Hello everyone, welcome to the SECOND article on Markov Chain.
If you read the summary, you know we're very close to the demo now and I could honestly release it at this moment. I'm going to wait though, as I'm gradually adding more to it and lately I've been making a lot of small gameplay changes. I've also posted a video of the Aim System in use for those who aren't already familiar with it from Teleport.
How Has The Gameplay Changed Since Last Time?
I decided to work a bit more on the balance of the mod, taking it even further than I had before. I changed armor to be a lot less effective in reducing player damage, made the shotgun a much more practical weapon, increased the power of the Glock, reduced Barney and Grunt's minimum headshot threshold, decreased the player's max movement by a small amount, and made the AR slightly more accurate.
This is all to help the flow of the game while maintaining the Hard difficulty as an extremely challenging way to play. My hopes are that people will be able to play the game in Medium, feel significantly challenged, and then wish to play again on Hard. This is likely to be a process that will only be complete near the end of the mod's full release. I do hope the changes I've made will allow the demo at least partially reflect this however.
A few details on how things were changed:
- On Hard, Player is affected by same headshot multiplier as enemies. Quadruple damage.
- On Hard, Player is only given 25 Armor per pickup.
- On Hard, Player is only given 35 Health per pick up.
Hard mode will be considered the "Canon" run of the game, that matching most to the setting. Canonically, Joshua's SECUCOM issued armor is very different than a traditional Plate Carrier that most military forces are still using in this setting. Only certain areas of his armor allow for a swap of trauma plates.
Health? I don't know, I'm just going to call that a gameplay mechanic because being instantly healed by a first aid kit never made sense in the first place. I guess it makes a bit more sense than regenerating health.
Details on other changes:
- Shotgun's spread and pellet number have been brought a bit closer to realistic values to make it a more viable weapon. Shotgun is now effective at mid range not just at short range. It also fires 9 pellets now as opposed to the vanilla 6.
- AR's accuracy has been slightly improved. Its vector cone has been tightened one degree. This isn't a lot but makes the weapon make a bit more sense.
- The Glock's strength has been raised just a few points to make it less likely you'll need more than two or three rounds to put down a Barney enemy.
- Both the Barney and Grunt's headshot threshold has been reduced enough that the Glock is a viable weapon against both. Its still impractical against the Grunts, but you should be able to fight them using it provided you have enough skill.
- The Player's maximum movement speed has been decreased from the default of 270 to about 240. This is mostly to serve as a psychological cue that this mod's gameplay is vastly different than vanilla. This change came about after seeing testers attempt to speed through the mod as if it were Teleport or vanilla Half Life, only to die literally over twenty times each.
How Long Will The Demo Be?
The demo will be about the same length as Teleport's demo in terms of physical size but vary greatly depending on the skill of the player and how they adapt to the gameplay changes made. What I mean by this is I've observed highly skilled Gamers (beyond just my own testers), play my mod and die literally dozens of times. For a few of these people this meant the mod lasted about an hour or more, for one of them it meant it lasted about 30 minutes. My own run on Hard before the changes I recently made was about 15 minutes with only one death, obviously because I'm the designer.
This individual who beat the mod in 30 minutes actually died far far far more times than the rest. He brute forced the mod by reloading saves and moving as fast as he could from point to point. This is completely legitimate but is a very different play style than a lot of people. If you're like this individual, your playtime will likely be short and thats fine. On the opposite end of things, the other players took their time and had far better survival rates, but their length of play was more than twice that of the brute force player. Basically due to the changes made, it will vary depending on your playstyle and experience level.
About my own run, I aim to get Hard mode to a level where my own completion time matches at least the brute force player. If I can get it to about that point, Hard mode will hopefully be where it needs to be. That will depend on your feedback as players though, if its Hard enough for me but doesn't feel fun anymore to anyone else, I will definitely make changes.
That's all for this update.
I'll be posting more as we get closer to the Demo's release, and also on the day of the release.
Thank you all for taking interest in my mod, I hope things are going well for all of you.