[Hopefully final, BUMPED TO REL. #5!] Pagan

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[Hopefully final, BUMPED TO REL. #5!] Pagan

Postby rsl » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:13 pm

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BUMPED to release #5! The download link below still applies.

Special thanks to Ed the Bat and CorSair for their numerous contributions to the mod! :D
As usual, feel free to let me know if you liked it. :wink: I would really appreciate a comment on the IDGames archive - even if it's constructive criticism!

Also, if you haven't already, take a sneak peek at my old stuff. It's all been (silently) updated for all the time being, so you might find new bits here and there anyway... :idea:
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Hello All,

just wanted to draw some attention on a new IDGames archive entry of mine:

Image

(http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/?id=17073)

"Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)" is a concept weapons and gameplay modification for GZDOOM that revolves around morphing - as suggested by the two games implied in the subtitle, "Altered Beast" and "Shadowcaster".

The character you control is a professional killer known as "Loreena K." that recently gave up on her criminal life, to side with UAC against the forces of Hell. Your base arsenal is limited yet quite versatile; however, such arsenal lacks the most powerful weapons that you'd normally want to use as a space marine (most notably, the BFG9000); as a consequence, it is sometimes insufficient to face large hordes of enemies.
Luckily for her, our killer woman can collect special powerups scattered along her quests that shall allow her to shapeshift for a while into a powerful deity (chosen among a total of three, each one with peculiar strengths and a few weak spots. Needless to say, the more powerful is the new form, the less it lasts)...
Below are all the relevant details:


The base arsenal of Loreena K.

Image

Inspired by the likes of 'Psychic' and 'The Stranger', the starting/default weaponset combines the use of motion blur, red gloves and slightly-exaggerated designs to give a reminiscence of all those badass manga franchises centered on guns. 8-) It is made up of:

slot 1) Hatchet. The perfect weapon for a serial killer! Each blow can be charged with the feedback of a power gauge indicator in the top-right corner of the screen. Tap for a quick, weak attack - or hold and charge the slash. When at its maximum, the weapon is able to chop lesser foes in half! :twisted: Alternate fire lets you do a charge-and-slash dash move than makes the character hop a bit, so it might prove useful when trying hard jumps and having monsters waiting to hug you on the other side...

slot 2) 'Anna & Nina' power revolvers. A pair of revolvers with decent power: the left one is weaker and accurate, the right one is more powerful but also less precise. They can be fired and reloaded independently thanks to the so-called "Synthetic Fire System" mutuated from Xaser's Parkour.

slot 3) 'Leviathan' flakgun. Looks like a tri-barreled shotgun, but propels shrapnel that can bounce off walls and hit around corners. Alternate fire allows to discharge all barrels at once.

slot 4) 'Reznator' flailgun. A rotor-based machinegun that shoots special 'pin' projectiles at a high rate - suffers from a little windup delay like most miniguns. Alternate fire launches a large projectile made up by 15 interconnected pins that rips through with high effectiveness until it stops against a wall (many thanks to FishyClockwork and FDARI on this fire mode, and sorry for having forgot to credit you in the textfile with this rushed first release... I shall remedy with the nearest upgrade :roll:).

slot 5) 'Aries' missile launcher. This double barreled RPG can be programmed with the secondary fire key to exploit one of two available attack modes (triggered with primary fire):
A-standard: fire missiles from both barrels in alternate fashion; each missile follows a linear path.
B-dual: fire two missiles at once; they roll straight ahead for a moment, then diverge according to a horns-shaped pattern, eventually becoming aggressive heat-seekers (the initial, controlled part of their trajectories can also be exploited to deliver high damage at short-to-medium range to directly-pointed targets - if blast radius permits).


The divine transformations of Loreena K.

Each special powerup collected along the way allows the player to morph into a pagan deity with special powers for a limited amount of time. If injured to death when fighting as one of such forms, Loreena dies; if instead she manages to survive up to the moment of unmorphing, she is restored to full health status. All HUD graphics stem from HeXen, and the deities are:

ImageLord Of Brute Strength: a muscle-loaded giant with green-toned flesh, he shows great resistance to any kind of damage and sports powerful attacks, although melee-only. Due to his high stature, he may be unable to go through some of the narrowest passageways; he is anyway faster than average. With primary fire, you can implement sequences of deadly gauntlet fists that gib most enemies; with alternate fire, you can deal a single hammer blow that - if not immediately fatal to the opponent - usually manages to thrust it away at high distances, and has good reach nonetheless. This form has average duration.

