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Posts posted by Sno

  1. New level!


    C584-0000-00A3-02F9: Rumble in the Sky!


    Expanding on what i was trying to do with the boss fight in my last upload, but as a more moderately difficult thing in a short and focused level. The way it turned out, i'm pretty pleased with it. (Also, i can't really take full credit, i definitely stole the core idea from another level that's probably still somewhere in my starred levels history.)


    Also, Synnah gave me a bunch of stars that pushed me into the next rank! Now i have twenty upload slots. Woo!

  2. I bought a Wii U today and had it hooked up and updated just in time for Splatfest to start. Mind you, never played Splatoon before, had NO idea what Splatfest was. But whatever, I prefer car travel so that was as good a reason as any to spend my opening levels in the game getting WRECKT. But it's fun. The controls were really weird to adjust to. I hated the motion control for up and down, then hated the right-stick for looking even more because its sensitivity is unwieldy (even when adjusting it) so I went back to motion.


    Then the servers went down, I guess. Which is fine, I have work in the morning and there's no way I'm gonna be like "oh whoops it's 2am" again in my life.


    The motion control is great once you make that adjustment, you'll feel like you're playing a PC shooter. Pro-tip: Get used to twisting the pad left and right so you can have some quick horizontal fine-tuning in fights as well. The right stick should be used for navigation and broadly reorienting yourself mid-fight. There's no aim sticky in Splatoon, relying on the stick is a much harder way to play.


    I didn't even realize another splatfest was going on, i'll have to play tomorrow before it finishes up.

    General summary of splatfest: It's an intermittent faction metagame where you have a chance to earn super snails based on how many points you earned for your faction and whether or not your faction actually won. Other modes, like ranked parties, are suspended during splatfests. Super snails are then used to upgrade 1 and 2 star gear into 3 star gear, and re-roll sub skills on that gear. (Which you can only do once a piece of gear is maxed out on slots and experience.)


    And yeah, connectivity tends to crap itself during splatfests.

  3. New level!


    90B0-0000-0097-ABA4: A dangerous town!


    This one is probably the most difficult level i've made, though in the end i reeled back on the difficulty a bunch while playtesting it and i feel the result is pretty fair. I quite like how certain parts of it turned out though, I think it has a lot of fun sequences that i might split out into their own levels once i've earned enough stars to unlock more upload slots. (I believe i only need a few more? FEED ME STARS.)

  4. That sequence where Simon 3 has to decide to either mercy kill Simon 2 or spare him and necessarily abandon him to face WAU's horrors on his own as "you" and Catherine climb into the abyss? Yeah, i had to pause the game, walk away, and think about that one for a bit.


    Speaking of WAU, this kind of resonates with the experience of playing Soma, as WAU is not at all portrayed as a malevolent entity, but one undertaking extreme and novel measures to ensure it can meet the requirements of its programming. (Keeping the base personnel "alive".)

  5. Alright, i'm going to go and take some time to do this right:

    CDE9-0000-002C-E117 : Gosh Darn Bullet Heck!


    The first thing i did was try to make a scrolling shoot em` up stage and i think it turned out relatively well, i think it's pretty fun. It's a little tricky, hanging back at the far left side of the screen won't work out for you, but it has a surprisingly high completion rate, so i assume i didn't make it too messed up.


    505A-0000-0040-0202 : Airship Invasion!


    It's big and complicated and has the lowest completition rate of any of my levels, which is a tiny bit frustrating to me, because i still think this is probably one of my best levels. It's the one i have the most fun playing through, at least.


    9448-0000-0048-F793 : Use that cape!


    I just wanted to have some data on how many people know how to use the cape. If i am to extrapolate from the small sample size of this level, it's about half of the people playing.


    1ACC-0000-004A-2CB3 : Spooky Mine!


    So here i reeled way back on difficulty after seeing how few people were finishing Airship Invasion, and i also tried to tell a bit of an implied story with the changing geography of the level. I also started playing around with the sound effects in different ways. This seems to be my most popular level at present.


    8C83-0000-0055-7F2A: Bridge to a lost land!


    You'll notice a theme with my levels: i enjoy messing around with thwomps and bob-ombs and koopa wizards, putting them all near breakable bits of terrain. This level is more of that, and a bit of experimentation with the particularly spooky atmosphere of the SMB1 castle set. It's a very simple level, but i think it kind of works.


    EB5B-0000-005E-691C: Bowser Jr Brawl!


    I liked the boss fight i concocted for Airship Invasion so much that i stripped it out, made it its own level, and expanded on it. It's ended up being one of my best received levels. I made the arena too wide though, things can despawn and slight weirdness can ensue. Make sure you grab the airship when you defeat Bowser Jr, don't let it go offscreen and despawn, you need it to make your way towards the level exit.


    E9E9-0000-0066-FF0D: A completely normal day!


    I'm not going to say anything about this one, just go play it.


    0193-0000-0072-52D1: Mario's Spelunking Adventure!


