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Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

For gameplay advice and broader discussion of single-player Unreal including custom maps, mods and mutations that alter the game.

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User avatar Dr. Walter
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Subject: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 16 May 2017, 05:38

Why hello there! It has been some time since my previous message within the forums here. Unfortunately, fatigue and health factors have been detrimental towards my activity and any progress pertaining to the development of one of my old projects; namely Unreal World: The Malevolent Curse (TMC).

At present, I am interested in ascertaining the degree of interest the community would hold towards a new potential project for Unreal. Given several of my recent experiments with an updated xPawns package of mine (xPawns_UWXPR), I have considered the following possibility: An infinite campaign based on a combination of random and pseudorandom elements to simulate an updated "Classical" experience.

Whilst the campaign need not be necessarily infinite to an extent (this could instead be achieved by an optional "sandbox" mode), the basic set up would be as follows:

-The player would start in a small Hub map, in which they can select equipment and play through a set of predetermined seeds as a form of "official" campaign, or they could go with something completely random (sandbox type).

-In random mode, there will be an option to customise the simulated experience to the users content. This would include enemies, objectives, density of enemies, map(s), et cetera. Alternatively, you could just simply enable this mode and begin the mission immediately without any prior knowledge of what you could potentially face.

-From the Hub map, the player can now activate a teleportation device that will begin the selected mission. I will now discuss possible example scenarios:

-Imagine an expanded version of the original SkyTown map that incorporates SkyCaves and SkyBase, with several expansions and adjustments to improve overall connectivity. Starting from the caves, the player is tasked with finding and killing one or more High Value Targets (HVTs) in the map (such as Skaarj Commanders). The resistance the player faces across the map is completely randomised and every playthrough will vary.

Of course, this presents the obvious question regarding the extent of randomisation that will be incorporated. This is the balance between purely vagarious configurations and unique encounters one would expect in a classical scenario. In my past, I developed one such modification for a HL2 modification with a similar premise that was almost completely vagarious. Indeed, while personally it certainly provided me much entertainment in terms of facing an unknown scenario, it lacked balance and the feeling/progression one would expect from a "hand-crafted" experience. As such, that old modification was discontinued and never announced for the reasons discussed and other factors at the time.

This is where pseudorandomisation will play a large part. Unique encounters will still be present but will have various random elements associated with them such as randomised triggers that activate a set of events. The population of maps with opposition will not be purely vagarious but instead focus on populating districts in a sensible manner. In this way, this eliminates the possibility of the SkyBase having scarce resistance if it houses a HVT for example. Certain doors and pathways may also be locked as well (but not in a way to inhibit progression) to further alternate playthroughs.

With these measures in place, consecutive playthroughs should always remain entertaining and unknown. To further enhance the experience, this of course requires interesting encounters with enemies and bosses, which has been my field of development as of late (xPawns_UWXPR). To those of you who have tested my old xPawns package, you will be aware of many of the new improvements and features present. The new package has further augmentations such as extended randomisation options, new combat behaviour types, special abilities and more! As an example, one pawn type is based on the Skaarj Trooper that has the following randomised properties:

-Unique Random Name and Title (for example: "Officer Torgr" or "Quartermaster Uthor"). Visible with the HUD, see the TMC thread for examples.
-Random Weapon
-Random Fatness
-Random Health
-Random CombatStyle, Aggressiveness, GroundSpeed & other settings
-Random Unique Attacks (throw grenades, use ForceField, rapid fire shots for projectile weapons, etc.)
-And other randomised miscellaneous features

These completely randomised variations can be uncommonly included in groups composed of the more familiar regular units (Troopers, Infantry, Gunners and other types seen in xPawns) that may also have several randomised elements.

The final result is a unique experience for players; the sense of progression and that classical Unreal feeling should still be omnipresent and provide infinite unknown entertainment.

This project, should it commence, shall be named Infinity Plus.

What are your thoughts on such an idea? Would you be interested in seeing such an experience for Unreal? Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the concept!

Thank you for reading, I hope it was not too much of a ramble! It is rather late at this time so I must now entertain my slumber.

Regards,

-Dr. Walter
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User avatar UBerserker
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 16 May 2017, 18:01

It sounds to me like one of those special coop gametypes that modern games generally have, which provides an alternate playing experience compared to the campaign - basically do shit x and y that have hardly any relations to the main story but still fight revamped Unreal enemies under the Unreal gameplay.

It's very good for Coop - realistically it's the most functioning "last resort" idea to re-launch a new "Unreal 1" game nowadays, by using this kind of format. The reality though now is that Coop in Unreal (is this U1 or UT?) isn't that lively and this project feels sorta huge to make?
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User avatar Dr. Walter
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 16 May 2017, 21:58

UBerserker wrote:It sounds to me like one of those special coop gametypes that modern games generally have, which provides an alternate playing experience compared to the campaign - basically do shit x and y that have hardly any relations to the main story but still fight revamped Unreal enemies under the Unreal gameplay.

