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Eternally Amazed!
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 9/4/04 8:59 p.m.

Wow!

I've finished Eternal Mk II and I really have to say that it is shaping up as a great scenario. The story in particular is tight and intriguing, but the gameplay and new tricks are fantastic. Eternal has a long way to go and there are numerous bugs that will become apparent as more of us play it, but I'm really enjoying taking part in the birth of Forrest's baby.

Before I get down to some specifics, I'd like to make some general comments, some of which I've harped on before. Forrest, you should be much more sparing in your use of regenerating monsters. Although they do have their place and are necessary in some cases, they are no substitute for a map with good monster placement to begin with. Use regeneration where it makes sense from a plot standpoint, but lighten up on the regeneration rate. For John to resort to using grenades on level 9 and me to drop down to Normal should tell you something. Secondly, the Pfhor hate symmetry. Yes, I realize that their bodies are symmetric, but a look at other Pfhor designs tells a different story. Remind me to bring this up with Ben Potter regarding his Fell, too. This is not something that needs to be addressed right away and it is a very minor complaint, but if you have a chance after all else is done, you should do everything you can to skew some of the hallways, make them more curvatious and shift ship elements around from side-to-side so that your levels feel more Pfhor-like.

Oh, and I solved the mystery of the level names not appearing in map mode. I have a 17" PB that I've just been using for a couple of months. AO was not designed for wide displays and, hence, the top of the map is off the screen. This is not just with Eternal. I believe that Mark Levin's AO additions include additional resolutions to acommodate the cinema displays, but his additions haven't made it into the main AO branch yet.

I've already posted extensive comments on levels 1-13, but there is a bug I neglected to mention before on level 9 that I assume would be an issue on level 6 as well since they share the same core. With the left-most circuit to be destroyed I managed to slide down between the circuit and the door that covers it, leaving me trapped. I'm guessing this wasn't supposed to be possible?

OK, here's my rundown of the ramaining levels.

Level 14. Forrest, I suspect that the timing element didn't work properly. I like the overall design of the level and it is visually beautiful. The Pfhor textures really shine. What I found, first of all, is that both Leela's and Tycho's terminals could be read at any time throughout gameplay, even when they were dim. I could thus skip the rest of the level entirely if I was content to follow Tycho. Not what you intended, I presume. In terms of which terminals were illuminated, Leela's started out as being illuminated as was appropriate. At one point I actually saw the terminals switch off, just as I was heading back to retrieve the first of the chips - obviously I was too slow. By the time I returned with the second chip, however, Leela's terminal was again bright and Tycho's was dim. I take it that was not supposed to happen? When I repeated the level to see if I could legitimately beat it, this did not happen (I lost yet again), but I didn't wait to see if it switched back. Even after Leela's term switched off, I could still leave by it, as well as the one in the back.

Level 15. There is an elevator near the beginning - it's possible to become trapped between the platform and the door at the bottom - this wouldn't be so bad except that the back side of the platform isn't textured. When I started to play this level, my first thought was - finally, a pfhor ship that isn't symmetric, but then it turned out I was only on one side of a completely symmetric ship. OK, I won't harp on this again. In the hive itself, the monsters didn't become active until I got near them. Was this as intended? I was expecting an ambush and instead could pick them off one at a time. One caution - the first time through, I missed a couple of them and couldn't figure out why I couldn't leave.

Level 16. Although this is just a placeholder awaiting a new level from Adam, it's a damn pretty level! Perhaps Adam would like to use this as a starting point for one of the two he owes you?

Level 17. Ah, the Pfhor have taken over this ship this time. In addition to making the extravision power-ups invisible, do us all a favor and add a pattern buffer and shield recharger in the final room on this level as well as on level 7.

Level 18. I agree that the beginning is boring, but overall I think this level is boring. Not that it isn't interesting and it certainly graphically is nice, but there aren't a lot of monsters to deal with except when you first get up the elevator. Oh, and the upstairs docking area really needs some ambient sounds - it sounds dead right now. I like the eye candy and I think the level has potential, but there really needs to be more action in general. Don't change the map layout - it's great, and assymetric ;^) . Just work on monster population and make the player work harder to overtake that ship. And of course, fix that bug with the terminal assignments.

Level 19. Well, the same placeholder again, so there isn't much to say. I'll look forward to playing a finished level here.

Level 20. Nice. Some players may have trouble with the pillar-hopping, You might want to make the O2 power-ups regenerating so that the player doesn't run out of air trying to find their way. One other thing - when I jumped into the hole, I somehow managed to come out on the other side, landing on a stairway. Fortunately, I was able to climb the stairway and jump back down into the hole, but I suspect that this wasn't supposed to happen - at least not in the variation on this level.

Well, that concludes things for now. Great work Forest, and the entire Eternal team!

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Replies:

Eternally Amazed!Steve Levinson 9/4/04 8:59 p.m.
     Re: Eternally Amazed!Forrest of B.org 9/4/04 10:45 p.m.
           Re: Eternally Amazed!Steve Levinson 9/4/04 11:29 p.m.
     Re: Eternally Amazed!Dr. John Sumner 9/5/04 11:49 a.m.

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