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Project Xenome : Interloper

For discussion and promotion of Unreal Engine single-player campaigns, mapping projects and total conversions.

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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 03:11

Anyone else getting the default texture on some geometry instead of what's supposed to appear? Maybe I'm missing something from the download files?

EDIT: Something like this...
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User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 04:43

It looks to me like one of the texture files is incomplete. I noticed that there are several different versions of the "x-pak" texture files that come with First Day, the First Day Patch, and with Interloper. When you extracted the texture files, did you say "yes" to overwrite the old files? The new ones should be larger.

If that doesn't fix it, then maybe Jazz included the wrong versions that are missing some textures.
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User avatar Jet v4.3.5
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 05:19

Lightning Hunter wrote:It looks to me like one of the texture files is incomplete. I noticed that there are several different versions of the "x-pak" texture files that come with First Day, the First Day Patch, and with Interloper. When you extracted the texture files, did you say "yes" to overwrite the old files? The new ones should be larger.

If that doesn't fix it, then maybe Jazz included the wrong versions that are missing some textures.


I went back and copied all the texture packages with overwriting enabled. Looks like that fixed it, thanks!
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User avatar UnrealGecko
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 07:35

jazz wrote:My PC has finally given up the ghost i'm afraid, something to do with the motherboard. I'm here on my brothers laptop so it could be a few days before I can comment again.

Aww man, :(

Didn't try it just yet, but wow am I hyped for this! Congrats on the succesful release \o/ :tup:
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 19:16

Looking at the killcount of Skaarj Warriors and Troopers 10 levels in feels fucking good.

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 20:06

Oh well, it's been too long since I've played and it shows. Not that I was owned (on Medium) but I'm constantly low on health and on ammo. TY for the always loaded DP without which progress would be even slower (perhaps even impossible for me).

Currently near the end (I think) of Cobalt and succesfully eliminated a large spinner only to be caught unaware by a second one which made me regret not having a save game in Cobalt somewhere.

Anyway, on Medium I think ammo and health are sufficiently available.
For the rest, I can only say that I haven't been let down at all. The way the player has to look for ways to reach seemingly unreachable areas is .. well .. it's Xenome as I know and love it and visually it's really exceptional: the level of detail and the way building are interconnected.
Unfortunately, busy times for me and I won't be able to play often the next 2 weeks (and it seems UB and others have already made more progress than I have so I guess if anyany glitches will have been noticed already).

BTW Interloper was released a couple of days after my 57th Birthday and what a present this is; This will make me happy for days and days and probably weeks and months;
(to think that this is a one person project - astonishing!)

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017, 23:54

Ok reached Interloper map this is the best Unreal campaign so far. I honestly have no idea how you don't have a job in gaming industry so far but then the gaming industry is a bunch of volatile dogshit nowadays and you can be dismissed any time.

Only little annoying thing so far is that some big pits are not deadly for enemies, can easily be fixed if the trigger to the killing Special Event can be also activated by any pawn rather than just players.

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 00:24

Sadly I finally touched the dreaded ending point which means "it's done".
Honestly the mappack feels like close to the conclusion, wouldn't be against a short final episode 3 (3 ugh) with five/six big maps and let it go. Not necessary to cross that 30-maps mark because Xenome's length has beat any Unreal record so far. When everything is done (whenever then, be it 5 or 10 years assuming we're all still alive) then it's better to combine all episodes into one for a full experience.

Here's my assassination count and I think it makes up for almost no months of Unreal SP gaming.



So if this would've been officially reviewed (just Interloper, separately from First Day), something that ain't definitely going to happen anymore, it would be the closest contender to that universal 100% rating everyone wished to attain. I think it'd be 10s on all categories, except taking one or two points off Story Construction (the story premise is high tier but isn't anything super groundbreaking that would interest every people) and maybe one point off Gameplay Awe (at a certain point you realize the mappack doesn't go beyond the insane adrenaline rush of killing armies of Skaarj). I guess it's going to end up between 97% and 98%. If Xenome would be fully released AND rated as a whole then I can imagine the perfect 100% rating being a fucking real thing.

