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STALKER V1.1 Patch beta leak (+free-play)

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Bluebottle, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Dead State Wasteland 2
    It seems as if the long awaited STALKER patch which allows free-play has been leaked by certain beta participants, and is available to download from the major fansites.

    Has anyone been following the progress of this, or tried it out at all yet? All I've heard so far is that it allows the player to continue on after they've experienced either of the endings (which seems slightly odd given the theme of the major ending). Still, if that is all there is to it, then I'm not terribly interested, but if they've actually put some effort into adding content to make this somewhat fun (which would seem possible, if optimistic, given the time it's taken) then it may be worth a shot.
     
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  2. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    as far as GSC fed us with shit - free-play is just a game mode without the story-line according the last time they've talked about it.

    so how does the patch which removes the last remnants of next to non-existent story-line and leaves shitty quests make this shitty game any better?
     
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  3. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Dead State Wasteland 2
    Meh, I thought it was pretty good.
    I certainly enjoyed the middle areas of the game (raiding military bases and the like), and would be fairly interested in similar gameplay in the areas neglected in the game as it stood on release (mainly Pripyat).
     
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  4. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    Stalker was good, except:

    - it was buggy as fuck
    - overcrowding and constant combat pretty much klled the atmosphere in the late parts of the game (following the Red Forest)
    - "true" endings were the most lame and anticlimactic thing this side of Drakan's outro (I mean, the offered "explanation", not the videos).
     
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  5. avatar_58 Educated

    avatar_58
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    Does this patch add grass shadows back in? Currently they are prema-disabled even through INI editing.
     
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  6. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    If STALKER was closer to the original ideas that were put out it would have been a better game. It was another game that was partly frustrating because the potential for greatness was clearly there, but the game goes limp long before it should. I'm hoping that either the modders or GSC will manage to produce something with more polish in the future now that the first title has been shipped and reasonably well received.
     
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  7. Starwars Arcane

    Starwars
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    I thought STALKER was rather good, perhaps due to how unique it feels. Even though your character still feels like Rambo sometimes, I have to say that it's the one FPS (that is not totally based in reality) where it feels like the character I'm playing is sort of on the same level as the enemies he encounters.
    At least early in the game, there was a real sense of danger which I thought was very good and extremely effective for the game. It did sort of go away when you acquired more powerful armors and weapons though.

    The visuals are also just spectacular, and I cannot for the life of me understand it when I saw people bitching about the graphics. It's without a doubt one of the best looking games I've played.

    That said, it does have numerous and rather serious flaws. My biggest gripe was indeed the fact that it does feel rather railroaded despite it trying to be open. Following a linear story was just not what I wanted in this game, especially when it suffers from awful translation.

    I was eagerly watching the Freeplay mods for a while, but unfortunately it seems that most every one that I saw basically cranked up everything to the max, placing mutants all over the place for a more action-packed experience. A shame, because I think the game is really at its best when it allows the atmosphere to do its work.
    If anyone has tried a Freeplay mod that is more subtle however, feel free to mention it.

    If GSC can fix a lot of the flaws (in the rather short time-period) for Clear Sky, then I'll definetely keep my eye on it.
     
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  8. Herbert West Arbiter

    Herbert West
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    I'd play Stalker even if the atmosphere and setting were the only redeeming qualities of the game.
     
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  9. JrK Prophet

    JrK
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    Playing on a geforce 7950GT with full dynamic lighting I must this is the best looking game I've ever seen because of the excellent look and usage of shadows. Dark things are really dark and your flashlight really lights stuff up beautifully. I personally prefer Stalker's graphics over Crysis' graphics.
     
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  10. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    Really? Maybe I should install it on my new PC and give it another whirl.
     
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  11. JrK Prophet

    JrK
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    If you ask me, yes, I'd pick stalker over crysis in this department. While Crysis may have had some nice things like sunshafts, it's usage of the lighting and shadows was rather uninspired. Stalker on the other hand uses shadows to create a creepy athmosphere. If it's night in the Zone, I'm constantly wondering what's beyond the edge of my flashlight because the game is so dark, it creates a "im being watched" feel. It was great when something out of the dark suddenly leapt at me. :D

    Word of warning, I'm playing with Faiakes mod. I don't know if it makes night darker, but it might be. If so, I'd recommend it.
     
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  12. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Dead State Wasteland 2
    Especially the indoor sections. Those RPG developers who insist on focusing on visuals could certainly do a lot worse than looking to the underground sections of Stalker when seraching for inspiration on how to effectively design and light a dungeon.
     
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  13. Wyrmlord Arcane

    Wyrmlord
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    I quite like STALKER, but I find that the earlier missions are hideously mundane. All that pointless bandit fighting is annoying. Good thing is, it can all be skipped.

    The game was pretty short, IMO. I finished it in 10 hours. People said that it is a 60 hour game, but I suppose they are including the time taken for petty sidequests for finding a Chunk Of Meat or a Pseudodog Tail. Meh, that stuff was arbitrary and only for making money when you don't have it. I just kept doing the main mission.

