Ancient Aliens - final version on idgames

I think to some degree difficulty can be inherent to layout setups themselves. For instance, if your map has lots of wide expanses that give monsters lots of places to harass you from, unless you either load up the easy skill with tons of powerups (which is certainly a viable option, if inelegant) or remove monsters entirely from some areas to keep them from sniping you from across the way (which can make it feel oddly barren), the map is going to demand a certain level of awareness and maneuverability from the player.

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esselfortium said:

load up the easy skill with tons of powerups (which is certainly a viable option, if inelegant)

I consider this the better solution, or rather the more important aspect when combining both. As hawkwind once said, just unflagging a ton of monsters makes the maps feel empty, almost insulting with the heavily implied "you're not getting the full experience".

Heh, I wonder if the compmap could be such a critical bonus item for map01.

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Looks great guys. You should really consider working on a commercial game with these skills.

Is this compatible with ZDaemon multiplayer?

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scifista42 said:

Ancient Aliens uses its own unique palette. Smooth Doom's sprites are in standard Doom palette. You would have to modify your copy of Smooth Doom.

If you're playing in a port with OpenGL renderer (GZDoom, Zandronum in OpenGL mode):
1. Make a copy of your Smooth Doom pk3.
2. Open it in SLADE3.
3. Select all sprites and convert them to PNG (Truecolor) format.

Heh, already got that covered.

EDIT: Optionally, you can do what I did and use pngout.exe to optimize the .png files. This is very useful when you want to cut down the file size of the wad/pk3. ;)

EDIT II: It should be noted that not all .PNGs should be optimized. You're better off not touching the brightmaps. Also, if a .PNG file is meant to be in true-color format, LEAVE IT ALONE.

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dew said:

I consider this the better solution, or rather the more important aspect when combining both. As hawkwind once said, just unflagging a ton of monsters makes the maps feel empty, almost insulting with the heavily implied "you're not getting the full experience".

Heh, I wonder if the compmap could be such a critical bonus item for map01.


There are ways (definitely in boom, but also in vanilla/limitremoving) where you can have the same number of monsters, but delay them from appearing. I haven't played MAP09 yet but in a tight scenario with two archviles, you could just have one archvile and then have the second one teleport in after a tall floor slowly lowers down for it to step on, that way the player has the opportunity to focus on one archvile for the majority of the time, then deal with the next one after the first is dead/horribly injured.

I did something similar with a "two cyberdemons in a small arena" and found that to be significantly more manageable without nerfing the significance of having to fight two cyberdemons at once.

In many cases the reason maps are hard is because the player is not as adept at "multitasking" which is being able to dodge distant fireballs and be aware of fire coming from behind and killing whats in front at the same time. All you need to do is allow the player to focus one or two sets of objectives at a time. In cases where you've got sniping monsters in the distance, you can put the hard only ones there, and keep some easy only ones underground in an instant raise platform that pops up after the player has killed the majority of the monsters. This will break things up into bitesize encounters instead of dealing with everything at once, and you wont have to reduce the monster count

You can also flag some weapons or armor to hard-only and put easy-only ones closer where the player can get them without pissing everything off at once.

I've been playing on UV only so far and I've been having a really good time, but I do admit that the constant pressure for 90% of the time gets exhausting. I wouldn't ask you to take that away though! I'm gonna go back at it today.

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The MUSINFO lump appears to be wrong to me....

MAP01
1 D_RUNNIN
2 D_FLEE

MAP30
 D_OPENIN
 D_SCREAM

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dew said:

For a more cordial answer: IMO the northern tomb in map09 (YK) is crueler than the southern one (RK). rwdpa has a point with the bumpy midtex fence around the bend and it's a very close call even if you do retreat to the fence and spam back all the time. The RK one.. eh, the ledges over the stairs are your friends. It's only nasty if one of the viles hangs right in front of the stairs instead of getting above you. I really didn't think that place was somehow deviously murderous, actually Joshy had to add the lock-in bars to prevent cheesing and even have any challenge at all.

I had no problems with the YK side at all, but two attempts at the map yielded 2 deaths from 200 health at the stupid 2-vile trap.

