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ReedtheStrange

[Demo/Beta Release] Beyond the Portal (Indie Game Megawad)

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A while ago, I posted a WIP thread on Beyond the Portal right here on ZDoom: http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=32812&hilit=beyond+the+portal

ZDoom Thread: http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=36040

I've working on this project for two years obsessively off and on and it's close to being presentable to a stranger. It's art style is more similar to Wolfenstein than it is to Doom because after playing Spear of Destiny 2 and 3, I've realized that sometimes similar art styles can create the illusion of being more colorful. Not everything is simpler in art style, however; skyboxes, for example, usually transition between colors. I want the environments to make the player feel strange

You play as Dr. Rakim Xavier, an engineer with doctorates in physics and engineering. Rakim is a genius and has been offered a job and special training by the Gokstad facility. When something wrong happens and strange people and creatures start appearing around the facility, rather than escaping, Rakim decides to delve into the portal to other universes to investigate why what happened at the Gokstad happened despite the Gokstad generally being able to manage such instances. Rakim Xavier is a former soldier with three purple hearts and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and well known for being courageous by those close to him.

These are most of the weapons. More interesting weapons are found later in the game.

1. Fists - Primary fire for jabbing and secondary fire for a full-body swing.
1. Energy Saw - A standard cutting tool for colonial scientists.
2. Pistol - An intermediate caliber pistol carried by mysterious men.
2. Ricochet Pistol - A semi-automatic thermal pistol firing powerful, ricocheting round.
3. Pump-action Shotgun - No description necessary
3. Double-barreled shotgun - Primary fire for firing one round; secondary fire for pulling both triggers simultaneously.
4. SMG - Automatic sub-machine gun. More accurate than pistol unless sprayed.
4. XEAR - Experimental xenomatter energy assault rifle. More powerful than smg, although the projectiles move slower. Primary fire for automatic firing; secondary fire for 4 round burst. Xeno matter is a valuable material found in a universe known as "The Absolute Wilderness." One of its disadvantages to other energy sources found in other universes is that it is much more difficult to hold in large quantities and it quickly uses all of its energy.
5. Pod Rocket Launcher - Rocket launcher originally used by colonial Gokstad scientists for mining. Quickly became modified for use on larger creatures and has remained combat oriented since.
5. Xenomatter Bomb Launcher - A revolver-style grenade launcher that uses energy grenades.
6. Neutron Rifle - A high-powered all-purpose rifle that fires small particles of highly condensed matter that rip apart everything in its path. Can "shish kebab" small enemies and is effective against larger enemies.
7. Xenomatter Bomb - Primary fire throws like a grenade. Secondary fire drops on the ground. Dropped xenomatter bombs serve as landmines and will not detonate until stepped on.
8. Particle Thrower - Basically, a giant blowtorch using high-energy supersymetric particles with a better reach. It is useful in overwhelming situations.

More interesting weapons later in game:

Spoiler


3. "Mess-maker" Automatic shotgun - Less interesting than the other three, but ridiculously fun and cheap to use. Player will seldom have access to this weapon.

7. Eyebomb - A tiny floating robot that scans the neurological data of living organisms and AI to determine which will be hostile toward the thrower. Will follow the player, looking for hostiles and will fly toward hostiles and self-detonate in an attempt to kill them.

8. Monster Head Gun - Gun built by artificially sentient creature. Currently only one in existence. For ammo it uses a monster's head that fires mucus that explodes and fires projectiles in all directions. It is an invaluable weapons for clearing rooms and killing enemies hiding around corners.

9. Higgs Boson Cannon - A newer weapon designed by Dr. Bock designed to kill larger, more powerful targets. It fires three projectiles: One large ball that explodes on impact and two tracing projectiles with the same potential energy; however, they do not explode, but rather follow a target, cutting through the target repeatedly until target is dead, or until the collide with something else. If used on enemy in open area, atlas tracers will continue to internally eat away like piranhas.

9. God Lobe - The only prototype not in use. Although it is the smallest weapon available to the player, it is by far the most powerful. It is an improved cybernetic version of a region of the brain only found in organisms for the universe known as "The Absolute Wilderness" that allows the organisms to manipulate matter energy. When installed to the brain, it endows the user with the ability to manipulate matter and energy; the player essentially becomes a what can be considered a god through scientific means. Primary fire is ripping a straight hole through all the matter in front of the user; secondary fire pushes, lifts and crushes anything in a 30 foot radius from the user. It is true power.

0. Secret Weapons - There may be novel weapons hidden throughout the game. They are hidden very, very well. None are finished yet.


Gameplay

The gameplay is more similar to Blood than it is to Doom, although it is slightly more difficult than Blood. Enemies will often kill you very fast by themselves and corners are to be watched either by gunning you down or eating you (some monsters do both). You are given large amounts of ammo as you progress and usually won't be forced to use a particular weapon other than at the start of the game. Enemies are challenging and may force you to use a variety of weapons for different situations and environments. Many enemies have tricks to defeating them, depending on the situation. Enemies range in size from small enough to step on and randomly hiding in destructible barrels to being two stories tall, and that's without considering bosses. The player will feel slightly on edge for most of the game, some music promotes this to give the feel of someone walking around with PTSD. There is a story that you choose whether or not to be interactive with. NPC's may talk to the player, but the player can dash off at any time, cutting the conversation short and for players very interested in the world around them, there are monitors that can be read. The beginning intro can be skipped.


