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Ifafudafi has contributed to 103 posts out of 425754 total posts (.02%) in 1,681 days (.06 posts per day).

20 Most recent posts:

Quote: --- Original message by: Higuy
...a completely custom level (which I still don't understand why they haven't done yet).

Quote: --- Original message by: Mootjuh
As for no custom maps.. lack of resources I guess?

when picking what to do next, tsc:e team elected to try tsc:e due to concerns about both the team's inexperience with from-scratch level & encounter design, and the potential resource pitfalls (not to mention quality issues) that could come from a completely new story and completely new dialogue. considering how long tsc:e's taken, I think the decision was justified; to be honest I don't think the team as it was in 2012 was properly equipped to pull off something on a fully-custom scale at the level of quality and coherence at which we'd be comfortable shipping. working on this thing has caused everybody involved to jump up so many levels of skill & experience

with that said, the beach and cartographer field areas that we've shown are easily the two most "traditional" pieces of level design in the map. pretty much everything else (barring 1 (and a half) very pointedly deliberate lifts from the stock level) was designed more with a general "where are we on the pacing curve right now" "what can we throw at player that they haven't seen yet" mindset, taking inspiration less from the actual structure of b30 and more from mood and pace. it hasn't taken it's-getting-close-to 3 years to make for nothing

Quote: --- Original message by: Echo77
It's like they think it's one of those things where you try to guess how many candies are in the jar to win a prize.

except there's no prize

if it makes anyone feel better, some things accomplished since the christmas video while waiting for these stupidly slow renders:

-very cool god ray hack in a place you guys haven't seen yet
-significantly improved sand and grass shaders
-new animations for player driving the wraith
-a much-needed second pass to vehicle weapon trigger damage (camera recoil)
-many bugfixes and optimizations
-And More!

so the upshot to the lighting taking way longer than anything should reasonably take is that we're spending the intervening time polishing whatever we can

I may as well ask here

it would be very cool if somebody could get precise shots/kill counts (divided into shots/shields & shots/hp) for whatever guns are in the beta. it would be extra cool if somebody could get footage of firing into walls at a reasonable distance to measure both regular and ads accuracy of the guns. I don't have an xo and am unable to do this myself, but am very interested to see exactly what these changes are

Quote: --- Original message by: ColateralDamage
So, are you guys going to have high bloom by default, or will we have to use Open Sauce settings or Sweet FX to do that?

By default, the bloom will be present but fairly subdued; the christmas video uses these settings. If you want more, we've added an option in the pause menu that cranks it up much higher

Quote: --- Original message by: Infinite Guardian
Is the new Hunter "actually" finished now?


when we're saying that the lighting is the absolute last thing left, we mean it

Quote: --- Original message by: Danger_zone_98
I really hope this map has a very big replay value. We've waited for too long...

even now, I'll go in to test one or two small things early in the map, and then find myself playing on until I'm like 2/3 through and have to force myself to stop so I can get back to useful tasks. (of course, I might be a little bit biased)

Quote: --- Original message by: Spartan314
Will there be a trailer released before the map?

there'll be a trailer to accompany the launch. don't expect any other videos before then


Quote: --- Original message by: Ifafudafi
nature decided to gift me an ugly cold yesterday, but I fought through it to deliver this seasonal surprise on-time. don't say we never do anything for you guys! (unless the thing is release the map, in which case, ok, but,)

have a pleasant non-specific solstice festivity cycle!

Quote: --- Original message by: thellt
this is how ive been worried everyone from cmt has been feeling....

I can guarantee you that everybody working on TSC:E is working literally every day to finish the map, and that finishing the map is the main priority in our lives outside of food, rent, and other things necessary to ensure we can spend literally every day finishing the map

Quote: --- Original message by: teh lag

Ifafudafi has been taking time to work with the 100% final BSPs to pretty up their environment textures and shaders, so that they look nicer with DLMs enabled.

After X years of staring down both h1 forerunner and what's become our unique spin on that style, it's equal parts wonderful and frightening to have to completely recalibrate my mental model of what it's supposed to look like, now that we have the means to make forerunner metal look like Actual Metal. Not too long ago I was running around panicking that it was too much and we'd never get it right, but today I'm bouncing in my chair waiting to take care of the next BSP's set of materials. "Breakthrough" is a word whose meaning has bcome sort of muted over time, but no other will do.

