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The Chatterbox => Gaming => Topic started by: Spectere on January 24, 2019, 10:28:20 AM

Title: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on January 24, 2019, 10:28:20 AM
Kind of a personal spinoff to vlad's gaming threads.

Current 2019 goals:

1. Focus on Doom tricks. I've recently managed to pull off a series of both guided and guideless glides while playing casually (MAKE SENSE OF THAT), so I might as well keep at it and start lowering my time. I'm not aiming for WR, but some nice PBs would be pretty fantastic.

2. Hyrule Warriors grinding. I'd like to get as many characters to at least level 100 as possible. Link is already there, with his closest runners (Zelda, Skull Kid, Impa, Linkle) sitting in the mid-70s to low-80s. I'd also like to clear the first four adventure maps (the first one is already done, so that leaves the Great Sea, as well as the Master Quest versions of the classic and Great Sea maps).

3. Horizon: Zero Dawn. I bought the definitive edition cheap when I picked up my PS4 Pro but I have yet to play it. That needs to change.

4. (added 2019-02-13) Rebel Galaxy.. Had a ton of fun with this a couple years ago and just never picked it up again. Whoops.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on February 05, 2019, 11:53:48 AM
By doom tricks do you mean something like...this? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYbQIsAtlnY)

I mean it's quake...but yknow, when I think tricks, I think Q3 defrag.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 06, 2019, 07:55:31 PM
Nooooope, haha. Well, not yet, anyway. Q3A people are on a whole 'nother level entirely.

I'm aiming more for speedrunning stuff, sort of like this:
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 13, 2019, 09:49:24 AM
Added Rebel Galaxy (https://spectere.net/forums/index.php/topic,2111.msg42392.html#msg42392). Thanks for the reminder, vlad. :P
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on February 13, 2019, 11:13:57 PM
It's a criminally underlooked game. Only $20 (at launch, not sure about now), great music, fun combat, nice progression. It's a little on the repetitive side, but it's all good. I think I bought whatever the fastest ship in the game was, avoiding combat and doing the high end non combat missions till I could afford some of the big boats.

Really enjoyed my time with it. Sequels plz.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 14, 2019, 10:59:42 AM
The music was one of the huge draws for me. The first time I entered a battle and the music kicked in I just yelled "oh HELL YEAH." It's pretty much Space Swashbuckler Simulator.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on April 19, 2019, 07:17:49 AM
2. Hyrule Warriors grinding. I'd like to get as many characters to at least level 100 as possible. Link is already there, with his closest runners (Zelda, Skull Kid, Impa, Linkle) sitting in the mid-70s to low-80s. I'd also like to clear the first four adventure maps (the first one is already done, so that leaves the Great Sea, as well as the Master Quest versions of the classic and Great Sea maps).

As of early this morning (I have a really screwy sleep schedule, okaaaaay?) the standard Great Sea map has been fully cleared (that is to say: all non-respawning items have been collected).

I'm also going to be speed running the main story (I'm working on doing a bunch of initial planning before I start committing time to practice runs--I'll probably update this thread with my progress on that) for a charity gaming marathon (https://superstigmaslam.com/) that some of my friends are hosting in October.

Speaking of charity marathons, if you want to see an absolute clusterfuck of a Doom II co-op UV/HMP playthrough that I was involved in, here you go: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/411472245?t= (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/411472245?t=)
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on April 21, 2019, 10:39:46 PM
How long you been speed running? I know you did Metroid, but doing multiple games gotta take a lot of time, and you have to like the game enough to play it for months on end.

Only game I had like that was mass effect 1, and it wasn't even that fast for speedrun standards. ~4.5 hours.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on April 22, 2019, 01:53:12 AM
I guess you could say I've done speedrunning since the first time I saw Quake Done Quick, though I tend to do it somewhat casually. If a trick requires excessive grind to pull off (see: OoT any%) then I'm definitely not interested. Really, I'm more about self-improvement than world records, mostly since I don't have the attention span to grind a single game for that length of time.

That's the thing that I like about the marathons that my friends host: being small events they tend to be pretty casual by comparison. While finishing games swiftly is obviously encouraged, you're not really going to see many top 10 players there (aside from EnchantressOfNumbers, but she's a local and a friend).

I do get plenty of practice beforehand (and I'm taking the Hyrule Warriors thing a bit more seriously than most, as I actually do have a real shot at nailing a WR on Definitive Edition--the boards are pretty barren) and get a very solid idea of what my capabilities are before I start. Like, for their fall Extra Life 2018 event I ended up running Metroid: Zero Mission any% and just couldn't consistently nail the bomb jump timing for early Varia (2005 Ian would be so disappointed) so I changed strats and went for a slightly longer route. To be fair, I only knew that I was running that game like a week before the event, so I didn't have much time to actually get good at it again. Regardless, I still managed an acceptable time (IIRC, it was around 1:25:?? RTA and 1:15:?? in-game--my PB is ~0:43:?? in-game).
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 07, 2019, 09:52:36 AM
Here's some Doom shit. Some of it's old, most of it is fairly new, but it offers a pretty good idea of where I stand with a lot of the fun stuff.

Doom - E1M4
I was able to SR40 onto the ledge to do an early yellow key grab. I don't know why I never tried that before, it's actually pretty easy.

The exit pit jump (which obsoletes the early yellow key grab strat) was a bit beyond my reach. I don't know if my angle was off or if I just couldn't gain enough speed. That's the largest jump you can clear with an SR50 run, so it could be either one of the above.

Doom - E2M6

The void glide on this map was my first time actually nailing a glide in Doom. I'm not particularly consistent with it yet, but I was able to set a 43 second PB by combining a lucky setup with a quick exit switch press (pressing the exit switch from the void is a lot harder than it sounds).

Doom - E2M7

This is the big one (for me, anyway). It took me about a dozen tries but I was able to nail the rocket jump to the exit that skips, like, most of the level. I practically squealed when I managed to pull this off.

Doom - E3M6

Managed to set a PB of 9 seconds time to get to the secret exit by pressing the exit switch through the wall (3 seconds over WR, which is like an eternity for a map this short, but I was pleased to get sub-10).

Doom - E3M7

I haven't played this one all that recently, but I crushed this map at the fall Extra Life marathon that my friends held. Obviously not a 110% optimal run, but it was a fantastic footnote to an already solid (by my standards) episode 3 run. Managed to get all of the major skips on the first or second try and (I think) managed to make a labyrinthine map look reasonably straight-forward.

Doom - E4M1

Well, first of all, I managed to do a UVMAX (Ultra-Violence, 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets) clear of this map. If you've ever played this map you'll know why that's noteworthy. If not, look it up on YouTube. Fucking yikes.

Secondly, red key grab. Not too difficult, but a little tricky to do quickly while under fire from a bunch of hitscanners.

Doom 2 - MAP06

The jump at the beginning is a bit tricky, but being able to single cycle the blue key is satisfying as hell.

Basically, instead of just riding the lift down into the titular crusher, run at an angle to the left. If you pick up enough speed and get your angle and positioning right you can slip through the bars and make an early jump to the switch that lowers the blue key lift. Hit the switch, rush to the lift that has the blue key, SR40 across the nukage, then jump on the elevator back to the beginning area right as it's about to go up. Fuckin' love it.

Doom 2 - MAP13

I was able to do the blue key grab. A bit finicky but I eventually managed to get a pretty comfortable setup down for it. Basically, you SR50 into the door that the blue key is behind and your character will push into the wall enough to grab it. Harder than the red key grab in E4M1 but nothing too noteworthy.

Doom 2 - MAP16

Pretty straightforward glide into the exit. This skips the red and blue keys and makes a fairly rough map fairly easy.

Doom 2 - MAP18

Managed a 30 second UV-speed (Ultra-Violence any%, pistol start) time on this map. Really fun to run, not quite as much fun to play through casually.

Doom 2 - MAP19

Managed to do the blue and/or yellow key skip by doing a guideless glide through the end gates. This is the video clip that I linked earlier in this thread.

Doom 2 - MAP21

I managed to (after a lot of attempts) do a keyless exit on this map.  The glide through the yellow key gate is at least guided, but it's made a lot tougher with everything shooting at you.

The blue key door skip is easy enough that I'd pretty much been doing it since the game came out (seriously, you just walk against the corner and if your angle is even close to correct you'll just walk through the gap. That's it. I don't know how they didn't catch that).

The red key skip was...rough. I'm not too sure about the exact technical details behind this, but I have a feeling it exploits the same things as E2M6's void glide. Basically, you have to push through the blue gate, glide between the blue and red gates, jam yourself into the corner, move in such a way that your weapon moves like you're running at full speed, then fire a rocket at the blue gate. I think that does one of two things: it either pushes your hitbox across the teleporter linedef that leads to the exit chamber or causes the entire player object to move enough units in one frame to bypass collision detection.

Regardless, I managed to do it after about 40-50 tries. Felt good, man.

Doom 2 - MAP22

Managed to do the blue key skip (a glide between the bars in the northeast wing of the map). It's not too difficult as far as glides go, but it's really awkward due to how they're angled.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 15, 2019, 10:12:56 AM
2. Hyrule Warriors grinding. I'd like to get as many characters to at least level 100 as possible. Link is already there, with his closest runners (Zelda, Skull Kid, Impa, Linkle) sitting in the mid-70s to low-80s. I'd also like to clear the first four adventure maps (the first one is already done, so that leaves the Great Sea, as well as the Master Quest versions of the classic and Great Sea maps).

Slight revision: working on speedrunning this.

Also, collecting all of the skulltulas in the story mode missions. I can't adequately describe how annoying some of the hard mode one are to get (the base ones all just require you to get 1000 KOs, which is easy to do on your first run through if you know to do it).
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on July 17, 2019, 08:15:08 PM
Still on that dynasty zelda grind? I honestly don't think ive seen a single dynasty warriors speedrun in my life.

Going back to the old post, doom got me wanting...doom...

I have "The Ultimate DOOM" on the steams, but all I did with it was download decaduple doom (every enemy spawn, spawns 10 of said enemy...1 imp = 10 imps, 3 imps = 30 imps) and enjoyed that, but never had the urge to beat one. Never too late to start...
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 18, 2019, 08:05:58 AM
Still on that dynasty zelda grind? I honestly don't think ive seen a single dynasty warriors speedrun in my life.

The leaderboards are pretty barren. From what I've done so far it sort of seems like I could very well be on WR pace, haha. I need to get a recording/streaming solution together soon.

I have "The Ultimate DOOM" on the steams, but all I did with it was download decaduple doom (every enemy spawn, spawns 10 of said enemy...1 imp = 10 imps, 3 imps = 30 imps) and enjoyed that, but never had the urge to beat one. Never too late to start...

Okay yeah, I need to try that. :O

I've gotten quickly beating Doom (nothing like WR pace; more like getting well under par on every level) down to a science for the most part, so that should make things very interesting. The only level I even remotely have any issues with throughout all of Doom and Doom 2 is E4M6, because fuck that cyberdemon at the end.

Oh jeez, does Decaduple Doom multiply the boss spawns as well? If so: yikes.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on July 18, 2019, 08:41:09 PM
I downloaded it years ago because of this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgwYG_ztXgg). RIP one of the better lets players on the internet, probably got a life or something.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 20, 2019, 02:22:22 AM
The leaderboards are pretty barren. From what I've done so far it sort of seems like I could very well be on WR pace, haha. I need to get a recording/streaming solution together soon.

Oh, yeah definitely need a setup if there's a chance of getting a WR.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 22, 2019, 10:02:06 AM
I downloaded it years ago because of this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgwYG_ztXgg). RIP one of the better lets players on the internet, probably got a life or something.

Lives are overrated. id took them out of Doom, after all. :P

Gotta say, that mod looks pretty legit. I'm going to have to check that out.

And yeah, it is nice having an LPer who has a decent sounding mic setup and doesn't spend half of the video SCREAMING. IN. YOUR. EAR. I also like how he took the time to prep his videos for easy YouTube consumption and didn't just dump a bunch of massive 4 hour Twitch VODs on his channel. It's a shame he stopped.

Oh, yeah definitely need a setup if there's a chance of getting a WR.

I mean, in a pinch I could just get a USB 3 HDMI capture device, steal the webcam from my OctoPrint rig, hook up my mic, and call it a day. My PC is in the same room. It wouldn't be ideal, but it would work. :)
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 15, 2019, 03:16:40 PM
I managed to nail the Zero Press on Doom 2 MAP15 last night:


It took a while to figure out the exact position to hit the switch, but after working that out it's surprisingly easy to do and fairly consistent.

The way you're supposed to do this is to fight through the yellow key area, which involves going through the inside area, hitting a switch to activate some stairs, then crawling up to the battlements and pressing a switch to open a door on the first floor, then collecting the blue key from inside the door. Along the way are some awkwardly placed enemies that tend to get in your way and make it difficult to do the necessary backtracking to get the blue key. It's slow enough that it's faster, easier, and more consistent to open up the secret exit and go through the first secret level.

The Zero Press (discovered by the runner Zero Master) takes advantage of several quirks of the Doom engine to hit the switch from the ground level.

First of all, height is not accounted for when checking for activation. If a switch is 10000 units above your head you can still press it as long as it's within your activation range. Second, two-sided linedefs do not block activation, making it trivial to hit switches through a ledge if they're positioned right (hitting the exit switch in E2M2 in the slime and activating the secret exit switch on E3M6 are two popular examples of this in action). The thing that's initially tricky about the MAP15 press, I suspect, is the distance between the player position outside of the "castle" area and the switch itself. The positioning is precise, but there's enough clues on the texture to help you line it up.

Basically, you go to the far wall, turn right, go right around the middle, find the fairly noticeable texture seam and move 3.5 texels to the right of that. Face the wall at such an angle that you move very slowly to the left, hold forward, and mash spacebar until you hear the switch press sound, then run into the castle, pick up the blue key, and complete the level normally.

Feels good, man.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on August 16, 2019, 02:57:01 AM
I love that there's still so much complexity in a seemingly fairly simple FPS when it comes to speedrunning. Doom is one hell of a game.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 16, 2019, 10:34:09 AM
Indeed! I think the best part about it is that a lot of these little tricks is that most of them are a result of the game being able to run on a 386/486. :p
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 26, 2019, 08:45:47 AM
So I'm going to be venturing over to the Madison, WI, area to run Doom II (Ultra-Violence), Quake (Easy), and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (Main Quest) at Super Stigma Slam (a charity gaming marathon benefiting Take This (https://www.takethis.org/)) in early October this year. They're not really going to be speedruns, per say; more like a faster-than-average semi-casual sort of thing.

I'll create a topic on this when I have more specific info to share.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on October 21, 2019, 01:41:36 PM
Played a bunch of Hyrule Warriors this weekend (roughly 12.5 hours, judging from the iOS Screen Time feature (I always have a reference guide up on my iPad while I play, not to mention some sort of music app)) and cleaned out a decent chunk of the Master Mode Adventure Map (grabbing a bunch of level 3 weapons during my rampage), as well as a few squares on the Master Mode Wind Waker map.

In addition to that, I also finished clearing the Legend Mode stages on Hard and snagged all of the hard mode Skulltulas. There's one thing I never have to do ever again. I do need to pick up some heart containers/pieces from the legend mode maps and finish clearing them on Hero mode (shouldn't be a problem, seeing as Link is level 154 now).

Oh, Link also got his third row of hearts, giving him a total of 41. Not at all excessive.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on January 22, 2020, 08:54:32 AM
Renamed this thread because I'm great at sticking with specific games and goals. \o/

So I'm starting to slowly get back into Monster Hunter World. I have a couple of people to consistently play with, so that should make it a bit easier to get back into it.

Additionally, I just started playing through the current Path of Exile league (with SSF—solo self-found—enabled, per my usual playstyle). I ended up changing things up a bit and rolling a marauder (most of my other toons are ranged), fittingly named ANGERYLAD.

I can't say that the metamorph league is really doing much for me, at least not where I'm at right now (just starting Act 3). The overall gist of it is that you collect parts from creatures in the world and combine them into a sort of amalgamation. The metamorph creature acquires different traits from the parts that you give it, and the higher quality the parts are (that is, the rarity of the creatures that they come from) the more damage the metamorph does and the better the rewards are.

The rewards haven't been terrible, but I was kind of hoping that the parts would last a bit longer, making farming high quality parts across multiple zones more viable. However, it seems like the parts are only viable within a single area and must be used before you change zones, so if you aren't lucky enough to get parts from rare spawns you're going to be stuck with common-quality parts. Things might improve later, so I'm reserving my final judgment for now.

I've managed to keep a decent balance between offensive and defensive power at this point, so hopefully I can keep that up. I have a nasty habit of making glass cannon melee characters in ARPGs, and that usually ends in tears (unless the game is piss easy like Diablo III).
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on January 23, 2020, 11:25:11 PM
How far are you in dat monster hunter? Do remember, game starts at high rank. Would totally play with if cross compatable multiplayer, but nope.  I got half way through iceborne waiting for a friend to play with, but he ditched out on me so I stopped.

I did notice PoE had some big update, maybe enough to make me look into playing it past act2 without getting bored? maybe? How is that update anyway?

Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on January 24, 2020, 10:14:52 AM
I made it to the early stages of high rank (currently on nergi) before I got distracted and fell out of it. At this point I'm basically using the stronger low-rank and weaker high-rank monsters as a refresher before I start making that push toward master rank. And yeah, it's a shame they don't have some sort of cross-compatible multiplayer system. Then again, even if they did the PC version is something like 6 months behind the console versions.

As far as PoE is concerned, I guess it depends on when you've last played. The game doesn't feel as slow as it did when I first started playing it, and I don't think that's necessarily due to familiarity. It feels like the game gives you more skill gems earlier on so that you can experiment with them from an earlier time and aren't relegated to auto-attacking everything for the first act. In addition to that, they've integrated mechanics from several of the previous leagues into the mainline game, giving you a bit more to do in early-game.

There's also the distinct possibility that I'm full of shit and the game just clicked for me at some point, but I can safely say that I'm enjoying it a lot more now than I did a couple of years ago.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on January 24, 2020, 06:40:30 PM
The variety in gems has gotten better. Still, generally there aren't nearly as many good leveling skills as there are endgame viable ones due to many of them needing lots of scaling to be any good. They almost always add a few gems per season and tweak some of them too.

They are always considering whether to keep a mechanic from a league and by this point the game has grown massively compared to a few years ago.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 20, 2020, 12:48:06 PM
This doesn't really relate to playing games, per se, (though I am going to need to test it :P) but I've been in the process of porting MegaZeux, a mid-90s game creation system, to the PS Vita:



This was kind of an interesting project. On the surface it should be easy since the Vita has a reasonably complete SDL2 implementation (which MZX supports) and, like the PS3 and PS4, use a BSD-derived OS. Since MZX uses POSIX calls for file management you'd think you could just configure the package then build and package it with the Vita SDK toolchain. Noooooope.

Vita's OS lacks one crucal feature: the ability to traverse directories in userspace. This sounds like an odd omission, but when you think about it, it's not really something that a packaged game should need to do. MZX, however, does need this feature. Luckily, functions that return file listings will still identify directories as expected, otherwise it would be impossible to actually do anything about it.