It's very good for Coop - realistically it's the most functioning "last resort" idea to re-launch a new "Unreal 1" game nowadays, by using this kind of format. The reality though now is that Coop in Unreal (is this U1 or UT?) isn't that lively and this project feels sorta huge to make?


Initially, this would be developed as a singleplayer modification for U1. Coop implementation would then be considered once the base gameplay is adequately refined.
As for the idea itself, the use of original Unreal maps was used as a possible example. While the idea and implementation of this form of randomisation could certainly be used across the entire original Unreal 1 campaign, the intention I have in mind for this modification is a series of dynamically generated missions. In this case, while the use of suitable expanded maps from the original campaign is possible, you can certainly expect other maps to be present as well. Be it completely new maps or possible expanded stock candidates from UT (DM-Crane with a new theme, CTF-Kosov, various assault maps, etc). The missions themselves also do not have to simply take place on one map as well. Using the SkyTown example from previously, your starting position could possibly be within a new SpireVillage instead. In this scenario, you have to make your way through the village and Sunspire where you would face the relevant bosses somewhere in SkyTown. Again, the resistance you face across these maps is dynamically generated and each playthrough of this "mini-campaign" will be unique.

In terms of project scale, the main areas of attention would be the implementation of the mission system and dynamic population of a map with resistance, items, pathways, unique encounters, etc. A few of the basic dynamic features were already present in TMC's xPawns package such as random patrols (uw_PatrolPoint_KP) and new creature factories that can be randomised (uw_MultiCreatureFactoryX). The future plan would be to further build upon these features to allow for dynamic map population.
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User avatar UBerserker
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 00:36

I'm not too keen onto the SP focus, even though I understand running SP mods in Coop is always a fucking annoyance. This is mostly a personal issue because I don't find much satisfaction in playing randomized maps with randomized objectives that have a "non-canon story" aura to it, and when you play this type of stuff alone it gets repetitive rather quick.

Either way the problem here is how is this going to be achieved? From what I'm reading you're suggesting fusing together retail maps in a dynamic way - or just a random map switcher? I mean, some of the Unreal maps are unstable and require extreme attention for geometry stability during rebuild (Vandora and the Sunspire are massively awful offenders in this case). You may want to start with simple things such as Outpost 3J + SkyTown, or Harobed + Dark Arena in reverse. I'm expecting the pawn/item stuff to work alright (assuming here you're a coder) but the problem lies with the map system.

Honestly also I'm sad your other project seemed to have apparently gone onto a brick wall but oh well.
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User avatar Dr. Walter
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 02:57

UBerserker wrote:I'm not too keen onto the SP focus, even though I understand running SP mods in Coop is always a fucking annoyance. This is mostly a personal issue because I don't find much satisfaction in playing randomized maps with randomized objectives that have a "non-canon story" aura to it, and when you play this type of stuff alone it gets repetitive rather quick.


The focus on singleplayer would be temporary until an adequate balance of gameplay factors are achieved, since I can certainly see potential within Coop sessions.

I can understand the issue with repetitiveness and how randomisation removes a degree of satisfaction one may appreciate from a hand-crafted scenario. Each mission playthrough would be different for each player and while this would make it replayable due to the unknown possibility of what you may face, it would certainly lack the sense of progression within a real story based campaign. I suppose to remedy these effects measures will have to be taken to maximise mission variation and possible implementation of an official/partially dynamic story outwith the sandbox mode.

UBerserker wrote:Either way the problem here is how is this going to be achieved? From what I'm reading you're suggesting fusing together retail maps in a dynamic way - or just a random map switcher? I mean, some of the Unreal maps are unstable and require extreme attention for geometry stability during rebuild (Vandora and the Sunspire are massively awful offenders in this case). You may want to start with simple things such as Outpost 3J + SkyTown, or Harobed + Dark Arena in reverse. I'm expecting the pawn/item stuff to work alright (assuming here you're a coder) but the problem lies with the map system.


The map system works as follows:

-The player will start in a small Hub (something similar to Gateway), where they can play through the story mode (these are the predetermined seeds from the first post) or select the sandbox/random mode.

-Missions are selected from a central computer via triggers. Once selected, the player can choose equipment then enter a teleporter and start the mission. If the story mode is on, the player will play through a set of predetermined missions (they still have certain randomised properties, but with more unique encounters and a story to motivate the player through them. Elements such as what bosses will be faced are constant in this mode). If sandbox mode is on, then everything will be random as described in the first post.

-Missions can take place on a single map or multiple maps (mini-campaign).

-In the multiple maps case, map progression will make sense; ie

uwip_SpireVillage <-> uwip_TheSunspire <-> uwip_SkyTown.
uwip_Glacena <-> uwip_Abyss
uwip_CraneLower <-> uwip_Crane

... and so on.

-When the mission is complete, depending on the mission type, you must leave at an extraction point to teleport to the original Hub map.

-From the Hub map, you can select the next mission and process begins again.

UBerserker wrote:Honestly also I'm sad your other project seemed to have apparently gone onto a brick wall but oh well.


