Just a quick update, I have been in France for about 1 week, and I will probably stay here until the end of the month.
I don’t have Hammer, Steam or even time right now as I’m quite busy, but I will finish fixing Serpentis ASAP when I get back home as it was almost done.

As for what to expect of Serpentis update: both fixes and nerfs (also you have an almost complete list on the post below). It was fun for a couple of times but I didn’t intend that you needed a several hours lasting event to beat it every time; so when it becomes easier it should be doable in around the normal course map time (assuming you have enough skilled players that know what to do).
Also, when the final version is done and nothing else needs to be changed I will look into porting it to CS:GO.

On the rotting Zombie Escape hand, you will be pleased to know that both Hannibal and Luffaren were doing big progress with their respective ZE maps when I left.
Hannibal has done all the stages and was now transforming tons of pieces into props so the whole thing can compile before getting into triggering and playability; and Luffaren, even busy as he is working on making games from zero with Unity and whatnot, was still advancing a fair amount with his map.

And I don’t know about Enviolinador, but he may have released a couple of maps since I left :-P
Anyway, that is what is going on. Last Man Standing is getting done and Serpentis should be completely done (forever) within the next month; and after both Serpentis and LMS are done for, its Junon (slacking) time again.

So, as expected Serpentis needs a new version. Will try to release it soon enough, but I haven’t started working on it and want to rest a couple of days.
I wanted to make some of the old too-easy rooms a little more challenging and Team-Work based, but for the looks of it I overdid it way too much, as the map is really really really hard, with some areas arguably impossible (they are “possible”, but require an insane amount of Luck/Time/Teamwork/Pros combo).

If you want to help me, please tell me what problems you think the map has that aren’t in the list below.
Those are the current fixes I have written down:

- Cubemaps: Fix the pinkness (in the meanwhile you can remove the “pinkess” using “mat_specular 0/1“)
- TurboPhysics: Will remove the map changing this setting. (I will edit falling Rocks and Falling Logs).
- Shortcut’s Waterfall: Reduce its area and/or strength.
- Fire Snakes: MAYBE give some extra milesecs of time to cross.
- Fine Snakes: Add some kind of detail to better understand the reach area of the flames.
- Lava Room: Try to make the room reset/ready when everyone inside dies.
- Lava Room: Reduce the Lava Speed and/or nerf the Long Crouch Jumps.
- Lava Room: Replace rotated main walls with hammer-gridded ones to reduce their “stuckiness”.
- Lava Room: MAYBE reduce in 1 the amount of minimum players required.
- Water Wheels: Reduce the amount of water particles, they are a little too expensive.
- Water Wheels: Sightly reduce the speed of the hardest wheels (latency can make them impossible).
- Infinite Paths: MAYBE change or add something to make the whole thing less obnoxius… Its “okay” to beat once, but is not really something you want to keep repeating. (Accepting suggestions).
- Infinite Paths: Change the amount of players required to open/reach the crystal from 2 to 3.
- Sewer Slide: Try to make the room reset/ready when everyone inside dies.
- Sewer Slide: Sightly reduce the HP and/or frequency of the closed gates.
- Sewer Slide: Add a P90 and/or M249 spawn in the waiting room itself.
- Sewer Slide: MAYBE reduce the amount of time it takes to reach the exit.
- Elevator Room: Try to make the elevator reset/ready when everyone on it dies.
- Elevator Room: Respawn the Elevator in its start position after failing, related to previous and next point.
- Elevator Room: Fix elevator glitching and not being usable (solid) anymore.
- Elevator Room: Remake the traps/levers and their locations.
- Elevator Room: Add some kind of detail to better understand the reach area of the flames.
- Elevator Room: Add some kind of detail near the wheel to understand the movement of the elevator.
- Elevator Room: Reduce all values of players needed in the Wheel by 1 (zero players goes down slowly instead of fast, 1 player stops instead of going down slowly, etc…).
(Notice that the elevator resetting when everyone fails makes the “go down faster” not such a big need)
- Chains Room: Fix the non-solidity of the snakes.
- Chains Room: Make the 2 Bridge-Shortcuts easier to use after being enabled.
- Chains Room: Make most of the jumps sightly easier (giving some extra ladder-chain length in most areas).
- Chains Rooms: Replace rotated main walls with hammer-gridded ones to reduce their “stuckiness”.
- Medusa: Fix the console-spam when reaching/enabling her.
- Medusa: Fix “Stone Gaze” not working after the first “Stonning”.
- Medusa: Fix “Stonning” sound missing.
- Ending: Fix the final music suddenly stopping.
- NEW: Give the CT Team 1 or 10 Round Wins per each crystal reached.

