[Release] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

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[Release] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby alexsa2015sa » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:05 am

Download link v 1.00
Korax Must Die Again is a new abridged episode for Hexen: Beyond Heretic with minimum of story involved.

You are expected to fight your way through endless hordes commanded by Korax to kill the Serpent Rider, once again. Exact details why and how still elude you.

Featuring:
- eight non-linear levels of endless ettin slaughter
- puzzles, puzzles, puzzles - many sidepuzzles
- not a single new monster, period
- a single borrowed texture of broken stained glass which (I think) can be credited to RockstarRaccoon. ...I was just too lazy to make that 5-minute effort texture myself, okay?

This is a beta release. I have alpha-tested the hub with all three classes, so most glaring bugs and HOMs should be fixed by now, and the Korax fight be smooth enough. Otherwise? Suffice to say Fighter sucks because Heresiarch is not well-designed for him to take on, Cleric sucks because you'll spend forever whacking ettins if you manage to run out of ammo and flasks, and Mage sucks because he always shoots and pain to balance around sapphire wand. Centaurs and Slaughtaurs are common, not because they're good enemies but because they are small and can walk narrow paths better.

Every level is quite large (4000x and more), but episodes still runs out much sooner than full Hexen experience. The starting hub level is, admittedly, awkwardly large even if you'll never need to explore it again. For most levels, puzzles are self-contained so that's a relief at least. Sidepuzzles on levels usually reward you with a krater, an icon or a weapon piece, so that you can assemble it mid-episode if you know where to look. The most difficult part is when you don't yet have your third weapon; search for it. The maps have droves of ambit incants so if you use a mod which enables them in singleplayer, you'll gather a lot; I designed episode for them to be necessary. There's five instances across the hub for each class, not every Final level is more linear than the most of the hub, it's still large with a murderous monster count of ~600 before you enter Korax mash legions. Have fun, and do remember that both Traductus and Menelkir can kill you near instantly.

The puzzles are, most of the time, self-explanatory; I do not think any mandatory puzzle demands you find some secret lever hidden who knows where (...apart from flooding oasis, it's a mess), and the few levers which don't net visible effect are marked with symbols blantantly hinting at their purpose (which are duplicated at places they affect). Pull all switches, press all buttons and it should work out okay.

Note: I purposefully ditched all and any effort to make a storyline beyond "KMDA". It's all show, no tell. Expect suddenly Heresiarch, suddenly Zedek, suddenly Traductus, suddenly Menelkir. There are several Death Wyverns and you can save a lot of mana by killing monsters with their splash... that is, if you have the patience to dodge for so long.

A few edge cases regarding unauthorised use of Speed Boots or jumping off your friend's head exist. You can skip some puzzles that way, I think I caught them all so it's all handled (the way I like it, not the "can't do that" way) but I can't be sure. A few cases when you're locked inside someplace might be not handled well for coop mode. Some plugs for stuff I should have removed might still remain behind.

Anyways: have fun playing beta and tell me what you liked about it, and what you didn't.
Download link v 1.00
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Last edited by alexsa2015sa on Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:23 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Joined: 24 Apr 2020

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:25 pm

Nice, thanks!

About the class where everything sucks:
Fighter is strong even against heresiarch, the hammer does big damage on him, Mage can combo a lot of enemies, the Sapphire wand is like a railgun who go through the enemies and Frost Shards can 2hit an Ettin with the close range effect, Arc of Death can 1shot any normal enemy if used well ect...
For Cleric, you can speedrun it before getting the Serpent Staff and use the flask+disc of repulsion combo.

I started to play it and the level design is cool but there is really too much health and armor items, it's impossible to die : x
We should really remove at least 80% of the health items and armor, Hexen need some challenges and Ettin are not dangerous even for the first weapon of the Cleric, there is one health or armor item every 3 meter...
Except that, it's nice,i liked the lava who become rock in the water and the amount of enemies sometimes, i'm at the swamp, i will continue it later :)

"Centaurs and Slaughtaurs are common, not because they're good enemies but because they are small and can walk narrow paths better.": Make the paths/corridors larger then?

EDIT: Swamp map difficulty balance is better and the fog puzzle is very cool! :)
I didnt find the hammer, i suppose i should have started with the other map? I will check it
Manhs
 
Joined: 08 Feb 2016

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby alexsa2015sa » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:40 am

Manhs wrote:Nice, thanks!
...
I started to play it and the level design is cool but there is really too much health and armor items, it's impossible to die : x


Ah well, that's why I released this beta: to have people tell me I am being dumb about something ;) Thank you for feedback!

