Two new Makos, none from us!

Posted: April 14, 2015 by Kaemon in Kaemon's Rants, News

So, I have been quite busy and tired lately. Worked a little on the map, but way less than I wanted or expected. My holidays are over and I get back home from work quite tired these first days. I wasn’t going to post anything either today, but I felt like I should (I’m already breaking the one-post-per-week schedule that I tried to impose myself) so I forced myself to type this short rant.

Anyway… Just wanted to let you guys know that there are two new “Mako versions” going around, and none is from neither Hannibal nor myself.

The first one goes by ZE_FFVII_Mako_Reactor_V6test16 and is, obviously, for ZE. Just to be clear: it has nothing to do with my version, is not mine released nor leaked, its changes probably won’t be on mine, is just something from another mapper entirely.
From what I know the author is a russian guy that I believe goes by the nickname Betnik and that made it for their own server and to have fun. It has some nice additions and details (and quite some cool lightning in some areas) but I didn’t play it enough to really judge, as I’m not sure about what gameplay changes he did in total (apart from some obvious ones). If you are a Mako fan its worth checking out at the very least I guess.

The second one, made by Tony Montana, is called bhop_FFVII_Mako_Reactor_V2 and as the name indicates was made for bhop servers. Just don’t expect anything completely different as is pretty much just the good old map you all know edited to work in bhop servers.
Take in mind however that bhop is not really required but just a tool to grab the materias (thats the map’s objective) faster; so if your server doesn’t have timers for people to beat, it may make little sense to you.

Sorry for not posting anything this weekend. I will give myself an ultimatum for Mako Reactor V6 and let you guys know about it on this weekend’s post!

Back to making Mako!

Posted: April 3, 2015 by Kaemon in Uncategorized

Okay, first of all I wanted to confirm (for those still in doubt) that the last post was indeed an April’s Fool all the way through.

I can see how it could have been taken seriously on the first lines (me being tired of slacking and even giving up on mapping), but seriously, guys? You didn’t take the hint when I started to talk about how mapping for CS:S and CS:GO was completely different? :-P

Then, just in case and for good measure, I went about naming that not-existing CS:GO defuse map Cosmo Canyon as to avoid copyright issues with Square Enix and to so it doesn’t get related to Final Fantasy VII… Well, apparently most of you never played FFVII nor tried to google it because, as it happens to be, Cosmo Canyon is a quite notable FF7 location :-P

Meteor crashing against Midgar as seen from Cosmo Canyon's top.

Meteor crashing against Midgar (ZE FFVII Mako Reactor’s city) as seen from Cosmo Canyon’s top.

Anyway… Fun is over and work needs to be done. I have right now 10 (9 because I kinda wasted this one already) free days and I will try to get as much of Mako Reactor V6 (for CS:S, don’t worry) done. Let’s see if next week’s post can be about its testing! Wish me luck!

By the way, I didn’t post last weekend because the April’s Fool post was going to come too quick afterwards and to give it sightly more credibility. XD

EDIT: APRIL’S FOOL!

Sorry for not doing a post this weekend, but I was having some serious thoughts about my life and what I’m doing with it…

I kinda got tired of slacking so much, is not fun anymore… And not only with my own projects (which is kinda to be expected, as they are usually just too big) but also when just doing something as simple as a new version of an existing map like is happening with Mako Reactor right now. It should just be a quick fix (specially since I got some people helping me) and for some reason is taking me forever… So that’s it, I give up, I quit. Enough wasted time.

It was a tough decision, but I think is for the best, both for myself and for you guys: No longer will you be taunted with maps and versions that never come and… who knows? Maybe in my new endeavours I will be able to finish something and have some actual chances at releasing it so it may be enjoyed by the whole community… Just not the CS:S ZE one :(

So that’s it. I quit mapping for CS:S and starting today I will do something completely different for a change, a new and fresh  thing that I expect is going to way easier and less time consuming to work with and is completely unrelated: mapping for CS:GO!

I have many ideas to work with, and I’m trying to decide which one to choose, but I think I will go for doing a Defuse Map for Competitive CS:GO and enter the CEVO Mapping Contest with it. For it I will salvage some of the areas I had done for Junon (including the cannon itself) but since I don’t want to have problems with copyright issues with Square Enix (since I’m doing a map for a different company’s game after all) I was thinking about changing the name to something else…
So far, since the cannon is the most prominent part of the map, and cosmetics are all over the place this days, I was thinking of naming it something in the lines of “Cosmetic Cannon“, but I don’t like the name origin being so blatantly obvious… So then I thought about changing it to “Cosmo Cannon” (is shorter and easier to pronounce, and some people may relate it to the cosmos)… But then, since I didn’t want to spoil people in the name that there will be a cannon, I thought about throwing a curve ball and miss-spelling it on purpose as “canyon” so they expect a canyon instead of a cannon. Any thoughts on renaming it “Cosmo Canyon” as to avoid any relation with FFVII?