ImageGoddess Of Fatal Retribution: think of her as a godly femme fatale equipped with a fearsome, almost-living crucifix-like weapon. Such crucifix fires dark matter fireballs that deliver high damage to the target and cause it to slowly inflate and then explode in a fountain of gibs, damaging nearby creatures with the same effect itself. In theory, this weapon allows you to start a chain-reaction that might gradually exterminate the whole population of a level (provided that all monsters are all near enough to each other). On top of this, add that she's normally invulnerable to everything, and you guess which deity is the most powerful.
Only a couple caveats, though: everytime you charge the crucifix to fire, the goddess becomes vulnerable for a few instants, and since she is not overloaded with health, you shall not like that very much. Also, consider that this form is the shortest-living of the three.

ImageMaster Of Arcane Deception: this god wields the knowledge of deceptive magic. It appears as a cloaked wizard that is smaller and slower than average, but also almost weightless and ghost-like - meaning that with this transformation, the player can walk through almost all projectile attacks, enter narrow passageways that might be unaccessible otherwise, and gently float across deep crevices separating distant ledges to reach unaccessible places. Any for of damage only has half the effect on the Master; plus, this deity is equipped with the highest number of attacks (fire to cast, altfire to cycle) - they are effective on greater demons too:
- 'levitation' spell: throw your opponents up in the air and rotating, opening up the way for you and making them harmless for a short while. Each hit deals minor damage, but since the spell can be cast continuously, this makes it an effective ranged weapon against lesser foes.
- 'retaliation' spell: make one of the monsters the most-hated target of all others around it, all of a sudden - then take the opportunity to escape while they're distracted.
- 'captivation' spell: block you enemy within a circular fence of demonic spikes; these can resist a high number of blows before retracting.
This supernatural form is the longest-lasting of the three...

NOTE: when in deity form, you can unmorph at any time (without waiting for the powerup to expire) by pressing the RELOAD key.


Screenshots parade

Spoiler:



So, in conclusion... This is another attempt of mine at doing something different. :) I don't know if I have succeeded, but I hope you can appreciate the mod's gameplay as much as I enjoyed myself when making it. As for me, I am currently going through "Eternal DOOM" for the first time using this mod, and I can say I'm not so disgusted - fits quite nicely with the level themes, too. So have fun and gimme some feedback :!:
Last edited by rsl on Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:17 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Xaser » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:00 pm

Hmm, I've played around with the mod a bit, and my first impressions are that everything is rather unwieldy to use. It's good to see that you were able to make enough sense of Parkour's dual wielding system to spin a weapon of your own, but the guns themselves are really slow to refire, making the system a bit weird to use since furious clicking does nothing (and there's some sort of bug that causes the right pistol to sometimes shoot immediately after reloading, despite me not holding down the fire button). In fact, that's more or less the root of a lot of the troubles: everything feels slow. The hatchet takes ages to actually swing after you release the fire button, weapon switching seems to take a very long time (though I guess it's roughly the same as Doom's default weapons), the flechette gun's windup time is abysmal and it doesn't seem to do much damage to anything at all (more on this later), and a couple of the morph weapons (the Mage's spell switching and Brute's altfire hammer attack in particular) feel way too slow to actually be worth using.

More importantly, though, weapon balance is all over the place -- almost ludicrously so. I'm able to kill a Cacodemon in a couple of seconds without reloading with the magnums (the starting weapon, mind you), whereas it takes seven Leviathan shots (that's two reloads' worth) to do the same. That's a huge power drop between the starting gun and what should be the next most powerful weapon. The Reznator is even worse -- it takes friggin' ages to actually kill an enemy, and looking at the code, I'm really baffled as to why the damage for each shot is so low. For reference, the damage for a flechette is between 5.5 and 8.8, whereas a Doom hitscan deals between 5 and 15 damage. This winds up giving the weapon about the same DPS as the Doom chaingun, except now it has an awful spin-up delay. The Aries is just fine, and I suppose the Hatchet is okay in terms of power (though the delay still shoots usefulness in the foot), but both are still second fiddle to the starting magnums, which outclass everything in the set because of their sheer power and versatility.

Now, the morphing is interesting, but there's a fatal flaw in the system: you can't unmorph. This is a problem given that each morph class is only good in certain situations: the Brute at close range, the Succubus against groups, and the Mage for... I'm not really sure what yet. If you go Brute and suddenly find yourself in a big outdoor fight, you gotta wait it out, which is rather lame. The trouble is most apparent with the Mage class, though, since all of his spells are support-based and never do any real damage. This would be fine if I could morph, levitate a few dudes, then switch back to normal form to open a can of woop-ass, but I can't do that at all; I'm stuck as the Mage for the entire duration, meaning I can't actually deal any damage to anyone until the gorram timer lets me. By the time I actually morph back, everything's worn off except for that spike-trap spell which seems to be really good at trapping me as well. That and he's piss-weak and dies in like three shots. Basically, the Mage is completely useless. Succubus is probably OP too, given the "invulnerable unless firing" mechanic, but at least that's fun to play with and can kill things nicely.

