Darwinia: Enemy Within [Parts 1, 2, and 3...]

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Postby xander » Wed May 10, 2006 3:50 pm

*Sigh* xander fails at humour again... Oh, well. At any rate, you have a cute kid. What does his school think of the coloured hair? Where I work, most of the kids that come in with brightly dyed hair are sent home to re-dye it a more... natural colour. However, I work in the ghetto, and, even though it is an elementary school, gang violence is reasonably common. The school goes into "lockdown" about once a month because someone with a gun is running loose on or near campus. Yay for the ghetto!

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Postby trickfred » Wed May 10, 2006 3:59 pm

I asked the vice principal beforehand, and she said the school didn't have a problem with it. Each school in our district has their own dress codes, this one's pretty lax - one of the others doesn't even allow black lipstick. Odd. :/

It's not really a distraction in class thusfar, but the teacher says that most of the kids are in awe of him. :D

(Oh, and about the joke - I just didn't appreciate the implication that Icepick was schtupping my wife behind my back! ;D)
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Postby xander » Wed May 10, 2006 4:07 pm

trickfred wrote:(Oh, and about the joke - I just didn't appreciate the implication that Icepick was schtupping my wife behind my back! ;D)


I see. Let me clarify:

young != child of
young == as a kid

Thus, when I wrote that it was a "picture of a young Icepick," I meant that it was a picture of Icepick, taken many years ago.

As to the dress code, it is nice to know that there are reasonable policies about. I sort of feel that you should either implement uniforms (which I think would be a very good idea where I work), or you should not bother with a dress code, aside from issues of decency. Policies that fall in between tend to have too many grey areas (again, like where I work).

And it is good to have children be in awe of your child. Someday, he shall rule them all!

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Postby trickfred » Wed May 10, 2006 4:11 pm

I interpreted 'young Icepick' as '(a) young (of) Icepick'. No worries, I just really didn't want to seem like I was being a copycat. :D

(one of my quirks, I hate appearing like a 'jump on the bandwagon' type)
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Postby Major Cooke » Wed May 10, 2006 4:32 pm

You said you were shooting for release yesterday right? I was just curious as to how the updates were going...
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Postby trickfred » Wed May 10, 2006 4:33 pm

Major Cooke wrote:You said you were shooting for release yesterday right? I was just curious as to how the updates were going...


...Read back a few posts, on Page 16.

Honestly, kids today. Out of sight, out of mind. :D
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Postby Major Cooke » Wed May 10, 2006 4:48 pm

*SNAP* Well, nice kid anyways. Hope you can finish up, for I will want to beta test.
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EW I notes & observations

Postby ShepFan » Mon May 22, 2006 3:05 am

Hi trickfred,

I just finished EW I, which was the first mod I've ever tried. I already sent you an email about a crash, but now that I've finished, here are a few things I thought you might want to know.

First off, I'm running on a Mac, with Darwinia 1.4.2, and running your 1.4.2 EW I mod. Also, the mod was a lot of fun-- it was great to play in that world with different maps and objectives.

Second, you mentioned a year ago (in page 13 of this thread) that a lot of people complained about your mods. Aside from the crash, which may have nothing at all to do with the mod, this was very enjoyable, and my comments are largely to validate that what I saw was intended, and maybe one nitpicky thing that may or may not be worth considering. In general, that was a fantastic job!

OK, here goes...

Backdoor level: there was no control tower for the dish on the far plateau. Sent an Engineer to the dish, it found nothing. I spent 10-15 minutes flying around to find it in a nook or cranny, and found nothing. I suppose I was wasting my time, since the squaddies can't travel through dishes anyway. But I was hoping to pick up a few points for research.

Backdoor level: There was no message when that level's objectives were done (big "Objectives Completed", that is.) Dr. S's speech (backdoor_done_1) needs something ("Good Job") to let me know it's time to leave the level. I didn't know. I know there's the generic "Press ESC to leave this level...." but I didn't see that either.

I've read on the boards the differing opinions that mods do and do not save your status when leaving a level or quitting the game. EW I doesn't save when leaving a level, so I have to finish in one sitting. Not a problem, just a reality check.