    Or maybe people said 60 hours after including multiple playthroughs for different endings, but I am just not sure I want to replay the game. The gunfights wouldn't play out any different, even if the endings would. Crysis, though, I just keep playing it over and over, because I keep finding more wacky things to do, like jumping onto the roof of a building and firing at the NKs with my Grenade Launcher Attachment on my SCAR. Or planting explosives onto a car, driving it onto a base, getting out of it while it's moving, and detonating it. The car along with the NKs flies 30 feet into the air in a long arc and falls down on a far off mountain, while the tires fall down near you (best physics ever).

    But anyway, I liked STALKER, because of all those survival situations when you are bleeding badly in the middle of a radioactive wasteland, and need to drop some of your equipment, so that you can move quicker, and keep adminstering bandages and anti-rads, and feed yourself until you reach the closest haven. And I like the atmosphere in all the abandoned labs, and parts of the destroyed city controlled by the Monolith fanatics. I especially enjoy the situations when there is such heavy radioactivity that the whole screen goes yellow.

    Anyhoo, I do agree with JRK that STALKER looks better than Crysis. Not on the technological level, but on the artistic level. When I first came out of Sidorovich's bunker, I was awed by the sight of the area. The sun was shining strongly on the outskirts of a radioactive wasteland, and it was one of the most fascinating sights I have ever seen.
     
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  14. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    It was somewhat unpolished and rushed to start with. Still a lot of fun despite that, amazingly. The mods already out show up the kind of potential it has. Frustrating in a way. If they screw the pooch again with S:CS in March then they'll have a harder time of it trying to excuse themselves though. Supposedly it will be closer to the original vision. Not long now to wait and see if it is more BS than CS.

    I'm replaying the game this time with mods to see what difference it can make. So far, so good. I like the changes. Some of these mods should be put in the patches. There are some obviously stupid mistakes made by the developers that the mods can fix. I'm adding in small changes a little at a time before I try one of the big world-changing mods or large collections of mods in one package. Best way to see what works and what doesn't and so I can tailor the mods a little to my own desires. Still lots to browse yet. I don't think there is anything that someone hasn't tried tweaking yet, including the AI and factions. Hopefully they will flesh out the rather anaemic random quests.

    I've had a lot of fun experimenting and replaying fire fights and the open area battles in STALKER. It's a similar feeling to replaying Operation: Flashpoint in its variations. I don't think a game needs cartoon physics to make it fun or the fire fights interesting (although physics can lead to their own special type of fun if they are implemented well). I've found them unfolding in different ways and in the larger and more open areas it was worth trying different approaches to see what happened. Same when it comes to monster attacks on the NPCs and myself. Strange things can happen with the AI. I suspect more could happen if the AI was buffed up properly and more features that were hinted at for the original were implemented.
     
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  15. ricolikesrice Arcane

    ricolikesrice
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    ....

    dunno. i fully agree on the awesome atmosphere S.T.A.L.K.E.R. oozes but the gameplay was boring me to death, so i still couldnt finish it despite trying really hard to motivate me. shooting felt pretty akward, weapons were boring, and it just felt so overly repeative. crysis in comparision did a much better job at "not beeing yet another corridor shooter"..... well at least till the spaceship... and as consequence is much more fun to replay over and over with your experiences beeing different every time and comming up with creative ways to accomplish your goals feels very rewarding. thats what i missed in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

    just making a world more open and adding tons of crappy sidequests doesnt cut it imho.
    didnt oblivion prove that ?

    but Clear Sky sounds very promising and might become what stalker should have been.
    if not there s also a stalker-inspired mod in the works for crysis, though its too early to tell if that has potential even if the first screenshots at least look pretty good .
     
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  16. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    Re: ....

    Fair enough. Different strokes and all that. STALKER certainly isn't perfect and I wouldn't use it as an example of perfect and polished design. It is fun and has a great atmosphere that was able to hold me through it and I enjoyed exploring. I did think that the closed or corridor area labs and set pieces were well done in parts of STALKER too. Someone obviously had some good ideas. Shame they didn't listen to them more often.

    I agree. That part was where STALKER certainly felt anaemic and rushed. It detracted from the rest of it. So much potential wasted there. Sloppy. It could have added a lot if it was implemented properly. The modders seem very interested in improving this if the developers can't manage it. There have already been some small tweaks here and there.

    If they can't get it right with Clear Sky then it will be time to RIP AND TEAR to teach them a lesson for being such teases with their inconsistent work. I can't say I am too confident it will be all it should be. I'm dreading it as much as I am looking forward to it. I find that studios tend to do repeat these mistakes. That STALKER-inspired mod sounds interesting, thanks for the tip-off. It'd be nice to think that even if CS flops and has the same flaws again then it will have inspired others to make mods or games on the theme in the future. Someone else could pick it up from where they left off if they aren't up to the task.
     
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  17. Rulion Liturgist

    Rulion
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    Freeplay? The Oblivion Lost mod did that. And fixed many gameplay things. Added cars you can drive. Lotsa stuff.