It's maybe me getting too old for FPS - nowadays I can lose a bit health on single afrits as a vanilla mage by failing to dodge stupidly, so there's that. So yeah I suppose I could remove a bunch of stuff :)
Also - if you aren't playing at Hard difficulty, there is... indeed, a problem as I marked way too much stuff as low/igh difficulty-specific, items and monsters both.
It's also a problem because I've balanced the first level around my own mod based on beefing up some more (!!!) Wrath of Cronos because the old vanilla hexen was way too easy for me (as you said ettins are no threat, WoC has them threeshot you casually) and that certainly shows :) The initial draft of a slimy room on first map actually contained multiple slaughtaurs and centaurs (in a tiny room, while you only have 2nd weapon), and the timer on crushers was like half the release version - six seconds per switch or so, so I actually failed to do it even as vanilla mage ten times a row, so then I cut it back.
On the other hand, most of the maps have monster sets unique by class (e.g. Mire has brownies for fighter, for mage and for cleric mostly separate) whereas equipment pool is more set in stone, and then there's respawn scripts which take after Deathkings more, so it is probably better balanced for co-op walkthrough.

In my latest test the final level actually doesn't have enough ammo for the crowds in vanilla, I think even by plain numbers when I crunched these (I think I haven't added that much more ammo since? I've certainly upped spawns of ambushes). Like, I ran dry on most of the sections so I had to dip into kraters. Once again, some might be the issue of me wraithverging a single centaur every time stupidly. I'll be happy to confirm or disprove my theory on what's the root issue once you're done with entire hub!

P.S. The swamp level is actually the least populated of all, if I remember stats correctly. It also happens to be the one I would have hated with fiery passion if I wasn't one to design it so I know where everything is hidden ;)

Manhs wrote:I didnt find the hammer, i suppose i should have started with the other map? I will check it

Spoiler:

...actually, I've cut a lot of comments spoiling the hub from the readme file and description both, did I? I might have been wrong because they describe exactly the issue you describe.
alexsa2015sa
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2020

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:31 pm

Ah yeah, in WoC, the enemies are more agressive and dangerous yes.
I was playing it with difficulty 4/5 so no fast mode for the enemies.
Yeah, the stalkers can block you and all, but the puzzle with fog was original i think :)

EDIT: Forsaken Catacomb is pretty fun, nice maze, got the gem but i think i missed some stuff, apparently there is a door in the librairy, have to find to to go there, will come back in the swamp to finish it too.
EDIT2: Got the item at the librairy
Well, im playing with the fighter on difficulty 4/5 so i suppose a lot of health and mana is not too much for the 2 other class because there is a lot of strong enemies and it's very cool to fight them, hammer/axe are very powerful and don't cost too much mana. It could be harder for the other class so i suppose it's not a big problem if the first hub has too many items, people can come back to take it, the swamps are pretty dangerous with the amount of stalkers by exemple.
EDIT3: omg, all these puzzles stuff in the swamp, very challenging, i don't hate it, i found everything (the switchs, green planets and the red planet) but it was long 8-)

I will continue it later!

Found 2 problems about textures

One is just for a box: https://i.imgur.com/uQKtSPt.png
2nd is the switch texture who is not on the wall: https://i.imgur.com/Meg7a3h.png map: https://i.imgur.com/M9zcBVj.png

EDIT4: Serpent Oasis, the texture of the grid doesn't block us: https://i.imgur.com/YpcXEWV.png

I think you could remove some centaurs or replace them with Afrit, there is a lot of them and it could be boring for the Cleric to fight them, even for the Mage (architecture could delete the thunder of Arc of Death sometimes) and remove maybe some health items and a few mana items too but not so much i think.
The centaur are made to tank but if there is too much of them, people won't have so much fun.

Nice maps, i like the geometry, it was fun to use the disc of repulsion in the ice tower ^^
2 gems left!

EDIT5: This Wendigo is blocked in the ice map near the top: https://i.imgur.com/1ZyVesT.png
Manhs
 
Joined: 08 Feb 2016

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:35 am

Ok, i finished it! Close to find everything i think except the Rusty key of the last area. I think i had some gears but i will check it later x)

This part of the map when we find a key puzzle or a key, i think it need something to show where the player should search to escape:
https://i.imgur.com/apR0ECd.png

In "The Yawning Chasm", you can take directly the gem by jumping, Fighter without boots or Cleric/Mage with speed boots:
https://i.imgur.com/ZsC76xn.png

In the hub, when you go through the door by the map and not the hub, you can't use the door again from here:
https://i.imgur.com/Mann5vA.png

Same map, the Death Wyvern are too much in a high place, hard to hit them:
https://i.imgur.com/L1yvAon.png
But in a way, we can dodge them easily so it's not a big issue.

But with a texture in the lava: https://i.imgur.com/GSqLiBA.png
(i crouched to show the problem)

Death Wyvern can be blocked on a wall here:
https://i.imgur.com/ytJUeP5.png

Little texture problem, not a problem with rocks texture but here, it's a bit weird:
https://i.imgur.com/05Kie2Y.png

After beating the final boss, if you fall here and the platform come back here, you are stuck in this place:
https://i.imgur.com/GgQkP17.png

Overall, a very good expansion for me, who focus on geometry and complex puzzles/switchs stuff, items to find and we have the choice to do some puzzles to get items or just the gem.
Very vertical, i liked to walk everywhere to check stuff ^^
Items like torch are very useful here, which is a good thing because it's not so used in wads.