Anyway… That was it. Sorry for the inconveniences and false promises. See you next week! I will try to take some photos of Cosmo Canyon for you guys!

I was planning on typing this on Friday, but got lazy… Oh well. So far I’m doing my best to post once a week but I’m not typing these in advance or anything, maybe I need to start doing that and choose a day for the updates. Friday afternoon sounds good. Opinions?

As I briefly mentioned on the previous post while talking about Junon, today I wanted to talk a little about Luffaren and what he has been doing. He is still mapping (as many of you are aware) and still advancing with his Secret Project, but between his job, real life, and some slacking to spice it up… Well, its not done yet. :-P

So… What has been Luffaren doing all this time?


About Frostdrake Tower:

As many of you know, Luffaren recently did a new ZE Map for CS:GO (ZE Frostdrake Tower) and entered it on a Gamebanana contest where it won 3rd place. The map was relatively rushed, but doesn’t look half bad and it has been quite a big success in the ZE CS:GO Community.
I personally warned him against having such long rounds (takes over 20 minutes form start to end) and about people probably getting bored of being zombie for so long or the despair of losing 18 mins in and having nothing to show for it… But you know what? I was wrong, and I’m quite happy he followed his gut and kept the long rounds. The map is a nice challenge welcomed by most and its perfect for events.

There is no much else to say about ZE Frostdrake Tower. A new version may come in the future with a couple fixes, but is not currently panned as the map plays quite good on its current status and many servers are enjoying weekend events trying to beat it. At some point Luffaren thought about dividing the map in 2 or 3 stages, and maybe in the future he will go for it if servers are done with the tryharding and he wants the map to become better suited for a normal rotation, but as for now the map stays as it is. A nice breath of fresh air (see what I did there?) for the Zombie Escape world and an interesting new concept that I hope doesn’t get abused too much.


About Predator Ultimate:

Some people ask Luffaren by time to time about doing a new Predator Ultimate version with a couple fixes and improvements, and he thinks he will do it someday (and maybe do the CS:GO port at the same time) but right now is not currently on his plans as he is busy with other projects, including the secret one.

The good thing is that now he finally has a working .vmf (the map file) for Predator (as he apparently had lost the original one and decompiling was giving him some problems), so if the time comes and he feels like it, he is ready, but again, that shouldn’t be anytime soon. You all shall suffer the wrath of the Lagelevator God some more!


About the Secret Project:

Probably this is both the one you guys are more interested in and the one I have more to say about (in fact I will probably talk about it in its own post in the not-so-far-away future). There was nothing really to say about Predator or Frostdrake, but I thought it was worth mentioning their status.

As many of you are aware, Luffaren‘s Secret Project (I’m not allowed to reveal the real name) is an upcoming ZE map with lots of stages set in a progressive manner (like in Minas Tirith) and so far 6 of them are complete and playable. The final number is unknown even to him at this moment (as he gets ideas as he maps, or something that was going to be half a stage becomes one on its own, or an area that was going to be two stages works better as just one), but it may be something around 12 stages.
He has been working on the map for quite some time now (he even restarted it all over at one point) and recently asked my opinion about porting the project to GO before release. I personally suggested him to just keep working on Source (and that is what he is doing so far) and worry later about the port. Not only do I prefer Source myself, but I also think than the porting will probably be around as hard for 6 stages than for 12 (as the map is already in the “problematic area”), so he should just do the port when the map is done… Otherwise he will have to port AGAIN later from GO to Source or… leave Source without it… So yeah, in the end he is still working for it on Source :)

YOU_CAN_USE_FOR_BLOG

Luffaren made custom props not only for the trees, but also for things like the cheap heavy rain seen in the screenshot.

So.. I have seen almost everything that has been done for the map and I’m starting to get impatient myself, so I suggested Luffaren to do something so we all can check and play the map sooner than expected, and so far looks like he will follow my advice: Release before its done.

