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Incline Unreal Evolution Mod: Now Released

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Ash, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    From the maker of GMDX comes Unreal Evolution

    Incline Guaranteed



    Unreal Evolution on moddb: https://www.moddb.com/mods/unreal-evolution

    Unreal is a highly enjoyable 90s classic FPS with some rough edges. Unreal Evolution seeks to address these and bring a high quality golden age game to the next level. If you've played my critically acclaimed GMDX mod for Deus Ex you know what to expect.
    Expect tighter overall design through polished and enhanced weaponry/gunplay, smarter artificial intelligence and refined enemy placement, Enhanced Artistic Direction (new textures, effects, level details), tightened balance and resource distribution, new player mechanics, an engaging challenge (of course based on the difficulty mode you pick), enhanced replayability, minor audio upgrades, a handful of bugfixes, better bossfights, level design with more to offer without being obviously different, and more...
    The majority of features are intended to enhance the overall experience yet retain the original spirit and concepts: Unreal but better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020 at 5:48 AM
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  2. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    Identifying Unreal's Flaws:

    Show Spoiler
    Problem: Unreal's Boss Battles Suck.

    FPS in general has issues with boss battles, yet Unreal's are notably bad. Do you like recycled boss fights? It's very much acceptable in moderation. But a) Titans are not engaging combatants. and b) they're recycled at minimum four times. Likewise, the final battle was a disapppointment. Here's what I did against the final boss: jumped up to the platform in the middle, strafed in a repetitive circle pattern on this platform over and over while firing away, aaaand victory. That was it. And that's all the bosses of the game. Four mediocre increasingly tired titan battles, and a pitiful end boss.

    The solution: make them not suck. You still fight all the same battles, because my faithful design principles demand it. However, through AI enhancements, boss arena design and more, each should be unique from one another, and relatively engaging by comparison to what there was before. The end boss has received the most attention. It should be a real climax like any good end boss.

    Problem: Flak Cannon > Eightball

    The Flak Cannon is commonly perceived to be a better or more enjoyable weapon than the Eightball Launcher. This may seem unusual if you're familiar with the two. Think about it: the Eightball is the most multi-functional weapon in the game. You can fire rockets OR grenades as the default. You can hold down the fire or alt-fire key to load multiple grenades or rockets to be launched. You can hover over a target to acquire a lock-on for homing rockets. While loading rockets or grenades, you can also hold the opposing fire button to make the projectiles launch in a tight grouping, or don't for a wide grouping. How impressive is that for one weapon? And when is a rocket launcher EVER bad, let alone a rocket and grenade launcher in one... So why is the flak cannon perceived to be the better weapon, personal preference aside? There's two core reasons: first, all enemies that have the ability to dodge have a ONE HUNDRED percent chance of performing a dodge manoeuvre when any and all Eightball projectiles are sent their way, if the conditions for a dodge are met. The Flak Cannon grenade launcher alt fire on the other hand had a ZERO percent chance of ever being dodged. This makes the Flak cannon objectively the better weapon against dodging enemies (All Skarrj types, GasBags, Krall), while with the Eightball you're just wasting rockets in frustration before you finally get the kill. So you learn from this and use the Eightball on slower, non-dodging enemies, specifically the three types of Brute and two types of Titan. Guess what? They have 30% explosive damage resistance, further lending to the accurate perception of the Eightball's inadequacy. This is not a problem for the Flak Cannon of course as its primary fire is not an explosive damage type.

    The Solution: I've made eightball projectiles have an 80% chance of being dodged, and the Flak Cannon alt fire have a 60% chance of being dodged (the difference justified by the eightball having better range, the ability to multi-load rockets to ensure at least one hits a dodging enemy, and a lock-on (which is still often dodged, bear in mind). Take note this dodge chance is per projectile, therefore many multi-loaded rockets are still guaranteed to trigger a dodge. Secondly, the dumb slow enemies with 30% explosion resistance now have 20% explosion resistance. It's minor, but it'll help. So there you have it, The Flak Cannon while still best for dealing with those pesky Skaarj will absolutely be dodged here and there rather than the deliverer of easy kills. The Eightball will now be able to shine, rather than either being dodged by everything with 100% frequency, or damage-reduced by everything.

    Problem: Weapons can at times be rather unsatisfying to use

    You recognise the Eightball, but aren't ALL the weapons just a little underwhelming? It is often said Unreal's gunplay is a little unsatisfactory. A stand-out example would be the Stinger. It's just not that enjoyable to use. This problem is an accumulation of absolutely everything: sound design, animation, projectile effects, impact effects, kickback, perceived usefulness and uniqueness of a fire mode, possible bugs present and so on.

