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Clear Sky - Some thoughts

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  11:48:11  2 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
01/02/2015 11:49:47
Messages: 137
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Hi, I'm currently replaying Clear Sky with the Complete-mod. Fittingly, I have played through it 1.5 times so far. Both my first complete playthrough and my second abortive playthrough happened some years ago, so I didn't remember too much. I also have been playing a lot of SoC since then and I also got through CoP for the first time. Memories of both are still rather fresh.

When changing from SoC to CS, some stuff is hard to overlook. Like the Dx10-features for instance. Volumetric light has always been quite impressive and impossible to not notice. Especially when the framerate was suddenly trying to strangle your system during sunrise Since I still have the same notebook with the same old GT240M (5 years now), I immediately ran into problems. I didn't remember that Clear Sky was so much more demanding than CoP. I still don't quite understand what makes the difference. Does anybody have information on the differences between X-Ray 1.5 and 1.6?

By the way this website should be useful for some people:
http://www.tweakguides.com/ClearSky_5.html
Especially the 5th and 6th pages should be quite useful. It sure made a huge difference for me. Apparently it doesn't cost a lot of graphical quality to lower some settings but it still improves performance quite a bit.

Some other stuff I have not yet encountered. Like Volumetric Smoke for example. I don't think I ever noticed it in my first playthroughs. Watching the Dx10-trailer I was quite impressed. I still often marvel at the dynamic interactions of light sources with static or moving objects, but I never knew that something similar for smoke was also in the game. I also don't think I ever payed much attention to wet surfaces. It's not that noticeable if one doesn't pay attention.

Other than technology, I have been trying to get to some artifacts, but so far with little success. I have ended up with two artifacts and other than that a lot of dying, either because of radiation, Psi-emissions or simply the inability to make something appear, no matter how close I got. Maybe it's just detector, but I wouldn't mind some pointers. Am I doing something wrong?

Also, so far I really like the idea, that one gets stash-info from other people. If I'm not mistaken, in SoC you got the info just through PDAs and in CoP stuff was basically always were it was supposed to be no matter if you had the info or not. I'm not sure so far, if the latter also applies to CS.

One thing that really surprised me was how the dialogue was handled. After playing SoC for a long time, and finishing a quick playthrough of CoP in between I got kind of used to the fact, that people don't have a lot to say (Comments on the zone and so on start repeating quickly). In CS so far, I have talked to people quite a bit and at least in the early stages (just entered the Garbage) I have not seen a lot of repetition. People have a lot to say and so far it's usually something new. I'm pretty sure I'm not just imagining this, but it seems they simply wrote a lot more text for Clear Sky than for the other games. So far, this is probably one of the most notable things I have discovered this playthrough.

Oh, also something old, which I already found to be a bit annoying the first playthrough. There are a lot of people. This was not a problem on such a big map as the Great Swamps, except during the faction war, but it's very noticeable in the Cordon. Personally I prefer the other games in this respect.

So, how about you? I mean, aside from obvious stuff, like Faction Wars. Which aspects of Clear Sky, which are less noticeable, but significantly different from the other two titles, have you noticed?
  16:38:27  2 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
StoleitfromKilgore:

I have been trying to get to some artifacts, but so far with little success. I have ended up with two artifacts and other than that a lot of dying, either because of radiation, Psi-emissions or simply the inability to make something appear, no matter how close I got. Maybe it's just detector, but I wouldn't mind some pointers. Am I doing something wrong?
---END QUOTATION---



Artifact hunting in CS is much harder than the other games. For example, in Red Forest you may need a fully upgraded high end suit, protective artifacts and careful navigation in order to succeed. In the Swamps I think the local suits should suffice if they're properly upgraded.

Sometimes artifacts move around underground, even if your detector shows them. If it's a gravitational anomaly you can sometimes trig it (and then quickly step back before you're sucked in), which often sends the artifact up in the air. Or you can simply quicksave and reload. If your detector isn't advanced enough it will not show the artifact at all.


---QUOTATION---
Also, so far I really like the idea, that one gets stash-info from other people. If I'm not mistaken, in SoC you got the info just through PDAs and in CoP stuff was basically always were it was supposed to be no matter if you had the info or not. I'm not sure so far, if the latter also applies to CS.
---END QUOTATION---



There are a few items left in the open in CS (for example, in Swamps you can find a scope, a Veles artifact detector and Scar's old Vintar). But these items are like rare easter eggs compared with CoP, where you can pick up stash after stash like in a super market.

I don't think the stash mechanic in CoP works well, it's unrealistic that all stashes exist from the start. In "real life" other stalkers would constantly create and empty stashes, so only a few stashes would exist at a particular time.


---QUOTATION---
I'm pretty sure I'm not just imagining this, but it seems they simply wrote a lot more text for Clear Sky than for the other games. So far, this is probably one of the most notable things I have discovered this playthrough.
---END QUOTATION---


Yes, even if you don't speak to nearby NPCs they still have things to say: https://www.gsc-game.com/index.php?t=community&s=forums&s_game_type=xr2&sec_id=18
  16:55:34  2 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
 

Message edited by:
Three Mile Island
01/02/2015 16:58:57
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
StoleitfromKilgore:

Which aspects of Clear Sky, which are less noticeable, but significantly different from the other two titles, have you noticed?
---END QUOTATION---


In vanilla CS or the Complete-mod? I've only played vanilla CS.

Contrary to popular belief, CS is the least buggy Stalker game. Yes you heard that right.

* CS has no permanent radiation bug like SoC.