I'll mention first the few bad things I encountered in the mappack:
  • At some point in the campaign it becomes extremely vague where you have to go. This is because there's that really dark and hidden vent shaft you have to find and go through. The last level sees a sudden and heavy return of the puzzle feel that characterized the first Xenome and goes a bit too far, I was completely clueless at first how to proceed through that room with the blue beam (you had to figure out where to jump and you had to do it quick before the blue beam would be back on) and how to destroy the generator shield in the final area of the game (I knew that I had to destroy the crystals but the crystals in question looked like lamps).
  • The final boss is fought in a very awkward location. This is mostly due to the fact that there's no real safe legit way to go back down, you have to jump on certain ledges and get yourself hurt as a result. And the boss will likely won't follow you because sadly his AI always historically sucked.
  • The cardboard explosion in the ending looks really bad. I think the yellow flash was good enough, maybe add a redeemer explosion (it's in a skybox so it'll probably look big) to give the idea that it was an actual boom.

This mappack is the perfect lesson of Unreal SP mapping, even though it's way too late for that stuff to be relevant now.
You don't need unique "leet coding shits" like new graphical features, new weapons or new enemies to make your mappack fully memorable. Just be great at the editor, have a great concept, great ambition and great imagination, go get some texture/sound packs when it's needed to, and there you go, you got the tools to create something that may be capable to smash everything that has been released so far.
Ok sure it still uses the extra ONP custom gametype component but IIRC it just offers an infinite DP, a very readable HUD, footstep sounds, proper crouching and cutscene actors. Seriously nothing that makes it differentiate from regular Unreal. It is mindbogglingly impressive and amazing that what I played right now is still the same game from almost 20 years ago, and the only major change between those is that I'm using UT weapons instead of U1 ones. I managed to love the UT weapons after mastering them and knowing their pro/cons.
I am truly in the idea that if mappers went for the Xenome's example (and Zephon's too), without having to go after ultra ambitious concepts that required teams or suddenly switching to one patch only, we would have likely seen much more releases in the past few years. See what came out of those speedrunning contests like TLF, VVV and Triamid. This is a personal blunt opinion of mine which hasn't anything to do with Xenome as a whole but I really had to say it. It just makes me sad.

Back to Xenome. Xenome returns like this: back in the day First Day pops up (I pretend all that scandal shit never ever happened now) and becomes a massive force of power that goes toe to toe against the likes of Zephon, Xidia and 7B. Years after of intense training, Xenome returns, transforms into its golden form, showing its true limitless potential. It's like all the old peeps of the community were sure their works took the game to the limits, then this overpowered villain suddenly comes out of the blue many years after the golden era and immediately takes those standards to a never-reached level. I'm already aware that a lot of the stuff in Xenome are inspired from games as well as old custom mappacks but if this was released back when the community was still very much alive, jazzyB would've been seen as the best Unreal mapper ever by all and who knows he'd be already scouted from a game devteam. But that's a dream.

It took a while to get there. I remember the times when I was rough on Xenome before the big patch, I complained because I felt like there were issues and because the mappack could have been even better. I was probably unconsciously aware of the mapping potential jazzyB ever had; after the patch, I became a big fan and backed him off the fact that I was extremely sure episode 2 was going to easily top the first one and decimate other custom mappacks and boy I was fucking right. And I always felt like that it was going to happen and that jazzy wouldn't disappear forever, felt like the timing was close and this was the ultimate reason why I chose Xenome as the "Thing of the Month" thread in the MOTW section. The miracle happened.