    Combined with the Nuclear Snow graphic mod, STALKER actually becomes pretty sexy, atmospheric, and downright scary (especially at night)
     
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  18. Starwars Arcane

    Starwars
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    I've recently been playing STALKER with the alive mod, and I really like it. It adds some stuff here and there, and tweaks a-life a bit but without going retarded and unleashing absolutely everything on the player. Highly recommend it if you still want the vanilla STALKER experience, just a bit better and more interesting.

    There's also a russian mod called the AMK mod, which someone is currently translating into English. I tried it out briefly, and it looks kinda impressive. Adds many items, as well as a "news system" where you'll get updates through the PDA (like if a STALKER runs into a mutant, he'll report the general location and so on). It's pretty neat, but I'll hold off playing it until the translation is complete.
     
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  19. headache Novice

    headache
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    Anybody played ArmA: Armed Assault*? I just got it and was playing around with it this weekend. I'm planning on trying STALKER too but got to this one first.

    Off topic but in my honeymoon with it I felt like mentioning that STALKER fans might like it-- it has a set campaign but each mission is far from a railroaded shooter like Half Life, and it has a realistic armament and inventory model. And I don't think it got much publicity because it's so hardcore and generic-looking. No high-concept art direction or setting that is, it's just infantry simulation. You need a beast of a system for it, but the same goes for STALKER.

    You can try optional missions without your squad but it demonstrates that it's really hard to be Rambo. You are going to get killed a lot, and not see that kill-shot coming. It's a real fucking challenge, and I love it.

    *it has a different subtitle in US release; I got the UK version because Gogamer.com has a lot of those for some reason.
     
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  20. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    Have you played Operation: Flashpoint and compared it with that?
     
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  21. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    I still want to know what the hell happened between these videos and the final release:

    Behind the Game 03
    Behind the Game 02
    Behind the Game 01

    It looked great there. Where did the features they were showing off go? I hear from the fans it was due to an interfering idiot in publishing who wanted it streamlined or something and so cuts had to be made at the eleventh hour.
     
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  22. Starwars Arcane

    Starwars
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    It's pretty likely that THQ cut things down and so on to get the game out. I'm not sure if it was valid looking back, but at that time I really felt relieved that someone was finally taking control to get the damn game out. There was a long period of time where the project seemed to be floating in limbo completely.

    That said, what I'm missing the most that is showcased in those videos is a sense of purpose to other Stalkers. STALKERs A-life system, while not perfect, is still the best AI system I've seen, especially in combination of combat and the sort of "virtual life". But it really seemed like they snared it in somewhere in production, and you never get the sense that other Stalkers are actually doing something worthwhile nor is it worthwhile to trade with them most of the time. That is what I'm missing the most, and I really hope Clear Sky will remedy that somewhat. You CAN join either Duty or Freedom, but it doesn't make much sense game design wise to join Freedom, as the Bar (which is a fairly major quest hub, also containing some of the storyline missions) lies in the middle of Duty territory.
    Again, that's something I hope Clear Sky will do better (there will be a lot more joinable factions appearantly). And also, more purpose!

    Stuff like the cars seems like a neat idea at first, but it really doesn't add that much (there are mods that have enabled them again).
     
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  23. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    An improved A-life system would have been very welcome. The AI would breathe life into those big open areas and interacting with the other stalkers would be a lot more fun if they had managed this original vision. Some of the monsters that were cut would have been nice to see too. Adds some variety. It can get boring killing the same dog beast every couple of minutes.

    The cars and vehicles would have gone some way to solving the problem of the long boring treks and loot collection without needing them to revamp all the zones to make them entertaining to trek through so often. Even if NPCs were using vehicles like the helicopters (outside of the few set pieces in STALKER now) or trucks to transport people for attacks (especially military or groups like Duty) to add some more life and traffic to the place it would have been more interesting. Anything to spice it up so it doesn't feel empty or fixed, which is the opposite of what was promised long ago.

    It was good in a way that it was released at all and gained popularity and I did enjoy it, but it'll be a shame if that original game from those years ago will never see the light of day. You're probably right in that it was going to be trapped in limbo without intervention but the suit that worked it over was brutal in cutting it back and demanding redesigns (which took another few years to change, it seems). It seems that CS might be slipping for its release date in Q1, not sure. If it turns out to be dumbed down and a shadow of what was promised once again then I'll be very disappointed.

    Edit: Another one of those videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj_krLAC ... re=related
     
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  24. Annonchinil Scholar

    Annonchinil
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    Like many of you I too found Stalker more visually appealing than Crysis and am somewhat excited for clear sky, mostly because I liked Stalker and want the franchise and the company that made it to suceed. However with seven factions and ever since they dropped THQ very little actual gameplay videos coupled with Stalker's history I am very skeptical as to how it would turn out. I would have been more excited for the game had they abandoned the whole faction/dynamic quest model that didn't work to well in Stalker and focus on creating an exploration/horror shooter.
     
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  25. headache Novice

    headache
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    Yeah that game is the sequel to Operation Flashpoint-- or from the makers of anyway, so it's the current iteration. I'll let you all talk about STALKER now, and pay attention for when my time with it comes. The mod suggestions seem helpful.
     
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