    The Solution: See the WEAPONRY category of the changelog. I've faithfully refined and enhanced everything necessary weaponry related. An FPS is no FPS without its guns. You're going to love them.

    Problem: Unrewarding Exploration/Unreal's exploration is sub-par

    It is. Not the level designs themselves, they're mostly an absolute joy, but rather the supporting design or lack thereof that is supposed to incentivise it. On my first playthrough I skipped over a number of areas. Why is this? Because I was often stocked up on health and ammo on the original hardest "UNREAL" difficulty without having to be completely thorough. This is the primary reason, though I believe longer-term reward is important for such an exploration-heavy game with huge levels, and Unreal has next to none.

    The Solution: Resource distribution is tighter on higher difficulty levels. Core issue addressed. As for longer-term rewards for exploration, I've introduced a basic weapon modification system: find upgrade modules in the levels (much like the Dispersion Pistol upgrades) but you can choose one of two weapons to upgrade per module. Which weapons you can choose from and what upgrade it applies depends on the module you find. This is not the sole reason the weapon upgrade system was introduced of course, just one of many, but it would probably be an important reason often overlooked by those unfamiliar with game design.

    Problem: Weak Resources Distribution

    Unrewarding exploration is not the only downside of weak resource distribution. Challenge of course is an important factor sullied by throwing ammunition and the like at the player. Challenge being one of most important defining factors of a game. So, exploration and finding secrets is discouraged. Strategic management of pickups is not a concern for the player. Engagements can be breezed past with lesser skill. You can spam the same overpowered gun (cough Flak Cannon) without having to diversify your weaponry and tactics so much, and so on.

    The Solution: I've left the lower difficulties alone for the most part. Very Hard difficulty and above have tighter resource distribution design. To elaborate, I'm not talking survival horror levels of tight. Think more Doom or Quake. In those games' higher difficulty modes it's always worth being a thorough explorer, managing pickups, fights are that much more intense even though the AI is more primitive than Unreal's. With Unreal Evolution, you'll experience Unreal's great gameplay thoroughly optimised.

    Problem: Interior levels are much more detailed than exterior.

    Making vast open organic 3D playspaces, especially back in 1998, is a challenge to detail. Unreal was one of the first to even try it. Interior levels were much more suited to 1998 game tech as game engines were not too competent with smooth, rounded surfaces and accurate physics collisions. Furthermore there is a simple common sense rule of the larger your level, the more time and attention it demands. Lastly good old Unreal Engine 1 not to mention typical game dev cycles has its limits...and its priorities. This problem is very obvious in Unreal and all other games of its time that tried it. Compare the level of detail in NyLeve to Terranuix if you'd like an example of exterior vs interior detail.

    The Solution: I have the time and the willingness. I have the experience of adding subtle faithful details to an Unreal Engine 1 game with GMDX for Deus Ex. I have the design sense to do it right (again as with GMDX), and lastly I have OldUnreal's updated 227 engine which enables use of advanced graphical features. Don't expect it to look like a modern game or even a mid-2000s game, just expect GMDX all over again: the same levels, just with nice new subtle details that are often confused for vanilla. Interior levels also have new details, but exterior levels typically have more work done to attain a closer level of artistic consistency throughout the game.

    Problem: The first third of the game is arguably not as engaging as the second or final

    This is a problem with many games, and often turns players away. It comes with the nature in most cases: you only have a couple weapons in your arsenal to do battle with. You've only encountered a couple of enemy types. You're still learning the basic rules of the game. The developers in many cases made the early levels before they had mastered the tools they were working with (not sure if it applies to Unreal, but it's obvious with Deus Ex). And so on.

    The Solution: there isn't one per se, as mentioned it is a problem with the nature of the game, but this mod should be a little more engaging from the offset through my conscious design attempts to enhance early game and the general overall quality and vision of the game. Nonetheless, the Sunspire and subsequent levels will still be some of the most memorable and engaging, and I recommend not giving up to would-be dropouts. I will list some enhancements made which should help:

    -The Stinger (an early, unsatisfying weapon) is now a much more enjoyable weapon to use...as are all weapons, but it's especially notable with the Stinger.
    -Enemy variety and behaviour is more diverse, including an entirely new enemy type introduced early on.
    -Levels not only has subtly improved visuals, but you may also find the occasional new secret or challenge.
    -The new weapon modification system makes weapons further enjoyable to use, adds fun choice, and makes exploration more rewarding (see above), as does tigher resource distribution.

    That's it really. As usual, nothing majorly game changing. I always strive to be relatively faithful to the original vision.

