Post news RSS Pure EPICNESS of release proportions

This weekend will mark a lot of things for me. 1- A new record in speed to completing a campaign, (Cold Case: The Forsaken) 2- 10 months of dev work essentially "finished" 3- A desperately needed reprieve from mapping 4- A long list of cuts...... woe to the cuts! 5- lots of other news....

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Oh god, it's finally over.

You've heard me right. On Sunday, October 18th 2009, Cold Case.... The campaign that's been in development since December 26th 2008.... The campaign that has been in the back of my mind for nearly 5 years is finally ready for RC.

What's RC you ask? Well it's just RELEASE CANDIDATE!

After a marathon 17 hrs of working, (and counting. I'm currently compiling maps right now), straight, I can say I am essentially done mapping for Cold Case, Version 1. This version will be showcased right at GAMEX. I can see everything finally coming together after such a long time. That means in a mere 5 days, if you are attending the event, you can have a hands-on sneak peak of the campaigns!

During these 5 days, I will be devoting all of my attention to manufacturing the computer cases I am planning on presenting for prizes to people attending the release party. I am also planning on making numerous extra, and selling them at GAMEX. This way I can hopefully make a little bit off of the debt I paid for the table.

With a breath of fresh air, I can finally feel like I've accomplished something. I've set out to prove a point, and I can easily say I far exceeded even my own expectations for what would be made. 25 maps? 10 versus maps? a secret 6th map? Sounds like crazy talk doesn't it?

But that does not mean everything is making this release. While it pains me to type this list, I think everyone fully expects that some things would be cut. Some I have been talking about for months, while others I have literally decided on just yesterday.

Cut1- CC6

Reason:

cc6, or "the secret 6th map", was always a snowballs chance in hell. It required a massive amount of time to animate, model, and texture all of the custom props I needed. It also required a lot of custom animations of the survivor models. I've been saying for months it would not make the initial release, and my reasons still stand. You can expect to download CC6 some time AFTER my extensive holiday.

Cut2- Item Boxes

Reason:

Item boxes were boxes scattered around the main campaign. Players would be able to approach these boxes, open them, and it would tell them their items, current stats, and location on the area map. It was a simple, yet EXTREMELY LABOR INTENSIVE TASK! It required a lot of func_brushes, materials, and cameras. I simply felt that players who would constantly need this would probably not appreciate the uniqueness of my main campaign, and would probably play the versus campaigns instead. I am still possibly considering this for the future updates of the campaign if people really get THAT lost. Internal betatesting has shown it is not needed.

Cut3- Redo of all the wav's

Reason:

Yes, most of the recordings were 1 or 2 takes. This is because I was using them as place holders until I could record some really great recordings. However, once the deadline started approaching, I just simply did not want to devote a good 3 days to updating something that really didn't need any fixing. The only people who whined about it anyways were 15 yr old kids on moddb anyways. You can expect more wavs in future releases.

Cut4- The intro

Reason:

Since I'm just one guy, I thought the best use of my time would be the gameplay itself. Since I didn't have a team, I couldn't take 2 weeks aside to animate a really kick butt intro featuring new animations and stuff.

Cut5- THE SURVIVAL MAPS

Reason:

Oh my god, I am cutting nearly 1/3 of my campaign? Am I crazy? No. I am simply saving them for my future updates. I thought the campaign was simply way too massive to bunch together these maps. I also have been experimenting with completely changing the way survival maps are played. Instead of simply "surviving", the players would do tasks instead. These tasks would allow them to get to bigger and better locations to hold out.

Cut6- COLD CASE: COVERT OPERATIONS

Reason:

Holy hell, am I serious? Why would I cut a working, tested, finished campaign from my release? Well let me tell you why. When I was devising the gameplay for Cold Case, I had one thing in mind: Make it unique. Traditional L4D, while great fun, is incredibly repetitive. Other than location, there is very little change to the actual "game play" of the maps. This is why Cold Case changes this. The main campaign's gameplay is so radically different than L4D, people have claimed it is a mod instead of a campaign. This reflects my game design I started way back with re1 in svencoop. People expect constant hordes of grunts to shoot, and I give them a survival horror map. CCTF, the campaign I literally started working on a week ago also has this gameplay element. While more linear than it's mother, it does feature some radically different game play elements, (which I will explain later). Covert Operations on the other hand, does not. It was my first attempt at a versus campaign, and it plays nearly identically to a standard campaign. I really didn't like this. It did not show my best intent as a game designer, so I have decided to shelf it, rework the gameplay, and release it as an update down the road.