What I ultimately did was intercept all of the commands that open files by directory or change directories and writing my own reasonably-POSIX-compliant (they comply to the description given in the Linux man pages, anyway) functions that handle tracking the current directory and changing the directory, including throwing the expected errors when an invalid path is given. Here's a link to the black magic itself:

https://github.com/Spectere/megazeux/blob/viva_la_vita/arch/psvita/vitaio.c (https://github.com/Spectere/megazeux/blob/viva_la_vita/arch/psvita/vitaio.c)

For the sake of simplicity it uses some linked list code (https://github.com/Spectere/megazeux/blob/viva_la_vita/arch/psvita/linked_list.c) I wrote for another project to track the directory chain. That also gives it a bit of inherit safety, as the list implementation's delete routines won't do anything if the list is empty, preventing ".." from root from working. This also acts as a sandbox, preventing MZX from accessing files outside of its root directory. The implementation is also OS-agnostic. I was able to use it on a Linux build with zero issues. :P

After all of that was written, all it took to replace the default functions was a bit of #define magic:

Code: [Select]
#define chdir(path) vitaio_chdir(path)
#define fopen(pathname, mode) vitaio_fopen(pathname, mode)
#define getcwd(buf, size) vitaio_getcwd(buf, size)
#define mkdir(path, mode) vitaio_mkdir(path, mode)
#define opendir(name) vitaio_opendir(name)
#define rmdir(path) vitaio_rmdir(path)
#define stat(path, buf) vitaio_stat(path, buf)

Hacky, yes, but it allowed everything to work without me having to #ifdef off every single I/O call in the MZX source.

There were some other considerations that needed to be made. setvbuf doesn't seem to do anything on the Vita, for example, which would cause saved games to take 20+ seconds to save on a good day. Since the Vita has plenty of memory, I changed it to use a memory buffer (https://github.com/Spectere/megazeux/blob/viva_la_vita/src/world.c#L1983) instead, then dump the entire file in one pass. Now it takes less than a second.

The Vita also has the ability to use a Bluetooth keyboard, making it the only embedded platform that can feasibly use MZX's editor. The issue there is that the Vita's SDL2 implementation doesn't properly pass Unicode characters to the target program. I ended up borrowing some code from the 3DS build's touchscreen keyboard implementation (https://github.com/Spectere/megazeux/blob/viva_la_vita/src/event.c#L403) to translate the scancodes into Unicode. It isn't perfect, but it's a workable solution for now.

Lachesis (she posts on here as Alice once in a while) gave me a ton of pointers and assistance on the non-Vita stuff. Definitely couldn't have pulled this off so quickly without her help!

The next thing I want to take a crack at is using the front/rear touchpads to emulate a trackpad/mouse, since MZX can take advantage of those as well. We'll see how that goes.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 24, 2020, 07:09:31 AM
I decided to start playing through AI: The Somnium Files yesterday. Woo, that's been a bit of a ride so far. 11 hours in and I'm terribly confused. What I'm trying to say is that it's what you'd expect from a game by Kotaro Uchikoshi (and, if you know my opinion on the Zero Escape series you'll know that that's a very good thing).

It's not something that I can really say much about without spoiling the plot, so consider this to be a proverbial "checking of the box." I'll post more about my thoughts on it after I've beaten it.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 01, 2020, 04:22:36 PM
I decided to start playing through AI: The Somnium Files yesterday.

Just beat it. Took roughly 26 hours—28 with the occasional reload to get some collectibles. I still have some more to grab, though I'll probably use a guide to do it.

I absolutely loved it. Compared to Zero Escape there are fewer branches in the story but they're all unique. Some people complained about crashes, but I haven't experienced a single crash during the entirety of my playtime.

Again, I can't really go into specifics without spoiling the plot, but it was a satisfying run. Things start to naturally click as you progress through the story.

How would I compare it to the Zero Escape series? Hmm. Hard to say, honestly. In AI the roster of primary characters is smaller, so I'd say you get to know individuals a bit better. The puzzle segments (rather, Somnium sequences in AI) definitely aren't as engaging as the puzzle segments in ZE, though I feel that the character interactions generally feel a better written. The story also has a defined beginning and ending. No sequel bait here! It was gripping to the point where I spent around twelve hours playing it yesterday, then I flopped out of bed this morning, turned on my computer, and finished the rest of it in another five.

The graphics and animations are nothing to write home about, but that's fairly common in this genre. They generally compliment the story well, and aside from a few little things that push my buttons (like bad mipmapping on road surfaces) nothing was really too egregious.

As you can imagine, I highly recommend this if you're a fan of VNs.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on March 03, 2020, 02:52:03 PM
As a non coder, how intuitive is it to assess a problem, dig in there, and fix it? Looking from the outside in, looks like witchcraft to me.

Still, cool stuff. Been looking at getting a vita mostly for digital downloads of psp stuff, assuming that's available on there? Wouldn't mind sinking my teeth into the psp ports of persona 1 and 3. Looking at ebay, prices seem kinda high for what seems to be a low demand irrelevant system. If sony got their shit together and just let you use the psp/ps3/psvita/pstv part of the ps store on the ps4 I wouldn't have any issues, but they keep em separate for some reason.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 03, 2020, 05:55:38 PM
A lot of that depends on your level of experience with the code in question, as well as the platform you're targeting. In the case of MegaZeux I have a reasonable understanding of the platform code due to refactoring (reorganizing, basically) and extending the clipboard handling code, so I had a pretty good idea of where to look when I started digging things apart.

As far as getting to that point, it's like taking something apart. Whenever you dive into someone else's code you're always going to be at a disadvantage. Like artists, every programmer has their own ideas on the best way to accomplish certain goals. One of the methods that I tend to use is to determine which section I want to change and search through the code for references to that particular thing. From there I have a few options—I can tweak certain values to see if I can change the result of something, place debug print statements throughout the code to see what happens in certain conditions, or run the thing through a debugger and have it stop at certain lines to observe the contents of variables. Unfortunately, the best way to do this depends on your knowledge of the code and the exact thing that you're trying to accomplish, so there's no real one size fits all solution.

To give you an idea of how I approached the Vita port, I first started off by installing the development tools and making sure that I could build and run Vita homebrew. You always want to use sample code with your tools, not run something that someone else built. You want to be able to generate the file on your PC, send it to the target, and run it from there. This allows you to make sure that your toolchain (the set of tools that convert readable source code to machine code) is sane (functional) and that the packaging tools (that is, the programs that take the toolchain's output and converts it into something you can install on the system) are functional.

After verifying that, I took a look at the capabilities of the system and the available libraries. MegaZeux's preferred graphics, audio, and input library is SDL 2.0, with SDL 1.3 being a good fallback. It has several options for playing back tracker music (libxmp, libmodplug, and mikmod), Vorbis files (libvorbis and tremor), and also supports RAD (Reality Adlib Tracker).

The Vita SDK supports SDL 2.0, which basically gave me audio, video, and input for free. The system is a reasonably powerful quad-core ARM processor. I know that the 3DS port of MegaZeux could handle RAD playback, and since the Vita is faster I was reasonably sure it could as well (and it does). The CPU supports floating point instructions, so I could use libvorbis instead of tremor. Additionally, it has plenty of memory (512MB) so it's nowhere near as limited as many of the other portables that it supports.

So, the next step is to just try building it. The original build I made was fairly minimal, as I wanted to be able to just run MegaZeux and have something display on the screen. I built it with no audio support, targeting SDL 2.0. That's when I ran into that little issue with the Vita's inability to traverse directories. The game won't even compile since those functions simply don't exist in the Vita's userspace APIs. I rewrote them, then used some C trickery to remap those functions to my custom ones, and was able to come up with a working build.

It worked. I was able to load a world. I didn't have audio, so I couldn't hear anything, and I didn't have working input so I couldn't actually play the game, but I could see the title sequence doing its thing. From there, it was just a matter of making an organized list and running through the required features point by point, and honestly it became a bit of a blur after a while. This is largely where the collaboration aspect came up, too. Lachesis is the lead developer of MegaZeux and knows the source like the back of her hand, so whenever I'd run into trouble she would advise me where to look and I'd generally work out a solution. Collaborating and working off of another dev's experience is pretty key with stuff like that.

A huge part of the "heavy development" phase is just staying organized. Figure out the problems, prioritize them, tackle them one by one, and test the shit out of everything. It's much easier to handle a large problem if you take care of it step by step.

Also, yeah, everything Vita-related went up in value ever since the systems were busted wide open. I was planning to get a PSTV to verify compatibility but it ended up being way too expensive for what it was, like rivaling the PS4 in price. :|
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 05, 2020, 12:04:23 PM
Speaking of MegaZeux stuff, I added optional save slot support to it recently (very handy for consoles, but desktop users can make use of it as well):
(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/315376396002263042/684134238341169152/unknown.png)
Looks like it's probably going to be in the next release. \o/
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on March 05, 2020, 09:45:12 PM
Man, that stuff is so interesting. I am not really qualified to give an educated response (my knowledge is almost 0) but it seems to me similar to a mechanic fixing a car. Vehicle has a problem, and through their own experience they look around in certain areas that correlate to the symptoms.

I swear one of these days i'll get sublime and bugger around with some python (for probably 20 minutes before getting frustrated and quitting, being realistic about myself here). I'm jelly, but i know it takes a lot of work and practice, as with learning anything else. I have a pc now, so I really got no excuses other than, not enough free time, using said free time to play vidya instead.

It's like exercise, learning a new language (Я могу читать по русски хотя бы)and coding, three things i wanna do, but I don't. TOO MANY THINGS NOT ENOUGH TIME, or energy.

Curious though, I assume you do this as a profession, how is hobby coding? Still have motivation to tinker around with side projects after work? I think small projects sound fun, maybe bugger around with a raspberry pi project or something.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 06, 2020, 08:47:48 AM
Yeah, it's pretty much exactly like fixing a car. This is probably one of the few cases where car analogies work, in my experience. :P

I know what you mean as far as the lack of free time goes. Being an adult is overrated.

And yes, I work as a full-time developer for an optical laboratory. Unless I find myself seriously burned out I don't generally have a problem going home and doing some hobby coding. That's when I do my work with MegaZeux, as well as my other projects.

I think a large part of why I'm able to do that is because there's a pretty sharp difference between the sort of stuff I do at work (business applications and web sites) and what I do at home. As a hobby, I generally find myself either working on stuff like MegaZeux, or doing research projects (writing a raycaster, texture converters, reverse engineering (http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/Dungeons_of_the_Unforgiven), etc). The only time I've had any real overlap between the two is when I wrote a pygame-based widget system for some Raspberry Pi-based tablets for the lab floor at work. That was a fun project.

The Raspberry Pi is a great place to start. It's a reasonably powerful system that has everything you need for development already installed, including plenty of samples. The only real downside is that it's running a flavor of Linux, which may be a bit of a learning curve in and of itself.

Also, since the stupid Twitter plugin I have refuses to let me simply link to the site, here's a couple of things that I wanted to link to above:

Raycaster:

Texture Compression:
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on April 13, 2020, 09:30:33 AM
I ended up binging Final Fantasy 7: Remake this weekend and cleared it in around 33 hours.

It's a bit of a mixed bag. I generally like the story additions they made with a few notable exceptions. I don't want to spoil anything there since there's plenty of new content to go through, but the events of chapter 18 and some of the things going on that lead up to that make me a little dubious about what's going to come up in the future.

As far as the story changes I enjoyed, I'll say that I love how the game actually gives you more of a reason to give a shit. In the original FF7 it felt like some important characters really weren't given enough of a build-up. Like, you're told that Tifa is your childhood friend, but the game doesn't really show them prior to the scene with them in the bar ("give me something hard"). The remake changes that significantly and does a far better job building her up (among others). There's also a few things in the original that were very subtle (so subtle that you'd be forgiven for forgetting about them even being plot points) that they ended up bringing out into the forefront.

The game generally looks good and runs smoothly (seems to run at a stable 30fps on a PS4 Pro), though there is noticeable texture pop-in. I chalk that up more to me not being used to playing games with streaming assets from a hard drive on a console. Something something PC Master Race, yadda yadda. This is the first HDR-enabled game I've played (I can't for the life of me get HDR working on my PC) and the added dynamic range definitely makes a difference throughout the game.

I'm going to just say right here that I played the game strictly for its story after a certain point, and still recommend it for that alone (though, as I implied, chapter 18 is weird). If you want to read me bitch about the failings of the new combat system, keep reading.

The combat system wore out its welcome at around the 12 hour mark for a lot of reasons. Prior to that I generally enjoyed it and just dealt with the little cracks that were starting to fester, but it eventually got to the point where it became a frustrating slog, so I just switched the game to easy mode in order to preserve my sanity. Let me just detail a handful of situations that I've encountered numerous times during my playthrough.

I'm not at all opposed to a hard game, and generally welcome them (I enjoy Soulsborne games and have clocked a decent number of hours in various Monster Hunter titles), but the problem with FF7:R's battle system is that it seems to have an identity crisis. The way it's built makes it seem apparent that it doesn't know if it wants to be a straight up action game or an RPG and ends up sending moxed messages. On one hand, sure, you can dodge in real-time, but on the other hand it still feels like if the game wants to hit you with an attack, it'll hit you.

The game also seems to break previously established rules. Remember how limit breaks were intended to be a character's iconic last-ditch attack? Imagine my surprise when I found out that they can miss. I've triggered cross-slash in front of an enemy, only to have them wander off camera during the wind-up animation, leaving Cloud to aggressively attack the air. Did I mention that you're vulnerable during this wind-up animation? I've had enemies come from off-camera and start wailing on Cloud during the animation, shaving off hundreds of health points during an unskippable animation that locks him firmly in place.

Healing spells follow three distinct steps: playing the animation, removing MP, and restoring HP. The problem is that there's a surprisingly long gap between when the game removes MP and restores HP (feels like around half a second). If you die between those two events, the game will take your MP without restoring your health. Really nice given how much smaller the MP pools are now.

The player that is being controlled is typically prioritized. If you want to take direct control over Aerith to reposition her and take a few specific actions, odds are within a few seconds every enemy you're fighting will immediately come running at her, completely ignoring the ex-SOLDIER and his giant fuck-off sword and the big burly dude with the gun arm that have been wailing on them for the past three minutes. As a result, you're largely dependent on remote-controlling characters. The problem with that is that the ATB gauge fills up much slower when you aren't actively playing as a certain character, so have fun trying to make the most out of that bizarre combination of mechanics.

The game gets really stun-happy around the 12-16 hour mark. Stuns are pretty much what you'd expect: temporary debuffs that completely prevent you from moving. The problem with them is two-fold. First of all, the stun debuff is never shown on your character panel ("am I stunned for a quarter of a second or five seconds?"). Second, too many enemies can do it, and too often. It reminds me all too much of when my friends and I would attempt to clear World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade raids with three overleveled people before Blizzard patched the challenge out of old raids.

The stun situation gets worse when you consider the baked wind-up and attack animations that your character performs. If you select a move and then suddenly the game drops a stun AoE on your head, you get instantly stunned. My favorite situation is when you get stunned, then they immediately follow it up with sleep and poison. Good times.

The game is also like Monster Hunter in that if you're attacking an enemy and the person you're attacking takes a swing at you in mid-combo, your combo breaks. That makes sense in Monster Hunter when you're fighting a 15 meter long goliath that throws itself at you, but it makes much less sense when the target is a Shinra grunt who gives you a light shove in the chest. You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I've had multiple instances where Cloud has been wailing on someone with a sword that's as big as him, only for them to shove him in the chest and cause him to stumble backwards. I've also seen that little push do more damage than the sword swings.

To add to the above, enemy combos are completely unbreakable. You can't even hold block in mid-combo to shave off some damage. If they connect once, you're getting hit by everything that follows. Considering enemies can break your combo whenever they want by starting a combo of their own, this becomes especially problematic.

On top of that, there's no rhyme or reason regarding which attacks can be blocked or dodged, and the only way of knowing is to get hit. I've seen plenty of cases where Cloud was able to block a massive attack from a giant monster, yet a normal-looking attack from a human-sized enemy would break his block (and lock him into a combo, naturally). Similarly, there are more cases than I can count of Cloud getting hit despite being noticeably outside of the range of an AoE attack. Again, if the game wants you to take damage, you're going to take damage. Period.

I'm sure there's quite a few examples I've missed, but hopefully this properly conveys the frustration that I started to feel at tha halfway point. Unfortunately, there's another few points of frustration regarding their difficulty selection system. First of all, you don't get any reward for slogging through the game on normal. Nothing. You get rewards on hard mode, but normal might may as well not even exist. Second, easy mode is way too goddamned easy. I've seen some jackasses go "WELL DUH, IT'S EASY MODE LOL" while completely ignoring the difficulty chasm separating easy and normal. What's even worse is that if you want to play the game in the "classic" difficulty mode (which is supposed to make it turn-based) you're stuck playing on easy. What?

Just to give you an idea, on normal I went from having to struggle to survive due to all of the above issues piling up, to being able to mash square to win. That's not offering multiple difficulty levels, that's giving the player the option to neuter the game. Still, when faced with the choice between frustration mechanics and actually being able to enjoy the story, I chose the latter. Sue me. If I want a challenge (and a decent combat system) I'll play Soulsborne Hunter instead.

So would I recommend FF7:R? Sure. I do highly recommend bumping the difficulty down when you start to feel the walls close in, though. I feel that the combat system has enough critical flaws that it's not worth stressing over.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Zephlar on April 13, 2020, 11:32:24 AM
You actually really touched on something I had MAJOR concerns about in the demo. The combat stress.

After playing the demo I decided to wait and see how everyone feels about it before I bought it. Initially I didn't like the idea of in game content via digital deluxe option on release, or the full priced multiple releases. I can looked past those though as a fan of the Mass Effect trilogy I can see where setting up a proper trilogy could really work. However that also could mean they are trying hard to put filler content and dialogue in order to get what feels like a full experience.

Everyone is raving about the combat system, but I can't say I was a huge fan with what I played. One of the joys of FFVII was kicking back relaxing enjoying the story as it unfolds. Turn based combat kind of allows you to go at your own pace and doesn't feel as labor intensive. In fact right after playing the demo my wife booted up World of Final Fantasy and all I could think was how much I liked that turn based model and would rather have it for FFVII over what I had played.

I'm still gonna buy it I think when it goes on sale which is crazy because I'm a mega fan of the OG I would have always thought I would be all over a FFVII remake without hesitation, but this industry has destroyed my trust in pre-ordering of any kind even for this remake.

Thanks for the review of your experience. I've been watching a lot of videos about it and few are actually being that critical of the combat system. Seems like a lot of people really enjoy it. I get it's not a "bad" combat system mechanically but...guess I'm just more traditional.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on April 13, 2020, 12:08:26 PM
Even though I've been waiting for this game longer than some of my work staff under me have even been alive, I was skeptical on this one. I wanted a remake to ff7, not an action game with an ff7 coat of paint "cough" dirge of cerberus "cough".

Disappointed the combat didn't pan out, but it really should...have been...yknow...a remaster not so much a remake.

Did you play crisis core? And if so, how does it compare? That game had kind of a weird combat system, but I recall enjoying it from beginning to end. But it was a spinoff game, not a mainline game, so expectations were lower.

Might snag it when it drops down to $30, but seems like a waste of my time right now.

And to Zephlar, if you haven't played dragon quest 11, you aught to. Its probably the best example of a modern jrpg that is still very much a traditional rpg.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on April 13, 2020, 03:00:09 PM
I figure we've all played FF7 at least a dozen or so times, so I can be at least a little spoilery on minor plot points for the original.

One thing that really bothered me is that you can't control Nanaki in the current FF7:R release. While there is a logical explanation as to why you might not be able to do so (he doesn't really join you, per se, until after Cosmo Canyon) I still consider that a minor red flag. Really hoping that the game doesn't become the Cloud/Tifa/Barret show.

