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First impressions?

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  06:56:49  1 May 2014
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MSH-Hitman
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 03/31/2007
 

Message edited by:
MSH-Hitman
05/01/2014 6:58:18
Messages: 704
Delving deeper into the game, there's a ton I like, but probably should hit some criticisms too as that is what makes a better game. I'm not talking about obvious bugs here, those'll get fixed eventually.

As much as I love some of the new maps, it feels like there's a real lack of direction when you really need it. I appreciate having so much to explore, I feel like I'm just wandering around in circles, but it seems that I'm either missing where I should be going. A good example is Rostok. I must've explored half of the wrong side of that place before coming across the Duty HQ with the gas and realized that was where I needed to be. Sure, I would've got there eventually, but so much time was wasted.

Same for needing the bandit suit, I must've wandered that area east of the base looking for the dead bandits and simply never found them. I could see their bodies on the map, but I couldn't find anyway to get to them.

It also feels like there's very little reward for exploring places. I've found little stockpiles for sure, but painkillers and sausage is not a reward in any way lol The only times I seem to get anything of value, are from stashes, of which you can only get those when they've been unlocked, which negates exploring. I'm sure there's stuff out there, but it's either so ridiculously hidden that you'll waste the quickly burning batteries just looking for them, or you'll never find them cause they are impossible to see. I've basically started to just hold F whenever I'm running around buildings so that I can have the names pop up automatically because so often things just seems so hard to see.

Rostok in particular feels lacking too. It's so big and empty other than the bloodsuckers that only spawn with the mission. I think the only other thing I saw there were two boars. It's freaking awesomely designed, it's bigger, packed in with houses and the factory area itself, but I found nothing in there at all.

It's at least compact, Darkscape though, I'm already dreading running through Darkscape cause it's big, I have no fueled car anymore and I'm gonna delve into that stupid, ridiculously long mine shaft again just to talk to Veles lol That mine shaft should've been cut by 2/3rds. Just part of the railway tunnel, a tunnel or two, and that's it. It seems like the idea was that since they had the space, they should use it, but I feel like the design idea should've been for essentially quality over quantity. That's another map that feels pretty damn empty. The one side has a few military guys strewn about, the other has a few mutants, but so much of the rest is just EMPTY. I wasn't finding loot or any sort of danger.

Simply put, more needs to be added into most of the maps I've visited. Garbage could use more than just than one group of spawning dogs, Rostok needs some zombies and mutants or something, Darkscape could use bandits dotting the lake side and abandoned boat area, stuff like this would make the experience more engaging. I'm sure there's loot to find in these empty places somewhere, I'm just getting to the point where I feel like I can't be bothered to find loot if there's nothing to keep my going, especially when I'm finding nothing good when I try to search everywhere.

Keep up the great work, I still have tons of time to spend into it, just had to put out what felt the game needed more of and to better direct people in quests.
  07:56:11  1 May 2014
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boredgunner
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On forum: 09/20/2009
 

Message edited by:
boredgunner
05/01/2014 8:03:24
Messages: 990

---QUOTATION---
snip
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You seem to be really against exploring, unless they reward you with stockpiles of ammunition and/or weaponry. So you want this along with smaller, more straightforward maps and more objective markers... somehow it should be marked on Marked One's PDA exactly where he can find Bandit jackets? By the way, Duty HQ will be marked on your PDA if you talk to Sgt. Kitsenko and ask him about it.

The open level design and level of exploration is great, much better than all the previous games. The only thing I can complain about is that there isn't enough AI spawned on most of the maps, especially mutants, so I agree with you on this. Rostok Factory especially is just devoid of life save for scripted Bloodsuckers, and the scripted Duty and Ecologists. A-Life needs to be more alive, I recommend looking at Oblivion Lost for inspiration in this regard. The random patrols and explorers in that mod, and how far stalkers would wander the Zone, and how unpredictable spawns were is perfect in OL. It would be nice to see NPCs loot, hunt for artifacts, and heal downed allies too.

More side quests would help encourage and reward exploration more, though I believe there are more after finishing the story, and considering that this was made for free, I won't ask for more side quests. But I'd like future updates to address A-Life and the emptiness of levels. It would also be nice if emissions changed anomaly spawns like in Oblivion Lost and like in established S.T.A.L.K.E.R. lore.


