Dragonsdoom's roots started as a hardcore gamer; playing hundreds of hours of Counter-strike, Baulder's Gate and Sim-style games for years. Even as he played such games, he was fascinated with the concept of 'Level Editors', creating many small levels for such games as Sim City, Age of Empires and Stronghold. He eventually experimented with further design concepts such as GUI style mods in Age of Empires. After a time, he decided to become a developer himself, to be more than a consumer amongst the horde and give back to the community. He learned true 3d level design by starting on the Source engine, and is currently learning how to do do every aspect of game development in the hopes of starting his own indie company with some college pals.
Posted by Dragonsdoom on Apr 3rd, 2009
Not updated here in a bit, need to get back in the habit of doing this.
I got sick recently and it is really hard to get rid of, but I think I am nearly over it. Some kind of nasty cold-like virus.
My monitor broke, luckily it is still under the three year warranty, so I sent it off to CA from the east coast here with it's RMA, thankfully we have some backup monitors. Sadly the only decent one right now is this hulking CRT that is really really dark and only goes darker. You know how source games have the little barely visible, decently visible etc box for adjusting the brightness? Yeah, on the brightest setting the whole box is so dark I can't see anything in it at all. I tried to play TF2 the other day and all I could see was a giant red point capture sign and my stickybombs, which I could only see because they were flashing. It really makes it hard to learn about texture work when the texture you are working on appears as a smear of blackish paste. I can't make out my avatar on the Moddb here as I type this.
As I was sick, I was feeling quite miserable and decided to get Far Cry 2 as it was on sale on Steam to help me over the constant hacking cough and so on.
My verdict on the game is as follows: It continues to be satisfactory, and was certainly worth 15 bucks, however there is a amazing amount of wasted potential here. The work that was done on the game was good quality, the engine looks excellent , the maps pristine, the guns feel great and all that, but it could be so much more. For instance:
* Everyone you meet in the field is hostile. Always.
Fix: Incorporate non-hostile factions and some identifying markers, such as UFLL non-hostile troops in UFLL hats and jackets or some such at some checkpoints and guard posts when doing UFLL missions, Farmer and Fisherman styled civilians at certain locations, traveling transports, convoys and similar things.
* All the patrols are always hostile, pursue you a predictable distance, patrol within a certain distance of guard posts, are armed with leveled sets of weapons with the player, (All the same or closely so) consist of two dudes and a mounted gun or one dude without one and always stick to the road like hot tar in the sun.
Fix: Vary the patrols more; two jeeps or two guys in a non mounted weapon patrol would do wonders to increase the variables. It would be great seeing a few people armed with quite a bit better or worse weapons in the field instead of leveled weapons with me. It would be even better if the patrols tried to 'radio ahead' and cut me off if they know I am coming once in a while. Patrols camped out in various locations not on the main road would also be awesome, something like a police speed trap.
Patrols ranging over larger areas in general would also make it a good deal better, early on in the game when going to Pala I always get a bit bored because I know no one ever tries to patrol any of the stretches of road just outside of town, if patrols ranged more there would be less dead zones like that with more action and high speed chases as you try to race into the cease-fire zone without getting gunned down.
* There are only two types of player controlled boat, and so far I have only seen one in the singleplayer. Also always hostile.
Fix: Can't we get some kind of speed boat or something? One boat is really making it boring to take the waterways.
* All guard posts consist of three or four dudes with leveling weapons with the player, have at least one vehicle, concrete solid sandbags, very rarely a sniper post, one of three types of supply cache, and a nearby patrol. Also; Hostile.
Fix: Give us some variety! If I went to see a movie that half consisted of this guy going into convenience stores, I would at least want the stores to be different! The guard posts are so predictable and bland that it would be less boring if my car randomly flipped and I got attacked by a few dudes randomly spawned every quarter mile. Give them more variety in guns, give them more or less dangerous guns, make the sandbags less like concrete, make the numbers of troops vary more, make ammo less like candy around these places, make the vehicles not always be jeeps, anything! These places are less interesting than watching paint dry!
Don't be afraid to not have physical postings either, a guard post could just as easily be a single lookout tower on a ridge or a single docking station for a boat.
* All troops can see through walls and certain kinds of grass, and can instantly relay messages between each other about the location of the player without talking like the ultra-elite ex-military crack commandos they are. Hostile.
Fix: This is one of the worst parts of the game. if you are going to make the AI work together in every single situation, even if they by rights might be panicking, at least make them call out their orders so the player has a clue what is going on. One guard getting shot with a silenced PPK should not rouse the entire village to abandon their posts and rush over to one corner of camp.
* The stealth system is absolutely abysmal, even with the stealth suit that was my first gun shop purchase of the game. It probably is hostile as well, considering what a incredibly backstabbing way it seems to work.
Fix: This goes hand in hand with the previous point; make the AI LESS competent in a tactical way.
I would not hate this aspect quite so much if the game had not tried to encourage me to try stealth. The stealth is terrible. Give me some kind of cover warning thing so I can see how concealed I am, make the AI react more realistically to a death of one soldier, maybe make them give up after a period instead of circling endlessly and eventually spotting me through dumb luck. Make them do tactical sweeps through the line of fire to find me, anything.
* Grenades apparently have laser trails back to the thrower that tell the soldiers on the other side of the adjacent buildings that someone threw one and he is over there, away from the blast.
Fix: Again, part of the terrible stealth system. I can live with them spotting it in a trajectory, but when they calculate the perfect angle and rush out and shotgun me in the face with dead accuracy? Not fun.
* The camo suit is invisible to the player, which I think is a terrible loss for immersion, considering the lengths that the developers went to try and incorporate animations and such for everything.
Fix: Add a visual representation of the suit, or at least some kind of stealth meter or game mechanic that makes it noticeable.
* The game is logistically impossible, there are no civilians anywhere doing anything except at underground locations. Non-hostile factions would immerse us so much more than one or two more cheap animations.
Fix: To fix the logistic problem as well as adding non-hostile factions, many things could be done. Convoys, cars driving around, fishermen, farmers, work gangs, villagers and turncoats would do great things for the depth of this game. If just one of these things were to be added to this game, I would be greatly pleased.
* So much of the game is predicable it really kills a lot of the gameplay, when you know exactly how the soldiers are going to react it really ruins a lot of the fun.
Fix: Make the soldiers not necessarily smarter, but make their tactics more varied. If the patrols, guard posts, general soldier responses and similar things all were improved and varied, with a bit more time put in them, this game would be at least 25-50% better.
As a final point, I would like to make note that everything I wrote here could and would have been modded into the game had the developers included some way for the players to modify the base of the original game. Instead we get this heavily limited and piss-dumb multiplayer level editor that fails to innovate, being so watered down to the point that the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 PlayStation 1 level editor almost looks like a viable alternative. The fact that the level editor is that simple to use is nice, but the limitations are not. If we were given the ability to make modifications to the single player, I would personally gather together a mod team and create a mod that actually would do the game justice. I am very disappointed that I even had to write this considering what this game might have been.
In the end, it was a good game, but I can't see paying more than 20 bucks for it, considering everything that was left out.