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Thread: Underworld Ascendant launching on November 15

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Jesus Christ, I somehow forgot this was actually delayed. Can you imagine what it would had been like if they put it out September 15th? Man, this whole situation is just depressing.

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, I can't help but think what they could have accomplished if they didn't have to work with a skeleton crew and cut features like dialogue. But if they survive this, they will have a solid foundation for the next game.

    I'm not giving up on this one yet, though. If they can fix the jankiness and improve the AI and get at least some rudimentary saving within the levels working, I think the game could be great fun. But it looks like it would take a few months of full development to really get the game up to snuff.
    Last edited by Starker; 17th Nov 2018 at 05:34.

  3. #53
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So after a few hours of playing tonight, I'm in a real jekyll and hyde mood.

    Hyde: I'm here posting intead of playing because I just experienced my third random crash in a relatively short amount of time, which, combined with the ridiculous save system, means I ragequit outta there with my blood nearly boiling.

    Jekyll: Oh my gosh there is the potential for something special here. In a polished form, it really would be the closest thing to a LookingGlass game we've had since Thief II. Yes, even when you consider Arkane's output.

    To compare to Arkane:

    1. In simple tangible terms, the rich, inky darkness and great sound design is unlike anything Arkane have offered. Darkness is so simple, I know, but there's something about exploring such a dark, mystical environment with such great, evocative sound design. Arkane just hasn't done anything like that yet.

    2. In more abstract terms, I recall an interview with Harvey Smith during the lead up to the release of the first Dishonored game. In one interview, the author of the article asked Smith what he though about Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    Smith responded that he preferred the "messy" nature of the original Deus Ex over the clean, discrete pillars of Human Revolution, implying that the more open, messy design of the original Deus Ex gave the player more freedom and agency.

    Ironically, I think that's an appropriate way to compare Arkane games with Underworld Ascendant. Once you get passed Marcaul, Underworld often gives you more verbs and more freedom to navigate the large, non-linear environments and solve problems than any Arkane game. It's almost overwhelming at times. But it's messy: not just in a "it's buggy" way, but in a big old sandbox of possibility way.

    In particular, when you combine the parkour movement system, the runic magic system and the huge non-linear environments, it's both intimidating and exhilerating in a manner unmatched by Arkane (yet). Add the deep, rich inky darkness and the sound design and... gosh...

    There really is the potential for something special if OSE is given enough time and money to flesh-out and polish this messy, unwieldy beast.

  4. #54
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Right? And imagine if they took all that and properly polished it up for the next game as well as added more traditional game content?

    Anyway, a short message from OSE:



    https://steamcommunity.com/games/692...11426386665057

    Going forward we will be looking at the big topics from the community: save games, AI, saving option settings, art glitches, crashes, player movement and performance, etc.

    We are currently prioritizing and determining the development needed for the issues that matter most to the community.

    Your feedback in the discussion forums is appreciated!

    Thank you

    - The Underworld Ascendant Development Team

  5. #55
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Was reading a thread on the Steam forums about them looking to address the save system. That was rather disturbing.
    They started by explaining that it saves your inventory but none of the level state when you save, barely seemed to understand the problem with it, and wanted to suggest that the current system was an intentional feature (with mention of it adding challenge), while refusing to admit the blindingly obvious fact that they just couldn't get (or didn't have time to get) proper level-state saving to work in Unity.

    Ouch.

  6. #56
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    I wonder if they're straight up lying about the current save system being an intentional design decision, or if that design decision was executed utterly incompetently. I'm not sure which would be more disappointing.

    I've only ever played one good PC FPS that limited saves, and that was the original AvP. It worked there because an AvP level might take at most 10 minutes to complete. But it's sounding like these UA levels can take an hour or more to slog through, with no affordances for the save system that's in place.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Also, AvP didn't crash so much...

    Save systems are challenging, but they're not that challenging. It helps if you plan it from the start, though; ideally it's an early feature that each later feature plugs into as it's built. Could be that they wanted a system that wasn't easily save-scummed, and having made that decision early, made it rather more difficult to go back and implement it after the fact.

    And Unity may not have a built-in savegame system, but it does have built-in serialization which can do most of the work if you let it. The result tends to be a bit less time/memory efficient than if you build your own, but also a bit less prone to "oops, forgot that setting".

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Also, AvP didn't crash so much...

    Save systems are challenging, but they're not that challenging. It helps if you plan it from the start, though; ideally it's an early feature that each later feature plugs into as it's built. Could be that they wanted a system that wasn't easily save-scummed, and having made that decision early, made it rather more difficult to go back and implement it after the fact.

    And Unity may not have a built-in savegame system, but it does have built-in serialization which can do most of the work if you let it. The result tends to be a bit less time/memory efficient than if you build your own, but also a bit less prone to "oops, forgot that setting".
    And even so, even if they didn't wanna go through all that, they could at least have made it so when you reload, you load at the most recent respawn point, or use checkpoints. It'd be better than this half baked system.

  9. #59
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    1. In simple tangible terms, the rich, inky darkness and great sound design is unlike anything Arkane have offered. Darkness is so simple, I know, but there's something about exploring such a dark, mystical environment with such great, evocative sound design. Arkane just hasn't done anything like that yet.
    I think this is the reason Arx Fatalis is the one Arkane game I could never get into. An immersive dungeon crawler should have an overwhelming amount of atmosphere, and Arx always just felt kind of bland to me.

  10. #60
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    So against my better judgment I tried installing this in its current state. First thing I realized is that I need a newer graphics card to play this. My current one, a Radeon 7800-something, renders the "environ" with regular stuttering and hitching.