---QUOTATION---
First impressions?

Alas, I currently don't have a computer to run Lost Alpha. How does it look?

The Cordon is nice, The Garbage is awesome, I love ShoC but this just blew up all my expectations, didn't even know that Stalker can look and feel like this.

I was a little bit disappointed that Agroprom looks exactly the same as original
---END QUOTATION---



You need to look more closely. Agroprom wasn't scratch made, but they added so much detail to it so that it doesn't feel like empty video game maps like the other games. The factory is full of leftover rusted equipment you'd expect to see in an old factory, and actual furniture and proof that some stalkers have made their home there in the past. Same for the HQ, not to mention the swamp area is very different. Let's not forget Agroprom Underground is integrated into the map and no longer has a loading screen, and it's very different than the originals + way more detailed too. But not everyone appreciates attention to detail I suppose.

Also, Agroprom had the same layout in Build 1935 compared to SoC/CS. It wasn't one of the drastically shrunken down and changed maps, like Cordon, Garbage, Dark Valley, etc. It just had Agroprom Underground integrated into the map; Lost Alpha did this and added tons of more detail too.

Of course, I'd like to see more active A-Life here and everywhere else. More mutant spawns, more mutant hunting, more military patrols, etc. Not enough snorks or bloodsuckers.
  08:38:22  1 May 2014
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MSH-Hitman
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 03/31/2007
Messages: 704

---QUOTATION---
You seem to be really against exploring, unless they reward you with stockpiles of ammunition and/or weaponry. So you want this along with smaller, more straightforward maps and more objective markers... somehow it should be marked on Marked One's PDA exactly where he can find Bandit jackets? By the way, Duty HQ will be marked on your PDA if you talk to Sgt. Kitsenko and ask him about it.

The open level design and level of exploration is great, much better than all the previous games. The only thing I can complain about is that there isn't enough AI spawned on most of the maps, especially mutants, so I agree with you on this. Rostok Factory especially is just devoid of life save for scripted Bloodsuckers, and the scripted Duty and Ecologists. A-Life needs to be more alive, I recommend looking at Oblivion Lost for inspiration in this regard. The random patrols and explorers in that mod, and how far stalkers would wander the Zone, and how unpredictable spawns were is perfect in OL. It would be nice to see NPCs loot, hunt for artifacts, and heal downed allies too.

More side quests would help encourage and reward exploration more, though I believe there are more after finishing the story, and considering that this was made for free, I won't ask for more side quests. But I'd like future updates to address A-Life and the emptiness of levels. It would also be nice if emissions changed anomaly spawns like in Oblivion Lost and like in established S.T.A.L.K.E.R. lore.
---END QUOTATION---



I'm not against exploration at all, there is just very little that warrants the exploration in certain areas. Rostok is devoid of life and has TONS to explore, but if there is no threat, there's no excitement, and if there doesn't seem to be loot, that kinda just leads to a really bland area. Rostok is probably the best looking place I've seen so far, I'd just like a reason to really be there other than the one mission that I thought was kind of poorly directed. Also, that marker should've been given as you got the mission I think.

For the bandit suit, the guy says he knows there was another entrance, so a marker getting put for it would've been nice. I found the general area easy enough, I just haven't found the entrance. It would've been cool had I found it, I'm sure there's mutants in there to fight, and then I get that bandit suit I need and go further the story and that would've been exciting. Instead I wandered around there for like an hour and found no way in, cleared that whole section of the map, and then just wandered away to do other stuff since I was kinda forced to go the Bar to get a bandit suit. It's possible I just easily missed where I should go, I just feel like overall the mod lacks a proper visual element or sometimes marker element to guide you better. I can't be the only one that finds himself running around circles abit too often here.

For Darkscape, the design is fine, I'm cool with it, but there's only some zombies and maybe a half dozen military guys on the one side and a handful of mutants on the other, the rest is just barren. Then there's the run to Veles which is through that completely boring and dimly lit area where I'm just gonna burn through a battery just to get to him. There's no visual appeal to make the journey interesting. In most places, the long run is usually at least fraught with danger to keep me on my toes. For that, it just seemed unnecessarily deep with nothing going on, so it would've been better to just cut out most of the tunnels I think. Could've had the Sin guys in just that first big room out of the railway tunnel and accomplished it all the same.

