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Clear Sky - Some thoughts

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  14:22:47  13 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
01/13/2015 14:26:20
Messages: 137

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What use-sign is that? I just press the M key for medkits when the health bar drops too much.
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I couldn't think of a better way to say it. You know, when you approach something (like a corpse for example) (c) shows up. That's what I was trying to say.


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How could they? Most of the Stalkers in the Zone have no idea how it works.
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Well, ok, that's a fair point. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to know a little better what is supposed to be possible.


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In most locations you can get the artifact at first attempt if you navigate carefully (throw bolts at every step), but you also need protection that's adequate for that anomaly. Approach anomalies very carefully, and if you notice that your health drops quickly you must step back or risk dying, just like in real life. If you keep dying maybe you move forward too fast.
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Maybe. Concerning the two anomalies I mentioned: I had to grab something from a body in the toxic anomaly but the prompt for the use-key didn't show up and when it eventually did I had a lot of trouble staying alive, while being in the inventory-screen.
In case of the Dark Valley-burner, I simply didn't realize why the artifact on my scanner wouldn't appear, before I finally realized that it was below in one of the cracks. No way to get to it, or rather to get out again.
So these might simply be two especially stupid cases that don't really apply to the rest of the game. I will know soon enough.


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It's different for different places, you can get some artifacts with a mediocre suit but not others. The toxic anomaly in Garbage is one of the harder, same goes for the Burner anomaly in Dark Valley. If you feel that it's impossible to enter an anomaly safely even with careful navigation, just leave it for later.
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Good advice. Thanks. As I mentioned above those are exactly the two which gave me the most trouble
  16:20:24  13 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 2860

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Well, ok, that's a fair point. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to know a little better what is supposed to be possible.
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Yes CS is full of small riddles like that. There are also some stashes that require a bit of creative thinking before you learn how to get to them.

In general everything should be possible to get, but (using fly cam) I recall seeing a couple of small capsules in impossible locations. Then there's a rare gun in Red Forest that alas often falls through the geometry.


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So these might simply be two especially stupid cases that don't really apply to the rest of the game. I will know soon enough.

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Actually there are a few more like that, but no artifact is impossible or depends on pure luck to succeed with.
  23:31:18  13 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
Official Stalker on Facebook
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27324
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Actually I didn't have any trouble recovering artifacts. Later Patches
enabled artifact respawns at about half of the locations in the Game.
What I had trouble with is activated stashes. There was a tree in the
Agroprom and an upside down Safe in Yantar that were very difficult.

TS
  13:37:01  14 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 2860
At least the tree doesn't kill you.
  11:44:29  22 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137
Finally got back down into the Agroprom Underground. Apparently Duty has expelled the bandits by now.

Unfortunately there is no smoke whatsoever. Odd. On the other hand it made me think: Water that flows down surfaces also doesn't look very believable. It's so static. Not at all like in the official trailer.
  13:43:09  22 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 2860

---QUOTATION---
Water that flows down surfaces
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Where can that be seen?
  22:14:02  22 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
01/23/2015 1:31:10
Messages: 137
When it rains, everywhere. It just doesn't look as believable as in the trailer. It's just a bunch of lines on a surface. Other than that, there's also the fact that people's clothes have a wet sheen, though that might not be a Dx-10 dependent thing.

I uploaded a few screenshots: The splashes and the sheen are easily visible, but the water streaming down surfaces just looks like almost static lines too me. It's not much better in motion.

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/library/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects?sort=3&postlogin=true&page=1


Edit: Played a bit of Clear Sky today and enjoyed it..... and now both my Quicksave and my hand-made save (30 minutes before Quicksave) are broken. Not sure it I'm really interested in going back to the last Autosave.
  15:18:34  2 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
02/02/2015 15:34:31
Messages: 137
One more screenshot on the "water flowing down surfaces"-issue:

http://i1156.photobucket.com/albums/p574/Schattensucher/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-01-15_23-53-15_yantar_zps6k15prs1.jpg

I'm pretty sure that is how it is supposed to look like. It's still not easy to see when not in motion, but amazingly in this case the effect looked like in the trailer for once. I made the screenshot around a time when the effect (though not at the same level of quality) seemed to be working on all surfaces (with the exception of walls). It's obviously very buggy though. While the effect worked well for some time, I then had a short phase where basically none of the water-effects were actually working, not even the water splashes. The wet sheen on stalkers also seems to come and go randomly. Some things seem to work almost always however. The splashes on horizontal surfaces and the flowing water on barrels for example.


Other than that, I was a bit frustrated with Clear Sky, the last time I posted, but I reloaded the Auto-Save and only lost something like 1-2 hours, so it wasn't as bad as I had feared. My playthrough is probably at something like 30 hours now and I have explored most of the areas relatively well. I have just entered the Red Forest and I'm planning to spend quite some time there, before going to Limansk. I wanted to use the opportunity to add some more thoughts on Clear Sky and how it compares to my recent experiences in SoC and CoP.


- A maybe somewhat petty complaint are the way zombies work. While they still lack awareness compared to human enemies, they now shoot pretty accurately, which in my mind does not really fit them. Still, it's nothing big and part of my annoyance probably comes down more to the initial design of the Yantar-area, than to the way the zombies work.

- Another small thing that not everybody might see as something important is the bigger number of level-changers. Personally I feel they add some much needed variety, both in terms of approach and topography. I just love all these little valleys and hills. I guess I just appreciate them as some additional landmarks, partly because Stalker can sometimes be a bit lacking when it comes to exploration in terms of distance and and variation in landscape. Not so much landmarks, there are more than enough hand-made and clustered anomalies and buildings and ruins which are usually interesting in one or another way.

