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 Quagmire Review View next topic
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Flamescreen
Vault Hero
Vault Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2002 3:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Really, it's a wondefull map. You will have a wondefull surprise playing it, as the sound additions by Endocore, add a great deal to the sensation of "being there".

Endocore has done wonderfull things with the existing tilesets. The forest is by far the best part of the graphics on this map. It looks real too. I also liked the various grass amount on top of rocks, next to buildings, but not inside installations, which seems natural. Most of the buildings seem pretty much realistic, possibly Endocore modelled them after real buildings he visited, if not, I have to congratulate him for the designs. The cave of the Koroki tribe is a gem. Overall the tile placement is excellent(you'll find your self identifying some of the rooms maybe in the government buildings of your city, or in movies).

I equally liked useless stuff he added to make his map more "solid"(realism is an esssential part of the map). It is well worth the effort. You will recognize the usefull stuff, by the fact they don't have weight(suggestion: don't take them with you, they can hinder your inventory clarity at times-searching through a lot of stuff usually does confuse me). It's a very funny thing to read the descriptions(and at times just see the NPC reactions), so do that. I'm particularly fond of a certain drawing you will find in a very well "guarded" storage place smile
It had me hysterically laughing cause I really thought it could happen.

Also a plus: the new photos for portraits. Designed by a very good program they're different but in a pleasing way. The best one is todd's imo(if it is drawn ideed. It looks very real). I got so influenced by it that I will probably use this method for my upcoming campaign(I have an older version of this program).

Loot is quite abundant, and you can use it for a variety of goods mostly bought in the slavers camp. Hint: depending on your previous actions, that may include members for your team. There is a lot of medicine, also, though for a big portion of it you'll have to steal. My suggestion: before starting a fight in certain areas(you'll know which), try to steal your opponents -to be- medicine, so they will not be able to heal themselves during combat.

Combat is pretty difficult in TB(that coming from someone who didn't find the final missions of the normal campaign very difficult), so if you're a novice, you might want to sharpen your skills a bit before trying this one.
Still, most of us finished the normal game, so I don't see a particular problem for playing it. It gave me the impression though that it would probably be much easier in CTB though(due to trooper positioning).

One major objection here: in the slaver camp I choosed to start a fight(it is not obligatory), and it got me a couple of hours(or more not sure), just because the soldiers kept positions in the top floors I couldn't get to(not because my troopers couldn't kill 'em, but as I climbed the ladders a shot and there I was in the basement again imobile. It's definatelly expected in the real world, but I wouldn't like it much in a game.Perhaps a few ladders in the back of the buildings would be a good solution). Also i choose to get out of combat so they could change positions and give me line of sight to kill them from ground level. They eventually did but it took a long time to. Also I tried to use the facing buildings but most of the time they were too far. A good element yes, but it was a bit overdone, I think.[Update]Most of the comments about the slaver camp are now rendered useless, since upon completing it, I found it can be done easier than I thought. Seek and you shall find, I can't say more to this. icon_sad

Also, something different from the other map creators: for the most part, you don't get assignements for quests but can start them and if succesfull you'll have similar results to a possible quest(I didn't got rewards though-but that's not a bad thing you'll get accustomed to it-). For instance in the slaver camp it is obvious you have to exterminate those slavers(unless you share their pov of course). I can't remember if you get a script other than the manual to help you understand how can you open the door to the main computer, but if there isn't there should be, since you might not know what to do.

I like the floaters(I call floating text lines this way). The speeches too. Most of the things you hear are very good, carefully thought of, probably. Btw, if you open the mission in the editor and track things like triggers, you'll see how much work was invested on the map. Remarkable. Also the use of triggers to activate many of the entities is a very good idea. Gives the player the notion everything he does has an effect, nomatter good or bad.

The map has a lot of combat, but the good part is you don't have to do it if you don't like battling. I haven't tested this, but in theory you could finish the map, completing most of the objectives, without wasting a drop of your blood.(The core part being the factory and maybe Alana-incidentally the name reminds me of the titlea hobbyist created game had "The lost island of Alana" -would it have anything to do with it?). Of course you wouldn't get the best comments by your boss but it displays the flexibility.

