Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Half Life 2: Rise - declined at Mod DB - Ooops!

I tried to create a page for HL2 Rise over at ModDB and clearly didn't add enough screenshots etc to convince them it was real.

Mod declined... lol

Perhaps it's better not to use ModDB after all. Your mod gets lost in a sea of bullshit unfortunately and I've never really been good at writing self-promoting news stories etc..

I find the self-promotion of ModDB to be rather embarrasing.
Don't get me wrong, I like people telling me I did a good job, but only after the mods released. Prior to that point, any kind of promotion of the mod seems annoyingly hollow.

For Deep Down, I released a playable level to get people excited. That's really the only update that is going to mean anything to people. Playable content is what people want.

News stories about the fact you've finished a weapon model, or that you've appointed a new art director, or that you've finished the story, aren't really what players are looking for. It all seems to feed from delusions of grandure that project leaders has acquired. Often these project leaders have no actual technical skills and have simply collected a group of people looking for a project together. They then talk an awful lot and produce very little.

To produce a great mod, you dont need a huge team of people. You don't really need a team at all. You just need to know how to change game content and build maps.

A friend of mine created the Warhammer 40,000 mod Exterminatus on his own with no additional assistance. Its a very popular mod and he's done a fantastic job with it. He's now working on a new really exciting project that will blow everyone away I'm sure.

Me personally, I'm looking forward to getting my next project out the door but also have been chatting with some guys with a proven track record about doing some map design for them. Fingers crossed it will all come together...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Half Life 2: Rise

I promised myself that Deep Down would be my last Half Life 2 project. It has taken me a year and a half to get it done and I really never inteneded it to take that long. Granted for 8 months I didnt' work on it but it's still way too long of a dev cycle.

The reaction to Deep Down has changed my mind however. Its been really well received, and now I have the skillset to be able to produce high quality mods it would be silly to waste it. Plus I've tried mapping for the other Source games and nothing measures up to the fun of HL2.

So this leads us, inevitably to Half Life 2: Rise. The follow up to Deep Down that charts Alyx and Gordon's return to the surface. I've already got some puzzles working in dev maps and a general theme, look and feel but it's the gameplay that will change significantly.

One element of my maps that many players have commented on and enjoyed are those moments when the player has the upper hand and can plan an attack. Pre-planning an assault or preparing for battle has always been fun but its been underused in the HL2 official games, and I can't say that I've ever really seen it much in Mods.

So here's the premise for HL2: Rise.

Whereever possible, I will allow the player to plan their attack. I will give them a full view of the battlefield before they choose to enter it. I will give them time and tools to prepare for incoming assaults (hoppers, emplaced guns, explosive barrels and floor turrets).
I will allow them to move about above the combine soldiers unaware of their presence before they engage..

The ability to pre-plan gameplay and then execute it allows the player great fun and flexibility. It also adds a lot of replay value as they can try out different strategys.

I'd love to be able to allow the player to set up physics objects as traps for incoming combine.
Or use physics objects to set up defensive barriers against assaults.

Can't believe that I've missed this before, so simple yet so fun.

While this won't be the only form of gameplay, it's a new method that I can insert into my gameplay combination I've used so far.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Yes I'm updating this blog again. Don't make a big thing out of it...

Yes I'm updating this blog again. Don't make a big thing out of it.

What I learned from making Half Life 2: Deep Down, Part 1

1. Baddies that can walk right up to you are no fun
Always put one or several barriers between you and gun based enemy. If an enemy can run right up to you and shoot you from point blank range, they will. Keep the gun based baddies at a slight distance and the combat becomes much more interesting. Fences are good, you can see through them, shoot through them but they keep the distance and ensure a decent fire fight. I've recently played a few mods where a group of baddies are introduced and all I had to do was dance round them with the shotgun, blowing them away and trying not to get shot myself. In official maps, you almost never come toe to toe with gun based NPCs and if you do, they are kept in place by nav node groups.

2. Ignore feedback from lazy players

I had several players who played the mod and simply didnt have the patience to stop and think about the puzzles. They wanted action all the way, the puzzles were simply a barrier to them having fun. As a result, their feedback was to make the solutions to the puzzles so obvious that they wouldn't stop a player for a moment.

3. The basics matter

All the feedback I've received points to one thing. Players love simple explore and fight gameplay. They liked the driving and the puzzles but they're at their happiest when moving through and exploring a space whilst fighting their way through. The two areas mentioned time and again were the hotel and the large cavern after the wind tunnel. Both these areas offer simple Game-play but it's where the players feel at home. The trick to these areas is to keep the player off the beaten path in my opinion. Moving through rooms and corridors is boring, try to think about more interesting ways the player can move through a space.

