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GooberMan

Space Station Omega follow-up released

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After twelve and a half years and one retirement from Doom mapping, the previously featured and not-then-called-Cacoward winning map Space Station Omega has received a follow-up. Originally intended to be the first in a series of story-based WADs, Prime Directive actually skips episodes 2, 3, and 4 to get right in to telling Episode 5. The new mapset takes place over 9 separate maps linked in a hub, and features such fancypants scripted features as Half-Life style level transitions; stacked 3D polyobjects; realtime cutscenes (that can be skipped); an end-of-mission psychological evaluation; and new weapons and enemies. Also included in the package is a spruced-up and bug-fixed Space Station Omega for those that missed the map first time around.

As development on episode 2 was in fact started in 2003, at the very least this release is in the running for a Mordeth award this year.

GZDoom 2.0 or greater is required, and can be obtained from the DRD Team forums - or, alternately, a bleeding edge build can be used. Be sure to read the FAQ in the Prime Directive archive for key binding information and hints as to how the scripted systems should be used if you get stuck.

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I was aiming to do the best story in a Doom mod since Urban Brawl. But yeah, people like skipping things. Understandable for speed runs, but I do recommend not skipping everything up to the yellow key card at least to get a good overview of what's going on in the map set. Some of the choices you have to make are informed directly by parts of the plot you discover in dialogue or the environment.

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Oh absolutely, I took inspiration from Metroidvania games and Dark Souls for the mapset. Powering up the new weapon is entirely a Metroid mechanic... it's just what I put you through to power it up that differs ;)

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The text speed slider behaves the opposite way than it should (?). I would expect higher values to increase the pace of dialogues, not decrease it.

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It calls itself a "Text Speed Multiplier". So I guess it's just a matter of perspective as to whether you consider 0.5 to mean "half the speed" or a literal multiplier of 0.5 applied to the time text displays (exactly how it works internally).

I'll try and come up with a more descriptive name if I have to upload a bugfixed version at some point.

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GooberMan said:

It calls itself a "Text Speed Multiplier". So I guess it's just a matter of perspective as to whether you consider 0.5 to mean "half the speed" or a literal multiplier of 0.5 applied to the time text displays (exactly how it works internally).

I'll try and come up with a more descriptive name if I have to upload a bugfixed version at some point.

Maybe "text delay"?

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GooberMan said:

It calls itself a "Text Speed Multiplier". So I guess it's just a matter of perspective as to whether you consider 0.5 to mean "half the speed" or a literal multiplier of 0.5 applied to the time text displays (exactly how it works internally).

The natural logical perspective would imply the former, IMO. Text speed multiplier should be proportional to text speed. Speed = pace. The greater pace, the shorter time the text displays. The lesser pace, the longer time it displays.

Well, renaming to "text delay" should be clear enough.

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I think I'll take it as a good sign though that the only complaint so far is "the text speed slider operates in reverse" ;-)

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So far I really like the mod, but It crashes when entering "GE5MAP09 - Somewhere..."

Im using GZDoom 2.0.0.3, any clues how to keep going? If I try with another GZDoom build, can I use my savegames?

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I don't think save games have changed the code recently, but don't quote me on that.

Newer GZDoom builds are much more stable, so it'd be worth grabbing one and testing in another folder before you overwrite your main install.

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Why would you want to skip dialogs? I often see in this forums that people pay a lot of attention to wether is possible or not to skip cutscenes or dialogs... you seriously can't take it easy and at least try to follow the story?

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I don't hold it against people for wanting to do so. The scant dialogue in the original games (ie the end-of-episode texts) was skippable after all.

Rather than howl at the moon, my goal was to make dialogue that you don't want to skip. If you enjoy the dialogue, sweet, I did a good job. If you skip the dialogue and play it through, I'm sure the choices and the ending will make zero sense but if you enjoyed it anyway who am I to judge?

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Lycaon said:

Why would you want to skip dialogs? I often see in this forums that people pay a lot of attention to wether is possible or not to skip cutscenes or dialogs... you seriously can't take it easy and at least try to follow the story?

Generally because you don't want to go through the damn thing for the umpteenth time if you die and have to go back, or you want to replay.

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ETTiNGRiNDER said:

Generally because you don't want to go through the damn thing for the umpteenth time if you die and have to go back, or you want to replay.


Exactly. Otherwise I never skip dialogue.

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Wading through sewers with sticky friction with the MAP30 midi playing in the background? Creaphis did it first.

Awesome work. I'm very impressed on a technical level and by the imagination behind it. I like your take on a post-Icon of Sin Hell; the mystical interactions with the archviles and the "Trial of the Baron" are great. There's surprising depth to the story (for something Doom-related) - each faction's motivations are mysterious, ambiguous - there's a very good chance that the protagonist is being played by everyone involved. The demons believe that death disproves godhood, yet they choose to worship a being that they themselves resurrected? Is their newfound faith just part of the act?

Niggles:

The C_CHATTER4 text chain doesn't quite work how it's supposed to - Elaine recites a variable name in-game.

When you get to the real Hell Hotel (not the dream version) and try to walk up the ramp, a script tries to execute and fails. I'm guessing it's supposed to push the player back. Maybe it'd be better for flavour to replace both scripts with velvet ropes or something - it's kind of immersion-breaking to get launched backwards by a restricted area in a dream sequence.

Super shotgun-wielding soldiers sometimes refire after just a couple frames. They're deadly enough already - they should at least be limited to standard reload speeds.

