Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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! XD
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. XD

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).

Brace yourselves… Maps are comming!

Posted: May 11, 2015 by Kaemon in Kaemon's Rants, News

First of all let me tell you, in case you missed it, that the previous post to this one was Hannibal‘s farewell to ZE mapping. He may come back someday, I guess, but I don’t think that can happen until we are at least working with the HL3 engine.
Hannibal made some of the greatest maps (and I think I may type a whole post in the future dedicated to him) including my two big favorites: Paranoid and Mako Reactor. As with everything, there all kind of tastes and preferences and some people didn’t like his maps and style, but since most people LOVED them and they would come in play (and be extended!) so often, the people hating them got to hate them even more! So I guess he would be both the most loved and hated mapper for ZE Source 😛

As many of you know he also inspired many of the “new generation” mappers that are now, as him, pushing the engine to its limits, and without Hannibal‘s starting the chain reaction we probably wouldn’t have maps like Luffaren‘s Predator Ultimate, Slayerdragon‘s Westersand or Syoduous‘ weird version of Mountain Escape (those 3 are easily in my Top10 favorite ZE maps).
And I’m no exception. I loved some of his maps so much (the previously mentioned Paranoid and Mako Reactor) that I wanted to make my own versions of them (Junon and a Paranoid of my own). Now… I have been known for a while to slack more than I map, and Junon, even if not completely dead, has been stopped for a while; but my Paranoid version could see the light of the day sooner than expected (more info about this on a future post) and I’m now working on fixing Mako Reactor up to a shiny new V6 and so far looks like I will be able to fulfill my release for May… So wait for it!

But I’m not the only busy bee around here… There are many mappers doing maps still for ZE Source!

Luffaren‘s secret project is coming along pretty well and I personally cannot wait for its “early release” (before all stages are complete). I still think he should release as it is (with 6 stages) instead of waiting for the 7th to be done (his current plan).

Then you have guys like Slayerdragon (well known creator of FFXII maps Westersand and Paranima) that is not working on one, not even two, but who knows how many maps at once! I don’t know about all his projects, but he showed me the two most advanced ones: The first one looks quite good… And then the second one looks amazing, is based on a franchise I love and can’t wait for the release!
From what I have been told he has a “Kaemon” of his own, and apparently the delay on him releasing those maps (that are really close to completion) is that his working thrall, Noctali (or whatever nickname he goes by nowadays), is following into my slacking steps. I believe he called me his “Slack Senpai“.

There are many others, but I can’t really keep up with every single mapper.
I also may be forgetting to mention some that I do know about and then are those that I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention (I always try to ask for permission before mentioning something in the blog and sometimes mappers aren’t online, the slacky bastards!).
But trust me, just the two maps coming from Slayerdragon should be enough to pump you up!

Then of course, you also have the mappers that have completely switched to CS:GO (and I believe at some point most of us will have to) like Enviolinador, still working as hard as ever on new maps (I can’t believe that guy’s mapping rate!). He now has sightly stopped his current ZE project to work on a small side map for a new zombie gamemode that is yet to be released to the public and some IRL stuff, but I can’t wait for his new CS:GO ZE map to be released! It’s looking great and I will probably help him out with one of the areas. Definitely a map worth keeping one eye on.

First of all, let me inform you that the guys at Rules of _p released last week a new map pack with 40 new map ports from Source to GO. As far as I know all of them are new to CS:GO, enjoy!
I just learned about this right now (before pressing the “post button”) so I just added it quickly in front of the already written post. You can download them from HERE or HERE, or just look for the the links bellow their POST.

As I mentioned at the end of the previous post, its about time I give myself an ultimatum concerning the release of Mako V6. Maybe with a release date I get more serious about it (we did release Serpentis after all!).

At first I started working on V6 quite fast (and furious!) and the map was advancing at an unbelievably fast pace; so much that I was hoping to be done withing a couple of months; but then I got busy IRL and had some problems and the whole thing slowed down. When that happened I really tried to get it ready for April’s Fool in the hopes of fooling people into thinking it was an April’s fool when in fact it was the actual release, but it wasn’t ready in time as I ended up not mapping for some weeks.

However now I’m back to work and V6 is advancing just fine again. I would love to be able to narrow down the release date more, but there is still work to be done… Whatever the case I will be releasing in May (knowing me probably midnight of the 31th) even if its not completely done, and keep working on the finishing touches afterwards while people test what has changed. Releasing without it being 100% complete shouldn’t be a big deal since I assumed from the very beginning that a couple extra versions (V6.1 and V6.2) were going to be needed anyway, at the very least, no matter what, as we always end breaking something while doing changes and fixes. (BTW, even if V6 doesn’t have a new difficulty, V6.1 or V6.2 may).

As for Hannibal… Its not set in stone I guess, but is not looking good for Last Man Standing. He went on a break and traveled during his holidays and what not. At first he wanted to go back to LMS after the break was done and leave the map fixed and playable, but I briefly talked to him the other day and doesn’t seem up for the task anymore. He hasn’t regularly played ZE for years and looks like its time for him to completely move on… I guess he can still change his mind, specially if I happened to volunteer helping him, something he wanted me to do from the very beginning, but is not looking good…

Worst case scenario (him not working on LMS anymore) he already mentioned that he would leave the assets (textures, models, notes and .vmf) to anyone willing to fix the map. So at least there is that. Sorry for the bad news.

Next weekend… not sure, there are many things I want to post about. However, if Hannibal is really giving up, he mentioned he wanted to do a “Goodbye Post“, I just don’t know when he would type or post it.

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!

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. 😛

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!

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