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R-Blazer
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Hello guys, this is Amil, project lead of RetroBlazer

It's great to hear listen to feedback from you guys, brutal/to the point or not I like to listen what you guys like and don't like. Most of what is mentioned is actually mostly due to the fact that the final goal of the project just may be a mobile platform, where limits will be easier, though PC is the first and foremost platform, so some issues will be addressed.

Though I can't promise everything mentioned in the thread, I will do my best for some of the things mentioned. In terms of mapping, I will be finding dedicated mappers, so I can focus more on art alone and get more of the classic fun mapping layouts done by an experienced pro.

The gameplay is intentionally like the way it is because the idea of the game was to be simple and similar to Wolf3d, as someone put it "on crack", and is not intended to simulate Doom exactly so things like autoaim may or may not be implemented, though mouselook is going to be added for PC Multiplayer.

Games like Bionic commando had limitations to make the gameplay more focused on other things, which will be the eventual goal. In the alpha state much of Quake's default functionality still exists, though more will be done to make it more it's own feel, like perhaps removing the ability to jump altogether to make way for grappling hook/jumpad based traversing. Some jumping needed within the demo was actually still from when the ability to jump was going to be planned for sure, but now perhaps not.

The height variations will change a bit, and you will be able to go up and down various levels via lifts and jumppads, though again, it's more Wolf3d based gameplay rather than anything else, so it will be sprinkled about but predominant in a boss battle/puzzle. I will be adding more subtle floor/ceiling carved details and rounded corners for a little less cubic look, but the labyrinth orthogonal view is more or less final.

BTW, for those that wish to use mouse look just for fun in the demo, you can delete or change some of the hard-set commands from the autoexec.cfg. This however does affect intentional design, as the upper level grenadiers are supposed to apply pressure the player, but you cannot reach them intentionally.

"m_pitch" set to 0.02
"cl_pitchspeed" set to 150
"cl_yawspeed" set to 140

I do not recommend changing the bob or FOV settings as they will break the v_weps, but those above commands should get mouse look working, at least for the demo before the final decided settings are truly hard-coded.

Anymore suggestions or comments feel free to share, in alpha state a lot can change and I really do want to get things as right for people across the board, for casual and hardcore FPS fans. There will be some compromises here and there but I think I can get it to a level most can enjoy.

Thanks,

Amil

Old Post 01-17-12 04:17 #
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Mr. T
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Cool post Amil. I dunno if that is a good design decision to have no way to kill enemies that players feel you "should" be able to kill.

Maybe if you made them grenade launchers in the wall? or be carried up to a hole in the roof by some kind of mechanism, like see-thru pipes in the wall? The player will understand that there is no way to kill them by shooting, and look for another way to get rid of them. Maybe a switch or puzzle or w/e

Maybe just making mlook a cvar in the final would cool too. I don't want to sound condescending, because I think you have made something really special and exciting, but forcing design choices even on tech or genre-savvy players is a great way to annoy them - and they are the people who will be promoting your game for free if they enjoy it.

Last edited by Mr. T on 01-17-12 at 04:51

Old Post 01-17-12 04:45 #
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Xaser
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Ah, welcome! Good to see you around. :)

Hmm, I know it's a lot of extra work in the art department, but have you considered creating 'alternative' versions of the unreachable enemies? Perhaps a robotic enforcer or some other type of creature besides the standard enemy would really hammer down the "you cannot harm me" factor. It seems strange that the same enemies you've been blasting since the start are suddenly unkillable in those circumstances.

Map design wise, stick to your goals for sure. I'm sure us hardcore Doomers would like to see something more Doomlike, naturally, but the maps in the alpha definitely work well for what they are. One exception being Maze of Setesh, though -- the maze section in particular is frustrating beyond belief with no way to navigate through it properly. I really enjoyed the other maps, though, although the map revisiting feels kinda strange the way it's done. Almost seems like an 'unnecessary' detour in a way. The super-short 7th level (the revisit to Quarry) really had me scratching my head. Might be better to keep 'em as single, atomic units, perhaps? Or at least expand the revisits so they're something more.

Finally, I really don't know how possible this is given the engine you're working with, but an automap would help greatly in navigation and make things feel less maze-y. I keep getting lost in Temple Aeterna. ;P

So... I went ahead and gave the alpha another runthrough. Definitely a lot of fun for sure -- the gunplay is tight and well-balanced in that regard. My favorite part is the player speed -- everything is super-quick, like it should be. :)

Either way, keep working on this. It's awesome.