It is worth noting that he does seem to have fleshed out limit breaks and appears to have slotted materia (you can see it on his collar), and does join you in combat as an uncontrollable "party member," so I might concerned over nothing here. Then again, considering the game is completely voice acted, there's a possibility that they might limit the party. Hopefully they just pulls a Mass Effect and keep the unique dialogue to a minimum.

I just want to be able to use my Cloud / Nanaki / Cait Sith party, dammit.

After playing the demo I decided to wait and see how everyone feels about it before I bought it. Initially I didn't like the idea of in game content via digital deluxe option on release, or the full priced multiple releases. I can looked past those though as a fan of the Mass Effect trilogy I can see where setting up a proper trilogy could really work. However that also could mean they are trying hard to put filler content and dialogue in order to get what feels like a full experience.

The most recent episode felt reasonable dense. As long as they keep it at around that 30-35 hour length I'm fine with them being full priced releases. FF7:R's filler is a bit weird. It'll take you through areas when you're going from point A to point B that seemingly have no purpose, only for you to later find out that they're used by questing areas. Kind of awkward, but it works.

I suspect that a lot of the walking is done to mask load times. The load and save times are a bit on the long side and I find myself having to remind myself that the PS4 is hard drive based. I probably should have put my old 840 or 850 EVO in there before I started playing.

There were a few areas where I wish they would have put in some more banter to pass the time, but that was relatively rare, thankfully.

Everyone is raving about the combat system, but I can't say I was a huge fan with what I played.

I'm curious to see how people think of it when they get further into the game. My frustrations didn't really boil over until the halfway point, and apparently only 4% of players actually finished the game (not surprising, really—FF7:R basically was my weekend). One of my friends ended up getting to that point and started ranting about the chain stun problem that I ran into, so it seems like at least some people are running into the same issues that I did.

Even though I've been waiting for this game longer than some of my work staff under me have even been alive, I was skeptical on this one. I wanted a remake to ff7, not an action game with an ff7 coat of paint "cough" dirge of cerberus "cough".

Disappointed the combat didn't pan out, but it really should...have been...yknow...a remaster not so much a remake.

I wasn't really opposed to the idea of an action-based combat system, to be honest. It just doesn't seem like they really thought the system through. I mean, just the idea that limit breaks can miss because the enemy decided to fuck off while Cloud was twirling his sword around is just downright baffling.

To me, it seems like they wanted to capture the glitz and glamor of an RPG battle system while still keeping it action-focused and weren't nearly as careful as they should have been.

It's hard to say whether a 1:1 remake would have been as well received. The more different a remake is, the less it invites comparisons to its source material. It's like with Doom vs. Doom 2016: the latter is basically a different game with a similar core plot rather than being an iteration on the old formula.

One thing I can say, though: the combat system sure doesn't impact how fucking weird the ending of FF7:R is. Yikes.

Did you play crisis core? And if so, how does it compare? That game had kind of a weird combat system, but I recall enjoying it from beginning to end. But it was a spinoff game, not a mainline game, so expectations were lower.

I played Crisis Core, but it was so long ago that I don't really remember it all that well. Might have to find that and take it for a spin (still have my PSP!) so that I can compare the two.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 03, 2020, 11:09:08 AM
So after that adventure I did what many people on the Big Bad Internet did and decided to replay the original FF7. More specifically: the Steam release.

I always find it funny when people whine about that sort of thing, too. "Oh, well, NOBODY has nostalgia for the Steam version! FF7 was a PlayStation game!!11!11" Well, sorry kid, but I didn't own a PlayStation in the last 90s. The Windows release, and all of its quirks, are my nostalgia. Fortunately, the Steam release keeps the improved translation of the PC version (with the downside that "shit" is no longer uncensored) and fixes a lot of the things that make the original PC release a bit of a bear to play in 2020 (though I still do have it installed on my retro PC, just for kicks).

That said, it still has its fun little technical quirks. Its gamepad support is pretty lousy. The first thing I did, naturally, was plug in an XInput pad (specifically, my grey and green Xbox One controller) and found that the d-pad doesn't work. The input system converts analog inputs to digital. I mean, what? I totally get adding in analog stick support for people who want that, but why disable the d-pad? Also, if you're going to support the analog stick, why not go all the way and set it up to make your character run if you push it to the edge? Just weird. What's worse is that it would occasionally register a single flick as 2-3 presses. Ugh! Keyboard it is. I mean, that's how I played it back in the day, right?

Except…not quite. The keyboard mappings have changed. At first it seems to make sense, with up/down/left/right doing what you'd expect, X/C/V/B for [OK], [Cancel], [Menu], and [Start], respectively, and pgup/pgdn as [PageUp] and [PageDown]. However, I always find myself forgetting what Ins/Del/Home/End are bound to, since those keys are fairly uncommonly used. I know that's going to bite me in the ass when I get the Huge Materia From Space. The old control layout clustered everything around the numpad, which I recall feeling pretty intuitive by comparison. I might have to try to map it like that (or emulate a PSX layout between the array keys and the numpad, sort of like what the Tony Hawk PC ports did). I'm thinking WASD for movement, num2 for X, num6 for O, num1 for L1, num3 for R1, etc. I dunno.

I also have a DirectInput (remember those Air-Flo Ex controllers from way back when? Yeahh…). Might try one of those as well to see if the mappings are a bit more agreeable.

But anyway, onto the gameplay! It's, uh…a lot easier than I remember. I think it's equal parts knowing the game and just straight up being smarter than I was when I was 14. Like, I remember both the Hundred Gunner/Heli Gunner fight in the elevator at Shinra HQ and the subsequent solo fight with Rufus and Dark Nation both being intimidating, even when I was prepared for them. Yeah, not so much. Both of those fights were easy as pie when I did them yesterday. Live and learn, I guess.

As such, I ended up amusing myself by doing other stuff, like getting Beta at a lowish level:


As a result, I also learned that even if you screw up while juking around the Midgar Zolom (because what sick bastards would want to make an adorable chocobo cross such a grungy swamp?) all you need to do is hit him with poison and wait it out (shove everyone in the back row, give them all restore materia, and just have them self-heal if they get bitten). The poison ticks will kill him in 32 turns and will never trigger any of his counter-attacks. Fun!

When it came to getting Beta early, I actually had a harder time making sure that the Zolom didn't keel over prematurely (since he won't even start countering with Beta until he gets under 1500hp, can randomly yeet allies out of the fight—like the one with E.Skill equipped—and doesn't always cast Beta when hit). Thanks, RNGesus.

One last thing for now: I find it kind of amazing how comparitively dense the original FF7 is compared to FF7:R. Midgar flies by pretty quickly in the original. I think it took me 6-7 hours to get through it at a fairly casual, pace, searching for things pretty thoroughly, whereas Midgar in the Remake took 35 hours.

As much as I enjoy the extra worldbuilding they added to the Remake, some of it did feel a bit forced. I dunno, I guess I'm on the fence about that. Like, the warehouse mission in the original was fantasic, and it was nice getting to hang out with Tifa for a bit rather than the game just saying "Hey, she's your bestie! Trust us!" That said, I think the Remake would have been a bit stronger had they cut the number of slums missions in half and unlocked fast travel a bit early. When you finally do end up unlocking all of the stops it's too late for you to even need that feature. Blah.

Another thing that I forgot how much I miss in the original is being able to talk to every single NPC. The Remake didn't have all that many people to talk to. Sure, you could hear people talking as you walked by, but the streets were often densely crowded to the point where you'd just hear a cacophony of voice, and the subtitle display would actually get overwhelmed by the number of people talking and scroll things off before you had a chance to read them. While the world in the original feels less populated, in some ways it feels like there's more to take in.

I also forgot how emotionally impactful the writing in the original can be. Everyone talks about The Thing That Happens at the End of Disc 1 but they never mention things like Barret's breakdown after the fall of the Sector 7 plate (that last, dejected "God…dammit…" gets me every time), or the entire flashback to how Elmyra found Aerith, as well as their youth. Gotta say, those two scenes in particular were recreated exceptionally well in the Remake. The writers, directors, and voice actors/actresses deserve heaps of praise for pulling that off.

But anyway, I think I've rambled enough. Time to play some more FF7!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on May 04, 2020, 10:33:00 AM
Assuming you're having a better time with the original over the "remake"?

I "recently" (about 4 years ago) played through the ps4 port, and since I had already completed the game before I had no issue using the built in speed up feature. Boy oh boy talk about running through the game quick, 30 hours to beat the game, all optional content, master all materia, get every optional item, ect. I DO NOT recommend doing that for a first playthrough, but for a subsequent playthrough, it's fun.

Either way, I assume you used a faq or guide or something? Mainly noticing because nobody intentionally kills the midgar zolom the first time you meet him. However, I did the same exact thing, and you realize how powerful blue magic enemy skills are. Now the game never was hard in the first place, but with the right enemy skills, it trivialized certain parts of the game. If you intend on going through ff9, I got a video showcasing some early broke ass grind spots (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yioj8Bmjs6Y). Not sure how the game will have aged for me in a post woke to smt games time (yknow where random battles are actually dangerous, bosses can require multiple attempts to beat and whatnot), but I still do have a few ff games left to take down (3, 4, 6, lightning returns, not ever touching ff2 so it wont count)

Tangent aside actually how faithful to the original is the remake anyway? Combat aside since it looks to me like a straight up action game with numbers to tell you it used to be an rpg, did it succeed?
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 04, 2020, 02:20:41 PM
For the most part, yeah, I'm having a better time with the original. Despite it having its own share of flaws, the original combat system at least feels like it generally favors fun and experimentation over frustration and button mashing. I like the added story beats of FF7:R, but in some parts (the Sector 5 Slums being a notable example) the added parts really overstayed their welcome. The classic game just feels more focused in a lot of ways.

Regarding the Zolom, I've beaten FF7 before so I know the "proper" way to deal with him. I am using a few guides: a reference to ensure that I don't miss any Fort Condor battles (because that's stupidly easy to do, especially when you're in Junon), a missable items guide, the Gold Saucer relationship guide, and an enemy skill reference table. With my last playthrough I juked around the Zolom on foot, and on this playthrough I just decided to figure out his mechanics so that I could get early Beta. Not hard by any stretch of the imagination, just requires some planning and luck.

It's worth noting that I didn't use any guides on my first playthrough of FF7 in 1998. I tried to explore the game as much as I could back then and it's kind of amusing how much stuff I missed (particularly when it comes to early steals! Amazing how much some persistence that can increase your early game attack power).

And yes, getting Beta early is hilarious. For enemies that don't have a fire weakness/resistance, Nanaki can hit them for 850-1000 easy. It requires a fair amount of mana, but he can still get 3 casts before running dry. That's enough to basically nuke anything at this point in the game. Matra Magic is my go-to for trash mobs, of course.

Thanks for the FF9 video! I've been meaning to go through that at some point, so I'm sure that'll come in handy. Last time I tried to play through FF9 I ended up getting shut down by a sudden difficulty spike (coupled with the inability to backtrack), which completely destroyed my motivation to continue playing, so that should help me prepare for that.

It's going to be tough to discuss how faithful the remake is without getting into spoiler territory. There are parts that were expanded and/or clarified, but for the most part it sticks to the same story beats. I'd say the part that really starts to deviate from the original in a very noticeable way is when you get to Midgar HQ. It starts off how you'd expect (and yes, you can still go up the stairs) but after you find Nanaki things really start to change, and by the time you reach chapter 18 you realize that the number of curve balls they throw is only going to increase.

I wouldn't really say that FF7:R succeeds at being an action game. If they would have made it an action game I think the game would have been better off. It's a very awkward combination of an action game and an RPG. It looks and smells like an action game, but it still holds a lot of those RPG tropes, like your characters holding their ground while they wind up for certain moves, or certain things being unblockable and undodgeable, seemingly at random. I've taken upwards of 500-600 damage while Cloud was locked in his limit break animation, only for the limit break to miss (because the target got bored and fucked off during the animation). Bosses will go through long, non-telegraphed, MMO-esque invulnerable phase-transition animations, sometimes in the middle of your limit break or spell cast animation playing. Sometimes you'll get locked in a cast/limit animation and one of the enemies will just throw a stun mine on top of Cloud. It's like the game didn't know what it wanted to be.

One of my friends (happen to remember Pyroko?) and I were discussing this and we both agree that we'd like to see Squeenix find a partner to design a proper action-focused combat system. If whoever designed the combat system for MHW were to adopt that for FF7:R, that would be absolutely terrific. Platinum would be my second choice, though I'm not sure how well they'd handle the sheer weapon variety that exists in the FF7 universe.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on May 04, 2020, 10:34:46 PM
I meant no offense when I mentioned use of guides (I make heavy use of guides on...most of what I play anyway), but that was one of the first things I noticed when playing ff7 a second time was getting beta early. Many games (square rpgs are very guilty) have missable stuff you can't backtrack to get later, like the idiotic requirements for fort condor, so a guide is damn near mandatory even if the game is 2/10 difficulty easy.

I'm still very on the fence about playing ff7r for the same reasons I've yet to touch ff15 (and the characters of ff15 just looking...straight up bad, I know its shallow to knock a game for looks, but jesus im sick of boyband prettyboy protags), combat is a big turnoff. Probably shows up in the games I personally have been finishing being VERY turn based in nature, but I am aware that action sells more than taking turns, also probably helps a lot with the cinematic look square is looking for. But I aint about to bitch about a game I haven't played or even seen proper footage or gameplay of outside of a trailer or two, just a crotchety old man get offa my lawn, games back in my day, up hill in the snow both ways, ect.

Backpedaling to fort condor, I recall as a kid enjoying that minigame so much I tried putting the actual game CD into my pc to try and "extract" the minigame to my pc to play on its own...yep...
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 05, 2020, 06:53:20 PM
Oh yeah, I just wanted to clarify that this isn't my first rodeo with FF7, as well as clarifying what I'm using guides for (mostly so that I don't miss anything, and so that I can get Nanaki's date at the Gold Saucer, because I'm furry trash).

I'm honestly glad that we now live in the age of iPads so that I can feasibly use a guide while playing. The current Steam release isn't Alt-Tab friendly, and I know the original Windows release wasn't, so I'm kind of in awe over how much stuff you can easily miss. I think the Fort Condor thing alone basically proves that Square had a contract with BradyGames back in the day. Gah. I would have never figured out that you have to go to Fort Condor, go to Junon, save Pricilla, sleep, go to Fort Condor, talk to Pricilla, then go back to bloody Fort Condor again. What the everloving fuck.

I admit, when I was younger I generally just let the enemies come to me in the Fort Condor minigame. While I did play some of the old licensed D&D games for DOS, FF7 was my first JRPG, and I really liked its combat system. I decided to try to do the battles properly this time around, though, and I'm kind of surprised at how fleshed out it is for a little minigame. I wouldn't really call it a deep system, but the rock-paper-scissors RTS system works well for it. I wish the speed were bumped up a bit. While the current pace works well in mid/late battle, it feels like it takes forever to get started.

I find myself preferring the character design in FF7:R to what they had in FF15. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the character roster is far more diverse in the former. I mean, Barret's as much of a giant meat mountain as you'd expect him to be, Aerith is cute, Tifa is scrappy (as is Jessie, though they kinda made her a bit…promiscuous), and Cloud pulls off the cross-dressing section in Wall Market about as well as you'd expect. Their depiction of Biggs showed that they actually know how to depict a male character with a bit more of an edge, and I'm hoping that they handle Cid equally well when it's his time to shine. Also, Wedge is adorably dumpy. I love that guy.

I'd be a lot more okay with the action focus if it were done well, but it just isn't. There's just too many holes in the system. I actually tend to prefer when remakes or reboots of games are done differently than the original, as it sort of discourages comparisons between the two.

This might not be the best example since these two games are in a very similar genre, but classic Doom and Doom 2016 are one example that I like to throw around. The share a name, they share a genre, and they share a bestiary, but aside from that they couldn't really be more different. Classic Doom is basically about solving a maze and methodically dealing with enemies as you come across them using a collection of guns and a huge supply of ammo. Doom 2016 throws you into arenas and forces you to constantly stay on the move to avoid taking hits, and routinely take risks to restore precious, quickly dwindling resources. Even being within the same genre, the two games couldn't be further apart.

I just want Sqeenix to go a bit all in with the next part of FF7:R. No more of this pseudo-action bullshit. Either go full ARPG or go back to being turn-based.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: NewF on May 09, 2020, 10:23:40 AM

On one hand, sure, you can dodge in real-time, but on the other hand it still feels like if the game wants to hit you with an attack, it'll hit you.

Agreed. But at the same time, we can't expect to end every fight untouched. Our characters also have unblockable/undodgeable attacks too.



Quote
Did I mention that you're vulnerable during this wind-up animation? I've had enemies come from off-camera and start wailing on Cloud during the animation, shaving off hundreds of health points during an unskippable animation that locks him firmly in place.
Here's a good tip for yah bud. I thought the animations were unskippable too, but, if you do it a certain way, its fully skippable. I made a video for you to check it out.

&feature=youtu.be

Whoever has the limit ready, control a DIFFERENT character, then L2 or R2 to the character with the limit, hit the limit, then continue to fight with the other character! :)
On top of that, (I didn't do it because it wasn't needed in the vid), but, you can easily also pop a quick heal spell during his animation. Problem solved! <3

Quote
Healing spells follow three distinct steps: playing the animation, removing MP, and restoring HP. The problem is that there's a surprisingly long gap between when the game removes MP and restores HP (feels like around half a second). If you die between those two events, the game will take your MP without restoring your health. Really nice given how much smaller the MP pools are now.

Again, use the previous trick I mentioned to get smooth healing towards you without having to lose control of your current character. Or, if they dont have their ATB filled, do a quick switch, couple of quick attacks, then pop a heal.

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The player that is being controlled is typically prioritized. If you want to take direct control over Aerith to reposition her and take a few specific actions, odds are within a few seconds every enemy you're fighting will immediately come running at her, completely ignoring the ex-SOLDIER and his giant fuck-off sword and the big burly dude with the gun arm that have been wailing on them for the past three minutes. As a result, you're largely dependent on remote-controlling characters. The problem with that is that the ATB gauge fills up much slower when you aren't actively playing as a certain character, so have fun trying to make the most out of that bizarre combination of mechanics.

That's actually something I like quite a bit about this game. It has that challenge to where enemies are always on your ass so you gotta think quickly. Again, the quick L2/R2 commands is awesome. Try a mixture of both, after a while you'll be like "ohhhhh, alright, this is fuckin' awesome!" (It took me a while to realize it myself, but again, the Bahamut fight is where you'll get used to it and become much better with it)

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The game gets really stun-happy around the 12-16 hour mark. Stuns are pretty much what you'd expect: temporary debuffs that completely prevent you from moving. The problem with them is two-fold. First of all, the stun debuff is never shown on your character panel ("am I stunned for a quarter of a second or five seconds?"). Second, too many enemies can do it, and too often.
Agreed, a HUGE pain in the ass. I fuckin' hate it too. But, easy way around that; Just switch to a different character for the duration. Once I get a stun on a character, immediately switch, then the stunned character will be ignored to an extent by monsters, because as we already know, enemies prioritize the character we're currently controlling.

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The stun situation gets worse when you consider the baked wind-up and attack animations that your character performs. If you select a move and then suddenly the game drops a stun AoE on your head, you get instantly stunned. My favorite situation is when you get stunned, then they immediately follow it up with sleep and poison. Good times.
Again, the L2/R2 commands help out a lot with this.
takes a bit of time to get used to controlling a secondary character, then popping commands with someone who you're not controlling, but it's worth it. And yeah, I feel the same to where it's like "Well I wanna do this with this character, so I want to be CONTROLLING THIS CHARACTER AT THIS TIME!", but, sometimes it's better in certain situations to just pop secondary commands with the L2/R2.