* CS has a little stuttering, but SoC freezes for 20 seconds or more, and the CoP freezes usually end with NPCs or mutants showing up from nowhere all around you.

* Both CS and SoC crash sometimes.

* Both CS and SoC have many exploitable small bugs. This is a Good Thing, since it adds replay value for years. CoP has no such bugs, which makes it a more boring game.

* Faction wars in CS are sometimes buggy, but just as often it's just the player that doesn't understand how they work. In any case faction wars are just an extra game feature, it doesn't break the storyline. CoP has no faction war at all, but that hardly makes it a better game.


Otherwise I think CS contains the best parts of both SoC and CoP (what's missing is underground levels):

* Migrating A-Life (not as much as SoC, but it's there).

* Better graphics than both SoC and CoP.

* Good music and atmosphere, just like SoC.

* Dangerous environment, like SoC. CoP might have more dangerous mutants, but anomalies are not dangerous enough.

* More mechanics than SoC (detectors, equipment upgrades), while CoP doesn't add anything really useful.

* Many things feel more unique in CS and SoC: there are just two controllers and two pseudogiants in the whole CS game, and most anomalies don't respawn artifacts. SoC contains lots of unique guns. But CoP just keeps spamming everything until it becomes a farce.
  18:27:38  2 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
01/02/2015 18:32:54
Messages: 137
In regards to artifacts: Thanks, at the moment I'm planning to simply get a better suit and detector and do whatever upgrades seem necessary.


---QUOTATION---
Contrary to popular belief, CS is the least buggy Stalker game. Yes you heard that right.
---END QUOTATION---



I'm not really knowledgeable about these things. Also, which version are we talking about? I can imagine that it was much worse before the first patches came along, no???

But I wouldn't be surprised. Far too many people just ape what other people say. For example, Dark Souls is apparently unplayable with keyboard and mouse. I once read a few threads which contained absolutely no info to the contrary. Then I read one f*****g comment on amazon that said KB and mouse was ok and then I knew where I stood. Maybe it's similar with the bad reputation of Clear Sky. The stupidity of the "Internet" is astounding sometimes.

In fact the only of the STALKER-titles that regularly crashed for me was actually CoP Vanilla, which was said to be the most stable of the three. The longer I played the shorter the interval in between crashes became.



---QUOTATION---
* Faction wars in CS are sometimes buggy, but just as often it's just the player that doesn't understand how they work. In any case faction wars are just an extra game feature, it doesn't break the storyline. CoP has no faction war at all, but that hardly makes it a better game.
---END QUOTATION---



Ha! I thought so The way people were and are commenting on the faction wars always seemed so vague. Something just working a certain way, even if the way it works is questionable doesn't mean it's bugged, or even broken.


---QUOTATION---
* Migrating A-Life (not as much as SoC, but it's there).

* Better graphics than both SoC and CoP.
---END QUOTATION---



I can't really comment on the A-Life, since I'm not that far into the game. One herd of fleshes made it quite hard to save Wolf's brother, but other than that...

It's obvious that it looks better than SoC, but what about CoP. I haven't played the latter enough to be able to judge it as well as SoC, but at least Volumetric lighting and wet surfaces are in the game. What exactly is so much better about the graphics in CS?


---QUOTATION---
* Dangerous environment, like SoC. CoP might have more dangerous mutants, but anomalies are not dangerous enough.

* More mechanics than SoC (detectors, equipment upgrades), while CoP doesn't add anything really useful.
---END QUOTATION---



I have to agree on the first point. Anomalies have been a bit frustrating so far, but in CoP it was quite hard to die and it was very easy to get the artifacts. I guess as soon as I have better equipment, the artifact hunt might become less impossible for me.

No matter what one thinks about Clear Sky, there certainly was a lot of innovation and that needs to be commended. They really tried to push the franchise forward.


---QUOTATION---
* Many things feel more unique in CS and SoC: there are just two controllers and two pseudogiants in the whole CS game, and most anomalies don't respawn artifacts. SoC contains lots of unique guns. But CoP just keeps spamming everything until it becomes a farce.
---END QUOTATION---



As said, my only playthrough of CoP was a pretty quick one, so I don't really want to comment on that. But I have to say that both CS and CoP, in their own ways, seem a bit too random in terms of A-Life. In CS the faction wars kill off a lot of people, which makes it feel as if everyone mattered less. In CoP it was the way groups would meet up, often in random spots, for no good reason and murder each other off. CS at least has a good setup for the faction wars. Personally I don't like there being so many people on the map, but it fits the game. CoP has neither the attention to detail of SoC, nor the faction wars mechanic. So I guess, I kinda agree there.
  22:07:11  2 January 2015
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S3r1ous
Andres
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Shame the game turns linear after Red Forest and ending is meh. Other than that i agree, Faction Warfare is frigging amazing.

Complete mod for CS is the last good one. Call of Pripyat Complete is terrible in many ways.
  00:06:32  3 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
I can imagine that it was much worse before the first patches came along, no???

---END QUOTATION---


Yes the unpatched CS was probably quite buggy (ditto for SoC). I first played some intermediate patch of CS, and even that had some odd glitches. But it seems some people compare the unpatched CS with the patched SoC, which is grossly unfair.


---QUOTATION---
Ha! I thought so The way people were and are commenting on the faction wars always seemed so vague. Something just working a certain way, even if the way it works is questionable doesn't mean it's bugged, or even broken.
---END QUOTATION---


In fairness, the faction wars are pretty hard to figure out sometimes, and you don't get much help from the game. Then they're sometimes buggy on top of that, so it's understandable that people complain. Still that doesn't mean the FW is totally broken, it just makes it a bigger challenge than the main game.


