas) looked very washed up and barely colorful. It looked like the sunlight was dampened by the clouds (there are clouds in the sky, yes, not to the point to cover the brightness of the sunlight realistically), so overall the sunlight felt weak, the strongest possible brightness on certain brushes wasn't emphasized and everything looked like... static and lifeless? Just more gray/white than gold. This was very noticeable in the later courtyards, it's probably still noticeable now. SteadZ suggested me a hue of 28 but I was too much far into the level's development and how it should've looked like, so I had to stick with 35 (I wanted a golden/colorful setting).
I had to change the general hue of the skybox first; before it was blue and looked kind of dark and not that exotic/alien enough. Green seemed ok, conveyed better how much hot and warm the whole planet was, and did fit more with the skybox horizons' haze. Already an improvement on ground level as the color clash between the playable area and the sky gave more strength to the sunlight hammering on the ground.
Still wasn't enough - I had to put a shittons of non-cylinder light actors to illuminate certain zones that were more exposed to the sun than others.
This was the most annoying part because I had to make sure the lights would illuminate what I wanted, without having their radius illuminate things that didn't want. Holy fuck are there like 1000 lights in the level? I took even the time to illuminate parts that you could never see in-game but the point was striving for the best balance possible - not having too much brightness (which is why the desert shines so much, I really couldn't do that much - though realistically it should make sense) and not having the game render too many light actors at once. It looks like I did hit some engine limit because yes, the engine light crash was happening at certain points in-game and had to remove a bunch of stuff.
There was a huge amount of special lit lights at work. You see those columns in the open? Especially the small ones like around the pool or in the side secret areas? Many of their sides were pitch black and I had to light them out with a set of special lights. I forgot the count of how many times I did that shit and how many innatural black spots I had to fix with special lit. There are indeed a lot of unfixed darkened textures because of probably how cylinder lights work (like in the last area) but I am not sure if also special lights can impact on the engine's stability (e.g. causing it to crash or not).
Most of the obelisks were all special lit-lighted; not probably as consistent as I hoped but as you can see the sides that shouldn't be supposed to be illuminated by the sun are dark - the obelisks around the small pyramid, and the obelisk next to the pool.
It was just too awful. The smoke emitters did however an incredible job making the place lively, as well as giving the illusion of an arid/hot atmosphere around, as well as making sunlight stronger.
Semfry wrote:I don't know about the limits of editing it, but in an intense map like this is feels like it could have a much faster reload to be more powerful without being dominant.
Definitely wanted the Quadshot to have no reload. It's the default oldskool one actually, except with modified ammo quantity. I know jackshit about weapon code and didn't feel like bothering anyone.
Semfry wrote:As mentioned above the Pulse Gun being easy to miss seems a little odd, and it could maybe at least be put in another secret at some point.
About the Pulse Gun - it does Burned damage and there are certain enemies like the Krall Seers that are resistant to it. Boss is also immune. I turned off the resistance/weakness effects because I felt they were a bit out of place.
Semfry wrote:Is the improved Krall tracking an EXU thing? Krall can actually be pretty dangerous when they lead you properly.
I think the EXU Krall act just fairly a bit more aggressive overall, generally constantly moving and attacking. However the regular Krall and KrallElites in Xeops are enhanced already with better movement speed and better projectile speed. Legless mode is turned off on the other hand (which is something that can be done for the EXUKrall class only). The Seers have higher melee speed.
Semfry wrote:The mini-Warlords having seemingly unavoidable projectiles felt a little strange, even if their damage is quite low
You can dodge those fireballs by dodging at the very last second but they are designed as "NOTICE-ME" enemies - while their damage is low, they attack constantly and when there are many of them, it becomes tough. Their mental gimmick is to attract the attention of the player over any other enemy - as soon as they show up, you have to kill them before they slowly kill you down. This becomes much more important in Unreal difficulty, where you encounter many more of them, as well as almost ALL the regular Krall getting replaced with Elite variants.
Also I believe you never saw the miniboss before the Ziggurat due to that bug:
► Show Spoiler
It's two SK6 Behemoths with 1400 or so HP. Yes the same Behemoths from TLF!
You're basically supposed to stay on top of the staircase (the spawn sequence gives enough time for the player to do so in case he's below) and attack them from there. The minibosses can kill you in one hit with the mortars but their accuracy is horrible, so you just need to stay out of sight (the main character also comments that it's better for those Behemoths to stay down there, rarely they can actually climb to the top if left unchecked).
Then you show up temporarily hitting them in the head with something like the Ripper or the Rifle for quick kills. Once they're dead, the music go silent, the forcefields go off and ATUM tells you about checking the big pyramid and how sci-fi clichè the whole thing feels as a joke.
Also, I'll spoiler this question about something since I guess it's supposed to be a surprise
► Show Spoiler
Is there something I'm missing with the new weapon? It seems to have some kind of charge up effect as you shoot it, but the damage of both modes seemed to remain pretty underwhelming for how little ammo it has, so I ending up ignoring it except for putting some minor damage into the final boss. In the large area with the friendly Gasbags and secret in the pool I'm also curious what that item I got out of the cup did.
► Show Spoiler
The item in the cup is basically a typical EXU energizer ball, heals you +20 something and goes beyond the 199 HP cap (only time you can let it happen).
As for the weapon, lol, can't wait for Waff to read this and then play to find out what's about. It's nerfed down compared to its original form.
The damage is generally very high, you use it as a last resort against certain battles, like the pre-final boss one against all those units. It actually doesn't work against the boss - who is also immune to the Pulse Gun. Once again I was clueless if keeping the resistance effects on and off.
It made the boss real easy otherwise.
It's also good against a certain miniboss in a secret area; the main character hints at it once he sees the creature.
Semfry wrote:The story details and implementation were nice (readability issues aside), but it does seem to need a little proof-reading because there are various small mistakes and stuff that's technically right but not really how a native English person would put it.
Yeah I know; you might be especially referring to the ancient texts that are written in a such weird cryptic way. Maybe it sounds like ass for some. The last text before the final boss fight doesn't make sense at all but it's supposed to foreshadow the whole battle (and makes some references to the "bad guys" of Egyptian mythology, who brought sandstorms and were referenced with a red color).A TIP TO ALL PEOPLE THAT ENTER THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CATACOMBS
If you are stuck in the first room, look above the three clips. Shoot what you see.
This doesn't matter when you open the catacombs' unlock button at the end, as it unlocks anything (also you can only fight the enemies of one side, the others won't spawn).