TS2 Mapmaker: Going back, after Future Perfect

#1admiralhowdyPosted 6/1/2012 4:24:52 AM
I want to jot down some of my thoughts on TS2 mapmaking, especially some things that take getting used to after being so accustomed to the more numerous features of the FP mapmaker. You can still do good things in TS2 mapmaker, I think, despite the more limited options.

*No story awards?*
Since there are no story awards in TS2, my recent considered opinion is that to provide a modicum of replay value to a TS2 story map, there should be a score, which you can try to get higher on during successive plays... Always. Or at least a counter that serves to show better performance in some way. Frustrating instant failures for such things like ai spotting you might instead be incorporated into a score: Instead of a goal being "DO NOT GET SPOTTED" with failure for getting spotted, the goal can be "TRY NOT TO GET SPOTTED", and then getting spotted can then just lower your score rather than instantly failing you. At the end of the game you can just make the TRYing be successful, so the mission can still be completed, albeit with a lower score. I'll have to toy with that idea though, so that the TS2 continual spotting doesn't make the score plummet into negative infinity. Maybe spotting can reset the score instead of subtracting a certain number of points...

*What, continual spotting?*
If an ai sees you, he is seeing you, creating a frame counter if you link the spotting to a counter. Trigger is being tripped at every frame (unlike FP's once-a-second spotting), making it extremely puzzling how to construct a point-based stealth map. To count the number of times spotted you need to use an additional trigger that isn't continually reset like the spotting itself, like the one-time event of a crate being destroyed. AI spots player, crate is destroyed. Crate destroyed, times spotted increases by 1.

*No message actions?*
You get 12 objectives, A through L. So these can be used for added messages for a story-telling aspect. Works great as long as you don't look at your objectives and read the script ahead of time I guess. Since you don't want COMPLETE to be displayed at every isolated message, the message you want to be displayed as a mere "story-element" message should be piggy-backed onto an actual goal you just completed, so it looks like the COMPLETE is still there from the goal you just finished (whether you read about that goal in advance ot not). Using all caps for the goal objective vs. smaller case letters in the subsequent messages help differentiate between the two types of messages, in theory. So an objective-completing action should complete some kind of goal objective (KILL A BADGUY - COMPLETE), plus however many other objectives that are there only for the sake of displaying the messages you want afterward (Boy, that was some tough badguy)(I hope I don't need to fight a badguy like that again)

*Sheesh, only 10 ai, and patrolling can't even respawn?*
While FP boasts 50, realistically you only get 19 at once. Here you get 10, each with only 20 lives vs. 999, provided none of them are patrol or stationary. I'd say make the TS2 patrollers count, since they can only have the 1 life. Patrollers seem meant for potential stealth elements anyway, so use them that way, incorporating spotting somehow. There are some special ai that can't patrol or even be stationary (Drone splitters are always attack, unless you have them spawn and wait). Drones and reapers can't even be punched in the back of the head for an instakill, so reapers are great choices for patrollers, drones for waiting ai that you might think you can get an easy stealth kill on. Psych!

To be continued...
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#2admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/1/2012 6:56:06 PM
I think I may have failed to mention, that these are all thoughts about story mapmaking. Anyways...

*What is with these messed up enemy respawn times?*
Yeah, they are pretty messed up. 1:00 means 1 minute between the time they first spawned, and the time they will spawn again, NOT 1 minute between their death and the time they spawn again. So if it takes 1 minute to get to and kill this AI, they will spawn again immediately. Man, that's annoying. Glad they they fixed it for FP. All you can do about it here though, is reconsider using Game Start as the spawn trigger for AI you want to be delayed in respawning. Make them spawn only when you get near their area; that way they won't have already been waiting for very long and won't respawn immediately when killed.

*No unarmed option for enemies?*
If you want unarmed, it has to be zombies or drones. In TS2, weapons are off-limits to zombies (which sort of makes more sense, actually). Coping options for unarming other characters are fire-extinguisher which takes them a while to use up before the fisticuffs, and the 1-shot TNT, which they will usually hurt themselves with.

