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Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)
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Author:  sortie [ Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Guess what? This marks the sixth release of my mod, greater than ever, 6 fully playable maps with a bunch of custom content and enjoyable gameplay.

City 12, Former Danish city Århus.

Every city left on Earth are under combine control, whether they know it or
not. In some of these cities resistance have been observed.
Things are different in City 12.

- Non-combine television was reintroduced.
- Half the Civil Protection are corrupt.
- The telephone system and later the Internet were restored.

Thanks to the resistance in City 12, the Combine is slowly losing control.

In Altered Transmission the player arrives at City 12. The resistance is
instantly aware of his presence and brings him to their HQ. Surprisingly, the
resistance has a task for him: Lead an assault into the Non-Citizen Area.

Altered Transmission is estimated 2/3 the length of Half-Life 2: Episode One
and is a detailed true recreation of a real city based on real-life photos and
satellite photos.

Altered Transmission is developed using another method than just releasing it when it's done, and it's not made using Adam's episodic approach either. I believe in open development, I am releasing every playable map along with all required content to run them, every third month. It's wrong calling them Demos, it's more Betas, but I just decied to call them demos.

This Demo is a gameplay test only and you, the player, should not focus on lacking storytelling, missing visuals or other minor annoying things. All such missing things will come as soon as possible, the purpose of this Demo is to test GAMEPLAY.

Demo 6 contains the last map of Chapter 1, the full Chapter 3 and the most of the outdoor Chapter 4. According to my playtesters (everybody who plays it and gives feedback is!) it takes approx. one hour to 1,5 hours to complete it.

As a new thing Demo 6 contains both support for Episode One and Episode Two, leaving the player with the freedom to play the game on whichever platform he uses to use. I recommend playing the Ep1 version because the Antgaurd AI has not been ported to the Episode Two version yet.

Here's a video from Demo 4 showcasing the enormous outdoors

Here's another video from Demo 4 showcasing the beatifully crafted underground tunnels

Here's a trailer for Demo 5, officially unofficial.

You can view some of the screenshots here!

You can find the hardly user friendly website here

You can directly download the Demo 6 installer from here
http://www.maxsi.dk/Altered%20Transmiss ... taller.exe

Some systems may not be able to successfully run the installer, I am currently working on this problem. I have only recieved one crash report yet, so please try and download it and see if it works, if not contact me at Sortie {at] Maxsi. dk. I think the system affected is Windows Vista 64-Bit Edition or something. The installer requires Windows, but Steam does that in the first place.
The installer is a console-based application, I am making an UI-enabled installer these days, so once it's done I'll rerelease this Demo, as well as Demo 5, and all future demos using the new technology.

Please try my mod and remember to send me your feedback if you want the game improved. I need it!

Author:  Kenny [ Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

I'll definitely try this- demo 5 in places felt a bit sparse but had potential.
And I want to get some beta testing going on 5 at some point...

Author:  sortie [ Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Hehe, don't expect too much from Demo 6, it's a slightly improved, extended and generally better version of Demo 5, while most of the flaws are still there; the worst is improved. I've been using my time getting more of the game playable instead of improving what already is out.

Author:  Kenny [ Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Also, do I need to remove D5 content to run D6?

EDIT: I purged the previous content after the first (failed) install, and it still doesn't work. It doesn't seem to be installing at all. I'll rife through the folders to see if it installed in the wrong spot.

Author:  sortie [ Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

The installer will automatically remove all old installations. At the page just before the actual install the installer will attempt to write the pahs and your username. If either of them looks akwardly fucked up, you have some kind of unicode-related bug that I'm struggling with, a few users are having it. What is your OS for reference and which service pack?

Author:  Kenny [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

WinXP SP1, single processor.

Author:  phuzz [ Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Got halfway through the ep2 version at the weekend, no crashes or other instability that I noticed, Vista x64 (SP1).

From the beginning, why are we climbing all the way to the top of that building at the start? Perhaps if it looked a bit more like a local combine headquarters, which would mean losing the wire fences, they just don't fit there. (I know you're looking for gameplay criticism, not art direction but this kind of crossed over for me).
Most of the gripes I had related to finding my way around in the underground section (section 2?), but it did make a change from the usual feeling of only having one route through a level. Possibly a subtle change in the lighting/textures as you get closer to the end would help guide the player (again, I realise you're not tweaking the art yet).
Also having the enemies dug in behind barricades in various corridors rather than what felt like arbitrarily spawning them would help. So you are moving through an area with the combine effectively quite static. Especially if some of the little side routes gave you the opportunity of out-flanking some barricades as an option.