There could be a bug(or something I did wrong) not sure though. Next to the soldiers oficer's office, there is room with a chest. I couldn't open this chest, not because it was locked or something, but because it is probably blocked. It could be the reason I cannot open the green door in the portion of the building below surface.

Overall, this is one of the best maps and I recomend as a must if you completed the game at least once. If you're only starting I would say try to finish the game first so as to learn a bit(also keep in mind that many of the combat situations, e.g. the killer bees, you can simplify by using your mind). If you want to create your own maps there is no better guide than looking what Endocore has done with tile placement, triggers and the rest.

Thumbs up to Endocore for creating such a map. No wonder he is concidered a top creator(Max-v also there, I think I will complete the jailbreak series next). I burned my brain sort of speech to complete this in time, but it was definatelly worth it! I had a great time!


Last edited by Flamescreen on Wed May 29, 2002 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Max-Violence
Wandering Hero
Wandering Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1221
Location: In my own personal vault

PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2002 7:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The only "snag" in the map that I saw was when (SPOILER WARNING) the PCs save the daughter of the tribal leader-guy, take her back, and when the PCs slaughter the tribe (except for the daughter), she still says "thanks so much" after you've slaughtered her father and all her tribe! Talk about cold-blooded! *shivers*
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endocore
Regular
Regular


Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2002 1:36 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you so much for your kind review, Flamescreen. I'm glad you liked the map. I think the most important aspect of any game is how one answers the question: Was it fun to play? Your review seems to indicate that you enjoyed it, but if you or anyone else who might respond could directly address that question, I'd be quite grateful.

I'm glad you liked the new portraits for the characters I made with Poser 4, but I must admit that I didn't actually make the one for Todd that you specifically mentioned. It's actually a default portrait from MF called 'mis15_Stephen.zar'.

Thanks for your compliments on the graphical appeal of the map, as a definite goal I had in making Quagmire was to improve the visual appeal of the mission compared to my other maps. Although I basically used the same technique for laying out the landscape that I have used in the past (which is to make a few areas and then copy and paste to fill in the rest of the map), my hope was that by making the "original" samples much larger (each of the five or so elements which comprise the vast majority of the landscape are an entire map region in size) players wouldn't be aware of the repetitive nature of the scenery. I'm also glad you liked the buildings, but I must admit you give me far too much credit for planning them out. I'm basically a "lazy" mapper who rarely plans anything in advance, and all of the buildings were built on the fly as I played around with the tiles. While I certainly don't recommend this method for everyone, I find that it allows me to be much more creative with my mapping. With no real plan to follow, I can immediately implement new ideas as they occur to me without having to "adjust my plans" so to speak.

I'm glad that you found the combat to be challenging, since that was another of my goals for the map. The biggest let-down for me regarding the original SP campaign from MF was that it was far too easy, and that actual "tactical" planning was rarely required to win the combats. I hope players of any of my maps will find that careful thought and planning are required to win the combats, and that the standard "direct frontal assault" method which can be used to conquer all the maps in MF's SP campaign will quickly result in lots of dead player characters in my maps. You have a good point that it is quite difficult to take out the slavers in the guard towers if you assault the slaver base, but this was by design and I'm sorry if you found it too frustrating. Should you play through the map again and decide to attack the slaver base again, however, the victory condition for "killing the slavers" is only that they have fewer than fifteen units still alive, so you could "win" the battle by simply killing all the slavers on the ground and ignoring most of the units in the guard towers. Although you would not be aware of this simplified victory condition unless you examined the script file in the .mis prior to playing the mission, it is something I frequently implement as a reflection of my dissatisfaction with the standard "every single enemy on the map must be slain" requirements of standard combat games. In "real life," the goal of armed conflict is normally to destroy the enemy's effective capacity to engage your forces, and a rout of the enemy is almost always preferable to expending the resources (time, opportunity, materiel) required to "exterminate every last one of the bastards."

