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I am dusting off Coven. Here is a sneak peek of some of the upcoming changes.

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Please join us over at the Coven discord server. It is a new addition and hopefully a more permanent resting place for a community of sorts.


COVEN

"Some things in life cannot be quit, and indeed I find some things in life weren't meant to be quit."



Around the end of March I unknowingly entered a rabbit hole that twists and winds and ends up leading me here. Having found myself confined to working from home- sentence indefinite- I found myself wondering what some of the limits of the source engine bullet implementation were and kicking around a few mod ideas, and started dusting off old Coven files to borrow some code (5 years of dust and counting. oof). Turns out a patch to Source SDK Base 2013, some time in 2015, perhaps permanently ended anyone's enjoyment of Coven. I couldn't get it to run at any rate, but I certainly hope that I was the only one. "Might as well get Coven back into a state where it can run," I said to myself. Famous last words, as the saying goes.

Once working, I vaguely remembered what I was trying to do. However, in 2020 I found many of the old ideas were good... but not fun. Not fun like it was back in 2009 (could just be those darn rose tinted glasses).

Most of the things I have been working on are tedious things nobody but me will ever care about (did you know the HL2DM frag grenade doesn't have it's model attachment point correctly positioned?). Many of my janky hardcoded things have been moved to external config scripts. This makes superficial changes less of a nightmare, as well as allowing people to muck about with various settings. Hardcoded UI elements were fixed to be dynamic (2K and 4K didn't exist back then like they do now) and many elements of the UI system were fixed generally.

UI System UI System

New UI and Inventory System

Now for the good stuff. The real Coven stuff. Most of the new features started out as silly ideas that sounded vaguely like fun to me (but hey, I feel like that's a lot of the good things that happened in 2009). Can I implement a building system like the engineer in TF2? Can I implement vehicle dynamics as an APC with pathfinding/steering control (hey, who says I didn't learn anything in college)?

Amazing things will happen here soon...
Turns out the answers are yes.


Leveling has been stripped out in order to streamline the match. Many of the abilities are fun, but I didn't find it fun having to wait for half of a match in order to use them all. Vampires still level up (resetting upon death), gaining more health and damage output, but abilities are fixed by class. Feeding now helps level up faster (if you are full health), and corpses now grant a fixed amount of feeding for all players, not just first come first served. Slayers now collect "bounties" for staking vampires and are able to collect additional funds throughout the level. This can be spent to purchase items. More on this later.

Bots have been rebuilt (still a work in progress) and now provide a reasonable (and hopefully more realistic) playing experience. This should help give a little more longevity to Coven depending on how enthusiastic the community ends up being. There's only so much time in a day, and there are a lot of fun games out there. Does anyone still play mods on a 16+ year old engine? I hope so.

Classes and abilities have been streamlined. Many of the not so fun abilities have been pulled to make room for something a little more fun. This is still in progress, and some classes have missing abilities and a few clunky not so fun abilities remain. Holywater has been transferred (back) into a throwable grenade/item and is no longer an ability. My opinion is that holywater is a staple of Coven and it is back to all Slayer classes being able to purchase/throw it. Other grenades have also been implemented (or borrowed from HL2) as collectable items (frag grenade/stun grenade/SLAMs). Grenades can now be cooked to make them a little more useful against fast moving vampires. As a side note, I repaired the old holywater physics/model. Anyone reading this who played the old 2009/orange box Coven will surely remember the bizarre corkscrewing holywater of yesteryear. Healing type items and medkits are now purchasable as well as performance enhancing pills. Any purchased items will drop as a breakable item crate upon death. It seemed cruel for Slayers to spend all their hard earned money on a bunch of supplies just to lose them all.

Drop Boxes Items

New item system

A new game mode is in. The new game mode involves Slayers gathering gasoline for refueling an APC through a series of waypoints. Each subsequent checkpoint is marked by a flare, and has a time limit that accumulates as waypoints are reached. Slayers will need to guide the APC across a series of waypoints to ensure victory. Think TF2 cart mode. This has been implemented on two of the existing Coven maps. The other three don't lend themselves well to such a mode (and I am still not convinced about outskirts either), and I have other ideas bouncing around for providing more fun on those down the road. Currently they will default back to the old capture point game mode from 2014. Truth be told, I don't really even hate a Counter-Strike style simple round-based TDM mode. That's where Coven started and it still feels great. This is also implemented as a playable option. The mod in it's current state has some balance issues, and probably it's fair share of bugs. I am especially worried about the APC implementation. I am certain the Coven community will find new and horrible ways to break it if they are anywhere near as enthusiastic about breaking it as they were about breaking the grappling hook.

I will be dotting some I's and crossing some T's and pulling an installer together in the next few days. In case you hadn't read any of the above I will say it again: don't bother with the old installers. They don't work.

Comments
TheRenegadist
TheRenegadist

Good to see you back! Having ZP:S, ZM:R, and Coven remaking a resurgence is a wonderful thing for 2021 coming up.

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