Dev Diaries: Eviternity, Part Six
Eviternity Dev Diary Six – The road to RC2!
Welcome to the sixth Eviternity Dev Diary! Today we’re covering what’s going on right now in terms of development of RC2, which will hopefully be the final candidate before an /idgames release.
To decide in March that you want to create a megawad for December is perhaps not a genius move, but we did it! 32 maps were indeed released on December 10th. It has been incredible to see and hear from so many people playing Eviternity: The mindboggling amount of streams on Twitch, feedback on forums, on our Eviternity discord server, and in private messages. However, the pressure of that deadline unfortunately lead to the inclusion of some critical bugs rendering maps impossible to complete in some circumstances, and our episode-ending death exits being wildly unreliable.
We’ve Been Intently Listening To Feedback
While these really painful bugs make us anxious to fix them as soon as possible, we also don’t want to be patching Eviternity once a week forever, but would rather collect all the feedback & all the bug reports first then address them in one go. So to everyone streaming, commenting, and spending countless hours volunteering to chase down even the most minute of alignment errors: Thank you ever so much! You are all making Eviternity better!
The highest priority has been “the showstoppers” – Bugs that break gameplay. For example, in PrBoom+ multi-key switches are broken when playing in the intended complevel (CL11, MBF). The fact that we didn’t catch it obviously reveals how last minute some stuff was (and shines a painful light on how PrBoomPlus testing was done incorrectly on the final versions of the levels).
Another major bug is a very serious case of human error – I changed a red key door to blue key in map31 in literally the last few hours before packing up the release. And in what was supposed to be clean-up efforts the final fights in both map19 and map32 became involuntarily neutered when loads of enemies became blocked from teleporting in, oops!
Difficulty Refinements, Testing & Cosmetic Considerations
Of almost as high importance is the feedback on difficulty spikes and situations that felt unfair. This has mostly been about maps 5, 14, and 15, all of which have been adjusted, in some cases quite substantially. But many other maps have been tweaked too, and we listened to feedback on the custom monsters: Both the Annihilator and the Nightmare Demon have been weakened slightly, and the Astral Cacodemons had their center double layer fireball changed to a Cacodemon projectile. While the hard maps remain hard and these monsters retain most of their characteristics, we hope and believe these changes help ensure a playing experience that feels more fair and fun.
We have also gone over the majority of the levels, carefully adjusting cosmetic errors and taking the time to do the little things, such as adding health potions guiding the player’s path, exit signs being more clearly visible, and making sure lines are flagged as impassable and/or monster blocking to facilitate smoother gameplay.
There is much more too, and if you’re curious or wondering if a bug you found has been reported yet, check out our change log in the toggle-box below. This is based on today’s current changelog (Dec 31st) – this will be a larger list of changes by the time we release.
RC2 Changelog (Dec 31st)
- By popular demand, infinite height is no longer enforced in GZDoom.
- Map title cards for map31 and map32 were switched. Fixed this and also in ZMAPINFO.
- Added weather toggle to menu (go to Options, then “Eviternity Options” at the bottom).
- Map title callout no longer displays on TITLEMAP.
- Fixed MAP15->MAP16 transition borking up skill levels.
- Added episode selections for Eternity Engine.
- Made text color of episode selection in gzdoom white, to match the rest of things.
- Removed grey bar from top of gzdoom’s loading screen.
- Astral cacodemon fire changed so center fireball isn’t doubled, making it slightly less lethal. Instead center projectile is a cacodemon fireball.
- Annihilator (baron replacement) had health lowered from 1400 to 1100, and the delay to chaingun firing increased from 16 to 20 game tics.
- Adjusted Y offset on the custom short torches so they don’t appear to be gliding around.
- Changed the final frame of the astral cacodemon death so its corpse is lower: Makes it more obviously dead and obstructs the view less.
- A new COLORMAP is used that improves software rendering.
- Made monster teleporters failproof.
- Changed FLAT on top of switch in the tar pit to a black metal. was a poorly fitting rock texture before.
- Massive amounts of rock texture alignment, and setting proper unpegging to make this possible.
- fixed alignments in the tower with the chaingunner.
