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Posts posted by 0kelvin

  1. I was researching some material to add to my level design site when I stumbled upon a curious condition. Some people are unable to memorize routes and get lost. While I was reading about level design I've accidentaly found about a condition that leaves a person unable to memorize a route. Level design has many sub-areas and one of them is giving the player directions. In some games the level design is poor and the player is lost with no clear indication of where to go. I've found out that the same can happen in real life and in some extreme cases it can be disorienting for a person to go to the bathroom in a school. They just can't memorize the route from class to bathroom and from bathroom to class.

    In Shadow Warrior 2013 they made the mistake of putting strong lights in dead ends or in the background, missguiding the player. In Alan Wake it's the opposite, light is very well used and you can trust light to guide yourself. It seems that some people are unable to recognize clues to follow a path. That or they have memorie issues that prevent them from memorizing a map.


  2. I wasn't suggesting self-diagnose. I was saying that reading about emotions and how they relate to mental health. The diseases are often missunderstood because ppl have missconceptions and understanding the missconception helps to have a better understanding of emotions in general.

    Everyone can have obsessions, lack of focus, bad mood, bad days, etc. They are naturally occuring in most cases. Diseases happen when those are in extreme levels, both high or low.

  3. One thing that you can do is follow podcasts or read about specific things such as:

    - Ego defense mechanisms
    - Emotions from the point of view of neuroscientists

    OCD, ADHD, Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia. If you go beyond the lists of symptoms and look for environmental causes you are likely to find one or more little details that may sound familiar to you.

  4. Played half of Wolfenstein and then dropped it. The levels are great and it has some Bioshock vibes due its design. It's semi open world with a city that you can freely go from one area to another, with loadins due to RAM restrictions at the time. The supernatural powers seem to be inspired by Jedi Knight 2, they work the same way. Except that you recharge at specific spots that are everywhere. The Black sun dimension is more or less the same idea used in Prey's spirit walk. I'd say that Wolfenstein is Prey 2006 with everything wrong done right. At least in terms of level design, game mechanics and a plot that isn't some random sh.... pulled from one's ass.

    The bad side about Wolfenstein is that it's repetitive. The same nazis from start to finish. It gets boring fast.

    The good side are the levels. Whoever made the hospital and the castle are very good. The level design does guide the player in the right direction.

    I was going to try RTCW but I decided to not to. I just watched the gameplay and the game is exactly the same old wolfenstein 3D with newer tech. The level design looks good but plays bad. Whoever was playing it spent 50% of the time lost in the levels and shooting at things that do nothing.

  5. Reordered the site now as follows:

    Readability and contrast

    Good examples
    Excess / Lack

    Pointing out paths

    Absence of landmarks
    Paths that are properly highlighted
    Paths that aren't properly highlighted

    Challanges and obstacles

    Randomness (this page contains no screenshots, it's a rant about how excessive randomness as in Path of Exile leads to frustration)
    Good challenges
    Challenges that are badly presented

    Architecture and design

    Form and functions that are non recognizable
    Lack of coherence
    Examples of nonsensical design choices
    Exploring the environment
    Good examples of coherence
    Problems with collision


    Good examples
    Bad examples

    Long essays on main category page. Screenshots and comments on subpages.


  6. So I wrote 10 pages and plan to translate to english later. Now I have to do some cleaning up and choose a better structure for the text. I didn't wrote much, it's mostly screenshots and commentary. Currently it is as follows:

    - Readability and contrast. I choose FEAR 2, Diablo 2, Path of Exile, Prey 2006, a map of mine and Unreal Tournament's Outpost 23 to talk about how having too much / little contrast is a bad thing.

    - Poorly highlighted paths. I choose Shadow Warrior, Unreal Tournament 1, Jedi Knight 1, Prey 2006, as examples of paths that the player have a hard time finding.

    - Well highlighted paths. Max Payne 1, Alan Wake, Jedi Knight 2, Shadow Warrior, as examples of paths are are clearly visible nad the player can easly follow.

    - Bad puzzles. Prey 2006 is a lesson on how to make puzzles that are both too easy and too confuse because the player have no idea of what to do.

    - Good puzzles. Prey 2006 and Jedi Knight 2. Interestnly, the ideas in Prey 2006 are creative. It's the execution of the puzzles that is poor.

    - Exploration. Doom SIGIL, Bioshock Infinite and Alan Wake as examples of what you can do to engage the player to explore. In the case of Bioshock I criticized how they place a locked chest in one place and the key very far away in a way that forces you to backtrack a long journey for little gain.

    - Landmarks. Discovery Channel, doom 1993, Alan Wake and Jedi Knight 2 as examples of how landmarks are a good thing.

    - Lack of landmarks. UT1 and GoldenEye, as examples of how a map with no landmarks at all, assymetric design and the same lights and textures reused everywhere create a map that is very hard to navigate.

    - Coherence and cohesion. I use Shadow Warrior and Prey 2006 as examples of how things in the game world are out of place or lack any logic behind it.

