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Old 04-08-13, 15:36   #1779
TextFAMGUY1's Avatar
Join Date: 1st October, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 893



Sorry it's been a while guys. Work has been crazy and I've had a really busy weekend!

The "bad news" is that my job has overrun and we haven't finished decorating this hall because there's so much to do. I'll be working for an extra week, as a result. The good thing about this is that I'll be in a much more comfortable financial position when this job is over, so I can go back to full time mapping for a couple of weeks a lot happier than I otherwise would have.

The good news is that I've still managed to get a fair amount of work done. The brunt of the work I've been doing on bringing stuff up to beta standard has been A1, which is going to be the most overall changed map for the beta. I've added a few new side areas and spruced up some of the existing map, and also edited the crane control room a fair bit to give a more intuitive and better flow. It's all looking a lot better now, actually, I think you guys will be happy with it. The actual base flow of the map is pretty much the same, with a few extra nice things to see along the way.

At this stage of the game my main focus is to improve the gameplay and flow of the maps, as well as polish up some of the aesthetics, and fix serious bugs. Most importantly I'm trying to address the stupid Vort AI. I'm actually in the process of trying to test a potential solution, which, if it works, will be awesome. For now however, this approach means small clipping issues/visual bugs may be left in, but that's fine. For now, I'm looking at making the maps look and feel better - the fine tuning of clipping issues and visual bugs will come with the Release Candidate.

OaR Uncut Lite

I'm cancelling OaR Uncut Lite. If you're not interested in the Lite version of the mod then this doesn't concern you, the full version is still going full steam ahead! Scroll on by and read the bit after the quote!

Here's an excerpt from a post I'm writing on ModDB explaining why:

Originally Posted by TextFAMGUY1
After a fair amount of deliberation I've decided to scrap the "Lite" version of this mod. This means that now the only version of this mod which will be available on release is the full version.

There are many reasons for this, but I'll just list the most salient. Though I was generally really pleased at peoples' response to the B2 alpha, and the community has generally been really wonderful about it, and giving GREAT feedback, I've had a fair few disappointing and disheartening comments about it being bad and overblown SOLELY because it moved what was a totally bland, boring, indoor map in HL1 to an outdoor area. Naturally, none of these people ever justified or explained their claims - simply made blanket statements and discounted the entire mod on this single, ignorant basis.

One of my testers on the forums once made the claim that I shouldn't make a "lite" version of the mod because it caters to people with dumb/ignorant thinking. At the time I discounted him out of hand because I assumed people would have good reasons for not wanting to play the B maps. In light of some of the comments I've been receiving for B2, I now understand what he's saying - and I now agree with him.

I worked extraordinarily hard on B1 and B2. They took 5 months to develop. Blood, sweat and tears have been POURED into those 2 maps, they took way longer, and required way more work, with far more creative and artistic redesign and thought, than A1 and A2 did. They are a large part of my overall artistic and gameplay vision for how OaR Uncut should look. They provide the spice and variation to the chapter, and in my mind, they complete OaR Uncut. OaR Uncut is not finished without B1 and B2. Given the current circumstances, allowing people to willingly forgo more than HALF of the work that's gone into this project, on a most likely ignorant basis, is not something I'm willing to allow at this point. It's all or nothing, folks.

Perhaps you feel this reaction is unjustified. That's fair enough. I get it. If you disagree with this decision, it IS up for debate. Explain to me in a reply the logical reasons why you wouldn't want to play the B maps. If I get some good ones, I might reconsider my stance. Trolling comments with no explanation, such as "it's outdoors, and not like HL1" will just be deleted. I don't want to read that shit.