Backdoor level: I could find no way to get squaddies across between the two plateaus. They are physically connected, so I tried a few paths across, but (unlike your earlier comments about the 1.2.2 patch) my squaddies couldn't climb what seemed like easy inclines, so getting up the plateau was not gonna happen. Obviously, I figured out a way to get squaddies over there, but I won't spoil it by mentioning how. I will say that no one even raised the issue in the 17 pages of discussion here.

Backdoor level: While traversing the narrow land and cliffs to the secondary control tower (forgot the name, sorry) a squaddie walked off cliff! It was funny, he kept travelling away as he fell. Probably by design, I've just never seen it happen! I should have checked to see if he died from the fall, but I didn't.

mp1138 level: At the start, Dr S seems to be done w/ intro speech, so I start playing. Then he continues his speech (mp1138_corruption1).

I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original, so I mention it in the hope of giving useful feedback. Ignore as needed... Dr S's exclamations ("Zounds!" "Great Caesar's Ghost!" "Good Gravy!") seem a bit out of character... How about "What's this?" "I don't believe this!" "What the..." and "This is impossible!" I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original.

That's it. Thanks for your forebearance, and your previous support here in the forums. You've helped me a lot, and I'm looking forward to EW II really soon, because EW I was a lot of fun.

-ShepFan
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby trickfred » Mon May 22, 2006 3:39 am

ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: there was no control tower for the dish on the far plateau.


By design. I didn't really see a reason to have one there.

ShepFan wrote:I suppose I was wasting my time, since the squaddies can't travel through dishes anyway.


Don't tell me you played the whole game without sending Squadies through a dish? I'm hoping I misinterpreted that, but in case I didn't, Squads can indeed go through dishes, the same way you'd send an Officer through one.

ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: There was no message when that level's objectives were done (big "Objectives Completed", that is.) Dr. S's speech (backdoor_done_1) needs something ("Good Job") to let me know it's time to leave the level. I didn't know. I know there's the generic "Press ESC to leave this level...." but I didn't see that either.


...Are you sure? I've played the mod a few hundred times (not exagerrating, testing racks up the playtime), and I'm sure I got the big "Objectives Completed" message properly in that level.

ShepFan wrote:EW I doesn't save when leaving a level, so I have to finish in one sitting. Not a problem, just a reality check.


Does too! Levels are saved when you take a Control Tower, and when you leave the level. As of Darwinia v1.3, Squadies and Engineers are also saved upon level exit. If you can provide me with screenshots to the contrary, I'd be interested to see them.

ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: I could find no way to get squaddies across between the two plateaus.


....You should have used the Dishes. Now I have to scour the level to close whatever alternate method you found! :D

ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: While traversing the narrow land and cliffs to the secondary control tower (forgot the name, sorry) a squaddie walked off cliff! It was funny, he kept travelling away as he fell. Probably by design, I've just never seen it happen! I should have checked to see if he died from the fall, but I didn't.


If by 'by design', you mean that the land was narrow, then yes, I meant for people to have to be careful there.

ShepFan wrote:mp1138 level: At the start, Dr S seems to be done w/ intro speech, so I start playing. Then he continues his speech (mp1138_corruption1).


...Okay, yeah. Not sure where you're going with that. Is that a complaint? It is as intended.

ShepFan wrote:I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original


As The_GoldFish designed Stricken Souls to be more in-line with what he wanted his Darwinia experience to be like, so have I done with Enemy Within. I enjoyed the original game, but felt it wasn't very 'story-interactive', so I've made Dr. S a bit chattier in spots, and made most of the levels play a bit more arcade-style, rather than the slow, methodical pace of the regular game levels. You're welcome to like my style or not, but all my mods will/do differ at least somewhat in play style to the original levels.

If all mods mirrored the original levels, then people would get bored with playing mods really quick. And get bored with making them even faster.

ShepFan wrote:Dr S's exclamations ("Zounds!" "Great Caesar's Ghost!" "Good Gravy!") seem a bit out of character... How about "What's this?" "I don't believe this!" "What the..." and "This is impossible!" I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original.


You're welcome to your opinion, but don't hold your breath for those lines to change. As I said above, you're welcome to like my design style or not, but my mods do differ from the original levels. And my interpretation of Sepulveda's character may certainly be different than yours.

ShepFan wrote:That's it. Thanks for your forebearance, and your previous support here in the forums. You've helped me a lot, and I'm looking forward to EW II really soon, because EW I was a lot of fun.