Old Post 01-17-12 05:17 #
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Tango
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i haven't yet gotten to play the demo, but indeed, taunting the player with unkillable monsters seems unnecessarily frustrating. one would expect us to say that though, considering we're a largely demo-focused community.

i also really agree with this:


Maybe just making mlook a cvar in the final would cool too. I don't want to sound condescending, because I think you have made something really special and exciting, but forcing design choices even on tech or genre-savvy players is a great way to annoy them - and they are the people who will be promoting your game for free if they enjoy it.


also, will there be a focus on this being easily moddable?

Old Post 01-17-12 05:30 #
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WildWeasel
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Anybody who knows me is probably aware that I'm pretty critical of an FPS's arsenal of weapons, so I have one and only one major complaint with Retroblazer: why do we need a machine gun at all, if the default pistol can fire nearly as fast (with a good trigger finger) and for roughly the same damage and better accuracy? Okay, there is the limit of three shots "on screen" at a time, which is a nice Mega Man throw back, but if you're up close to an enemy you can pretty much button-mash them to death.

My suggestion: speed up the machine gun's fire rate, tighten up the accuracy just a tad, and possibly also increase its damage, even if only by a point or two.

Old Post 01-17-12 05:40 #
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Xaser
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I dunno if it's just me, but the machinegun's shots feel a lot more powerful than the pistol's. You can really mow through a crowd with the former much better than the latter.

Old Post 01-17-12 06:27 #
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Gez
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I'd suggest using some sloped ramps in addition to jumppads and stuff. It'd bring some needed visual diversity and basically provide the same gameplay function.

Old Post 01-17-12 06:54 #
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Mr. T
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Gez said:
I'd suggest using some sloped ramps in addition to jumppads and stuff. It'd bring some needed visual diversity and basically provide the same gameplay function.


Nah... the orthangonal design is nice as it is. Maybe someone can implement slopes into ZRetro Blazer

Old Post 01-17-12 09:15 #
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Violator
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Looks fantastic, just needs some height variation though.

Old Post 01-17-12 11:33 #
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K!r4
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Great post Amil! (You never answered my email under the nickname 'kusanageek' BTW :P)

Am I the only guy to have noticed that the map4 is a remake of E1M1 from Wolf3D? I have been pleasantly surprised.

As of the maze Xaser is refering, I liked the pressure from the grenaders on the upper floor. But what was really annoying is the fact that once you've found how to get there you have to do all the path again if you fall by accident in the maze.

Last edited by K!r4 on 01-17-12 at 14:48

Old Post 01-17-12 13:11 #
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Phml
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Since you went through the effort of posting here, I figured I could try the alpha to revise my disparaging opinion.

I will say this, it plays better than it looks in the video. Still not my thing, though.

Pet peeves:
- relatively slow player movement.
- view bobbing (I know this is a quake thing, can't remember how to disable it).
- blue water hurting you.
- having to click once for every single shot with the pistol.

I'm not a fan of the art style, and that's something, but still, it all seems so... overdetailed. With so many colors and shapes even in single objects I had a hard time making out what was what, and just ended up wildly running around shooting at the ninja guys and humping walls until something opened. That's on 1680x1050 and everything looked crisp and neat so clearly more of an art issue than a visual one. I also got stuck for a good minute until I found out I had to shot that barrel to blow up the grate and progress. It's really a bit too uniform lacking visual clues and all.

Enemies seemed boring to me, although I only saw two, the ninja guys and what I think was some kind of hovercraft? I died on the second level once by falling into an inescapable water pit (or if there was an escape, I didn't find it), the one with the grid near the chaingun. I then got stuck between a raised lift and a closed door and couldn't trigger either to open/lower, at which point I quit so I guess I haven't seen much of the game.

So, mostly still a negative opinion. That said, to put this in perspective even in the Doom community stuff I like is stuff other people tend to dislike, so there's that.

Old Post 01-17-12 13:43 #
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DuckReconMajor
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R-Blazer said:
The gameplay is intentionally like the way it is because the idea of the game was to be simple and similar to Wolf3d, as someone put it "on crack", and is not intended to simulate Doom exactly so things like autoaim may or may not be implemented, though mouselook is going to be added for PC Multiplayer.
Why not have it an option, but when you select it maybe have a message pop up saying that this is not recommended and is not the way the game is intended to be played? I have to agree with others, the crowd you are going to appeal to is not going to like not having the option at all. There are plenty of Doom players who would not be playing the game if mouselook ports weren't available.

Old Post 01-17-12 13:45 #
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K!r4
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Phml said:

- relatively slow player movement.