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The game is also like Monster Hunter in that if you're attacking an enemy and the person you're attacking takes a swing at you in mid-combo, your combo breaks.
Yeah, hate it when shit like that happens. But, they've made it all about timing. I'm highly used to using cloud now, to where I can pull off good sword combo hits, then counter the enemies attack and continue my swinging, pressure then stagger them.
With Clouds 100% counter stance (Punisher mode, then R1 to block) it's absolutely incredible. It's just all the matter on timing it properly.

Quote
To add to the above, enemy combos are completely unbreakable. You can't even hold block in mid-combo to shave off some damage. If they connect once, you're getting hit by everything that follows. Considering enemies can break your combo whenever they want by starting a combo of their own, this becomes especially problematic.
Noooooo, not true bud! You can easily break enemies combos. Lets say you're stuck in an enemy combo with Cloud; Once I get stuck in one, I immediately switch to a different character (Barret for instance) and unload on the monster preforming the combo. There's been many times where they caught me in a combo, I switched, unloaded and got them into "pressured" state, interrupting their combo. From there, pop high pressure build commands, get them in staggered, GG.

Quote
On top of that, there's no rhyme or reason regarding which attacks can be blocked or dodged, and the only way of knowing is to get hit. I've seen plenty of cases where Cloud was able to block a massive attack from a giant monster, yet a normal-looking attack from a human-sized enemy would break his block (and lock him into a combo, naturally). Similarly, there are more cases than I can count of Cloud getting hit despite being noticeably outside of the range of an AoE attack. Again, if the game wants you to take damage, you're going to take damage. Period.
Again, cloud has his 100% counter blocking. Once the enemy lands a hit, he blocks, counter hits and opens the enemy up to more punishment. At first I never used it, but after getting used to it, it's absolutely ESSENTIAL to use that counter-stance whenever you're fighting. It makes things SO much easier.


Not trying to be an ass and go against all the stuff you were saying, but I think it's because you haven't fully gotten used to the combat system (Just like me for the longest time, until after the Bahamut fight). Bahamut is incredibly difficult, where you'll start to learn to have to constantly switch up characters, fill and burn those ATB bars immediately before getting targeted and using the proper attacks/spells against him. It's basically like playing "keep away" (You know, that stupid game with throwing the ball back and forth, keeping it away from the kid trying to get it), but with your characters. Since monsters prioritize the ones we're controlling, do a quick attack, an ATB command, then immediately switch, during the ATB command animation. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I LOVE YOU! DON'T HATE MEEEEE!!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on May 09, 2020, 03:36:57 PM
Just give me my god damned original ATB system back :(

Nothing against action rpg fighting in general, but as far as I'm concerned final fantasy should stick to ATB or straight up turn based combat.

Also, although I've only played up to where you first get your apartment and flip your shit at your neighbour, most of the areas you fought in felt super cramped and I'll suited for the combat system they're using. Does that get any better as the game progresses?
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 18, 2020, 03:08:16 PM
I've been on a Monster Hunter World kick again. Within the past week I went from being on the Nergigante hunt quest to the beginning of Iceborne, complete with an armor and weapon set that suck far less than my previous gear did.

I put in a fair bit of practice time with the longsword's Iceborne moveset and am absolutely in love with special sheathe (RT+A). Being able to cancel that long sheathing animation after Spirit Roundslash and extend your combo really improves the combat flow. Iai Slash is beyond useful for keeping the spirit gauge topped off as well.

The one thing that I still need to master is the use of Foresight Slash and Iai Spirit Slash. I always tend to hit those too early for the dodge mechanics to trigger.

Now that I have some more experience with the game, I'm tempted to switch back to Switch Axe for a bit. As much as I enjoy LS, its attacks largely land laterally, making fights like Paolumu a bit more annoying than they otherwise would be. I recall SA trending more towards verticality.

I LOVE YOU! DON'T HATE MEEEEE!!

I appreciate you trying to help, but the problem ultimately boils down to me simply not liking the way the combat flows. I just think that the switch mechanic is way too clunky and the AI-controlled party members aren't nearly as autonomous as they should be. Sorry. :(

Also, although I've only played up to where you first get your apartment and flip your shit at your neighbour, most of the areas you fought in felt super cramped and I'll suited for the combat system they're using. Does that get any better as the game progresses?

The arenas do get larger throughout the game, though the quest areas tend to be a bit on the tight side (around the same size as the monster area near the Sector 7 slums).
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on June 10, 2020, 01:07:26 PM
I've been playing quite a bit of Satisfactory lately, having sunk around 26 hours into it between Thursday and Sunday. :| Granted, some of that was just the game sitting idly in the background while I watch YouTube videos, but still. Fun game. It's definitely not as complex as Factorio in terms of resource management and factory complexity (that is, it takes way fewer steps to make something) but I love the sheer verticality of it. The main issue that I have with it is that its combat really sucks, but it's far from the main focus of the game so I'll give it a pass.

I've also been playing DJMAX Respect V, as one does, and I ended up finding a key layout that feels a lot better: QWD LP[, with L.Alt and R.Alt for the L/R buttons in 8 key mode. Not only does it make 8 key comprehensible (I originally tried using my pinkies for L/R and my brain just wasn't having it), but it also makes the side tracks (L.Shift and R.Shift) far more comfortable to hit.

I'm also using a much better keyboard now. Before I was using a Logitech G910 and holy fuck was that awful. The mechanical switches on that keyboard aren't so great as it is, but a few hours of DJMAX was enough to convert tactile Romer-Gs into chattering linear switches. That's not even my usual hyperbole, either. I'm currently using a GMMK TLK with 67g Zealio V2, and after about 10 hours of moderate to intense play, these switches still feel like new. Fun.

At this point I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new desk, that way I can switch back to using standard monitors instead of my super laggy TV. That's throwing my timing way the fuck off, especially in songs where you actually need to read the notes. I'm using an external headphone amp/DAC, so at least the audio is on sync, but still.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on June 10, 2020, 09:31:54 PM
Interesting key layout choice. I use sdf space op[ for 7k in mania. For that 8k layout to feel comfortable to me I'd end up using capslock and enter on my pinkies.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on June 11, 2020, 08:26:49 AM
I used to use SDF KL;. That layout worked fine for me in 4K/5K/6K, but the main problem with 8K in DJMAX is the way that it displays it. It uses the same column layout as DJMAX Portable (I don't remember how the old web client and Trilogy handled it, but I imagine it was the same). With Portable, the 7th and 8th rows are overlaid on top of 123 and 456. That makes a lot of sense if you're using trigger buttons, but I couldn't get used to using A and '. Using Alt also makes it feel a bit more like SDVX, so I can carry over some of that muscle memory.

I ended up using L.Alt and R.Alt for the 7th and 8th buttons, but with the default layout that causes you to have to tuck your thumbs under your middle fingers, which is far from comfortable. In addition to that, DJMAX has side tracks, which, again, overlay 123 and 456, but are exclusive (unlike the 7th and 8th columns you don't have to worry about other notes on that side of the play field). I have those bound to left/right shift, and switching to the angled layout also makes the shift keys easier to hit.

One other potential positive is that instead of your wrists being bent to accommodate a row layout, you end up holding them%u2014and your arms%u2014at a more natural angle. After the initial weirdness wore off I found that the new layout proved to be more comfortable for intense/extended play. If you wanted to try something similar for shits and giggles, try tucking it in by one position in order to make space easier to reach (WEF KOP).

Edit: Just realized that I accidentally hijacked vlad's thread instead of posting this into mine. Fuckin' lol. Split and merged into the proper place.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on June 11, 2020, 10:12:05 PM
Interesting, and yeah I'm somewhat familiar with how djmax handles the extra columns. I actually watched a bit of a televised tournament from korea once on youtube.
1 2 e left.alt right.alt p = backspace
feels somewhat comfortable, with thumbs on alts. But that's something I'd have to play with for a while and try different layouts to really figure out anyway.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on June 11, 2020, 11:55:10 PM
Yeah, I'm still not completely sold on my current layout. It's an improvement over the default, but hitting the side tracks feels a bit odd. The layout you mentioned generally feels great. If it's possible to bind the side tracks to tab and backslash, I might end up switching to that. I might end up having to change it up slightly, given that backspace is a 1.5u key, but the general concept is solid. For my hand size, I think o - = will work nicely for my right hand.

That said, I'm going to have to try that out at a later date. I managed to cut my right ring finger on a blender blade this morning, so I'm going to be relegated to 4K play for a little while. :P I should be back on 5/6/8K in a week, but for now even normal typing kinda hurts.

Edit: Yep, looks like the game is okay with this:

(https://i.imgur.com/yZHWFx1.png) (https://i.imgur.com/yZHWFx1.png)

Edit 2: It feels way better having the side tracks buttons two rows higher. With the 1 2 e o - = layout, my pinkies naturally rest on tab and backslash. Perfect! Looking forward to giving this a proper shot after my finger heals.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 02, 2020, 10:55:35 AM
Thanks to having a relatively lag-free display, I started playing Doom Eternal again. Goddamn, that game feels good to play.

Also: DJMAX at 144hz. Words can't describe how buttery smooth it is.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 02, 2020, 05:03:43 PM
Yeah, rhythm games on high refresh rate are <3
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 02, 2020, 05:08:24 PM
When I was running my old StepMania/CF setup I was driving my CRT at 85hz (would have aimed for 120-200, but SM5 is just too heavy to do it on my old dance rig), but 144 just blows that completely out of the water.

Kinda wish I would have jumped on the bandwagon sooner.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 04, 2020, 11:01:26 AM
I play Osu!Mania at 165hz. With Flahshlight mod and a slow scroll speed, which means I basically have no note ghosting and shit is smooth as hell. Feels a bit overkill TBH, but this PC was meant to be more than just good at mania.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 04, 2020, 12:33:34 PM
My monitors technically support being "overclocked" to 165hz (is it really overspeccing when it's supported by the manufacturer? *thinking emoji*). Haven't tried pushing them to that point yet.

And yeah, it would be a lot easier if my PC were just a gaming machine, but it does so much more than that. In some ways I kinda wish it were one or the other, considering the GPU situation (AMD's Windows drivers suck, NVIDIA's Linux drivers suck, and Intel just isn't powerful enough for gaming). I've been sort of tempted to just stick with using some sort of laptop as my productivity machine (now that I have a desk and a decent Thunderbolt dock) and keep my PC relegated to gaming duty. We'll see.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 07, 2020, 01:19:13 PM
Yeah I chuckled at the whole "it's 144hz, BUT you can overclock to 165 on the OSD" thing. Still, I'm pleasantly surprised that I haven't noticed any degradation in quality from running at 165 over 144. That was one of the first things I toyed with when I got the monitor set up.

Linux... Yeah I still haven't taken the time to figure out how to switch to the 32 bit drivers so I can try to run steam in linux. I've got a dual boot with Debian on here. Why the fuck does steam require 32bit drivers instead of 64bit anyway? Shouldn't it be time to ditch 32bit altogether except where absolutely necessary? :/
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 07, 2020, 04:28:58 PM
You don't need 32 bit drivers for Linux. You need to make sure that your distro has a 32-bit userland (that is, either run a multilib distro or do some chroot magic). If your distro is kind enough to split it off into lib32 and lib64 (my work laptop runs Kubuntu 20.04 and does this, so I imagine Debian does as well), that's one way to tell.

And yeah, Valve has a really hard time getting with the program, especially considering how many times they've gotten burned by stuff like this. They drug their feet for years while Apple told the world (with increasing intensity) that they were dropping 32-bit support in macOS (up to and including displaying popups indicating that shit was gonna break soon) and then OOPS, Catalina came out and removed the 32-bit userland and OOPS, Steam stopped working! They eventually rolled out a 64-bit macOS Steam binary, but they seem to have just sorta stopped there. I'm eagerly awaiting when Apple removes Rosetta 2 from the upcoming ARM macOS builds and Valve gets caught with their pants down again.

To be as fair as possible to Valve, much of the need for 32-bit support does come from the applications themselves. I've tried to run a no-multilib distro, but so many games only provide 32-bit binaries that it ends up falling apart pretty quickly. The same issue ended up happening on macOS due to devs ignoring all of the warning signs. There were games coming out as recently as 2018 (possibly newer) that only shipped 32-bit Mac binaries, and those no longer work under Catalina. The best part is that Apple makes it stupidly easy to ship multiple architectures in a single application bundle, so user confusion is a complete non-issue on that platform. Hell, you could create an app bundle with support for PPC32, PPC64, x86-32, and x86-64 if you wanted to. So goddamn annoying.

I think another reason is that it's just so easy to be lazy when it comes to Windows, and that's where a majority of Valve's business comes from. Microsoft is the only vendor that's eagerly supporting 32-bit in new versions of their OS. Ubuntu was planning to dump it with either 19.10 or 20.04—I forgot which—but they had to roll it back solely because it would break Steam!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 07, 2020, 07:54:24 PM
TBH my linux knowledge is pretty damn weak, and the solutions I've found online basically involved completely removing the 64bit drivers and installing only the 32bit ones. i got it working once, but managed to bork things up after that and reinstalled. Never got around to figuring out what to do after that because fuck it, I have windows anyway.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 10, 2020, 12:35:49 AM
I started playing Half-Life: Alyx tonight (err, I guess technically it would be "last night," seeing as it's after midnight and such.

I'm about 90 minutes into it right now and…goddamn. It's absolutely fantastic so far. One of my favorite moments so far has to be smacking a headcrab out of the air in mid-jump and putting about four pistol rounds into it while it's stunned. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't seem to beat headcrab zombies with a metal pipe, though. Might be a heavy-handed way of ensuring that HL:A doesn't end up becoming trivial due to "epic VR combat" (that is, waggling a melee weapon and causing it to rapidly deal damage to any target in front of you). Kind of a shame.

The pick-up system is a hell of a lot of fun, and (being able to bash head-crabs out of the way aside) is probably one of the most innovative parts of HL:A. Many VR games allow you to remotely grab an item. Generally this just involves pointing to it, looking for a highlight, pressing on the grip button, and having the item magic itself over to you in a straight line. HL:A, continuing with the trend set by HL2, makes use of gravity. Alyx gets gravity gloves very early on in the experience. To use them to grab an item across a wide gap, you gesture toward the item with an open hand, and when you see the highlight you hit the grip and flick your wrist. The item then flies toward you, with its speed and angle largely dependent on how hard/fast you flick. When it comes near you, you simply catch it. It didn't take long at all for me to get used to how much force I needed to use to get an item to me. I'm sure the catch radius is probably pretty generous, but it also feels like it's easier and more intuitive to catch objects than it is in many VR titles.

I haven't done much in the way of gunplay, and I currently only have the pistol, but so far I like how it's implemented. Weapon handling is actually done fairly realistically. Ejecting an empty mag will cause you to lose the rounds in the dropped mag, and if you empty the mag and then fire the chambered bullet you'll have to rack the slide after changing mags. About the only gripe I have is with Alyx's trigger discipline. Some games (like Gun Club VR) check the capacitive trigger sensor and will show the character holding their finger outside of the trigger guard. In HL:A, Alyx's finger is always in the trigger guard. Yes, this is a petty gripe, but as an experienced shooter it does drive me a little nuts. :P This may not be an issue on the Index's finger-tracked controllers, but I dunno (I'm on a Rift S).

As with any other VR title, it's awesome seeing everything in its proper scale. It's really easy to underestimate just how big headcrabs are until you've seen one up close and personal (and thankfully not in person. Yeech) and actually fighting the jumpy little bastards is another thing entirely. I've only dealt with two so far (and about a dozen headcrab zombies) so I have a feeling things are only going to get more frantic.

Finally: visuals. HL:A is fucking gorgeous. Easily the best VR visuals I've seen to date, by a pretty healthy margin, and despite that the game runs at a consistent 80hz on my system. It's not just that Source 2 is a shiny, modern engine, but Valve really pulled out the stops when it comes to overall detail. Striders climb up buildings, smashing terracotta roof tiles and sending dust and persistent debris all over the place. The buildings look lived in, with the cities being crammed with detail and evidence of decay, with the Eastern European vibe getting ramped up dramatically with plenty of pre-war Cyrillic leaflets and other materials in plain sight. It doesn't show off a large amount of the starting city, but the parts that it does show off are rich and dense, with an incredible attention to detail.

In terms of accessibility, the game does offer a variety of movement options, and seems to do its best to cater to everyone. Multiple movement options, a way of playing the game with a single controller, options to make seated play easier, subtitles, etc. I'm personally using controller tracked free locomotion, with 30° snap turning (I'm physically okay with smooth turning, but it's almost always too damn slow in action games). The game has several comfort features baked in as well. If it requires you to drop down a ledge, the action is smooth and slow, rather than subjecting you to the full fury of gravity. It also tends to avoid nudging the player back if they start to intersect with the scenery, allowing you to look behind objects without getting nudged all over the place against your will.

Whew. In case it wasn't obvious, I can't wait to play more of this thing. Valve really knocked it out of the park, and I hope they get back to making full-scale AAA titles instead of…Artifact. :|
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 10, 2020, 07:07:30 AM
That sounds awesome. I'd love to try VR (still haven't had a chance to try any at all), but with everything that's been going on I absolutely cannot justify the cost.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 21, 2020, 06:10:13 PM
Gotta give a quick shout out to Mindustry (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1127400/Mindustry/).

It's a game that's sort of a weird hybrid between a tower defense title and Factorio (yes, you read that correctly). One of my friends and I played it a bunch at the beginning of the year and recently revisited it, and both of us had forgotten how much fun it was. Its "overwhelmingly positive" rating on Steam is well-deserved.

I've since learned that in addition to having a low price tag ($6 on Steam) it's open source (https://github.com/Anuken/Mindustry) (under GPLv3) and also has iOS and Android ports available for $1 each. Kinda looks like it might even be just straight up free (https://github.com/Anuken/MindustryBuilds) as well, but the person who makes this definitely deserves the money.

Definitely check it out! I highly recommend it.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 25, 2020, 10:33:42 PM
I started playing Destiny 2 again. My plan is to clear the current story content before it gets vaulted, then jump into Beyond Light when it comes out.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Zephlar on August 26, 2020, 01:19:46 PM
I started playing Destiny 2 again. My plan is to clear the current story content before it gets vaulted, then jump into Beyond Light when it comes out.

Good luck. Really hate how much money we've dumped into that game at this point. My history with it is long and complicated now. They've essentially fashioned it to where you HAVE to keep playing for your gear to stay relevant. The potential for that game is so good. They just fucked up way too much along the way. In the end it was more Crucible cheaters using wall hacks and aimbot that made me quit aside from the other shit.

Edit: After a quick google search, I see nothing has changed (https://www.pcgamer.com/destiny-2s-trials-is-being-strangled-by-cheaters/) either.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 26, 2020, 10:29:02 PM
Yeah, there's a good reason I haven't seriously played PvP since the Quake 3/UT2004 era (and cheating was an issue then as well—creating cheat-proof online games is pretty much impossible). I played a little bit of Overwatch when it came out and it was exactly the same as what you're describing. That, coupled with a bunch of edgelord kids who couldn't muster up a sick burn if they were freezing to death and have the situational awareness of a blind and deaf person in a coma, just made me chalk that experience up as a waste of $40.