Do not despair, TMC is by no means cancelled! The official thread for TMC will be seeing several updates over the coming weeks following the new developments with xPawns_UWXPR which will replace the outdated xPawns. The story and map list are all planned out at this stage and the main area of development now concerns further updates to xPawns_UWXPR (which I have been working on recently), maps and continuation of a complete redesign of various pawn skins, weapons and possibly models.

The chapter list is now present in the main TMC thread. I intend for the prologue chapter (chapter 0) to be tested/released once the pertinent elements are complete.

As for the "Infinity Plus" project, should it commence, TMC will still be developed alongside this one of course since they will definitely share significant elements such as the new pawns.
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 19:03

Dr. Walter wrote:...
UBerserker wrote:Honestly also I'm sad your other project seemed to have apparently gone onto a brick wall but oh well.


Do not despair, TMC is by no means cancelled! The official thread for TMC will be seeing several updates over the coming weeks following the new developments with xPawns_UWXPR which will replace the outdated xPawns. The story and map list are all planned out at this stage and the main area of development now concerns further updates to xPawns_UWXPR (which I have been working on recently), maps and continuation of a complete redesign of various pawn skins, weapons and possibly models.

The chapter list is now present in the main TMC thread. I intend for the prologue chapter (chapter 0) to be tested/released once the pertinent elements are complete.

As for the "Infinity Plus" project, should it commence, TMC will still be developed alongside this one of course since they will definitely share significant elements such as the new pawns.

I been reading for months now without logging in and purposefully avoide commenting on anything. But UB voiced my concerns about possibel/probable cancellations.
And I'm sorry to say Dr. Walter, I'm very sceptical about the 3 projects reaching their (currently expected or hoped for) destination.
I've always been a firm believer that Unreal still has a few (meaning more than 5) years of life left in it. Unfortunately many promising mappers (and talented by the way) have left the scene and too many projects were announced ... and eventually cancelled. Seriously: one-man projects that take 3 years or more to finish are almost bound to run out of steam, and 3 at the same time ?? (I suspect you catch my drift).

Notwithstanding my scepticism, I'm still hopefull and will be one of the if not the most enthousiastic player trying out whatever comes my way (be it SP).

User avatar Dr. Walter
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 21:22

salsaSkaarj wrote:I been reading for months now without logging in and purposefully avoide commenting on anything. But UB voiced my concerns about possibel/probable cancellations.
And I'm sorry to say Dr. Walter, I'm very sceptical about the 3 projects reaching their (currently expected or hoped for) destination.
I've always been a firm believer that Unreal still has a few (meaning more than 5) years of life left in it. Unfortunately many promising mappers (and talented by the way) have left the scene and too many projects were announced ... and eventually cancelled. Seriously: one-man projects that take 3 years or more to finish are almost bound to run out of steam, and 3 at the same time ?? (I suspect you catch my drift).

Notwithstanding my scepticism, I'm still hopefull and will be one of the if not the most enthousiastic player trying out whatever comes my way (be it SP).


The "Infinity Plus" project is still purely hypothetical at this point and any completed features within this thread for that project are derived from updated TMC developments. I certainly understand the concern regarding the pursual of multiple projects at once, which is the reason why I started this thread in order to ascertain the interest players would hold towards a singleplayer experience that relies heavily on randomised elements.

In your post, you mention 3 projects? The only singleplayer projects I am working on / planning at this stage are "The Malevolent Curse" (TMC) and "Infinity Plus" (IP). I assume you are referring to one of my old UT projects, xWalterUTChars? In this case, that particular modification is currently in a stable state. The next possible version (V 1.2) is not a priority at this time.

Thank you for the feedback so far everyone. From the opinions, it seems as if it would be better for this potential project to be put on hold in favour of focused developments on TMC. Certainly, within the future if several chapters of TMC are released and stable, enhanced progress on IP may be considered. Would this be the preferred route of development users would like to see?
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 23:00

Dr. Walter wrote:...
Thank you for the feedback so far everyone. From the opinions, it seems as if it would be better for this potential project to be put on hold in favour of focused developments on TMC. Certainly, within the future if several chapters of TMC are released and stable, enhanced progress on IP may be considered. Would this be the preferred route of development users would like to see?

Let's just say that it is my opinion that (considering the dwindling interest in Unreal) YOU are the one who should be 100% convinced and confident about what you are envisaging to produce with the projected timeframe (I'm talking about the U or UT engine). I am not in a position to evaluate the feasability but having seen so many projects postponed and eventually cancelled (some dude to unforeseen circumstances, but still), and taking my own experience with (non-U related) projects into account, I'ld say focus on the project which entices you the most, and use the other projects just for some variation/letting the brain rest and recuperate a bit.
You 'll have my full mental support (as will anyone trying to make maps) but don't set goals unreachable within an "acceptable" period. (and I sincerely hope you manage to produce the stuff you're thinking about - it sounds really interesting).

User avatar Sat42
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Subject: Re: Gauging Interest for a New Potential Project

Post Posted: 17 May 2017, 23:04

Dr. Walter wrote:(...)
Would this be the preferred route of development users would like to see?


Yes
cool concepts btw!!
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