Also, mostly for Admins and Server Owners: Is any of the console commands being given by Serpentis Temple causing any trouble to you? So far it uses:

On Map Spawn:
- mp_limitteams_0 (so everyone can go CT)
- sm_ar_enable 1 (to enable Auto Respawn if you are using Source Mod)
- ar_respawn_delay 2 (to set the Auto Respawn time 2 seconds after you die)
- sv_airaccelerate 150 (this one could be removed if its a burden)
- sv_turbo_physics 0 (to allow the Rocks and Rotating Logs in the very begging to kill people, but will try to remove this one by adding hurt_triggers to those)
- sm_settime 2 (not a clue why is there, removing it, XD)

On Medusa:
- mp_timelimit 999 (so when a server that has 0:00 timeleft reaches her they can get multiple tries against her instead of map ending/changing after their first defeat)
- sm_ar_enable 0 (to disable Auto Respawn if you are using Source Mod so people don’t keep respawning/die during Medusa Fight)
- mp_ignore_round_win_conditions 0 (in case some admin/host enabled this at some point, it gets disabled vs Medusa so the round can end when everyone dies)
- mp_timelimit 30 (so after defeating Medusa the map automatically ends/changes, some people complained about this not allowing a normal RTV-Change)

So thats it. If you have something to say/suggest/complain/praise about the map, say so. Like what rooms you love or which ones you hate. Or what areas are way too easy and which ones feel impossible.
If you feel I’m forgetting something, or know someone that may know, please say so and let me know, so the next version can be, not only the final one, but something that can be played and enjoyed on the servers by time to time instead of being a hardcore 5-hours event once a year. XD
And don’t hesitate on giving personal opinions, like if you liked it better when Lava Climb was Easy and Solo-Able or whatever!

So here it is. It isn’t as polished as I wanted it to be, but it should be way better than the last release… and hopefully crash free! Enjoy!

It took me some hours to pack everything correctly… Not only does Pakrat love to give unexpected problems, but I also have like zero practice with those matters (I believe this is the first non-test I pack, as Luffaren took care of all the previous Serpentis Temples) and I had some problems here and there…
I built cubemaps a couple times as well, sometimes correctly, sometimes not. In the end they are a little broken, but I couldn’t bear to keep fighting the map and I really wanted to release and forget about it for a while. The most noticeable wrong cubemaps are a red snake in the Poison Room, a big missing snake in the 8th Room that I just deleted because I couldn’t bother to fix and the fact that the symbols in the Infinite Paths walls don’t glow (which kinda blows the charm of the area, but what can you do?).

MG_Serpentis_Temple_B3

I hope this version is playable. But the map has become way harder!

DOWNLOAD from Kaemon’s Dropbox: DROPBOX
DOWNLOAD from Mediafire: MEDIAFIRE

I could have bothered some more with those last visual issues, but I’m pretty sure I will have to release a new version soon enough, after people playing it online find issues or problems that I couldn’t find on my own. And trust me, I tested the map a lot to the point I believe is completely free of bugs and glitches… still, I’m sure something will show up. Sometimes there are issues that only happen to specific servers or under specific settings…
And even if not a single fix nor gameplay change was needed, I would still like to make a new version changing the 7th Room that Luffaren made, as I don’t really like what he did… XD
So for the moment I will just forget about mapping Serpentis for a while and enjoy watching you suffer through it while you report glitches/bugs/issues/opinions.

I would strongly suggest for you to play the map for the first time online without cheating or spectating, as its funnier than way. You can only discover it once and thats the fun part.
As for the changelog, I will release it in some weeks, or maybe for the next version; as I don’t want to spoil some of the changes.

On a side note, the map was bigger than expected (as I wasn’t adding the music and some extra files previously) but with 105 MBs is still smaller than any of the previous versions, while being bigger in size/rooms/details.

Let me know if your server is playing the map so I can join. But fair warning: I won’t be giving any tips.
Also, all comments, opinions and bug/glitch/problem reports will be greatly appreciated.

Serpentis Heads Up

Posted: February 10, 2014 by Kaemon in Kaemon's Rants, MG Serpentis Temple

UPDATE: Almost, but couldn’t make it. Going to sleep, will release tomorrow.

Just letting you guys know that most likely I will be releasing a playable version of Serpentis Temple later today.
The map will be called MG_Serpentis_Temple_B3 (as still Beta) but could be the final version. I didn’t want to call it V1 because I didn’t include everything I wanted, but knowing me I may never do.

This version will be hopefully bug-free (as we tested it a lot) but you know the drill… No matter how much you test/check something there are usually some bugs that only show online on full servers.
Most likely it won’t have the crash issue and particles will be visible to everyone.

