Author Topic: Chex Quest 20th Anniversary Megawad: Galactic Conflict  (Read 4407 times)

Offline 75

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Re: Chex Quest 20th Anniversary Megawad: Galactic Conflict
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2016, 12:14:31 PM »
Replying to your earlier questions:

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I have yet to find anything newer than Zand 2.1.2 for Mac (can a Mac even play Zand online with PC's?)

Yes, any OS can play with any other OS, so somebody on Mac could connect to a linux server and play against other clients running on Windows PCs. (This is an Intel Mac, not a PowerPC mac, right?)

There were some bugs in the OSX version of Zandronum, the last time I tried it, it was.... functional.... but not as good as the windows or linux version. It's probably improved since then.

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As an aside, I'll ask you this because you seem very acquainted with the multiplayer: one of the bugs I couldn't pin down in testing multiplayer with my family has to do with the obituary strings. Seemingly at random, rather than displaying the correct 'x was y-zorched by z' string, it would occasionally display the 'x died' string (which shows as 'x didn't watch x's step' because the forcefield/world death obituary was changed). For the life of me I couldn't find a consistent trigger for this issue, but I'm thinking it's got something to do with the way Zand is attempting to read the obituary strings, because I don't recall the Beam Zorcher's obituary showing correctly often if at all.

There are certain circumstances where you can't assign a custom obituary to something causing death, one of these is TERRAIN, another one of these are projectiles that spawn other projectiles, under certain circumstances. Or to put it another way, if Zandronum can't figure out what was the cause of death, it will default to "%o died"; was this just caused by the forcefields and the beam zorcher or were there other actors that caused problems?


I was feeling rather sick this morning so I took the day off of work, I think I'm going to play through some of these maps, here's my notes so far:

Note: All demos were recorded using ZDoom 2.8.1, to play back a demo use the -playdemo command line parameter, I personally use ZDL for stuff like this.

If you're using ZDL ( http://zdoom.org/wiki/ZDL ), put the demo in the same directory as ZDoom 2.8.1, then type something like this into "additional command line parameters":



E4M1:

Demo: http://ifocserv.net/ftp/Random/chexgc_e4m1.lmp

General notes:

- I found this to be quite challenging on "Extreme Ooze", due to the extremely low amount of ammo, though as I pointed out in the second run, that might have happened because I went a different route than what you were expecting.
- If you did intend for this to be a map with very, very low ammo, cool! I like gimmicks like this in maps and I like it when people experiment with the gameplay in Chex. You may want to do something to make it clearer that melee combat is required, e.g., you could do this by not giving any minizorch ammo at all for the first few areas.
- Please make sure that both the left and right blue doors have the same amount of minizorch ammo
- I didn't find the secret in this map, it might be a good idea to make it more obvious using glasses of water or something similar to draw the player's eyes to the secret
- The duplicate blue keys were kind of pointless but it was pretty pleasant anyway, it reminded me of how E1M2 has a duplicate area
- The map is rather plain as others have said, personally I'm okay with this but you might want to consider going back and adding more detailing to bring it up to TUCQ's level, if you can. ChexMaster2109 is more into detailing than I am, maybe he can give you better suggestions on this.
- For the best multiplayer experience possible, you should consider adding exit signs to all exits in the maps, without exit signs people will hit the exit switch accidentally and pull everyone out of the map before they're ready. If you're interested I have an exit sign in Chex Pack that you can use.

E4M2:

Demo: http://ifocserv.net/ftp/Random/chexgc_e4m2.lmp

General notes:

- So far I like the difficulty presented by Extreme Ooze, it's not nonstop action but it keeps me on my toes, nice work!
- This map really, really needs an exit sign, I pressed the switch without even realizing that was the end of the map, I guarantee that people playing online will do the same thing and frustrate other players in the server.
- Note that you don't need to use thing bridges anymore, especially if you're only supporting the latest version of Zandronum and zDoom, consider using 3d floors instead, they're much easier to work with and they tend to look better, too.
- There was a bug in this map when played online, in the red key room. The red key was rendered above the thing bridges but it was only collectable below the thing bridges, for some reason I couldn't reproduce this bug outside of this map, even if I copy/pasted the entire room. I recommend that you check this out on the server when you get a chance. If we can figure out what's causing this bug, it would be a good thing to report on the Zandronum bug tracker so it can be fixed.
- I found the long maze in the middle of this map to be tedious and not very fun. I would strongly recommend that you not put giant mazes in the middle of your maps. From what I've seen, even the mazes in the IWAD maps are not well received, especially when played online on a server. Try to find other ways to challenge players.
- You might want to consider making your secrets a little more obvious
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 02:36:34 PM by 75 »
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Re: Chex Quest 20th Anniversary Megawad: Galactic Conflict
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2016, 12:14:31 PM »