- Changed exit sign to the bigger one and lowered it so it’s more visible once everything is lowered.
- Changed the light effect for the exit sign to use lines 213/261 for light transfers instead of height tricks.
- Various cliff alignment fixes.
- Fixed tree clipping issues outdoors in software renderers, this required some extra sectors and I changed one tree to a smaller one. There’s more that could be fixed here but it’s kinda “good enough” now.
- The see-through waterfall needed some Y offset fixing on the inside.
- Added some slight variations in bookshelf texture use in the library.
- Altered some flags for variety.
- Fixed stuck shotgunners.
- Death exit fixed.
- One of the side room with the 2×2 teleporters had the wrong ceiling.
- Plenty of texture alignment on the stairs.
- Slight variety added to the use of bookshelf textures.
- The midtex bar in the alley in from the big open arena caused an upper texture to look weird, fixed this.
- Minor rock alignments.
- A hell knight in the outdoor area is often not woken up by the player, so moved him a little bit.
- The chaingunners on the gray brick ledge somehow needed more room to wake up in gzdoom. This was fixed for two of them but the third stood in a place that didn’t let itself be rearranged as easily without breaking the pattern. So I deleted him, leaving only two chaingunners.
- Aligned some texture near the red teleporter in the water.
- Fixed Y alignment in sector 728
- Final room needed some upper unpegged for some linedefs in the OSPRTB support beams.
- 242’ed the slight floor indent in the corridors into the exit room. Zzul had complained about the unevenness on his stream.
- Sector 203 and 206 had their ceiling FLAT change to fit the texture better (they’re doors, so only visible when opened)
- The pillars that raise towards yellow key had all their lines as action 123 (lift) which I removed: It was residue from an older version of the mechanism.
- It was possible to raise the caco and chaingunner platforms platforms by the YK multiple times. Switch to voodoo solution.
- Some slight light level tuning to appease software rendering.
- Texture alignment stuff.
- a midtexture was only applied on one side of an impassable line, so fixed this and changed to a taller texture since some stairs blocked the view of the original low rail.
- Death exit fixed.
- linedefs 3763, 3749 middle texture (chainlink fence kinda thing) needed Y offset fix to close a gap.
- Added lights around the switches for the crusher/spider mastermind section since a lot of people missed them in the dark.
- Exit switch changed to 3 switches due to multi key being broken in prboomplus.
- Added block monster to the outer rim of an ice stalagmite so monsters don’t get pushed up it. (sector 436.)
- Massivere amounts of texture alignment.
- Monster teleporters for the ending sometimes got blocked, making 100% kills impossible. These are much more reliable now, everything teleports iin eventually even if they’re blocke repeatedly.
- Added more health in northern section.
- Lots of texture alignment.
- It was possible to get locked out via AV jump, so now the bars raise higher to prevent this.
- Outside the building somme trees would clip through the floor wein a weird way, nudged them around to avoid this.
- Made some icicle walls impassable.
- Fixed stuck arachnotron.
- Made switch in ‘chandelier room’ more noticable.
- Hid AV which was visible through a wall.
- Loads of alignment fixes.
- The bars guarding the switch that raises exit bridge had scroll applied to them—adjusted the voodoo setup to avoid this.
- The flickering fire in the hall with the carpet was looking bad in software rendering, so brightened the fire texture to fix it.
- Moved Line Action 219 (tag 47) from linedef 6093 to linedefs 5711, 5677, 5713 and 5720.
- Moved Line Action 24728 (tag 55) from deleted linedef in sector 158 to linedefs 913, 1023, 968, 1041, 570, 1083, and 1078.
- Raised brightness of sector 1275 to 255 and applied sector effect 8 (light glow)
- Made linedefs 1140 and 1138 impassable.
- Fixed incorrectly lower unpegged walls at the SSG secret.
- Fixed the bug where two chaingun elites don’t spawn, after the red keycard door is opened.
- Fixed the glitch with ice flats, which had different behavior than intended in PrBoom+ source port.
- Fixed minor visual issues, like a wall-clipping tree and a notable slime trail.
- Fixed the glitch in yellow skull key area, where the monsters could break blocking-bars
- Lowered the overall difficulty of the level, especially with the arena encounters
- Death exit fixed.