I tried using the stairs like others are suggesting on my first try, but that doesn't work if the viles stay up-top towards the side you enter from like they did for me on both attempts. Even if they behave, it'll still work like that one fight from "Hard Attack" where blasts can be unavoidable if one fires while in the middle, and the other follows you, moves to the "corner" that the stairs create, and then fires. Except, unlike Hard Attack, you won't have plasma for stunlocking to get out of trouble, and it's deep into an incredibly long map.

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dew said:

It's only nasty if one of the viles hangs right in front of the stairs instead of getting above you. I really didn't think that place was somehow deviously murderous, actually Joshy had to add the lock-in bars to prevent cheesing and even have any challenge at all.


Out of the whole first episode that was the only single encounter that I found a bit unfair. In the end it was just down to brute force and the rng whims of the archviles to survive it. Think it just needs a little bit more cover, as Sure Bowb says maybe raising the banisters would help. There is no obvious cover in that setup outside of the precise knowledge of how map geometry occludes enemy vision, and I think the player could maybe use a bit more help when it comes to sudden multiple archviles.

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Cynical said:

I had no problems with the YK side at all, but two attempts at the map yielded 2 deaths from 200 health at the stupid 2-vile trap.

I tried using the stairs like others are suggesting on my first try, but that doesn't work if the viles stay up-top towards the side you enter from like they did for me on both attempts. Even if they behave, it'll still work like that one fight from "Hard Attack" where blasts can be unavoidable if one fires while in the middle, and the other follows you, moves to the "corner" that the stairs create, and then fires. Except, unlike Hard Attack, you won't have plasma for stunlocking to get out of trouble, and it's deep into an incredibly long map.


I just tried it again, all no problem. It is worth noting that, when you pass the timed gate, you can avoid one vile by moving in on the right side very slowly, if that does not help, I don't know how I could help out anymore as far as that RK goes.

EDIT: By avoiding I mean, not even "waking it up"

EDIT II: Of course one would have to know what's ahead, so the potential death for someone seeing that setup for the first time is still a thing to consider.

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Weird unique theme and interesting gameplay setups. Being a skillsaw map, I fully expected getting my ass kicked, but hot damn... Switched to HMP early and even there one has to work double shifts. Found it fairly tight on ammo and health, especially in the first few maps. I mostly managed to get by, except in map05 where the situation got really frustrating. Only did the first episode so far, so will see what's next in store for me.

Btw. you forgot to credit sock in the readme for some of the Egyptian textures.

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Captain Toenail said:

Is this compatible with ZDaemon multiplayer?


All the nodes are in extended format (not supported) and the musinfo lump causes a crash for some reason. But by rebuilding nodes and removing the musinfo, zdaemon runs it fine.
We're hoping to have it in Thursday Night Survival on ZDaemon soon, though I think we're going to wait until RC2 is released first,assuming skillsaw has no objections, of course!

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I just beat MAP09, I do think archvile usage was a little tricky at times, some traps involving that infamous instant-kill monster were a little unprovoked. I think moving some of the nearby soulspheres to be around the activating linedefs would give the player reasonable suspicion to keep their guard up (the three by the yellow key and the two by the red, especially)

The red key ones didnt kill me but they did get me twice leaving me with 8% health, followed by a trap involving chaingunners which felt pretty merciless to me. I did manage to get it the second time, but it was with the addition of chaingun sniping one of the archviles in the hand to piss him off then popping him through the bars before actually going in there, which cheesed the whole encounter for me allowing me get to the chaingunners part with 200% health

Overall I thought it was a really fun map but in the future id advise keeping maps shorter! took me 28 minutes to beat! I wasted some time not knowing that i could actually squeeze into the cage with the red and yellow key switches. I think opening that up a bit would have prevented some confusion for me too.