    - Form and function. I use Prey 2006 as an example of objects that you just can't tell what they are and levels that you can't tell where you are. It's just nonsense. That and how you have to make good use of the mechanics that you have. For ex: in the same space you have a regular bridge to cross and an anti-grav bridge that makes you corss the same chasm walking upside down.

  7. After reading the comments @Minos made about Resident Evil 2's lighting in his blog I decided to write about that too.

    Prey 2006 was such a bad experience in terms of leveldesign that I'm taking it as a lesson. They clearly made this game with no sense of direction at all. They place lights on doors that are so small and so weak that you can barely notice them. Even worse, they place strong lights on things that serve no purpose at all. They just thought that it looks cool and that's it. You are constantly driven in the wrong direction because the strong lights are leading to nowhere.

  8. I'm playing John Romero's Sigil. Things that I noticed:

    - Romero knows how to make the game hard. It's not quantity of monsters, but quality. It's the placement combined with the leveldesign that makes it hard.

    - The music perfectly matches doom

    - There are clever tricks such as presenting the player with a cyberdemon but you don't have enough ammo or weapons to kill it. What do you do? if you look closely there is another way to frag it that doesn't require weapons at all.

    - The secrets are well hidden. It's never obvious.

    - Romero really liked the hell's theme. Each map has a sense of being a living nightmare and there are scary moments

    - Doom does not render true 3D space but the levels are designed in a way that you have heights and you can freely explore the locations in a non linear way.

    - There is a steady player's progression. There are mechanics that once you learn it, the same procedure happens in the next levels.

    - Sometimes Romero places a deco representing death and there is some ammo next to it. A few steps further and there is a sharp turn. It's not just random placement or deco that is just that, a deco. It's a warning sing, very subtle indeed.

  9. "This does not bode well, for it confirms my darkest fears. While I did not allow myself to believe the Ancient Legends, I cannot deny them now. Perhaps the time has come to reveal who I am. My true name is Deckard Cain the Elder, and I am the last descendant of an Ancient Brotherhood that was dedicated to safeguarding the secrets of a timeless Evil. An Evil that quite obviously has now been released."

    Deckard Kain in Diablo 1.

    (I'm not making a joke)

  10. I decided to start writing about leveldesign. The idea came after so many maps that I made for unreal and being frustrated by how bad the levels in Prey 2006 were. Shadow Warrior also has some confusing levels. F.E.A.R. in contrast has great leveldesign.


    In Prey 2006 they placed a slot machine with a pipe next to a door. I spent almost a minute trying to open that door. They placed the machine in a way that you are tempted to use it because it really feels as if the machine would unlock the door.

  11. I played the first up to level 7. Having to fight horde after horde is tiring and boring.

    The second game I read some negative reviews in steam and decided to skip it.

    The third game seems to be in the right direction except for their art. They are relying on oversaturated graphics for some reason. Compare it to Doom / Doom Eternal, SW3's lighting and colors are pushed in a way that makes the screen hard to focus on the important things.

  12. I'm playing bioshock 2's Minerva's Den. The storyline is better than bioshock 2. But bioshock game is such an unstable game, it crashes way too often. In infinite the game would almost crash, minimizing itself and pausing for no reason. Right now bioshock 2 crashed and refuses to open, something is corrupted.

    Levine made a self contained game in bioshock 1. The storyline ends there. Columbia is also self contained. But Columbia suffered from a creativity crisis somehow. The last levels are all at night, with a thunderstorm, snow and the only explanation for it is that you crossed into another dimension. That ghost boss and the white boys are clearly a throwback to Rapture City. They even placed bath tubes in that dark research lab, mimicking Rapture's setting.

    Finished Burial at Sea and they forcibly connected both bioshock's worlds for no reason. It creates a paradox where you can't tell which city came first.

    For the next game they should keep upgrades, powers and weapons. But make the weapons and the powers meaningful, with tech that is part of the game's world and is required in different scenarios. In infinite you could skip almost all powers and weapons due to their redundant nature.

  13. Just deleted Prey. This game is the most stupid FPS game ever. Nothing in it makes sense. The leveldesign, the plot, the enemies, the powers, the weapons, everything in this game is completely nonsense. It feels as if they stitched together unused ideas from quake and duke nukem. Then they made some levels that are clearly inspired by the Independence Day movie.

    Why did they ever made it? The gravity trick and the portals are cool but that's all about this game. The sole puzzle that had some creativity in it was the cube one. Everything else is illogical. No single level in this game has a sense of being belivable, it's just a series of constructions that scream hollywood movies.

  14. I played the DLC and I must say, the alternate reality Rapture City surpass Columbia. They brought back the survival horror feeling from the first bioshock and perfected the leveldesign.

    The way they link Columbia to Rapture is about the chicken and the egg problem. Which one came first? With multiple universes that do not share a single timeline it's impossible to know. That literally creates an infinite loop with no beginning or end. That's why I think bioshock 4 would have a hard time sticking to the infinite's multiverse. It can be a universe in its own, but at the same time I'd be bound to Elizabeth's timeline in one way or another. The easiest solution is just to leave Elizabeth behind.

