EDIT: This is a teaser post. NO DOWNLOAD LINKS YET. Wait some days!
ZE Castlevania by Luffaren
So… Luffaren‘s “Secret Project” has been finally revealed to the public and I can finally tell you its a ZE map for CS:S based on the Castlevania franchise of which he is a really big fan.
Luffaren started the project long time ago but he encountered many obstacles while working on it, including a full restart of the whole map to change the layout and improve the systems he employs for items, enemies and stages; debating if switching the whole project to CS:GO or not (he didn’t); getting a job that drastically reduced his free time (go figure); doing other maps in the meanwhile (Toaster, Frostdrake, Santassination); and a long etc…
Yesterday, after testing the map one last time with me he told me, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, that he was going to post in on Gamebanana but (sorry guys) I stopped him for doing so and told him to first test it online with people at least once because he was bound to find some big mistakes/errors that we didn’t encounter on our tests… So he did test it online and he did find some big things that need urgent fixes. But now the secret is out and the map should be ready for you all soon enough.
The idea of the map once it gets fully completed (if it ever does so, you know how these things are sometimes) is to include around 12 stages, but the current version that you guys will soon play only has 6 of them, so you won’t even be able to reach Dracula‘s castle (which is supposed to start on Stage 8).
The map includes many different special items and characters for humans (that right now are just placed at the beginning of the stages), NPC enemies (like skeletons and spiders), deadly traps, dynamic environments (like randomly placed destructible trees and houses), Bosses (duh) and some quite cool events. However, take in mind when judging the map that not only was it started many years ago when Luffaren was less experienced, but it suffered quite a big hit on the looks department because of its size (because of both time constrains and engine limitations) and the fact that some areas use dynamic decorations (like randomly placed breakable trees).
(Don’t be fooled by this video. This is by far the coolest looking part of the map).
I would also like to quick mention that its because of this map that Serpentis came to be. We were talking bosses for Castlevania when I decided to make a Medusa for Luffaren with a “Stone Gaze System” that I just had came up with in the spot while replacing Luffaren’s old Medusa model (that image should give you an idea of what to expect when encountering Luffaren-made enemies in ZE Castlevania).
However, we both liked the system and the boss so much that we decided to add some trap rooms and make a map to enter the “Treasure Hunter Map Contest” that Gamebanana was hosting at that time. And that is pretty much how MG Serpentis became a thing, with a boss I designed for Luffaren‘s map.
Also is worth noting that this is the reason why Medusa is a giant floating head (instead of the more normal depiction of a woman with a snake tail instead of legs), because I based it on the Castlevania and its infamous floating Medusa heads.
By the way, its very possible that even if the map gets completed at some point it won’t include Medusa or that if it does it will be a very different version. The one you guys know from Serpentis not only has been seen way too many times in the MiniGame map itself but its now present on two different ZE maps: ZE Mountain Escape by Syoudous and ZE Serpentis Temple by Nostar.
ZE FFVII Mako Reactor by Kaemon
Okay, first of all just a quick reminder that ZE FFVII Mako Reactor was originally made entirely by Hannibal following Maese Danielot instructions and I only started to help for V5 with some visuals and optimization. I know many of you blog viewers are fully aware of this, but I can’t believe how many people I encounter nowadays that think I’m the creator of the version they are currently playing (well, I guess its understandable when people in-game start asking me about V6).
With this said… ZE Mako Reactor V6 will now be mine not only because I’m the one doing it, but because I remade the whole map from scratch. Surprise!😄
Here is a teaser video made by Tony Montana:
I’m ashamed that I didn’t had a more advanced version for Tony to record, since map is still not fully done in this video and some areas are missing or not fully detailed).
For many of you (since I used lots of testers) this isn’t a surprise (not anymore anyway) but I tried my best to keep the fact that I was doing a fully remake (Square Enix totally stole that from me) a secret, usually just saying that I was fixing stuff and adding materia leveling back. But the real thing is that I started the map completely from scratch and every single brush and entity was completely remade, just using the old map as reference.
One of the key factors that “pushed” me to do a full remake this was the fact that the mako reactor itself was badly placed relatively to the city (very noticeable if you glitch the train and see how it goes into the reactor). I tried turning 90º Hannibal‘s city just to notice how ugly and non-symetric Sephiroth‘s bridge area was when expanded upon, so I completely remade that bridge and area, and then I was like: “Fuck it! I will remake the whole thing!” and so I did.😄
Take in mind however that even if I remade the map entirely I tried to keep the gameplay and zones as close to Hannibal‘s version as possible as to make it feel like is still the same map and so, for example, I didn’t replace the city with the area used in the original game.
So, how much did the map change for you, as a player? Not that much I hope. I tried to improve the gameplay without changing it, there are now better visuals (but probably worse FPS, sorry about that), Materia Leveling is back (just like on the original version), there are some new materias and I made the map overall sightly harder.
How did I make it harder you ask? Well, for starters Materia Leveling already makes it sightly harder as your progress since there is no guarantee anymore that you will have ++ materias on the hardest difficulties and, even if there are now more materias in the map, not only are there now way more materia spawns (making easier for some materias to remain unpicked) but one also gets randomly removed each round per each difficulty increase, so even if you may end up with the same amount of materias you will have to adapt to what you got that round instead of using the same old combo in the same old places. The bosses are also sightly harder, and the zombies get faster (and there are more mother zombies) as difficulty increases. On top of that the zombie speed no longer gets “bugged” after being affected by Ice or Gravity, zombies instead regain the correct speed value depending on the current difficulty, so no more buffing/nerfing (depended on server settings) zombies speed after being affected by those kind of materias.
Is worth mentioning that even if I said that I will release this month (and I will) the map is not fully done. As I type this I’m still working on things like the Skybox (that is not done at all), a couple areas that still are using dev_textures, some of the music are too short or don’t fit perfectly, I still have to make new animations for the bosses and I really should add extra details (decals and props) in many places… So a V6.1 is guaranteed to happen because V6 will just not be complete, but I feel like releasing it as it is will help motivate me to do the finishing touches and will also allow you guys to start enjoying the map while you report what problems you encounter (not only possible bugs and glitches, but also balance issues or changes that you didn’t like) so I can fix or change them back for future versions.
Also, and I’m kinda sorry for this, THERE IS NO NEW DIFFICULTY. I added back Easy (along with the classic FF7 music) and renamed Extreme 2 as Insane (will change it back if you guys complain a lot or doesn’t feel right) but there are no “new things” difficulty-wise. I may add something (no promises) in the future, but V6 is just a “new but still the same” version of good old Mako.
Lots of people helped me with this version, hopefully I don’t forget anyone when I mention them on the next post (along with the full changelog and a link to the map).