The magic AR2 alt-fire weapon thing that you charge up from a modified blue armour thinger (I'm guessing you have a more snappy name, but for now I'll call it the magic thing). After a bight of trial and error (and remembering the last beta I played) I worked out the 'shoot magic thing at power connector' mechanic, (although Valve have spoilt me and I expect a bit of training on new weapons/tactics every time now ;)
The second time you encounter it in the strider battle it was working oddly for me. It seemed to do the job killing the strider, but I did have problems with it killing me in the blast. Sometimes a detonation next to the player would have no effect, at other times even a detonation at a distance (over the height of a strider away) would take most of my health. Added to which it seemed quite hard to kill groups of combine with it (I guess it's not really designed as an anti-personnel weapon, but so what, it's fun!).
To back track slightly, at the start of that section, when you take the lift up, why not steal a trick from valve and a bunch of other modders and have the player, in the lift, be taken past a bunch of dioramas on each floor on the way up, which would reinforce that your situation is dangerous and that you are at the top of a building and must expect to fight your way down. The pacing of the fight down to street level was particularly good.
Out in the street, if the magic blue weapon charger thing was on the side of the truck facing the player, rather than the side with the strider I'd probably have noticed it quicker and used it. (yes I know I was being thick, especially as I'd played the last beta, and I think I heard a vocal from one of the resistance telling you to look at it, but users are stupid and occasionally need BIG hints, not just subtle ones).

Perhaps think of other ways of blocking off streets to the player other than just the energy screens.

I liked the pacing of the big fight against the strider and combine, then running down a side street and busting through a bunch of zombies. Don't really need the combine wall/gates to be in full working order, it's been overrun by zombies, so a more decrepit pile of junk would be more fitting, maybe make the setting a bit more claustrophobic as well, zombies are scarier when you can't just jun back and shoot them from a distance.

The next section at the top of the hill, I ran past the mines, shot up all the combine and then...
nothing happened, I can't remember from last time what I was supposed to do, so I was stuck there. I'll have another go later and see if it was just an event not firing.

Hope that's the sort of the thing you wanted to hear, if there's any bits you want looking at in detail then ask.

Author:  sortie [ Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Kenny wrote:
WinXP SP1, single processor.

I blame poorly crafted microsoft documentation and a XP platform that somehow makes it work for some and not for some. Anyways, I made a new installer, please redownload it.

Hey phuzz, thanks for playing. I'll just post a few notes as a response to your critism and a few pointers on how to proceed in the game, you got some rare bug that does happen from time to time.

First of all, thanks for realizing this is not a graphics-tech demo, but rather a gameplay demo! But even though I'm still open for ideas to improve any section, esspecially the WIP sections.

I'm aware in Chapter 3 that it feels like the soldiers spawn just in front of you, actually this is not true, they're running around tatically the map all the time, assaulting you at the most appropriate time and way. Yet players really misunderstand a very dynamic AI as being a very simple 'Enemies spawn in fromt of you', simply because they didn't see that coming.

I call the magical blue charger Client-Enabled Energy-Orb Populsion-Device Supply™, which actually is some kind of reference to the Concerned comic. xD. I'm still trying to figure out how to introduce the charger, it's a fun, but complicated gameplay element. Demo 6 is my best try yet at making it work, but it clearly needs more work.

Don't worry, the fight through the building will be much better once I add some serious voice acting and faceposing to the building.

Finally, you ended up in the map Evasion_01a. There is some kind of bug that I don't know what is causing, but it breaks the scripted sequence that pushes on the battle. Try and restart the map either from an earlier saved game, or just type Map Evasion_01a in the console. That should restart the map successfully. So yeah, restart that map and everything will be fine. :D

This is brilliant feedback, keep producing it! ;D

Author:  Kenny [ Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

I'll try d/ling again tomorrow.

Author:  phuzz [ Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

(...it's late now, but I'll deffo have time to restest and post more comments by the weekend...)