- A-Life and atmosphere: I have commented on it a few times before. There are a lot of people stationed everywhere and they usually are standing around or patrolling. They are also too loud and too talkaktive. This is something that I didn't remember, but it seems that the terrible situation of CoP had its origins here. But don't get me wrong: When I say "talkative" then I'm talking about how they react to the player (too loud, too player-centric), not how they interact with each other.
Though the latter is also a problem: I don't think that I have seen a lot of people sitting around campfires, playing guitar and such. Exceptions so far seem to only be the Clear Sky-base, some people in the Flea Market and some loners southeast of the Yantar-lab. Maybe I just haven't spent enough time in the individual places, but so far only people in the Flea Market seem to be rather varied in their behaviour. Some sleep, some walk around, some are sitting together in a pair or around the campfire, some are standing guard and using the binoculars... Campfires igniting and extinguishing themselves randomly does also not help the general atmosphere.
I'm not sure if this issue has anything to do with the Faction Wars - mechanic, but at the very least most people seem to just be there to fulfill a function, either to take part in the war, to offer quests or to offer their services as guides. And basically everybody is part of monolithic factions, which are very obviously just there to offer functions and to puppet-like dance to the tune of very abstract systems. I understand how systems have to lie at the base of such games, but I don't understand why there is often not much of an effort to conceal these systems. My complaints might seem a bit ridiculous to you, since when I'm thinking about it, SoC worked kind of similar. Instead of constantly notifying the player when somebody needs help (which only happened sometimes in SoC), the game often just triggered the bandits or zombies to attack, when the player was near. Still, as far as I remember there are not many locations where it is that obvious and in most cases the frequency of attacks is far lower. In CS one gets notified about this or that emergency constantly and some encounters just repeat endlessly. The game never really lets me choose engagements myself and grow attached to places or people.
On the big scale however, I thought it worked fairly well. It's quite interesting to see how the map changes and how I can influence outcomes by intervening. It's also good that most items (especially early) don't bring in that much money, while upgrades and equipment eat it in rather large quantities. That way it usually made sense from a gameplay-perspective to do quests, even if they were very basic.
Also, some of them were actually quite interesting. Imho, especially the quests where NPCs send you to remote and/or dangerous areas to retrieve a PDA or something else, play to the strengths of the game and they feel more meaningful than to buy stashes. I mean, like NPCs have nothing better to do than to sell stash info to the player and only to the player. That's one of the points where I find the systems-heavy approach of GSC really annoying. Why can't we have just some people that sell such info? Does it have to be every second person in the game?!?
Hmmm, now I completely lost track. I guess that's it on this point. All in all I just feel that the A-Life in SoC seems to have been designed differently. Instead of a big system that is quite dynamic, but doesn't always produce interesting results on the low level, SoC seemed more static, with locations which changed more slowly and thus felt to me as if they held more meaning. Also, something that is quite important is, that in CS all the fighting is about fixed points, whereas the way the A-Life moves in SoC seems to produce encounters in a seemingly more organic way.

- Anomalies and artifacts: Now that I'm actually exploring the maps properly I have realized how many hand-made anomalies there are. The 1.5 times I have played through Clear Sky before, I always seem to have rushed through and consequently missed quite a few of them. From this viewpoint the progression from SoC, through CS to CoP now seems rather obvious in some ways. In SoC they were scattered around the landscape or were arranged in clusters. The first also applies to the artifacts. In CS there are already a few hand-made anomalies present, but the game still relies heavily on anomaly-clusters. CoP obviously had almost only unique, well-crafted anomalies or rather anomaly-clusters.
Personally I really like the fact, that the anomalies are more of a danger than in the other games, especially since it makes many of the specific protective artifacts much more useful. It really feels good, when I'm running around heavily toxic or psy-affected areas with some hard-earned artifacts equipped. I think out of the three games, in terms of anomalies and artifacts Clear Sky is probably the most successful at actually giving me the feeling of being a Stalker in a hostile zone.
My personal preference would be the unique anomalies from CoP, mixed with the clusters from CS and the widespread anomalies from SoC. Atmospherically, the latter really enhanced some places in my opinion. The Cordon with the Springboards everywhere, which were distorting the almost empty landscape and forcing you to navigate a bit more carefully, worked out really well in my opinion. Obviously just scattering anomalies across some landscape wouldn't work, but for some places it did. The burner-tunnel or the Fruit Punches in the Agroprom undergroun for example. Especially the latter were really just there for the atmosphere and to add a bit of variety to the areas.
Same goes for the artifacts just lying around. It just adds to the atmosphere when you suddenly spot something glowing in the distance or lighting up some underground-room. To not provide the player with a lot of free money they should either be not worth much or well hidden.
Just some brainstorming on a game that will probably never be made
  23:19:32  2 February 2015
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Decane
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 04/04/2007
Messages: 1704
StoleitfromKilgore, you can try this fix for the wet surfaces effect:

http://dfiles.eu/files/syb4026o1

To install, extract the contents of the archive above into your CS root directory and then change the values of the following parameters in your user.ltx or type them into the console:

r2_gloss_factor 1.
r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_far 100.
r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_near 10.
r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_sm_res 256

Backup your original user.ltx before doing the above, just in case you want to uninstall the fix later.
  08:29:57  4 February 2015
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Tejas Stalker
Official Stalker on Facebook
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27324
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Most Survival Games Have Problems That S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Solved Long Ago
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TS
 
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