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[GoW] Embry Station - Beta now available


Serenius

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Since this map should be beta ready this week, I thought I'd stop spamming the WIP thread with updated images. This level is a survival horror "boss fight" level, and is a bit of a re-imagining of introducing the berserker from Gears of War 1.

The beta is now available for download at ModDB: http://www.moddb.com/games/gears-of-war/addons/the-liberation-of-ephyra-ch-1-embry-station

I learned a lot more about using the Unreal 3 editor making this map, like how to edit materials, creating cinematics with Matinee, streaming levels and scripting with streaming in mind, and even got some private tutoring to improve the lighting. I will post a gameplay video tomorrow night for those who want to see it but don't have GoW for the PC.

As always, I'd love to get candid and brutally honest feedback on areas that are lacking or look wrong, along with any commentary on how it plays from anyone who has a copy of the game. :)

I apologize in advance for the extra loading screen. I could not publish the map via cooking due to having "Editor only" assets as part of the map.

Starting area - Subway Platform:

Subway%20Platform%20v2.jpg

Hallway to station:

Hallway%20v2.JPG

Bottom floor of station:

Slaughter%20Room%20v2.JPG

Boss arena:

Boss%20Room%20v2.JPG

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

After looking at the playthrough-video, I think you picked the enemy with the most annoying combat sounds to build a scenario around :)

Had I known how polarized people were over berserkers, I might have picked a different type of boss. Live and learn I suppose. :lol:

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I don't have Gears of War installed at the moment so can't playtest this, but watched through the video. Gameplay wise things are pretty basic so I won't talk too much at that, it seems like what you are mainly going for here is the atmosphere. I will therefore comment more on that sort of thing.

At the moment events are way too obviously triggered. The light happens to randomly flicker off just as you pass underneath, that guy happens to run into your field of view and get attacked just as you pass the conveniently located grate. Obviously those things need to be triggered to happen at the right time, but they have a very staged feel.

To work out how those moments could emerge more naturally, lets look at the setting for the level. The subway has obviously been recently attacked, as demonstrated by the fact there are still survivors running around (well at least one until you see him get killed) and that fires are still burning in barrels. That being the case, the start of the level should be tense. You aren't exploring an abandoned tomb, you are stepping into a battle zone where an enemy could be behind any one of those pillars waiting for you.

Since that is the case, emphasize it. Add sounds of distant fighting in. Earth tremors as explosions rock the tunnels. At the moment the light going out gives nothing to the player other than showing you know how to use a trigger. Why has it gone out? If it is because the lighting is all faulty, then have other lights flickering on and off. If you want it to be a clear consequence of the players entrance to that area then work out a reason why. Is that area badly damaged and unstable? If so make that obvious in the architecture and when the player steps into that first doorway make it clear the light has gone out because the entire area is unstable and dangerous and you shouldn't really be moving through it if you value your life.

Alternatively alter the architecture so there is an inaccessible space above. An enemy spots your presence and in rushing out of that area to come and find you they knock the light out.

The same principle applies to seeing the human attacked from behind the grate. Why do you happen to be there at precisely the right moment to witness it? The two main options are that your presence causes it to happen, or that there is lots of that type of thing going on right now and you are witnessing just one incident of many.

Your presence causing it to happen is a harder one. Could be is the enemy who saw you earlier moving through that area to come to get you and chancing across the human hiding there? Or maybe you turn on some lights and that has the side effect of exposing him. Alternatively you could go the passive route, where you are just witnessing a random incident, which would stick out less if you already had the sounds of other distant fights going on in the background from the start of the level.

The boss fight area is boring. The one area of cover is in the middle of the room, but that is where you want to draw the beserker anyway. I would make the area slightly larger, have pillars around the perimeter, and the region under the skylight completely open. That way when fighting the beserker conventionally you have lots of cover, but to get the upper hand requires you to take a risk and lure him out into the central open area where you yourself are more exposed.

Just a few random thoughts.

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Holy awesome feedback, Batman. Thanks, Tron!

At the moment events are way too obviously triggered. The light happens to randomly flicker off just as you pass underneath, that guy happens to run into your field of view and get attacked just as you pass the conveniently located grate. Obviously those things need to be triggered to happen at the right time, but they have a very staged feel.

To work out how those moments could emerge more naturally, lets look at the setting for the level. The subway has obviously been recently attacked, as demonstrated by the fact there are still survivors running around (well at least one until you see him get killed) and that fires are still burning in barrels. That being the case, the start of the level should be tense. You aren't exploring an abandoned tomb, you are stepping into a battle zone where an enemy could be behind any one of those pillars waiting for you.