Will a demonstration of the difference make its way to the thread in the coming days? We'll have to see how quickly the lighting process goes

happy december

Lighting progress for our BSPs is illustrated here. When the lighting is finished (and we do a playthrough of the map afterwards to ensure nothing is broken) the map is finished. Again, I want to stress that this really is the last thing -- if we could somehow magically be done with the lighting tonight, then we'd be releasing tonight. (but we won't be done tonight, and so we're not.)

The UV cleanup is a very long, very tedious, very painstaking multi-day process. Once it's done for a BSP, the BSP takes ~2-3 days to render. If a mystery error pops up after that render, another re-render is necessary to fix it (although we do have a couple of other tricks if the error is minor enough). This is the cost of squeezing the kind of visual fidelity we're aiming for out of a 13 year old unsupported zombie engine. We'd like it to go faster but we're only a mod team for said zombie engine, and don't have access to huge render farms or oodles of qualified and trained worker drones.

As before, time spent waiting on renders is applied to further optimization and polish work. I've said it before but I'll say it again: we're just as eager for this thing to be finished as you guys are

since it's been a while

basically the real Thing left to do is lighting. the process for generating and importing custom lightmaps -- they're necessary for directional lightmaps, but we'd be doing them anyway as they're far superior to the debug tool/sapien lightmaps -- is an extremely convoluted, error-prone process with hour-long iteration times, and we're doing it across 10 BSPs that run the whole range from dark and ominous to bright and sunny.

the good news is that we've more or less locked down the sun and sky, which takes care of the vast majority of the exterior stuff. the interior stuff is going much more quickly, as not having to account for an omnipresent sun & sky gives us a lot more control to nudge and fudge things here and there until it's just right.

"but when will it be done" the downside with long iteration times and error-prone processes is that it's basically impossible to make an accurate prediction. take comfort in the fact that with our critical to-dos complete, me and lag have been taking almost every day to continue combing through the level, finding and polishing whatever we can. (in the past week alone, there have been 64 TSC:E-relevant source control commits made.)

and in saying that, I should re-iterate that other than the lighting (and the new crashed pelican model, as noted on the to-do list,) the map is done. every area, every encounter, every weapon, every unit, every music cue; 100% playable and complete, front-to-back, across all difficulties. with each day, it only gets even more polished

Quote: --- Original message by: slashrat
I'm up to my neck in lighting work, but things are definitely moving forward. It will happen.

true story: after about 2-ish weeks of nonactivity and unreachability from ^, we had to hire a private detective to find out what happened. the guy's rates were insane but he did his job and found that silicon (why does he go by "slashrat" here? is he trying to hide?????) had been picked up off the street in Kansas and brought to the nearest asylum (lag had to pretend to be his brother so we could get in and sneak him out of the place.) I took a picture of his room:

don't worry; we've made sure now that he won't be going anywhere until he's done
Edited by Ifafudafi on Nov 3, 2014 at 03:45 PM

Quote: --- Original message by: xnx
Is the TSCE team planning on some hype building when you guys are finally prepared to release the map? You know, trailers, yt videos, etc. word spreading

Since we're not a bigmajor corporation with a dedicated marketing team, everybody working on TSCE is spending pretty much all the free time they have working on TSC:E. (Seriously, think about all the things you might do when you're not at work or school. Now imagine doing literally none of those, because you are working on a Halo mod instead. Every day. That is what life is like for most TSC:E devs right now.)

Fortunately, since we're not a bigmajor corporation who needs appease shareholders by pushing as many pre-orders and launch week sales as is possible, we can shift the trailer-making and mod-hyping to after the map releases, at which point we'll actually have the time to do those things. TSC:E won't suddenly disappear or self-destruct within 7 days or whatever, and it's a lot easier to "sell" a free mod for a 13-year-old zombie game when we can point to it and say "you can try it now!", alongside footage and info about the entire map -- as opposed to currently, where we're trying our best to keep cool surprises under the lid and assure everyone that yes, it's coming, just be patient,

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
Just to clarify, I believe I heard that the DMR will not be in TSC:E?

We had DMR in the core set for a while, but it never really found a place. For context: our BR is better suited to groups of weaker units -- the burst-fire makes headshots easier to land, and a single burst can punch straight through higher-ranking Grunts' helmets. By contrast, our Carbine's automatic accelerating rate of fire and higher accuracy make it a bit harder to handle, but (alongside the higher mag capacity) enable it to more effectively pummel down Brute armor and Elite shields. (Our Pistol easily outdoes the both of them in handling and DPS, but the penalty to accuracy at high rates of fire causes it to lose effectiveness in the situations BR & Carbine are best suited to.)

