[WIP] Vela Pax - Beta 2.1 out, now with .1 more stuff.

I meant in the previous version when there was about ~800 monsters [WH]

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I don't think that post was crybabyish, I'm simply saiyng that playing betas often leads to certain disappointments later on and that's a pretty good reason to avoid them. Knowing too much about the development process can be bad for your overall perception of the final product. Just helping Demon resist the urge here.

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I can understand avoiding betas because someone wants to wait for the 'final' version. But I don't see why such changes would be so depressing for anyone. Seems like an over-attachment to me.

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mouldy said:

oh man, the dilema of playing now or waiting for it to be finished... How much is left to do?

Well, to fulfill the very basic goals, there's still 3+1 maps left (I'm a little under halfway finished with MAP04). MAP07 is going to be a boss fight and likely won't be quite as huge as the other maps. For said boss fight, I gotta do some dehacked-ery and possibly get some custom sprites done (I have some backups in case that doesn't work out).

Then there's the less important stuff like titlepic/interpic/etc, figuring out how to fix bugs that I don't know how to fix at the moment, doing some final clean-up work (possibly cleaning the automap, if it doesn't drive me insane that is), and doing some secret stuff.

So in the best case scenario, it'll probably take me another 4 1/2 years to finish this off :P. Heh, well maybe not, so long as I keep up my motivation.

(WH)-Wilou84 said:

As a side note, you can get stuck on map 02 if you jump from here to here without having the Yellow skullkey.


Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out, I'll get it fixed ASAP!

Dime said:

I also went through 2. Was my least favorite of the three mostly for the reason
I was stuck on the shotgun until I killed over 300 monsters.

Yea I understand what you mean. I changed up the weapon progression slightly in the new MAP02 so that you get the RL before you even start wading into the main complex. I think I moved a Gatling Gun closer to the beginning as well, though you have to keep an eye out for it depending on which route you take. MAP01 had a lot of grindy fighting too, I thought. So that weapon progression is different as well; you get a Gatling Gun very early and the RL not long after that. If you run through the new maps, let me know if that helps at all.

Memfis said:

Like wtf are the new Map01 and Map02 songs, the old ones were so much more atmospheric. Or what's with the unpleasant orangey palette that seems like it was inspired by the Doom 4 reveal. Or why the project went from elegant usage of purely iwad graphics to 90's style "replace everything that can be replaced".

Hmm, well I can understand that seeing some of the vanilla stuff changed might suck for some people. Apart from the new sprites, almost all of the textures are Doom-derived or are from the alphas/unused dumps. I also had an obsessive urge to insert some new flats to go with certain textures (ie. FLOOR0_4 to go along with STARG*). The maps are still very vanilla-centric in texturing though, and I'd like to think the quality of most of the new stuff is good enough to mesh well with it. That's just my opinion though, sorry to hear your not fond of the new stuff.


Thanks for the comments everyone! Keep the feedback coming :D

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Hey Mek, just want to say that these maps are very inspiring. Don't give up on this thing. You're half done! Way to go man.

Have you considered a career in Engineering?

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Spent most of today playing maps 1 and 2, beyond epic. Here's a bit on map02 where you can get stuck:


That ledge you can climb on and drop down somewhere you shouldn't.

Its an interesting colour scheme you've gone for, the reds go a violet colour as they get darker, and some of the yellows do as well I noticed.

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Dime said:

Going to stream beta 2

twitch.tv/kingdime

Man, I wish I was around to watch this! I was away for most of the day yesterday (plus my internet has been acting up as well, so I'm not sure how much I would have gotten to watch) :(. But I'm watching through the recorded past broadcast right now. Thanks for streaming it, I'm sure I'll be able to glean some good feedback from it :)

@TheNerdTurtle2: Thanks for reporting that bug! I noticed this during a stream of the map, and its actually not a traditional misalignment (that's a solid line with no vertex splits). I forget what causes this because I've had the problem before with other textures...it might be a nodebuilder thing. It'll only show up in PrBoom+/Eternity too. Either way, I've logged the bug and I'll try to figure out what's going on.

@mouldy: I'm glad to hear your enjoying it thus far! Thanks for the bug report too, that one has already been fixed ;).

