First off, I want to ask all of you for an immense apology. I've been gone for literally years, and it's not because I died or the aliens took me. I'm not gonna make any excuses: I was lost. Both with HESK and with my real life business.
But I never liked drama, we can talk about sentimentalities later. So, I'll first off leave you with an 8 minute playthrough of the alpha version of HESK: Hyugaren, then give you a *small* description of what you see (and some of which did not make the final recording). I know, it is disgraceful that after all this time, a mere playthrough video with vanilla sprites and the same map as 2015 is all I got. I know, and I deeply sorry!
I'll try to summarize what you can see in the playthrough, so in case you missed some features in the vid, you can read them out here (I actually forgot to show off many features that are done, like battery depletion, weapon overheating, death by infection, and so on).
Bear in mind that, unless noted, all of these features are implemented and working (most of them appear in the playthrough, others were not present just because I forgot to record them).
• Weapons: All of the weapons in the gameplay are new. All of them sprites were ripped off from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. w/Arsenal Overhaul; and except for the Pistol (which was the very first weapon to be added), all were equipped in such way that you'll always see the same arms, wearing the same suit. Their mechanics and style were reworked for a much more aggressive feel. Some weapons need electricity, like the Minigun (which will depend on your suit, it's modifications and, of course, your usage). Others have special properties, like the As Val (muzzled by default). A properties grid appears on the top-right area of the screen when equipping the weapon. Reloading is specific for a few weapons for balancing purposes, while most of them retain the non-reload policy of the original Doom, for much more action and a faster gameplay. As for weight movement: It doesn't matter what or how much do you carry on your inventory, your walk/run speed will be determined on which weapon are you equipped with. You may also notice some special details added to their animations. As for the properties icons you see on the top-right grid when equipping a weapon, their meaning are (in order): Power per shot, electricity usage, overheating danger.
• Health and Armor system: Most of their complex inner workings is kept out of the player view, as for simplifying the gameplay experience. Armor is built from three main parts: Mainframes, Armor plates and Fabric, each which serve a specific purpose. There's three tiers for each part, which can be replaced at any time, and are independent from one another; so you can mix them together to basically craft your own armor. Around the 2:35 mark, you will notice I encountered an OEM "Senka" armor, which is the same the player uses at the start. However, fully repaired, the starting armor has better stats: That's because the starting armor is modified and mixes tier C parts with tier B parts. There are also special additions, which may increase running/walking speeds, enhance toxic/biohazard protection, or regenerating battery through running (crotch-dynamo!). However, armor depletion is different from the system most games use: You can repair your suit a finite amount of times, before the whole set is depleted beyond repair. That's because what you repair when you use a repair kit (I've used it a few times in the video) are the bound of said parts, not the parts themselves (which has individual, unrepairable wear). So, no matter how good your suit is, or how much you repair it: Eventually, if you get hit enough, at some point you'll have to replace it... Or replace the damaged parts! If you get, say, a new set of armor plates, your rupture protection will improve, because you replaced the damaged part (while using the repair kit will only repair their bond). Health works in a similar fashion, but with physic abilities and drugs instead of parts and repairs, along with other perks I may (or not) include in the future (like gaining strength when running, ie "exercising"). But I don't want to complicate that much the gameplay, you'll still live if you want to skip all this up and just use repair kits / replace your entire armor instead (there are at least 6 different models of OEM armors ready to wear). Health is much more ephimeral here, as both yours and your enemies attacks inflicts a lot of pain (you can die with just 3 pistol shots if you're unprotected, and around 7 or 8 if you wear top tier armor), so you'll have to know better than to "run" with a Minigun into a hellfest of shotgunners surrounding your perimeter. You'll have to device a plan for each situation, because you can die before you even know about it. Of course that, for balancing purposes, your attacks have the same power, and you can take them down in 2/3 pistol shots (or a single, well aimed shotgun shot).
• General gameplay: As you can see in the HUD, you have three main alerts: Toxicity (which will warn you that your suit is leaking toxic air from the contaminated environment; generally because a defective suit), Biohazard (this will blink if you get infected) and Overheat (this will tell if your equipped weapon overheats, just as the Minigun - which I forgot to show overheating, but it actually does). Then you have the electricity meter, which tells you which percentaje of your battery capacity you're actually on (this may be drained by a weapon or a suit modification, and you can recharge it in superchargers all over the map). On your left, you have the classics: life/armor bars. However, you've also a green bar, which shows your immunity levels. This is important, because with low immunity, you can get infected. If you get infected, your wounds will be worse. You can die if not properly medicated on time. You can use drugs to strengthen your immunity, or normalize your immunity levels. You can also monitor basic stats for your armor: Rupture (which basically tells you how your armor protects from tearing wounds), and Biochemical (which informs you of your toxicity/biohazard protection).
