Sweetening the Pot ....

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Rex Claussen
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Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Mon Apr 17, 2017 16:26

I recognize that a lot of improvements are being incorporated into the Paranoid/Paranoiac update, including fully-implemented co-op gameplay. However, I wonder if we shouldn't offer additional enticements in the form of either:

1. Expanded current maps.
2. Brand new maps.
3. Expanded current maps + brand new maps.

The biggest issue I see with expanding existing maps is that it might interfere with the story aspects of both the games. Also, I can see how integrating changes into the existing maps will be a considerable challenge.

New maps can all go into the "bonus maps" section, and can either be stand-alone or mini-hubs. New maps offer opportunities as well as challenges. The main challenge is the amount of time maps typically tend to take. Depending on the timetable of the Paranoix release, we may not have time to develop worthwhile maps. One way to remedy this is to have more Team members develop maps, and/or invite selected members of the ZDooM public to contribute.

Given my job-related commitments, and the amount of time I require to build maps, I can commit to one map in the next 3 months.

Thoughts?

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rachael » Tue Apr 18, 2017 15:26

I think the big question is how much time you're willing to spend time on such maps. Unless you've apprenticed Nigel or somebody else to your mapping style and I've never known about it, keeping consistency would probably be helpful (otherwise, anyone else would probably be stuck doing a lot of copy-paste to keep the theme consistent). It's pretty clear you've mastered the Half-Life "look" with your detailing. That being said, introducing new secrets and new weapons probably would be enticing. There's still plenty of Half-Life universe weapons that have not been explored in this mod that have huge potential. However, we also have to be careful not to upset the balance of the mod too much with such secrets; making it a little easier is okay, making it trivial would definitely be overkill and may kill the enjoyment of the mod. We never want to put the player in a position where they decide they "have" to go and get these secret weapons.

Having side-paths that are not on the main storyline does help a huge bit, though.
Spoiler: Zen Sarcasm

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Wed Apr 19, 2017 13:23

Rachael wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 15:26
I think the big question is how much time you're willing to spend time on such maps.
It's not just the amount of time I have available, or even my level of interest. It's really about my mapping process, which is painstakingly slow and methodical (even tedious). Therefore, I foresee that it will take me several months to produce even a single map.
.... keeping consistency would probably be helpful (otherwise, anyone else would probably be stuck doing a lot of copy-paste to keep the theme consistent).
Consistency is not necessarily crucial. If these are intended to be in the bonus map category, they don't have to look like Half-life areas - Maps 22 & 23 are perfect examples. An exception would be the inclusion of another secret map in Paranoid or Paranoiac, which would likely need to have a consistent look.
... introducing new secrets and new weapons probably would be enticing. There's still plenty of Half-Life universe weapons that have not been explored in this mod that have huge potential.
I had already considered the inclusion of the crossbow, Gluon Gun, and Hornet Gun into the Paranoid maps, perhaps in secret areas. But the development of new weapons (grenade, Tau Cannon, etc.) would be a huge pot-sweetener.

Graf had made a suggestion several years ago. He had suggested creating maps where players use the original DooM weapons against Half-Life enemies. This would also be worth considering. In fact, I had briefly contemplated a map with DooM textures and weapons, but Half-Life enemies. This, too, will allow other Team members to use their own style to develop maps.
However, we also have to be careful not to upset the balance of the mod too much with such secrets; making it a little easier is okay, making it trivial would definitely be overkill and may kill the enjoyment of the mod. We never want to put the player in a position where they decide they "have" to go and get these secret weapons.
Agreed. Of course, this means re-thinking the original maps, and figuring out how to keep everything balanced.
Having side-paths that are not on the main storyline does help a huge bit, though.
Again, this will require some re-thinking of the originals.

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Enjay » Wed Apr 19, 2017 14:59

How about something from the old Paranoia mod getting resurrected and tweaked to take advantage of the Paranoid/Paranoiac resources and included as bonus? There are some great maps in there, the mapping is already done so there wouldn't be a huge mapping implication and it would be pretty consistent in style. There would need to be quite a bit a bit of retexturing done to use the newer and better textures though.

