Showcase / Ethereum S.744 Released Today

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jjumisko
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Joined: 11th Dec 2019
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Posted: 21st Sep 2021 01:16

Ethereum S.744


Developed by PlayPath Experiences / Odd Bergman Studios
Ethereum S.744 is a free-to-play walking simulator in which the player can explore the environments. Thanks to the GG community for all the help. I hope a few people try it out and let me know what you think. It is very minimalistic, but might be intriguing.[b]

https://playpathexperiences.itch.io/ethereum-s744
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Wolf
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Joined: 8th Nov 2007
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Posted: 25th Sep 2021 12:00 Edited at: 25th Sep 2021 12:08
Hi!

I gave it a try and must say that it didn't quite click with me.
First of all, I like the general idea of the game. Walking through it I could kind of guess what you where trying to accomplish here, however the game is not really there yet. On the plus side, the hypnotic background music really works. Everything else does not.

Quote: "It is very minimalistic"


Thats the main issue with the game. I can tell that you tried to create a lonely, sterile scifi atmosphere with it but you also entirely relied on stock props. While there are indeed some scifi props that gel well with the greyish modern aesthetic you also have a whole bunch of props that are just extremely awkward. Things like a rustic couch with warm, a worn water cooler or cheap looking colorful bookcases are incredibly jarring to see in this environment. GG has limited render capabilities, you can not drown out these inconsistencies with color correction, other forms of post processing or dynamic shadows.

The fact that you use as few props as possible makes all these wildly different assets in tone and style stick out immediately. The best example are these gigantic biohazard warning labels on the glass in places where they have no place being. The solarium/winter garden area being the best example. You can easily airbrush these out of the texture with any art software. (this is a bare minimum kind of thing) You can use the free software paint.net to convert the .dds files if your art tool doesn't support that format.

* Given that this is a very static environment, you can try lightmapping: It would mean that the furniture casts shadows and doesn't look so floaty but most of all, it would help decrease the effect of the unfortunate lighting you currently have. Some rooms are just a black void with brightly lit random props sticking out. See attached screenshots for examples. I think this is the second biggest visual weakness of the game, it kills the atmosphere.

* The doors have a very slow opening animation, making you try to walk through what looks like an opening for a couple seconds you can not until the collision switches off when the animation finishes. Players outside the GG community will ridicule this immediately as they are not aware and less forgiving of GG stock prop quirks.

* The gameplay mostly consists of walking and reading. Thats totally fine but I personally don't think having to walk through these long, featureless corridors only to end up in a place with almost zero interactivity is particularly engaging. Slow burn puzzle games need pacing too

* To fix the issue with some props lighting up as glaring white while others don't when you use the flashlight, open the .fpe file of these models and add or replace the effect line with this: "effectbank\reloaded\entity_basic.fx" . You can edit .fpe files with notepad.

* You can retexture props without modeling kowledge. Given that this thing has very few entities, you can probably do it all of them in roughly 30 minutes. Give the random stock props a more metallic, futuristic sheen or so.

* The tropical island thingie was quite alright but had this "default game guru" vibe. Apart from some obvious LOD stage pop in. You can also adjust that in the .fpe file.

Just my impression and a few suggestions. Maybe some of it is useful to you.



-Wolf

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jjumisko
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Posted: 25th Sep 2021 19:06
Wow, thanks for the feedback, Wolf. I was trying to make the best use of the stock assets. I was never happy with that book case as the specular and color is way off. It might be better to just eliminate the bookshelves altogether. I would love to lightmap this, but my experience with GG Classic is that it is inconsistent at best. It is not reliable, so I don't use it. The doors suck, even when you make them large, you get stuck waiting for the animation to complete. I wish there would have been something better, but both of the sci-fi doors do this. The island LOD pop-in I thought I had fixed on all of those entities! I'll have to look a little harder at that level, and now that I know the trick (making them a non-occludee) , I'll be able to better build outdoor spaces so much better. As for your images, the "Black room" is meant to be black, and I made a texture just for that. it is meant to be a bit disorienting. The other image is about what I wanted, though I see it shows up darker on your PC, so that is quite instructive.

Seriously Wolf, I really appreciate your time and effort in trying out my game. I take all criticism seriously, and see it as a chance to learn. Thanks a million!
Jeff
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