Also, is there another way into the Bar or is it just the ONE entrance on the other side near towards the old wild territory? There seems to be sort of an entrance with the Arena I think, but the Arena was bugged for me, so I couldn't do anything there. If I can open it there eventually, that would be great, but it seems like it would've been better to just have a normal entrance on that side like in the regular game?
  08:44:26  1 May 2014
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boredgunner
КОКАИНУМ!
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On forum: 09/20/2009
 

Message edited by:
boredgunner
05/01/2014 8:46:01
Messages: 990

---QUOTATION---


I'm not against exploration at all, there is just very little that warrants the exploration in certain areas. Rostok is devoid of life and has TONS to explore, but if there is no threat, there's no excitement, and if there doesn't seem to be loot, that kinda just leads to a really bland area. Rostok is probably the best looking place I've seen so far, I'd just like a reason to really be there other than the one mission that I thought was kind of poorly directed. Also, that marker should've been given as you got the mission I think.

For the bandit suit, the guy says he knows there was another entrance, so a marker getting put for it would've been nice. I found the general area easy enough, I just haven't found the entrance. It would've been cool had I found it, I'm sure there's mutants in there to fight, and then I get that bandit suit I need and go further the story and that would've been exciting. Instead I wandered around there for like an hour and found no way in, cleared that whole section of the map, and then just wandered away to do other stuff since I was kinda forced to go the Bar to get a bandit suit. It's possible I just easily missed where I should go, I just feel like overall the mod lacks a proper visual element or sometimes marker element to guide you better. I can't be the only one that finds himself running around circles abit too often here.

For Darkscape, the design is fine, I'm cool with it, but there's only some zombies and maybe a half dozen military guys on the one side and a handful of mutants on the other, the rest is just barren. Then there's the run to Veles which is through that completely boring and dimly lit area where I'm just gonna burn through a battery just to get to him. There's no visual appeal to make the journey interesting. In most places, the long run is usually at least fraught with danger to keep me on my toes. For that, it just seemed unnecessarily deep with nothing going on, so it would've been better to just cut out most of the tunnels I think. Could've had the Sin guys in just that first big room out of the railway tunnel and accomplished it all the same.

Also, is there another way into the Bar or is it just the ONE entrance on the other side near towards the old wild territory? There seems to be sort of an entrance with the Arena I think, but the Arena was bugged for me, so I couldn't do anything there. If I can open it there eventually, that would be great, but it seems like it would've been better to just have a normal entrance on that side like in the regular game?
---END QUOTATION---



There's tons of visual appeal on the levels when exploring, amazing sets and scenery plus tons of detail. I do agree that there needs to be more AI on the maps, which would encourage exploration more. A-Life is just too static and predictable, like the other games without mods.

As for the Bandit jacket, the guy said he'd mark a certain area on your PDA so I think he was supposed to. Might be an oversight. Granted, he was just going to mark down a vague area on the map, not exactly where Bandit jackets are.

I like how the game doesn't give you too much direction. They tell you what to do, but not exactly how to do it. You're supposed to figure that out on your own. Some of the great PC classics were like that, like the first two Thief games. I don't run in circles, I explore every inch of the maps which will lead me to what I'm supposed to find.

There's only that one way into the Bar.
  09:07:02  1 May 2014
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MSH-Hitman
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 03/31/2007
Messages: 704

---QUOTATION---
There's tons of visual appeal on the levels when exploring, amazing sets and scenery plus tons of detail. I do agree that there needs to be more AI on the maps, which would encourage exploration more. A-Life is just too static and predictable, like the other games without mods.

As for the Bandit jacket, the guy said he'd mark a certain area on your PDA so I think he was supposed to. Might be an oversight. Granted, he was just going to mark down a vague area on the map, not exactly where Bandit jackets are.

I like how the game doesn't give you too much direction. They tell you what to do, but not exactly how to do it. You're supposed to figure that out on your own. Some of the great PC classics were like that, like the first two Thief games. I don't run in circles, I explore every inch of the maps which will lead me to what I'm supposed to find.

There's only that one way into the Bar.
---END QUOTATION---



There are amazing looking areas. Then there are others like that tunnel system in Darkscape that are devoid of that, drawn out, and simply boring. There's not many for sure, but it probably just comes down to the lack of life or of anything going on that drags things down.