The palette/colormap edits are derived from one of Sigvatr's releases. This is mostly a custom colormap which changes how many of the ranges fade. I had a ton of trouble getting it to mesh with the vanilla palette though, so its had many changes made to it. I'm still not sure its 100% bug-free. The palette has pretty basic edits done to it. I added a couple dark reds, tweaked the pink range, and made the white-to-blue ramp a little less harsh. That's about all I can remember doing to the palette though.

@General Rainbow Bacon: When I was much younger, I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. Until I realized that I'm terrible at math :P

Thanks again for all of the feedback and positive comments guys! I've already made some changes and a couple of bug fixes to MAP01 and MAP02. I'll hold off for a good while before releasing an update to Beta 2.

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I almost get lost in time on map01. So much to look at, so much to sneak in, great detail. Just awesome and epic... :top:

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Apologies for the end mecha, I was really tired by 2 AM heh.

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I'm happy to say that I had no problems navigating the first two maps this time around. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I've already played them but still, that was just one playthrough. Not sure whether there were many improvements to that, or maybe I just knew what to expect but nonetheless, had a lot of fun playing them and no more "where the hell am I supposed to go" situations. :) I think the only thing that still confused me was the yellow door in Substruct that... cannot be opened with a yellow key but rather requires you to press a yellow switch elsewhere.

Also, managed to finish the first level without dying. Almost made it to the end of the second one but I died in the final caves, after getting all keys, killed by a lone Lost Soul.

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That was really fucking inspiring! Amazing work.

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Finally got through map05. I had to play on a bigger computer as the lag in the middle was too much, still a bit of lag though. Not much you can do about that, I don't think these are the kind of maps to be playing on crumbly old laptops anyhow.

It took me about 2 hours 40 minutes of game time, so god knows how much real time what with all the dying. Its not too difficult though, just right I'd say for its position. I had no idea where I was most of the time, unlike the previous 2 maps I never really got a grip on the overall layout, but i found it more or less leads you through where you need to go, so there weren't many points where I was stuck. There are the occasional switches that don't appear to do anything apparent, but generally you can follow the trail of new monsters that appear.

I probably said this before, but it really boggles my mind that a human being could make maps of this scale.

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Map 31 - Hematite. Map 32 - Eidolon. Map 07 - Pax. Names are left there. So I guess we will have 9 maps :)

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I never climb to somebody's ass. Even if something is good, I try to find something bad on it. But I must say - this IS really good. You should keep mapping, I look forward for more. From all 3 recent wads I like most - Valiant, Sunlust and this - this is closest to what I want from Doom. Everybody now makes too hard and linear maps, but you stayed on Doom1-ish style except its in like 1:10 scale. Easy gameplay - check. Non-linear - check. Big maps - check. Use of mainly stock textures - check. Its not much dark - check. Overdetailed - check! It must have been a years to do such a beast maps. I think this is so big and detailed, that its nowadays something like Vrack must have been in 2004. I like the improvement from previous version - you added a lot of ammo, health, and weapons. I never realized how boring it was before to shoot hordes of enemies with shotgun. You also dropped what was boring - a lot of cacodemons teleporting on 3-key eleveator in Map01 for example. That was pain in ass to wait there till they dont float down :D. 22 secrets now - it was fun to look them up - you can even find a BFG and SSG, which is nice (but honestly - jumping on some crate should NOT be marked as a secret imho, for example berserk on start). Double chainsaw entartained me, when I have seen it. Chaingun and chainsaw have so fast rate that it makes some enemies freeze in pain state, but thats not fault since there is a lot of enemies for all sides. I like also the use of early aplha Doom textures (even that fucking cards on crate are there :D ), and making your own (I am definitely borrowing TEKWALLish doors of chamber that leads to computer map room). I collected all normal keys on Map01 and didnt find the switch to portals on first, so it made me think that I need also all skulls. And thats it - sometimes it has so much detail that important switches are lost in it. Map01 - SURVIVED (I like replacement of "finished" with "survived"). Time = 1:23:something. Now that was big! 1500 enemies without being slaughter. I wonder if it works in PrBoom with all that linedefs, since there is 32768 limit. You certainly must have more linedefs than 32768.