*What the..?!? Only 10-second increments for Timer triggers?!?*
Egads. So much for finely-tuned timing. Depending on circumstances, you can use substitute triggers for increments less than 10 seconds. Like when I want a slight delay in the displaying of a message or completion of an objective, I've resorted to using a newly-spawned AI spotting me, or one of numerous attacking AI getting killed by me, to give me a rough 1 or 2 seconds before a desired action that the TS2 timer cannot accommodate. Although I just recently realized you can actually exploit the continual spotting to make an artificial timer out of counters, accurate to 1/60th of a second. So don't sweat that the actual timer is crap, you can build a far better one.

*Logic: Seriously, no reset action for reusing my triggers?*
Well not obviously, but cheer up. Any trigger can be reset by pairing it with a negated "AI spots player" trigger. Select "all of these" and the always-resetting spotting trigger will reset anything in the logic with it. Needs 1 AI that won't be spotting you anymore, of course. Killing an AI can also be an alternate resetting method. "AI killed" also resets automatically so would likely reset anything in the logic with it, likewise. Killing resetting happens only at the killing, while spotting resetting is continuous (an AI NOT killed is continuous though, like spotting or NOT spotting, until the AI is killed).

*Logic-dissociated autoguns which are in no way customizable?*
Well, it is what it is. Autoguns here are environmental obstacles, plain and simple. Use them accordingly and to flesh out the difficulty in different areas of the map that seem devoid of AI, given the sparse compliment in that department. Combine autoguns and AI in the same area to make the area more difficult. Since there are no death traps, there is nothing really to put between the guns and you to prevent you from running up on them and becoming invisible to them, so use them in pairs/groups so they can protect each other. Keep in mind they always point in the same direction at the same time, regardless of which way you think you are pointing them.

*No outdoors or stackables?*
Well at least you can make pitch black lights in large open tiles to simulate nighttime outdoors. Some of the tiles you can keep lit for buildings with funky flat roofs...
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#3admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/2/2012 4:15:38 AM(edited)
*Doors only unlocked via story keys? And great, AI can't even carry keys...*
What a drag. So just make the key appear in front of the door when you finally want the door unlocked. Or think of something more creative, to make the key appear in a special place after doing something special. A message could help the player know to backtrack for a newly-appeared key. But you must come to terms with the fact that unlocked doors cannot become locked, they are unlocked for good.

*Tiles: strange memory*
Some strange and surprising memory usage happens with the tiles. For instance, in FP you can put 200 1x1's to use up all the tile memory, and it doesn't matter which tile; though in practice it has been demonstrated that tiles with more permanent walls consume less memory than tiles with more open sides, in an actual map. Doesn't work like that in TS2. Seems to be random which tiles use more or less memory. For instance you can put 200 TS2 small T-junctions to use up all the memory (has 1 permanent wall), but just try and put that many small corridors (2 permanent walls-- and you can place only about 165). Small opens (no permanent walls) take even more memory; you can place far fewer of these (about 80?) before the memory is entirely depleted. Somebody needs to make a reference chart on which tiles are the most memory-economical for the same space. So far I know small T-junctions fit the best when you are trying to add 1x1's into an almost-full map.

--Serious Pluses--
Every character can be selected in Story, not just Cortez, so literally 100x the story premise options than Future Perfect! Reason enough right here to deal with any of the TS2 headaches.
Awesome music selection, unparalleled especially from the p.o.v. of a FP GameCuber.
Awesome turret guns with zoom! Short characters can't see over them though.
Well, the pickup choices, though a single item rather than a collectible set, are certainly more interesting and have more story potential than lunch boxes, coins, and "gentleman's magazines".
Keys in your possession are shown (unlike in FP), which can be handy. If you know you need it, you know you have it or not.
Gothic tile set, for those that can access it. And the Crossbow!
You can put a lot more than 50 items... but yeah, your 1 generic item is basically a crate... but hey, more than 50!
No time spent fussing over respawn times for health, armor, and ammo. There aren't any! Everything is 1-use only, allowing for sort of a strategy element in the gameplay: Should I pick it up now? Or later?
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#4admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/5/2012 3:41:37 PM
*Wow. You can't add more than a dinky 100 to a counter? Really?*
Well, not really. If you want to add 1000 to a counter, just add the same 100, in 10 different logics. Or create 10 different "add 100" triggers and put them in the same logic... Or 5 different "add 100" triggers, but use them in 2 logics... you get the picture. What there is no remedy for, however, is the "Reaches" trigger going no higher than 100. So if you want to create an artficial backwards-counting timer out of a single counter (beginning at 1000 and counting down to 959, 958... its a no go since you can't do "counter NOT reaches 1000: time left counter decreases by 40." The only remedy for such a situation would be to separate the minutes and seconds into 2 separate counters...