4. What the player can't see, they don't care about.

My displacements are messy as hell. The cliffs I built have dodgy edges and vertices going mental but the player can't see any of it. Don't get OCD about how tidy your map is if its outside the play area. Take one look at a de-compiled Valve map and you'll see they weren't all that tidy either.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Daylight Review - in Czech - Mangled by Google Translate

In Czech! --------- Daylight je klasickým modem ze City 17, kde hráč svádí bitvy s rozličnými nepřáteli a řeší logické hádanky pomocí oblíbeného gravitygunu. Zpočátku se potýkáte především s fyzikálními hádankami, později si vyzkoušíte své zbraně proti několika typům nepřátel. Sranda je především se zombíkama, na které můžete aplikovat za léta naučené postupy a fígle. Zápalné sudy nebo ozubené kotouče jsou již out, ale co takhle požární sekera v kombinaci s gravitygunem - že bychom získali tomahawk? Ale co když přijdou na scénu rychlé zombies nebo silní Zombines? Přesná střelba z revolveru na dálku nebo vytahování granátů z rukou ohnilců přijdou vhod. Když jste potom zavřeni v ohraničeném prostoru a přísun zombíků se zdá nekonečný, oceníte každou tlakovou láhev i patronu do brokovnice. Naštěstí všeho je kolem dostatek, včetně lékáren. Jiný styl pak musíte aplikovat na příslušníky Combine nebo nastražené kulomety a skákací miny. Některé je vhodné obejít, jiné zničit. Také je třeba dávat si pozor, aby vám přísavka na stropě neukousla hlavu. Kromě soubojů je vhodné si promyslet postup, předtím než sepnete nějaký čudlík nebo páku. To platí především o podzemní ventilaci nebo zatopeném silu. Zvláště silo je povedenou záležitostí, kde se vám kromě běžných vojáků postaví do cesty i voda v kombinaci s elektřinou a zcela nahoře pak páni snipeři. A možná se dostaví i nějaký ten Hunter. Z lokací jsou zastoupeny jak ty venkovní tak vnitřní. Namátkou: ulice města, nádražní seřadiště, vězeňský komplex nebo povedené silo. I když nejsou zpracovány nějak zázračně, vyhovují hernímu stylu, takže budete patrně spokojeni. Zbraní je dost, munice i lékáren také, není proto třeba se příliš obávat o své zdraví, pokud teda neuděláte nějakou botu a nevletíte např. do roztočeného větráku. Modifikace Daylight není nikterak ambiciózním počinem, nicméně nehraje se vůbec špatně, prostředí je slušné a hlavně v závěru ukáže své kvality. Kdo má rád kombinaci hádanek založených na fyzice a střelbu do nepřátel, přijde si dozajista na své. ----------- Google Translate Mangled! ----------- Daylight is a classic modem from City 17, where the player brings the battle with various enemies and solve logic puzzles using your favorite gravitygunu. Initially struggling primarily with physical puzzles, then try out their weapons against several types of enemies. Is especially fun to zombíkama on which you can apply for summer practices and learned tricks. Incendiary barrels or toothed wheels are already out, but what about fire ax in combination with gravitygunem - we got tomahawk? But what if they come on the scene fast zombies or strong Zombines? Accurate shooting a revolver at a distance or pulling out of hand grenades ohnilců come in handy. If you are then locked in a limited space and the supply seems endless zombies, you'll appreciate each cylinder and the shotgun cartridge. Luckily enough all around, including pharmacies. Another style then you must apply to members of the Combine or booby trap guns and jumping mines. Some should be passed, to destroy others. You also need to pay attention to you suction cup on the ceiling neukousla head. In addition to battles is a good idea to think through the process before any button will switch on or lever. This is especially true for ventilation or flooded underground silo. Especially hilarious is the silo matter where you stand apart from ordinary soldiers in the way of water and electricity in combination with the very top and then the lords snipers. And maybe some will come and the Hunter. The locations are represented by both the external and internal. At random: city streets, railroad yard, prison or precious silo complex. Even if not handled somehow miraculously they comply play style, so you'll probably be satisfied. Enough weapons, ammunition and pharmacy, there is no need to worry too much about your health, do not do So if a shoe and nevletíte eg spinning fan. Modifications to Daylight is by no means ambitious achievement, but does not play at all badly, decent environment, and especially at the end indicates its quality. Who likes the combination of physics based puzzles and shooting the enemies, you will certainly come into their own. ----------- Many thanks to Pete66 for his review! I scored 70%!