Map02 - you added completely new start, which connects where Map01 ended. I am checking your detailing ideas and take notes - Most of mappers detail just ceiling and floor, cause its easy. And they are lazy to overdetail their walls. Also they copy-paste a lot. You on other side make everything to be there just once. If there is some detail twice, it is at least differently aligned. Textures are all nice aligned that it matches together. No wonder you were doing it 3 years. And finally - a mistake! I jumped over some ledge and get to area, where is just yellow door. You can jump over that ledge even if you dont have a yellow key. Make escape route. I had to IDCLIP. I liked the slaughter encounter before getting blue key. I didnt know whats coming and turned on all switches - and that was brutal then! :D But I survived even this, they killed me later.

I have recorded FDA (Zdoom 2.6.1) of Map01 and half of Map02 till they killed me, but it is 3 hours long and there is a lot of walking around and not knowing what to do. So I doubt you would want to see it. Just fix that ledge - I think someone mentioned it earlier, so you already know.

Final review - I will say it like this - when again there will be a thread where someone asks for "biggest, longest, most detailed, and most over-the-top maps ever made" I will say "play Vela Pax, you have right 3 there".

(technically 4, but "Powah Max" is a joke compared to others)

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Dime said:

Apologies for the end mecha, I was really tired by 2 AM heh.

No apologies necessary, I was impressed that you were able to do two maps in one sitting when it was that late! That stream was very helpful (particularly in regards to MAP05). I've taken a bunch of notes and already fixed a few things thanks to your stream. Hopefully you will get a chance to run through MAP02; if I'm around, I will be there watching :)

Touchdown said:

I'm happy to say that I had no problems navigating the first two maps this time around. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I've already played them but still, that was just one playthrough. Not sure whether there were many improvements to that, or maybe I just knew what to expect but nonetheless, had a lot of fun playing them and no more "where the hell am I supposed to go" situations. :) I think the only thing that still confused me was the yellow door in Substruct that... cannot be opened with a yellow key but rather requires you to press a yellow switch elsewhere.


I didn't do very much in the way of layout alterations or navigation hints since that internal build you played (that I can remember). Maybe it was just because you've already played through them. It's good to hear that you were able to get around the maps easier the 2nd time around though. I want the maps to have lots of replayability, particularly when it comes to how to route your way around the layout.

About that YK secret switch thing, that's a holdover that I haven't figured out what to do with yet. There's a YK switch that far away from both YK doors, though neither of the areas that are behind said doors are necessary to finish the map. They are basically just secret areas with goodies. The thing I don't like is how the switch is so ambiguous. The only hint is the YK texture...its the only YK switch in the entire map, so my original intention was to have the player remember where both YK doors are when they find the YK switch (or vice-versa). It's just kind of clunky and I'm not sure how to redesign it yet.

mouldy said:

I had no idea where I was most of the time, unlike the previous 2 maps I never really got a grip on the overall layout, but i found it more or less leads you through where you need to go, so there weren't many points where I was stuck. There are the occasional switches that don't appear to do anything apparent, but generally you can follow the trail of new monsters that appear.

That's interesting, usually I hear about MAP05 being the one that's easy to navigate. It's a little less non-linear in that many of the routes (particularly the first half of the map where you get the keys) branch off from a central area and are 1-way until you loop back later on. So instead of allowing the player to jump from route to route at will, many times you are confined to a route once you choose to start it. I guess even though you didn't really know where you were going, as long as you didn't get too lost then I succeeded with my layout design :P

NinjaLiquidator said:

Map 31 - Hematite. Map 32 - Eidolon. Map 07 - Pax. Names are left there. So I guess we will have 9 maps :)
...
I wonder if it works in PrBoom with all that linedefs, since there is 32768 limit. You certainly must have more linedefs than 32768.

Yea I forgot to pull out the CWILV's and update the dehacked to remove the references to possible secret stuffs :P. Those maps won't be your standard huge maps with vanilla textures...well, you'll just have to wait and see, provided I can turn my concepts for them into reality!

The maps will run in PrBoom+, but only after the version that added support for ZDoom uncompressed node format (which lets me bypass the SEGS limit). The maps have upward of 100K+ sidedefs each, but I get wiggle room thanks to node compression. You can run the maps in Eternity as well!