I appreciate the feedback, good or bad. Just try to keep in mind that my (and most) mods are trying to be slightly different than the original levels (otherwise, why bother making mods in the first place, right?), and you might find yourself enjoying them more.
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby daset » Mon May 22, 2006 4:05 am

ShepFan wrote:"Great Caesar's Ghost!"


Heh, that part of EW made me chuckle, just because it was so odd and unexpected. Leave it that way! :P
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby trickfred » Mon May 22, 2006 4:14 am

daset wrote:
ShepFan wrote:"Great Caesar's Ghost!"


Heh, that part of EW made me chuckle, just because it was so odd and unexpected. Leave it that way! :P


No worries, I intend to. :D

I see Sepulveda as quite incompetent. Sure, he's good at quiet research, coding and monitoring of the Darwinian's peaceful, and relatively uneventful lives. When all hell breaks loose in-game, his ineptitude is highlighted when he has to turn to you, a supposed hacker (and complete stranger/outsider), to help him fix the crisis - because he's rubbish at anything but coding and research.

I try to convey that ineptitude in EW, starting with showing his naive shock at every new development in EW 1, dovetailing into his complete failure to forsee the eventual [OMG - EW 2 Spoiler!], which leads to the utter chaos that is the [OMG - EW 3 Spoiler!] :D
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby ShepFan » Mon May 22, 2006 5:51 am

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: there was no control tower for the dish on the far plateau.


By design. I didn't really see a reason to have one there.


Hmmm. See a few quotes down, where you say, "....You should have used the Dishes." I couldn't activate the dish on this plateau without finding the control tower, so I couldn't send the squaddies though the Dishes to this far plateau.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:I suppose I was wasting my time, since the squaddies can't travel through dishes anyway.


Don't tell me you played the whole game without sending Squadies through a dish? I'm hoping I misinterpreted that, but in case I didn't, Squads can indeed go through dishes, the same way you'd send an Officer through one.


Ummmm... really? Yeah, I did play the original without sending squaddies through dishes. I always found a way to reprogram a control tower wherever I was trying to go. I've been through the original game four times now. Hunh. Why would one send a squad through a dish, when you can create a squad around the control tower at the destination? Are you pulling my leg? :)

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: There was no message when that level's objectives were done (big "Objectives Completed", that is.) Dr. S's speech (backdoor_done_1) needs something ("Good Job") to let me know it's time to leave the level. I didn't know. I know there's the generic "Press ESC to leave this level...." but I didn't see that either.


...Are you sure? I've played the mod a few hundred times (not exagerrating, testing racks up the playtime), and I'm sure I got the big "Objectives Completed" message properly in that level.


I'll be happy to try it again, and report back. I was waiting for it at the time, and I thought that my inability to find the control tower for the dish was the reason I never saw the message. When I looked at the objectives screen, they were all done, so I left and saw that a new level was waiting.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:EW I doesn't save when leaving a level, so I have to finish in one sitting. Not a problem, just a reality check.


Does too! Levels are saved when you take a Control Tower, and when you leave the level. As of Darwinia v1.3, Squadies and Engineers are also saved upon level exit. If you can provide me with screenshots to the contrary, I'd be interested to see them.


Maybe it's a Mac/Windows thing? After that crash I emailed you about, I had to start from the beginning, even though I was in the third level. After that, I specifically tested by starting MP1138, finishing the level, quitting, and re-running. When I came back, only MP1138 was visible inside the sphere, and I had to play it again. A screen shot of that will be easy to provide, but you'll have to take my word for it! :wink: Is there a specific screen shot that will be especially helpful?

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: I could find no way to get squaddies across between the two plateaus.


....You should have used the Dishes. Now I have to scour the level to close whatever alternate method you found! :D


I'm a little confused... Didn't you say that there was no control tower, by design, for the recieving dish on that level? See the first quote at the top of this msg. If you want, I'll PM you with the technique that worked for me. I'm not sure you need to close it, though, since it wasn't a cheat, it was a lot of careful, maybe even clever, work! Much harder than transporting a squad over! I thought it was a brilliant design to only leave one highly indirect, but possible way (with a lot of patience) of finishing the level.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: While traversing the narrow land and cliffs to the secondary control tower (forgot the name, sorry) a squaddie walked off cliff! It was funny, he kept travelling away as he fell. Probably by design, I've just never seen it happen! I should have checked to see if he died from the fall, but I didn't.