---QUOTATION---
I can't really comment on the A-Life, since I'm not that far into the game. One herd of fleshes made it quite hard to save Wolf's brother, but other than that...
---END QUOTATION---


In CS and especially SoC random people and mutants often migrate across several levels, something which doesn't happen in CoP (except a few key NPCs that are scripted to show up in another level).

By the way, here's an old interview on A-Life development in general: http://aigamedev.com/open/interviews/stalker-alife/


---QUOTATION---
It's obvious that it looks better than SoC, but what about CoP. I haven't played the latter enough to be able to judge it as well as SoC, but at least Volumetric lighting and wet surfaces are in the game. What exactly is so much better about the graphics in CS?
---END QUOTATION---


Can't comment on the technical parts, but to me CS looks/feels more artistically pleasing than CoP's outside levels. Or maybe I'm just annoyed by the lime(?) rocks in CoP (that look like plastic). CoP's underground levels are very nice though.
  00:14:23  3 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
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---QUOTATION---
Shame the game turns linear after Red Forest
---END QUOTATION---


Yes. Same with SoC after Pripyat.


---QUOTATION---
and ending is meh.
---END QUOTATION---


I think the last level is terrible actually. Forgot about it, since I almost never play it.


---QUOTATION---
Other than that i agree, Faction Warfare is frigging amazing.
---END QUOTATION---

If only the game didn't start crashing after a month(?) or so. In my last long game I was soo close to make the Bandits capture both the Rookie Village, Duty and Freedom bases at the same time.
  01:28:19  3 January 2015
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Another big problem with the FW is actually the Stalker faction, believe it or not. If you play neutral, and Stalkers manage to get a solid leg up into Garbage, they can effective bring the whole war to a grinding halt, preventing Duty and Freedom from beating up each other and the bandits.

The whole FW isn't that bad, its just that a single faction, neutral to the 2 biggest factions, can bring the whole war to a standstill.
The whole Bandit/Stalker aspect of the FW needs a proper rebalance.
  16:30:22  3 January 2015
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Roadkilll
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I really enjoy playing CS it's is different than other two, shame about FW. They should have done it better but still it won't prevent you from finishing storyline.
I wish some levels could be like Soc where Stalkers do what they do, exploring making camps along the way instead of just guarding positions...
  16:20:44  4 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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Message edited by:
Tejas Stalker
01/04/2015 16:21:58
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

Hi, I'm currently replaying Clear Sky with the Complete-mod.
Fittingly, I have played through it 1.5 times so far. Both my first
complete playthrough and my second abortive playthrough happened
some years ago, so I didn't remember too much. I also have been
playing a lot of SoC since then and I also got through CoP for
the first time. Memories of both are still rather fresh.

When changing from SoC to CS, some stuff is hard to overlook.
Like the Dx10-features for instance. Volumetric light has always
been quite impressive and impossible to not notice. Especially when
the framerate was suddenly trying to strangle your system during
sunrise Since I still have the same notebook with the same old
GT240M (5 years now), I immediately ran into problems. I didn't
remember that Clear Sky was so much more demanding than CoP.
I still don't quite understand what makes the difference. Does anybody
have information on the differences between X-Ray 1.5 and 1.6?

By the way this website should be useful for some people:
http://www.tweakguides.com/ClearSky_5.html Especially the 5th
and 6th pages should be quite useful. It sure made a huge difference
for me. Apparently it doesn't cost a lot of graphical quality to lower
some settings but it still improves performance quite a bit.

Some other stuff I have not yet encountered. Like Volumetric Smoke
for example. I don't think I ever noticed it in my first playthroughs.
Watching the Dx10-trailer I was quite impressed. I still often marvel
at the dynamic interactions of light sources with static or moving objects,
but I never knew that something similar for smoke was also in the game.
I also don't think I ever payed much attention to wet surfaces.
It's not that noticeable if one doesn't pay attention.

---END QUOTATION---



There's not much to really say that you haven't already noticed.
GSC spent a lot of time and work to create improved graphical effects
that use DX10. This caused a lot of people to upgrade both their video
cards and Operating systems to be able to play the Game and see them.
Needless to say, Call of Pripyat was dumbed down graphically and made
easier for more people to enjoy. I'm not sure of the major differences
between X-Ray 1.5 and 1.6 anymore as it's been almost 6 years since
the news came out about what changes that GSC was involved with.

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

Other than technology, I have been trying to get to some artifacts,
but so far with little success. I have ended up with two artifacts and
other than that a lot of dying, either because of radiation, Psi-emissions
or simply the inability to make something appear, no matter how close
I got. Maybe it's just detector, but I wouldn't mind some pointers.
Am I doing something wrong?

---END QUOTATION---



Clear Sky introduced separate artifact/anomaly detectors. They are the
Echo, Bear and Veles. You have to place them in your hand to open them
to utilize all their functions. The Echo detector is very basic and crude. It
will only reveal low-end artifacts. You must have a better Detector to find
and reveal high-end artifacts. You start off with an Echo and will usually
not get a Bear until the Cordon or Garbage. However there is a Veles
Detector that is hidden in the Marshes as an Easter Egg. Find it, open it
up and it will reveal a high-end Gravi artifact that will allow you to carry
more weight ( if you get 2 Jellyfish to counter it's radiation ) in the Marshes.
My screenshot of leaving the Marshes should show you what you can find:
http://i.imgur.com/tS1h5fH.jpg

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

Also, so far I really like the idea, that one gets stash-info from
other people. If I'm not mistaken, in SoC you got the info just
through PDAs and in CoP stuff was basically always were it was
supposed to be no matter if you had the info or not. I'm not
sure so far, if the latter also applies to CS.