1. Game start: "Minutes left" increases by 10
2. Enemy X (a killed or unused enemy) NOT spots player: hidden frame counter increases by 1
3. Enemy X NOT spots player, frame counter reaches 60, (all of these): frame counter resets, "Seconds: decrease by 1
4. Enemy X NOT spots player, "Seconds" NOT reaches 0, (all of these): "Seconds" increases by 60, "Minutes left" decreases by 1
5. "Minutes left" NOT reaches 0: "Minutes left" resets, "Seconds" resets, FAIL any objectives not yet completed.

Booyah
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#5admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/9/2012 8:24:58 PM
*Why the hell isn't this simple logic working?!?*
By all rights it should work! I press this switch and a blue key should appear right there! Why isn't it appearing? AAAAAGGHH!!!...
The reason is this: You have just exceeded TS2's capacity to perform another logic operation. Surprise! Yes, there is still plenty of white space in your memory bar, but no, anything else you add logic-wise will be ignored by the game, and hopefully previous logics didn't already become corrupted under the strain. Time to step back and see what logics are really essential to the map's premise. If there's an earlier operation you think you can do without, delete it, and delete its triggers and actions (if these are not used in other logics), and try again. If there's not anything you can compromise on, you'll just have to put that blue key somewhere at game start, if you need it at all... What makes matters worse is that since there's some of that white space left, you might think you can put a few more tiles or items down after finally perfecting and maximizing your functioning logic ops. But beware. When you finally get all your final logic operations working, adding more tiles or items just might make you last operation stop working again. So its a constant give-and-take, with no warnings about exceeding any limits where the logic is concerned. Test, test, and test again, after just about every change to your map to make sure all your logic is still working, especially if you are approaching 2 full pages worth of operations.
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#6TreblaYevrahPosted 6/28/2012 9:42:11 AM
Nice notes. I recently went back to TS2 after playing Future Perfect for a long time, and I've started noticing some of the limitations that never occurred to me until now.

-One of the most irritating drawbacks in the tile options is that there are no mirrored small room pieces or stair room pieces. I'm pretty sure Future Perfect has these.

-Interesting how you mentioned the black tile thing for outdoors, because that's something I started doing recently as well. You don't really need to use large open tiles if you simply want to see black through a window or something, though... you can just connect a single corridor to another red link and make it black. Also, I connect lit windowed tiles to black large opens sometimes to give the illusion of city lights in the distance. Sadly, it's hard to put in a lot of these before gobbling up too much of the memory, and there is a limit of 30 windows.

-Minor drawback is the lack of commas and apostrophes in the text editor. I can't remember if Future Perfect has more options or not, but I think it does. It kind of boggles my mind that they wouldn't include simple grammar options, though.

>>>Of course, being able to select your own character is great in TS2, but you don't see much of them anyway since hand models don't even exist in this game unless you're unarmed. The solution to making story-based level in FP with your character of choice that I was last experimenting with was making assault maps. There are limitations to that, but the fact that you can make somewhat story-based missions that can be played with any character AND another player make it pretty worthwhile.
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Game hacking/info (Resident Evil, etc), and more:
treblayevrah.webs.com
#7admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/29/2012 4:35:44 AM
Thanks! Yes, FP has mirrored tiles but not TS2, making it not as easy to construct symmetrical areas as one might expect going in.

Good point about using blackness on the other side of windows too. With the large opens I was thinking about dark areas you can walk through.

When you say limit of 30 windows, is that in TS2? I had thought since panels weren't from an item menu like in FP then they were unlimited. Good to know.

I HATE having to use an asterisk in the place of an apostrophe. When I write descriptions and briefings I usually try to avoid using contractions just because of that. Another thing that takes getting used to in TS2 is you can't fix a typo or change wording at the beginning of your text string without erasing the whole damn thing to get there, since you can't move the cursor back past the last character you entered.