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Mechadon said:

I didn't do very much in the way of layout alterations or navigation hints since that internal build you played (that I can remember). Maybe it was just because you've already played through them. It's good to hear that you were able to get around the maps easier the 2nd time around though. I want the maps to have lots of replayability, particularly when it comes to how to route your way around the layout.

About that YK secret switch thing, that's a holdover that I haven't figured out what to do with yet. There's a YK switch that far away from both YK doors, though neither of the areas that are behind said doors are necessary to finish the map. They are basically just secret areas with goodies. The thing I don't like is how the switch is so ambiguous. The only hint is the YK texture...its the only YK switch in the entire map, so my original intention was to have the player remember where both YK doors are when they find the YK switch (or vice-versa). It's just kind of clunky and I'm not sure how to redesign it yet.



Well, either way, that is a good thing. Because if one playthrough is enough to familiarize yourself with the maps enough to not get lost the second time around, that's awesome. :)

As for the Yellow Key thing, one solution would be to place yellow bars in front of the doors and have the switch lower them instead of opening the doors. You can add one or two small yellow pillars (that should lower as well) next to the switch to make it clear that the switch is connected to the bars.

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The things I miss when I'm away, damn it. Downloabing.

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Just have a little update to post here. I'm working with Jimmy and Cage to do some COOP runs of the maps in Zandro (so far we've only finished MAP01). Sometime after those test runs are finished, I'll release an updated public beta for everyone to play while I work on the rest of the project. I probably won't release another beta for quite a while (unless a critical, game-ruining bug is discovered). The next one might come after MAP04 is finished, but it might come later than that if I'm making good progress.

I'm still open to any and all feedback by the way. If its good feedback, it will likely make its way into this next public build. I'm very interested in COOP feedback too since those features have had very little playtesting.

One last thing; I have a transparency bug that I can't figure out how to fix. Here's a shot of it:


(This is at the end of MAP02, looking into the busted rail cart thingy)

This only pops up in PrBoom+ and Eternity, but isn't present in ZDoom. I'm going to run a few more tests to see which color ranges, but it seems like the pinks and reds are the only ones affected from what I've seen. The bright magenta color that's popping up is one that I replaced with a dark red (for a smoother red/pink fade in the COLORMAP). I'm not sure if its related to the palette or the COLORMAP or both, or if there's some sort of specific lump that I need to update to fix this. Anyone have any ideas?

@Snakes: If you have any feedback for me, I'd love to hear it! Hope you have fun :D

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hi mek, the default tranmap doesn't like it if you alter other color ranges, but prb+ will happily remake it for you based on the palette provided if it doesn't find an existing one.

I'm currently at work so I can't test to ensure this fixed it. but try adding this HTRANMAP to your wad and I think it will fix it:

https://www.mediafire.com/?ffl0bgd2gt9dvkg

cheers.

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Thanks for the help Ribbiks, I really appreciate it! I thought there might be a lump that needed tweaking, heh.

I can't seem to get this to work though. I just added it directly into my working wad as a colormap lump, but it doesn't seem to change the vanilla tranmap behavior. Does it need to be in between some special markers or something like that?

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ooh. my apologies. rename my HTRANMAP to TRANMP25 (and erase the current TRANMP25 in your wad). It doesn't need to be anywhere special, I just put it right below the palette and colormap lumps.

I'm not 100% sure if the tranmap I had prb+ generate is a 25% blend, might be 50%, in which case the translucent textures might be a bit more opaque than you intended. I'm not a super-expert in how to change that, I think essel would know

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Hmm, this is a little trickier than I thought it might be.

TRANMP25 is a custom transparency colormap I made (with the help of essel no less) because some of the translucent lines I was using weren't transparent enough for me. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get rid of it :(

As it turns out though, my 25% opacity transmap was the one causing the problem (I forgot that the rail cart window was using that tranmap, oops!). The one you sent me seems to work fine now, though I'm not sure what opacity level it is either (seems to be at about 50%, which looks right to me).

Here's a shot of my test map - the offending TRANMP25 is on the left and the normal TRANMAP is on the right. You can see the bugged up bright magenta pixels in the reds and pinks.



I thought converting my TRANMP25 colormap to use the updated palette would fix the problem. But it doesn't seem to have worked. I don't know if both transparency colormaps can coexist though, and maybe that's causing my problem? Also I can't make heads or tails of how these transmaps actually work, so I can't figure out which pixels I need to edit in order to fix the problem. Ideally I think the best way to fix this is for me to generate a new custom transmap...but I gotta figure out how to do that since essel's photoshop image has a dead link.