---END QUOTATION---



You get stash information from 3 sources. From looting as is the norm,
from performing tasks where the reward may be the stash location and
lastly you can buy the information from NPCs that sell it. This makes
Clear Sky the most complicated to get all the stashes. My advice is
to make every effort to quickly buy that information. This means that
you should never leave ANY level unless you have at least 10,000 to
20,000 rubles on you to immediately buy the stash information upon
arrival to a new level. Additionally there seems to be a time limit on
activating stashes. If you do not do them fairly quickly they will cease
to be activated. For example, the Marshes has at least 60 purple-icon
stashes you activate, are given or you buy. There are also about 40
out-in-the-open capsules full of basic supplies like medkits, bandages
and stuff. The capsules look like the white suitcase items you saw in
SoC ( think of the one on top of the Mill in the Cordon with the silencer )
and are somewhat hidden behind things, under wooden walkways or
behind bushes and boulders. The biggest mistake people make in
Clear Sky is rushing out of the Marshes without finding all the available
stuff there is. No other level has as many stashes or capsules. The CS-1
armor suit you can get there and upgrade is one of the best in the entire
game. I prefer to earn the Expert rank in the Marshes before I leave it.

Another new thing to Clear Sky are what I like to call Quest Items. They
are items that an NPC will ask you to find and then return to them for a
reward. For example, there are 5 in the Marshes. This is about average
all the way up to the Army Warehouses. You must be very careful who
you take that task from. If they are mobile, you run the risk of them
being killed and you fail the task since there is no one to return to for
the reward. It is important to understand that failure to return the item
to the person that gives the reward ( while they are alive ) means that
you will NOT get the next sequence task. Even if you have neutral or
friendly relations with the Bandits in Garbage, do NOT take any Quest
Item jobs from any Bandits guarding a barrier ( level changer ) as they
may freely give one but most likely will turn hostile to you when you
return. However some people ( like myself ) enjoy recovering the
Quest Items AFTER you return them to the NPC for your reward. If
they are killed later, the Quest Item will be in their inventory as you
loot them. Failure to recover it before their body disappears means
that the Quest item will disappear too. While some of the Quest Items
are unique, they cannot be upgraded like most other items in the Game.

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

One thing that really surprised me was how the dialogue was handled.
After playing SoC for a long time, and finishing a quick playthrough of
CoP in between I got kind of used to the fact, that people don't have a
lot to say (Comments on the zone and so on start repeating quickly).
In CS so far, I have talked to people quite a bit and at least in the early
stages (just entered the Garbage) I have not seen a lot of repetition.
People have a lot to say and so far it's usually something new. I'm
pretty sure I'm not just imagining this, but it seems they simply
wrote a lot more text for Clear Sky than for the other games.
So far, this is probably one of the most notable things I
have discovered this playthrough.

---END QUOTATION---



Yes, there is a lot of background information and stories in Clear Sky.
With so many people of different Factions and experiences, it is rich
in history and insight into the events of 2011 that lead us to the Zone
we see in SoC of 2012. Your PDA in SoC has only 3 entries about 2011.
One of the most fascinating and interesting things to see in Clear Sky is
how the Zone has physically changed. Factions control different areas,
building and structures are less decayed or destroyed and the access to
other areas are different due to changing anomalies and geography.

While on the subject, the Flea Market has some NPCs that do not say
much, are not available or tell you to talk to them later. This is why:

Flea Market operating hours:

Night Trader hours: 2300-0300 ( 11pm to 3am )
Repair Tech hours: 2100-0500 ( 9pm to 5am )
Guide: sometimes leaves 2nd floor position to
join evening party around bonfire on the 1st floor.
Party usually breaks up at 3am and then he returns.

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

Oh, also something old, which I already found to be a bit
annoying the first playthrough. There are a lot of people.
This was not a problem on such a big map as the Great Swamps,
except during the faction war, but it's very noticeable in the Cordon.
Personally I prefer the other games in this respect.

---END QUOTATION---



This is the great Faction Wars. There were over 1,000 NPCs of various
Factions that fought for control of the Zone. In SoC we see the aftermath
of that. SoC contains the decimated and small handful of survivors after
the events of 2011. Control of the Zone was imperative to many outside
forces that had knowledge of places and events prior to 2011 that the
Player in Clear Sky does not know about or get to see until SoC in 2012.

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

So, how about you? I mean, aside from obvious stuff, like
Faction Wars. Which aspects of Clear Sky, which are less
noticeable, but significantly different from the other two titles,
have you noticed?

---END QUOTATION---



The biggest misconception about the CS Faction Wars is that it is like
"Capture the Flag" where you win by gaining control of another Faction's
Main Base or Headquarters. The Faction Wars are not equal in actions or
goals. Each Faction has different goals and will behave very differently to
achieve those goals. Once you understand what those goals are, you will
see why some Factions appear to lose initiative or focus. There are two
levels the Player can participate in. You can stay outside the Faction Wars
by NOT joining a Faction after leaving the Marshes. Your involvement
can be initiating movement making a Faction go towards a position for
battle ( capturing positions ) or you can choose to lead the Faction in
the same movement. Going with a squad can greatly increase their
chances of success. The other option is to join a Faction. This can result
in immediate hostilities or changes of allegiances. Rewards unique to a
Faction are then available as a member. Some people are able to change
their Faction by additional actions and then manipulate the Faction Wars.