You are quite right that if a player desired to do so the mission could be "won" without ever firing a shot, although in my view that would mean they missed out on most of the fun of the map, which is intended to be in the forceful resolution of the various tactical problems presented by the opponents. My main goal in designing adventures is to present the story in as "realistic" a manner as I feasibly have time to implement. The player is given incomplete and often frankly misleading information in the mission briefing, is given only a few hints of all the possibilities of the map, and then is left to proceed and explore at their own discretion. While I can certainly appreciate that many folks might find this frustrating or consider it bad design, I purposely don't make my maps for kiddies raised on television who need to have everything spelled out for them. Anyone who wants a gaming experience like that can go into their local software store wearing a blindfold and randomly pick up just about any title they come across. In "real life" we rarely know the motivations of those whom we interact with on a daily basis, and both good and bad deeds often go as unnoticed as they are unrewarded or unpunished. Two prominent examples of this approach found in Quagmire can be found in the slaves at the slaver camp, and the company of mysterious soldiers who have set up camp in the ruined building in the north. Apart from Alana, there is no reward for freeing the slaves from the slaver camp, nor is there any penalty for leaving them to their enslavement. The particulars of the slaves' pathetic existence are simply irrelevant to the player characters' goals. Likewise, the player can never really learn why exactly the company of soldiers (the ones with the green and black armor) has been sent to disrupt his or her operations in the region. The soldiers oppose the player and can be engaged or ignored at the player's discretion, but their motives and the motives of the organization they belong to remain unknown. This design philosophy also relates to the point about Alana's "coldness" raised by Max-Violence. Alana has become "educated" (using the "Rozco Robo-Tutor" found in the tribal caves) and realizes that her people are savages with a dismal future, which is why she wishes (in one of the story paths) to flee to "civilization" with the BOS (i.e. the player characters), or to simply run away into the wastes by herself (in the other paths). Nonetheless, figuring out her motives for not wishing to remain a member of a tribe of cannibals is largely left to the player's imagination even though all of the elements for figuring out the "truth" are present in the mission.

Could you elaborate a bit on the treasure chest that you had trouble with? I'm not quite sure which one you're referring to, and as far as I know all the entities in the map which the player is intended to interact with are accessible in one way or another. As for the green door below the surface that connects the northwestern ruined building with the factory complex on the mountaintop, if you enter the sewer tunnel in the mountaintop factory and approach the basement of the ruined building from the east, you'll find a passkey for the door lying on the ground in the tunnel. This was done to give the player an alternate way of attacking the quite heavily defended ruined building in the northwest, but since there's really nothing to "assault" initially at the mountaintop factory entrance to the tunnel from the west is not granted (there's no reason for it). P.S. SPOILER In one of the story paths (dependent on a combination of which of the random storylines was automatically set at the beginning of the mission plus the player's in-game behavior), the jeweled necklace in the treasure chest near the green door underground can be used to buy Alana from the slavers if the player wants to rescue her peacefully. This outcome of the slaver quest will only be possible about 25% of the time, though. SPOILER END

Thank you again for your review of the map, Flamescreen. I think Max-Violence would agree with me when I say that the largest obstacle a mapper faces in figuring out what works and what doesn't work in maps is the lack of detailed critical responses we receive from players. I recall feeling quite bad for one of our fellow mappers who has several very nice maps out there for download when, upon my sending him a review of his map via e-mail, he thanked me because I was the only person who had ever sent him any kind of comments on his work. I'm quite interested in hearing what anyone else may have thought of Quagmire or any of my other maps, whether the response is positive or negative. Thanks again.

Endocore
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Flamescreen
Vault Hero
Vault Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2002 1:46 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well it sure sounds as she doesn't like her father/tribe very much, when you free her and she responds she doesn't want to go back. Ever. smile
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Flamescreen
Vault Hero
Vault Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2002 2:11 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Endocore,
sorry for getting this delayed, I started posting this earlier and only now, have seen your post. Of course I enjoyed(it was fun to play) your map, I wouldn't really get into the trouble of reviewing it if I didn't. I guess I'm taking several things for granted(as in assuming you would realise I liked it. Note to self: other people aren't mind readers Laughing REALLY FUCKING HARD )

I started taking out the slavers from the 2 buildings in the back and went on killing untill reaching the main entrance. Now that you mention it, it actually makes sence to have an objective complete even if you don't kill everyone. I enjoy the difference in thinking.