Destiny's expansions have been traditionally fairly extensive, especially compared to what most games "offer" these days, so I don't mind throwing some cash at them. It's never just a few new story missions, but rather a big chunk of story coupled with a swath of mechanical changes and feature additions. I don't have any plans to invest in microtransactions, and they seem to have largely stepped away from the most egregious MTX practices since Bungie split with Activision.

I wouldn't say that the grind to get passable seasonal gear is all that bad. The last time I played was season 1 and I managed to bring my light level up to where my friends were in a matter of hours. Kinda seems like it's more about collectables at this point, which I'm fine with. One of the things I miss about WoW is the sheer amount of stuff that you can uncover and collect, so there's a very big box ticked right there.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Zephlar on August 27, 2020, 09:00:41 AM
creating cheat-proof online games is pretty much impossible

Can you elaborate on that? I ended up buying a PS4 literally just because I'm such a PVP intensive gamer and got sick and tired of PC cheaters in every game I played. It drives me insane because I would MUCH rather be playing at 144hz you know what I mean? I always wonder why such massive developers like Activision/Infinity Ward and Bungie can't seem to stop cheaters no matter what they do. It took all of like 1 weeks for cheaters to find a way around the Warzone 2 step feature they added to new accounts.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 27, 2020, 02:02:29 PM
tl;dr: cheats are impossible to prevent because they exploit data that the server must send to the client in order for the game to work at all. Here's a ramble on the topic:

Whenever you're playing a multiplayer game, the server has to send information to your system in order for it to display the other players and what they're doing. All it takes is for a program to intercept and interpret that data, at which point you can draw information to the screen (radars, etc) and inject inputs into the application to change the player orientation and fire off shots. Some things (particularly wallhacks) tend to require libraries to be injected into the game's address space or require a third-party DirectX/OpenGL/Vulkan DLL to be placed in the game directory in order to function. Those are typically detected fairly easily by standard anti-cheat solutions (pretty sure that's one of the things VAC searches for) so people who do that are usually detected and sanctioned fairly quickly.

Consoles being hack-proof is a pretty huge fallacy, and one that's bitten Sony in particular multiple times. It's fairly simple to jailbreak a PS4, and a jailbroken PS4 is no better than a PC in terms of security. Even without jailbreaking, by routing network traffic through a PC it's easily possible to gain access to information about players that may not even be on your screen. In some ways I'd argue that consoles are worse because they give their players a false sense of security. Let's consider a very common example: radars.

Consider an enemy behind cover. One of the classic strategies for increasing security is to restrict the amount of information that gets sent to the client. In some games, precompiled visibility information is used for this. For example, a map compiler may be able to determine, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there's no way that a player in one room will ever be able to see into another room and will cache that visibility data into the map file. Let's take the following room layout as an example:

(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/illustrations/RoomVisExample.png)

Let's assume that player 1 (P1) is in room A, player 2 (P2) is in room C, and player 3 (P3) is in room E. Since the visibility data has already been roughly calculated, the server will easily be able to determine that it's impossible for P1 and P3 to see each other, so P1 will never receive P3's info, and vice-versa. Since P2 can potentially be seen by both players, however, their information will be sent to both P1 and P3.

This system has its limitations, notably in that it only works on a macro scale. If both P1 and P2 were in room A, but P2 was hidden behind a large piece of debris, it's very likely that P1's client would still receive information about P2. If P1 were a cheating bastard and ran a program that could interpret and display that data, they could know which piece of cover P2 was hiding behind, as well as what direction their facing, giving them the opportunity to get the jump on P2 without it being immediately apparent that they're cheating.

Now to close things off on why the PC may very well look worse than it actually is. One of the things that have always separated PC shooters from console shooters has obviously been the control method. The mouse is far more nuanced and precise than controllers can ever hope to be, and there are some players out there that are just freakishly good. I'm far from a top-tier player, but when I'm in my groove I can chain multiple headshots together in a second. When you consider that there are people out there that can consistently pull off tricks that require 16ms of accuracy (speed runners, fighting game players, etc), it's not hard to imagine that there's a lot of people that legitimately do have such a level of precision that normal play to them can look like aimbot behavior to others.

There's also another thing that throws a massive spanner in the works that very few people consider: tick rates. While Destiny 2 on your computer shows every sign of running at a crisp 144hz, its network code most certainly is not. Destiny 2's network tick rate is variable, but on PC it maxes out at 40hz, or 25ms (or locked 30hz on console, to match the framerate). What you're actually seeing on your end is a smoothed out approximation of the other players' movements. If I manage to get a snap headshot and quickly pan my view elsewhere in a tick or two (which is far from impossible) it's going to look like I'm botting, and it's going to look quite a bit different on my screen compared to yours (on yours it'll look like a smooth, casual motion, while on mine it's going to be far twitchier).

The reason for low tick rates is simply to reduce network traffic and ensure that the game remains synchronized between players. While 40hz seems sluggish, it's fairly reasonable when it comes to Internet gaming (I think 60hz is as good as it gets at this time).

I hope that helps clear a few things up.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Zephlar on August 31, 2020, 11:33:19 AM
Probably the most laymen explanation I've ever gotten, though I noticed your insinuation that I'm saying people are cheating that aren't because they may be more "twitchy" on PC. I'm pretty skilled on PC I know what's up and I spectate.

I'm aware you can cheat on consoles but why then have I been playing GTA online on both PS4 and PC and NEVER see cheaters like literally ever on GTA online for PS4, but PC you can't go into a lobby without cheaters? For the record, I paid to have my GTA account modded on PC with additional cash. No cheat menu just cash. For the express reason I couldn't grind because of the constant cheaters ruining my ability to complete jobs. Literally the if you can't beat em join em moment I never thought I would have. First and only game I've ever cheated with.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on August 31, 2020, 07:25:26 PM
You're reading way too much into my post. I'm just saying that in general it's more difficult to really know if someone on PC is aimbotting because the tick rate is lower than even a base level 60hz monitor. It's literally impossible for the game to show you exactly what they're seeing and doing. Their movements are going to look smoother and more precise than they would if you were standing over their shoulders watching them. This was far more of an issue when tick rates were 10-20hz, obviously, but even a 120hz monitor is going to run three local ticks for every net tick.

Not sure why you're bringing up GTA, but each game is a different story, and the reason GTA Online is so goddamn awful largely stems from the fact that Rockstar's net code has been consistently crap since at least GTA4.

One of the main tenets of writing net code is to trust the client as little as possible, but Rockstar doesn't seem to be aware of that. If I were to join a Quake (as in, 1995 Quake) with mods enabled, the server would pretty much boot me right away. GTA Online has weaker mod protection than Quake does, and the server trusts the client far more. From what I've read, if your client tells the server that you have X weapon, it'll just believe you.

In addition to this, the game seems to completely fail to validate any of the game's files on the PC version. There is absolutely no reason why the mod menu should even work in GTA Online, but it does. If Rockstar gave even the slightest fuck about security instead of just blindly trusting the platform to do it, it would autokick anyone running a modified client, and they sure as hell wouldn't let anyone modify the amount of cash they have in their account.

The main reason it's not as bad on consoles isn't that it isn't possible (it is) or that people simply don't do it (they do), but it's because the application data is encrypted. No easy cheat menus there, so it's far harder for casual players to cheat. The second is because consoles can be hardware banned, and used game stores explicitly check for those before allowing trade-ins because burner Xbox 360s were such a common thing back in the day. Rockstar pretty much leans on the platform itself for almost all of their client-side security, so I'll bet a jailbroken console could theoretically have a cheat menu injected in and used without being detected.

Let me just emphasize that this problem was already solved in 1995 and earlier. I could tell my Quake client that I was invulnerable but the server would pay me no mind, since it controlled everything that happened in the game world. In Max Payne 3, all that it took for people to become invulnerable was for them to tell the server "hey, by the way, I'm invulnerable," and the server would just believe them. Their net code is shit and, as long as they keep raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in shark cash card sales, it's always going to be shit.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Zephlar on September 01, 2020, 05:40:54 PM
You're reading way too much into my post.

Kinda my MO. Ban yet plz?

Not sure why you're bringing up GTA, but each game is a different story, and the reason GTA Online is so goddamn awful largely stems from the fact that Rockstar's net code has been consistently crap since at least GTA4.

One of the main tenets of writing net code is to trust the client as little as possible, but Rockstar doesn't seem to be aware of that. If I were to join a Quake (as in, 1995 Quake) with mods enabled, the server would pretty much boot me right away. GTA Online has weaker mod protection than Quake does, and the server trusts the client far more. From what I've read, if your client tells the server that you have X weapon, it'll just believe you.

In addition to this, the game seems to completely fail to validate any of the game's files on the PC version. There is absolutely no reason why the mod menu should even work in GTA Online, but it does. If Rockstar gave even the slightest fuck about security instead of just blindly trusting the platform to do it, it would autokick anyone running a modified client, and they sure as hell wouldn't let anyone modify the amount of cash they have in their account.

Because I felt like this was a perfect example of what I believe, that  PC is absolutely 1000x worse than consoles in terms of cheating. I got what you were saying about why console is just as vulnerable, but the fact of the matter is consoles just don't have cheaters even remotely comparable to PC gaming. All my experiences with cheating on PC almost never translates to consoles. Glitches are one thing but flat out cheating is barely a comparison. PC is just awful.

The fact other players in GTA Online PC can literally boot me out of a lobby if they want is insane to me. You kind of already expressed what I assumed that Rockstar seems to give little to no shits about their security. It's the wild west out there on PC for GTA and I did not, and still don't have the slightest bit of guilt for having erroneous funds added to my account. It felt like a well deserved fuck you to Rockstar. Then I went and paid for a console copy anyway because I wanted that legitimate experience, which I have now. I can actually grind with my friends and have a good time. Nobody is invincible and safe from karma on console. It's just a far superior experience on PS4. I could say the same for Battlefield 1, which I was super upset about quitting on PC. I really loved that game. I have so many videos of spectating cheaters on that game and the funny thing is DICE/EA won't even accept video proof I discovered. Origin overlay reporting is the only recourse.

Anyway, I do appreciate your well articulated explanation. It's just incredibly frustrating as someone who plays FPS genre games more than anything. In all my years on console when I finally moved to PC in 2012 it was a whole new realm of cheating I hadn't experienced, and it kills me to pay money for these games only to have some jackass 13 year old spend $15 on moms credit card to ruin my experience and make me feel like I've wasted my $60 that I work hard for. Know what I mean?
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 02, 2020, 09:22:07 AM
Kinda my MO. Ban yet plz?

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Because I felt like this was a perfect example of what I believe, that  PC is absolutely 1000x worse than consoles in terms of cheating.

Yeah, but that's like saying that all computers are insecure because Windows 95 was a sign of its time. It's a cherry picked example of how bad things can be if the developer doesn't give a shit. As I implied, Rockstar wrote their netcode with console security in mind. Take away that OS-level security (PC, as well as the entirety of the 6th and 7th console generations) and the game turns into an even more broken mess. I suspect that a lot of the people writing this code are either being told to do impossible things (more likely) or know less about writing net code than I do (far, far less likely).

When I say "impossible" things, well…some of the modern "convenience" features developers have been implementing can make it possible for someone to cheat without it looking like they're cheating. Recall that because games have started using client-side hit detection (WHY IS THAT A THING?!?!) simply simulating a high ping is enough to make the system completely freak out, let alone the relative ease of crafting an aimbot that says "oh yeah, I hit that target. Honest." All you need to do to trigger a high ping is seed a torrent or start a Steam game update. That should give you enough latency to trick the hit detection system but it'll be sporadic enough that you probably won't get kicked for having too high of a ping.

And yeah, players with consistently high pings was their "solution" to that issue. Band-aid fixes for the win, right?

This is kind of a tangent upon a tangent, but would you believe that aimbots really weren't that good back in the day? Sure, it would aim for center-of-mass, but their operation made botting verrrry obvious to server operators (it would keep your movement vectors the same and change your aiming vector, essentially giving you analog twin stick movement with keyboard/mouse). More importantly, Quake and UT's weapons simply didn't work with rockets. Nobody in their right mind would aim a rocket at someone's center of mass, and because of the game's frantic pace even aimbotting low pingers wouldn't be able to get perfect railgun shots against a juking player.

Bring back arena FPS! Bring back dedicated servers with operators that give a shit! Server communities! Clans! QuakeSpy (okay, maybe not that)! Fucking real mods that anyone can write that actually change the gameplay! ROCKET JUMPS!! Screw this DLC-riddled matchmaking garbage.

Goddamnit, I'm an FPS boomer, aren't I?
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on September 02, 2020, 08:39:38 PM
Bring back arena FPS!

While I do 100% back this up, I think it's more the current video-game audience more than game developers. I swear every so often (usually ID tbh) an arena fps is released, and is pretty much dead on arrival.

Sometimes its the developer just failing "cough" unreal tournament 3 "cough". Other examples of stuff that is just good, like quake live, just never got popular enough for current mainstream appeal. I know they tried again with quake heroes? champions? or whatever, but that never gained traction. Another example is lawbreakers, wasn't that kind of a spin on an arena fps? Even with the Cliffster behind it, I didn't hear anything about that game other than it was A really good, and B it's a damn shame because there's no people to play with.

Not common, but there are games that get put out there...and nobody plays them. I think the inherent nature of "you're on your own son, no team mates to carry you a W" is so unattractive to most people who play games now a days, it's a good way to kill your game outright. Imo it's a primary reason you don't see many people playing rts or fighting games anymore, no team no buy. AND I DO KNOW YOU CAN PLAY TEAM DEATHMATCH IN ARENA GAMES...just no, ffa deathmatch is where it's at. You want to play on a team? play CTF or something (nothing wrong with that, ctf can be fun).

ut2k4 remaster plz...
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 03, 2020, 10:24:50 AM
Much of the end of my post yesterday was fueled by anxiety-related insomnia, so I was only semi-serious and should have probably slapped a disclaimer tag on it. I managed to get significantly more sleep last night (a whopping 90 minutes, give or take a quarter-hour) so <<insert fatigue disclaimer here>>.

Most of those were just spins on the formula. Quake Champions and Lawbreakers (and some other stuff like Overwatch) are hero shooters, so they don't feature some of the things that I like, such as map control and the true need for, ahem, "advancing in the opposite direction" when you're outgunned. Those games just feel like two teams slamming head first into one another until one side edges out the other, rather than the delicate game of chess, or more accurately cat-and-mouse, that FFA deathmatch games bring to the table.

In the case of both Quake Champions and Lawbreakers, there were a bunch of other issues going on with them that caused them to be received like sour milk. In addition to questionable balance choices, Quake Champions had worse netcode than Quake III (which came out in 1999). Lawbreakers had a troubled development cycle, which forced it into a situation where it was forced to directly compete with Overwatch. NerdSlayer has a half hour breakdown (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDfXQodsDfk) on the numerous things that went wrong with that project.

UT4 was the closest to what I'd consider a classic FPS, and it did have some solid momentum behind it, but Epic decided that they wanted to rake in Fortnite bucks (and later throw an absolute temper tantrum because they weren't given special treatment in the mobile space) instead of doing anything with that. Naturally, it's hard to gauge exactly how much momentum it had simply because it never made it beyond the alpha stage, but it was enough that it's a common point of criticism against Epic.

So yeah, I wouldn't really say that there are all that many games out there that really fit that mold. Most people who crave that sort of thing still play Quake III, but even if it were more inviting to newbies, a game that can be run on a Pentium II with a Voodoo² is kind of a hard sell in 2020. Beyond that, there are a handful of obscure/open-source offerings (like Nexuiz), but since those don't have any real backing or marketing pushes they tend to foster their own hardcore communities.

Honestly, I'd say that even QuakeWorld/Quake II fit into that "semi-niche" category when they were at peak relevance. In-game server browsers weren't a thing until Q3A/UT99, so joining an Internet Quake deathmatch game would involve someone having to 1) know to get QuakeSpy/GameSpy, 2) know that most of the community was using the QuakeWorld client instead of the vanilla DOS/Win/Mac/GLQuake client, and 3) be able to set up all of those components to talk to one another. Quake II only removed step 2, since the benefits of QuakeWorld were rolled into the main game by that point. There's a good reason that the classic deathmatch style didn't really explode the way it did until Q3A/UT99/HL.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 12, 2020, 03:45:56 PM
I played through Outer Wilds (not to be confused with The Outer Worlds) recently. Damn good game.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 29, 2020, 07:14:11 PM
Hyrule Warriors grinding.

With Age of Calamity having been announced, I've decided to throw myself back into this. I ended up clearing the Master Quest Adventure Map with a friend, and I'm currently working on clearing the Master Quest Wind Waker map (currently 47% complete).

The Master Quest maps are so goddamn tedious (they're literally the standard and Wind Waker adventure maps with a couple modifiers added in, but there's a lot of extra unlockables inside so you kinda have to do them). I'm going to be so happy when I can put them behind me and get to the more interesting maps. I will say that the Wind Waker maps are a huge improvement over the original. There's a higher percentage of fun and more unique challenges (KO challenges, rupee challenges, etc) and there are far fewer total tiles to deal with.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 03, 2020, 03:46:14 PM
Wow, haven't updated this thread in a while.

Age of Calamity is a thing now, obviously. It improves the gameplay in Hyrule Warriors tremendously, making it feel more like a Zelda game with Warriors elements than a Warriors game with a Zelda skin. The controls are infinitely better, with items and abilities being chorded actions (L + A/B/X/Y for rods and heals, R + A/B/X/Y for Sheikah Slate abilities) rather than using a clunky left/right inventory scrolling system. While that aspect of HW:DE was a notable downgrade from the Wii U version, the HW:AoC system is easily an upgrade compared to both.

It also brings in the flurry rush option from BotW, except it's way harder to cheese it. Timing is very precise, making it feel extra satisfying when you manage to nail it.

I haven't beaten the story mode yet and I refuse to read anything until I have, so I'm not sure how much longevity the game has. Even if it's all variants of the same basic gameplay, HW:DE has a ridiculous amount of checkboxes to tick. I have *checks Switch profile* 195 hours on HW:DE (god only knows how much I've poured into the Wii U version) and I feel like I could easily squeeze another 200 hours out of it.

One major issue that HW:AoC suffers from, however, is the framerate, especially when playing docked. It's kinda hard to hit flurry rushes when the game seemingly skips over its entire timing window on occasion. Honestly, I'd probably be further along in the campaign if it weren't for that. It actually becomes tiring to play it in long stretches when compared to HW:DE (which can maintain 30fps). HW:AoC is far more consistent in handheld mode (only noticeably dipping during weak point smashes and special attacks) due to how much the graphical detail is cranked down. Honestly, if there were a way to force handheld graphics in docked mode without jailbreaking I'd do that in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 10, 2020, 01:24:33 AM
I played Cyberpunk 2077 for about 4 hours tonight. Woo boy, does it feel expansive. Interactions feel really natural, and I'm already getting a ton of side quests. For a company that hasn't created a shooter, the gunplay has been pretty sweet so far. Melee is nuanced enough to be engaging, but not so complicated that it's unwieldy. Fists and melee weapons work the same way, so you don't have to memorize a bunch of conflicting systems.

I didn't run into any serious issues. No crashes or anything like that, and I haven't run into a t-pose yet. My poor GPU isn't too happy, though. The game started up with everything basically maxed out at 1440p and my venerable 1080 Ti managed a whopping 40fps. Whoops! I bumped the resolution scale back to 75% (1080p) and dropped some of the settings to medium. The game still looks great and it averages 65-70fps now. No noticeable issues with frame pacing or the like (even when I was rocking 40fps in the opening scenes!), so it seems like the engine is pretty well optimized at least. Considering this is one of the only games where I've had to lower the settings on my card to get it to maintain 60+, I really can't complain. Still, wouldn't mind getting my hands on a shiny new RTX 30xx card (for that and HL:Alyx, since I run into occasional reprojection on my Index…my old Rift S had a low enough resolution that it wasn't an issue).