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40oz said:

I just beat MAP09, I do think archvile usage was a little tricky at times, some traps involving that infamous instant-kill monster were a little unprovoked. I think moving some of the nearby soulspheres to be around the activating linedefs would give the player reasonable suspicion to keep their guard up (the three by the yellow key and the two by the red, especially)


The three viles were telegraphed for me in the sense that this big, empty room made me move in slowly, so I had a good distance to the viles there. The red key encounter is not telegraphed like that at all, I have to agree on that. Coming from that cyberdemon hallway carnage, an ambush like that is certainly something that players might not expect.

Wouldn't replacing the soulsphere (prior to the cyberdemon encounter) with a berserk pack, while moving the soulsphere into the line of sight of the viles do the trick here? I don't think 200 health is needed in that hallway at all, given the size of it. I mean that Cyberdemon tunnel is somewhat trivial in comparison, especially with 200 health. Having only 100 available there might make it a bit more interesting, too.

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Sure Bowb said:

Wouldn't replacing the soulsphere (prior to the cyberdemon encounter) with a berserk pack, while moving the soulsphere into the line of sight of the viles do the trick here?


Thats what I was thinking, yes

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Honestly, I don't think it would be enough. I hit that trap at 200% health on both attempts, and still couldn't see a way to survive it. And if there's a chaingunner trap after that, then LOL.

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the "handrails" on the steps blocked some archvile strikes for me, also if the archies aren't hovering directly over the ledge, you can press up against the wall to avoid some strikes too.

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I tried both of those things -- the steps on my first try, press against the wall and stand and deliver on the opposite one on my second try -- and both of them failed absolutely miserably.

Maybe I just had some awful RNG, but "encounter that can completely screw a player over with some bad RNG deep into a long map" is terrible as it is.

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Getting in there with 200% should afford you the luxury of "tanking" one hit comfortably, while taking cover from the other vile and pumping rockets, or shelling the one that torches you, to maybe even get it to flinch. And what 40oz said.

EDIT: If they both try to torch you, you need to know which one will hit first, because otherwise you may get "comboed". Like, dodge the first, tank the second, and pump rockets.

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Quick thing: Noticed this on MAP20. No idea how I missed it when I was making the map o_O

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^ What's the problem that you see in there?

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r_init: getpostnumberforname: post not found!

Edited by Justince

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scifista42 said:

^ What's the problem that you see in there?


I literally was too afraid to ask that question, but if I had to guess it's the colour of those lights in the middle...

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scifista42 said:

^ What's the problem that you see in there?


Misaligned flats on the ceiling, surrounding the lights.

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He made the trims around it but he put the textures with the wrong orientation on them.

Edit: Nevermind.

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Justince said:

I agree, it was like the first 'adventure' style map that took place of the quickie blast'em style ones before it. It didn't feel out of place, but was jarring. Part of me wonders if this was a case of the author thinking 'I've got one shot so I want to make a lasting impression!' I don't recall having issues with the AV trap. Overall a fun, interesting trip!


Joshy already made a lasting impression for sure, but yeah, if you got one map slot for you in a great project: Make it count!

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This is some absolutely beautiful work. Love the theme. Haven't played much of it yet but I've enjoyed what I have played so far. Admittedly a little disappointed there aren't more core gameplay changes as in Valiant, though :(

Are these resources free to use, by the way? A lot of these textures appear to be new, so I'm not sure what the status is on using those. Would also love to be able to use this PLAYPAL since these colors are so damn great :D

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Tango said:

Are these resources free to use, by the way? A lot of these textures appear to be new, so I'm not sure what the status is on using those. Would also love to be able to use this PLAYPAL since these colors are so damn great :D


I too am interested in this, but surprisingly, more interested in the music resources!

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Justince said:

Part of me wonders if this was a case of the author thinking 'I've got one shot so I want to make a lasting impression!' I don't recall having issues with the AV trap. Overall a fun, interesting trip!

Joshy got two shots though! Dread the other one, heh.

Well, maybe an additional ssphere could be added to the RK fight so you can take an extra hit or two... I guess there's a huge difference in reaching the room with BA still active or having just GA or nothing.

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Text file states that authors may NOT use the content of this wad as a base for modification or reuse so I guess this applies to the resources too.

Although, I guess we should wait for the official release either way before using stuff from it (if possible somehow of course).

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