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Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:33 pm
Direction: I intend to produce a 10 map terran campaign chronicling a downed UED research/intelligence vessel and two attempts by Dominion teams to investigate. The campaign will mostly be played from the POV of the Dominion forces, which arrived two and four years after the crash. The story will alternate between these two time periods, and will also have a few levels taking place during the events of Brood War.
When Dominion comm officers are first put into duty, it's tradition to tell them to check the emergency channel, just in case. The old emergency channel. The one the UED used. The one that is still, years later, flooded with their terrified cries for someone, anyone to help. "It's not ghosts," the senior officers say, "Just echoes." They might explain that this happens because of the old comm network the UED set up during their occupation. A few may go as far as to mention that there could still be a UED relay station somewhere in Koprulu. But none dare even think that someone might still be alive out there, maintaining the network. Broadcasting the last screams of their damned and dying allies.The wall on which the prophets wrote is cracking at the seams
Upon the instruments of death the sunlight brightly gleams
When every man is torn apart with nightmares and with dreams
Will no one lay the laurel wreath when silence drowns the screams?
-King Crimson, 'Epitaph'
Campaign complete and available for download!
BUGFIXED/UPDATED MAPS HERE: http://www.sendspace.com/file/6l4zke
Exe here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/bpe1la
ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED MAPS HERE: http://www.sendspace.com/file/3bgb8g
(this is the version that is being judged, bugs and all, if for some reason you want to play it)
Echoes is intended to be played with the latest version of Starcraft. Please make sure speed is set to Fastest.
Want to play a melee game as the Nightmares or EIC? Ever wanted to watch a protoss AI spaz out and fill the map with Photon Cannons? You're in luck!
Zergling Infinity exe: http://www.sendspace.com/file/5qeoaw
Note: This is a mod I made over a year ago, I recycled several unit ideas for use in this campaign. This mod is NOT intended for use with the Echoes campaign.
Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:42 pm
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:48 pm
Design Philosophy (screenshots in a few days)
I always found the super battlecruiser concept ridiculous. Fleets are so carelessly destroyed in Starcraft canon that one megaship would hardly make a difference. The idea that wars would be fought over something as simple as a starship is just silly. Most of all, I don't like that plot points like this have become the norm. Throw in a villain who wants power (seriously, who the hell would want to control the Koprulu sector, it's a total dump) and you have a generic custom campaign plot! Now, I don't mean in any way to rip on any other contestants (or any other campaign makers, for that matter). This is a problem with the game itself, not the people modifying it. And the problem boils down to this: It is a whole bunch of fun to run around with a really powerful unit and blow stuff up. Enough fun to base a plot around it.
My general strategy for the campaign is as follows: Show the player something cool. Make the player fight something cool. Give the player something cool to fight with. In that order. For example, you are introduced to yellow terrans and red zerg in the first mission. (UED Research and Intelligence, and the Nightmare Brood). You quickly learn to fear red zerg, and to respect the yellow terrans. You play a few more missions, fighting the red zerg with some more demonstrations of the power of the yellow terrans. But then, the year changes, and now you're fighting yellow AND red. Finally, after seeing the incredible destruction that yellow can cause, you get to command a yellow strikeforce against a base held by red. All the fun of super units, without the inane plot to go along with it!
That said, this campaign does have a super technology. The UED comm network, which can be used, as it turns out, not only to black out communications in a region of space, but to communicate faster than light. It also has a side effect of being a local psi disruptor. This is my idea of a practical superweapon. This is also all revealed really early on, so I'm not ruining anything.
The characters are written as being pretty flat, but then, people ARE pretty flat. You don't get to see the motivation for their actions until the last few missions, which will (hopefully) make up for the general lack of character development otherwise.
I'll write a blurb about mission design or something next time, I guess.
Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:42 pm
Mission 1 Complete! (The Stuff of Nightmares)
This mission has you controlling a force aboard a UED ship fleeing the Koprulu sector after the final battle of Brood War.
Earth Intelligence Command has a way of seeing the silver lining in any cloud.
You don't want to be anywhere near this door when it opens. Seriously.
The EIC's augmented firebat goes toe to toe with an ultralisk.
Holding ground until the elevator arrives. The choke point becomes a lethal hindrance when the Nightmares show up. The blue stuff is from a plasma grenade that one of the yellow marines just launched.
Phaika makes an astute observation.
The first part of this level has you running FROM something, which is a concept that I haven't seen used very often. You have a fairly large number of troops, but It's not very open, and if you spend too much time dawdling the tight corridors will wreck you. Once you reach the elevator, you have to defend it for a short while, which is totally stolen from L4D but I think it works pretty well here.
The second half of the level gives you a much smaller force to control, and pits you against stronger enemies. Nothing too special. The whole level shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes to finish, but the elevator defense part is pretty brutal, and I expect it might take more than one attempt to get through it.
Re: Echoes (Mission 1 Complete! Screenshots!)
Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:21 pm
It's great seeing this contest spurn so much creativity. Best of luck Tipereth.