The worst bug I've run into so far with CP2077 is the car's self-driving feature. The game has a feature that allows you to press V and summon, uh, V's car. I've kinda found that it's more of a detonation switch. The car doesn't seem to have collision while it's moving, so I've had it stop inside of a solid object before, after which it promptly explodes. Thankfully you can just summon it again and it'll appear, albeit with fewer doors on it. Whoops.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on December 10, 2020, 08:19:44 PM
I have been tempted to making a thread for this game since I think it might be popular enough to warrant it. I played 3-4 hours yesterday and I'm still figuring stuff out so I don't have much to say sans "wow, the character creation aspect of the game IS x rated".

Game runs fine for me at 1440p(rtx 2060), tho I just got a 4k 50 inch tv (these things are dirt cheap now a days I am in disbelief how little I paid for this thing) and I want to see what settings I need to fiddle with this fucker to get it running at decent framerate at 4k with my setup (if I can). But it looks great, and preforms great in the little time I've played so far. Having issues trying to stream however, gameplay looks fine, but stream is very...jerky? Going to need to troubleshoot that later.

Bugs since people are talking about em, the mission where you meet corp bitch lady, you meet up with jackie to pick him up...the car and jackie disappeared...but I think that only ended up helping me in the dialogue so I wasn't that mad.

Too early to give real opinions, but with a decent pc the game runs great, fast load times, no issues alt tabbing or anything.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 10, 2020, 10:58:59 PM
I'm guessing your monitor is FreeSync/G-Sync? If so, that would explain why it's stuttering when you stream. I'll bet your system is dipping below 60fps and the stream is skipping frames as a result. You wouldn't see it on your display since its refresh rate dynamically adjusts, but it would be pretty apparent in a recording.

I just ended up getting to Act 2 as a character with a Streetkid background (and a normal-sized penis, 'cuz%u2026y'know) and the game has only been getting better. I ran into my first softlock just after Act 1, but the event worked properly on the second run. Gotta say, I wasn't exactly sure how to rate the voice acting, but the actors have been crushing it in the part that I'm in.

Kinda seems like the 1.03 patch gave me a few more FPS on my GPU. Kinda seems like I've been hovering closer to 75fps with my current settings rather than 70fps. I might turn some of the settings back up, since it seems like the resolution scaling is what really helped the most.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on December 15, 2020, 12:47:00 AM
boo hoo cyberpunk is criminally short boo hoo the main story is 5 hours long boo hoo theres no content boo hoo

"cough"

(https://i.imgur.com/OxPFfxR.jpg)

I have only just entered the part of the game where the entire city is unlocked...are the masses of crybabies that plague the cyberpunk reddit even playing this game? Because I think they're spending more time bitching about the game rather than playing it.

Only just starting to click why you use tech weapons, ping hack = see enemies through walls, charged blast from a tech weapon...and a few perks = I do not require line of sight to murder anymore.

You still enjoying the game? Once all of my side missions are either done, or very hard (having completed one, very hard just means do later when you've leveled up), I may do a few primary missions, been going on side content HARD in the quest for money, weapons, and power.

Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 15, 2020, 04:41:36 PM
I don't get it. I mean, there are plenty of valid criticisms for the game (especially if you bought the XBone/PS4 versions…oof), but I'd be hard pressed to consider the story and longevity as flaws.

It does kinda feel like the launch was rushed (the game could have probably used another six months of dev time), but considering CDPR's reputation for sticking with games until they're done and polished (see: the entire Witcher series) I'm not super concerned. They've already announced that there's going to be story expansions down the road, which leads me to believe that the journey has only begun. Kinda makes me wonder how much of an overlap there is between the people who are bitching about how rushed the game is and the people who sent fucking death threats to the devs over the delays. HMMM.

Then there's that whole "global pandemic" thing. I'm sure that didn't impact development at all.

Yeah, I'm definitely still enjoying it. I'm only about 15 hours in (taking it kinda slow to avoid burnout, and because I have a lot of little projects I've been tinkering with) but the content still feels pretty fresh. I have a pretty good variety of side missions that I'm going to plow through before I get back to the main story.

I'm running a tech/stealth build, throwing some points into reflexes from time to time in case things get messy. My current method for getting perk points has been to pick someone off from a distance with a suppressed revolver (are all future-tech revolvers Nagants or something?) for points in pistols, then hiding their body to get points in stealth. That well's going to run dry soon, but I might as well drink from it while I can.

One thing that I kinda think is worth noting is that the in-dialogue animations in this game are seriously incredible. From what I've seen every character has their own unique body language and tics. Also, being able to kinda sorta hang out with muh boy Keanu is pretty sweet.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on December 19, 2020, 12:15:14 AM
I was having second thoughts on going 20 tech to start, but having played a lot more of the game...tech is a good stat. Crafting is good, and SHOOTING THROUGH GODDAMN EVERYTHING is good. Take the perk to shoot through walls better and make sure to have the ping hack handy, I clear out buildings without even entering them.

Then because I am going for "fun" instead of "optimal", I decided to max out intelligence to try out hacking...ohh boy...ohh boy. Legendary ping is fuckin busted, it lets you target and hack things through walls, so if walls were already useless enough, they don't exist anymore. Ping + 1-2 hacks = dead everything. This game is so silly, and I am still having fun.

(https://i.imgur.com/kRXMIUx.jpg)

I am comitted to doing every single side quest before I touch the story, so I still got a little while before I beat the game, but it's still a good time.

I assume you're dumping more points into cool and reflex? The two stats I am completely ignoring, how are those going for you? The only two weapons ive touched in my entire game are the tech shotgun and sniper, I haven't even used anything else period except unarmed to get perks from levels.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 20, 2020, 05:37:06 PM
I tend to favor technical ability over reflex. I basically have enough points in reflex to ensure that I can pop heads if necessary. I also have enough points in intelligence to ensure that I can quickhack often and effectively.

My general priority system:

1. Cool / Technical Ability.
2. Intelligence
3. Reflex
9999. Body (might put a few points into this for perks, but it's definitely not important for how I've been playing)

As far as weapons go, I recently scored a tech precision rifle that I plan to get a whole bunch of use out of. That gives me a pretty nice trifecta: suppressed revolver for stealth kills, assault rifle for when I need to put a lot of lead down range, and a tech precision rifle for pretty much everything else.

I was planning to run with SMGs instead of assault rifles, since I generally prefer those in games, but the way they implemented them sort of makes them feel like worse rifles. SMGs in real life run on pistol ammo (typically 9x19mm or .45ACP), while the ones in Cyberpunk take rifle ammo despite doing relatively low damage per shot and having a noticeably higher cyclic rate. If they used pistol ammo I could see them being a nice way to round out a shooty build, but as it stands now they just seem to chew up valuable rifle ammo without really bringing anything to the table.

Maybe I just haven't found a good SMG yet. I dunno.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on December 21, 2020, 03:54:43 PM
I don't think I've used any full auto weapons outside of the first few missions of the game, but i mean shotguns and snipers'll do that. Body is good since I'm using shotguns primarily, but I only need 11 points to get what I want out of it, only going full 20 because not enough leftover stats to get anything nice out of reflex or cool, and the athletics perks are good no matter how you play.

Changed the difficulty to very hard after finding out you get more exp that way, but at level 41...the game feels easier on very hard now than it did on normal when I first started. You do end up VERY powerful as the levels accrue. Shooting through walls at an 86% crit rate and 180something percent crit damage, while also having the hacking skills of a god, feelsgoodman. Maybe if I do another playthrough I'll try pistols, I hear they're very potnet in this game, but, I'm starting to think everything is good with gear/perks.

Not going to spoil anything, but have you done the side mission chain "the hunt" yet? I just finished it and...could be one of the most fucked up disturbing things I have seen in a videogame. Like an episode of CSI a bit too fucked up to be aired on tv.

*edit*

side tangent, you find the level 20 in a certain SKILL perks totally pointless? I mean some are good, but do you have level 20 in any skill yet? Because 61 hours in the game and I sure as hell don't. I want 20 engineering...but despite using ONLY FUCKING TECH WEAPONS, shooting through walls and whatnot for the past 60 hours, it's only level 15...and that is with some engineering specific grinding...I might tap out before I'm done with the game to be honest.

Not a big deal, but why have perks in the game even a dedicated player won't be able to access until literally all content in the game has been exhausted, and grinding after that?

*THINKING OUT LOUD*

I second the animations in this game are 10/10 master class. People move around like people, not like robots (ironic since I literally only met one single npc who isn't part machine), it "feels" real. Body language, and even things like "rolls eyes" come off as genuine. They set a pretty high bar here.

Another observation, Takemura voice actor speaks Japanese, and English, and his accent screams "voice actor is actually japanese english second language". There's a side quest where you save a korean dude, and the subtitles show up as korean (don't know korean, but can read hangul), and I also know what korean sounds like, so it's cool to see this hangul text being translated into english real time like the google translate in the main characters head is working as he speaks. And when you first come across the voodoo boys, they speak a different language I ASSUMED AS HAITIAN CREOLE, and 60 seconds after this, they confirmed in game.

There's a lot of attention to detail going on here, and a lot of stuff I'm not even catching (references and whatnot) but I already seen elon musk, hideo kojima, and a death stranding BB in game, it's good stuff. I'm having a hard time saying anything bad about the game to be honest...the massive skyrim sized crater I have needed to be filled is being filled, and it feels good. 
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on December 22, 2020, 05:48:11 PM
I used a shotty for a little bit in early game, but I'm not really tanky enough to make full use of it. I'm planning to do a meat mountain/guns blazin' build in the future, and I'm sure that when I do that I'll probably use them extensively. Revolvers honestly feel pretty great to me. Even in early game I was able to find a revolver that can do 1500 crit headshots even with a suppressor attached.

I haven't done The Hunt yet, but your description intrigues me. I'm looking forward to it.

I don't have anything up to 20 yet (I think my highest skill perk level is around 10-12 right now?). It definitely feels like a lot of the higher end perks are more nice-to-haves than must-haves. I think the biggest reason why I think they'd pad the game out with those is for future content. I mean, some of the Witcher 3's DLCs have had essentially an entire game's worth of content in them. I guess we'll see.

Yeah, I really loved the way they handle different languages, particularly that little detail where if your character doesn't have a language module installed then they can't auto-translate the language. Up until the introduction of the Voodoo Boys I assumed that the subtitles were more provided as a service to the player. Turns out, not so much!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on January 12, 2021, 06:15:34 PM
I've been playing a fair amount of VR lately, mostly fiddling around with H3VR and Boneworks. The former has easily the best firearms handling I've ever seen in VR and the latter is just a fantastic experience overall.

One thing that's noteworthy about H3VR is the way it makes use of the Index touchpad, particularly on things like semi-automatic pistols. You can literally operate the slide lock lever using the left side of the trackpad. If the slide is locked back, flicking down will release the slide. If you pull the slide back, push up, and release the slide, it'll lock. Pressing the bottom of the trackpad actuates the magazine release. It's hard to overstate how natural it all feels. It's just kind of a shame that the actual combat scenarios that the game has are a bit on the meh side.

The pistol slides are also interesting in that they can interact with the environment, and with other objects:



As far as Boneworks goes, that sucker is practically a VR physics sandbox that's guaranteed to make you sick if you don't have your VR legs. Its firearms handling is somewhere between arcadey and realistic, but the physics! Man, the physics. Nothing beats being able to hook a crowbar onto a zip line and pull yourself up, firing at enemies as you slide past. Similarly, nothing beats being able to pin down their headcrab analogues and repeatedly stabbing them until they stop moving. HL:Alyx played it safe in a lot of ways in order to appeal to a broader market, but Boneworks pulled out all the stops in order to make the most immersive sim possible for experienced VR users, and despite that still manages to be relatively jank-free (oh, there's jank, but far less than what I would have expected).

Payday 2 VR is also a thing that my friends and I have been playing for the past couple of months. Kinda seems like they reversed course on some of the worst additions to the game over the years and in general created a fun experience. Considering the underpinnings of the game, the VR version runs way better than it has any right to, though I suspect that it will eventually become non-viable when the difficulty gets to a certain point.

Aside from that, Spelunky 2 and Drake Hollow have both proven to be really fun Christmas gifts. When I get over my current VR fixation I'm going to need to dump more hours into both of those.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on February 27, 2021, 01:18:33 PM
I ended up earning the Lazy Bastard achievement in Factorio last night. Basically, that stipulates that you have to launch the rocket (thus winning the game) while only manually crafting 111 items. This is actually more stringent than it sounds, as every single component (including stuff like iron gear wheels) counts toward this total. There also isn't much wiggle room, as you need to to craft 104 items in order to bootstrap automated production and get your first assembler. I also upped the ante a bit by refusing to use any of my stored blueprints (kind of a mixture of my own designs as well as efficient setups I saw online and liked).

The beginning is definitely the hardest part, as you basically have to keep changing that assembler to craft whatever you need at the time, but it gets easier as you build up little mini-malls, but then it starts to get tedious as your base expands. When everything is small and compact, you just walk over to a chest and yoink whatever you need, but as soon as you have to start covering more ground, you find yourself having to go farther and farther away just to get some conveyor belts. Then, later on, you unlock the logistics system and it goes back to (mostly) being a typical game of Factorio.

But yeah, all in all, that's a nice, shiny gold achievement for my Steam profile, and at this point in time I can call myself a 2.7%'er. Honestly, out of all my Steam achievements right now (of which I apparently have 3290), I'd say this is the one I'm happiest about.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: vladgd on March 02, 2021, 12:36:48 PM
I kinda dropped off after trying to get nuclear power working, the game seems to get exponentially more complicated the more you play. Not at all a knock on the game, but it's a good time investment to get going proper that's for sure. Game is a lot harder than it's given credit for.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 02, 2021, 12:49:50 PM
I actually skipped right from coal to nuclear in my lazy bastard factory. The ratios on nuclear are kinda weird and it definitely takes more of an investment to jumpstart a plant. However, I was a bit late when it came to getting a proper logistics setup in my lazy bastard game (mostly because advanced oil processing is the bane of my existence) and laying down solar fields by hand is such a drag that I kept putting it off...and off...and off...

I ended up finishing the game with red belts for the same reason: by the time I actually bothered to start producing lubricant I was at the endgame. :P

It's going to be nice to be able to throw on some QoL mods and start playing the game a bit more casually again.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 06, 2021, 05:03:50 PM
Forgot to mention that I played through Buddy Simulator 1984 (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1269950/Buddy_Simulator_1984/) a couple of times. Kinda hard to say too much about it that isn't already on the Steam store page without spoiling things, but if you like games like Undertale or OneShot this one will probably be right up your alley.

I currently have two out of four endings. My first run through was relatively complete (I didn't really miss too much, all things considered) and it took about four hours. It sort of felt like the game overstayed its welcome to a degree. It wasn't too egregious, but I feel that it could have easily made its point just as well in a 3 hour session, especially given that endings 1, 2, and 3 all require you to complete the entire story (with ending 4 requiring you to go through about 20-25% of it), and the requirements for earning endings 1 and 3 are fairly strict.

There is a combat system vaguely reminiscent of Super Mario RPG (albeit simplified) introduced later on, but it didn't feel good to play at all with the default settings. So, in SMRPG you could tap a button (X, I think?) right as the attack is about to land in order to deal additional damage. BS1984 kind of expands upon that by applying it to blocking/dodging and by making it so that you need to press the right key to hit at all. The problem is that with the default settings, the key for attacks is randomized (the one for defending is static, thankfully), the crit window is very small, and if you press the wrong key you miss completely. The main issue with this is that the attack key can be any key on the keyboard, so what you generally have to do is shuffle your hands to the home row, smack the key the game tells you to press, and then go back to the arrow keys.

It probably wouldn't be so bad if the combat system were fundamentally interesting, but it's really not. You can have a party of three characters, each of whom have a whopping two moves: one normal move and one move with a cooldown. When it comes to the game overstaying its welcome, that's largely thanks to the thoroughly uninteresting combat system, limited enemy roster, and limited move pool. Because of this you'll want all of your hits to be critical, and having a random key makes that virtually impossible. It's a little fun at first in a Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (or Beatmania DaDaDa!!...yes, Beatmania Teaches Typing is a real thing, and yes, I own a copy) sort of way but it very quickly loses its luster. Fortunately, there is a "one-handed mode" in the options (which I highly recommend using) that forces attacks to use the fixed keys used by the defending system (A/S/D, with each key corresponding to one of your three party members). Some attacks that hit multiple times will still require you to press a random key, but those moves seem to be cooldown moves, and from what I can tell none of them crit.

Aside from the combat being generally uninspired and taking up way too much time, the only other real complaint I have is that the audio mixing is a bit buggered. It's generally fine, but then you'll go into a certain event of jump into a certain screen and the audio will just be way too loud. Probably not the best game to play with headphones for that reason alone.

Despite that, I definitely recommend playing through it. It's a bit of a whirlwind experience, but it's one that I'm glad I experienced.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on March 07, 2021, 06:35:51 PM
I... I don't recall ever learning about beatmania teaches typing... That's awesome.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 08, 2021, 10:21:11 AM
I... I don't recall ever learning about beatmania teaches typing... That's awesome.

It's a bit of an odd one, for obvious reasons. :)

There were versions for both PS2 and PC, though I ended up getting the PS2 version. Despite sharing a release date with IIDX 4th Style CS, its UI and song selection tend to be more reminiscent of classic Beatmania. It has nine note columns, representing every finger of each hand as well as the thumbs, and each note has a corresponding letter above it that needs to be hit on the beat. Generally speaking it just has you typing random letters, but once in a while it brings up entire words for you to type. Gotta say, it's amazing how much the muscle memory behind touch typing hinges on your knowledge of the language, as suddenly being asked to type phrases in romaji is surprisingly awkward. Fortunately, the game doesn't seem to demand the use of kana at any point, otherwise I would have been completely hosed, lol.

The keyboard that the game ships with is...fine. Nothing special, but not bad. I imagine it's just a standard USB HID keyboard, though I haven't tried plugging it into a PC.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 17, 2021, 08:05:54 PM
For some reason I started getting back into Super Hexagon today, and after playing it a bit on my iPad I found out that using the mouse on the PC version is pretty much the ultimate control scheme. Sure, the game is capped at 60hz (technically 62.5hz, as Terry used 16.0ms as a time base instead of 16.6666~ms) instead of the smooth, silky 120hz that the iOS version can manage, but mouse buttons are way more responsive than my iPad's keyboard is.

But, uh, long story short: not only did I clear my first hyper, but also my second. Wow.

Thankfully, my attempts at the hardestestest stage went about as well as they usually do, so at least I didn't mutate overnight or anything like that.

Edit: Maybe something clicked or I just got gud, but I just cleared both of those stages on my iPad as well. Huh.

Edit 2: Just did it on my phone, too. I guess it really wasn't a fluke!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 24, 2021, 03:17:21 AM
(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/super_hexagon/SH6-48.13.png)

Gettin' there!

Gotta say, though, the PC version is definitely the worst of the bunch. The input issues, in addition to the weird 62.5hz time base are honestly pretty goddamn unacceptable. It's not unplayable, per se, but it shouldn't be objectively worse than the version I play on my fucking phone.

Edit: Oh jeez. For some reason I was under the impression that Super Hexagon was a Unity engine game, which is why I thought it was strange that the frame time was so weird (it feels off when you play it on a non-FreeSync/G-SYNC display, too). Turns out, nope. Custom engine, using the openFrameworks library.