You can dash then bunny hop to compensate. Make sure to bind those controls in the console:


Alt-Fire: bind “mouse2” “impulse 100”

Dash: bind “ctrl” “impulse 15”

Old Post 01-17-12 14:00 #
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Phml
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Ah, that's another thing I forgot to mention. Couldn't for the life of me understand how to use the alt-fire or what was that impulse stuff about in the "information" tab. Thanks K!r4.

Old Post 01-17-12 14:17 #
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DuckReconMajor
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Anyway I've played through the first four maps and I think this is fun. I wish you could ride the snowmobile looking things though.

Old Post 01-17-12 14:48 #
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R-Blazer
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Thanks guys for your thoughts,

like I mentioned I will consider some things. I will mediate what seems to be universally confusing when I gather enough consensus, which so far are things I can certainly take a look at.

I will most likely keep the mostly orthogonal design as that is my intentions, though I will add a few more open organic areas about, and some areas you can access with plats for sure. Though everyone must be advised that the game has _zero_ light engine, meaning all textures are manually drawn including light and shaded walls, so overly rounded rooms actually make maps a lot harder to make nice and uniform with the fewest seams/misaligned textures (something I tried very hard to keep to a minimum).

I'm still thinking about the mouse look, though I will lean on making it not a necessity to the actual game, (by most likely adding obvious indestructible armored enemies rather than normal ones above you.) So for those who like to keep it more natural they can mouse look, but it may just not benefit them. Introducing small scenarios with enemies like that first is also what I will do instead of throwing you in a room full of them with no warning.

Yes I agree the bikes that are simply accessible and destructible are probably not too wise an idea, though levels where you can ride them are not out of the question.

K!r4, I apologize if I haven't answered your e-mail, I just now got a chance to answer the ones in my inbox, so if you'd like I can respond or we can discuss anything you'd like here.

Thanks guys,

Old Post 01-17-12 18:27 #
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K!r4
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Nevermind, I told you about a game I was currently doing and that could interest you to test in a few months :-)

Yet if you have a bit of time on your hands, I could mail you questions so I could publish a translated interview on my french blog about sprite-based fps: http://blogs.wefrag.com/Mangeurdenfants/

Old Post 01-17-12 18:50 #
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GooberMan
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The lack of vertical mouse look really doesn't bother me.

The weak feeling of the weapons does bother me.

In the old school 2D shooters that this seems to be replicating/homaging, additional weapons were powerups that you were really glad to get and tried to get the most out of before you ran out of bullets for them. In this one, they're not that much better than the pistol (as mentioned) and you can switch between them. Doesn't do it for me. I have absolutely no incentive to switch weapons in most cases.

Old Post 01-18-12 01:37 #
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destx
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R-Blazer said:
I'm still thinking about the mouse look, though I will lean on making it not a necessity to the actual game, (by most likely adding obvious indestructible armored enemies rather than normal ones above you.) So for those who like to keep it more natural they can mouse look, but it may just not benefit them.
Yessss. If you can do this I'll definitely buy your game and pimp it as much as I can, even if it's just a console setting. I loved the alpha otherwise and I think multi-player would be a blast.

And yeah, GooberMan is right, the weapon balance could do with some tweaks.

Old Post 01-19-12 00:39 #
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esselfortium
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I do love the art direction, but I have to chip in as another critic. I think this game's artwork has great potential, but I can't find much to like about the gameplay and level design as they are now.

The main flaw I've seen in this is that the maps are all very monotonous, to the point that they become confusing to navigate. And that's even without the actual, literal maze stuff in there.

I know you're intentionally aiming for Wolfenstein-style levels, but I can't really come to terms with why. Flat, square rooms will always be flat and square, no matter how nice the graphics in them look. There's little to distinguish one area from the next, and they're all connected in more or less the same way: doors. Without the ability to use angles, scale, lighting, height progression, and other cues, it's extremely difficult to create distinct scenes and make it possible for a player to determine which paths will lead them forward and which will just take them around in circles.

I think it's noteworthy that the style of level design seen in Wolfenstein was immediately antiquated by Doom's, but that Doom's on the other hand was not similarly antiquated by Quake's. Even a simplistic Doom level, from a functional perspective, is effectively equivalent to a Quake level minus the 3D structures and swimmable water. In breaking away from the flat, square paradigm, you allow infinitely more possibilities and variation even when keeping entirely with a simplistic, abstract, oldschool-influenced style.

Comparing any level in Wolfenstein or RetroBlazer to, for an easy example, E1M1 or E1M2 of Doom, will hopefully illustrate my point, though I can keep talking if you really want :P

Old Post 01-19-12 01:55 #
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ptoing
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^ What he said.