OaRU is, and always has been, about much more than simply just porting the missing sections of OaR. Trust me, a 1:1 remake would have been supremely easy. A 1:1 redesign of HL1's F map (which is B2 now) could have been done in literally 2 days. Not exaggerating even slightly. I put fuckloads of work into making something BETTER, in every way, than what HL1's OaR had to offer. Maybe I succeeded, maybe I didn't, that's really down to the individual to judge. OaR Uncut's goal was to redesign the missing sections of OaR in much the same way that the Black Mesa team did with the parts they included. Black Mesa itself is very far from a 1:1 remake of Half-Life 1. It has improved on a lot of areas that HL1 failed in, and conversely also made some aspects weaker. It retains the spirit of HL1 while also creating its own unique identity. OaRU is no different. Considering how different Black Mesa already is from HL1, and given how extremely unpopular OaR was in HL1, it kinda surprises me that some people were expecting me to make OaRU a simple 1:1 port. That's why these disparaging remarks about B2 have really rubbed me up the wrong way. They're not even judging the map based upon its own merits, it's simply being immediately discounted for being different to HL1, and THAT judgement is ignorant and narrow-minded. Dislike the map, by all means, but dislike it based on its own features rather than a narrow-minded perception of how the map SHOULD be.

I don't wish to cater to these types of views. If something being so different to its HL1 version is such a problem, I'm not sure why you're even playing Black Mesa in the first place, let alone even considering OaRU. But that's the end of my rant anyway. I apologize if you're someone who wanted OaRU Lite with perfectly legitimate and justified reasons. Your voice has been drowned out by the less reasonable. Hopefully though, this really won't affect that many people!
Map Flow and Gameplay for A1 and A2

I've done a lot of work making A1 flow better in terms of gameplay and intuitiveness, and I'm going to start mucking around with A2's flow as well.

The first and absolute foremost flow issue on my mind with regards to A2 is how to make it more obvious and logical for the player to both seek out, and path towards the security office in the office complex. The stance adopted from the Alpha - that the player NEEDS the tram to progress to B, is no good, for reasons which have already been explored in this thread. I'm changing that.

The first thing I have already done is replace the old sign by the boom gates with one that reads: "Contact security office for Tram access". This sounds far more natural and is easier to read at a glance than the old message, without sounding too "gamey". The door before the water hazard (at the end of the map) is now closed by default, and also has that sign next to it as well. Therefore - whether the player decides to walk past the boom gates, or immediately go up into the office complex - they are still required to flip the switch in the security office to progress - but can now do so without the tram. The water hazard is now below the line of the tram rail, so it's now superfluous and decorative rather than an actual obstacle which requires the tram to overcome. This allows the player to carry on without the tram, in the event that they've lost it or didn't bring it with them.

Additionally, the lighting in the office complex serves to direct the players a bit better towards their goal. The stairwells leading to the top floor (which I noticed many testers were missing) now feature much more distinctive lights, and a large stairwell sign above them. The security office itself now has a very distinctive blue light outside it to make it stand out, as well as a glowing red powerbox next to it which draws the eye. In addition, the security office is now differently laid out, to draw the player's attention towards the switch a lot earlier. The health station is now on the wall right next to the switch, and the screen above the button is now highly visible and large, resembling the ones found on C2A5H in ST Uncut. Next to the switch is both the sign which reads: "Rail Security Override", and another which reads "Rail Security Status," with a Green light for "On," and a Red light for "Off". If you're not sure as to what I'm talking about here, think of the Crane Status light on A1, it's the same as that.

All these changes hopefully give the player a hint as to where they should go to find the switch, and to then let them know that they should go back to the tram after deactivating the security. I'm still a bit worried that it potentially may not be enough. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can further improve player direction, both TO and FROM the security office, I'm all ears!

Right, now I'll reply to some of the stuff which has been said in the thread.

Originally Posted by SergeantPancakes View Post
So Text, are the things that you said you would change and fix based on B2's feedback and your own opinion going to be towards developing B2's Beta? I mean is that the next step right now and you know what to do for it, or are you still working on other stuff with the map?
The stuff you've seen me say about the feedback on B2 is pretty much the entire extent of the changes I'm going to make to it. I don't have anything "hidden" up my sleeve or any new bits to add, due to the entity and brush limits and all that. The maps will see plenty of refinement and further changes, but don't expect anything radically different as you did with ST Uncut. It's totally different.

Originally Posted by dstorque View Post
Oh sorry. So if you approach the room with the movable crate and switchable rails in it through the doors in the rocket room, you can easily kill all the enemies there by shooting through these stairs. Now that I think about it there probably isn't anything you can do about it, the AI just isn't smart enough to walk around and use these stairs. I wouldn't worry about it too much it just makes those enemies easier to kill. Maybe a possible way to fix it would be to remove the crates blocking the view of the bullsquid and houndeyes?

