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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:06 pm 
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Kastanok wrote:
Cargo Cult wrote:
Tonight's gaming edict: go play S.T.A.L.K.E.R.


I've played it twice through when it first came out


What's the play time in total? It looks fascinating, but I don't want to get sucked into a sleep-cycle destroying 100 hour odyssey.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:25 pm 
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Definitely not that long. Maybe 20 hours first time through. 25 at most.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:02 pm 
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Kastanok wrote:
Definitely not that long. Maybe 20 hours first time through. 25 at most.


That sounds doable. During the pre-release media frenzy people were talking about 80 hours of play. These days, I prefer short, high quality offerings rather than seemingly endless slogs. Far Cry was the worst offender in this category, while Valve's episodic delivery suits me very well. As has MINERVA.

To return to the original subject of the thread, I have created some non-linear (and non-narrative) gameplay in this mod: CSS SCI FI, which may be relevant to the topic at hand. The maps themselves were created (and still can be used) for Counter-Strike: Source, and are therefore laid out in a circular rather than linear fashion. This means there are multiple routes to goals, and sometimes the goal itself is mobile, as in situations in which the task is to eliminate all enemy Combine or a specific NPC. Lua scripts monitor the status of goals, and supply enemies, allies, or load the next map based on the current conditions.

What tends to happen is that you have a few intense firefights, with enemies pressuring you from all sides due to the circular layout of the maps, followed by cat and mouse with the survivors.

The ideal would be a combination of the two - unpredictable roaming AI in non-linear maps, matched with checkpoints or goals that would have to be fulfilled before play can continue. While this would be easier if native Source included a scripting engine, it should be possible to do in Hammer with entities and input/output.

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 Post subject: On the subject of non-linearity...
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:39 pm 
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I myself had been working on a concept map, which essentially dropped the player into a large desert area and tasking him with tracking down fallen pieces of a Combine transport vessel that had exploded in the air and crashed to the ground in pieces scattered everywhere. It was to be a bit more stealth oriented, such as hiding in water oasis areas to escape the notice of nearby patrols, tracking down weapons, and most importantly using a neural interface to hack into the fallen pieces of the Combine transport to gain information about it's purpose and cargo.

However, the mapping file managed to get corrupted so I can no longer develop the map. I suppose since I was using game_text to make the NI (initially named "Delator" after the Roman term for "informant") forcibly decode the text of each computer node, (by forcing the player to look at the console for a few seconds to begin the decoding process.) the text characters that I used crashed the map compile and corrupted the data for the vmf. I can only speculate that Adam made the map texts for Minerva's dialog in some other fashion. I used to have the map sources for Metastasis 1 and 2 (included in a previous release), and it seemed that he managed to store the text files independently of the main Hammer .vmf, instead stowing it possibly within the game .cfg or someplace else. (No pun intended.)

In any case, since I couldn't get the map idea to work, Adam or anyone else who enjoys mapping can try making a mod or map along these lines.

Now most of the above text was besides the point. In any case, I'd say that making a non-linear Half Life 2 map would fall into the Episode Two code, but we'd have to wait a good long time (possibly double the time of the previous one map per year output rate) for Adam to finish the first Chronoclasm (or whatever he decides to call it, I personally prefer that name), since in the Valve commentaries for the big end battle of Episode Two it took them many months to play test and develop the map. Valve likely had a team of designers for that map, while Adam is working all by himself and only has a few playtesters.

So we may have to wait two years for the next level, even if he started right now. Might want to stock up on coffee and donuts while we're waiting, and go buy Assassin's Creed and BioShock to keep us tied over, because we may have to wait a while.

(P.S.: I suddenly feel like I have far too much time on my hands to be writing such a huge post.)

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of non-linearity...
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:56 pm 
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Kenny wrote:
It was to be a bit more stealth oriented, such as hiding in water oasis areas to escape the notice of nearby patrols, tracking down weapons, and most importantly using a neural interface to hack into the fallen pieces of the Combine transport to gain information about it's purpose and cargo.