Also as far as the leveldesign goes, nothing looks memorable. I can talk to people about stuff in Doom and Quake. Like the entry hall in E1M1 or The Crusher in Doom 2, and a lot of things like that. Or atm I am playing Reverie for Doom2, which has some great things. If I mention the colour switch puzzle or the pretty cool looking building stairway with monsters on it in level 8 of that people who played it will recognise what I mean.

With Retroblazer all you could do is say, "Oh yeah, do you remember that square room that looked like all the others? It had like 3 doors, all of which looked the same, and yeah it was square. Oh it had a pillar."

This stuff will not stick. And the stuff that does, like that annoying maze with enemies throwing grenades at you wont stick for the reasons you want it to.

I DO think the art is nice, but as far as design goes I do not understand most of your decisions.

Also why is it necessary to shoot vases and other stuff ALL the time to get shit. Why can't I just get normal pickups? Why add a layer of tedium to collecting items? And why can I not hold down fire when shooting with the peashooter? :/

EDIT:


...classic fun mapping layouts...


You know that this means absolutely NOTHING. So you are gonna say to some mapper: "Could you make me some of those classic fun layouts." It sounds like vacuous marketing speak. Something a company which does not know what they are doing would print on a game box in big letters or something. It is not like there are tried and proven layouts for things. A lot of things work, but what does not really work (when it comes to fun) is blocky layouts, but I think a lot of people already said that. I think what this game needs more than anything is proper levels which make FULL use of the engine you are using to make it.

Last edited by ptoing on 01-19-12 at 02:15

Old Post 01-19-12 02:01 #
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Belial
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ptoing said:
A lot of things work, but what does not really work (when it comes to fun) is blocky layouts, but I think a lot of people already said that. I think what this game needs more than anything is proper levels which make FULL use of the engine you are using to make it.

While I haven't played the alpha I'll say that blocky layouts worked fine when they were coupled with fast, dynamic movement and gameplay in ROTT.

Old Post 01-19-12 07:48 #
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jute
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Yes, ROTT had memorable, distinct (and awesome) locations despite its orthogonal nature. Perhaps Retroblazer needs GADs and EGADs?

Old Post 01-19-12 14:32 #
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DeathevokatioN
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I totally agree with the criticism that Essel put forth.

Old Post 01-19-12 16:35 #
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geo
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Looks good and smooth... but the glaring problem I see is everything looks too similar. They need to have their rooms look diverse and maybe have some stairs and pits. But if this is just Alpha 1 of something that will get to Alpha 1,000 its okay.

Another problem is why play this when there is Doom? They need to be different.

Old Post 01-19-12 21:04 #
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Tetzlaff
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I absolutely love that colourful early 1990s art style! That mix of futuristic base with ancient egyptian and alien tech. The music and sounds add to the retro shooter style.

The levels aren't bad, but it really wouldn't hurt to introduce more 3D level design.

Old Post 01-29-12 11:02 #
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reboot
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Just played it for a few minutes and I loved it! Really gave me that Wolf3D/Corridor7 feel.
A few personal opinions: I like that there isn't mouselook. And I think that jumping is also unnecessary. The levels are indeed a bit repetitive, but I don't really mind; like I said, it gave me a genuine old school feel.

So, to Amil and the rest of the team: keep up the good work!

Old Post 01-29-12 16:07 #
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Micha
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Hi Amil

I hope you still read this thread and keep developing RB. This game has a good potential for speed runs. Dashing is fun, and using energy for armor and alt fire means you have to evade enemies if you want to do a quick kill on a serpent or barrel with the alt fire.

Remove jumping, it's unneccessary complexity and doesn't add to the fun.

I've played quite a lot now, you can find my walkthroughs and speedruns on my youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJR...FQ?feature=mhee

I'd love to do some mapping for RB, but I don't get the bsps decompiled with q3map2. Is there a way I could get a sample map file?

Old Post 10-03-12 19:31 #
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Nomad
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The sound effects are fucking irritating, but otherwise looks like fun. Considering there's no mouselook it's no biggie that there's not much height variation, and quit bitching about blocky level design because if it's fun that doesn't matter.

Old Post 10-03-12 20:26 #
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Super Jamie
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It's Darkplaces, it's not like the mapping format is some big closed off secret, someone just make a map with height variation. Hell, roughly copy the first few maps of Doom or Quake to it. That'd be way more fun.

Old Post 10-03-12 22:27 #
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