    I probably spent too much time making this one, every single tile and visual detail is purposefully placed. Lots of little decorations and layered platforms. I sort of wanted to see how far i could push the game in making a visually interesting level. I think it turned out quite nicely, and i think it's fun to play too, if very straightforward.


    ^ If anybody's curious about how i'm purposefully placing the decorations that randomly spring up from ground tiles: When i start out with a level, i sort of scribble around a lot, move any ground pieces that have the decorations into a little palette, and then copy the tiles from that palette as i make the level.


    There's a lot of fun tricks you can do with sound effects too, depending on what effect is affixed to which object.


    I also played through a bunch of the levels you guys uploaded and gave out quite a few stars too, if anybody wants any specific feedback, go ahead and ask.


    Anyways, I have another level that i'll probably uploaded in a day or two. It's got a lot of fun little tricks going on, but it's probably going to be miserably difficult. I was getting tired of making very easy levels.

  6. It was also interesting getting reminded that some of the over-used tricks from those impossible Mario Maker / Kaizo levels were used once or twice in a more fair manner in SMB3. Like jumping out of a situation only to hit a row of invisible coin blocks, that sort of thing. Nintendo definitely knew how to pull punches with that stuff, not crossing the line of RNG / unfair territory and giving people a chance to adjust to those surprises.


    Playing Mario Maker has kind of been a weird lesson in how much of what constitutes "good" level design is simply knowing when to have some empty space. There are just so, so, so many levels that seem to think "This spot doesn't have anything in it, what should i put here that will challenge the player?" and those levels often just come across as relentless and unfun.


    I also generally feel that levels should be designed to be theoretically completable on a first run, that every obstacle should be slightly telegraphed even if they are still significantly challenging. Surprise deaths from bad leaps of faith or enemies in item blocks or invisible blocks positioned above death pits just make me instantly quit out of a level. That's some real disrespect to the player.

    Lakitus are also terrible. Swarms of RNG enemies are the worst.

    There are so many terrible Mario Maker levels, even if Mario Maker is itself an awesome thing.




    Oh hey, this is the recently completed thread.

    Thumbs up to Mario Maker, everybody go play Mario Maker.

  7. I've always found the idea of currency that's more than just currency interesting.  Take Metro 2033.  That game uses pre-apocalypse military grade ammunition as currency, but it can also be used in your weapons to much greater effect than standard ammo.  Besides being an interesting mechanic that allows you to literally shoot money, it also gives the money a real use in the scenario where you no longer need it as currency.  Money in most games is a resource that requires time and effort to get, but neither of those things usually matter to the game.  The supply is basically infinite and the demand is a demand of one.  Unless you have a system that goes beyond that basic interaction, earning money is pretty trivial and spending it even more trivial.


    I mean, there's a lot of games that try to present to you alternative sinks for currency. I always liked System Shock 2 as an example of this, where your nanites can be used to build supplies in vending machines, or you can use them to conduct repairs, hacks, or upgrades. (And SS2 is balanced so that you basically never have enough currency to do all of these in aggregate, you have to make your choices.)


    I think the real genius of the system in Metro is that it's presenting a conundrum of a short term crutch versus long term benefit. Use them to overcome a difficult obstacle, essentially spending them on making progress through the game, or hang onto them stubbornly with the hope that at some undetermined interval you'll be able to spend them on a more material and lasting benefit. (Which is quite unlike the above choices in System Shock 2, since all of those avenues for spending generally result in access to more or better tools.)


    I mean, and it only works because Metro is kind of ruthless, it's a really difficult game. It's a choice that would have no weight if the game was any easier.

  8. I just finished it and yeah, I like it a lot more than Amnesia. I also think it's one of the best sci-fi stories told in video game format lately, perhaps ever. I liked that it had less of the monster-bits, but one of later ones did frustrate me enough because I didn't figure out the pattern or the monster just repeatedly spawned too close to me.


    A couple of the later ones i'm not sure i had "figured out" either, mainly the angler fish and the other group of fish.


    I think the angler fish might have just been a fairly normal encounter, but i didn't deal with it long enough to find out. I assume it's meant to force you to backpedal into the lengthy branching cavern you had just passed through to reach it, but it caught me while i was doing so. I had enough health to take the hit, and when i woke up, it had seemingly moved on deeper into the cavern, but i was still near the exit. So i pretty much just picked up and kept moving.


    The school of fish i got through without major incident incident, though i took quite a few hits to be honest, and i'm not clear that i understood what the mechanic of that encounter was supposed to be. The game implies that they stay away from the lights, but they don't. I mean, but i was kind of able to sprint left and right to avoid the fish as they dove in at me, so... That's kind of what i did, but it feels like i was probably supposed to do something else? (I mean, you eventually reach a point where you have abandoned shipping containers to hide in, but some of that encounter is just wide out in the open.)


    The other encounters in the game were all much more obvious.


    The corrupted helper robot is pretty much your baseline. It's pretty fast, it sees and hears.