The thing that I don't get is that openFrameworks has a setFramerate() function that seems to be able to handle non-integral frame times. It almost seems like they just decided to roll their own timing routine because...reasons?
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 27, 2021, 10:59:00 PM
I decided to start working through increasingly difficult Doom WADs, and to start off I started with one half of Final Doom. That is, TNT: Evilution on ultra-violence.

Fuck me, I can't believe I paid money for that. Granted, the good levels are really solid, but over a third of the map pack is awful. Poor visuals, misaligned textures all over the place, and cheap enemy placement all over the place. Most traps toward the end of the game just involve dropping you in a pit with an Arch-Vile, so if you don't already have the BFG selected you're guaranteed to take a hit. One prominent part of MAP08 has a giant, open arena (so large that it's over a third of the entire map) with almost no cover, filled to the brim with hit scanners. Doom doesn't feature damage fall-off on hitscan weapons, and every bullet you're hit with is guaranteed to do 5, 10, or 15 damage.

That's not even the worst of it. The room opens with a set of stairs, and vanilla Doom doesn't feature vertical look (and, in my eyes, vanilla map == vanilla rules). Instead, you have to deal with an occasionally fiddly autoaim system. The autoaim feature does have a fall off, and over a long distance won't acquire a target. This does not apply to enemies, meaning that while you're descending these stairs (which offer precisely zero cover) you will continually get sniped by chaingunners and shotgunners.

The only way to avoid this is to know that the map has a secret invisibility sphere. This adds a random factor to the enemy's aim, greatly weakening hitscanners. I would like to once again emphasize that this item is in a secret area, and if you don't know to save it for this encounter it will do absolutely nothing for you.

Later on in the WAD there are areas where the player is forced to take damage from damaging floors. There were times where I had to reload my level start save because it was mathematically impossible to progress through the level. Yeah, that's nice.

Then there's the sudden resource starvation at around MAP27 or so. I ran out of both shells and bullets at one point and I made every attempt to conserve them. How in the hell does that even happen? Doom only has four ammo types for fuck's sake!

Oh, then there's the point where they just give up, open a wall, and flood a fairly tight area with 10-12 revenants. Cool. A "challenge" that stops moving after two BFG shots. How imaginative. It might have made more sense if the game opened a wall behind the player when they move in for ideal tracer saturation or something, but...nope. Pretty much the least imaginative trap possible.

Probably the worst was MAP22. It wasn't difficult (it was easier than some of the episode 1 maps) but it looked unfinished. A vast majority of the map was full bright, and it had this really irritating sewer section at one part.

An honorable mention to awfulness goes to MAP05, which has a section that's so tight that it routinely causes irritating collision bugs to crop up (https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Elastic_collisions_with_walls) (Sigil has similar issues).

TNT's highs definitely exceed that of the OG Doom WADs, but its lows are so low that they're basically strolling along the shores of hell.

Here are some remarks about maps that I feel are notable:

MAP01: Great starter map! Gives you a false sense of security.

MAP02: Some decent traps, but some jumps are more difficult than they should be due to engine quirks.

MAP03: I like it. Good mixture of upper end enemy types, but balanced by having plenty of cover.

MAP04: Conceptually great. Kinda meh to actually play.

MAP05: Corridors are frustratingly tight. Some parts are kinda bland. Meh.

MAP06: Meh. Not bad.

MAP07: Pretty good! A good challenge in some parts.

MAP08: Fuck this map for the reasons stated above. Starts out pretty good, with some nice traps and enemy vantage points, but has some really obnoxious artificial difficulty at the end.

MAP09: I really liked this map, but I kinda feel like it's difficult enough that it should have been placed later in the map pack.

MAP10: Meh.

MAP11: Most of the map is a crate maze. Super meh.

MAP12: Looks boring. Plays boring. Next.

MAP13: A decent hub-oriented level. Also features an incredibly easy to kill cybie.

MAP14: Not great. This map forces you to take damage from nukage pools, so it's possible for the map to be mathematically impossible to complete if you take one too many hits.

MAP15: I like this one! Kind of a neat outdoor map with a central base. Nice amount of challenge with plenty of fun secrets. I took the secret exit, naturally, so it's off to MAP31.

MAP31: So, when Final Doom came out, this map had the essential yellow key marked as multiplayer-only. I would have thought that the Steam/GoG versions of Final Doom (at this point I don't remember which IWAD set I'm using) would have used the patched version, but apparently not! Fortunately, it's easy to bypass the yellow key with a quick strafe jump and linedef press, so I was able to complete it without cheating. Still, not a great look to release a commercial level pack with an "unbeatable" map.

MAP32: This is probably my favorite map of the pack, honestly. A nice mixture of indoor and outdoor combat, with some great traps and frenetic action. This one made me glad I decided to go for the secret levels.

MAP16: Meh.

MAP17: Simple layout, but a fairly fun map.

MAP18: Decent enough action for the most part, though the ending fight kinda monotonous. Unfortunately, this is one of those levels that make you activate a bunch of switches without giving you a clear idea of what each switch does. I ended up having to run all over the damn place through a nearly-emptied map just to get a feel for what changed when I pressed each switch. Ugh.

MAP19: Nice visuals. It has a surprisingly good looking office, and at one part has a well-designed warehouse with a cleverly built truck in the loading dock. It honestly felt too easy, though. It would have probably felt better if this and MAP09 were flipped. One complaint that I have is that the yellow key is very difficult to spot.

MAP20: Decent beginning, kind of a crappy ending with a bunch of unintuitive teleportation.

MAP21: God, this map sucks. Long, boring corridors with boring patches of enemies, with boring rooms, and a boring nukage pit where you collect boring keys, to work your way to a boring end with boring enemy encounters. Boring. Bland.

MAP22: I already talked about this one above, but then I suddenly remembered that the blue key is hidden behind a fucking wall. THEY HID A KEY BEHIND A SOLID WALL. WHAT THE FUCK

MAP23: IMO, the only map in the latter third of the game that's really worth a damn. Kinda feels a bit on the easy side, though. It would have probably been better placed in E2. Solid fights and good architecture.

MAP24: *spekturr snores loudly*

MAP25: I barely remember this map despite only having played it around an hour ago. I think that pretty much says it all.

MAP26: Boring. This map has a ton of imps for something this late in the game, and they're easily one of the easiest enemies to deal with in classic Doom.

MAP27: Decent early half with an awful ending section. If you don't know exactly what you're doing you'll be stuck taking hits from damaging floors. The actual exit of the map is also freaking weird, with you getting teleported to a red platform, then running off of the platform triggers the exit. Wh-what?

MAP28: Bad. This is one of those ones that opens obvious monster closets right in front of the player. Basically, if you pull out the BFG every time you backtrack you won't have to worry about anything. There is one room of the level that has five pain elementals because reasons, so I might have went a little BFG-happy in that room as well.

MAP29: Definitely a mixed bag. I liked the marble section of the map, but I was less impressed by...pretty much everything else. The cramped, thankfully optional, room that teleports in a bunch of lost souls and projectile-slinging enemies with large hit boxes was just fucking adorable. Nothing like taking advantage of Doom's infinitely tall enemy hit boxes to prevent them from dodging fireballs. That's not cheap and lame at all.

MAP30: It starts off with a "puzzle" that requires you to follow a color pattern correctly (or instantly die) so obviously it puts its best foot forward. Pretty lame combat leading up to the final boss room, if I'm honest, and as for the final boss room? Well...it's even easier than the OG Doom 2 Icon of Sin, except it's set up in such a way that autoaim fucks you over and locks onto enemies below! Literally all you have to do is hit a switch to raise some stairs, BFG the hell knights and barons on top of said stairs, stand on the top stair, and hold the fire button. Eventually you'll cut through the enemies below you and kill the Icon of Sin. Considering people have managed to do UV Tyson (that is, using only the fist and pistol) of this map, there's probably an even lamer way to kill the boss. Fantastic. What a way to end a WAD.

Yeah, honestly, I can't see myself ever playing this all the way through again. I'm almost tempted to just extract the maps I like and making a TNT mini-WAD. Should be able to get a good 10 level pack out of it without a problem.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 28, 2021, 06:33:40 PM
Just finished up episode 1 of Base Ganymede: Complete (https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom/megawads/bgcomp). It was such a breath of fresh air after playing through TNT. While I still have two more episodes to plow through, I've been getting far more positive vibes from it than I did with TNT. With TNT it felt like right as I was starting to enjoy myself I'd either run into a complete dud of a level or some sort of bullshit trap. Even BG:Comp's most devious traps thus far have been fair and challenging. On top of that, it looks quite good from a design perspective, and the author went out of their way to make the maps stylistically connect. That is, if one level has you exiting a moon base, the next level will start with you standing outside of the aforementioned base. Great stuff!

In terms of resource allocation, I would occasionally feel constrained, but I never felt starved. Generally speaking, if my shell supply started to run low I could switch to my chaingun and let myself build up ammo. I would say that, more than anything, the this map set really teaches you the art of target prioritization and weapon swapping. One example that I just ran into involved a large group of imps, specters, and lost souls. Switch to the chaingun, snipe the lost souls and let the imps and specters infight. Switch to the shotgun and clean up anything next to you, then switch to the rocket launcher and clean up the rest. Good stuff.

Now for the level by level review:

E1M1: Great intro level! It isn't too difficult if you're careful, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this megawad. It has a nice balance of indoor and outdoor arenas with a decent mix of basic enemies.

E1M2: Kind of a logical continuation of E1M1. See above.

E1M3: A fair increase in difficulty, with a rather nice multi-level arena in one part. This is where the game starts throwing Barons at you.

E1M9: So I ended up pistol starting this one. My stupid monkey brain told me that the secret level exit switch was on E1M4, not E1M3. Whoops. Instead of aborting and restarting I decided to just finish up the map pack and warp to this one after the fact. So this one starts off with you facing off against a couple dozen pinkies, former humans, and sergeants, with imps sniping you from upper ledges, so even while the screen wipe was happening I had a "*chuckles* I'm in danger" moment. It settled down a bit after that until the run to the red key, which featured a bunch of imps sniping at you. After snaking around a nukage pool (with a radsuit, thankfully) I found five lost souls guarding the red key. Juked around them due to not having much ammo, then ran back. Three cacodemons. Agh! Led them away and ran to the red door which, thankfully, only contained an exit switch. I can't imagine getting 100% kills on this one from a pistol start without throwing a lot of punches, but I had fun with it.

E1M4: I would say that this one is a baby step back in difficulty and scope. Kind of a nice reprieve after the explosive ending of E1M3.

E1M5: This map would be kind of brutal if you somehow skipped the plasma rifle, as it features both a spider mastermind and a cyberdemon (not in the same arena, so no Gotcha!-style cheesing going on here). The spider mastermind looks like she'd be pretty easy to bypass, with the cyberdemon being a bit more dangerous (though less so if you convince him to scuffle with the cacodemons in the area), but I ended up taking both of them down. This level marks my first death, at the hands of a devious monster trap over a nukage pool. I ain't even mad.

E1M6: Another baby step back from the last level, both in scale and difficulty (or maybe I'm just getting used to it at this point...?). This one has some pretty great ambushes, with a surprise cyberdemon fight near the end of the map that relies on the player's ability to quickly clear the room and accurately circle strafe around a lava pit. Fun!

E1M7: A fairly short and sweet map with some fantastic arenas. The fight I described earlier in this diatribe is from this map. This one ends with the player telefragging an explosive barrel and being pushed over an exit linedef, forcing a pistol start for the final map.

E1M8: A good concept with weak execution. The general idea is that you have minimal weaponry (a pistol and a shotgun that they give you at the start) and you have to run like hell while being shot at from a captive spider mastermind. Hit/shoot a few switches, jump into a couple of teleporters, telefrag the spider brain thing, then hit a switch to end the episode. It's pretty easy if you have decent reflexes.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on March 31, 2021, 10:16:29 PM
Base Ganymede: Complete (https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom/megawads/bgcomp)

Started playing episode 2, got to E2M6, and threw in the towel. Episode 1 was pretty great, with great fights, solid level design, and some fun traps. Episode 2 looks okay, but the gameplay itself basically took everything episode 1 did right and threw it right out the fuckin' window.

E2M1: Not bad overall, but I wasn't crazy about one particular part where you have to just know to shoot four switches. In general I find that shootable linedefs is kind of a bad mechanic unless it's widespread (like SIGIL) or exclusively for secrets. With a custom texture it could work, but with normal switches one expects to be able to just use it.

E2M2: Ramps up the challenge a bit with more enemies. There are a few good opportunities to force monsters to infight, and given your relative lack of resources at the beginning of the map, pitting the imps against the demons isn't a half bad idea. As I progressed further, however, I noticed that they started to just throw piles of imps at the player. This...is the start of a bad pattern.

E2M3: You're a bit resource starved at the beginning of the map, and right away you're faced with a few barons on a ledge. They can't get at you, so it's easy enough to just leave for a while and build up your arsenal before going back and taking them out. Not a bad map, though this is the point where it starts to spawn cacodemons right next to the player without really giving them the ability to fight them aside from unloading a dozen shells in their big, dumb, cute faces. This map wasn't hard, but it was definitely tedious because of this. But hey, you end the map with a rocket launcher and plasma rifle! Awesome! Then you take the exit teleporter and the game forces you into a death exit. Fucking nice. Thanks.

E2M4: Fuck this fucking map. You're forced to pistol start it due to the mandatory death exit in the previous map. While I'd describe the previous map as being somewhat resource starved, this one is a resource drought. The game gives you nothing other than a berserk pack (which amplifies the damage of the player's punches until the end of the level...or four years, whichever comes first). There are dozens of imps and demons that you literally have to punch to death, and anyone who's played Doom knows that the punch mechanics are a bit wonky, to put it politely. Then I heard a cyberdemon waking up. Walk into a room and there's a cyberdemon on a ledge. Nice. Thanks. There's a teleporter behind him that causes the player to telefrag them, but between having to climb stairs to get to it and how tight the area is, it's difficult to make it there without taking splash damage. There really isn't a reward for your trouble, either, aside from earning the opportunity to grab a shotgun and exit the map. Terrible. If someone put a gun to my head and gave me the option of playing through TNT again or playing this map again, I think I'd pick fucking TNT. As with the rest of the episode thus far, this map wasn't really hard or clever in any way, it was just annoying and tedious.

E2M5: This is where things start to get irritating, with teleport ambushes becoming pretty much the only source of difficulty and every fight basically consisting of a carpet of a single type of enemy. Gone are the interesting fights where you would have to prioritize targets. Welcome to holding down the fire button until everything is dead.

E2M6: The moment that broke me (aside from having to fight through multiple walls of imps which, again, is not very interesting) is when I hit a switch and a cacodemon was teleported so close to me that I was wedged between them and the wall and almost instantly mauled to death. Nope. Fuck you. That's not proper challenge, that's "HAHA GOTCHA! HAVE FUN RELOADING YOUR SAVE!" bullshit. Considering how little health this episode gives the player up to that point, that's guaranteed death unless you know that there's a teleport destination in that particular spot, and the second you know that all you have to do is run past it, turn around, hold down the fire button, and you'll never take a hit.

So, no. Fuck that. That sort of design isn't fun, it isn't clever, and it doesn't actually make the game difficult, because it's nothing but artificial difficulty. It just makes it into a stupid guessing game that you can easily win by memorizing where the monsters are going to spawn. It's like those rhythm game charts that have nonsensical scroll speed changes just to throw off players or act as some sort of gimmick. The second you memorize them the chart stops being "challenging."

It's important to note that just because Doom is a granddaddy FPS doesn't mean that this is the only way of adding "challenge" to it. There are plenty of examples where map authors were able to make hard as balls maps without them being a total crapshoot. I mean, check out decino (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ8V9aiz50m6NVn0ix5v8RQ)'s channel on YouTube for some playthroughs of some cleverly designed, slaughter-y maps that emphasize dodging projectiles and target prioritization.

This one? Nah. Not even close.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 11, 2021, 12:34:08 AM
Just beat Moonblood (https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/megawads/moonbld), and had a generally good time with it!

I'm not going to do a level-by-level breakdown here, since I've been working on this over the course of several weeks, but there's definitely some ups and downs. The first half dishes out resources at a fairly slow and steady rate. You don't even get a backpack until MAP16 (or the secret levels, if you do those) and it waits to give you the BFG until MAP17.

Most of my complaints stem from the final third of the game, where some of the traps basically require you to have knowledge of the map in order to survive. It had a tendency to throw arch-viles at the player at close range. They have a powerful, delayed range attack, the ability to resurrect enemies, a fast running speed, and an extremely low pain chance. The game would occasionally throw a couple of them in front of you in a relatively open area, so if you didn't already have the BFG out you were guaranteed to take a hit or two, and that's usually enough to kill the player unless they have blue armor (which is fairly rare in this megawad).

They also had a tendency of putting in a ton of spongy enemies into a tight arena. The Doom engine doesn't really handle tight spaces left, with issues like elastic collisions rearing their ugly heads at inconvenient times, so those tended to be rather unpleasant. I'd say the later levels were at their best when they threw a bunch of opposition at the player in an arena-style setting, with plenty of bits of cover and room to move around and dodge. MAP26 (The Coliseum) started off hard and fast like this, and wound up being one of my favorite maps in the set.

It's definitely a step above TNT in terms of difficulty (at least on UV) and doesn't have any of its awful lows. I highly recommend this.

Next megawad on my list: Memento Mori.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 21, 2021, 09:38:36 PM
I played a little bit of Memento Mori and...ehhh, it really wasn't my thing. I wasn't too crazy about the layouts, and the quality was all over the show. I didn't really have any issues with the difficulty, but it was definitely a "where the fuck do I go" kinda WAD.

I ended up moving on to the Plutonia Experiment, the more difficulty half of Final Doom. Definitely a giant step up from TNT, though I expected that. I haven't been running into much trouble thus far, but I've only gone through the first 7 levels so far.

One of the things I like so far is that most of the larger scale fights take place in fairly open courtyards, so as long as you're good at moving, dodging, and prioritizing targets you won't really run into too many issues. The Casali brothers used a solid combination of enemies to ensure that you have to consistently swap between hiding from hitscanners and dealing with closer-range enemies. While I found myself kind of disappointed with TNT, even early on, I find myself enjoying Plutonia more than I figured I would.

It's possible that my tone could shift as I start pushing into the final episode, but we'll see. :)
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on May 31, 2021, 02:38:05 AM
Either I'm getting better at Doom or this map's difficulty is grossly overstated:

(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/screenshots/doom/plutonia/MAP32-UVMax.png)

I died once due to hubris early in my first attempt, but aside from that it was a reasonably clean run, ending with 200% health/armor (I actually had to run around picking up extra megaspheres to get the 100% items count) and full ammo for all weapons. There's quite a few enemies (206, to be exact) in a fairly limited space, with a ton of arch-viles, revenants (it is Plutonia, after all), and cyberdemons strewn about, but that's counter-balanced by a metric assload of resources and plenty of possibilities for infighting. All in all, it's fun! I didn't find it particularly challenging aside from one courtyard outing that was a bit of a clencher (the four cyberdemons that were alive were spread out, so explosions went everywhere), but it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on June 04, 2021, 02:12:32 AM
I had so much fun with Go 2 It UV that I played it a couple more times. I ended up recording a demo with 100% completion in 12:55. Here's a video:



And a few remarks (also found in the video description):

Quote
Port: PrBoom+ 2.6um (complevel 4)

Gotta say, when I started doing my first Plutonia UV playthrough recently I wasn't exactly looking forward to this map. However, it quickly wound up becoming one of my favorite commercially released Doom levels. There's just something immensely satisfying about it that I can't really put into words.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how this turned out. A few notable "meh" bits:

1) I know rocket dueling cyberdemons is inefficient, but my survival rate for that particular section is somewhere around 50% if I try to use the BFG. It's not even due to splash damage, it's because I tend to eat that particular cybie's rockets for some reason. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2) I normally don't run out of cells during the third courtyard battle, but the arch-viles were really being uncooperative. Still, could have been worse.