As for what was missing for not calling it V1:
- I didn’t improve the room Luffaren made (7th room), so I’m not happy with the results. Consider it the new old Lava-Room. XD
- The Water Wheels (4th room) is still pretty much the same and still only requires one player (I wanted to include needed Team Work but I’m taking forever so I dind’t remake the room).
- The last room (8th room) will probably be always the same path, as adding randomization to it its very hard because what is about.

Since I don’t want to spoil anything new, just look at the entrances. XD

But apart from that, I’m kinda happy with the results. Many of the improvements are really minor but overall the map looks better and should play better, with minor gameplay tweaks and size and FPS improvements.
I haven’t done the final-final compile but looks like the map will be around 85 MBs (compared to b1 115 MBs, b1_fix 136 MBs and b2 144 MBs), so that’s good news.
Its also really nice finally seeing the main room having 8 symbols and 8 working portals.

But man did the map took me long in the end…
Not only I had a 2-week-slacking period where I didn’t touch it, but I also had to make tons of new props to avoid the engine limits (mostly planes), as Source really-really hates non-straight constructions and brushes at an angle. But at least, making things into props allowed me to improve some visuals (as I would remove 1 brush and make a 7-brush prop for it, as with the “Symbol Frames” in the screenshot).
I would love to do the other things this version will be missing, but it may take me from a month to forever… So I will just go ahead and release B3, and MAYBE someday in the future release V1.

Anyway… Going back to finish it. Hopefully (and most likely) will be published today.
If you are really a Serpentis Lover, I would personally suggest you to play it for the first time online on a server without spectating through the map, even if there are only two new rooms. You can have a first impression.

Just a quick rant to make it clear that we are still working on Serpentis (and Luffaren is feeling more like it now). He wanted to release yesterday, then tonight… But I’m being slow with my room (I’m almost done now but unlike him I believe we have still some work to do in other areas).

Thing is, I didn’t work on the map for 2 straight weeks during the holidays, as both family reunions and IRL friends with too much free time took away mine; but now I have been back to work for a week.
The map is looking good and should be ready soon enough (I want to think this weekend). Right now I’m finishing my room and Luffaren is done with the other one I designed, but both will require some testing and I believe Luffaren‘s one is turning out a little easy and short and we may have to work a little on that.
The first room Luffaren gave me to become one of the 8th Crystal Room was too bland and easy so I cut it in half and I used the good part for a mini-trap in the very beginning of the map.
We also added a new ambient music, and unlike the rest of the sounds, I did chose this one. I’m kinda curious to see if people like my taste on music.

And as for people that keep asking if Hannibal is still alive and/or mapping, yes and yes. He is still working on Last Man Standing when his schedule allows, and I will be joining him when we release Serpentis Temple, even if its only for making propper-models for him (hopefully for some detailing and both minor and major changes/suggestions as well).
In the meantime here is a hammer screenshot that he just sent me some minutes ago (trying to motivate me to help him, not really for me to post on the blog). Take in mind that is a work-in-process and that it was taken from the editor without lights/etc, but should help you to get an idea of what kind of ambient you may expect from this map.

LastManStanding

An area from Stage 3 (out of 5) of Hannibal’s map “Last Man Standing”.
Taken from Hammer, not spectacular but now you can say you saw the map :-P

As a last note; I think we won’t be posting Serpentis’ Changelog for at least 1 week after release; I don’t want to spoil anything for those adventurers that love going in without knowing what they will encounter. Even if its still the same old map they already know, a minor change here or there may take them by surprise.
In fact, I did add a screenshot of one of the new rooms and wrote both their names in the rant, but I decided against it, edited and instead put Last Man Standing one. Enjoy!

Serpentis Looking Good!

Posted: December 23, 2013 by Kaemon in Kaemon's Rants, MG Serpentis Temple

I have been mapping quite a lot, and I’m liking how Serpentis Temple is turning out. Fast reminder: don’t make your hopes up for the map being completely different/new; its just a sightly improved (and crash free!) version of the map you already know. And I don’t want to spend too much time remaking some areas (like the ugly spawn or skybox).
Again, I’m a slow mapper, because I use around double the amount time I spend mapping running around on what I just mapped and/or showing it to a couple fellow mappers… But still, looking good.

Map is not done yet because I ended working on the old things more than expected. I reduced the amount of custom textures we were using from 30 to 8 while making the map look better. Hopefully, even with the new rooms, the map will be the same size than the last version we released. I also remade many props, even if they kept the same shape/form, to remove textures we weren’t using anymore, improve both FPS (Luffaren didn’t nodraw the ones he made) and improving their looks.
Here are two screenshots, one of the new Crystal Altar that can be found at the end of every room and one of how the 2nd Maze looks now (its gameplay and general shape remains completely unchanged).

NewCrystalAltar

Making this altar was a lot of fun and I really like how it turned out. Looks cool to me.

New2ndMaze

Gameplay and overall shape remain unchanged, following Luffaren’s original design.
I remade the props and edited some textures for smaller map size, better FPS and improved visuals.