- Added fireplaces to western corridor.
- Changed clock fight into a faster-slaughter-ish version.
- Changed yellow key fight.
- Bridge section reworked to avoid silent teleport issues.
- Exit location made clearer.
- Texture adjustments.
- Added all the missing sky tag.
- Automap cleaned 100%.
- Added a bit more detail.
- Casted all the shadows.
- Fixed all the possible HOMS.
- Fixed all the possible soft locks.
- Can now be completed with 100%/100%/100%, items are no longer stuck in the voodoo rooms.
- Texture alignment pass, minor stuff only.
- There was some use of line texture splitting alignment trickery that isn’t needed anymore as there are proper texture versions for those sizes now.
- Some detail work for light cast from lamps.
- deleted 5 imps that were doubled, so stuck in-game.
- Plenty of little texture alignment fixes.
- Softlock possible right at the start, moved some sectors to solve it.
- Another possible softlock in sector 6511 fixed by narrowing it.
- Fixed a third soft lock possible when jumping out a window.
- Added 5 teleporter shortcuts on coop that become accessible from the start as you progress. This way killed teammates won’t have to backtrack for as long.
- Final fight got renovated so it wont break.
- All sky transfers redone to make sure every tag is covered.
- Some decorative wall alcoves were flagged impassable to make navigating less janky.
- Under some conditions a floor lowering would not change its FLAT, this was fixed.
- The first set of crushers by the orange lasers are a bit of a nasty surprise, so some armor + health added so the player can take at least one hit and survive.
- Plenty of alignment fixes.
- Death exit fixed.
- Soulsphere secret marked as secret.
- Resolved a possible soft lock by the blue armor.
- Resolved a possible soft lock in the vats around the soulsphere.
- Coop had a mastermind teleport in that was stuck, replaced with eight (!) annihilators on UV.
- Added 3 extra rad suits on coop.
- Texture alignment fixes.
- Demon Arena triggers are no longer skippable.
- Lots of alignment fixes.
- Texture alignment pass. Hopefully all rising/lowering sectors still have their unpegging set right still.
- Added more annihilators for coop.
- The switch that lowers exit teleporters now also opens doors for backtracking (secret hunting).
- Death exit fixed.
- Brightened slightly.
- Monster count doubled on coop.
- Minor alignments.
- Made outside void -20% health so you die if you somehow get tossed out by an arch vile.
- trimmed off some bleeding edges of the start teleporter pad (vanilla/boom flat rendering edge bleed).
- Alignment fixes.
- block monster lines around the big pit.
- Texture alignment.
- Changed exit to three individual switches since PRBoomPlus can’t handle triple key switches (t only works for all 6 keys).
- This used a bunch of STARTAN2 in areas the player couldn’t see, but replaced it to make sure there are no issues with PNAMES lump shenanigans.
- Minor alignment fixes
- Small visual changes in caves and throne room
- Last fight shouldn’t be broken anymore
- Monsters added to astral horde fight but needs further inspection/testing
- fixed door to be red key and not blue
- Updated exit to lead to super secret exit, so once you go to 31 you also get 32 automatically. (This seems to have already been the case but there was a regular exit line in there too)
- Moved an awkwardly placed torch.
- Some extra sectors were previously marked secret by mistake, making 100% impossible.
- Lots of little HMP and UV skill tweaks.
- Lots if little thing placement tweaks.
- Lava room (between blue and yellow buildings)
- Alignment pass.
- Moved armor so you have to climb up to it instead of grabbing from below.
- The megasphere was still possible to grab without triggering the secret to count, should hopefully be fixed once and for all.
- Red building:
- After the cyberdemon at the end of the serpentine bridge a manc teleports in. I made this a bit more robust as it was possible to block it before.
- There’s a switch guarded by two HK’s that lowers a wall, but coming from the other direction this wall is lowered by a walk-over line, leaving the switch useless (and thus confusing). Changed this so the switch disappears once pressed OR line walked over.
- Similarly, made it slightly less confusing to come from the north-western side (where there’s mancs) by adding a switch and making sure stuff opens/disappears in a more logical way.