To me it makes more sense as a Mercenary to not join any Factions after
leaving Clear Sky. This way you can travel everywhere, visit all of the
Faction bases and utilize all the Faction Traders, Repair Techs, Barmen,
Guides and other resources. For example, only the Bandit Repair Tech
can upgrade the SEVA suit to both the 3rd tier options. Just because
the Bandits are your enemy in SoC does not mean they are your enemy
in Clear Sky or Call of Pripyat. I can play complete Games of Clear Sky
& Call of Pripyat from start to end without having to kill a single Bandit:
http://i.imgur.com/KvMB8c9.jpg

Briefly this is my take on the Faction Wars. Garbage is the center of
the Faction Wars. The Bandits control Garbage. It is unbalanced in that
the Loner ( Stalker ) Faction, the Duty Faction and the Freedom Faction
are all against the Bandits. The Bandit's Faction goal is to prevent those
3 Factions from gaining control of the access points ( level changers ) into
Garbage. Anything beyond that is just extra. The Loner Faction only
cares about getting access to Garbage and those level changers leading
to the Agroprom where their other base is other than the Cordon. Once
they do this and get some men there, they may lose initiative to keep
those positions in their control without the Player's help. The Duty Faction
will enter Garbage and battle the Bandits for the sole reason to gain the
control of the two access points to the Dark Valley. Their primary goal
is to contain and isolate the Freedom Faction. Actually going into the
Dark Valley to fight Freedom is not as important as containment. The
Freedom Faction has the simplest goal. They want out of the Dark Valley
and they want to gain the single access point to the Army Warehouses
where they want to move. Nothing else is as important. They could really
care less about what the Bandits or Duty control. The Bandits and Duty
can control all of Garbage and they don't care as long as they can get to
the Army Warehouses. Once you understand these goals then you have
a better feel and insight into what the Faction Wars are to each Faction.

TS
  02:59:30  5 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
 

Message edited by:
Three Mile Island
01/05/2015 3:01:16
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
Briefly this is my take on the Faction Wars.
---END QUOTATION---


That's a pretty neat description of the different factions' goals --maybe it even explains their convoluted movements around Garbage before finally entering their respective enemy's home level? For example, Bandits don't go straight towards the Loner base in Cordon, instead they first make a detour through Garbage to secure various other points, something which seemed unintuitive to me before but makes sense now. Can't quite remember the movements of the other factions, maybe it's time to dust off CS once again...
  05:03:42  5 January 2015
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340

---QUOTATION---
better FW idea
---END QUOTATION---


Why isn't there a mod that does that?
  17:44:39  5 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
better FW idea
---END QUOTATION---


Where did that quote come from?
  18:12:07  5 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030
Faction War


---QUOTATION---
The biggest misconception about the CS Faction Wars is that it is like
"Capture the Flag" where you win by gaining control of another Faction's
Main Base or Headquarters.

---END QUOTATION---


Let's not confuse new players too much now. The final faction war game objective is explicitly to capture the enemy HQ. This is also how you get the best reward from your faction (the Bandit reward is the best one).


---QUOTATION---
The Faction Wars are not equal in actions or
goals. Each Faction has different goals and will behave very differently to
achieve those goals. Once you understand what those goals are, you will
see why some Factions appear to lose initiative or focus.
---END QUOTATION---


This is more of an interpretation, but it does make sense from a game world/story perspective and also explains the strange paths reinforcements may take before arriving to the frontier. (Then of course each faction leader becomes greedy and wants you to destroy the enemy base while you're at it. Yoga even had some fantasies about going to Rio --or maybe that's exactly what he did, leaving Borov and the rest of the Bandits fleeing to Dark Valley. )

And let's not forget the Monolith faction. I've seen Monolith squads fight their way through Red Forest and into Yantar, which fits very well with what you see in SoC (lots of dead Monolithians around the Yantar lab). Not sure why they sometimes go into Garbage though, maybe they're trying to reach the Clear Sky base in the Swamps.
  19:12:33  5 January 2015
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S3r1ous
Andres
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On forum: 04/29/2014
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Still better than in other games in the Series.

  21:12:01  5 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Three Mile Island:

---QUOTATION---

Let's not confuse new players too much now. The final faction
war game objective is explicitly to capture the enemy HQ.
This is also how you get the best reward from your faction
(the Bandit reward is the best one).

---END QUOTATION---



There is no objective for the Player except to pursue Strelok & Fang
to try to stop them as directed by Clear Sky. You are talking about
if the Player decides to join an individual Faction that is not required
and not recommended. Remember that you are a Mercenary that
needs to go everywhere and use all the available resources in your
objective. Joining a Faction and getting side-tracked is a diversion.
Sure it's fun in a replay for variety ( I applaud GSC for this ) to do so
but a new Player actually cripples their objective to get waylaid like
this. It's also a major mistake ( in my opinion ) to listen to or take
ANY mission by Wild Napr at the Flea Market since they are all traps.

Three Mile Island:

---QUOTATION---

And let's not forget the Monolith faction. I've seen Monolith squads
fight their way through Red Forest and into Yantar, which fits very
well with what you see in SoC (lots of dead Monolithians around the
Yantar lab). Not sure why they sometimes go into Garbage though,
maybe they're trying to reach the Clear Sky base in the Swamps.

---END QUOTATION---



The Monolith Faction is neither one you can join or use the resources
they have like the other 5 main Factions. There is no way around the
Renegades being your enemy if you want to utilize the best resources
available to the Player in the Marshes. There is no way around the
Military, Monolith or the majority of the Mercenaries being your enemies.