Since that is the case, emphasize it. Add sounds of distant fighting in. Earth tremors as explosions rock the tunnels. At the moment the light going out gives nothing to the player other than showing you know how to use a trigger. Why has it gone out? If it is because the lighting is all faulty, then have other lights flickering on and off. If you want it to be a clear consequence of the players entrance to that area then work out a reason why. Is that area badly damaged and unstable? If so make that obvious in the architecture and when the player steps into that first doorway make it clear the light has gone out because the entire area is unstable and dangerous and you shouldn't really be moving through it if you value your life.

Alternatively you could go the passive route, where you are just witnessing a random incident, which would stick out less if you already had the sounds of other distant fights going on in the background from the start of the level.

I love these ideas and can't really figure out why that never occurred to me previously. I've altered the route of the first room to help accommodate the sounds of distant fighting idea, slightly slow down the pacing, encourage players to explore the tracks for the first frag grenade pickup by having them run right by it, and not allow them to skip the newly revised dead stranded area portion of the platform. Additional coming changes in the diagram below.

Layout%20Revision.jpg

Screenshot of the newly destroyed hallway to help sell the unstable idea. I'll be adding in a mangled piece of metal dangling from the room and animated to swing slowly in Matinee to help further reinforce the idea.

Hallway-Destroyed.jpg

The boss fight area is boring. The one area of cover is in the middle of the room, but that is where you want to draw the beserker anyway. I would make the area slightly larger, have pillars around the perimeter, and the region under the skylight completely open. That way when fighting the beserker conventionally you have lots of cover, but to get the upper hand requires you to take a risk and lure him out into the central open area where you yourself are more exposed.

I tried a layout like this during the initial prototyping phase, and while it did give a better experience for the single berserker, it didn't work as well for the second encounter with two berserkers simultaneously. I'll try prototyping it out a little more to see if there's a workable solution to make the arena a little more exciting and tactical.

Just a few random thoughts.

And very much appreciated. I'm hoping the next release that incorporates this feedback is up to the quality on display by many of the other talented people here.

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Don't have the game installed either but watched the video and loved the atmosphere, good job on that one!

However, there was one thing I didn't like looking at... The cinematic in the 'boss room'. It is just too much imo... Zooming in, zooming out, panning/tilting around like crazy :P

I'd go for a subtler approach:

2:38 - 2:45 => Nice introduction of the room

2:45 - 2:50 => You rotate all the way back to the player and then back 180° to the berserker, that's too much...

You could've blended both a bit better, like at 2:45 instead of rotating to the player, let the player walk into the screen and hug the statue. It's not the main action of the scene and has too much emphasis.

That way you don't have to rotate all the way to the right again and you could just go for the berserker. Fixed!

2:50 - 2:55 => I see what you did there, the old western trick. But zooming in and doing that is weird. Normally this stuff goes after a cut, not the flying around stuff. If you must however, I suggest only going from the middle to upper body (after a 'flythrough').

2:55 - 2:58 => Awsome! Just... frigging awsome!

Then Aaaah what are you doing tilting too far back and back forth!

3:00 - 3:05 => Extra emphasis on the glass, satellite <> glass, get it? Get it? Nice to give away what the player has to do but a slightly slower and less further zoom could've worked as well!

Then tilting and zooming to the weapon, yeah it's needed... But try to blend both, it's robitic like now. If you hadn't zoomed in that far to the glass this also coul've been avoided to an extend.

So... While I'm no cinematic expert I think you pushed it a bit too far, you don't want players to get seasick! :P Extreme switching to focus points might work for short cinematics but this one is pretty long and there are a lot of focus points!

Did I say the atmosphere is awsome? It is!

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  • 5 months later...

Getting close to completion on the update for this map. Most of the improvements made were thanks to the helpful feedback provided here on Mapcore, so thankyouthankyouthankyou to everyone who provided input. HUGELY appreciate it. :)

Added a lot of detail, improved lighting and post-processing (0% desaturation!), completely redid cutscenes (and removed some), added & refined scripted events, and an additional enemy encounter (not zerkers).

Here are a few WIP screenshots of the progress made over the last few weeks of picking this back up.

NewIntroCutscene.jpg

NewHallway.jpg

NewTicketTerminal.jpg

NewEnemySpawn.jpg

NewArena.jpg

NewZerkerIntro1.jpg

NewZerkerIntro2.jpg

EndCutScene.jpg

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