    The gross cancerous zombies are completely blind, but have super sensitive hearing. (Unless the robot girl turns out to be faster, the zombie with arms - i think it's supposed to be akers? - is probably the fastest bipedal enemy in the game, extremely difficult to get away from, take sharp turns and crouch and stay silent whenever you build up any distance.)


    The naked disco ball men apparently not only teleport towards you when you look at them, but actually detect you by you looking at them, and i struggled with the longer, later form of that encounter given the small series of spaces it occurs within. (This was the one enemy i died to.)  Speaking of teleporting, i gathered that the game was trying to imply that the teleporting was cleverly actually "lost time" for Simon due to the EMP effects of the disco ball, but that... Doesn't really explain some of what they do in their scripted pre-encounter appearances. (It also sure as hell doesn't explain whatever was going on with Ross, who seems to be straight up invisible for long stretches.)


    The crying robot girl just seemed to have a very, very generous ramp up towards aggro, so stay quiet and leave her alone, is what i took from that encounter. She definitely "detected" me a number of times while i was trying to grab the power pack, but never actually chased. I was wondering if i had actually glitched the game, but i'm pretty sure she's just meant to seem kind of semi-lucid and in agony and not particularly interested in you.


    The corrupted diving suit seemed to have more advanced AI than a lot of other enemies, actually going into investigating individual rooms, but once detected by it, you would find that it's actually very slow and easy to stay away from.


    There was also the big leviathan creature made of corrupted structure gel, and that encounter was basically just running from alcove to alcove, any spot that looked like it wouldn't be a comfortable fit for the leviathan to chase through.


    That's everything, right? I don't think i'm missing anything. There's a helper robot with a brain scan loaded onto it during an early underwater sequence that makes some aggressive statements and will chase, but i never got close enough for it to possibly attack.


    Ross, i guess, does chase you for one sequence. I've seen people say he will kill you there, which makes sense. It's only after that, that you turn into the thing he can use against WAU.


    Aside: I kind of like how the game sort of abstractly conveys your health with the gradually deepening color separation visual. (I have seen it stated that distressing imagery causes a tiny, persistent health decay? I didn't really find this noticeable while playing, if true, but i did always seem to have a tiny bit of color separation creep in even when healed up after an encounter. It's a weirdly ineffectual sanity system, if true.)

  9. I've been playing

    lately and that game is absolutely fucking awesome and people should play it.


    There's a lot of good subtle mechanical nuance that says to me the designer has a real love the bullet hell genre. For example, you can burst a shield for an area-of-effect offensive attack or manipulate your max-level damage-over-time projectile to move slower across large enemies. (You can also, on the fly, trade score for extra lives if you're struggling.)


    There's also a roguelite "macro" mode that has a really labyrinthine upgrade system and free-roaming spaces. It... Feels a little janky and unpolished in ways the main modes don't, but it's also been pretty entertaining.


    The visual style and the soundtrack are pretty terrific too.

  10. I have played and finished this game and... You know, while i was playing it, and after i finished it - finding the game stuck on my mind for several days - i felt like i had a whole lot to say about it, but... A lot of it is about the story, and it doesn't look like anybody here has finished it yet, so i probably won't go too indepth.


    I thought the voice acting was pretty good, by and large. It's incredibly difficult to do a first-person voiced protagonist and not have it be really, really weird, but i think they got most of the way there, though Simon could probably have stood to be a little more noticeably unnerved during the first couple areas of the game. (Some might take issue with him generally sounding like an awkward, regular ass dude, but that's kind of what makes him work in my opinion. He's kind of a dope.)


    Really though, i completely loved this game. It's probably another goty contender for me, and maybe one of my favorite horror games ever. I think it's also one of the most committed and unnerving explorations of body horror i've seen in a video game practically since System Shock 2. It commits to the theme instead of just the visual and it's thoroughly upsetting in parts, I think it legitimately works as psychological horror. It does that in part owing to there being precious few jump scares in the game, and they almost never occur in circumstances wherein you are actually open to danger. If there is going to be something that can kill you, the game lets you exist with it, know it's there, and feel all the tension of it being right there in front of you. That said, the game is also relatively simplified in comparison to Amnesia, it lacks that prior game's complicated systems interactions and how those worked to create tension. If Soma has a fault that's where it lies, but Soma still gets pretty much all the way to being scary through its theme and its pacing, which is fairly admirable, i think. Soma is a game that faces you constantly with choices that are in no way systemically reinforced, but still thrive as relentlessly complicated moral quandaries that - as an exploration of the game's themes - pile up on eachother and lead you to question what you've done and what you've come from. It's fantastic, i love the story. (It actually seems to have accidentally had more resonance than the writer even intended, sparking debates and questions that he apparently didn't realize the narrative supported.)


