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Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longish]
Posted By: RyokoTKDate: 5/24/05 3:38 a.m.

Yesterday in the Alephone chat on AIM I got into a heated debate with one of the developers for A1, and a mapper that is basically the posterboy for the whole project. Since it would be rude to give out names, let's just call the developer "Umbridge" and the mapper "Pookie."

Anyway, here's a bit of background. Nightly builds have been coming out for A1 almost on a daily basis for the last week, or so. Funnily enough, the last build that would work with reasonable stability for netplay [remember, this is in AO chat, so netplay is important] is 5/10. 5/15 didn't work at all, and the others had various conflicts that made it too difficult to play with. I was idly grumbling about how the last few releases had just been for the inclusion of a couple Lua functions, but didn't fix any of the bugs that the previous releases made. Now, I'm not a programmer by nature, so I guess I'm unaware of the circle of development life, but one would think that these people would make sure that all of their stuff actually worked. That's just me.

At this point, Umbridge starts getting a little irked. I can understand it, I would be too, but he kept telling me, basically, that I'm undervaluing the importance of Lua, or some such nonsense. When I asked him to find any mappers that genuinely care about Lua, Pookie decides to interject. Now, here's a bit of background on what I think of Pookie and his maps: they aren't fun to play. The Lua is nice and interesting, but it doesn't make the map fun, and that's what's important, right? Little did I know how wrong I was about "fun."

Anyway, Pookie decides to tear into me because I'm living in the past. Umbridge had, a couple days ago, created a neat little Lua script that turned the SPNKR into a guided missile launcher. As in, you controlled the missile path once you fired the rocket. Neat, but ultimately useless - I'm sure it's fun (I haven't played it yet, but I know how guided rocket launchers work), but it didn't make Marathon more fun than it was the day before the script's inception. I told Pookie that things like guided missiles were neat, but they didn't make the gameplay any better, and he challenged me on this.

Now, let's get a few things straight. I've been around the block with FPS gaming - Doom, Quake 3, Jedi Academy, Far Cry, Half-Life, HL2, Marathon, Halo 2, Battlefield 1942, and so forth - I am familiar with what makes things fun or not fun, and I've only been playing Marathon online for a few months. Pookie, I'm sure, has been "playing" longer. At any rate, I told him that guided missiles would make netplay stupidly unbalanced - people could just camp in secluded corridors and maneuver rockets into people in the middle of the level, where the real action is. Thrilling, right? Not really. And I don't find shooting people that are just standing there much fun. Pookie tells me that games like Deus Ex and Unreal Tournament use them just fine, and nobody complains. I tell him, well, this is Marathon. "No," he says, "this is Aleph One." What?

Aleph One isn't the wave of the future. At its base, it is still Marathon, only with some neat little peripherals added. Lua has not done a damn thing for me that I genuinely care about since its inception. Pookie brought up real elevators, floating balconies, bridges, and so forth. I have gone, what, eight years of mapping without using any of these and I don't intend on adding them, and neither do a number of the mappers I know, because it doesn't actually matter. They're nice, glitzy things, but they're unimportant. The only concession I (and others) have made to the A1 engine was ignoring "View Distance" and "Transparent Line" errors, which have been coded into A1 since it was created.

To delve into a very good example, Doom has been around since Marathon has, more or less, and it's gone through a similar (although accelerated, it has many more people working on it) source port developmental stage, and yet it is still, most undeniably Doom. Things like Legacy Doom and ZDoom add net code that works, visual effects that look great, OpenGL, free look, and so forth, and it's nice to have, but it is still Doom. It's not ZDoom and it's not Legacy Doom, it's Doom, because that's the game that everyone is still playing. So when this jackass tells me that Aleph One isn't Marathon, I get a little ticked off, but more than that, I stop listening to him.

Aleph One is not, and should never be, anything more than Marathon with a few things added. When you play it, you are still playing Marathon, and not some other thing that looks and plays similarly. Earlier I showed Pookie a map I had created that day - I thought it was pretty good, actually - and aside from one genuine complaint, which I fixed, he told me that it was too much like a Double Aught map (probably more of a Coriolis map), and that these maps are no longer the "ideal" maps for netplay. If I could kick him in the face through the Internet, I certainly would have. Nothing has changed so much since Coriolis was compiled that make them less good - the ones that have been good since Day 1 are still good now. To the left, I've played a few of Pookie's maps and found myself not having fun on any of them. This isn't the "ideal" map today, it can't be. CTF in Aleph One is terrible. I know what changes need to be made, and yet they aren't going to be made because apparently nobody cares, or rather, the changes are "non-trivial" and therefore aren't going to be made. These are important changes. Guided missiles are not important. Developers and Lua fanboys need to become players for a while and realize what's going on.

[Just to clarify: I am behind the Engine Zero (?) project 100%. I think it's great. E0 IS the wave of the future for Marathon, that's why it's being created. A1 is not.]

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Pre-2004 Posts


Replies:

Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longish]RyokoTK 5/24/05 3:38 a.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSimon//Sigma 5/24/05 4:29 a.m.
           Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longAdam Ashwell 5/24/05 5:44 a.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longLuke9 5/24/05 6:07 a.m.
                       Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longD-M.A. 5/24/05 6:10 a.m.
                             Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longAndromeda_5[Kilo] 5/24/05 7:24 a.m.
                       Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSpeaker-To-Animals 5/24/05 3:03 p.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longDeathmonger 5/24/05 10:12 a.m.
           Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longRyokoTK 5/24/05 11:09 a.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longBob-B-Q 5/24/05 12:50 p.m.
                       Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longRyokoTK 5/24/05 1:21 p.m.
                       Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longJohannes Gunnar 5/24/05 4:03 p.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSpeaker-To-Animals 5/24/05 3:01 p.m.
           Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longRyokoTK 5/24/05 3:26 p.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSpeaker-To-Animals 5/24/05 8:34 p.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longgoran 5/26/05 3:14 p.m.
                       Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longRyokoTK 5/26/05 4:04 p.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longElliott dagen 5/24/05 4:04 p.m.
           Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longRyokoTK 5/24/05 4:17 p.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSimon//Sigma 5/25/05 3:30 a.m.
                       You're being sarcastic, aren't you? *NM*Bob-B-Q 5/25/05 10:29 a.m.
                             Some people just don't get sarcasm. *rolls eyes*Vid Boi 5/26/05 8:25 a.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longSteve Levinson 5/25/05 6:55 p.m.
           Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longClaude Errera 5/26/05 5:55 a.m.
                 Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longVid Boi 5/26/05 8:29 a.m.
     Re: Aleph One is not the wave of the future. [longNicholai 5/25/05 9:10 p.m.
     Will this help?goran 5/26/05 3:08 p.m.
           Re: Will this help?jkvw 5/27/05 10:25 a.m.

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