TS
  21:34:29  5 January 2015
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S3r1ous
Andres
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On forum: 04/29/2014
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Only game in the series that actually tries to fulfill the original design objective of completely random world with factions fighting each other.

  21:47:05  5 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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On forum: 05/12/2007
 

Message edited by:
Tejas Stalker
01/05/2015 21:52:30
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

SetaKat:

---QUOTATION---

Another big problem with the FW is actually the Stalker faction, believe it
or not. If you play neutral, and Stalkers manage to get a solid leg up into
Garbage, they can effective bring the whole war to a grinding halt,
preventing Duty and Freedom from beating up each other and the bandits.

The whole FW isn't that bad, its just that a single faction, neutral
to the 2 biggest factions, can bring the whole war to a standstill.
The whole Bandit/Stalker aspect of the FW needs a proper rebalance.

---END QUOTATION---



SetaKat~

Yes, the Game is heavily biased towards the Loner ( Stalker ) Faction.
No other Faction has two bases with two Traders & two Repair Techs.
No other Faction operates a separate location ( Flea Market ) with a
Day & Night Trader, a Repair Tech & Guide in the center of the Faction
Wars. A veteran Player of SoC would never dream that the old, broken
down structure outside the Duty Checkpoint in Garbage, was the center
of the Faction Wars only 8 months before in 2011. The Flea Market is
the most important strategic location in the entire Game and should
never fall to outside forces. Helping the Loners maintain control is
paramount to the ( Mercenary ) Player controlling the big picture.

As the Loner Trader in the Cordon entices the Player to take tasks
against the Bandits in the Cordon, it is easy for the Player to get
involved in the Faction Wars and even join their Faction based on
the events in SoC. GSC intentionally did this just as much as they
intentionally gave the Bandit Repair Tech as the only one to upgrade
the SEVA suit. How many people ( myself included ) joined the Loners
in your first Game and then replayed Clear Sky to get the better outcome?

There is one strategic location in Garbage that can sink or swim the
Loner's Faction chances of success in Garbage. That is the Concentration
Camp ( Vehicle Scrapyard ) between the two level changers coming from
the Cordon. Kill the Bandits there, rescue the Loners and the Loner
Faction can get a foothold in Garbage that the Bandits have a hard time
stopping. Skipping attacking the Concentration Camp and going around
it ( recommended ) is the best way to achieve neutral/friendly relations
with the Bandits. Never approach the western or eastern openings of
this location. Only after you get friendly relations with the Bandits is it
safe to visit using the northern opening. You can retrieve the artifacts,
talk to the Loners ( even offer them a gun that they will not use ) and
talk to the Bandits. If the Bandits retain this location, generally Duty
and Freedom will leave it alone and the Loners will fail in their efforts.

As mentioned before, do not approach any level changer in control by
the Bandits. Wait until the Loners control the level changer in Garbage
before you enter Garbage to avoid being mugged or making the Bandits
go hostile if you try to run past them. If the Bandits control the level
changers to the Agroprom, Dark Valley, Cordon, Army Warehouses or
the Red Forest, they will rob you of money or go hostile especially if
you raise a weapon or try to run past them. This will happen even if
you are at the highest friendly relations and will decrease those by half
or a quarter of a bar. Wait until another Faction gains control to leave
for another level or wait for an Emission to take place. When you enter
a level and an Emission commences, go to the level changer you want to
get past controlled by Bandits and wait for them to vacate it and seek
shelter. Then you can pass through without trouble. The Emission will
still take place as you enter the other level and you will have less time
so do not be overweight so you can sprint. This is the only safe method
to get past a level changer controlled by the Bandits to go to other levels.

TS
  23:20:40  5 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
SetaKat:

The whole FW isn't that bad, its just that a single faction, neutral to the 2 biggest factions, can bring the whole war to a standstill.

---END QUOTATION---


In a way it's a realistic scenario, almost like a peacekeeping force. It can also be seen as the result of the game's unpreditability: sometimes it turns out great, other times a little less so. To bad if you have bad luck in your first playthrough though...
  00:05:53  6 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
TS:

There is no objective for the Player except to pursue Strelok & Fang
to try to stop them as directed by Clear Sky.

---END QUOTATION---


Assuming you agree with Lebedev's theories, of course. My Scar doesn't always believe Lebedev, sometimes Scar even sneaks out of the Swamps all by himself...


---QUOTATION---

You are talking about
if the Player decides to join an individual Faction that is not required
and not recommended. Remember that you are a Mercenary that
needs to go everywhere and use all the available resources in your
objective. Joining a Faction and getting side-tracked is a diversion.

---END QUOTATION---


As a mercenary it's hard to turn down lucrative job offers (or minor side quest jobs for that matter), or pass by promising anomalies without looking for artifacts in them. One could also argue that Scar needs the resources earned from the faction war to stop Strelok.

It does makes sense to stay out of the faction war if your in a hurry to stop Strelok, on the other hand we shouldn't rush through the game like that either...


---QUOTATION---
The Monolith Faction is neither one you can join or use the resources
they have
---END QUOTATION---


I was speculating on the Monolithians' own reasons for entering Yantar and Garbage. (The game engine based explanation is probably that it's just generic faction war mechanics, just like the Bandits may want to invade Army Warehouses or Red Forest for no particular reason.)
  00:26:21  6 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
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---QUOTATION---
TS:

The Flea Market is
the most important strategic location in the entire Game and should
never fall to outside forces. Helping the Loners maintain control is
paramount to the ( Mercenary ) Player controlling the big picture.

---END QUOTATION---


Ironically the other factions don't want to keep it (I've really tried). They always leave soon after conquering, allowing new Loners to re-emerge.