    In fact, the game is in large part almost an adventure game, with relatively clever puzzles and environmental exploration actually making up the largest chunk of the game, encounters happening relatively intermittently and usually quite briefly, there's much less of an ever present threat than there was in Amnesia. The mechanics of those encounters are also generally more simplistic, and while individual encounters present a lot of variety in how they approach Soma's mechanics, the narrower and more discernable walls on the simulation governing these survival encounters makes it probably a little less scary overall than Amnesia. (Which, hey, isn't necessarily a bad thing.) It's also balanced, definitely, towards the very easy end of the spectrum. I died exactly once in the entire game. (Which i spent 15 hours playing, by the way. That was a playthrough that put emphasis on checking every corner for bits of story, and dealing with encounters in a stealthy and measured fashion.)


    I was quite surprised to see those two original live action teasers referenced in the story of the game and actually make complete sense in the context of the game. (Frictional is also presently releasing a web series on their youtube channel that also ties in, but a little more tenuously, and the web series proper is also maybe not quite as effective as those original live action teasers were.) On the other end of the spectrum, that first gameplay teaser is almost completely unrecognizable and has virtually nothing in common with the shipping game. There's a locked archive that gets thrown in with the game's install that, if opened, is revealed to contain just buckets and buckets of development materials which imply that the game shifted course wildly possibly several times over the course of its elongated development cycle.


    As an aside, i think it gets some good mileage from its setting. There's a sequence towards the end that really makes its deep ocean setting seem oppressive and intimidating in a way that i don't think other games set in deep, dark, murky water have ever really achieved.


    Again though, I think Soma's one of the best horror games i've ever played, kudos to Frictional.


    I actually like it a whole lot more than i liked Amnesia, though as a piece of game design, i think i still respect Amnesia more, if that makes sense.

  11. I have been playing this a whole bunch. The tools are easy to use and the fundamentals are all there, i'm really quite in love with it. I do think Nintendo's missing a few crucial things though. (I'd like to see doors and keys, options for enemy facing, slopes, maybe that little wall-run brick from SMW, etc.)


    I also think it's weird that, you as the creator, only get to see a death heatmap for the main area of an uploaded map and not the sub area. It's a really useful piece of information for refining your maps, and Nintendo's kind of needlessly limited it.


    Anyways, this is the level of mine that has received the most stars: "1ACC-0000-004A-2CB3" From there, you should be able to click through into my Mario Maker profile from your play history, i think i have some other levels uploaded that are actually much better.

    I'd appreciate if people would go through what i've uploaded and star whatever they think deserves it, and i will in turn probably go through some of the levels you have all posted as well. (It saddens me that some of my favorite levels have almost no stars! They're tough, sure, but i thought they were pretty fair.) I'm also working on another few levels to upload at some point in the next few days.

  12. A couple MP ones:

    Quake 3 - The Longest Yard


    I don't really have any overwrought justification for this one, I just think the map is a ton of fun. It's my favorite map in Q3A, perhaps simply because it was one of the Q3Test maps.


    Halo 3 - The Pit

    I think this is the best map in the best Halo game, 4v4 on this is fantastic. So many interesting sight lines, lots of cover to exploit, and probably the most competitive item spawns in Halo 3.

  13. Blowing that main entrance into each base wide open and filling it with tons of cover seems like it's just made it harder to defend and easier for enemies to get in. Every Turf War match i've played on the new Urchin Underpass has ended in a shutout for one team or the other, literally every single one, there have been no close games. That does not feel to me like the changes are working as intended.


    Charger players seem really salty about the changes too, i guess. There's no good sight lines for them anymore.

  14. I was really looking forward to that when it was near release, and then I thought about the amount of time it can take to beat a campaign in an RTS and shied away.

    It's about average duration for this kind of RTS campaign, it's around 15 missions, and it's the sort that delves deep into heavily scripted and puzzle-like scenarios, though with a few randomized elements to keep you on your toes. It took me a few days to finish the campaign, speaking personally. I wasn't expecting to get much out of the campaign, actually, i have generally felt like this style of campaign is something i've had my fill of, but Grey Goo seems like it's just trying so damn hard. The missions seemed pretty well designed to me and the game presents actually a fairly fun sci-fi adventure with some unexpectedly sharp production values. (It's a gorgeous game all around, and has a pretty great soundtrack.) I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, but i definitely found it quite rough difficulty-wise while i was still in the process of figuring out the game. (I'm pretty out of practice with RTS's, to be fair.) The game ramps up quick and kind of throws you into missions that feel like they belong at the end of the game while you're still pretty early in the campaign, it's a game that expects you to know how to get your eco up and running immediately, and will face you with overwhelming odds if you aren't able to act decisively. I felt it was a fun challenge though, i thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I'm really honestly just happy to see that Petroglyph continued to put work into this game, it had a lot of problems but i felt like there were some good foundations there, and with their continued updates i think it's shaped up into something that's now actually worth checking out. It's probably not for everyone, but it's exactly what i had been looking to get out of an RTS for quite a while. Bit of an oldschool RTS vibe with a slick layer of polish on it. (For example, one of the things that's been pretty divisive is that there are no active abilities on units. You might want to ground fire to lead artillery shots, and you have to manage your air units pretty carefully, but broadly it's not as concerned about the minutia of an individual fight as it is the makeup of the battlefield at large. That will either sound great, or be a big indication that it's not for you.)