Thief is very different to what STALKER brings though, so it's not a comparison. I love exploring too, i try to get every knook and cranny, but most of the time I'll spend a half hour or longer exploring and come out with very little and nothing really gained from the experience for taking the time to explore all this new and awesome stuff.

I don't need just reward, I mean, there's that tunnel in Cordon underneath the bridge. Finding that, stumbling across the zombies, that was a harrowing experience. I didn't find much there I believe, but that zombie experience had my heart pounding. If my exploration is not rewarded with sick loot, then it at least needs to threaten my life lol
  11:45:03  1 May 2014
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Tejas Stalker
Official Stalker on Facebook
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On forum: 05/12/2007
 

Message edited by:
Tejas Stalker
05/01/2014 11:58:02
Messages: 28281
First impressions?

MSH-Hitman!

The Game was released early before all the side quests and additional
content were able to be added. That's what we were right in the middle
of when the leak came out forcing us to do an early release with what we
had. Lost Alpha is by no means finished but a work in continual progress.

By the way...there was a marker for the Underground Lab in earlier versions.
I personally complained that this was too ridiculous and made it too easy for
the Player to go straight there, get it and leave. Where was the time and effort?
Where was the exploration of the countryside? What was the point of that entire
area filled with mutants and artifacts if the Player ignored them, had their quest
item identified like a Lighthouse shining a beacon and took zero effort to achieve?

TS
  14:19:37  1 May 2014
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Muad'Dib
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 01/24/2011
Messages: 421
The visual is good, no problem with the render. It's nice, good job.
This engine is better than soc.

About meshes: I'm happy to see few new ogf for dynamic objects. They are better than previously, work is in progress, very good.
But it create a contrast between old and new models. It's heterogeneous.
As example, You deleted hair for boars, by the way it create a bad render when boars are dead (elongated polygon on the spine)...

About flora: I love Cromm Cruac's work. Very nice, diversified.
But i'm disappointed by few big mistakes in objects properties (no collide for few trees models, WTF).

As example, the new game mtl for bushes is a very good idea, it reduce the actor speed, but it's too much. I think that you used the same friction value as water, it's too high for me, not realistic.
You could slow down the player, not stop him every time.

About aimap: I'm surprised about problem with it. You didn't polish it. You only corrected it (just delete no link nodes and correct mismatch) you forgot objects.
I'm saying about npc or mutant they pass through decor (rocks, crash barrier...), or walk on steep (like vertical rocks in dark valley).
Why? Is it caused by the new vegetation? You didn't take the time to check aimap again and again?
I know it's a long and repetitive work, but you're masters with LE, isn't it?

About alife, it's empty. As i know, it was in GSC review in the past. You didn't take the time to expand it. Harm.
Where are general lager/lair with alife that move between different levels? And very large radius for mob_home logic?
You didn't want to break the storyline with a full alife, isn't it?

About AI, we know that we see. Too many scripters for this work, a lot of mistakes... you promote the storyline with combat_ignore section, faction/actor relationship or something like this and it break the AI.

About old anomalies, what did you do? Ameba, liana, or lychens (topol)? They are not working. Blast and idle animation, particles, all is right, but what about hit?

About geometry: You did a very good work, really. I'm loving it.
Except few places, because they are empty or too big.
As example, i love the river near the little bridge in Darkscape. It's a small detail but it's very nice.
Compared to sin cavern in Darkscape. A too large empty place, too monotonous..
It's heterogenous. Living places are not sufficient imo.

And you have again errors in uvmap or low poly terrain place to place.
They are like smears in a wonderful world. I understand this is a hard work to correct it ofc.

About storyline: no comment. I didn't finish the game

About stability: leaked build was better, i don't understand why you release the game in this condition.

In conclusion, imo you didn't make a good choice with the new engine. Last years, you loosed your time with render and you forgot two important features: alife and AI.

In this case, i uninstalled LA yesterday. I'll wait patch from Dezowave or community to play on it later, maybe in few months.

And sorry if my review is not as you want. I hope this is constructive. You used your free time to do it, thanks you again. And due to LA release, stalker universe is living.