Re: Echoes (Mission 1 Complete! Screenshots!)
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:37 pm
I've had a pretty nasty chest infection the past week and a half or so, and between that and work, it was hard to find time to work on this. I seriously doubt my ability to finish this campaign before the contest deadline. I will finish it though, expect mission 2 and 3 screenshots later this week.
Re: Echoes (Mission 1 Complete! Screenshots!)
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:53 pm
That's a shame dude, do hope you get better.
Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:35 pm
Mission 2 is pretty much finished, I just need to tighten up the boss fight. (ie make it winnable) Screenshots tomorrow.
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:30 pm
Mission 2 Complete! (There Will Come Soft Rains)
In this mission, you control a stranded away team on a hostile planet. Like the last one, this level is divided into two parts (I'm not making any more maps like this, I promise). For the first part, I tried something again not entirely different, but mostly unused. You have to find communications relays, and you can find them in any order you choose. Now, to call this 'non-linear' would be pretty facetious, but I tried to keep a sense of exploration in it, and there is an indirect reward for exploring. It's not overly difficult, but you have a VERY small number of units to work with, so if you're sloppy, you're gonna pay for it.
The second part is more or less a boss fight. You get whatever surviving units you have left over from the first part, plus a bunch of bonus guys because so much shit is going on, it was impossible to deal with it without some reinforcements. Anyway, I know nobody really cares to read about mission design, so here's some screenshots!
There's a lot of exposition in this level. I basically set up the whole mythology of the campaign in the first part of this mission, introducing the major players and establishing some important concepts. There is also something going on behind the scenes of what you see in the story, (Just what ARE
the UED doing?) and I'm not sure right now how explicitly I want to present it, if at all. That obviously isn't explained in any detail in this mission.
Rachel is written as a cynical bitch. So she basically speaks for the player. She is pretty unconcerned about anything but the success of her mission, which is a trait shared by all three major characters. (Rachel, Caine, and Phaika) Their differing reasons for doing so are basically the entire plot.
'Oh boy I bet you have to defend this spot cause Tipereth loves making me defend shit' , you say.
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:38 pm
This looks great. I'll be sure to download it when its done!
Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:04 pm
Mission 3 (Signal to Noise) is basically done. I was never really good at planning out B&D levels, but I did my best. The mission has you hunting Nightmares in a cave, with the option of planting a psi emitter and gathering them all in one spot. This of course has the caveat of having to find a way to kill a bunch of incredibly powerful zerg all at once (as well as an added boss fight), but I threw the player a bone and gave them control over the EIC elite if they choose this option. Personally, I think it's much easier to scour the cave, but it takes longer, and I'm sure most people will want a chance to run around blowing shit up with augmented units. Actually, I'll grab some screenshots tomorrow.
Originally, Mission 4 would have you playing as the Year 2 Dominion, meeting the UED and fighting some zerg, but I cannot think of a way to make that interesting so I decided to just wrap it into the next level. I also have no idea what I'm going to do for the epilogue. Professional honesty!
Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:14 pm
Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:14 pm
Screenshots! These assume you said fuck it and planted the emitter.
Augmented forces shred through regular zerg like something sharp through something supple.
...unfortunately, clusters of Nightmares tend to tear pretty much anything apart very quickly.
Poor material defender
I think like one tank and a medic survived this fight, but the ultralisk died. And yeah, I cheated to rebuild my army because I didn't want to wait around just to get a screenshot.
As a bonus, bohren & der club of gore - constant fear
is the music that plays in this mission. Noir jazz really suits a lot of what I have going on in my campaign, I use a couple of their other tracks for other missions.
Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:34 pm
When I press play on the video it says
An error occured, please try again later.
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:49 pm
I figured out how the epilogue will work, and polished some plot things in my head. It's gonna take a serious staredit marathon this weekend and next to finish in time for the deadline, though. Maps 5/6 and 7/8 use the same basic terrain, and 5/6 shouldn't be too bad to trigger, but map 4 is massively complex compared to the other stuff I've been doing.
A word on iscripting:
Laconius asked me how much iscripting I was using. Not as much as I wanted to. The nightmare zerg ground units (and the aug marine) all have a scripted chance to use a secondary attack. The aug tank uses iscript to shoot missiles in volleys of three instead of two. The valkyrie has an AtG attack that has a scripted explosion. I really wanted to go all out with scripting, but because I'm just using hero units for the nightmares and augs, and heroes share scripts with normal units, and I don't really want to deal with sprite replacement and stuff, I couldn't.
(For example, I really wanted the nightmare hydras to use my incinerate effect, but that relies on useweapon instead of attack26, so it would affect normal hydras too. For similar reasons, I had to do some really stupid shit to give the nightmare zergling a custom graphic with it's special attack.) Okay I also wanted to make nightmare overlords that were really carriers that carried scourge and it would be on a map where you had to do stuff with a capship and aaaagh I wish I had the time to implement all my ideas but I don't.