DMR kind of floated in the middle; the straightforward interpretation of power + accuracy led testers to always dive straight for it to the exculsion of all else, seeing its general-use nature as it-can-do-everything-the-other guns-can-do, regardless of whether it practically led to more effective play. Trying to temper those qualities (by reducing accuracy at higher rate of fire, for example) then led to testers finding it unsatisfying to use, seeing it as everything-else-can-do-what-it-does-better.

Rather than trying to fight how much players liked it, we even tried converting it to a power weapon by amping up the damage and accuracy even higher, at the cost of reduced availability -- but that just led to it being treated as a sub-Sniper Rifle, and so it was ultimately dropped in favor of just sticking with the BR/Carbine for core longrange situations, and the Sniper Rifle for a superpowered superaccurate specialty weapon; so, no, DMR is not in the TSC:E weapon set.

On the other hand, if you were to open the current TSC:E build in HEK+, you'd find a fully-populated dmr\ directory. Hmm...

Quote: --- Original message by: justiyt
So your "Normal", your lowest difficulty level possible, is analogous to regular Halo:CE Heroic? I understand some people like difficulty, but sometimes it's just fun to rampage through the Covenant without having to worry about your weapon choice or where the next health pack is.

I don't mean it as EVEN NORMAL WILL KICK YOUR NUTS 'TILL THEY BREAK; just that the usual "yeah it's called 'Normal' but it's really just for babies" preconception that tends to float around isn't applicable here -- we have three main difficulties to pick from, so we want to make sure we're making proper use of them. If you're familiar enough with Halo that you're on this forum, you have a working legal copy of HCE, and you're able and willing to install OS and the custom map, you'll be fine. It might not be an autopilot breeze, but if you just want a challenge-free stomp then cheat_omnipotent is right over there

(I use "should" across the post not as in EVERY MAP SHOULD DO THIS, but as in if we're accomplishing what we want to accomplish, these are the things that should happen)

If I get too into things I'll take up the rest of this page, but the main thing we're trying to do with difficulty as a concept is drive the player to expand their tactical palette rather than shrink it. Obviously, butt-stupid suicide tactics will work less and less the harder things get, but we're just as cautious about players falling into a Plasma Pistol/Battle Rifle endless-repeat -- if things go right, falling back on a select few supereffective options will become less viable as difficulty increases, rather than more; or, the "easiest" way to play the map is also the way that has player using the widest variety of tools and tactics.

Get good enough with a gun and we're okay with you "breaking out" of an optimal set of solutions and taking down encounters in an unexpected way -- open areas like the security pit have multiple side routes that can let you circumvent the more straightforward long-range approach, and there's nothing stopping you from landing chain headshots up-close with a Battle Rifle other than your ability to compensate for the clunky shortrange handling. The threshold for how effectively you have to use a tactic in order to ignore others is raised higher as difficulty goes up -- if you habitually play other Halo games on Legendary, you can probably stick with just a Carbine or just a Plasma Rifle throughout most of Normal. If you want to use nothing but a Battle Rifle on our Legendary, you're going to have to land every single shot on the head, and grab just about every bullet from every dump on the map

You could consider it like this: good aim is one of the lowest priority things we're testing for. If you're really good at hitting what you're shooting at, you can probably make it through the map riding only that one skill on Normal. Heroic should then drive you to play smarter, rather than just "better;" more tools, more variety in tactics. Legendary then should require players in any reasonable skill range to use basically everything available to them over the course of a playthrough if they don't want double-digit death counts. It's not so much that the map is straight-up "harder" as it is requiring you to exercise a much broader range of skills and tactics than you might otherwise be accustomed to -- if you want to just run on autopilot with your grey headshot gun of choice, things are going to get real hairy, unless you're performing well enough on a low enough difficulty to circumvent the many other options that would make your playthrough a lot easier.

It's for that reason that...

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
If I beat TSC:E on Legendary first try with a 3-death margin of error, can I have SPV3 Beta? :3

...I'm recommending starting on a lower difficulty, because ultimately we want you to enjoy yourself, and if you're diving straight into a difficulty intended only those who are practiced and very familiar with the level design, equipment population, weapon behavior, etc., you probably won't enjoy yourself. We are not impressed by the oh so macho guy who's so manly he hasn't not played SLASO in years -- I would be much more pleased seeing a video of somebody doing a really fun and varied playthrough of Normal than a first-time player grinding and grinding against Legendary just so they can say they beat it. (although I mean, if you find more comedy than frustration in that kind of thing, then hey, ok, but,)

Quote: --- Original message by: Zetren
Will OpenSauce v3.2/v4/v4.0.0/v69/v420/v9001 be released before Evolved or on the same day? Does Kornman00 have a definite date of release?

