Quick update. I was hoping to release beta 1 this week, but I have run into a number of issues, which I need to resolve before moving forward. I've hit the limits on pretty much everything in source; entity data, number of brushes, light data, water indices, texture indices... etc... The map is pretty near to where I want it to be, but I'm going to have to cut some of it out, or scale back my original ambition.
I was planning on including dynamic waves... but it looks like that's going to be too much of a tax on the engine considering I've hit the ceiling in almost every category. What saddens me is that the framerate is very good for what's included in the map. There are only a few spots where it drops (mainly near the wheelhouse, and the drop is not that severe). I'm getting a good 80-90 in busy areas to 150-225 in other areas.
I wanted to ask the community a few questions on what they prefer, relative to a few gameplay elements and some technical issues.
First, the file size of this map when it's complete is going to be pretty damn big, I'm not going to lie. It will likely top out (in its raw .bsp format) at around 125-135 mb (maybe 50-60mb zipped?). I wanted to know if you would be willing to wait to download a file size that large from a server. Even with fast DL, it might take a while to download. I suppose the alternative would be hoping that most download from a free-hosting website, so they don't have to wait in-game.
Second, I am contemplating adding a few sharks in the beginning part of the level. They wouldn't have AI, as I'm not really sure how to code them, but would function instead as moving obstacles to the smaller rafts/boats. I was thinking of having them swim patterns across the water before the canal entrance. If you were in a smaller boat and were to collide with a shark, the boat would break and you would be dumped into the water. I wouldn't make the challenge insanely hard, but you would have to pay careful attention before you got into the canal. The current speed for the pushable boats will be about 2-3x greater than in alpha 2. You wont have to do as much pushing to move it forward, just to steer it. The sharks would also instantly kill anyone who collides with their front side as well. What are your thoughts on this?
Third, beta 1 is considerably longer than alpha 2, both in scope and in time to traverse. It's physically a bigger level, and it takes longer to complete the objectives. Each area/section of the map has its own specific strategies and perils, becoming more severe as you get further into the map. That being said, there are no unfair 'gotcha' traps or instant-kill traps (aside from the sharks). Each trap gives you enough warning to react if you're paying attention, but is effective enough to be deadly in the hands of a skilled ZM. In some cases, several different traps may be used in cohesion to create a diversion while the ZM readies his actual strike.
I think that's it for now. Hopefully I can get these issues sorted out relatively quickly and have a version ready for testing. If you have any ideas or suggestions, reply here or message me. Critique, constructive criticism, and ideas are more than welcome. Thanks very much for reading.A few new screenshots:The Journal of Robert Fields: May 3rd, 1973.
There she stood in front of us; dead silent and dark. A stone's throw in distance, though we knew the cost to reach her.
2 nights on these wretched shoals. We're nearly out of fresh water, everyone is tired... May 4th, 1973.
We've finally managed to piece together a raft. Our only shot is to rig it with a motor and attempt to make landfall.
There isn't much time... the surf is starting to pick up, the wind is howling, the rain is driving.
I don't know what we'll find. It might be exactly what we ran away from...
(Someone was saying we're off the coast of North Carolina? I don't know for sure).
I'll write more when I know more...
Out of Character - In Color
I made a short video showcasing the environment, but the quality is pretty bad (it looked fine before I uploaded to youtube... must be something with the encoding. I'm not a master of video, I apologize). I thought I'd post it embedded here anyways, as well as post a link to vimeo where you can watch a better version of it. Both are in HD, the vimeo version appears to be better.
The map now has a dynamic soundscape which changes variably outdoors, and transitions to an indoor one when you go inside. I realize the environmental sounds of the alpha 2 version of diamond shoals were incredibly loud, so I've turned down the volume and created custom sounds which are less jarring and sound more natural. I've also added dynamic clouds and lightning to enhance the storm atmosphere.
A few things to note: The clouds and rain don't look quite right in the video, they look much better in game. The image is also quite pixelated and blocky, this due to encoding, and is not representative of how the map actually looks. I have displacement placeholders for the fruit at the fruit stand while I make custom models. The env_lightglow entities on the lighthouse keeper's house are far too bright, I'm going to knock them down about 3/4.
Map is about 75-80% complete at the moment.
Link to HD version at vimeo: http://vimeo.com/30289050