The green Skaarj has to be the Unreal villain with the most and non personality. You don't know shit about this guy (except the fact that you get an explanation regarding his visual appearance), you never hear him talk but you see him act and retreat, and this goes on for 24 maps, right into episode 3 whichever it will be. You have the desire to beat the fucker down and yet you're never able to have the chance. It's a drive to reach the end of the mappack that works really well for me.
I finally learnt to use the Pulse Gun against Unreal enemies. It has become some sort of meme weapon against Troopers because of how valuable it is - Troopers can't seem to use their shields constantly against the Pulse Gun's primary fire and due to this they don't even attempt to dodge (the AI literally doesn't read constant Pulse Gun's primary fire as a threat). So keep shooting orbs at them and they'll go eventually down.
I didn't play UT/Unreal in months but I still feel good at it. I can't say how difficult Interloper really is but I think it's definitely harder than First Day (look at the fucking Skaarj killcount!). Can't make direct comparisons because I'm finally done with my greedyness of not using other weapons and sticking to DP only. Here I just used any weapon that felt right within the situation and there are way more fights where the DP can't do much than viceversa. The Ripper is definitely the weapon of the pack: is fast, offers enemy pushing through secondary fire, can decapitate for a lot of bonus damage and enemies can't dodge blades; weapon was never dull in any situation but still requires some mastery. The UT BioRifle is also still broken, and can insta-kill all non-Lord Skaarj with a fully charged blog, especially when these Skaarj are busy pressing panels (they don't hear the charge sound).
Other than that, even if the enemy variety is on the low mark, destroying waves of Skaarj is just super satisfying. It fully brings the old FPS concept where you are a one man army against hundreds of super advanced hostile aliens, it feels amazing. Back in the day one or two Troopers were way too much, here we're dealing with waves that average 5-6 Skaarj, be it all Troopers or Warriors or a mix. What an adrenaline rush.

The maps are so huge and vast, and so different from each other in content, that you can spend hours to talk about them. The themes are used to their highest possible potential and there are some areas that are downright incredible for this engine.
It's like this is "that mappack", the nextgen mappack that UT would have eventually got in its late life just to remind everyone what this old game was capable of, taking old build ideas and tricks and evolve them... how some standards can still be surpassed. Even more amazing is that I hardly found any HOMs, I have no idea how these levels didn't explode.
There isn't a dull map, there isn't one single dull room. Jesus. No pack comes close to this level of consistence - maybe only Firestorm would be the closest contender.
The fact also that the atmosphere remains overly menacing even if you know you aren't going to fight surprising enemies is a great feat.

The music was also spot-on, used perfectly, tho it's amusing how Warlord.umx was the only classic song to pop up. That track that plays in the green Skaarj ambush scenes made me crack up for some reasons and there was that one song from Xenome 1 which plays in that snowy village that made me nostalgic.
Somehow, somewhere, I feel like that I was actually missing the industrial theme because it's the staple of Xenome. I think it'd be amazing if Xenome's true ending would actually occur in the industrial complex, again.

Seriously really great stuff jazz, I lost a lot of hopes on Unreal SP's life still continuing but when the best mappack just gets released in 2017 I am simply a very happy man again.

User avatar editor Dave
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 08:37

While I do agree with you that Xenome is top-tier, I dont think it would come close to that high of a score if it stood the test of a review. Lets see:

Architecture 9
This is what First Day got and I think this is fair for Interloper as well. The last 6 maps are a 10, but those only make up 2/5 of the pack. Maps like the Dam and the ones following in particular could be a little more detailed in order for the whole pack to recieve the highest score possible.

Texturing 10
I dont know why the first part only got an 8 in this regard, but at least for the second episode it is on point. I also feel like that some of the custom textures make up a lot ofor the lack of architectural detail (in part 1 as well) to convey a very convincing environment.

Lighting 8
Im going to stick with an 8 because some of the maps are a bit lazily lit. For example, "Sombre revelation" has almost no light, yet you can see everything fine. If he went to pull off an environment without electricity but with more realistic lighting, he should have implemented more alternative means of light sourcing. Additionally, compared to some of the advanced techniques Mr Prophet spoiled us with in 7B, JazzyB lighting is just a bit worse than that.