  15. That last Splatfest went to the Marshmallows. Another loss for me, as i sided with the Hot Dogs.


    So i am going to say that i have, broadly, had increasingly few problems with Splatoon. I think most of what Nintendo is doing to the game is a step in the right direction, but i think the Urchin Underpass rework has kind of been a disaster and makes me super wary of any other big map reworks they have planned. The map is even more prone to stomps than before, and it has completely lost its simple, competitive flow.


    I still think Dynamo Rollers need to be nerfed.


    There's also been a lot of talk in around Splatoon's emerging community of teams getting organized and tournaments being planned. I'm very curious to see what "competitive" Splatoon would look like.





    After one Saturday where I think I (our team) won one or two of three dozen ranked matches, I was ready to throw this dumb game out the window. I don't know how to explain it except maybe I was really bad. Even still, though, at the C level, you wouldn't think one turd could drag down a whole team so effectively. And I'm not THAT bad - I had managed to climb to a B rank. Nothing crazy, but at least better than an empty fourth slot.


    Anyway, there's a great roundup of Splatoon stuff on Metafilter and I dove (sploosh) into some of those links and came back fresh for the latest Splatfest, which was pretty fun! The team-making system seems a bit bonkers - I (lvl 17) would routinely get paired with a lvl 6, maybe a lvl 20 and a 25, and our rag-tag crew would be put up against four mid-20s players. It was hard to make sense of. But I grinded away at that Splatfest level and at a few clothes options and really improved my navigation and level-knowledge skills. I still can't aim at opponents to save my life, but that's less important in Turf War than in ranked matches, I guess.


    Player level really doesn't mean anything, It just tells you roughly how much they've played, not how good they are.


    As for the repeated losses in ranked, and especially in the case of ranked where people have to at least kind of know what they're doing to get as far as a B rank, i think it just shows how much Splatoon is a design built to reward coordination and teamwork, while not really doing anything to facilitate it. I tend towards feeling that Nintendo made the right choice in not having voice chat, especially having just played a few particularly toxic matches of Dota 2, but they at least needed a more diverse array of pings and barks to allow people to communicate with eachother. If your team isn't gelling, if they aren't just innately all on the same page, it's just not going to happen, that win isn't going to happen.

    It's not hopeless though, you can help things along by acknowledging that you're part of a team and setting out to actively try to be less of a lone wolf. Try to watch your teammate's back, coordinate fire with them, go for flanking maneuvers, create opportunities for them to escape or approach with explosives and covering fire. Or even just persistently harass the objectives, you don't always need decisive plays and you don't need to be the hero, momentum is real. Constantly contest the hill in splat zone from a safe vantage point or keep the tower pushed in tower control. (Dive up on that thing, back off for safety, go climb back on it. Keep moving, but keep it pushed until friends show back up to help.) You might end up with a bad KDR, but you might also still be the one that won the match.


    Also, i encourage giving squad battles a shot if you can get some friends on an external voice chat channel. Chaining supers during a tower push is the most amazingly awful thing you can do to somebody in Splatoon. Do it, you'll feel great.

  16. So i sort of mostly like Grey Goo.

    I really liked what Petroglyph was trying to do with that game and i played a bunch of it when it came out, but the game had some pretty aggravating issues with balance and some pretty fucked performance issues where people experienced varying degrees of sluggish performance approaching almost completely unplayable, and on PC's well above the recommended specs, it's important to note. Everybody i talked to about the game felt it wasn't running as well as it should. It was also missing a sizable number of promised features and there were some other small issues, like the skirmish AI being pretty lame at release. It was a game i couldn't really recommend, it was a pretty deeply flawed product at the time, but i really didn't want to dismiss it out of hand. I waited to see if they would fix the issues and sort of just forgot about it after a while.

    Seeing several big updates get pulled down recently prompted me to load the game back up and see how its come along, and i've found that it runs much better - though perhaps still not where it seems like it should be -  and has seen some pretty comprehensive balance tweaks, though the game still feels recognizable as what i had played initially. There's also a ton of new multiplayer maps, match replays, much improved skirmish AI and... A paid campaign DLC that was apparently given to me for free at some point, i'm assuming because i bought the game around release. I looked into it and there was apparently a window where people could grab it for free, but i didn't do that, so i don't know what's up. Hey though, more is good, the campaign in that game was actually really enjoyable, it has some really elaborate and very challenging missions. (Emphasis on challenging, you will likely replay these missions a few times each and have to think hard about what you need to do to beat them.)


    I like the game a lot, i think it's probably Petroglyph's best game, and i think it draws some pretty favorable comparisons to Westwood's original C&C games, though with a resource rate economy model and some really interesting factions, one of which kind of completely upends the more traditional elements of the game. (A faction with no structures that forces its opponents to be more proactive about scouting and harassment.)

