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Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

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User avatar AlCapowned
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Subject: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jun 2014, 23:38

http://fiveoutoftenmagazine.com/books/escape-to-na-pali/

Saw this on BeyondUnreal and decided to purchase it for myself since I love seeing what people think of Unreal after all these years. I don't know if there's ever going to be a physical version, but the PDF that's given looks great. It totals 106 pages and is definitely worth the purchase price (I haven't read it all yet, but I like what I see so far). Right now it has a discount price of 2.50 euros).

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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jun 2014, 23:46

Wow someone made a whole book analysis of the game? Cool. I'll have to check it out sometime.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 24 Jun 2014, 05:56

I'm about 60% finished, and I really like it so far. It offers a lot of insight as to why Unreal has stuck with people for as long as it has. It's very well written by two people who clearly love the game as much as anyone here.

The screenshots make it seem as though the D3D10 driver was used (along with S3TC textures), so they generally look pretty good; they're certainly much better than some other screenshots for Unreal articles that look like they were taken in software rendering. The only mistake I've noticed is that Terraniux is referred to as a Skaarj facility.

It's not every day that something makes me feel nostalgic for a game that I still regularly make stuff for, play, and read about. I should have paid extra.

Edit: Now I'm finished. It was a great read! I would love to know what the authors think about packs like Tower of Shrakith'a and 7 Bullets.

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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 24 Jun 2014, 12:47

It's pretty embarrassing to admit that the book made me aware of many things I had either forgotten or completely missed in Unreal. I was not aware Bluff Eversmoking had quite THAT many logs about Kira Argmanov that it could be defined as "the only character-driven story in Unreal"; I was too busy rushing through it to leave the stupid maze of a level that it is. Neither did I ever consider the implications of Outpost 3J being hidden in a relatively tranquil Nali town; it's basically Skaarj NSA... I also can't remember there being a shield belted Skaarj killing another in Mothership Lab.

Guess I know what I'm replaying next month.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 24 Jun 2014, 13:43

The shield-belted Skaarj is the orange XFX one. Apparently Skaarj aren't exactly technologically advanced as they tried several times to give their soldiers some sort of energy body-shields like the ones of the Elites from Halo.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 25 Jun 2014, 02:03

ividyon wrote:It's pretty embarrassing to admit that the book made me aware of many things I had either forgotten or completely missed in Unreal. I was not aware Bluff Eversmoking had quite THAT many logs about Kira Argmanov that it could be defined as "the only character-driven story in Unreal"; I was too busy rushing through it to leave the stupid maze of a level that it is. Neither did I ever consider the implications of Outpost 3J being hidden in a relatively tranquil Nali town; it's basically Skaarj NSA... I also can't remember there being a shield belted Skaarj killing another in Mothership Lab.

Guess I know what I'm replaying next month.


Yeah, the logs in Bluff are what make the level so great, rather than just the architecture/gameplay. Conceptual Grandness has to be taken as a complete package! I would guess that not reading the logs is exactly why you've see it as "the stupid maze of a level that it is". Not blaming you. The first time I played it, no fucks were given for most of the logs I came across and I just wanted to get to the end. So I missed out on realizing just what a beautiful story level this is.

Haven't read the book, but all this talk of old unreal is getting me wet. If I find time in the next few days, I'm going to try and do my first romp through on unreal difficulty.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 06 Jul 2014, 15:39

Hi everyone,

One of the book authors here - thanks to everyone who picked up a copy, glad you're enjoying it! To answer your questions:

- Print-on-demand is coming. It'll be available from Blurb in the next couple of weeks as hardcover w/ full colour pages and paperback w/ black and white pages. More information available here.
- I took the screenshots using DX10 and an HD texture pack. I have a 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display, so they were taken at 2880 x 1800 and downscaled. I'm hoping to set up a Flickr gallery when I get the time because the book pages don't do the screenshots justice!

I haven't actually played any of the fan-made missions, and I don't think Kaitlin has either, but if you have any recommendations I'd love to take a look.

Best,

Alan

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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 07 Jul 2014, 09:38

Some of my personal favorite custom maps for Unreal are Tower of Shrakitha, One Day, and Skaarj Tower. I would argue that Shrak is the best out of the three.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 07 Jul 2014, 11:49

The big campaigns are also very good like Project Zephon and Operation Na Pali.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 10 Jul 2014, 21:50

Really nice work on the book so far - one thing though, in the Build engine sectors can overlap each other, and frequently do in the retail levels. While they can't see each other at the same time, it's definitly possible to create faux 3D levels in the base engine :) This is even used to great effect in several of Duke's secret levels - Tier Drop's 4 areas all occupy the exact same space and Z-level. You can drop down the holes into each zone, but if you go out into the bordering area and run around you can see each area and realise they're occupying the same space. Lunatic Fringe uses this even more to create a 720 degree circle, which of course is impossible in real-life but fully possible in Build.

Sorry to go on a tangent there, but if you ever decide to submit a 2nd edition of the book that's a bit of insight towards Build :)

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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2014, 16:18

I quite enjoyed reading this, and now I'm replaying Unreal. It's been ages since I last played it. Just beat Rrajigar Mine.
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2014, 16:45

Hellscrag wrote:I quite enjoyed reading this, and now I'm replaying Unreal. It's been ages since I last played it. Just beat Rrajigar Mine.

On difficulty Unreal I presume, or if 227 then on difficulty= 5? :)

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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2014, 23:00

My installation is behind the times, I'm sure, but although I'm running 227g Unreal difficulty is enough for me! I just got killed twice on Depths of Rrajigar. :B
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2014, 23:11

One thing I noticed in the book is the description of the "sublime" -

The sublime is commonly thought of as a feeling of being overwhelmed
by sights and experiences in the natural world, like magnificent landscapes.
In 1757, Edmund Burke theorised about the role of the sublime in
beauty and aesthetics. Burke singles out two important emotions that
are inspired by the sublime: terror and astonishment. He argues that
terror is the “ruling principle of the sublime” in the way that terror and
astonishment are intricately bound up. For Burke, pure astonishment, as
inspired by the great expanse and magnitude of nature, invokes a certain
level of horror. This terror, this awe-inspired disbelief and terror at the
beauty, magnitude, and untameable force of nature, is an important
element of the sublime. It’s not just astonishment, but also a feeling of
fear. Think of NyLeve’s Falls: beautiful, breathtaking, but also deadly.


This reminds me a lot of the "Conceptual Grandness" term that we so often invoke at UnrealSP, coined by Hellscrag:
Conceptual Grandness: Scale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.


Could "sublime" perhaps be the "proper" artistic term for conceptual grandness, or are they different beasts?
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User avatar Hellscrag
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Subject: Re: Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2014, 23:48

I think conceptual grandness is a bit more measurable than the sublime. Perhaps the two terms share an element of awe, but CG is also about more practical and considered aspects of design such as layout and flow, or at least the relationship between those things and the scale and character of a place.
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