And every point you've made about the B2 map makes complete sense. I agree with all the points you've made so far. You've convinced me that B2 doesn't have too much action or need to move the turrets etc etc. You're doing a great job with the maps!
Gotcha. The layout of this section, and the stairs has been changed a fair bit - so hopefully this isn't a problem anymore. Thanks for reporting it though, that was the first I've heard of it.

Originally Posted by RAMacindux View Post
Hey Text, great job still on B2 as well as giving points to my feedback.

About that crane, perhaps you could just put a sign on there? Something along the lines of "Vertical Clearance" or something? Is it still possible?

While I love the corpses of construction workers in the map, which makes sense since it IS a Mat Trans system, I wonder if it's possible that you could get to see one VERY BRIEFLY alive and then shot down to death. I would imagine the 50 cal bunker emplacement tearing the shit out of the poor guy, or the HECU from the hut in a style similar to the scientist's death in Office Complex (you know, the one before you see the scientist hanging in the ladder to his eventual doom). I would imagine this would be epic if possible but I doubt it.
While I'd love to have an alive construction worker, it isn't possible as they are not an npc entity, just a ragdoll. I don't know how much work it could be to implement that but it's way, way, WAY beyond the scope of what I can do, as it's programming related.

Originally Posted by dstorque View Post
So I was playing A2 again and thought of an idea.

Perhaps the zombie ambush would be better if instead of it being open and the corpse being dragged in, you had the doors closed and either had a marine burst out of them being overrun, or have sound effects of marines screaming and shooting, and then zombies bursting out?

Sounds cool to me. Just a thought.
I prefer the current script. It's creepier and gets under your skin a bit more, and it's quite subtle. Easy to miss if you're not paying attention. I like that. As Maxwell said, the A2 Office Complex kinda has a neat combination of things that have already happened, and things which are happening before you. I'd like to keep it that way.

Originally Posted by iAmaNoob View Post
Having open shipping containers with nothing in them is abit unnessasery. Why put it there if it has nothing in in?
Um, perhaps they've been unloaded, or they haven't loaded them yet? It's not implausible in the slightest. I suppose you could say that they're open because they don't have stuff in them, but all the closed ones do.

Originally Posted by jessiestorm88 View Post
Yeah I really like that idea as well. It would add the extra something that the cave section needs right now. I didn't get a chance to do a long writeup of the new version yet, but everything has pretty much been said so I'll wait until the next update.

One thing I will say that I'm surprised nobody else has, maybe because it's a bit harsh is that I think the crane with the awkward second operating ladder that is inaccessible should be scrapped entirely. I would much rather see a custom made guard tower, another crane or other structure made with propper than to see that over used model just thrown in. The ladders don't work well on it and the model shape is awkward when you're up there and it comes off as amateur and not unique for the map. Surely something else could be constructed to give the player the view. Maybe something as simple as a ladder up to one of the rooftops like where the sniper used to be.
I've already said my bit about the crane, I'd like to not talk about it anymore. It's just not going to happen. Swapping the crane for anything but another crane model would require that entire area to be reworked. I do like how you're calling a Valve model "amateur" though, seeing as that's the usable Crane from HL2. I also fail to see how it's "overused". There's literally 1 crane in the playable area, and 2 in the background. It's probably the least used model in the entire mod. The ladder being awkward is an independent issue which I can fix independent of the crane. The inaccessible ladder can be blocked off with a brush/model, too, which is definitely something I will do.

I'm sorry, but it's not up for debate. I'm not going to go to all the trouble of making another entirely new crane model (using propper no less) when there's a perfectly decent one, made by VALVE, just sitting here for me. I'm just not. Please, no more mentions of this crane.

Originally Posted by Dr. Maxwell View Post
Then how does Gordon use the crane in HL2 so easily?
Because REASONS Maxwell. REASONS.

Originally Posted by .RK View Post
I think I'll just leave this here. Good lord it's beautiful.

By the way, Text. Don't forget to rotate the outdoor area on B by 180 degrees.
Cheers for making this, .RK! It's really cool, especially as it's from the game rather than the editor. Love it.

The B outdoor area has already been rotated 180 degrees. It was the first thing I did on that map.