Finally, the Reload key is implemented via the old inventory item / custom keybind method, but ZDoom has had a dedicated Reload state since 2.6.0 that you can make use of. I did notice a few other code antiquities as well -- for one, that old CheapAlert actor (heh) is being spawned instead of calling A_AlertMonsters directly, was made to work on weapons ages ago. Nitpicky since it doesn't affect functionality too much, but migrating to proper Reload is good practice nowadays since it'll stop users from having to rebind Reload for everybody's mod.

I guess the tl;dr version is that this mod has some neat ideas and a lot of potential, but it doesn't feel finished at all due to rough spots and some serious balance issues. The /idgames release is premature, I think.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Ed the Bat » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:43 pm

I tried this out the other night. Sadly, I can't really offer much input other than... everything Xaser said. He pretty much hit the nails on the head. Though I would like to say that, more than anything, I find the bug about morphed classes not using different body graphics (which I know you listed as a Known Bug) to be a huge sign of sloppiness. I didn't look in the code yet, but I can't imagine it being difficult to fix.

I also still don't know what an 11-gauge bullet is, since gauge indicates the relative weight of the pellets in a shotgun shell. But, this doesn't affect the performance of anything, so really no biggie.

On the whole, there's stuff in here that I do like, but it needs more polish. It can certainly be refined into something great, so don't be discouraged. :)
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Crudux Cruo » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:52 am

A good alpha. very good presentation, the graphics are phenominal, as well as most of the sounds. where things fall of the wagon is game balance, weapon responsiveness, and... well the morphs are Impractical. very cool, but impractical. the lord is too big to go through stuff, the lady is alright, and the mage is offensively challenged. also, you cant pickup ANYTHING when morphed, you cant unmorph, and other things means that there needs to be some major balancing, and some re-imagining of the original objective into a practical, balanced gameplay experienced. This mod is fun though. really looking foward to the future.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby rsl » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:39 am

Thanks to you all for trying out the mod and giving me your feedback.

@Xaser: I think you highlighted the gameplay aspect I was mostly dubious about, that is balance. I tried to balance weapons basing on numerical damage values indicated by the wiki on standard DOOM weapons, but I probably overlooked too much the importance of damage rate and randomization. Right now, this is what comes to mind to fix the weapons (details given on each one):
Hatchet: since sounds and weapon timing are quite fine-tuned now, I should probably shift damage up a bit for all attack levels.
Revolvers: I remember that you added a lot of A_WeaponReady calls in Parkour's pistols, I should probably do the same to allow for quick refire and tone down the damage of each round.
Leviathan: each shard should do more damage; as an alternative, a fraction of shards might be made +RIPPER for increased damage with the current values.
Reznator: standard fire should have higher rate; also, since each round consumes two pins I might decide to make one of them have the +RIPPER flag here, with a slightly-altered direction.
Aries: nothing to do here. :wink:

As for the morphed forms, I came up too with the idea of an "unmorph" key, but only lately - don't know if it's feasible, I just happened to find one ACS function 'UnMorphActor'. Though I guess having a dummy Tome Of Power-like infinite inventory item would suffice... :roll:
Also, I need to grant the mage one offensive attack at least - might be a little modification to 'levitation'.

Thanks a lot for your detailed post! :)

@Ed the Bat: heh, I must admit I'm not so keen on real weapons language, so I must have been a bit creative here... :lol: The morphed classes body graphics not being used depend (I guess) on GZDOOM's behaviour - I should probably file a bug about that.
Also, thanks for your encouragement! :)

@doomer1: thank you! I shall go back to rebalance this thing for sure. :D
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby amv2k9 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:31 pm

The Lord morph's combination of tallness and inability to crouch prevents it from going through some doorways:
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Ed the Bat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:39 pm

rsl wrote:The morphed classes body graphics not being used depend (I guess) on GZDOOM's behaviour - I should probably file a bug about that.
It still happens in ZDoom, so it's not because of the hardware renderer. I'll poke around in the code for you and see if I can sniff out the cause.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby JimmyJ » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:18 pm

I kinda like the delay on the axe. It makes up for being able to swipe an imp in one chop, which feels very fun. I can't say I've found much use with the axe's alternate fire though.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Enjay » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:49 pm

amv2k9 wrote:The Lord morph's combination of tallness and inability to crouch prevents it from going through some doorways:

Yes, and with its duration being quite long, you can find yourself trapped in an area of a map with nothing left to kill and with nothing to do but wait until the powerup runs out.