It doesn’t help that Luffaren has been slacking… A LOT. He just wanted a fast-fix version and he is not “feeling it” and not really up for polishing/adding stuff himself. He has also being using the lame excuse of a new computer for slacking even further! Anyway… Thing is, we were going to make 1 new Crystal Room each (to bring the total up from 6 to 8, to match the number of Portal Rooms in the Main Room) but the one he gave me was so easy/rushed (many people would beat it, solo, on first try ever) that I decided to make that one myself too… Good news is, I think it will be turn out for the best; and I will be using half of the room Luffaren gave me as a mini-extra trap somewhere else.

I thought about the possibility of changing the gameplay of the 2nd Maze (or other areas) while I was doing it, to make it more random, harder or just different; but if I went down that road I may end changing everything and never finishing the map… We all know me too well, so I stick with just fixing the broken props/textures and reducing the map size while trying to improve visually on the map.
I also thought about changing the Water Wheels room (is too easy and solo-able) but I’m not feeling it right now, so I will just stick with remaking Lava Climb so it looks cooler and needs some teamwork and the 2 new rooms.

Sorry the map is not ready yet! Gonna work on it some more.

Good News for Snake Lovers!

Posted: December 10, 2013 by Kaemon in Kaemon's Rants, MG Serpentis Temple

We are updating MG Serpentis Temple.

I’m not sure why, but Luffaren all of a sudden was like “WE ARE FIXING SERPENTIS!” and I was like “Okay…“.
For those that don’t know or remember the map, Serpentis is a Mini Game map that we did some time ago for one of those Gamebanana Contest. We rushed it a little, then a couple of problems appeared, we tried to fix them, creating new problems while doing so, and then we left it be…
The two most notable problems being that players couldn’t see the particles within the map (unless they downloaded and manually installed them in the correct folder) and that the map would crash on the round changes after fighting the boss at the very end.

So… The map is already fixed. I changed the system of the Infinite Paths room so it doesn’t use Classnames anymore, and Luffaren did the same with the boss, while also changing the Parenting system that moves players around when they get bitten by its snake.
However, we are not done yet. I convinced Luffaren to go a step further and include a couple new rooms and improving a little some of the other rooms. Don’t expect a completely new map or anything, but just a couple minor things to improve the experience a little while also increasing the difficulty.

So far we are planning on adding the 2 missing door-rooms (increasing the total amount of crystals you have to activate from 6 to 8), adding somewhere an old room that go removed (Rotating-Blades), and changing a little some rooms (like Lava-Climb or Water-Wheels) in a way that they require at least 2 players to be beaten. Right now the Maces Room and Sacrifice Room require a minimum of 2 and 6 players to be beaten respectively, and the new room I’m making will require 4-6 persons to beat (not fully decided on number yet), and that is kinda what we are going for, that no one can solo any room.
The idea is to increase what is already an important part of Serpentis: Forced-TeamWork. Even the boss can’t be beaten alone (even if it almost n0 life points) because you can’t shoot him while he is going for you!

Serpentis' Lava Climb

The Lava Climb is getting visually improved. Luffaren’s horrible version is no more!

I was planning on leaving Infinite Paths as the only room that didn’t require Team Work (being so that what team work does there is reducing the solving time exponentialy) but I think I will add something at the very end that requires 2 or 3 players to stand on platform-buttons to grant access to the Crystal, so if one person discovers the path it has to share the information with the rest.
By the way… We removed the hint/markers that tell witch one is the correct path. They were never supposed to be part of the experience, I just added them for testing purposes and make sure the system worked every time. Now that we know it does, they got removed and you will have to walk the paths systematically until you find the correct one… I highly recommend at least 9 players for doing this room, with 3 Going Left, 3 Going Middle and 3 Going Right, and each group of 3 splitting the same way for the second path; this reduces the number of combination each player has to check from 81 to 9.

Also we are doing minor (but notable) fixes, like improving the teleports so they don’t teleport you back if you take them with the wrong speed/angle; that the Crystals will teleport everyone outside of the solved area instead of only the persons touching them and we are adding some commands (both default and Source Mod ones) that will help people with spawning, prevent the map for resetting if everyone happens to be dead at the same time, and will force to increase the map time limit if you reach Medusa (as in this map is very common to reach her with 00:00 time left, people die on the first try, and they don’t even get a second chance).

So that’s all. Comment if you have anything to ask/add/suggest.

On a side note, there is apparently a weird ZE map that is tearing the fabric of the Universe and stealing assets from other maps, and lately and I felt disturbances towards Serpentis Temple, not sure what that means.

EDIT: Oh… For the release date… We are working with Valve Time here, so it will be done when its done. But hopefully less than a week.