Screenshots














Why I wasn't going to continue:

I watched the video Shock Value by MovieBob on the Escapist analyzing Bioshock: Infinite. I have never played Bioshock: Infinite, but there appears to be so many similarities that I now feel like my game has lost its creative value significantly. Below are the similarities (spoilers because there are spoilers to both games). It's really taken a hit to me, considering I've been working on this project for two years now and am in love with it. I'm extremely sad to see that at least storyboard wise, someone has put out art similar to mine before I was able to. While all aspects of the story are not yet stated in the game, there is evidence of it everywhere even if nothing is said. Either way, I feel a certain coldness in my chest to see that someone else has thought of one of the ideas that I was proud of.

Similarities in story
Spoiler

The protagonist to Bioshock: Infinite has a past that he regrets and the antagonist has the same past but has reinvented himself as someone else who is treated as a messiah under a new alias. In Beyond the Portal, protagonist, Dr. Rakim Xavier, has nightmares about losing his best friend in a roadside bombing and, going berserk, begins gunning down all local militants. During his rampage, he launches a grenade into an adobe which he finds out right after doing, contained women and children that he had just killed. Omega, the antagonist, is Rakim from an alternate universe who has become all powerful and has the ability to manipulate matter and energy and alters himself into a godlike entity, recreating himself as the alias "Omega." Omega, changing his neurological patterns to deal with the immense PTSD, accidentally turns himself into a complete narcissist and begins forcing people to worship him as a god.

The only major difference between Rakim and Booker is that Rakim is an all around good person except for in the universe where he becomes Omega.


Bioshock: Infinite is an attack on America's pride in old military culture, a topic that was once unquestionable in the States. Beyond the Portal is an attack on the behavior of god in Abrahamic religions, a topic that was once unquestionable in the States.

Both have a female sidekick who appears helpless at first, but turns out to be more powerful than perceived and Bioshock's is apparently a large driver in the plot. Sandra Wong is responsible for almost everywhere and everything Rakim does and always calculates where he's going to be and when.


There's also a melee weapons that's a circular saw that comes out of the player's arm in both, granted Beyond the Portal's is science themed and Bioshock's is steampunk.

I just want somebody to know that I have also thought out a plot that was good. I just didn't know how good until I saw the reviews and analyses of Bioshock: Infinite.

I also do have the copyrights do Beyond the Portal, but I don't know if Bioshock: Infinite's are older, and even if they aren't I highly doubt they knew about my idea, considering it isn't clear in the actual game and is only clear in my copyright proof documents. Months before the first Bioshock came out, I actually wrote a small science fiction story that was very similar to Bioshock. The city it took place in was even in water, granted it was an ocean on a different planet. This tells me that someone apparently thinks a lot like me and is in charge of storyboard and creative direction for Irrational Games. I would actually like a conversation with them to see how similar we are.



Why I will continue:

Because the game is fun and the colorful and diverse environments make you feel indescribable emotions. I've found out that I've been kind of beat to that finish line by Void, Foreverhood and Beyond Reality, but my environments do feel different from these WADs.




I highly recommend using GZDoom 1.6.0.. I'm not sure why, but newer versions of GZDoom seem to have problems with decals. There may or may not still be bugs (the ones that have occurred are very rare and hard to test), but if the WAD is run through Doom II, they will never appear. I have not yet made a color palette for the ZDoom version to look as it should, but I may or may not because it is meant to be played through GZDoom.

Nothing is final and all criticisms are welcomed. In fact, if any of you make a video of you playing Beyond the Portal, I promise to watch and study how you play to see what I could improve.

Download Link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dup2qc6wc5jbxka/PORTAL.wad

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Craaaaaaazy visuals, love them. Lots of cool and interesting monsters too. But total linearity kind of kills the whole thing for me since replaying levels after dying is very very tedious (can't play the level differently) and there is no exploration. Maybe I don't understand the goals of this project, but to me it seems like there should be heavy emphasis on exploring this very strange world. But I can't possibly feel like an explorer if I'm just following a predefined path and I can't make any choices. I don't know, maybe it gets less linear later on? I've played like 3 or 4 levels.

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Memfis said:

Craaaaaaazy visuals, love them. Lots of cool and interesting monsters too. But total linearity kind of kills the whole thing for me since replaying levels after dying is very very tedious (can't play the level differently) and there is no exploration. Maybe I don't understand the goals of this project, but to me it seems like there should be heavy emphasis on exploring this very strange world. But I can't possibly feel like an explorer if I'm just following a predefined path and I can't make any choices. I don't know, maybe it gets less linear later on? I've played like 3 or 4 levels.


There is exploration, secrets and alternate paths, but they are generally difficult to find. I take Jazz Jackrabbit's approach of levels that you'll find the exit to if you keep running forward, but with plenty of secrets nestled in. Map02 has a fun alternate route.

But I absolutely will add even more secrets and I'll make some easier to find than they were.

I'm also should add more angles, corridors and paths to approach situations, especially early on in the game before you have a lot of different weapons. I usually overuse the saving feature and because I made the levels and monsters, I tend not to die often so that might be something I wouldn't have noticed.

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