    Problem: Sparse Enemy/Encounter Variety

    Unreal features a reasonable amount of enemy types and styles, and most of the combat is projectile and melee based. This is good. However, I believe its combat (on the enemy's side) falls a little short in two key ways: you typically only face one-three enemies at a time per encounter, lets say two on average (except late game which are mostly all Krall or Skaarj), and if there are multiple enemies they're usually of all the same class. This means you're fighting a group of enemies with all the same behaviour, where there's less variables you have to account for. On the plus side, Unreal's AI is pretty good, sort of (skaarj at least are notably above most other FPS of the time. Most other enemy types in the game aren't at all on that level however).

    The solution: Improved AI behaviour, new enemy placements, and occasional encounters that include multiple enemy class types (monster in-fighting likelihood was added to prevent them all fighting eachother at the most immediate act of friendly fire). Unreal Evolution does not change the game into Doom wherein you fight hordes of varied enemies, especially early game, but it does inject a little variety here and there. This results in more variables you have to account for in combat, more ways in which a battle can turn out, and more challenge.(edited)
    For purists, fear not. It's a subtle increase across the board. You will notice it but it won't feel out of place or wrong. It will feel right.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  3. DJOGamer PT Arcane

    DJOGamer PT
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    [​IMG]


    Do you have some estimation for the release date?
     
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  4. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    None. Beta has just begun. Looking for testers. I suppose in a few months time at the minimum.

    Weapon Enhancements Demonstration #1: STINGER



     
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  5. skacky Prestigious Gentleman 3D Realms Developer

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    That shake is really extreme, I can see myself getting sick using that weapon pretty fast.
     
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  6. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    May tone it down. Not had any complaints from testers yet though, and it's the same stuff that was in GMDX...possibly with slight increase in intensity.

    If it's a soyboy motion sickness susceptibility issue, then option to reduce or disable may be added.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  7. Durandal Arcane

    Durandal
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    ehhh
    Having your bullet trajectories spread out randomly or along a fixed pattern (you can learn and never think twice about later) never added much to gameplay. It's only ever tolerated in military shooters and the like which try to be somewhat realistic, which I don't think Unreal is trying to. Even as a means of improving the viscerality of firing weapons through recoil, I can't exactly get behind the recoil screen shake approach like in HL1, because like in said posted video it's just disorienting if it isn't very subtle. If anything I'd have the weapon viewmodel shake about more and randomly slightly spread out the visible tracers of the gun you're firing while the actual hitboxes of the tracers are unaffected by the random spread and will always go where you're aiming.

    The Unreal AI having to determine by RNG when an enemy can dodge an incoming projectile is honestly just crude, leading to shots being nullified by a random enemy dodge, and near input reading-levels of nonsense on higher difficulties. Understandably, it's hard to simulate enemy reactivity otherwise, but it would do to add some more deterministic factors to the formula. For example, the likelihood of an enemy dodging your shot projectile should depend on the velocity of your shot projectile and the distance between you and the enemy, on top of something like an initial reaction time that scales with difficulty to dispel the feeling that the AI is cheating through input reading. Firing an Eightball at a Skaarj Warrior standing a good distance away from you should be a 100% dodge chance instead of something like 80%, because any human should be able to strafe away from an Eightball at that distance instead of having RNGesus smile upon you by having the Skaarj Warrior suffer a minor brain fart at that exact moment. It makes sense for an enemy to dodge a projectile as slow as an Eightball missile fired from such a distance, not so much when you're both mid-range away from eachother and a Skaarj manages to dodge it the exact moment you press fire.

    When it comes to enemies dodging hitscan fire like with the pistols or minigun (and perhaps the Stinger), Halo had the right idea here. In Halo, enemies would only initiate a guaranteed dodge after getting hit once by your hitscan weapon. This means that enemies can't magically dodge your attacks completely because RNGesus and input reading, but you still have to put some effort into aiming with your hitscan weapon by tracking the enemy's movements (I don't actually remember if enemies in Unreal try to dodge hitscan fire, it's been a while since I last played it). If you whipped out the Sniper Rifle it would make more sense if enemies (who understand what a Sniper Rifle entails) were trying to make themselves harder to hit by dodging around frantically on their own and trying to avoid direct line of sight with your sniper scope.
     
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  8. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    Recoil is visceral and requires constant aim adjustment/compensation, increasing the skill required. Does it add "much"? Not really, but it adds something. I personally find it more fun.

    Dodging being RNG-based is vanilla. Flak Cannon and EBall alt fire were rare exceptions, possibly due to oversights (Flak Cannon most surely, as it is super easy mode vs Skaarj whereas they dodge everything else like pros). I don't intend to change it. As for the Halo method with hitscan, it's unnecessary. The first shot WILL hit if it's on target. Technically they can't dodge hitscan as it's instant trace, but they do the dodge manoeuvre anyway which you have to adjust your aim for. But I suppose that doesn't add "much" either?