It sounds very fun. Fall of Wivenhoe featured an enjoyable stealth section and I believe it can be done with minimal tweaking.

Kenny wrote:
However, the mapping file managed to get corrupted so I can no longer develop the map. I suppose since I was using game_text to make the NI (initially named "Delator" after the Roman term for "informant") forcibly decode the text of each computer node, (by forcing the player to look at the console for a few seconds to begin the decoding process.) the text characters that I used crashed the map compile and corrupted the data for the vmf.


I'm sure the mappers on the forum could have a look at your files. A paranoid backup policy helps to prevent such disasters.

Kenny wrote:
I can only speculate that Adam made the map texts for Minerva's dialog in some other fashion. I used to have the map sources for Metastasis 1 and 2 (included in a previous release), and it seemed that he managed to store the text files independently of the main Hammer .vmf, instead stowing it possibly within the game .cfg or someplace else. (No pun intended.)

The system is the same as for chapter titles. It's a trivial (and very flexible) hack and it allows to change the messages (and localize them) without recompiling. I'm wondering how to make modders more aware of the system, as many mods can't be localized if the texts are hosted in the bsp.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:32 pm 
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One thing I'm hoping very much won't happen, and I'm pretty sure it won't given that it's Adam making the map, is that while in general the map is free roaming, each objective 'area' such as a bunker, is a small linear section. I enjoy approaching objectives from different routes and options, just that freedom of choice is great.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:35 pm 
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Agreed. Even Assassin's Creed, usually the bastion of non-linear gameplay, frustrated me on occasion because I couldn't climb just anywhere. That really hurt one of the assassination memories, since the main character can't swim (come ON, ubisoft, you have ten thousand bloody animations for Altair, you can't just stick in a few for swimming?)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:28 am 
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On the topic of the mod you cited for the stealth gameplay mechanic, that was very difficult. I managed to knock a CP over the head with a crowbar and got a bit of health and then rushed the exit and got out easy after about ten tries of just simply sneaking around.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:05 am 
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Pyro-Dude wrote:
One thing I'm hoping very much won't happen, and I'm pretty sure it won't given that it's Adam making the map, is that while in general the map is free roaming, each objective 'area' such as a bunker, is a small linear section. I enjoy approaching objectives from different routes and options, just that freedom of choice is great.
That was the idea behind the "lockdown" sectors mentioned at the start of this thread, if that helps.

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 Post subject: Deus Ex
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:58 pm 
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The game that immediately came to mind for me was the NYC sections of Deus Ex (Or the Paris bits, or I suppose quite a few of the other bits). The loads came between the outside environment, and inside buildings.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:43 pm 
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phuzz wrote:
The game that immediately came to mind for me was the NYC sections of Deus Ex (Or the Paris bits, or I suppose quite a few of the other bits). The loads came between the outside environment, and inside buildings.


I was going to say the exact same thing yesterday (But i was too lazy).

A fantastic idea is to have just 1 giant map (I know sources limitations, but with the new EP2 tech i think this may in fact be possible). The player never leaves this giant area, except for certain missions that take place in an isolated location in this area (Where Adam could stick in a new map, to make things easier), but the player is generally always contained in 1 large free roaming area. This area could change as the player progresses through the story (Not the geometry, only the NPC's, and maybe some minor alterations to accompany the story). This allows for many, MANY possibilities and options for the player to choose from, making it a rather open and non-linear experience.

*gasp* My input.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:38 pm 
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You mean just like M:M's island map, just more so? ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:04 pm 
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Kastanok wrote:
You mean just like M:M's island map, just more so? ;)


No.
Key word being "Non-linear".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:40 am 
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Whereas Carcinogenesis is "Not non-linear, but an amazing simulation!" ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Yar Kramer wrote:
Whereas Carcinogenesis is "Not non-linear, but an amazing simulation!" ...

I think I may just keep with this less-linear thing. I don't think I really have the time or resources to build an entire city in one sitting - plus a degree of linearity will make it much easier to tell a story. Which is currently in the crystallising-into-something-horrible-in-my head stage. It's ... a bit dark!


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