About balance, again, i think it's better to remove some centaurs here and here and some health/armor item but yeah, not so much maybe, you know what to do anyway :)
It was fun 8-)
Manhs
 
Joined: 08 Feb 2016

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby alexsa2015sa » Fri May 01, 2020 4:34 pm

Download link Beta2

A changelog for beta2:
Spoiler:


Some other problems I considered, rambling at night:
Spoiler:


Manhs wrote:Ok, i finished it! Close to find everything i think except the Rusty key of the last area. I think i had some gears but i will check it later x)

...

Overall, a very good expansion for me, who focus on geometry and complex puzzles/switchs stuff, items to find and we have the choice to do some puzzles to get items or just the gem.
Very vertical, i liked to walk everywhere to check stuff ^^
Items like torch are very useful here, which is a good thing because it's not so used in wads.

About balance, again, i think it's better to remove some centaurs here and here and some health/armor item but yeah, not so much maybe, you know what to do anyway :)
It was fun 8-)



Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for testing!
I've fixed these bugs you reported (and also some you did not heh).
Some comments on your comments:
- Gem taking is... well I thought the overhang should take care of that but I didn't take into account you can jump off the edge of the tower :) I expanded it some, I'll spend some time trying to figure if it's expanded enough but the direct line is blocked and if you can aircontrol your way around then I might as well just give up on it ;)
On that note, jumping from tower onto the cliff is legit. You do get a wyvern-in-your-face for that, after all.
- Lava levels were mismatched, yes. Now there shouldn't be such disrepancies
- On being platform-stranded: I guess final boss script triggered multiple times. I didn't have a failsafe there so pretty much anything non-stock Hexen could be the reason. There might be a few such issues with that across the hub, but I think nothing that important. ...Maybe, I should test Heresiarches.
- Rock texture being weird is intentional; it's meant to be broken. I changed it to sloped floor anyways.
- On centaurs: the Fighter class actually uses them as stand-in for other ranged types in most level. Mage and Cleric get more ranged enemies instead so they don't get borent, and at Serpent Oasis I drown the most in tunnels anyways :)

Anyways, with that out of the way once again, thanks for playing and tell me what you think:

Download link Beta2
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Joined: 24 Apr 2020

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Mon May 04, 2020 7:00 am

I need a little break, i will share the link in the facebook group of heretic & hexen and the discord if there can be some testers :wink:
Manhs
 
Joined: 08 Feb 2016

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby alexsa2015sa » Fri May 29, 2020 3:54 am

Donwload RC1 (current latest)
Good time of day to everyone!

Based on feedback (and my own confirmation of just *how* rusty I was at time of release) I've updated the entire hub. Broadly speaking changes are:
- redone Abode of Night, now with ghostly enemies and monster-passable pillars everywhere
- removed urns, flasks, ambits and kraters all over the place - healing is now less mobile
- extra monster spawns on nearby maps once you get the rubies
- removed mana from maps past the first two, to make you use kraters
- bugfixes at various points

Plans:
- make pre-final maps in hub even more difficult, somehow? Removing more mana and spawning more monsters? Taking away vials so you need stored flasks? Taking away late map flasks too? Some maps did hit the point when the monsters pretty much flood the tunnels, like Serpent Vale, and I don't see more pressure as more difficult rather than boring; there's only so much you can do without custom enemies without redoing it all from scratch.
- there are still very many porkalators: I hesitated to actually take away enough mana to make their use mandatory or reduce their amount.
- find a way to make Korax fight actually challenging but not impossible. If you finish all sidequests it's really not.
- adjust difficulty of hub map?

Anyways, feel free to play through the episode and just have fun.

Donwload RC1 (current latest)
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Joined: 24 Apr 2020

Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Fri May 29, 2020 9:47 am

Nice, i will play the version 1 for sure, thank you =)
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Re: [Beta] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby eharper256 » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:36 pm

Oh good, something else for me to try with Walpurgis; I'll give it a go as well.
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Author of Hexen: Walpurgis
 
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Re: [Release] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby alexsa2015sa » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:28 am

Download link v 1.00 - release

A few more bug fixes were committed, but all in all, I think I'm okay with how it currently plays, so I'm calling this a release version and moving on. I might get back to polish it later but that will happen later.

(It may be something about how I play, but during multiple playthrough I repeatedly stocked full flasks and many urns, only to proceed flushing them all into drain. Most kraters of might end up unused anwyays after a full clean of all levels, but, a coop playthrough should be merrier with all the respawn scripts producing a way to actually spend mana. Regardless, running out of mana is more annoying than challenging with densely packed crowds everywhere)

Anyways, thanks to everyone here for feedback on various issues!
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Re: [Release] Korax Must Die Again - a Hexen episode

Postby Manhs » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:36 am

Nice, thanks! :D
I will play it with the others class
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Joined: 08 Feb 2016


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