If by 'by design', you mean that the land was narrow, then yes, I meant for people to have to be careful there.


"By design" meant that I thought you did something special so a squaddie would plunge off the cliff like that. I've never seen it before, the outlying squaddie always seem to get stuck on the edges of dangerous things like cliffs and water. So, it was surprise to see one of them depart from the group and arc gracefully off the cliff, falling into the canyon below. Usually squaddies are logically linked together as a unit, so losing one off a cliff was a surprise.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:mp1138 level: At the start, Dr S seems to be done w/ intro speech, so I start playing. Then he continues his speech (mp1138_corruption1).


...Okay, yeah. Not sure where you're going with that. Is that a complaint? It is as intended.


Complaint? No. Just a reality check. It feels to me like it breaks the rhythm of the play. It seems Dr. S. is done talking, so I start the level by compiling and directing an Engineer, then suddenly Dr. S. breaks in to continue with the intro text, taking over control in mid-play. If you meant it that way, that's fine. I've never written a mod, so I don't feel qualified to criticize, only give feedback, which is free and to be freely ignored as needed.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Dr S's exclamations ("Zounds!" "Great Caesar's Ghost!" "Good Gravy!") seem a bit out of character... How about "What's this?" "I don't believe this!" "What the..." and "This is impossible!" I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original.


You're welcome to your opinion, but don't hold your breath for those lines to change. As I said above, you're welcome to like my design style or not, but my mods do differ from the original levels. And my interpretation of Sepulveda's character may certainly be different than yours.


That's cool. Like I said, it's free feedback, to do with what you will. As a geek and a software engineer and a guy who's fascinated genetic programming, I do see Dr. S. differently than you do. I think I identify with him a bit. I only mention my impressions in case you didn't intend him to be so awkward in his speaking. Since you see him as a recluse, and socially ungainly, and it was by conscious design, it makes sense to me now, and I take back my reservations about it.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:That's it. Thanks for your forebearance, and your previous support here in the forums. You've helped me a lot, and I'm looking forward to EW II really soon, because EW I was a lot of fun.


I appreciate the feedback, good or bad. Just try to keep in mind that my (and most) mods are trying to be slightly different than the original levels (otherwise, why bother making mods in the first place, right?), and you might find yourself enjoying them more.


I did enjoy it a lot, and it's great to discover new adventures in a world I'm familiar with and like to play in. I'm glad you're appreciative of the feedback--there's no other way to know how others perceive something. I can also understand that sometimes (as you said last June) it seems like no one's happy. I offer my perspective in the most helpful way I can. If you designed it that way, cool. I'm just glad that folks like you are putting out mods for the rest of us to enjoy!

Thanks,
-ShepFan
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby xander » Mon May 22, 2006 2:54 pm

ShepFan wrote:Hmmm. See a few quotes down, where you say, "....You should have used the Dishes." I couldn't activate the dish on this plateau without finding the control tower, so I couldn't send the squaddies though the Dishes to this far plateau.

...

Ummmm... really? Yeah, I did play the original without sending squaddies through dishes. I always found a way to reprogram a control tower wherever I was trying to go. I've been through the original game four times now. Hunh. Why would one send a squad through a dish, when you can create a squad around the control tower at the destination? Are you pulling my leg? :)

You do realise that you don't have to reprogram both radar dishes to make a connection, right? If you want to send units from dish A to dish B, then you only have to reprogram and aim dish A. There are a lot of mods that take advantage of this, either by not including a control tower on the receiving end, or by putting a lot of enemies around the control tower on the receiving end, making it quite difficult for engineers to reprogram it. And trust me, there are reasons you might want to send squads through dishes -- like when there are no control towers on the opposite end to create squaddies near.


ShepFan wrote:Maybe it's a Mac/Windows thing? After that crash I emailed you about, I had to start from the beginning, even though I was in the third level. After that, I specifically tested by starting MP1138, finishing the level, quitting, and re-running. When I came back, only MP1138 was visible inside the sphere, and I had to play it again. A screen shot of that will be easy to provide, but you'll have to take my word for it! :wink: Is there a specific screen shot that will be especially helpful?