- Switch by the revenants on the crate platform was a bit unclear to some people. Teleporting in an AV to signal its purpose.
- Red room, switch that turns of the last set of lasers before you can raise the “lipstick” platforms wasn’t clear, so teleporting in some revenants to lead the player.
- Made Mancubus-guarded berserk a non-secret.
- The eastern side, outdoors, removed the soulsphere and added other health bonuses instead, as there’s a megasphere secret up in the rocky bits and the two spheres felt too close together.
- Switch that raises the “lipsticks” was toggled to start in an ON stage instead, as that is more consistent with the rest of the room.
- Green building:
- Outside this, facing the main lava lake, there were two medikits. Moved those to where the mancs are on the red building side, and added a third.
- With some obscure routing it was possible to jump into the window with the revenants and get stuck.
- Added some barrels scattered throughout.
- Minor monster placement tweaks.
- In the lava “sewers”, added a bunch of former humans when the outer walls lower.
- Added some stimpaks on the upper “balcony” overlooking lava and green tower.
- The BFG sequence had a revenant changed to AV and added an Annihilator teleporting in. Also added health + armor here.
- BFG was somehow only present on UV.
- The eastern-most switch to raise access to the green bridge was pressable from below.
- Added some detail above the blue key door that leads in here, to better denote this as “green building” (without using the same light trim technique everywhere).
- Changed megasphere secret to soulsphere and made it slightly harder to spot.
- The ceiling openings on the inside got a green light trim.
- In the room with three lowering stairs, the door to the central switch was moved back from the bars so you can’t open the door while the bars are still up.
- Pink building:
- Tweaked difficulties a little.
- Added a couple more hell knights on coop.
- Added a berserk and some rockets by the mancs on the little platform outside.
- Added a little detail to the plasma rifle room.
- Some alignment fixes.
- Orange building:
- Switch at the bottom hexagonal room (that crushes AV’s) now starts in the off state.
- The above mentioned switch now opens the bottom door with the SSG, instead of the top one doing that, more directly leading the user to start the arch-vile crushers.
- Yellow building:
- Altered AV fight to more strictly enfore doing it from within the “safe room”.
- Safe room had a rocket launcher only on easy skill, should be all skills.
- Made sure there’s 10 AV’s on HMP too, but added more health for that skill.
- Added a secret with some health bonuses.
- Made rock climb up from yellow area a bit less obvious.
- When you exit towards green building area there’s an arachnotron now.
- Serpentine path:
- Sky clipping perspective possible from lava path up above switch is now fixed.
- The caves leading up to here were tweaked so the plasma is now only available if entering from the pink building. If you come the other way you presumably already have the plasma from the orange building.
- Blue building:
- Added a blue light trim to more clearly indicate it’s the blue building.
- Fourth switch in the arms extending out, the one that makes megasphere available, was changed from blue to white to signal that it’s different.
- Moved plasma rifle and tweaked ammo balance a bit.
- Added second AV after blue key fight (UV only).
- If you come to this through the “back door exit” from the yellow building, jumping over the start area, you can now enter the blue building instead of facing a dead end.
- Lowered the risk of soft lock in coop, but if a single player goes in and is killed by the AV before the switch is flipped, it’s still locked…
- Final fight:
- Some slight tweaks to the final black rock area to lead the player better.
- On the rock climb up to the black tower, the megasphere is now a secret (and the path to it more hidden).
- Some people had trouble figuring out the last jump sequence, so a single health bonus is added to help guide.
- Tried to guide the user to find the switch raising the platforms a bit easier, some had trouble understanding where to go.
- Redesigned final fight completely. Extensively reworked the room too.
- Added an elevator from the final room so you can get out at the end if you want to explore more, such as to find secrets. (Thanks for this idea, floatrand!)
Regarding The Release Date…
We were hoping to have RC2 (Release Candidate 2) out before 2019, but are not going to succeed in that. One main reason is that unlike for RC1, this time we are playing through every map verifying 100% kills and secrets are possible in all skill settings in all supported game engines. This is a lot of play time, and when we make changes we need to verify again. So we can only ask you to be patient with us and please continue providing feedback!