September 24, 2008

ctf_gate1 beta 4 released

Before I do serious changes and try to remove a bit of the cardbox feeling it's time for the 4th release.

download ctf_gate1_b4.pk3 (save link as ...)

- missionpack gametypes supported
- nailgun added
- simplified pillars, faceremoval
- more detailed walls

September 23, 2008

Symmetry and Jumping

I cannot deny that my last maps (especially ctf_inyard and ctf_gate1) are jump-intensive as the player has to be able to jump periodical to travel through the map. This can be a problem for new players and it distracts from the main gameplay as you have to concentrate on your movement and less on your foes and you're more prone to railshots as your movement gets more predictable. On the other hand I'm sure it helps improving skills.
Future maps will include less forced jumping.

In ctf_gate1 it seems my pillars are still too heavy in details and are not subtle enough as they are the only thing that catches the eye. I'm thinking about to break this symmetry a bit to have one or two pillars different and to move the top level gateentrance less centered. I shall test this in various ways.

Anyway I added missionpack gametypes support and various items.
Gameplaywise I think those special missionpack items (Guard, Doubler, Speed) are wrong in ctf_gate1. I'm not sure about the nailgun. First I'm going to remove the Speed item.

September 21, 2008

Texture Issues and Weapon balance

Licence issues killed OA 0.8 and force me to retexture ctf_gate1 and ctf_inyard as I'm using his in the former map exclusively and two of of them in the unreleased improved version of the latter. As I'm not done with all the balancing and missionpack support of both maps I'm trying to give ctf_gate1 an equal look with given OA textures before I'm about to do new ones.
Although I've to state TRaKs texturepack was awesome.

Weapon balance: The nailgun which is typical for missionpack is the most beloved weapon of OA 0.8 but I don't feel good about it as for my taste it's overpowered most times. I need further gametesting on ctf_gate1 to see if I should add it in several gametypes. I shall post my experiences here...

September 15, 2008

ctf_gate1 increasing gameplay

As the two bases are connected with just one long yard the gameplay is a bit too simple. Thinking about how I solved this didn't make me happy so I choose to change that. Dropping the current flagrooms as they were small, goodlooking because of TRaKs filth textureset and using the opposite ends as new flag bases sounds okay. The blue base is rotated by 180° and connected directly to the red pillar room just having the big wall / new gate between them.

I hope to get a straighter and faster gameplay.

September 12, 2008

ctf_gate1 beta 2

After reducing details of each pillar and hinting severe spots frames got decent and the map becomes playable. I just mirrored everything and autoreplaced the textures to get a blue base. Additional details are added to the walls, items and powerups changed and constantly tests against bots help me fixing lots of issues.
I discovered another bug in OA 0.8 as I think Double Domination points should not be in the same place where CTF flags are.

The next beta release: ctf_gate1_b2.pk3 (save link as...)

Still things can be improved.
Edittime so far: 10h

September 11, 2008

ctf_gate1 beta 1

The name is misleading as there is just one base to have some deathmatch in. I want to release this as an early beta as just in this version my pillars keep high detailed. I'm going to simplify them for performance reasons so additional details can be added to the yet plain walls. Deathmatch is playable against bots and map source file is included. Lightning could be a bit brighter in some places. The map is pretty dark themed so the red lights are a bit piercing.

Worktime: 6h (testing requires a lot)

file: ctf_gate1_b1.pk3 (save link as ...)

As this map is a small one and I'm using TRaKs fantastic textures it won't take me long to finish once I fixed performance issues and get a decent balancing done.

Vis and walldecoration

As mentioned in the previous post pillars are not good for blocking vis. Even if the columns are of low detail they will have an impact on framerates. So I'm trying to encapsulate my pillarroom not to be visible from far away. Additional details on my walls increase the amount of faces but don't help preventing other rooms from being rendered.

So I'm trying several layouts to connect rooms flawlessly and get high effectivity on blocking visibility. At the moment passages from one room to another increase in size without the ease I hope to find.

Pillars (part 1)

Pillars in general are nifty elements to place in maps as they may improve gameplay and create something recognizable. Players might dance around and they offer a certain amount of cover and finally pillars help to give a realistic to the map because blocks won't float in space as they rest on tessellated columns.

How pillars may be designed depends on the amount of faces they may require and the available textures. In general it's a good idea to have something that catches the eye on them so the boring rest of it is not recognized. Slight variations of each pillar is possible (e.g. texturewise) but not necessary. Pillars generate a feeling of everything belongs together.

It's good to think about how they will impact on the map: Is the pillar just an obstacle or can it be accessed? Is there an item at the top? How does the player reach it? Can VIS be blocked with it? Do my pillars connect two platforms? Do I have just for decoration reasons? Rooms with blank and plain walls are boring.

My current idea requires several pillars and I'm playing around with a concept I feel comfortable with.

September 10, 2008

Blog created

For time being I guess it's quiet nice to have a little logging of my progress as there are several maps I'm working on. It should be easier to share stuff I stumble across instead of discussing everything on IRC with lei, kick52 and Andy.