And that is the current plan! He wants to finish the 7th Stage (that hasn’t been started yet) because of reasons, and then, after fixing/polishing/changing some things in the other stages, he will release before finishing the rest of the stages. This way people will be able to start playing, enjoying and finding bugs while the stream of complains and praises starts to flow (and those are usually great for a mapper’s moral!).
Then, when the next version comes, not only will it have fixed bugs and balance changes… It will include a new stage! Rinse and repeat until the map is done for good. Sounds like a good plan, right? And after I’m done with Mako I’m seriously thinking of following my own advice and doing exactly the same with Junon (releasing with just 1 stage) so I can just focus on finishing one at a time. Otherwise looks like I will never release any of it!


So that is it for today. Sorry that the post was a little late. Not sure what the next one will be about. I kinda want to talk about Enviolinador (I really want to play his upcoming map when is done!) or do a commentary on “Huge Maps“. I also have to talk about Hannibal and LMS, but I think that one will have to wait a little more. Until next week!

So, today I just wanted to explain a little what is going on with Mako V6 and Junon, two maps that I get frequently asked about…


About Mako Reactor V6:

First of all a fast clarification that is probably not needed for the people who visit the blog, but I find quite a notable amount of people online that got it wrong: ZE FFVII Mako Reactor is a map completely made by Hannibal along with his IRL friend Maese Danielot, NOT BY ME. I helped optimizing the elevator and later, for V5.3, I just sightly improved visuals and further optimized, that’s it. I have always been a huge fan of the map, and since now some glitches need fixing and Hannibal is quite done with fixing it, I took the opportunity (as well as Hannibal’s blessing) to do the V6 version myself, but is still NOT MY MAP. Again, this probably goes without saying for everyone that visits the blog, but just in case…

So… How is V6 doing? Quite well frankly, but it advances slower than expected because of work and health issues. Is still doing good, and some fellow mappers are helping me with various things (will credit them accordingly on release, just not yet). So… Whats expected to be changed? Not a lot I guess… Is mostly fixes and little else:

  • Materia Leveling is added back. It was removed when we had to choose between the Materia Leveling System or the Materia Filtering System. Now we know how to do both at the same time. Also, Materia Leveling has been improved and the materia level is directly related to the current owner’s level, not the guy who picked it first that round. (Example: You are already maximum level and a someone else with no levels picks Heal… He has default Heal that heals up to 100 Hp. He drops it and you pick it, it becomes Heal++ and grants 225 Hp and immortality. If you drop it and he picks it back it goes back to default 100 Hp Heal.)
  • Earth and Gravity become level-able too. Current versions (V5.3) are equivalent to Earth++ and Gravity++.
  • Earth becomes a “normal materia” for spawning purposes. No longer has two personal spawns for itself.
  • There will be at least double the amount of possible materia spawns. Probably more.
  • The Materia Spawning System gets changed to take into account the new spawns while increasing the randomness without the use of patterns and spreading the locations along the map (there is a minimum and maximum number of materias per area now, so you don’t get too few or too many in the city, etc).
  • Easy Mode and its music get added back. It will be equivalent to current Normal, affecting all the difficulties order (last one will become Extreme, being equivalent to the current Extreme 2).
  • Red Boss and Bahamut will have HP Bars. I know many people are against it, and I may remove them later on if most people seem to dislike them, but I will add them at first to try them out. They also should help balancing the bosses HP as they don’t seem to be as well tuned as we thought they were.
  • Ultima will hurt Bahamut for a % of his Total Hp instead of a set amount so it doesn’t get less useful with tons of players or instant-win with just a few.
  • Contest Winner Signs will be removed. So far NO new contest is planned.
  • The part that breaks on Sephiroth’s Bridge should be fixed so you can use materias without jumping.
  • Some (most?) holds will become longer as difficulty increases.
  • Extreme 2 Sephiroth lasers will be sightly faster and spawn at a faster rate.
  • The area between the City and Sephiroth Bridge won’t open for ZM mode.
  • You will be able to choose what to play next after the first ZM round instead of the second one.
  • I will try to change the way you choose what to play next after the ZM round from its current “first to reach secret room” to a “vote between the human survivors” to incentive people to play and survive as well as rewarding the winners by allowing them to cast their vote. If zombies win… Maybe the only ones allowed to vote will be the original Mother Zombies of that ZM round.
  • Fixing the glitches, obviously.
  • Creating a couple new glitches that guarantee the need of a V6.1, obviously too.

So far I’m not thinking about adding a new difficulty (gets asked a lot), but with the re-addition of Materia Leveling, Earth and Gravity being weaker by default, the hold increase in some holds based on difficulty and buffing the final lasers, the map should become sightly harder and have more Human vs Zombie action (I really don’t want to make the map any longer that it currently is, nor forcing people to extend it EVEN MORE to beat a new difficulty).