3) I think that's the first time I ate a rocket during the baron/cyberdemon fight at the end, and it startled me more than it probably should have. Doesn't help that I accidentally nabbed the last remaining megaspheres at near-full health right before that encounter. Whoops.

Now that I played through this a few times I should probably get back to, y'know, the rest of Plutonia.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on June 05, 2021, 05:48:22 AM
(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/screenshots/doom/plutonia/Done.png)

Just finished Plutonia. Gotta say, it really started to drag near the end. While in part of the second episode, as well as the secret levels, the enemies are placed in such a way to ensure that they have relatively good synergy, the final few levels just felt...rushed. There's one monster spawner in MAP28, for example, that just spawns a whole bunch of enemies in a large arena. Pretty much the only way that room would be even remotely difficult is if you were doing a pacifist run, speedrunning, or something like that. The map gives you plenty of cells, rockets, and shells, and just lets them sort of trickle into the room. I get the feeling that fight was supposed to be some sort of big, epic encounter, but all I did was circle strafe through it and I got out without a scratch.

I did everything after MAP32 (basically, MAP16 and on) blind with minimal saves, and the only time I died is when they decided to throw me into a trap that you have no hope of escaping without prior knowledge. I'm talking teleporting you onto a bridge with multiple revenants and hell knights in close range, so you die within a second or two unless you already have the BFG out. Another common occurrence would be putting you in a position where you're guaranteed to take damage, such as putting a high DPS hitscanner (i.e. a chaingunner) on a ledge with a slow, tanky enemy (i.e. a mancubus) underneath it to fuck with Doom's autoaim. Bullshit like that. A vast majority of the "traps" consist of monster closets with chaingunners and revenants, but they generally aren't placed in a particularly inspiring way.

Pretty much my mindset throughout most of the later maps was, "oh, a key. Grab it, get behind cover. Nothing can hit me. Take potshots at the hitscanners, then circle-strafe everything else. Done. Next room." I'm not sure if it's just me getting used to Plutonia's tricks, the on-the-job training I got with Go 2 It, or if the latter half just trails off hard, but the last hour felt like a slog.

Still, I would recommend it. I'd say there's more good levels in it than there was in vanilla Doom/Doom2.

Next stop: Back to Saturn X: Episode 1.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 02, 2021, 11:21:11 PM
Next stop: Back to Saturn X: Episode 1.

And...done!

Pretty fun ride, I've gotta say. The early parts were generally stronger than the later bits, but the penultimate map was *chef's kiss* fucking brilliant.

MAP19 probably stands out as the most frustrating one due to sheer developer dickishness, since they decide to do a cacodemon and pain elemental swarm at about the halfway mark. In advanced ports like GZDoom this isn't an issue, but in vanilla-accurate ports this is a huge issue. I prefer to play maps in the port that they're intended for, and since BtSX is a vanilla-compatible WAD that means PrBoom+ with complevel 2.

The reason that this particular combination of enemies is an issue is because there are certain cases where vertical height isn't considered in the Doom engine, and enemy melee attacks aren't one of them. Couple this with the fact that all objects with collision have infinite vertical height and you've got a recipe for disaster. Cacoswarms in tall, vertical maps are awful because you'll just be walking along, your movement will suddenly stop, and you'll start taking massive melee damage out of nowhere. Couple that with pain elementals shooting lost souls and you're in for a world of pain. There are a bunch of little hidey holes that you can lure them to, but that's not fun. Blasting swarms with a rocket launcher is fun.

Which leads me to MAP24. BtSX isn't particularly slaughtery, but that changes. I wouldn't say that it's comparable even to stuff like Go 2 It, but the encounters are focused around dealing with chaos, prioritizing enemies, and, in one case, blasting hordes of imps into tiny little giblets. So fucking good.

At this point I'm trying to decide what to play next. I'd like to go back to doing level-by-level breakdowns, but we'll see.

Speaking of slaughter maps, I ended up playing a legit slaughter map. It was on easy, but that's a highly, highly relative term in this case (1817 enemies in a single arena ;D). Behold, Dimensions MAP01 on Hey, Not Too Rough:



I did some narration on this one, but my mic ended up picking up too many mouth noises for my liking (hence why it's unlisted). I've been practicing it on Hurt Me Plenty, which is a decent jump up in difficulty. I'll probably do another video when I manage to beat that consistently without saves.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 03, 2021, 04:48:40 PM
I decided to move onto Rush (https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/p-r/rush), and went through the first three levels (of 12) levels today.

MAP01: This is a wintery techbase with wide hallways, TONS of imps, a handful of specters, and a couple of tomatoes, spooky bois, hell knights, and mancubi. The map basically starts you off with a berserk pack, and before I knew it I ended up doing a UV tyson run. Most of the beefier enemies (sans the cacos, one of the revenants, and the two hell knights) can be telefragged using a secret teleporter, so I went ahead and did that. Fun little map, and a pretty good indication of what to expect from this WAD: fairly straightforward gameplay with slaughtery elements.

MAP02: This one is a bit tighter, taking place entirely indoors. Imps and hell knights are used cleverly to restrict the player's movement in the tight passageways, necessitating the use of the super shotty and plasma gun (with the chaingun used sparingly to pick off faraway/squishy targets). There are a couple of larger arenas where the rocket launcher and infighting are your friends. Pretty tricky in some parts, and definitely a step up in difficulty compated to MAP01.

MAP03: This is a straight up slaughtermap. You start off in a room packed to the brim with supplies, open the door, and are greeted by the first 94 enemies (out of 333, in a fairly small map, too!). The arenas are mostly open, taking place in outdoor fields or large caves (aside from a tighter, indoor tomb at the end) so there's plenty of room to dodge and maneuver. I didn't find this to be too difficult, even being a step back in difficulty from MAP02, but it was fun as hell. I didn't bother to do any secret hunting until the very end, so I ended up missing out on an invulnerability sphere near the beginning of the map. Whoops.

Overall, I'm enjoying it. I imagine it's going to get harder in general as I go along, but the difficulty seems to be pretty even-handed so far, with the map designers giving you plenty of resources to do your thing. The maps are fairly average in terms of raw detail (especially when compared to something like BtSX), but the maps are well laid out and are very easy on the eyes.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 04, 2021, 06:57:25 AM
More Rush!

MAP04: More wintery slaughter! Mostly wide-open arenas with a nice variety of enemies, plenty of opportunities for infighting, and a smorgasbord of supplies. I'd say the encounters are a bit trickier than MAP03, mostly due to the increased number of mancubi spewing fire every which way, but nothing too difficult to manage.

MAP05: Fairly light on the enemy count, with a bunch of close quarters combat. Bundles of imps and hell knights in tight spaces, with a bunch of bony bastards and archies running around. Definitely a nice change of pace and moderately difficult in some areas.

MAP06: Tricky, but not because of enemy count. I'd say this probably qualifies more as a puzzle map, featuring a fairly small level and a number of encounters in tight passageways and, thankfully, plenty of room to dodge. Aside from one cramped fight with two cyberdemons there isn't much of a challenge here, but I see it more as a way to wind the player down a bit. Like the last level, it's a good change in pace.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 05, 2021, 03:36:49 AM
Yet more Rush!

MAP07: Kind of a return to basic slaughter, with some of the snow even melting to mark the occasion! Nothing really difficult here, but it's fun.

MAP08: Another straightforward slaughter. This one proved to be fairly tricky, taking a few tries for me to figure out the best place to stand so that I didn't end cornered with 39274 revenant rockets heading straight towards my face. It starts off fairly tough but it peters off by the end, and the last two arenas are frankly a bit of a disappointment after the leadup.

MAP09: A fairly open slaughtermap with plenty of hallways and opportunities to kick off some classic infighting, not to mention the opportunity to telefrag four cyberdemons. Kickass music, too (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ounC2WVmOYY) (apparently it's a MIDIfied version of the Lava Powerhouse stage from Sonic Spinball).

Three maps to go!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 05, 2021, 05:54:19 PM
Just read about the vertical level + melee stuff in btsx and damn, that is mean. I forgot about modern doom engines often not being true to vanilla, and making height more "sensible", but to me Doom always means it has those height related quirks.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 07, 2021, 06:54:33 AM
There's a ton of little stuff like that. It kind or ranges from frustrating (having your bullets pass right through enemies due to how hitscans are handled) to potentially exploitative (enemies receiving splash damage multiple times (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVEIXrY9tZQ)). All in the name of getting this sucker to run on a 386, I imagine!

As far as why the hitscan thing happens, it's due to moreeeee optimizations. Doom has a data structure called the blockmap. In the WAD file, this will carve the map into 128x128 unit slices, logging all of the linedefs that fall within each of those slices. After the engine loads the level, it also adds things to the list, tracking enemies, items, players, and decorations in the blockmap structure as well. This is used to accelerate collision, but it does have one notable downside. Here's a visual of how one scenario may look:

(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/illustrations/DoomBlockmapDemo.png)

The numbered squares are individual blockmap blocks. The green object is the player, and the red object is a large enemy (let's say, an arachnotron). You can say with quite a bit of certainty that the player is in block 3, but what about the arachnotron? Well, when it comes to thing-to-thing collision everything will work correctly, since the projectile or object is physically travelling, but what about hitscans?

One of the shortcuts that Doom does is to use blockmaps to determine whether it's even possible for a tracer to hit a target. The problem here is that it only factors in the origin. As a result of this, despite the fact that a large amount of the arachnotron spills over into blocks 1, 3, and 4, only tracers that pass through block 2 are considered. If you were to aim at this arachnotron's left or right legs with a chaingun and pull the trigger, you'd miss every single shot. While the problem gets far worse with wider enemies, this can even be observed with pinkies and even former humans (if you're particularly unlucky).

It's important to note that this affects anything that uses hitscan tracers, including the BFG9000. The BFG can deal over 3500 damage to a single target if the ball and all of its tracers land within said target, and getting this high of a damage roll isn't all that uncommon (roughly 1 in 8, which is pretty favorable in terms of RNG). This is more than enough to kill the spider mastermind with one shot (she only has 3000 HP, and the odds of your BFG rolling that much damage is roughly 50%!), but in practice it's a bit more rare due to this issue. Because she's a whopping 256 units wide (large enough to fit in four blocks, minimum) it requires you to aim at just the right part to ensure that as many tracers as possible land within the block that her origin falls in. Given the size of her hitbox, I'm not even sure that it's possible for all of the tracers to land (you're going to be standing a minimum of 128 units away from her origin point, after all) so the odds of getting that coveted one-hit kill is pretty low in practice, with 2-3 being a more realistic number.

(G)ZDoom doesn't use the blockmap to determine hitscan collision, which means that every single unit within the mastermind's 256x256 hit box can be affected by a tracer. If you get close enough, your odds of getting a OHK on her skyrocket right up to that theoretical 50% figure. It's impossible to not kill a spiderdemon in two BFG hits unless you simply can't get close enough.

Even before I got into this level of engine analysis I wondered why bosses went down so much faster in ZDoom. I'm glad I know now, at least!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 08, 2021, 09:31:35 PM
Just finished Rush!

MAP10: It opens up with some nice indoor combat areas, sprinkled with some decent traps and monster spawns. At the end it throws you into a large arena with swarms of cacodemons and hell knights, a handful of cyberdemons, and way too many arch-viles (though thankfully they give you an invuln sphere to help you deal with them). My strategy for dealing with this was to kill off the pain elementals at the center of the arena, run around to force some good, old-fashioned infighting, take down the arch-viles with the invulnerability sphere, then pick off the remaining demons. Fun as hell.

MAP11: The opening is balls to the wall, reminiscent of the earlier slaughter-focused maps in the pack. Just over half of the kills happen near the beginning, with the rest being chonksters that appear when you snatch the skull keys. Gotta give a special shoutout to the arena that ultimately allows you to grab the yellow key. It didn't really have a lot of enemies, but between the little bit of verticality that arena provides and the enemy selection it's a bit on the nasty side. The red key, which is just a brute force assault, pales in comparison. As with MAP10, the final fight mercifully gives you an invuln sphere that gives you just enough time to deal with the copious amounts of arch-viles before letting you leisurely pick off the rest of the demons.

MAP12: Hoo boy, this is a biggun. 1234 enemies, a large, intricate level design, and some nasty monster traps. By far the toughest level of the WAD, but it remains pretty manageable as long as you're good at spontaneously forming exit strategies and knowing just when to switch from the rocket launcher to a closer range weapon. It's a seriously great culmination to everything you've gone through up to this point, and a fantastic way to cap things off.

So, final thoughts: this map set is excellent. It doesn't overstay its welcome, has some adrenaline pumping moments, some great traps, and has some much needed moments of downtime between swarms.

On a side note, it's kind of funny how quickly I'm plowing through WADs that earlier this year I never thought I'd have a chance at beating. Just a little bit of practice and persistence is all it takes, I suppose!

Next stop: I dunno. Ancient Aliens (https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/megawads/aaliens), maybe?

Edit: YEP, Ancient Aliens.

MAP01: Berserk. A bunch of lower level enemies (with a couple of hell knights and revenants) and a cyberdemon turret, along with some really sweet visuals. Kind of a fun gimmick, and nothing too difficult as long as you stay on your toes.

MAP02: Definitely a more conventional map. Basic key/switch hunt, with a decent number of low level enemies. Pretty easy stuff.

MAP03: Another map that uses the monster turret concept, though this time with arachnotrons. Fairly tight quarters, overall, and plenty of opportunities to encourage infighting and save ammo. Very fun!
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Bobbias on July 09, 2021, 07:30:09 PM
That's really interesting. The space partitioning technique is pretty common, but only considering an object's origin region for hitscan detection while allowing for objects large enough compared to a region for that to become a problem sounds more like an oversight than an intentional optimization. Doom (the original engine anyway) spends something like 90% of its time pushing pixels rather than doing anything else, so adding a small additional bit of detection code to handle that properly would probably not cause much in the way of performance loss in most cases. The spider mastermind would be one case where that would add quite a bit more work though.

I wonder how hard it would be to actually test that theory...
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 11, 2021, 01:27:27 AM
That would also conflate another issue with the engine: the limited size of the intercepts structure. It's already possible, in some instances, to overflow that table and corrupt the blockmap (the next thing in memory) even on standard maps. It's not at all uncommon for a thing to be standing on multiple blockmap chunks, so you're more than doubling the odds of an overflow. You can't just throw more memory at the problem either, because Doom was already pushing hard against the 4MB barrier, and memory was expensive as hell in 1993.

Also, bear in mind that we're talking about 386's here. Those CPUs tended to require a lot of cycles per instruction (one of the biggest improvements of the 486 was reducing that, introduced pipelining, and adding an instruction cache--the difference between the two was pretty massive), so adding in a bunch of extra ALU hits was actually very expensive on those systems. Plus, it's a bit complicated. For smaller targets you could do a quick four-point check on the edges of their hitboxes, but for larger enemies (larger than 128 units) that wouldn't work and would require even more calculations just to see if it's even possible for them to be hit.

Compare this to the solution that they used: a table in a static section of memory that can be (relatively) quickly accessed, and is guaranteed to be updated as things move from chunk to chunk.

There's a pretty huge gap in complexity--especially for a 386 (which doesn't even have an on-die instruction cache or pipeline, on top of a slow ALU)--and aside from certain edge cases it's unlikely that a casual player would notice a difference. Plus, most of the larger enemies are usually best dispatched with rockets and projectiles anyway, and the issue doesn't affect those.

I think this is one of those issues that seems silly with a modern lens, but it makes more sense when the hardware of the era is closely considered. Polar movement coordinates? Yeah, maybe not so much with that. I think even Carmack said at one point that doing that was a mistake, lol.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on July 17, 2021, 11:52:16 PM
More Ancient Aliens!

MAP04: Pretty short, with some pretty fast-paced gameplay sprinkled throughout. There are a couple of arch-viles and mancubi that kinda harass you at the beginning of the map, but as you progress it's possible to barrel-nuke and telefrag them, respectively. I like it!

MAP05: I wasn't a huge fan of this one. It's fairly reasonable in premise--dodge the cyberdemon!--but in practice it ends up being a slog if you're even semi-competent at dodging rockets. All that ended up happening is that I'd run from point A to point B and given that so many switches and secrets are either in alcoves or require you to wait for a sec, I'd basically have to stop what I was doing, lure the cyberdemon away, and then run back and continue. Meh.


In Other News: I decided to UV-Max all of the levels in Ultimate Doom's E1-E3 from a pistol start tonight for the first time. It wasn't too bad, but man...you have to shotgun a lot of barons and cacos to death when you start pushing into episode 3. It's incredible how much Doom II's expanded bestiary and super shotgun improved the game. Also: fuck E3M5.

Edit: Just did episode 4. Ye gods, those are some bad, bad levels. I didn't bother UV-Max'ing most of them due to them either being way, way too imbalanced (the infamous E4M1) or because I just wanted them to be over as quickly as possible. Still, I beat all of them from a pistol start so, uh...that's a thing I did. Yay?

In all fairness, the Romero levels were pretty good (E4M2 felt overtuned, especially for map frickin' two, while E4M6 felt fine) and there were a few that I'd consider average. Then there's shit like E4M4. Ugly, stuck enemies galore, uninspired. Blech. Episode 4 just kind of...exists, and while I can find plenty of redeeming qualities in TNT despite my opinions of it, I really see no reason to ever play through episode 4 again.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 03, 2021, 11:35:51 PM
Switched over from Ancient Aliens to Valiant in my Doom escapades. I made it through the first two episodes (that is, through MAP13) and it's been pretty great so far. I'm definitely not looking forward to meeting the cybruisers, though (rocket launcher wielding Hell Knights that are immune to splash damage).

Kinda thinking of flipping over to Eviternity after I wrap that up.

Also, I cleared about half of the maps in Rush from a pistol start now. I sometimes use MAP04 as a warmup for when I want to put myself into slaughtermap mode.

Oh, I'm also playing FFXIV now. Like, quite a bit.

2. Hyrule Warriors grinding. [...] I'd also like to clear the first four adventure maps

This is finally done. That uh, took a little longer than expected.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 11, 2021, 04:46:28 AM
Valiant

I'm tearing through this faster than I'd ever played through a megawad, which is to say that it's quite excellent.

I just finished up MAP27, including the, erm, secret part (https://youtu.be/UaiyqLNiaDk?t=1537). Speaking of that secret part: I managed to beat it first try. I ate two rockets pretty much right at the start because I'm a dumbass, but I was able to snag a megasphere and stay in the fight as the arena continued to open up. Holy hell, is that part fun. I wish I were recording that.

So yeah, three more maps to go. Woo. I think I might move onto Eviternity next.
Title: Re: wut specturr'z playing
Post by: Spectere on September 11, 2021, 08:27:21 PM
Just beat Valiant. That was pretty great! Easily some of the highest quality maps I've ever played.

The fourth episode (maps 19-24) were definitely the weakest point for me, with the fifth episode probably being my favorite overall. I can't recommend this megawad enough, honestly.