Author:  phuzz [ Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

ok, reloading from a previous save did the trick. More combine and zombies assaulted the junction, it was slightly difficult to work out where you were needed next, but following the gunfire seemed to do the trick.
(helpfully the attached images are in reverse order and I can't be arsed to reload them, so use your imaginations)
Did like the view from the top of that hill (shot 1). Then a bit of running around in the dark, the entrance to the combine rail station seemed slightly incongruous surrounded by the ruins, and I did have a bit of trouble working out which buttons I needed to press. (It'll all look a lot better when you've had a chance to fill the environment with props, I figured that the combine stuck in that railway station had been there on their own for a while, and that for want of anything better to do had holed themselves up to wait for orders...)
It did take me little while to work out that I had to go left up the tunnel, and not right over the crashed train, and I bloody hate it when fast zombies jump out on me, so you get bonus points for making me swear out loud. The little journey over the surface was a nice break, and the sun through the splines looked nice (shot 2).

The part in the office with blue doors was great, you creep in there expecting not much, then bloody zombies start jumping through the flames to get to you (more swearing from me), and then I just ran around, running low on ammo, with a seemingly endless supply of zombies, lots of doors, and the feeling when I opened a door and realised I'd just gone in a circle and that now there was zombies in front of and behind me (lots more swearing), then finally hearing someone else's gunshots, personally by that point I just ran straight out, I've never been more happy to see combine turning up :)

(sidenote, the dynamic flashlight shadows from Ep2 really look good in the darkened rooms, and the shadows seem to jump around as you move, disconcerting and scary)

The big open spaces that followed were a good change of pace, and I found that the space meant that even with the limited encounters on offer (I'm guessing this section is going to get a fair bit more work done) played out quite differently depending on which way I went through the map (eg the first time I ran up the street and hugged the left hand side, so the antlions got in a fight with the combine and I just mopped up the survivors, the next time around I went up the right side, got jumped by the antlions and then the combine shot us in a flanking manoeuvre, nice change). The exploding petrol station was good, maybe some dialogue from your companions at this point would help steer the player along.

The last little bit with the ant lion queen was fun, but it killed all the combine in short order and I was left with a straight fight against on open ground with no heavy weapons, which was dull (shoot, shoot, shoot, reload, shoot again), and showed that the resistance with you at that point are un-killable which was immersion breaking. either give the player more guns, or some kind of tactical advantage, or have the combine do a better job of killing it (player+resistance vs combine+air support vs antlions+queen would be...difficult to balance I suspect, but fun.)

Overall, good fun, your pacing is good, obviously a lot of the environments need a bit of polish, or rather a good dose of litter, props and damage to make them look more realistic. Some of the encounters seemed to go on a bit too long. Also, some more signposting to help stop players getting lost is always handy. We're often running away from the citadel, maybe something to run toward or follow?
Looking forward to the next release :)

Altered2.jpg [ 15.9 KiB | Viewed 17210 times ]
Altered1.jpg [ 13.42 KiB | Viewed 17211 times ]

Author:  Kenny [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

I made an extensive map by map buglist on my first playthough. I'll transpose the notes tomorrow or so. I really think that last map was the best. Now why were the gunships and dropships shooting at each other?...

Author:  sortie [ Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Hey Phuzz and Kenny. Thanks for playing, testing and providing feedback of my mod! As for why the gunships are shooting at the dropships. (I forgot I had implemented that yet..!) Perhaps you can tell me why the Combine's internal security systems are killing the metrocops at the crashed train, why the Combines are killing the metrocops at the barricade, why the Combine are shelling their own barricade with headcrab canisters? Something fishy is certainly going on!

As the best reward I can provide I added you both as playtesters to my credits.txt deeply hidden in my *_dev/ folders I use for source control.

I've compiled a long list of smaller and larger things that need to be fixed in Demo 7, so expect a more stable and prettier version with a new chapter, just as usually. ;-) The next version is due on Sep 23 2008.

Author:  phuzz [ Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

Looking forward to it :)

Author:  sortie [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Altered Transmission - Demo 6 (v23.06.2008)

As a matter of available game content, technology and enemies, Episode One support is removed from Demo 7 allowing me to truly use the Episode Two engine's technology and content. Due to the nature of OB-Engine .bsp files it is impossible to use them in Episode One engines. Demo 7 will require a bought and installed version of Half-Life 2: Episode Two on Steam in order to run. Sorry!

On the other hand, the new content makes my game much better.

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