Sound 9
I never knew how to rate this section to be honest. First part got an 8, and a 10 cannot be since some of the music files are one-channeled only, so lets assume all the rest like his use of ambient sounds and the likes is top-notch, thus 9.

Technical Execution 9
There were quite some noticable BSP holes in some maps, so a 10 is impossible. Evyerything else worked as intended, so a 9 again. You could consider taking a point off for some of the spelling errors but those can be fixed easily so it is not worth it.

Conceptual Grandness 10
I think we can both agree on a perfect 10 here for the reasons we have stated before. ^^

Story Construction 8
Going by your suggested value.

Story Implementation 9
The review for the first part got an 8 and I think it uses the same techniques to convey the story. There are very few cutscenes but a nice flow of scripted events (and obviously quite a lot of translator events), so I will rate it a 9.

Gameplay Awe 9
Again, your suggestion that I would agree with.

Gameplay Balance 10
I cannot judge that one by myself, but considering no one had problems so far and no one felt it was too easy, I will give it a perfect rating.

This would result in 91% and I think if one were to be harsher, it could be in the high 80s as well. Still, the score would tell it might be the best pack so far. :D
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 09:09

The difference is that Xidia/7B/Zephon looked amazing only in a handful of areas.
Xenome looks amazing constantly. How the maps are connected to each other is what makes the mappack truly stand out. Could literally write an essay about this but consistency is the key, also those packs have filler levels, Xenome has zero filler maps whatsoever or at least no maps where quality takes a sudden nosedive.

Mappack got some exposition somewhere by the way!

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 11:20

UBerserker wrote:The difference is that Xidia/7B/Zephon looked amazing only in a handful of areas.
Xenome looks amazing constantly. How the maps are connected to each other is what makes the mappack truly stand out. Could literally write an essay about this but consistency is the key, also those packs have filler levels, Xenome has zero filler maps whatsoever or at least no maps where quality takes a sudden nosedive.

I agree with you that the thematic map flow and progression are very well done, but this is something I considered for "Conceptual Grandness" rather than Architecture. If you go by pure face-value of polygon detail, the other mappacks you mentioned have the upper hand there most of the time (compared to the first half of Interloper). Actually, I was surprised to notice that too but then I realized it is the textures that do a lot of the work (hence the 10 in that regard). On the other hand, if you count architecture as something that should be believable (so not over-detailed or simply pragmatic architecture for human structures, for example) then yes, this deserves a 10, but then it should have also been a 10 in the review for Xenome 1. :B

Concerning filler, I am interested which maps you mean, especially in the case of 7Bullets I didnt have that feeling at all.
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 12:09

editor Dave wrote:
UBerserker wrote:
Concerning filler, I am interested which maps you mean, especially in the case of 7Bullets I didnt have that feeling at all.


Anything after the Guardians map wasn't simply up to par, prob except the Waff map. The pirate section felt soulless.

But yeah, Xenome First Day was 10/10 architecture material as well.

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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 14:01

P.S. the mappack really needs its own entry in the oldskool mappack list

User avatar Lightning Hunter
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 15:31

UBerserker wrote:P.S. the mappack really needs its own entry in the oldskool mappack list


Better yet - I wonder if Jazz should include a modified final map of PX: First Day that points to the first map of Interloper?
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Subject: Re: Project Xenome : Interloper

Post Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 18:56

Lightning Hunter wrote:
UBerserker wrote:P.S. the mappack really needs its own entry in the oldskool mappack list


Better yet - I wonder if Jazz should include a modified final map of PX: First Day that points to the first map of Interloper?


Yes and no. I don't know, maybe there are people who just want to play Episode 2. You could use the same exact Xidia Gold method.

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