    I've seen a lot of Starcraft-types respond pretty negatively to the game for downplaying micro for macro, along with some assertions that there's a low skill ceiling, and... I mean... That it emphasizes broader strategies is something i actually really like about it, and i'm not competitive enough to have anything to say about the skill ceiling. (I'm generally not super competitive with RTS's anymore, i just want to do some bot stomps or play against friends.)


    The game's mostly just been a ton of fun for me as an old RTS fan that has seen the genre drift further and further in directions i don't really care about.


    So Grey Goo's a :tup: as far as i'm concerned, but people are still pretty divided on it. Check it out during a sale, maybe. To me, it feels like a game that probably has an audience out there that would really appreciate it, but with a rough launch period and divided critical response, has failed to catch the attention of.


    I agree that the fourth episode brings the whole game down, but:
    I fully agree with this. I love the utterly incoherent theme in Quake. To me it doesn't matter that it's unintentionally great, if anything that makes it better. I don't like things that are weird just to be weird, but Quake's weirdness feels genuine to me. I don't think you could remake it, partially because the low fidelity graphics let them get away with things they wouldn't today, but also because the intentionality would ruin it. If you remade Deus Ex, what would you do with the weird stuff, like some of the horribly cheesy lines or racist voice acting? You can't intentionally remake it that way, but you can't remove it without making something that's not Deus Ex either.
    Anyway, I probably like Quake's theme more than I reasonably should. I think the game is good for other reasons too. A lot of early 3D games are interesting because level design conventions hadn't solidified yet, and Quake is a perfect example. Much of the level design is strange by today's standards, or even the standards set a few years later, but I think most of it is great. It's another area where the game feels different from anything else in a good way. It doesn't have the giant maze like key hunts of Doom II, the levels are much tighter. Like aoanla said above, Quake II doesn't hold up nearly as well and while I agree that the theme is part of it, I also think the level design in Q2 goes against everything that's was good about Quake.

    Also, Quake just still feels so damn good to play. The sound effects are spot on. There's a reason they still reused many of them (like the Quad Damage sound) for every subsequent game. It doesn't get much recognition anymore, but I think it's actually an accidental masterpiece. Love it.

    The huge disparity between what Quake was supposed to be and what it ended up being makes it feel like Id got in over their head and just sort of haphazardly slipped back into doing what they knew best, and amazingly it doesn't even really feel like the stitched together remnants of another game, it kind of feels like nothing. It's so abstract and odd and kind of wonderful for it, and probably far too accidental for Id to have been self-aware enough about it to realize it worked and that they could have run with the ambiguous theming as a strength for other games. Certainly, Quake 2 is much more Doom-like in its theme, just trading cyber demons for... Pretty much just the same thing. On the other hand though, you could probably say Quake 3 was again in line with the original, being a game that stripped away needless context to the point of having floating platforms in a black void.


    Anyways, I've been playing more of it again, going through it on the hard difficulty, and the layouts tend towards cleverly cruel and are way more enjoyable than the normal playthrough i used to ease myself back into the game. The enemy layouts in hard just seem like they mesh with the levels far better, because instead of a persistent low-level challenge, the game takes you through some big peaks and valleys. It sets up a lot of situations where it feels like Id's trying to lull the person playing into a false sense of security before dumping them into a really horrible situation.

    Still going to say the fourth episode is a weirdly incongruous and wildly uneven set of levels though. I don't think that ever really registered with me as a kid, but i obviously didn't play it as much as the other episodes given how little of it i was able to remember.

  17. I played this, i... mostly like it? Yeah, i like it. It's a cool thing.

    The puzzling is very awkward, both the mini-game and the tasks given to you in and around the hut, but it's beautiful and full of extremely cool world-building, and for the price being asked, i think that's probably enough.

    The ending is definitely not cool though, It kind of comes out of nowhere and sort of tosses everything else its done out the window and leaves you with an ambiguous question that seems to have some pretty lame answers.

  18. So they added four new battle themes, they're all pretty great.


    The new weapons are super interesting and very different, they're going to create some weird new dynamics in the meta, i think. The paint bucket is proving to be a real asshole to fight against, especially. It seemingly suffers no damage penalty during fall-off at max range, so it has a massive advantage with higher elevations or when firing over obstacles. The splatling gun, on the other hand, follows the charger archetype relatively closely, but with a burst of weapons fire instead of a single shot. Terrific range and accuracy, and you retain a good deal of movement speed while charging and firing. (Longer charges make for longer bursts of weapons fire, naturally.)


    Played a few hours in the doubles pool for squad battles and made pretty steady progress in ranking. Death to the team lottery!


    Saw an inkling with a branded Famitsu costume and got myself the hat from the Ika Musume set.


    I hate, hate, hate the redesigned Urchin Underpass. It's way too extensive of an overhaul, it doesn't feel like the same map at all. They took a straightforward and fiercely competitive map and made it wildly convoluted with tons of messy obstructions and elevation changes. Maybe my mind will be changed with further play, but where i'm standing, i think they've ruined one of the best maps in the game.