Maybe we could see a LA v2 in few months, with new compilation for each level, a full alife and a real AI. Benefit for all the community feed back to improve your work.
  15:27:37  1 May 2014
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sunzi
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 09/30/2008
Messages: 707
What a mess - I thought.

Usually I play on a very powerful rig. But it took a vacation. So I'm left with a laptop. It's a Toshiba Qosmio, very badass. But what it did to my LA is sink me to the bottom of the sea where I swam around and oh so slowly tried to do what I was supposed to. And when I came to the Bar area it was even worse. This was my first impression of LA. So what to do?

I read all the good advices told by other gamers here. So I moved the game to disk D, installed a mod pack (hate to do that!), in this case "S3r1ous". And that changed things a lot! I could run and jump and shoot like other people. And I could let the grass grow a little longer, as until now the whole zone had looked like a park with well kept lawns and some zoo animals clearly visible from miles away. And I could pass in and out of the bar area without a long routine of technicalities. Good work! I think this modpack is more or less what will be in the first patch, coming tomorrow - I have heard.

So, for what one has to do. I really like the complex nature of the maingame story. That one has to put pieces together. Still, each part is too easy. The first artifact can maybe be regarded as "training". There are all the time newbies but also later there are too much "go there and come back with that". With these long distances it can be tiring. Good thing is that SOME missions are difficult enough to be a pain in the ass, and it feels so good when you get rid of it

Unlike many others, I don't really care about the eyecandy. Ok, it should look good. But if I want scenery, I go outside for a walk. So my feeling is this: these vast areas will with time be filled with new missions, more stalkers to be found, hopefully they will be in activity with something. And we will have a much better "vanilla LA". I'm already impressed.

And to the modders: Of course some of you will in the usual manner fill maps with millions of creepy critters and also a thousand new weapons to shoot the said critters with. But some of you are really good at what you do. So when you find things that can be done better with the vanilla version, especially good fixes and stuff, always remember the people that made LA probably appreciate a little help.

Now I will start a new game again

sunzi
  15:43:36  1 May 2014
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Section-9|Oku
Zone Photographer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 09/03/2008
Messages: 256
I for one understand that this is "early access" and with that in mind I fired up the game. I appreciate all the eye candy in DX10 and the harddddddd work put in respect, but I still love DX9 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The player shadow adds a great deal to immersion, the legs would be nice but not without footstep sounds fixed. (Ahhh F.E.A.R. good times) I am enjoying my time in this new Zone old and new. Still feels fresh and with time and patience. The rest will be worked through. Thank you to Dez0wave for this gift.
  02:25:02  2 May 2014
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boredgunner
КОКАИНУМ!
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On forum: 09/20/2009
 

Message edited by:
boredgunner
05/02/2014 2:26:50
Messages: 990
So all positives aside, here are the main things that I believe should be addressed in future updates (aside from obvious bugs).

AI is too blind, deaf, and dumb.

A-Life is too static, the maps are too empty when it comes to creatures and NPCs (especially creatures). This is my main gripe with LA, since Build 1935 and mods for SoC have such good, unpredictable, and unrestricted A-Life, while LA's A-Life feels more like the other games without mods.

AI shouldn't be limited to smart terrains. Encounters are very, very predictable. There aren't enough mutants, Darkscape is full of just empty (though highly detailed) forest. It seems like Rostok Factory is totally empty aside from scripted encounters. There aren't enough NPCs, and the NPCs that are spawned don't move far at all and seem to be limited to smart terrains.

Please check out the Oblivion Lost mod for Shadow of Chernobyl, it's a fantastic example of top quality A-Life for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It's so random and unpredictable, and NPCs wander very far opposed to just sticking to certain areas. Build 1935 also had far less restricted A-Life.

It would be nice to see new AI features too, such as NPCs being able to heal their allies, heal themselves (this seems to be implemented somewhat, but it doesn't seem to work right), loot, and hunt for artifacts.

There aren't enough ambient sounds, especially in underground areas which seem to have almost none. There seems to be very, very little ambient music too.

I'm guessing the complete lack of rain is a glitch? Emissions almost never happen too; do they become more common as you approach the center of the Zone, or is this also a glitch?

Still, what a start. I've never been this addicted to a game before. Thank you so much dez0wave group for this gift, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha is truly heaps and bounds above the rest of the franchise and 99% of the games in existence.
 
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