No, it is not a Mac/Windows thing. I have played EW through several times, using several versions of Darwinia, and several versions of EW. I have never not seen that message. Have you completed all of the objectives for the level? You might want to check that you have completed all of the mission objectives, by bringing up the task manager (either [OPTION] or [TAB], depending upon the interface that you are using), and hitting the [right] or [down] (again, depending upon interface system -- icon based vs gesture based). If you see an imcomplete objective, click on it to get an explanation. My guess is that you have not yet grabbed the research cube in the valley.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Backdoor level: While traversing the narrow land and cliffs to the secondary control tower (forgot the name, sorry) a squaddie walked off cliff! It was funny, he kept travelling away as he fell. Probably by design, I've just never seen it happen! I should have checked to see if he died from the fall, but I didn't.


If by 'by design', you mean that the land was narrow, then yes, I meant for people to have to be careful there.


"By design" meant that I thought you did something special so a squaddie would plunge off the cliff like that. I've never seen it before, the outlying squaddie always seem to get stuck on the edges of dangerous things like cliffs and water. So, it was surprise to see one of them depart from the group and arc gracefully off the cliff, falling into the canyon below. Usually squaddies are logically linked together as a unit, so losing one off a cliff was a surprise.[/quote]
No, this is just the way that squaddies behave sometimes, if you are not careful. Also, what graphics settings are you using? If you have the landscape quality turned down a lot, the paths across the mesas will be narrower, and harder to navigate. Try turning your quality up a bit.

trickfred wrote:
ShepFan wrote:Dr S's exclamations ("Zounds!" "Great Caesar's Ghost!" "Good Gravy!") seem a bit out of character... How about "What's this?" "I don't believe this!" "What the..." and "This is impossible!" I know this is nitpicky, but it did feel different than the original.


You're welcome to your opinion, but don't hold your breath for those lines to change. As I said above, you're welcome to like my design style or not, but my mods do differ from the original levels. And my interpretation of Sepulveda's character may certainly be different than yours.


That's cool. Like I said, it's free feedback, to do with what you will. As a geek and a software engineer and a guy who's fascinated genetic programming, I do see Dr. S. differently than you do. I think I identify with him a bit. I only mention my impressions in case you didn't intend him to be so awkward in his speaking. Since you see him as a recluse, and socially ungainly, and it was by conscious design, it makes sense to me now, and I take back my reservations about it.[/quote]
It's funny. We all have our own impressions of Dr. S. I don't see him as incompetant, as trickfred does. I picked up on the anti-social aspects of his personality, both from the game, and from the "extras." I see Dr. S as very reclusive. I used that to create Insurrection, for which Icepick balled me out, because he saw Dr. S as something else entirely. I think that seeing other people's impressions of him is quite neat, but that's just me.

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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby martin » Mon May 22, 2006 3:36 pm

xander wrote:We all have our own impressions of Dr. S. I don't see him as incompetant, as trickfred does. I picked up on the anti-social aspects of his personality, both from the game, and from the "extras." I see Dr. S as very reclusive. I used that to create Insurrection, for which Icepick balled me out, because he saw Dr. S as something else entirely. I think that seeing other people's impressions of him is quite neat, but that's just me.

xander


I see him pretty much along the same lines as you xander, ie reclusive, but a genius when it comes to planning - however he's rubbish at defending or interacting with the darwinians, which is why he uses you to do so in TBM.
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Re: EW I notes & observations

Postby trickfred » Mon May 22, 2006 3:46 pm

martin wrote:I see him pretty much along the same lines as you xander, ie reclusive, but a genius when it comes to planning - however he's rubbish at defending or interacting with the darwinians, which is why he uses you to do so in TBM.


No, you don't pimp out your mods in every thread you post in at all!

Thanks xander - if the wife hadn't let me sleep in today, I probably would have posted just about everything you said. :D

And as for my opinion of Sepulveda - well, like I said, the very fact that he required your help in the original levels says to me that he's quite inept when it comes to military strategy, and making the quick, snap decisions sometimes necessary in the heat of battle (Obviously you were required to help though, playing the game would me much less fun if the roles were reversed, and you watched while he did everything). Sure, he says that he needs you to help out while he's doing other things, but I just saw that as a very weak attempt at covering up the fact that he knew he was incapable of handling this situation himself, and really didn't want to admit it.

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