    That being said, my first impressions...

    The aesthetic is fine so far. Nice looking environments, good ambient sounds. It didn't crash. This concludes the positive points.

    The intro is bad. It's just a floating face reading off some painfully generic spiel about how you have been summoned to defeat the great evil and bla bla bla something about factions factions factions. Did absolutely nothing to immerse me in the world. Felt more like the kickoff of a weekend D&D session, and not a good one. I realize this is the product of a small team with a limited budget, so I wasn't expecting something like Thief's intro cinematic, but it just feels like the bare minimum effort was put into it. All it needed was some good writing. Compare with the intro to the original Myst, which is 90% just a tumbling book, but still gives me chills. That intro made me want to discover the game's secrets. UA, on the other hand, just slaps you on the head and yells, "We got secrets! Go discover them! So many secrets we have!"

    There are glowing bright blue bottles scattered everywhere. Since they're glowing, they're some kind of health potion, right? Nope, just environmental trash. Can't even put them in inventory.

    The voice I picked for my character (Stephen Russell), makes screaming grunting sounds like he's about to die just from lugging a small wooden crate around.

    Every piece of ore I pick up seems to fly straight into my mouth.

    The first door I set on fire, the burning sound never went away even after all the pieces burned up. And it was loud.

    Frobbing locked doors always displays a line of text like "The • symbol is visible." No, that symbol is not visible. WTF does this even mean?

    Every time you open a chest, there's a big puff of smoke, a burst of sparks(??), and then the "contents" of the chest visibly spawn into the world right in front of you. It looks ridiculous.

    When arrows are equipped, your current arrow count is not displayed. Also, maybe it's just my crappy frame rate, but arrows seemed to be hitscan instead of actually flying to their target.

    The mission summary screen (yes, UA is apparently mission-based, sigh) seemed to be displaying internal variable names instead of proper descriptive labels for some of the stats.

    And all the other stuff everyone else has complained about...
    Last edited by ZylonBane; 18th Nov 2018 at 00:18.

  11. #61
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I don't disagree with any of your observations. Despite that, potential still rears its hopeful head at later stages. But it's all rife with both a severe lack of polish and multiple questionable design decisions (both large and small).

    The more I play and think about it, the more I think this particular game -- despite some of its promise -- is beyond repair. Like Starker implied, I think the potential of some of this game's ambitions make it more exciting to think about what this team could do in a future project.

    But I seriously doubt they have the time, money or conviction to fix everything that needs to be fixed in this game.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Also, maybe it's just my crappy frame rate, but arrows seemed to be hitscan instead of actually flying to their target.
    Yeah, they're hitscan; it's not just your framerate. Strangely, when someone on the game's official forums mentioned that he wished the arrows worked more like Thief's arrows, one of the developers chimed in, "Me too!"

    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Felt more like the kickoff of a weekend D&D session
    That sensibility infuses every element of this game's design. I suspect there are some pretty hardcore old school tabletop D&D players on the development team. I'm sure it works for some people out there, but for me it all sounds and feels a bit a dated and corny in a modern game. As I played a little bit tonight, I wondered if the some of the voice actors felt a little embarrassed recording some of these lines.

  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Do we know for sure that the arrows are hit scanning and not just moving very very fast? I don't doubt that they are, I'm just wondering if there is confirmation on this. I don't mind arrows that just go straight forward, I have a mod for Skyrim that does that, to make aiming easier, but just making an arrow hit scan seems silly. Even Thief 4's arrows didn't work that way.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I guess I can't verify 100% that it is hitscan, but in feel and function it's so close to hitscan that I don't think it would make a difference if it wasn't. To me it just feels like point & click, no matter the distance or angle.

  14. #64
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I just tested it and I was wrong: At great distances, there is a drop to an arrow's flight. So it appears that it is as Buccura described: the arrows are just moving very, very fast.

  15. #65
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Well den


  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    First thing I realized is that I need a newer graphics card to play this. My current one, a Radeon 7800-something, renders the "environ" with regular stuttering and hitching.
    I suspect that the game does not like AMD graphics cards. I remember the first demo being unplayable on the Radeon 7950 that I had at the time. I had kind of hoped they would have fixed that since then.

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, the one who wished they were more like Thief's arrows at the OSE forums was me. I wanted them to be slower and arc more. And apparently that was a debate among developers too.

    Also, the "• symbol is visible" just means you need a key with the same symbol.

  18. #68
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    That's a bit odd when the symbol isn't actually visible and the first door that gives you that message isn't unlocked by a key (unless I missed it).

    I've played on a bit more as I can look past the stranger aspects and so far I've not suffered random crashes (perhaps I'm just lucky or they're more prevalent later?). I'm enjoying it for what it is and it's nice when it opens out in terms of options for locations, skills and equipment although I do feel like I'm playing a solo MMO at times. I think the aspects of the game that I'm struggling the most with (a reason to care about what I'm doing) is not something they're going to patch up or fix if they're concentrating on mechanics.

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    There are glowing bright blue bottles scattered everywhere. Since they're glowing, they're some kind of health potion, right? Nope, just environmental trash. Can't even put them in inventory.
    I agree they should be inventoryable, but those are water bottles, you can throw them at torches to put them out if you dont have any water arrows. I've found fire and acid bottles too, haven't monkeyed around with them yet. I have also seen some very very beta-ish shit in the menus and other UI screens, definitely looks like raw config variables going straight through to the front end. BUT I AM STILL REALLY ENJOYING IT. I think its the (unashamedly thiefy) sound design as much as anything.

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