    It's not crude because it results in unpredictability and seemingly natural variation, as opposed to only allowed to be able to dodge after having been shot once as a rule. There is also deterministic factors involved: am I already dodging, is there space to dodge etc....

    Anyhow, dodger AI have low probability of performing a dodge vs hitscan in the first place. Something like a range of 5-20% depending on weapon/fire mode. You soon learn to keep hitscan weps in mind when facing skarrj for this advantage (which is a reasonable advantage, unlike Flak Cannon alt fire steamrolling everything).
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  9. Ash Arcane

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  10. schru Cipher

    schru
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    Are you working with the MultiTexture on in the renderer? That feature doesn't work right on modern cards, making the skies look wrong. The screenshot of Dark Arena which you included on the ModDB page seems to have that problem.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  11. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    Ash not to shit on your parade or anything, but how do you choose games to mod? Unreal seems weak. Can I get you to mod Elex or Witcher 3?
     
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  12. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    schru Unreal thanks for the heads up guys.

    PorkyThePaladin Unreal is an often overlooked gem. It's one of the best FPS of all time.
     
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  13. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    Damn right it is. Anyway, did you touch up the ASMD perhaps? That pathetic looking wimpy primary fire effect in particular needs a complete overhaul. Compare it to the thing of beauty that is the shock rifle in UT....
     
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  14. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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  15. Durandal Arcane

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  16. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    ^Not gonna rule it out.



    Demo of the Bio Rifle's new Alt fire. A pressurised wave of biowaste pushes back lightweight enemies though isn't very useful against heavier enemies. This is useful to get them in reasonable range for the primary fire without self-inflicted damage, or pushing enemies off cliffs and such. With a specific module installed it can push somewhat heavier targets, as well as potentially trap them in its vortex resulting in a guaranteed kill (if fully charged). A guaranteed kill much like the original alt fire did if fully charged. Functionally it is similar to the original alt fire (in terms of charge-up for insta kill), but perhaps more interesting and useful.

    You can also see the Krall's (enemy) new tri-projectile attack in action.

    The Bio Rifle alt fire is the only feature Unreal Evolution outright replaces, otherwise the mod refines and expands relatively faithfully.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  17. Maggot Magister Patron

    Maggot
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Dumping pics from my playthrough so far.
    [​IMG]
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And here's a fully upgraded AutoMag
    https://my.mixtape.moe/zycjtn.mp4
     
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  18. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    Well, it looks (and sounds!) like an improvement alright. But I can't help but feel nostalgic about that nice fat solid beam from UT, or that glorious combo explosion. They never got that right in the sequels either.
     
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  19. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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    I relate to you, but I should be faithful within reason. it's not the UT effect but it's still nice indeed.
     
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  20. schru Cipher

    schru
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    Just to show what I meant, this is how the sky in Dark Arena should look:

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. theSavant Self-Ejected

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    Yeah, I agree. This is what it should look like.

    However this is just an option not activated by default. It was only automatically activated on 3dfx or Voodoo2 cards, and otherwise not because I don't know - maybe the engine assumed your GPU wouldn't support it. Though nowadays every GPU should support that feature. And you can just reactivate it in the Advanced Options menu in the game. When I last played Unreal with a 2010 GPU I also had the "white boring sky" by default. I then just had to activate the option and it worked. And it really makes a difference how the world looks like. Much better.

    That sad this option activated produced some other weirdness like: sometimes the scene became darker and darker (as if your eyes would close) - sometimes so dark it was difficult to see things anymore (especially in water), and then also became lighter again. I have not found out what exactly causes this weird graphical effect. There were no graphical artifacts or errors though, so I just dealt with it. Still better than having the bland skies. It also sometimes contributed to the atmosphere of the game, although annoying too.
     
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  22. schru Cipher

    schru
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    I played the game quite a lot with MultiTexture disabled and I never had that problem. Perhaps you were using some custom renderer with screen exposure effect?

    Ash, it might be worth mentioning that there is one effect that doesn't work correctly with MultiTexture disabled: the mist below the bridge in the castle fly-over introduction. The way it is rendered with that setting off, it's displayed over meshes but not over the water. Still, it's a very minor trade-off as this problem doesn't occur anywhere else in the game. Also, just to dispel possible doubts, both skies and mist are rendered correctly by the 3dfx Glide renderer, which I'm pretty sure was the main renderer the game was developed for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  23. schru Cipher

    schru
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    I misremembered. I wanted to test it with dgVoodoo but I couldn't get the game to launch with Glide for some reason.
     
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  24. Ash Arcane

    Ash
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  25. Icewater Artisanal Shitposting™ Patron

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    Oh god my dick. I just saw this on moddb and WOW. Massive incline!
     
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