View Full Version : Level Fluidity and Advancement

06-12-2001, 03:20 PM
Now I got to thinking about the levels and how they will flow. The one thing I think is quite encumberant on Raven to ensure the first few levels are very interesting and immesive. One problem games have is often you dont see some of the better levels and interactive environment until late in the game. This will not only drive away curious newbies but often it significantly reduces replayability as no one wants to have to play through average levels to get to the exciting ones.

Also what I would like to see is:

--- Anti/altered Gravity in a level or a room or any combination there of. As I have stated elsewhere having saber battles in this environment would be very interesting.

--- Water. I know that this would not be new, but I never really liked the water in JK. It was annoying and you never really felt like it was water, as you do in newer games. Saber fighting in water could be fun if it was done better.

Choices, choices, choices
Now what dawned on me was whether or not we get to choose out path, as is pertinent to the force. At first I thought of this as a gimmick that was employed by LEC and rest assured in my mind that this would not be repeated. Raven would not sink so low. But then.. slowly I admit, and after reading a post by StormHammer I changed. Had I been wrong, the more I thought the more I thought yes. Having the ability to choose is not a gimmick, it is intrinsic to a Jedi, because a Jedi such as Kyle could stray at any time and be consumed by the dark side. It really is a "the choises we make" senario. Not only does it allow use to take up both roles (thus more gameplay) but it also makes us see consequences of our actions. After pondering this I begain to wonder, could Raven if they went this way, possibly have different levels for light and dark. The one thing that I never really liked was which ever path you took in JK youm played the same levels and had the same objectives (few exceptions). In and ideal world I would like to see a dar kjedi take a different level path to the end as apposed to a light one. I this were not possible due to time, effort or money, then at least have some different level between the two, and if this was not possible then the two should nearly always have different motives and mission objectives. Now I dont know what Raven are going to do on this front but I only hope that if one is able to choose his destiny it is different for each side.

En Taro Taldarin
06-12-2001, 04:16 PM
Excellent ideas, as always Syndrix. :) I too was disappointed with the way choices were done in JK. As for level fluidity, I hope they do something similar, but slightly different from Half-Life. I hope they take all the levels next to each other on the same planet and make them one huge level, with an in-game loading whenever you reach a different part, this way, gameplay won't be super slow. Then, when you're done with that planet, there's a short, in-game cutscene of you're ship jumping into hyperspace, either from cockpit or outside view, and then you take a break and see how you did, with another in-game cutscene of the aftermath.

06-12-2001, 06:15 PM
You said the water was bad...yeah everything was...that was the JK engine for you, good for its day, but not soooo good now! Gravity....there will be gravity effects like in UT!

06-12-2001, 06:37 PM
Some really good points there, Syndrix and En Taro Taldarin. ;)

I agree that it would be good to have a few different levels for Light and Dark - the problem is that they have said JKII will not have a Light/Dark decision tree - so how could they judge if you are Dark or Light in order to change the levels accordingly?

I sincerely hope they can be persuaded to put the decision-tree back in, and let us play Light side or Dark side, as in JK. It certainly seems to me that it is well within their capabilities, after seeing that extra video footage. For three months work, they've got some really advanced stuff going already. If anything, I now believe they can easily hit their development deadline and ship an excellent game.

That being said, how hard would it be to put the decision-tree back in there?

I think having a good flow, like Half-Life, is pretty much essential. If you think about it, JK almost had that on the Nar Shadaa and Baron's Hed levels. As I recall, Baron's Hed was originally going to be just one seamless level, but it got so big they had to split it into two.

To be honest, I don't really notice the loading in Half-Life now (an Athlon T-Bird 850 with GeForce 256 and 256Mb RAM does wonders :D ). So if they can do a similar job with JKII (if necessary), then it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Judging by that new video, though, that demo level Raven made looks a fair size, so I'm becoming more optimistic that JKII's levels aren't going to be cramped or too small.

Nevertheless, it would be nice if they could really achieve the size of the levels in JK, and have around 15 of them - just like JK had.

The other thing I would like to see in the levels are plenty of secret areas - and as someone else said in another thread, secrets the size of some of those in Dark Forces. The only thing I didn't like about DF was that it didn't give you a tally of secrets you'd found - so for all I know, I may not have found them all.

I agree that the water effects definitely need work - but I'm not sure the Q3 engine, even with modifications, can deliver realistic water. Only the most recent engines seem to be capturing some realistic water effects.

As for low or zero gravity areas, that's something I brought up a while ago - probably on another forum. I came up with a long drawn-out scenario of another falling ship - only this time it's a blasted vessel drifting in space that enters a planet's atmosphere. You've lost gravity, and you have to get to a Lifepod...or fry. The only problem is the raiders are aboard trying to kill you...and you have to guide some NPCs to safety before you get off the ship yourself. Of course, it would have to be another timed level... :D I know some people don't like those, but I thought they were great, challenging, annoying, curse-filled fun. I really had a sense of achievement after completing those levels on the Hard setting without cheating.

Does that make me a sucker for punishment? :D

En Taro Taldarin
06-12-2001, 06:49 PM
They could re-implement the Light/Dark tree very easily. It could be based on your actions, whether you use your force powers for good or bad purposes, and how you accomplish different objectives. There should be several different ways the game can proceed after each level depending on how you accomplish certain objectives. So it could be quite easy to re-implement it. I completely agree with you about water, but I hope it's realistic to at least a certain extent.