I may also do some minor changes like reducing 1 sec the duration of Wind (for example). As always I will list all those changes in a detailed Changelog when the map gets released.
There is no estimated release time at this point, but I will let you know when I think I may have one. Maybe I can get an idea for it if I map hard this weekend.


About Junon:

And as for Junon… Well, I don’t have a lot to say but there are two questions I get asked a lot and I wanted to answer them here:

“Junon soon?”
No. I haven’t mapped anything for Junon in over a year. The map is not getting any closer to release as I’m not mapping it at all… I have been busy and I have slacked a lot. My bad, I’m sorry.

“Junon dead?”
No. Even if I haven’t mapped any of it in over a year I still would like to release it at some point in the future, and my current plan is going back to it as serious as ever as soon as I get done with Mako V6. I may also do something I suggested Luffaren to do with his Secret Project to get the first version sooner than normally… More info on this in a future post about what Luffaren has been doing and how his secret project is doing… Maybe next week’s post?


So that’s it for today. I can’t believe fixing Mako is taking me so long, really sorry about that guys, but worry not, just like winter, Mako V6 is coming. I’m working slow but at least I’m not slacking.
If you have any suggestion or complain about the list of changes for Mako Reactor V6, let me know with a comment. I can’t promise your complain/suggestion will get changed/added, but for sure I will read it and think about it thoroughly.

Also, I having my doubts about removing/improving the Cowbells or using the player’s score for either marking their Materia Level or as a DPS Meter during the boss fight (like Predator Ultimate does). Any thoughts on this? Both systems could keep the 100/1000 point rewards showing for bragging rights, but the real/default CSS’ K/D ratio would get lost in the process.

So, I briefly mentioned this on the previous post, but since it was getting quite long and I didn’t want it to become a (bigger) wall of text, I decided to keep this information for a new post, while also help myself with the current plan of updating the blog more frequently (once a week is the idea).
Special thanks to both Detonator and Enviolinador for discovering how and why the particles were crashing, allowing for a “fix” to be found.

One last thing before I proceed to explain the “fix“: This is a guideline that mappers need to follow in order to prevent (or at least reduce) the chances of the Particle Crash from happening. Is NOT a quick fix, solution nor plugin that the servers can add to prevent the particles from crashing, but something that ALL mappers should follow from now on when working with particles.

So… Why do particles crash after playing certain amount of maps? Well… Like with all the other limitations that mappers face when doing a map, it turns out there is also a limit for how many particles can be handled, but instead of being a limit map-wise, is a limit server-wise. After that limit is reached, the server can’t process any new particles and starts to replace them with red crosses (as seen in the screenshot bellow).
This limit is on 2048 particles (default ones like fire or the C4 explosion also count towards reaching it), and after 2048 particles have been loaded in total, the server won’t add new ones to the list and the red crosses start appearing. This is what people refer to when they talk about “crashed particles“.
Now… If you had already one particle loaded (like let’s say “Ultima” from playing Mako Reactor), this one will be already on the list, and if the server goes back to Mako Reactor (or another map that uses the same Ultima particle), this particle will still work, even if others particles (that weren’t on the list) don’t, and this is one of the reasons why sometimes only some particles seem to be broken, and not all of them.
Also worth mentioning that this list of 2048 particles (minus default ones, not sure how many there are) fills up really fast. Not only are there some maps that use a huge amount of custom particles (like Harry Potter), but there are some (most notably Michelle‘s Exorath and Hannibal‘s Paranoid, Mako Reactor and Minas Tirith) that even if they don’t use that many particles, they fill the server with literally HUNDREDS of unused particles present in their respective particle manifests (yeah, those also count! Remove them!).

When particles crash, you see red crosses instead of the desired particle.

When particles crash, you see red crosses instead of the desired particle.

The thing is (and here is where the “fix” resides) is that if a map contains a particle named exactly the same as one already in the “Server’s Particle List“, it doesn’t add a new line, but instead replaces the existing one with the new one.
So what the guys a Rules of p_ started to do in all their ports after this discovery, as part of fixing the maps and doing the best ports possible, was removing all the un-used particles from the manifests and renaming the remaining particles with the following nomenclature:

custom_particle_001
custom_particle_002
etc…

What then happens, is that all the maps ported by them, even if each has 1000 particles on their own, the new particles will just replace the previous map particles with a new set named exactly the same, without increasing the “Server Particle List” and completely avoiding the particle crash.