I am a big fan of FP's assault mode. I make more assaults probably than story maps in FP. One reason I love FP assault is I can have unarmed bot enemies that are fast and dangerous with the fisticuffs, which I can make survival missions against (glitching required for single-life effect). I tried to do the same type of thing recently in TS2 and the bots just don't behave the same way. In FP you can put weapons out of reach of the bots, set the weapons to not respawn, pick them all up, then enter the battle area to fight off a dangerous mob (well, a mob of 7). In TS2 if you do the same thing (well, you can't set the weapons to not respawn because in multiplayer modes they automatically reappear after 30 seconds), the bots just stand there and do nothing at all. Not even look at you. I was trying to make a fake assualt against unarmed bots in TS2 by using CTB, but it just wouldn't work.

Which makes me think of another plus of TS2 (not story-mode related): you can have all 10 of your bots in your multiplayer mapmaker map, whereas in FP you are denied the last 3 bots in your bot set. Unless you have an Xbox I think.
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#8TreblaYevrahPosted 6/29/2012 7:12:20 AM
A couple of things I noticed as well while map making last night.

I was making a sniper-based level for use in arcade. The idea was to have a large open area with windows on all sides where the only way players could attack each other was to use sniper rifles. I wanted to try to separate the players in individual rooms via team colors, but then I realized that there are no team specific starting points in TS2's map maker, with the exception of RED and BLUE for capture the bag!

Anyway, the whole thing didn't work out too well. The way it is now, players may or may not occasionally spawn in the same room, even though I wanted players to be totally isolated from each other. Also, the bots don't handle the whole setup too well. They pick up the sniper rifles, but then proceed to just stand there looking out the window until they are attacked by a human player. That's the only time they'll start to fight back.

I stopped working on it when the game froze during a test deathmatch, so I have no idea what caused that. Maybe it had something to do with the abundance of windows and doors in the map.
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Game hacking/info (Resident Evil, etc), and more:
treblayevrah.webs.com
#9admiralhowdy(Topic Creator)Posted 6/30/2012 4:37:27 AM
Oh, so if you just put red and blue starts for CTB, but then play a team DM, red team has an equal chance of spawning from the blue start as from the red start? Ugh.

In another fake assault I tried to make in TS2 using CTB (but conceding to having armed "defenders" this time) I tried to make the goal be to get a score of 1 for the win --like you can in FP-- but was disappointed to find the lowest winning score in TS2 is 3.

One major difference in making TS2 maps with bots vs. making FP maps with bots, is that in FP the map can contain obstacle items that block bot progress but not live human progress (barricades, window walks and such). In TS2 you don't have that same level of control over bot movement. Where humans can go, bots can go. I thought I had found a bot obstacle in the double-height room, with that skinny walkway on the top floor that bots don't cross. NORMALLY. In this same fake assault I mentioned, I put both bag bases on the opposite sides of double-height rooms with the intent that the bots wouldn't be able to get to the bag bases to score. Well, somehow, whenever I wasn't watching, the enemy bots inexplicably managed to get their paws on the bags, to ruin the idea I was working towards there. I even put a series of double-height rooms so there would be 4 or 5 skinny walkways to cross, and that didn't deter them either.
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Timesplitter Tales: http://www.youtube.com/user/admiralhowdy
#10TreblaYevrahPosted 7/1/2012 10:33:24 AM
I've recently been making maps in Future Perfect again. I've noticed that most of the tilesets have lighting glitches, but it may only be when using stackables. The military tileset seems to be the most stable when using a lot of stackables in a single area. This was a bit of an issue when I was making an arcade map last night. It didn't turn out too poorly, though, but obviously heavy usage of stackables is tough on the memory to begin with.

By the way, is there an active community for trading map maker content? I know there were websites dedicated to it a few years back, though I was never too keen on the idea of having to recreate user maps via PC software. There are methods of downloading/uploading gamecube saves, even though they aren't very practical. Are any websites around where you can actually download gamecube map saves?
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Game hacking/info (Resident Evil, etc), and more:
treblayevrah.webs.com