Time to do a bit more research on how to generate these things, I guess :P. Thanks again for your help Ribbiks!

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Thanks for the kind words Pure Hellspawn! Oh, and thank you to Ribbiks for helping me out with that TRANMAP bug!

I thought it would be a good time for a quick update on the project. I'm looking to release beta 2.1 sometime in the near future, which will include some bug fixes and lots of little things here and there. There isn't a set release date in stone right now, mostly because this is going to be a super busy month for me. But I'll try to get it released soon.

Has anyone tried to do COOP runs of the maps? I've gotten a little bit of feedback regarding COOP (and was able to do one run with Jimmy and Cage a while back). Something that I wanted to add for beta 2 was an easier-to-use COOP hub room for each map. Each teleporter was going to have some computer screens above them to show where said teleporter lead to. I didn't get around to doing it for beta 2 because I wasn't sure how much more tweaking I was going to do (meaning the images in the screens might not match up right). But I feel like there's not going to be much more heavy tweaking in the currently finished maps by this point, so I've added them into the maps. Here's a screenshot of what I'm talking about :



I've done a ton of little (and some big) changes for beta 2.1, but of course I forgot to make a changelog :P. The COOP hub room screens are one of the big additions though.

For MAP04, progress is still pretty slow on it when I get a chance to work on it. I hit 80K sides recently, which was a bit of a surprise because I had a lot of layout left to plan on it. So the original plan is probably going to be tweaked and scaled back a bit, and I'm guessing its about 80% done at this point. Here are some new shots to look at:




Once I get the rough layout nailed down, I think the rest of the map will fall into place pretty quickly. There are still a lot of loose ends that I have to tie up without busting my limits. There's some cityscape stuff that I'm going to be doing so hopefully that won't eat up a ton of sides...

Anyways, as a parting gift, here is a sky texture test shot:

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Shazam! Its Beta 2.1 here for your playing pleasure.

http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/wads/vela_pax/mek-velapax-beta2p1.zip [19mb]

Check the readme for the usual important texty bits. Also if something is horribly broken, let me know as soon as possible and I'll try to get a hotfix up. I want this release to be as playable as possible since I'm not planning on another one until MAP04 [or more] is finished.

By the way, if you played Beta 2, your not going to be missing much in 2.1. The changes are mostly minor on the whole. This is probably going to be more of a COOP focused release.

As for a changelog...well like I said in the previous reply, I sometimes have a bad habit of not logging changes. The changes get made, and then I usually forget about the details entirely :P. I will list off the big ones that I can remember:

- COOP hub rooms now have "destination screens" above each teleporter. This should help players figure out where each teleporter leads too. Check the post below for a screenshot of what those look like.
- MAP02 now has some handy "X key is in this direction" screens since it is notoriously difficult to remember which route leads to which key.
- The bright pink pixels bug using my custom tranmap has been fixed (big thank to Ribbiks for that).
- I learned how to make custom fading ranges with palettes, so there's now a [possibly dumb] custom fading color for pickups, pain, and invulnerability.
- Fixed that bug on MAP02 where you could jump into the YK arena from a place you weren't supposed to.
- Made a bunch of small, medium, and a few large map changes/fixes that I didn't bother to document! Mostly thank to the feedback from Dime's stream, Edward850/Yholl's stream, and other folks who gave feedback that I just can't remember!

So what's going to happen in the future? Well if things go well, I'm hoping to finish MAP04 before the end of the year. It just depends on how well the rest of the layout production goes (since I'm closer to my static limits than I would like to admit).

Edward850 was working on a REJECT lump builder, which we hope might help to address some lag issues on the maps (particularly MAP05, and doubly so when playing it in COOP). So proper REJECT lumps for the maps might be something that will come in the next release.

Before the final release, there may be a delay as I try to get some sprites made for a finale. At the moment Cage is looking to try and make them for me. But in case that doesn't work out, I may be looking for someone to help me out with this. So for anyone who is that talented in the sprite work department, if your interested, let me know.

As usual, please let me know your thoughts and feedback if you have any :)

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