The problem with this so-called-fix? ALL the mappers should do the same for their own maps. Since the guys at Rules of _p were the first ones to start doing this (for CS:GO), and they already settled for the “custom_particle_xxx” nomenclature (no caps, three digits, even child particles being named with just the following number) I decided it would be best if we used the exact same nomenclature in CS:S to keep things simpler and help with later ports.

So that’s it… There are some CS:S maps already following this rule of naming their particles in this manner. Most notably the newest versions of both Slayerdragon‘s Westersand and Skullz‘s Harry Potter, which also happened to be some of the biggest particle-consumers.
I assume Slayerdragon will eventually do this fix on Paranima (when a new version is needed) and his upcoming maps, and I can assure you that both Mako Reactor V6 and the Paranoid Rezurrection fix being done by Zuff will use this nomenclature as well when they are out.

Now we can just wait for some mappers to follow our example on their future maps to help alleviate the particle crash problem; and even if not all of them follow this path and particles still crash, at least those that do use the “custom_particle_xxx” nomenclature will have bigger probability of their map’s particles properly working, since chances will be that those names are already in the “Server Particle List” by the time the crash occurs.

Until next time!

Okay… So I haven’t updated the blog for over half a year, all blame on me. I could explain some of the reasons but I don’t really see the point in doing so (slacking and real life are both involved). I’m pretty sure I have said it before (and I always meant it even if I fail), but I will try to update more frequently from now on.
Now, without further ado, here are some of the news that may interest you!

EDIT: I was going to type about 6 different things, but this point got so long that I think I will instead post just one each week. I decided to start with this one to make a favor to the guys at Rules of _p and because may be the most relevant one right now: porting maps from CS:Source to CS:GO.


Rules of _p and Porting Maps to CS:GO:

As many of you know, CS:GO is a thing nowadays, and with so many people buying it (because its newer, cheaper and has some healthy leagues) many end trying out and liking some mods, including Zombie Escape. Some of the players are people that moved from Source to GO (I personally will probably keep playing Source while there are still people there) but there are many people new to the mod playing it, and players always want more maps.
There are already some mappers doing new maps only for GO (like the skilled Enviolinador) but many maps are being ported over, not only for nostalgia purposes or to quickly increase the pool of available maps in GO, but also so people that never owned nor played Source can enjoy them for the first time, and many porters have appeared, most notably those from Rules of _p.

The guys at Rules of _p asked me to inform some of the possible porters to take in mind, whenever to decide to port a map or not, that in most cases is not as simple as just decompiling and recompiling, and just doing so will most likely break some events as some entity setups may stop working and must be rebuilt from scratch. So if they decide to port a map they need to check it thoroughly and make sure that everything is working fine, as they won’t be doing any good with half-assed ports that have things not working and that will need to be ported again later by someone more skilled or dedicated.
On a side note there are also other things to take into account, like replacing textures and props by default ones from GO whenever its possible, so the map size is not bigger than it should. Also special attention should be taken into the renaming of particles, something that I will explain in a future post (as this one was getting too long).

Oh, and two more things: I have been told that their next pack will try to include ZE_Paranoid_Classic and ZE_LOTR_Minas_Tirith, so I would suggest you not bothering porting those (which are amongst the hardest-to-port maps in the whole ZE-Source library, maybe second only to SyoudousZE_Mountain_Escape). The reason they haven’t been ported yet is because CS:GO has slightly different entity limitations and behavior, and they may end needing a special plugin (there are people working on it) for the templates or something to work properly. Otherwise, some kind of build-up occurs that eventually makes the server crash.
Also they told me (after a couple of cases of it happening) that you shouldn’t use the “_p” nomenclature at the end of your ported maps names (if you decide to port) as that is their custom signature that they use it to distinguish their ports from others and is starting to be considered by some as seal of approval that guarantees the quality of the port.


And that was it for today… Will post again next week (or maybe this weekend) about some other things. As mentioned on the “first paragraph’s edit” I was going to talk about six points, but after seeing how long the first one got, I decided to rather type about each one in a separate post in order to avoid an unbearable wall of text.
In case you were wondering, the other points were going to be:

Hannibal: about Last Man Standing and his farewell to mapping.
Luffaren: his Secret Project and CS:GO side projects.
Enviolinador: about Chicken Ranch and his upcoming CS:GO map (with bosses!).
Kaemon: about Mako Reactor V6 and whats up with Junon.
Mapping Trick: using “custom_particle_xxx” nomenclature to avoid particle crashes (both on Source and GO).

If you are specially interested into one these points, let me know with a comment and it might be the next one (and since the site probably lost a lot of visits due to inactivity you may be the only one commenting!).
See you! And sorry again for not updating for so long! ^_^U