Offline Tifosi 92

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Re: Chex Quest 20th Anniversary Megawad: Galactic Conflict
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2016, 06:48:35 PM »
Replying to your earlier questions:

There are certain circumstances where you can't assign a custom obituary to something causing death, one of these is TERRAIN, another one of these are projectiles that spawn other projectiles, under certain circumstances. Or to put it another way, if Zandronum can't figure out what was the cause of death, it will default to "%o died"; was this just caused by the forcefields and the beam zorcher or were there other actors that caused problems?
This was caused by the forcefields (which is why the obituary is based on them), but for whatever reason Zand can't figure out the Beam Zorcher. It would make sense if it's having a hard time tracing a Phasing Zorcher kill if the owner of the projectile dies before the projectile lands a kill; I think that this is when I saw this happening most of the time. I don't think I made an error in coding the Beam Zorcher's obituary because I believe it worked correctly on ZDoom/GZDoom multiplayer. Can't remember–that was a few months ago.

Also, HUGE thanks for your feedback on the maps you've played. A couple of notes/explanations:

Quote
- I found this to be quite challenging on "Extreme Ooze", due to the extremely low amount of ammo, though as I pointed out in the second run, that might have happened because I went a different route than what you were expecting.
- If you did intend for this to be a map with very, very low ammo, cool! I like gimmicks like this in maps and I like it when people experiment with the gameplay in Chex. You may want to do something to make it clearer that melee combat is required, e.g., you could do this by not giving any minizorch ammo at all for the first few areas.
- Please make sure that both the left and right blue doors have the same amount of minizorch ammo
- I didn't find the secret in this map, it might be a good idea to make it more obvious using glasses of water or something similar to draw the player's eyes to the secret
- The duplicate blue keys were kind of pointless but it was pretty pleasant anyway, it reminded me of how E1M2 has a duplicate area
- The map is rather plain as others have said, personally I'm okay with this but you might want to consider going back and adding more detailing to bring it up to TUCQ's level, if you can. ChexMaster2109 is more into detailing than I am, maybe he can give you better suggestions on this.
- For the best multiplayer experience possible, you should consider adding exit signs to all exits in the maps, without exit signs people will hit the exit switch accidentally and pull everyone out of the map before they're ready. If you're interested I have an exit sign in Chex Pack that you can use.
Extreme Ooze is sorta meant to mirror Doom's E4 on Ultra-violence in terms of difficulty. When I wanted to casually test the levels it's the difficulty I was most likely to pick, so it's probably the best-refined. On this skill level, you're meant to have just enough ammo to finish the level with good accuracy, and little more unless you find secret areas; SS! makes finding the Super Bootspork in the third level almost essential to save ammo for the stronger enemies. There aren't hitscanners in Chex, so I figured it would be an interesting twist to limit the player's ability to rely on hitscan weapons too much early on in the game. If you play on a skill lower than Extreme Ooze, you have plenty of ammo and nothing changes from traditional gameplay.

Originally this level was supposed to require both a yellow and a red key to deactivate the forcefield and open the last door; I scrapped that idea because it made the level kind of boring. Now, finding both keys is the first step to getting into the secret area; keep exploring once you've done this.  ;) Not matching the ammo on both doors was deliberate; there's plenty of Mini Zorch ammo in one, and Propulsor/Large Zorch ammo in the other, so you have the choice to stock up extra for now, later, or both depending on how thorough you are.

I kinda get the feedback on the detail, but if you compare it to the level in its original state, you'll notice a huge difference, lol.

Quote
E4M2:

Demo: http://ifocserv.net/ftp/Random/chexgc_e4m2.lmp

General notes:

- So far I like the difficulty presented by Extreme Ooze, it's not nonstop action but it keeps me on my toes, nice work!
- This map really, really needs an exit sign, I pressed the switch without even realizing that was the end of the map, I guarantee that people playing online will do the same thing and frustrate other players in the server.
- Note that you don't need to use thing bridges anymore, especially if you're only supporting the latest version of Zandronum and zDoom, consider using 3d floors instead, they're much easier to work with and they tend to look better, too.
- There was a bug in this map when played online, in the red key room. The red key was rendered above the thing bridges but it was only collectable below the thing bridges, for some reason I couldn't reproduce this bug outside of this map, even if I copy/pasted the entire room. I recommend that you check this out on the server when you get a chance. If we can figure out what's causing this bug, it would be a good thing to report on the Zandronum bug tracker so it can be fixed.
- I found the long maze in the middle of this map to be tedious and not very fun. I would strongly recommend that you not put giant mazes in the middle of your maps. From what I've seen, even the mazes in the IWAD maps are not well received, especially when played online on a server. Try to find other ways to challenge players.
- You might want to consider making your secrets a little more obvious
As this was the second map I made, and I made it well over four years ago, I'm not surprised it has some not-so-nice bits. I never figured out how to work with 3D floors; at the time I didn't want to use them to prevent the game from varying too much from the original CQ levels. I thought the bridges were a pretty radical step, to be honest. One day I may go back and fix them, but I'll need a lot of spare time to learn to use them, lol. I would have no idea what's causing that bug; it sounds like the sprites are not falling through the bridge, but for some reason the thing itself is, which is most likely an engine bug. Thanks for the catch.

The lack of exit signs was something that stemmed from my only having ever played Chex Quest before designing these levels. At this point, co-op integration wasn't even on my to-do list, so it never crossed my mind. Even when it became something I added to the game, I still didn't think 'Exit' signs mattered. Maybe if I do a patch for the wad that fixes the textures, then I'll consider adding the exit signs in as well. They weren't in the original CQ, so it never crossed my mind to add them here. Sorry.  :-\

Unfortunately I agree on the 'long mazes' bit, but it was something that ended up being a staple of some of the levels right on up to E4M8, and I never bothered to take them out. There are maze-like areas on E4M5, E4M6, E4M7, and E4M8, but with the exception of E4M7 (which I already covered earlier in the thread; my least favorite level in the set) they aren't too bad.

On the secret areas: the 'Secret' console command was a gift from heaven on this. I knew some of them were a little difficult, but when I found out about the console command, I decided to leave them as is and use this instead. I actually quite like how it turns searching for them into a scavenger hunt, but to each their own; some of them are not meant to be found without using the console (e.g. Secret 1 on E4M2, Secret 1 on E4M5, or Secret 9 on E4M8), as 'Secret' is functional on every difficulty. I added secret hints to the 15 original maps, too.

Thanks again for all of your feedback! I hope you've been enjoying the episode.  ;D
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Offline 75

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Re: Chex Quest 20th Anniversary Megawad: Galactic Conflict
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2016, 07:50:41 PM »
When I get time I will look into the forcefield obituary problem.

Quote
I never figured out how to work with 3D floors; at the time I didn't want to use them to prevent the game from varying too much from the original CQ levels.

You might be interested in this tutorial I made a while ago:

http://www.chexquest.org/index.php?topic=2740.0

IMO 3d floors look a lot less bizarre than thing bridges, and can save you a lot of time, TUCQ used them to great effect.

However don't overdo it (i.e., don't put 50,000 3d floors in a room), or you might cause performance issues with software users. Also note that the software renderer is incapable of rendering sloped 3d floors, don't use them unless you absolutely have to.

Quote
On the secret areas: the 'Secret' console command was a gift from heaven on this.

IMO you should not expect users to use cheats, and you should do all of your testing without cheats; I'd recommend you try something like Doom E1, it's possible to make somewhat cryptic secrets while still suggesting to users that there's something out there for them to find.

The "broken switch" on E1M2 was close but the problem is, I saw that and assumed the map was broken, and I forgot about it, if you put a window or something to hint that there was something up there, I probably would have remembered.

The other problem with that specific secret is, the place where you are introduced to it (the broken switch) is very far away from where you access it (the elevator), and the way that you access it is small and passes by in an instant, and assumes that the player is looking in the right direction -- the first time I played, I wasn't looking in the right direction.

Check out Doom E1M3, it's obvious that there's a secret area because John Romero put a window where you could look into and see a soulsphere, it's not clear how you get there, but it is clear that you should be looking, little hints like that can do a lot to encourage players to pay attention to their environments, and also give subtle hints that give them an area or direction that they should focus on. Also remember that it's okay to give away small secrets by putting them right in front of the player's face; remember, if you don't give any suggestions that there are secrets, it might seem like your map pack doesn't have any secrets at all.

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Thanks again for all of your feedback! I hope you've been enjoying the episode.

So far, yeah. It reminds me of the IWAD maps a little in that it's sort of slow paced, but enjoyable. It feels like its gameplay fits into the Chex universe, which is cool.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 07:52:12 PM by 75 »
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