Cut7- HDR compile

Reason:

Ooohh, this is a brutal one. All of my maps will be only fast compiled. This means..... little optimization.

(holds hands out for screaming angry crowd)

Hey hey, let me explain. If you are not familiar with game design, you might not know how much time it takes to optimize maps. It easily takes a good 20-50% of your time just to do this. Optimization means game-play, FPS hits, and other things that just enhance the fun factor of a game.

Sadly, since I have decided to dump this massive heap of content right on your lap on halloween, I haven't had enough testing hours to really make it as balanced as a valve campaign. I have only been able to test it through betatesters who have signed a NDA. This means, all I get from them are, "it's good. I don't really see anything wrong". This is where the updates come in to play. Over the next few months, I will receive feedback from the community, and I will use it to update my maps.

There is no HDR compiling, because it simply takes too much time, and I don't have a very powerful PC. I would rather just work on gameplay over making pretty sun effects :P

So what does this mean for you? Well, Instead of 35 maps, you will get 15. Less than half. Now, before you go whining to me about, "I thought you said it was done", let me say A- it IS done, and I don't want to release subpar gameplay, and B- If you actually PLAY the campaigns, you will see it's far more than enough custom content to satisfy your needs. By ONLY releasing CCTF, I would have been one of the only single mappers to release a full 5 map versus+coop campaign..... ever. That means working finales, and non game-ending bugs. I also felt that releasing everything at one time would really be dumb on my part, because it's just so much content, I really can space this out.

OTHER NEWS
- The GXL gaming league, (www.thegxl.com), has asked me to release my campaign at their upcoming huge release party! This means I will be setting up shop, and starting the virus-like release of my campaign rignt in one of New Jersey's largest lan parties! I will also be on site to host the versus tournament, along with giving out great prizes and t-shirts to people who sign up!

- Noesis Interactive has generously donated to me THREE FREE TUTORIALS FOR PRIZES! This is a 150$ value! This fantastic pot will be added onto the prize heap for anyone registering for the release party!

- The Survivor's Diary, (http://www.supacomm.net/survivorsdiary/portal/), a Brittish based podcast website was given a hands-on preview of my campaign. I was featured in their podcast where I spoke a bit about mapping, answered questions, and more! Here are some of the notes they had about my campaign:

  • game play wise, its far from
    traditional l4d, with an actual developing storyline as you move
    along through the 5 map campaign. The story is delivered through
    written annotations from the perspective of the character you are
    playing, voice acting through walky-talkies, room d├ęcor and in-game
    video sequences
  • The campaign as a whole maintains
    a haunting atmosphere which gives it more of a feeling of a gore
    slasher jumper movie than a zombie film. Depending on the players
    preferences this can be seen as either a positive or a negative.
  • <!-- Overall the general theme ties in well with the use of puzzles, giving it the twisted sense of urgency of a resident evil game tied in with the decaying dystopian distortion of the left 4 dead world. Its kind of like if half life 2 and resident evil had an evil decaying zombie baby.
  • <!-- Each level is very vast and has a lot to it unlike other campaigns, with each level taking you about 30 minutes to complete you will find that this will eat up a lot of time. But this seems to be close to what I expected L4D to originally be, as a lot of the time you are worried about ammo supplied, grenades and upcoming tanks. You would really have to save your ammunition as you really did not know how far it would be until the next ammo pile. Meaning that a new level of fear is introduced making the game more atmospheric.

Overall, they were very pleased with the campaign, and gave it very high reviews. Pretty good for an internal beta imo :)

FINAL PRE-REG WINNERS
Congradulations to:

- Nick Allen: You won the Hanover drawing tablet!
- Vince Phung: You won BlackSite Area51!

Thanks to everyone who pre-registered! Since there will be a lot more people registering for the release prizes at GXL, you can bet the prizes will probably be EPIC!

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