  19. Halo Wars was absolutely a blast, very excited to see that it's getting a sequel. I hope they keep to the formula Ensemble established, It was fantastic fun having a streamlined, old-school RTS with modern matchmaking. It's a blissfully back-to-basics design with an appropriately modern makeover.

  20. Oh wow. My immediate reaction upon seeing the thread title was stage one of Ikaruga, it's utterly perfect. A microcosm of simple and effective game design. I played little else for months, just gradually getting better at chaining, more confident about flitting in between tiny wee spaces, learning to absorb bullets for as long as possible before destroying enemies. And for no reason other than to see my score improve. I've never really been a shmup guy and no other game has made me obsessively chase a score like that but I have very fond memories of it and would rank it amongst my all-time top ten despite never having got past stage three on one credit.


    For another Treasure shmup, i love, love, love what they did with Gradius V:



    This level always stood out to me as an especially cool and inventive stage.


    if you're curious, the asteroid stage is another standout, especially its bossfight.

  21. I was walking home today and saw this! I guess it's an official thing they're doing across Canada on specific days:






    I heard that they were doing those in the US, but i hadn't heard that it was happening in Canada too.

    Also: The major august update will apparently bring with it more balance updates.

    So right now, all of the supers take 180 terrain points to become active. After the upcoming update, the killer wail will require 160, the echolocator will require 200, and the inkzooka will require 220. I agree with the killer wail buff and the considerable inkzooka nerf, but i'm not sure about the echolocator, i don't think it deserves that nerf. It's very good, but i'd argue that many of the other supers are still way more significant. The inkzooka had it coming though, i think that thing is the reason that the tentatek splattershot is one of the most dominant weapons in the game. (This might inadvertently make the E-Liter 3k and the Dynamo Rollers even more dominant.)


    Also, apparently special charge up and tenacity both have not been functioning correctly, so that's being fixed. I'm very curious to see if special charge up will seem as significant after the update. (It wasn't calculating properly, i guess.) Splash Wall and Inkstrike are also receiving minor fixes.


    A large number of the maps are being retooled for their gametype variants, the blocks and grates that appear to shuffle things around for each mode, but urchin underpass is being significantly reworked as a matter of level geoemetry, and that is a move i think is a super weird precedent and highly unnecessary. (They're opening up all the choke points, expanding the sniper nests, and adding more cover in the map center.) Urchin Underpass has its detractors, but it's by and large one of the more well liked maps in the game. It's nowhere near as controversial as Port Mackerel has been, why isn't that being retooled?

  22. I went into Splatoon as someone who never played a lot of shooters and thus don't really know much about the finer details of tactics in such games. But, I actually saw Splatoon a little as a Lords Management game in third person, on a very micro scale. You've got 30 seconds of a laning phase where you push out three lanes (most maps quite distinctly have three lanes from the starting area), a few skirmishes near the centre, then from there you receive your ulti and team fights begin to happen. The principles of Lords Management games such as not overextending still apply as you said, and you can even TP in Splatoon, which usually isn't a thing in shooters, but is a staple in Lords Management. The different weapon loadouts are also suited to carry roles (high focus on splatting, e.g. seeker, inkzooka and killer wail) and support roles (e.g. squid beakon, splash wall, echolocator).


    One thing I'd like to mention as sort of an addition to the general tips to players you've listed and also relevant to 2v1 scenarios: something that you can do when you are in a 2v1 situation in Splatoon is to shoot at your ally if they are under fire, and you are out of range of the enemy. Standing in enemy ink makes you take residual damage, and enemy fire sprays ink all around you, making it hard to escape. Shooting at your ally gives them a path of your colour ink for them to retreat through quickly, allowing you both to re-position safely, and reduces the residual damage they take from standing in the enemy ink.


    I have actually said the words "Splatoon is basically Dota" to a friend as shorthand for how matches play out, i agree with all the odd parallels you're pointing out here. I tend to equate fighting on controlled ground as being akin to fighting under a friendly tower or near a friendly creep wave. Speaking practically, i'm not immediately sure there's a whole lot to take from it in terms of strategy and tactics, but they're fun comparisons to make. That said, in turf war, one of the best responses to a team with dangerous amounts of momentum is to play out something akin to a split push, and i've definitely become very wary of that point in every match where everybody's getting their supers online for the first time, because whoever gets the upper hand on that initial exchange of supers is likely going to control the pace for a large portion of the match.


    As for that second thing... I feel like i've probably accomplished that as a general result of how i play, whenever i go into a fight i try to give myself as much ground as i possibly can, and that usually ends up giving whoever's already there more safe ground as well, but i've never actually considered purposefully laying down an escape option for an ally. I guess because i can't really communicate to them that's what i'm doing, but i know i'd love to have somebody do that for me, and i think i'll probably start doing that for teammates.