It'd be nice if enemy soldiers were visually differentiated depending on their weapon, by suit colour or weapon graphics. Right now, to survive, you have to assume every soldier is holding the most dangerous possible weapon, which means there's no choice but to do a lot of hiding behind corners and long-distance sniping. If that's the gameplay you want, I guess that's fine. However, predictable enemies are a staple of Doom gameplay, and if you could tell at a glance what they're equipping then you could adapt your tactics accordingly and have a more varied play experience.

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Ooh, bugs! I will fix the bugs in my local version.

I'd been trying to deal with the visual aspect of the marines for a while. I've got Ghastly Dragon's vwep marines in that archive, in fact. But no one took up my request to do the same thing to the female marines. If someone reads this and wants to do it, then by all means please do and I'll release an update. Otherwise, I suppose I can make an update with some translations to indicate weapon type.

And yeah, there's plenty of ambiguity there for all involved. I actually think that the framework I laid down with Space Station Omega and expanded (finally) with Prime Directive would make a solid basis for a commercial episodic FPS (but refactored to a new IP). I will likely continue the story in that format at some point. Spare time projects will have to wait for half a year, Quantum Break won't ship itself.

I guess I'll drop a hint though: Not everything you see in Prime Directive is real. I took inspiration from the body horror movies of David Cronenberg (see what I did there?). Accepting a version of reality will play in to how future episodes play out.

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This is absolutely brilliant. I'm currently at the part that is displayed in the game menu (the eureka base entrance). The story is really catching and the dialogs are very well written. Not only there's story, but there are also characters with distinctive personality. Have you considered getting some people to do voice acting?

EDIT: i forgot to mention, there's a lot of cinematic moments that are reallly well done. You sure seem to know about cinema. On the other hand, gameplay-wise the map is not very catching. You should try to improve the scripting for the enemy marines, so that they behave more human and less like zombie mans

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I did spend a lot of time trying to get the marines right. One if the posts in my development diary goes in to a lot of detail about it. I was even thinking of laying out a rudimentary path finding network for them and scripting up some proper AI, but I decided that was a script too far (not to mention an extra three months work at least) so just settled with the built-in AI. The idea does live on in Z-Kart though...

I was intending on getting voice acting for the mod. Didn't happen. I can easily make an add-on pack though as I left the framework for voices in there. It'd require me to organise voice acting and casting though, so realistically that probably won't happen.

Hopefully my camera usage and scene setup can encourage some other mappers to use cinematic principles in their mods. Even things like the first time you meet Cronenberg is quite a bit more cinematic than many mods out there.

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You don't need to program so much to get them to behave more natural. First off, I would add voices so that you know when one of them has seen you or is active around. It's wierd when they are so quiet all the time. Then, I would give them somewhat higher speed and a little less health, so that they are harder to shoot but highly hurt by shots, like humans are. If it isn't there already, missilemore and missileevenmore will make them attack more and not wander so much like zombies do. Finally, make it so that it takes at least 4 tics aiming before it shoots and another few tics after it shoots holding the weapon as if he was aiming (same sprite). With this cheap gimmicks, you'll see they will be much more like humans.

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Movement speed, less health (they all have 100, excepting berserk marines), and more likely to fire would outright break some fights. I'd have to do an entire rebalance pass. The only thing I was interested in with advanced AI was flanking. If they're military-trained humans in a close quarters fight, they should be able to pull off flanking maneuvers. Rather than solve that problem with code, I found that designing the environments and the placement of the marines themselves led to the built-in AI naturally doing enough flanking moves that it didn't feel unfair.

(EDIT: The only thing I'll work on is the refire rate, which is most definitely a problem with SSG marines.)

You do seem to have missed something I've highlighted in this exact thread though - not everything you see in Prime Directive is real.

Spoiler

Russell (the protagonist) didn't start killing humans until after he was visited by some demon mages during the events of Space Station Omega. He sees humans acting in a bit of a dumb way like demons, huh? Hmmm, I wonder if humans act like that or whether it's a part of the altered reality Russell is increasingly experiencing thanks to the increasing influence of demonic transformations...

EDIT: Put the bit that could be spoilery in a spoiler tag. It references one part of the plot, and speculates on what some of it could mean. Of course, I know the answer, but isn't speculation fun?

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Oh, I didn't finnish the map yet. Don't spoil it lol. Again, great work dude

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I have no idea what I just played, but I loved it.

EDIT: After a thorough playthrough, I have to say this was an unique experience. A truly unique experience. The weapon power up path was interesting. The other opinions of mine will be in spoiler tags as they're related to the plot, or other levels.

Spoiler

The level with the three places you teleport to. I really wish that Icon of Sin fight was at the end of a mapset. That's impressive, really impressive. Actually felt like I was killing a demon this time around rather than shooting rockets into a hole in a wall in hopes to kill Romero for the umpteenth time.

The post-Icon of Sin Hell was interesting as well, and it's made me question if Prime Directive is just a Purgatory state for Russ, or any of the other episodes after Space Station Omega.

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Whenever I get the time, I'm definitely going to give this a try & record with msi afterburner. The whole hub mechanic is quite cool, as with the other features included. Keep up the great work, Mr.GM! :-)

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In regards to Preliatus' spoilers:

Spoiler

That Icon battle is something I've wanted to do your a long time... And I realised that it would fit well in a level that is one giant hallucination. It makes no narrative sense to have it at the end of the map set, but it serves the narrative to have it where it is.

Related to that, the number of "the marine battles leave me feeling a bit cold" comments I've gotten is great. All the secret/optional bits with demon battles are meant to break that up. Of course, since I pretty much leave the player to take their own path through the game minus a couple of gates, it can mean it does feel like a slog of one thing then another depending on how you tackle it.

If the marines leave you feeling a bit cold, the narrative takes that in to account. Assuming you also make narrative choices honestly ;-)

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