SPOILER: I actually used the mentioned way to free Alana. I also found the way now to have the devise info quest done.Btw, I think you should find some way to rationalize the sudden appearance of some of the surprise entities. Perhaps seeing them there idle or inactive in a way the player cannot interact with them, unless you're implying they were hovering above the installation and when you activate them they come down on you, which is not entirely out of the question.END SPOILER

About Todd: You got me there, I honestly can't remember seeing him in the core campaign. Its been a long time, but that wouldn't be an excuse for not remembering him. I suppose its someone I haven't talked with for some reason.

About the chest: I'll have to go find it in my saves. I'll give more details om this one tomorrow.

About the green door: I'm speaking of the second green door(not the one with the wasteland tiles next to it, the one with the selves) I didn't open the first one either but didn't have too, as I killed the soldiers, and then went to the factory and got down there(to the other side of door). I didn't notice the cardkey though. I'll go again and assume it opens both doors.
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Flamescreen
Vault Hero
Vault Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2002 10:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

UPDATES

Playing the map in full, I could find answers to some of my problems with it-mainly the slaver camp. I now have to apologise for my rushed thinking and to say it's easier than I thought it would be(hint: I found some goodies somewhere, can't say more). I'm under the impression I give a feeling I don't like combat, or didn't like it in this map in particular.
That's a lie, and I denounce it(the idea of me not liking it)! icon_mrhappy

I really enjoyed it and in fact the soldiers building is one of my favorites in direct combat, since it manages to use a system that forces me to use all the best abilities in my squad simoultaneously. Great work!

About the pass key: (Spoiler) I found it, and it does open both doors as I imagined, its a great help too. A great idea to do it this way also(again, very realistic). I wasn't searching for it, and if you go this way, its easy to miss it. There is another chest I can't open in this armory room. The first one being in one of the corner rooms top floor, near the destroyed portion of this corner EndSpoiler Eventually, its my mistake-since forgeting the "search everything" rule of RPG's.


Last edited by Flamescreen on Wed May 29, 2002 11:12 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Flamescreen
Vault Hero
Vault Hero


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2002 11:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Soldier Building TB Combat Techniques

First of all, sneak. smile You can go unoticed in a room this way, scout the enemy, their weapons and pick the technique you prefer. You have to keep in mind some basics: Grenades and AK's do a lot of damage, but you have to be really close for the opponent to use them. So what do you do? Most are inside rooms. You open the door, move back the furthest you can without moving below 90% in targeting(with M1 I would go to up to 85 or even 80% just to make sure) hit Enter and start combat. It is usefull if you have one or two of your guys carrying short range weapons(the ones that do a lot of damage) sneaking next to the door(walls cover them), then when opponents have something like 50HP you can sent them in and finish the job.

My team synthesis: Melissa had a long range(M1 later sniper rifle) on one hand, Ak47 in the other(in case they charge at you), Lystra also long in one hand, grenade launcher in other(when no more ammo got an AK also),
Duke and Mac also got that synthesis, but used primarily the short range ones (Duke I think grenades, later pancor).

You can really "play" with natural cover like tables. Melissa is really good at that since she only uses one AP to go from prone to crouching and she's your best bet since she's really good with weapons. Duke also for his AP abudance. Sometimes also you will have to resort to entirelly different tactics like getting out of combat sneaking again, going closer to the opponent and getting in combat mode again.

I recommend "taking out" the roof soldiers first since you don't stand a chance if you try to enter the building with them sniping at you from the top(you will not even be able to see what hit you). Remember that you can't go crouching there, else you'll be spoted. Always go prone. A good tactic after taking out the first few, would be to try to send a couple of your soldiers with good sneaking in the other end of the building(opposite of the ladder) and have them crossed between your fire. Use the tanks for cover until getting near the middle.

Also it is advisable to take out whatever guards from below levels you can while on the roof. It will make your work that much easier. Finally when you loot them do it while sneaking and prone. In short don't leave the enemy to start a single fight, or it is you who will get killed. The initiative counts and every bullet you fire before being fired upon, may well save your life.
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