SPYDRONE MESSAGE RECEIVED :
"THE DOC'S BUILDING GIANT MK.II "FLAMER" BOTS.
PLANS TO UNLEASH MASSES OF THEM ON THE GREAT FOREST.
NEARBY FREEDOM FIGHTERS ARE UNAVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT."
END OF MESSAGE
- LOCATE RESISTANCE CACHE
- INFILTRATE THE FLAMER'S CONSTRUCTION FACILITY
- DISCRETION IS ADVISED, WEAPONRY NOT AVAILABLE
- LOCATE MK.II'S BLUEPRINTS
- SABOTAGE FACILITY OPERATIONS
- DESTROY ANY FLAMER PROTOTYPES
Indeed, it has been a year. I'm sure some of you are wondering what I've been up to, 'specially since it seems like I take aeons before I post even something as simple as an image.
To be quite honest, I've been preoccupied with a lot of other things. Stuff like playing the latest mods or releases (AMC TC being one of them, amazing mod), betatesting for RECB (even made a map for it, too, survive_city, felt like survive_warehouse was a bit lonely), making sound/sprite packs or writing and handling various misc things for Leon Portier's Bootcamp in Hideous Destructor, essentially pretty much everything BUT working on this mod of mine. I have no excuses here, really. I am pretty bad at doing anything else that's not about tampering with other people's stuff.
I mentioned in my previous news post that I get distracted easily, that and motivation/drive seems to bleed from me like a leaky pipe. It indeed has impacted the mod speed-wise, though my determination for finishing this mod remains firm. I might be slow as a crippled snail, but I'll be cursed senseless if I'm going to let this phantom haunt my thoughts further!
So, no, the million thumbtack question is answered, the mod is not dead yet, thankfully. Even if I somehow experience HDD crashes, I'm keeping TRP safe in various uploads, from plans to straight up map files. This thunderball struck will not hit me again.
Anyways, beyond my selfhate rant, allow me to tell you what I've been doing with TRP so far this past year. It's not much, so don't expect a very long article, but it should give some insight on what is done and what else needs to be done.
No, map5 is not done yet. I've finished mapping out the basic layout and have done scripting the first sequence that triggers when you start the map (which is pretty big), but I've yet to detail let alone finish the rest of the map. I've got plans up the wazoo, but they're for naught if there's no map to drop all of them ideas on to, nothing more than philosophical paperweight. It's a start though, so there's atleast stuff being done.
Speaking of plans, I've with me a text document with 20581 letters (so far) and counting. I've got things planned from how the entire mod goes, encounters, floor plans, thoughts/conflicts/possible solutions, exits, weapon plans/placement, hacking locations, music placement, even down to possible optional objectives (superfluous, but I think it's nice to have something else to do aside from the main objectives, they might even help in minor ways). It's quite silly, but it's nice to keep around something to note any brainblasts and keep me on track.
Despite this mod seeming like it should've been done by a team, I still intend to go on course with doing all this alone. Anyone else interested in improving the mod can do so when it's all out, I'll post the source maps some time after release for interested parties. So yeah, no custom code or neat new textures for now, just reskins/recolors/absurd mesh manipulation (the SWATBots' Laser Rifle used to be a Sten, believe it or not) from yours truly.
Gosh, I haven't even drawn map plans for maps 6 to 8. I've been essentially doing it blind for maps 1 to 4, and have been trying to start using drawn maps for map5 (reflecting my workflow back when I did The Scrolls of Shaimoon). It hasn't exactly made my work any faster, but it's quite nice to have a concrete layout to start mapping with. Scale is a bit of an issue, but since you're not exactly playing a human in TRP (along with Robotnik's grand scale idea of architecture), I think I'll be fine leaving some areas a bit huge, so long as I detail them.
Oh, yeah! Speaking of custom stuff, you might be wondering if there's any new additions to the gameplay aside from Half-Life's shooty blasty bits. Indeed, you are correct!
It's all pretty much mapping shenanigans. You can hack terminals marked by a particular texture, plant explosives, even stealth around complete with alarms that spawns more enemies along with the usual alarm nicities (instead of failing your mission).
Standing enemies are scripted complicatedly in order to allow players to run around them as long as you're not too close, any closer and you'll have to crouch to avoid being spotted, even closer and they'll sniff you even if you're behind them (sorry lads, no sneak crowbar kills). They're a bit more aware than patrolling guards, but they don't move at all, so you should be safe going around them.
Patrolling guards on the other hand are marked with a different color, and they're different from standing guards in that they can see really far away. They're a bit more dim than standing guards, but if they manage to spot you even once, it's curtains down for your sneak antics. They're also what counts in this mod as the elite guards, who carry around grenade launching attachments for their laser rifles. You know the drill with these guys.
And now the bigger question. How do you sneak around these guys if they can spot you so easily and sound the alarm so fruitfully? Corner peeking! In stealth focused maps, I've taken the task to add a bunch of invisible walls around corners, allowing you to spot the enemy first before they spot you. I tried my best to keep them small so as to not hinder your movement or block your shots in the event that you want to break stealth while keeping cover, and they'll disappear if the alarms are sounded, preventing further shenanigans. I could probably stop procrastinating and maybe study coding in order to make a proper stealth mechanic, but I really couldn't be bothered, so this Goldsource mapping witchcraft will have to do.
I've been trying to improve lighting in various areas, the most common feedback I got from my WIP images is that some of the areas are too dark. I intended TRP to be a pinch darker due to the source material (SatAM) having a lot of dark environments, but it seems that perhaps some improvements could be done to keep visibility. From now on I'll be tuning the lights while my installation is set to 0 brightness, in the hope that if I can see things and play well in what my HL1 calls pitch black, others should see better in 1 above.
That'll be it for now, I hope this article could shine some light on what I've been up to. See y'all again next year, in which I once again will probably further some self deprecation on the realization that I've yet to finish the 6th or (if I'm lucky) 7th map.
Thanks for reading.
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