---QUOTATION---

do not approach any level changer in control by
the Bandits. [...] they will rob you of money or go hostile especially if
you raise a weapon or try to run past them. This will happen even if
you are at the highest friendly relations and will decrease those by half
or a quarter of a bar.

---END QUOTATION---


I always use to sprint past them, a quarter of a bar (even after repeated offenses) is easily repaired. Sprinting does remove some challenge from the game though.


---QUOTATION---
Wait until another Faction gains control to leave
for another level or wait for an Emission to take place.
---END QUOTATION---


In my games both entrances to Agroprom are held by Bandits when you first enter Agroprom. It's not until after flooding the Agroprom Underground that Duty tries to secure one (usually) of them.

If you wait for an emission, make sure (as always) to travel light so you can sprint. When you arrive in the new level there's sometimes not much time left to find cover.
  01:20:55  6 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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On forum: 05/12/2007
 

Message edited by:
Tejas Stalker
01/06/2015 1:28:56
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

I meant the Flea Market is the most strategic location to the Player.
As most people wage war on the Bandits, the Flea Market houses
many uniquely skilled NPCs. It has the only Repair Tech in Garbage
other than the Bandits. It has the only Guide other than the Bandits.
The Night Trader sells rare and unique ammo that is only available
later in the Game at other locations. It is the only other safe location
to seek shelter from an Emission other than the Bandits Hanger. Just as
Rostok is the location of my major stashes in SoC, I make the Flea Market
the hub of my main supplies and loot. It's easy to go from there directly
to the Cordon, Agroprom, Red Forest, Dark Valley or Army Warehouses
once those levels are open to the Player. Only the Marshes and Yantar
require you to travel through another level to get to them. No level
has more access to as many level changers to other places as Garbage.
Of course if all the Loners are killed at the Flea Market it loses it's value.

TS
  03:24:23  6 January 2015
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Roadkilll
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On forum: 05/27/2011
Messages: 1307
I keep all my stuff at Sid's. It may not be the best place since it's not really close to player later on as you progress.

After you help both Duty and Freedom, Bandits get hammered from both sides and they stand no chance anymore. They will only keep trying to break through Duty's checkpoint but that always ends up bad.

Easiest way to get rich is by exploiting a game, bug with Forester .
  14:24:52  7 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030
One negative thing that's unique for CS is the shortage of repeating side quests. All you can do repeatedly are the fetch quests (Swamps only), and help squads capture or defend positions from enemies or mutants (in most levels). This means there's not much else to do after a certain time except faction wars (that can go on forever or until the game becomes unstable).

Despite this I'm happy that most artifacts don't respawn (like in CoP), since their rarity make them more desirable.
  17:55:51  9 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
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On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137
I now have also started a stash at the Flea market. It seems like a nice replacement for the Bar. The loners have taken the southern entrances of the Garbage, while both Freedom and Bandits have been fighting mutants in east central Garbage.

A few more things I have noticed:

- Earning money is hard. Personally I like it this way. I didn't have much of a problem with upgrading a few weapons in the Great Swamps, but now that I have moved on to the Sunrise-suit and L-85, upgrades are much more expensive. I like how the economy-balance is a nice incentive to get the player to actually do quests and help out factions. This way I have gone back from slightly hostile (ran away from their tax-collectors) to slightly friendly bandits.

- People in the Freedom-base are loud. Very loud. It might be worse than in Call of Pripyat.

- I have seen some people mention the way how one can now change between areas through a number of level-changers. So far this has not been all that relevant for me, but at least when I went back to the Swamps I made sure to take the northern level-changer. In any case, additional choice is good.

- There are a lot of quests. Similar to the amount of people on the maps and the encounters between them, it seems a bit much. The fact that a quest item is often quite close to the quest-giver also feels unbelievable. These are some of the reasons which make Clear Sky feel gamier than its predecessor.

On the other hand, I have not been playing for that long, and according to Tejas' and other comments there are at least larger patterns which give the faction wars a bit more character. From my point of view I have to point to the current situation in the Garbage, where the bandits have had to deal with mutants a lot. There is not a lot of attention to detail, but I still like how individual encounters have evolved into kind of larger story for me. I guess I just have to pay attention how other areas play out. I will try to stay neutral for as long as possible. It will be interesting to see where I will get a better detector from.
  00:16:32  11 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

StoleitfromKilgore:

---QUOTATION---

It will be interesting to see where I will get a better detector from.

---END QUOTATION---



StoleitfromKilgore~

Did you miss where I mentioned there is a Veles Detector in the Marshes?

TS
  16:13:01  11 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
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On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137

---QUOTATION---
Did you miss where I mentioned there is a Veles Detector in the Marshes?
---END QUOTATION---



No worries. I didn't miss it, but I'm currently not too interested in the Swamps. I mostly just meant traders, quest-rewards and such.

After doing the Freedom-quests Ashot had both the Bear- and Veles-detectors available for surprisingly little money. I got the latter for just 1500 ru.