The newest OS will release no later than when TSC:E releases. OS guys haven't given a timeframe for (I assume) the same reason TSC:E's just using a to-do list instead of an actual time estimate, i.e., anything with sufficient precision would just be a blind guess, and would consequently have at least a 50/50 chance of being totally completely wrong, which wouldn't make anybody happy

Quote: --- Original message by: darkrider400
That reminds me, how much different is "everything" since this video has come out (a year ago) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzMloaw58zw

And by "everything", I mean textures, models, map geometry, etc. :D

Like the pit, that was a pretty stable area. Some significant changes were made to some parts of the layout, but those parts weren't shown in the video in the first place and I can't really say more than that without giving away too much

The things we highlighted last year were highlighted in large part because they were some of the more stable and complete areas we had at the time. Things that were in need of more significant work (and thus more likely to undergo major changes) weren't shown because they still needed significant work!

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
I've been thinking of starting to plan out my attack on the area when I do my Legendary runthrough.

You're going to want to do the map on Normal or Heroic first. That's not a boast; it's just a helpful hint. If the main-series Normal assumes a baseline of semicasual frat bros as the "average" audience, our Normal assumes that our average audience has been regularly playing Halo for years. Heroic is then a big step up from that.

Legendary is designed a bit different from analogues in other games. Almost every encounter has at least one significant alteration that changes the way it goes. Good aim, consistent shooting, and proper management of health are just the entry fee; what we're really testing is your ability to do all the other stuff. We don't expect a player to clear the CQB canyon with a Battle Rifle any more easily than we'd expect them to be sniping their way across the security pit with a Shotgun; the notion of "primary" and "secondary" guns needs to go out the window if you're planning on having a chance -- and even then, we're expecting players to both know of and be able to properly budget the ammo/battery and health packs from every single equipment dump on the map.

If you can hop into the map on Legendary and clear it fine on your first run, we haven't done our job right.


Since it's been an oh god it's been a month since we announced the delay, some words:

-The map has been 100% playable from the opening cutscene through the ending cutscene for some time now, and all gameplay-relevant map geometry is finalized

-All encounters (on all difficulties) and all weapon behavior is essentially finalized, at the very worst seeing some extremely minor 2-minute tweaks if the last rounds of testing find adjustments necessary

-We just finished one of the last outstanding BSP tasks and are well on the way to getting the rest taken care of very soon; the first phase of the lighting process has been completed, and is only pending confirmation of final scenery placement before moving on to the next of four. (Lighting will almost undoubtedly be the last thing we finish, and this is a very good place for it to be relative to our progress in other areas)

-The remaining 16 items on the to-do list really are all that's left. Just reading the number may make it seem like a lot, but that's 16 out of literal thousands of completed tasks. I'm not exaggerating -- we moved to formal source control 9 months ago, and in those 9 months there have been over 1,000 TSC:E-relevant commits. Consider that kind of pace over the map's entire 2.5-year development time, and it's easier to see that we really are on the very edge of having this thing finished.

if there was any way to even semi-accurately measure how much time it'll take before we're done, we'd have done that instead of posting the to-do list
Edited by Ifafudafi on Sep 20, 2014 at 06:25 PM

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
Does TSC:E feature Armor Upgrades, and if so will they be different from the SPV3 ones? No need to go into specifics if you're keeping secrets.

I'll go ahead and hit this head-on so it's not a surprise:

TSC:E isn't including Armor Abilities/Modules/Upgrades/Whatever (I'll just call them AAs because that's what they are). This isn't because we don't think they're a good idea; properly executed, they can broaden the game's tactical palette and provide the player with a whole new range of tools, increasing the number and likelihood of cool emergent systemic intersections that are such a Halo trademark. A prototype system was in place at one point -- but, it never made it to testers.

The main reason: AAs didn't come together until pretty much all of the map's level design and encounters were set up. Since everything was designed to work without AAs, simply dropping them in wouldn't allow us to execute them properly (i.e., broading player's tactical palette):

-AAs need to drive the player to do more, not less. A substantial version of at-will camo can enable the player to just skip past nearly all of the map's encounters (as we've tried to avoid unexplained hard-locks to the player's progression), for example -- the point is to increase the amount of tactics the player deploys, not shrink it. (A less substantial version that can't be used like this is then too ineffective to open up any new tactics for the player).