• Marksman Precision and extended options: One of the main new features is Marksman Precision, which allows players to engage in combat using the weapons iron sights. This is mostly a personal preference, for immersion mostly, and it can be turned off at any time, as shown in the vid. There are more extra options you can observe during the playthrough.
• Design details: You'll notice some special details, like the flies you see in the corpse at the start. They were to appear on every corpse after a while, just as those corpses started decomposing (and disappearing after a much while). There are also some specific stage details, like liquid leaking from some places, or audio details, like ambient wind in certain areas.
Another mechanics not shown on the video, or shown too fast to notice: Mix of fast pickups with inventory pickups, bullet casting (briefly shown through HESK extended options), infection through tainted blood or special viruses (and its subsecuent cure), weapons powerups (eternal, unique enhancements for each weapon), toxicity damage (shown in older vids).
Not implemented but in concept stage: Fast equip (you can choose your favourite weapon for its respective slot, and equip it by default when pressing said slot key - as it's expected to have at least two weapons per slot), PDA usage (which can be used to monitor extended stats), extended HUD option (which will be a simplified version of PDA information on Armor and weapons), complex breath bobbing (synchronized with breathing sounds, like already implemented bobbing synchronization with footsteps).
There was also a planned feature in which you would be able to craft your own drugs, with crazy side effects.
They key of all of this was to mantain simplicity, even with the most complex aspects. I still want the fast and simple gameplay of classic Doom, but with an RPG touch.
That's why there are elements which simplifies and subtitutes all the "crafting" aspect of the mod, so you can still play it like a classic Doom, with some RPG elements: OEM armors (complete, ready armors, like it was with our classic Green and Blue), health bonuses/stimpacks, a single virus/cure (as opposed to various virus and bacteria working together, as original planned), no character creation (if there was ever an improvement of the player "natural" stats, it would be silently in the background, only gaining them through playing or finding special items), static and regular speed iron sights (as opposed to slow, manual iron sights), no "stamina" system (instead limiting speed on weapon carried, allowing for a fast improvement on speed with just selecting a lighter weapon), and more...
Also, to expand a bit further on what you saw (and why):
You may have noticed this alpha uses ZDoom instead of GZDoom. This is originally intended to return to what the original HESK looked like in 2014, when it was first developed for software rendering (raw, crude, unfiltered and obsolete). Also, the migration to GZDoom definitely distracted me from the main purposes of the mod (mechanics, new monsters, new weapons, new items), instead focusing myself on somewhat frivolous aspects, like post-process shaders. Besides, when transitioning from 1.8.2 to 2.0, I had a serious flop in performance, so I decided back in the day to revert back to software and essential development for the time being.
This is not your fault, so don't worry, I always had in mind to release both a software and a GZDoom version.
On a side note, you may have noticed I learned to use 3D modelling software (Blender) and made some experiments in everything (modelling, sculpting, texturing, rendering). That's because it's the only workaround I found for my lack of drawing capabilities. This was the original reason I got stuck in development hell with HESK, and I tried to learn Blender back in 2015, with no avail. Then, in 2018, I gave it another try, and it was succesful. That's right, I really learned 3D art so I could continue with HESK.
I've mostly done some practices here and there, but some concepts as well. A very early version of the Lurker head (without soot pollution) looks like this:
But don't get so excited, because I won't expect to use 3D models in GZDoom. I'm not so sure of GZDoom capabilities with 3D models (I may be wrong though, and if that's the case, I will revert this decision). However, giving I'll release a software version anyway, I will render said models as sprites. Then, if I found the 3D implementation is good enough in GZDoom 2.0, I may use the brand new models as they are.
There were also a lot of ACS and Decorate re-writing. That's the reason why the Alpha doesn't show the early gore mechanics: Because it was just so badly written! Messy and glitchy sometimes, it was very poorly optimized. So I decided to write back every single line of code (which I mostly did, that's why HESK has its present armor/health system). Pertaining to weapons and armor/health mechanics, it's been done (and well commented, if anyone would like to further retouch them too). I still have a lot to optimize, specially map-based ACS and the previously mentioned Gore system.
Oh, and at last but not least, an old feature, implemented in the early days of the mod, but kept as a surprise for everyone to find: The infection/death animation. Days where protagonists chop, bath and almost lick infected blood and don't even get the damn flu are GONE. Watch your gibs, doomer.
It's not that visible in the recording, but the player actually rises again after turning into an infected. Now, march along those you shot before!
However, I should lower the expectations a bit here, because all of these changes were well done before 2020. I'm not discarding the possibility of resuming work, at all! In fact, I'm excited to show all this to you.
I just thought I owe to show everything I have to you, even if it's so alpha. I'm very sorry. I wish someday we could talk about the secrets and the properties of this mod, and you can tell me whatever weird thing you found along your path.
*Updated 15/10/2020 - 14:17 GTM-3*