06-15-2001, 04:12 PM
Well I just realised I hadent looked at this thread since I last posted to it, Which is kind of odd seeing as it is my thread and all.

Anyway, some interesting opinions to consider, not the least of which is RAVE saying the JK engine was good in its time. I think not, when you really look at it even for its time the modelling is chunky with body parts not joining properly and wall and cliff bugs where you can see faults in them.

Now having said that I still liked it, it was still quite functional and served its purpose. Of course I am glad to see LEC went with Raven and the Q3A engine, good choice.

Now I didnt know, at the time of the creation of this topic that they had said JKII would not have a Light/Dark decision tree. That is a sham because not only did I like the choice in single player, which as I suggested above could play a bigger role in the game, but now it mean that in multiplayer you will be able to mix any powers you want.

A pity because I'm sure newbies will combine things like an offensive and a defensive and just run around in FF matches not even using sabers. They already do with destruction, thats why some have headings saying no lighers because they cant get past absorb or protection.
Cover my ass note: Of course some people have good reasons for saying no lighters.

How could they judge if you are Dark or Light in order to change the levels accordingly? It is a good point and as En Taro Taldarin suggested and I was thinking the same thing, it could be decided on how you use the powers.

They would still be able to have a scale bar showing you which side of the force you are leaning to, like in JK, but it would now be more realistic because it would slowly move according to you actions, killing innocents along the way, killing or helping NPC's. The way its more realistic is if you want to switch say back to light when you are going towards the dark side, you do good things, unlike in JK where if you remember you got to a point where you had to choose Light or Dark and once you decided that was it. Even if the scale was all the way over the dark side, if you put stars into the light side the bar moved a massive amount all the way across to the light side and even if you killed civilians and things it would not move towards the dark simply because you had stars in the light side. I never liked that.

The new video definately looked quite promising level wise. The hanger especially, if it is any indication, was very open for a nice big saber battle with plenty of room to manovour and looking at the hanger opening it had some cool looking background scenery. I'm sure that, apart from levels that need to be squishy and cramped due to the storyline, like underground or in a ventilation system etc., they will probably be pretty well sized.

I listed the water as needing improving simply because even for it time the JK engine just had water wrong, it was just WRONG. I think the Q3 engine with the modifications, will deliver some quite good water. True it will not be totally realistic, but engines today cope with the physics etc. of those sort of things much better. I just hope they have water in there, and not just to look at. If water is done well then a partly submerged level is quite fun, if its done poorly that same level becomes frustrating and annoying.

Just briefly touching on what En Taro Taldarin said "There should be several different ways the game can proceed after each level depending on how you accomplish certain objectives". As I discussed above, I would like the game to fork, but when I originally posted I was thinking more along the lines of JK but when you got to a certain point in the game it decided whether you were light or dark (based on the bar which is based on your actions) and thus you played on with the levels of either light or dark. Making choices after each level would be to hard to implement as you would come out with an ever changing game. I mean once you came to the fork and made the decision, after that if it went level by level if you went to the other side during a level it would have to ajust your path at the end of the level. This is to hard because you would have to make a Deus Ex type game and with all the other things they have to do they probably don't have time to do this. Too RPGish.

And StormHammer, there is a way to tell if you find the secrets in each level, If you go into the...umm I think its the inventory screen there is a tab called objectives and if memory serves me down the bottom of the objectives screen is a % of secrets completed for that level. So if you want to find all the secrets just check it before you press escape and finish each level.

[ June 15, 2001: Message edited by: Syndrix ]

06-15-2001, 05:07 PM
Yeah, well it was good for lucasarts anyway. Look at all the other games they made and failed in. We're just lucky now they've realised they are no good and are getting some professionals on the job!!!!! :D

06-15-2001, 05:08 PM

And StormHammer, there is a way to tell is you find the secrets in each level, If you go into the...umm I think its the inventory screen there is a tab called objectives and if memory serves me down the bottom of the objectives screen is a % of secrets completed for that level. So if you want to find all the secrets just check it before you press escape and finish each level.

Oops! :D You know, I can't ever remember checking the objectives at the end, all the times I played DF. Guess I should have. Thanks for the info. Guess I'll have to play DF again, just to check I found all those secret areas... ;)

06-23-2001, 04:51 PM
Altered Gravity is always fun. With the Star Wars universe, I'm sure Raven can find some cool ways to implement it into the SP levels.

A new Saber fighting method in water would be cool, but wouldn't that heat the water up pretty darn fast ;)

06-23-2001, 11:12 PM
I'd like to see something tatooine based...or something different please...but in order for MP to be good we need variations in gameplay

Ice Man
06-24-2001, 12:49 AM
It sounds good, Syndrix. I like the gravity idea and we need some nice water. But that stuffs kinda hard, I'd guess. It's a lot of polygons, but we do have the Q3 engine doubled. An idea would be a particle effect when we splash into the water. If the lightsaber touched the water, there should be an instant cloud of steam.

06-24-2001, 12:54 AM
that would be cool...if the lightsaber gave off heat...but I dont think it does...I am, however, not positive. You can double check me on that one.