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Wed Apr 19, 2017 18:31

Enjay wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 14:59
How about something from the old Paranoia mod getting resurrected and tweaked to take advantage of the Paranoid/Paranoiac resources and included as bonus? There are some great maps in there, the mapping is already done so there wouldn't be a huge mapping implication and it would be pretty consistent in style. There would need to be quite a bit a bit of retexturing done to use the newer and better textures though.
Why didn't I think of incorporating Paranoia? Excellent idea! In the event that we want to stay within canon, the story-line will need to be re-evaluated. Otherwise, little needs to be changed in the game progression. Of course, GZDooM features will need to be introduced, and retexturing, and possibly changing room heights to accommodate the 160 unit-high textures of Paranoid/Paranoiac. Not to mention altering gameplay to suit the new weapons and bestiary.

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Thu Apr 20, 2017 15:55

Enjay wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 14:59
There would need to be quite a bit a bit of retexturing done to use the newer and better textures though.
Does DeepSea or GZDB have the capability to do map-wide texture substitutions? In other words, if I were to compile a list of Paranoia textures and match them up with Paranoix textures, would one of those editing utilities be able to do a search and replace? This would cut out the tedium of manually replacing the textures & flats.

Also, slopes will need to be added, as when this was released in 2000 ZDooM did not support slopes.

[EDIT: I went back and played through a bit, and (contrary to my earlier assessment) the maps are quite ordinary-looking. They clearly fit the mold of a 2000-era wad. Unless we want to do a "nostalgia" type of map set, I foresee a fair amount of work to do a wholesale upgrade to 2017 standards.]

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Enjay » Thu Apr 20, 2017 19:14

There is a command line tool that I used years ago that could take maps and, using a text file with the substitutions entered into it, make global changes for a whole WAD. However, I have no idea if it would work for ZDoom Hexen mode.

DeePsea can make map-wide changes of textures but each texture would need to be done on its own. i.e. you could change all instances of ASHWALL2 to something else with a couple of keystrokes and then repeat again for all instances of ASHWALL3. I've done it before. It doesn't take that long, especially if you already have a list of which textures should become what sorted out.

The maps themselves may be older in style but I still think they fit pretty well into to feeling and, actually, making them represent an older part of the base would explain that adequately enough for me. I still very much think that they hold their own appearance-wise and I present as evidence...

http://imgur.com/a/nZdqD

Still a great map set that holds its own today IMO.

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Thu Apr 20, 2017 21:50

Good to know about DeepSea being able to make wholesale texture replacements, if only for one texture at a time. I looked at the texture resources in Paranoia and realized that there are a number of multi-patch textures, which will prevent a straight find-and-replace task. In addition, there are some textures composed of completely unrelated patches, and these will need to be replaced manually.

One option that will address the twin issues of re-texturing as well as archaic architecture (accidental pun) is to build each map from scratch using the originals as a basis. In other words, the new maps will have similar design and progression as the old ones but will be updated as we create them. For example, there is a "barracks" area with beds and furniture made with sectors. We have bed and furniture models that will readily replace the sector-based items. Likewise for the toilets and locker rooms. Starting with existing map designs will make the creation of new maps much faster.

Also, way back when the game was released, someone had remarked that the maps could have been made into a hub. We can consider this suggestion for the updated maps; at the very least we can allow the player to move freely back and forth between maps. If we can figure out a way to allow the player to loop back, or be required to return to a given map (as part of a broader objective), we can incorporate that as well.

I'll evaluate the old maps with these points in mind, and report back here.

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Re: Sweetening the Pot ....

Post by Rex Claussen » Thu May 11, 2017 20:47

Rex Claussen wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 21:50
One option .... is to build each map from scratch using the originals as a basis.... Starting with existing map designs will make the creation of new maps much faster.

.... the maps could have been made into a hub. We can consider this suggestion for the updated maps...

I'll evaluate the old maps with these points in mind, and report back here.
I've studied the original maps of Paranoia, and definitely feel that they ought to be rebuilt from scratch. With the basic design and layout already established, the map-making process ought to go faster than if everything was being designed and built from a blank slate.If someone else wants to volunteer, please step up. Failing that, I can start work on the remapping.

I still haven't figured out a plausible reason for back-tracking between any given map and the previous one (e.g., fulfilling objectives a la Paranoid & Paranoiac), but I'll keep working on it. Meanwhile, I believe the maps ought to made into a hub, regardless of objectives.

On a related note, there are a few textures that are unique to Paranoia - e.g., the fans that need to be turned on in one of the maps to suck out the toxic gases. These will need to be included in Paranoid Gold. [And speaking of that particular texture, can someone find a more realistic replacement? It was fine for a 2000-era mod, but looks hopelessly outdated today.]

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