    Is the general consensus that the motion controls are the way to play? I didn't use them for a while, but i gave them another shot and after that I never looked back, its such a good idea. Feels great and adds precision by having both fine and coarse horizontal aim.


    I can't imagine playing this game without the motion control, there isn't really any aim sticky going on with dual analog as far as i can tell, and you need precision for the shooters and the chargers. You also need the motion control for bunny hopping hijinx as well, which is very common in the higher ranks.


    e: also, wrt buffs, the most important consideration for me with the clothing is how it looks, not its base buff. Fashion squids.


    I've gone as far as choosing clothing based on brand as well... So i can have better odds for getting what i want when i reroll. (Brands weight clothing towards certain sub skill rolls!)

  23. Gah! One bad roll and my whole plan just got ruined. The only way i'll be able to feasibly reroll this gear into something i want to use is with the rewards from a splatfest, but there's none on the horizon.

    Anyways, I'm also B+ right now, kind of stuck in limbo there.

    I'd like to say that i feel like i should be in the A ranks, but at least in 1v1 fights, i feel like i'm plateauing. (It's those damn dynamo rollers, i swear that's all it is!) It's hard to really know though, it's hard to know when you're so subject to the whims of your teammates. The teammate lottery is easily the part of this game i hate the most, being forced into a solo queue ranked mode with no control over who's watching your back. Very rare is the game where i feel like i have a team that understands any kind of coordinated tactics.


    You know, i want to believe that nobody here needs to hear things like this, but i'm going to throw out some tips anyways:


    Like, hey, in tower mode, i know people don't want to stay on the tower when their team has collapsed around them, it's a dangerous position and all that, but just... just try to ping it every couple seconds, just swim up there and touch it and back off again. Try to keep the ground around it painted as well as you can to give yourself space to work. Keep it pushed until your team can come back and be a defensive bulwark for whoever wants to sit up top.


    In splatzones, one of the best things you can do is persistently and aggravatingly contest a hill from a safe vantage point. You don't need to seek out kills, you need to just keep the hill owned or contested. Your opponents will overextend while trying to push you away from the hill, and it will give you and your teammates plenty of opportunities to shut them down as they give up a safe posture.


    You know, and in all modes, watch your map, have map awareness, look out for the tell-tale path of ink that reveals somebody trying to flank you.


    And like, here's some kind of Halo 101 stuff that i think is variously applicable in Splatoon: My golden rule playing Halo was "don't chase" because there is never not an ambush lying in wait for you, every corner is a trap. I used to play team doubles a lot, and the rule of the day was to coordinate fire on one target to remove one of the opponents quickly and turn the dynamic into a nearly impossible 2v1 for the remainder. In response to exchanges like this, the person taking fire generally wants to take a few steps back and play a little more defensively, while the person not taking fire can take up a more aggressive posture. You would switch roles with your partner accordingly, whoever is taking fire backs off. The idea is that the person who is injured will be a highly tempting target that their opponents will want to chase after, and that invariably ends with them overextending and getting flanked and killed by the injured person's ally.


    It doesn't work completely for Splatoon, because the objective is never just to get more kills, there's always some piece of the environment that you need to control, but a lot of the principles hold true. Overextending into enemy terrain puts you at a terrible disadvantage with severely restricted movement and potential ambushes literally all around you, but in Splatoon, you have to put yourself in those situations to win. So you try to provoke a response by poking and prodding at the various corners of the map as you move forward, you try to be aware of those dangerous sightlines that you can be attacked at range from, and when you find a fight, it's super nice to have somebody to step in and cover you as you wind back towards more advantageous footing. (You know, I would even equate hiding in ink with moving slowly to evade motion detection in Halo, some of that stuff even feels similar to me. Edit: It occurred to me later that i've completely ignored how Halo's own map control dynamics, the fight for power weapon spawns, similarly forces you into risky positions and confrontations with enemies, so there's probably even less of a difference than i'm asserting here.)

    It's obviously on the whole a very different game, but the primary point i'm striving for is that i think there are some tremendously good shooter fundamentals in Splatoon, and i'm just itching for the day i'll be able to get into a coordinated party playlist for ranked.


    Hey, but who knows? Maybe ranked parties will be a total shit show.

  24. I can't take credit for all of it, a lot of it is informed by information gathered by a very active community of Splatoon players out on the internet in various places, but i do have around a half-dozen post-it notes with various original bits of research and scribbles on them. Heh.


    I have all of the available weapons and have amassed a nearly complete collection of the gear currently in the game, and i've also played enough to get some sub skills onto all of them, so it's been pretty easy to mix and match things to poke around for interesting thresholds.


    As for quick respawn, i thought it over and what i was saying didn't seem right, so i went and double checked it myself in a game just now. I was operating on the assumption that the default spawn timer was 10 seconds, but it's around 5-6. One quick respawn main drops it to around 3-4. So it's actually saving you something like 12 seconds on six deaths, which is still pretty okay, but i'm second guessing its place in my build now.