I have to say, however, that I love the inflatey, explodey weapon. :twisted:

The purple in the palette is an interesting change too (which I quite like even if it makes water etc look a bit odd).
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Ed the Bat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:02 pm

Hey, RSL. Fixed the morphing sprites problem. :3
Just put +NOSKIN in each of the morph classes' definitions.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby rsl » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:55 am

amv2k9 wrote:The Lord morph's combination of tallness and inability to crouch prevents it from going through some doorways

Enjay wrote:Yes, and with its duration being quite long, you can find yourself trapped in an area of a map with nothing left to kill and with nothing to do but wait until the powerup runs out.


Yeah, I know. This is a little con that I wanted to give to that morph class in exchange for its speed and resilience... Yet I experienced myself too, that sometimes a lot of the powerup time is wasted this way. However, I have already integrated an unmorph mechanism in my local, new-release-wannabe copy that pretty much fixes the issue (among others). :D

JimmyJ wrote:I kinda like the delay on the axe. It makes up for being able to swipe an imp in one chop, which feels very fun. I can't say I've found much use with the axe's alternate fire though.


I'm glad you appreciated the effect :) - for the next release, I have anyway raised a bit the damage done by the axe at all levels (and slightly reduced charge-up times); also, I implemented a very quick poke attack that can be triggered by simply tapping primary fire. As for the alternate fire, I'd say that on one hand, you have to get used to its range and timing before making any decent use of it. On the other hand, It might even be more interesting for its movement properties rather than attack ones (level cheating :?: :3:)

Enjay wrote:I have to say, however, that I love the inflatey, explodey weapon. :twisted:


Heh. That's exactly the feeling I wanted to give... :wink:

Enjay wrote:The purple in the palette is an interesting change too (which I quite like even if it makes water etc look a bit odd).


Thanks! Since in DOOM such colour is pretty limited, I wanted to give it more presence here... As a matter of fact, the main chromatic theme of the mod is based on this combination of red and purple that I was a bit uncertain about at the beginning - but I guess it eventually worked.

Ed the Bat wrote:Hey, RSL. Fixed the morphing sprites problem. :3
Just put +NOSKIN in each of the morph classes' definitions.


Great! Thanks a lot! :D

Again, thanks for all the feedback! I have already incorporated a lot of balance fixes for weapons and morph classes; I'm going to see if some other bug / desired feature arises in the next few days, and then I'll make a second release. :!:
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby JimmyJ » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:45 pm

A couple of additional thoughts I didn't have when I made my first post, I think the right revolver isn't inaccurate enough compared to the left. As it is I feel little need to ever use the left sided one when the right has been able to handle long range encounters more than acceptably for me. My other thought is just a niggling personal complaint, I'm not wild about being unable to see how much total ammo I have without shrinking down my resolution a level. Not a super big issue or anything, though.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby rsl » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:13 am

JimmyJ wrote:A couple of additional thoughts I didn't have when I made my first post, I think the right revolver isn't inaccurate enough compared to the left. As it is I feel little need to ever use the left sided one when the right has been able to handle long range encounters more than acceptably for me. My other thought is just a niggling personal complaint, I'm not wild about being unable to see how much total ammo I have without shrinking down my resolution a level. Not a super big issue or anything, though.


Good points. I too was thinking about adding the storage ammo counter in the fullscreen HUD (but I was so tired of having had the mod so long in the works, that I wanted it to be out for comments :wink:).
I'll implement them in the next version. Thanks! :)
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby OliveD » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Ed the Bat wrote:I also still don't know what an 11-gauge bullet is, since gauge indicates the relative weight of the pellets in a shotgun shell.


Gauge is a diameter measurement unit, it has nothing to do with pellet weight. The original system meant to be used with cannon balls sort of does, I suppose, but that's still not quite the same as weighing the pellets. It could be used to measure a bullet, though it's a very archaic system. I'm not sure why we still use it for shotshells.

Wiki

Smaller gauge means bigger actual round, so a 11 gauge round would be slightly bigger than your typical action movie 12g shotgun shell. Which is kinda big for a rifle round.
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Re: Pagan (...The Altered DOOMCaster)

Postby Ed the Bat » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:04 pm

True enough, but I don't normally see gauge used for a modern firearm except for a shotshell. Bullets would typically be measured in caliber.
As far as shotshells, smaller gauges mean larger pellets. Gauge determines how many pellets-per-pound are in the shell.
More wiki.
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