    Elizabeth's power was wasted on infinite. In Max Payne 2 there were levels that you would see the same plot from Mona's perspective. They lost the window to explore Elizabeth in more creative ways, such as using alternate realities to bypass security for instance. They nearly did that in the DLC when Eliabeth opens up a tear for you to grab the winter plasmid from another reality.

  15. If what Elizabeth says about constants is taken to the next level, a further bioshock game would have a villain that would naturally seek the power to rewrite reality or the power to control the outcome of all choices made across the multiverse.

    The quantum experiment that leads to the portals to other universes is a closed loop. The villain himself is what caused the loop in the first place. It's the villain that goes on searching multiple universes for his goal that causes his own demise because he can't forsee all possible futures. If they erase the Lutece from ever existing the multiverse is never explored in the first place. In that case the Lutece scientist is the ultimate villain for creating the loop in which all timelines exist. In bioshock universes' loop there is always a man, a city and a lighthouse. There is always the villain who creates the city, the hero that explores the city and the lighthouse that connects all universes. In all universes there are constants, yet in some versions the hero is successful and in others he isn't.

    Marvel's Avengers solves the grandfather paradox by branching the timeline. Preventing yourself from being born in the past does not erase yourself, rather it branches the timeline. In bioshock's multiverse theory that's not the case as the finale shows that commiting suicide does erase already existing universes.


    I can agree with Elizabeth being a way to make the game less frustrating and more seamless. It's a new take on traditional saves. You aren't forced to rewind and try again like Prince of Persia Sands of Time for instance. The way the player is brought back also ties in that game's universe. One idea that I just had is having Elizabeth auto pickup all consumables for you.

    About Levine, maybe he has great skills in storytelling but poor management skills. I have a feeling that bioshock 3 changed the gameplay in many ways due to the publisher's intervention.

  16. I have to say that Bioshock infinite does not live up to its expectations. The universe that they created is vast and can be reused infinitely, as the name implies. But they made many changes to the gameplay that dumbed down the game.

    Elizabeth recharges the player for free, which makes the game way too easy. The powers are way too good. I finished the game with lightning alone because it's overpowered. They forced the player to carry two weapons at most, which is a console oriented thing. The lack of different ammo types for each weapon and all powers being bought with cash further simplified the game.

    In bioshock 1 you are often left without ammo, health and eve. In infinite there is an overabundance of health, ammo and vigor. Thanks to Elizabeth recharging you through out the game. The enemies are much easier because they are dumb and can't do anything other than shoot at you. Their damage is also reduced from previous games. The big guys in bioshock infinite are way easier to kill than big daddies.

    On the other hand I really appreciate that Elizabeth is an interactive NPC with immunity to damage. Having her open locks is much better than playing puzzles. The idea of hacking isn't bad in the previous games, it's the repetitive nature of it that gets annoying over time. They could add some extra depth by having a supporting character with customizable powers / gears in the way Diablo 2 did. Or make a supporting character that acts as a mule, stocking health and goodies.

    If you compare Bioshock to Star Wars, in Star Wars the choice of light side vs dark side has much deeper implications. In bioshock infinite they removed the choice and there are no multiple endings. They imply that in the multiverse there is no such thing as freedom as there are constants that cannot be changed in any way. According to the theory, the villain is always paired with the hero and even though there are infinite universes, you always have one point that bifurcates in space-time in two different directions, meaning that you have closed loops where the only way to prevent the loop from ever happening is to stop it at its origin. It's the same idea used in DC's multiverse. In one universe superman is superman, in another he is the villain.

    If they make Bioshock 4 in another universe inside one of the multiple lighthouses, it makes the game less creative by putting the player inside an already known place where some universal rules are already known. If the hero commits suicide to prevent the birth of the villain, who is an alternate self in another universe, that would create a closed loop. Bioshock ends itself. Or at least, it ends the hero-villain loop in this case. There would still be infinitely many other universes where the same character is neither the hero nor the villain.

    For bioshock 4 they really need to balance out complexity vs simplicity. The gameplay in infinite was oversimplified, most of the skills, weapons and armor mean very little to the player. In fact some are completely useless. The soldiers in infinite did not feel part of the city, they didn't have the same sense of being residents as in Rapture's splicers and big daddies. The sky-lines and grappling that they made for infinite were there to add some hollywood-esque twists but at the same time you could skip them in battle if you didn't want to jump. Flying around like that added some eye-popping value but not that much in terms of gameplay.

    I would say that they really need to have auto pickup. In Diablo and path of exile it's a pain to pickup stuff from the ground. Bishock forces you to press twice, once to search, then again to pick up. Over time it strains your fingers.

  17. Surprisingly, Bioshock infinite added some twists that made the game more fun. They clearly designed this game to be played on consoles.

    The girl gives you some free money, ammo and vigor that helps a lot. There is also a shield that regenerates by itself. You no longer get stuck with no cash to buy health and eve.

    HAving the girl is much better than having to use a camera to level up some passive bonus skills.

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