-AAs need to be equally attractive to the player, in terms of a single playthrough. If we have something that doesn't really boost player's effectiveness or range of tools (like a radar boost or something), then the player will at best only use it very briefly to experiment, if at all, before ignoring it in favor of a more effective option for the rest of the map.

-AAs need to fit in with existing systems. Something that regenerates health, for example, nullifies us having carefully paced distribution of health packs across the map, removing a significant component of player's thinking and a significant drive to explore; changing distribution to compensate would then put player at a disproportionate disadvantage when using any other non-HP-related AAs. (Keep in mind Halo 1 distributes vitality equally between shields and health, rather than the 70/30 shields/health distribution from H2 and onward.)

Taking all of that into account, only 3 AAs that had the potential to do what we want with the system made their way into the aforementioned prototype system, and even those suffered from disproportionate effectiveness and minimal potential for varied use; hence, it was cut so that we could dedicate the resources to improving other areas of TSC:E.

If AAs been there from the start, then there's no doubt that we would've made sure to design things to ensure we could take advantage of the many potential benefits AAs can bring -- but I think the amount of time the map's taken so far should explain why we didn't go back and spend another year completely overturning all our BSP and encounters, instead deciding that TSC:E was still good enough to stand without them.

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
Also, I think you mentioned before the the Pistol in TSC:E will not act like the SPV3 one, but similar to the H1 settings. Is this correct?

Pistol is roughly (a hair less) accurate than the H1 pistol at a rate of fire ~equal to the H1 pistol. It can fire up to around twice that fast for a considerable DPS increase, at additional cost to accuracy. To stop that from getting out of control, base damage has been decreased by a small amount -- the modified damage H1 pistol did to Elite shields becomes the damage rate across all units. (i.e., headshot kills are as quick or quicker than in H1, but bodyshot killtimes are nerfed a bit in compensation for the huge DPS increase that can come from higher rates of fire).

Fun facts on that H1 pistol damage rate -- the tag you get with your HEK lists damage as a flat 1.0x across all unit materials, but tool does some magic to it when the map compiles that modifies vs. Elite shield to 0.8x -- you can see this if you look in memory after a map is loaded to the game. More interestingly, the tag's 0.2-2.0 degree error is also modified to 0.2-0.4 -- that's a pretty huge increase! (The Plasma rifle also gets hit by tool, going from 0.5-5.0 degree error to 0.25-2.5 degree error!)

We don't have a confirmation of course, but this is the likely answer to "what did Jason Jones do to the Pistol?" Even more fun fact: tool doesn't do this when compiling a multiplayer map. On Xbox, multiplayer modifies the Pistol and PR to the above values somewhere after the tool compile -- but more importantly, Halo PC does not! So effectively, Halo PC players in multiplayer have been using an old, ineffective beta version of the Pistol and PR the whole time.

Quote: --- Original message by: RabbitFood
Well I have a question. The BR in the TSC:E mini-vid things had the same ammo/color mechanic as the Assault Rifle. In the SPV3 Trailer, the BR had the green tint on the ammo display to show it was an older model, apparently. Is this difference staying in TSC:E?

we're keeping the color change

If it makes you feel better: as pretty much everything on the list isn't my job (other than those large waterfall VFX, which are harder than one might think, mostly due to engine issues that may or may not be reasonably circumventable), I'm spending quite a bit of time this week working on some special fun things that almost certainly wouldn't have got in if we'd shipped earlier. The one upshot to a super protracted development cycle like this is it means we get the time to cram all kinds of neat extras into neat places - there should be a fair amount of additional entertainment value after the first playthrough beyond simply repeating for better performance.

As mentioned, the decrease in item completion rate mostly serves to highlight what the "real" big to-dos are. As the weekend rolls around there should be a lot more free time for us all to leap on those big suckers and wrangle them off the list.
Edited by Ifafudafi on Sep 10, 2014 at 02:00 AM

2 days, 8 items struck down. That doesn't necessarily mean we're now locked at a rate of 4 items per day; we may go slower, or we may go faster.

In fact, the weekend's about to start (i.e., extra time) and it's a 3-day weekend at that. Let's see how far we can get
Edited by Ifafudafi on Aug 30, 2014 at 12:47 AM

Time: Wed January 28, 2015 7:12 PM 234 ms.
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