It has helped with getting artifacts somewhat, but all in all the main problem is still that I take damage too quickly and sometimes the use-sign doesn't show up while I'm quickly losing health. I think it would have been helpful if the people in the game had commented on the artifact-hunt a bit. You know, in a way, where it would have become clearer how it is supposed to work. Because so far, what I associate with anomalies in CS is mostly Quick-Load. I'm pretty sure Trial-and-Error cannot have been the goal the designers had in mind. It's not like it is enjoyable this way. Am I supposed to only start looking for artifacts once I have a fully upgraded high-end suit?!? At the moment it justs seems as if the designers wanted to actually discourage the player from looking for artifacts.
  19:01:27  11 January 2015
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Tejas Stalker
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On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Just because the Detector shows you an artifact ahead does not mean
it is advised or safe to proceed directly to it and blunder your way into
damage and loss of health. Once you detect an artifact, you must circle
about it and use your bolts to find a safe path. Often it is coming from
the opposite direction that you see the artifact ahead of you. Clear Sky
was never meant to be like SoC where you see an artifact and grab it
right away with little harm. Another way to think of it is others may
have seen the same artifact but failed to find the safe passage to it.

TS
  23:10:25  11 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
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On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137

---QUOTATION---
Just because the Detector shows you an artifact ahead does not mean it is advised or safe to proceed directly to it and blunder your way into damage and loss of health. Once you detect an artifact, you must circle
about it and use your bolts to find a safe path. Often it is coming from
the opposite direction that you see the artifact ahead of you. Clear Sky
was never meant to be like SoC where you see an artifact and grab it
right away with little harm. Another way to think of it is others may
have seen the same artifact but failed to find the safe passage to it.
---END QUOTATION---



I understand. I have been trying to do these things. But I'm not that far into the game so far, so I will keep trying and maybe it will work out better with other anomalies. At least in the recent cases (Valley-burner and Garbage - toxic anomaly) there seemed to be no safe paths to the artifacts.
  15:15:39  12 January 2015
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Three Mile Island
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
sometimes the use-sign doesn't show up while I'm quickly losing health.
---END QUOTATION---


What use-sign is that? I just press the M key for medkits when the health bar drops too much.


---QUOTATION---
I think it would have been helpful if the people in the game had commented on the artifact-hunt a bit. You know, in a way, where it would have become clearer how it is supposed to work.
---END QUOTATION---


How could they? Most of the Stalkers in the Zone have no idea how it works.


---QUOTATION---
Because so far, what I associate with anomalies in CS is mostly Quick-Load. I'm pretty sure Trial-and-Error cannot have been the goal the designers had in mind. It's not like it is enjoyable this way.
---END QUOTATION---


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.


---QUOTATION---
Am I supposed to only start looking for artifacts once I have a fully upgraded high-end suit?!?
---END QUOTATION---


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.

In Red Forest there's a place where you need the best suit (fully upgraded SEVA), and the best protective artifacts, and perfect jumping technique, and you still need several medkits to have a chance of survival (I usually die a dozen times anyway). But that's an extreme example, perhaps the most dangerous place in the whole Zone.
  14:22:47  13 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
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On forum: 10/27/2010
 

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

---QUOTATION---
What use-sign is that? I just press the M key for medkits when the health bar drops too much.
---END QUOTATION---



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.


---QUOTATION---
How could they? Most of the Stalkers in the Zone have no idea how it works.
---END QUOTATION---



Well, ok, that's a fair point. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to know a little better what is supposed to be possible.


---QUOTATION---
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.
---END QUOTATION---



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.


---QUOTATION---
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.
---END QUOTATION---



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
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On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
Well, ok, that's a fair point. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to know a little better what is supposed to be possible.
---END QUOTATION---


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.


---QUOTATION---
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.

---END QUOTATION---


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
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On forum: 05/12/2007
Messages: 27723
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
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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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---QUOTATION---
Water that flows down surfaces
---END QUOTATION---


Where can that be seen?
  22:14:02  22 January 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
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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
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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: 1705
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: 27723
Clear Sky - Some thoughts

Most Survival Games Have Problems That S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Solved Long Ago
http://kotaku.com/most-survival-games-have-problems-that-s-t-a-l-k-e-r-s-1683484728?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

TS
  12:17:31  4 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137
Thanks, I'll give feedback later.
  15:14:39  4 February 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
StoleitfromKilgore:

- 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.

---END QUOTATION---


Never noticed that. But in SoC, they seem to hit you even when pointing their guns in a totally different direction.


---QUOTATION---
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.
---END QUOTATION---


What's wrong with Yantar? I love the psy effects (until you fix the cooling system).


---QUOTATION---
- Another small thing that not everybody might see as something important is the bigger number of level-changers.
---END QUOTATION---


A possibly related result is how they make the areas from SoC feel different, due to the changed perspective. Maybe that applies especially to Army Warehouses.


---QUOTATION---
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.
---END QUOTATION---


That's probably because you move to close to them. Give them some personal space and they'll keep silent. Or you can pester them and enjoy their increasingly annoyed greeting phrases. I think the problem with CoP is more due to the voice acting.


---QUOTATION---
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.
---END QUOTATION---


It should happen in many more places, but perhaps not everywhere.


---QUOTATION---

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...

---END QUOTATION---


Also at the Devilish Encampment in Red Forest.


---QUOTATION---
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.

---END QUOTATION---


I think NPCs are standing guard due to the impending faction wars, but you can also see artifact hunting in a few locations. In the early stages SoC, NPCs appear to wander around randomly apparently looking for loot (but in reality they're just migrating to replace NPCs that got killed somewhere else), while later on in SoC everybody rush towards Pripyat.


---QUOTATION---

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.

---END QUOTATION---


Exactly my opinion!
  15:18:24  4 February 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
Tejas Stalker:

Most Survival Games Have Problems That S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Solved Long Ago
http://kotaku.com/most-survival-games-have-problems-that-s-t-a-l-k-e-r-s-1683484728?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow
---END QUOTATION---


Good review, but then he completely spoils it by saying:

"this is coming from someone who considers Far Cry 2 to be one of the best games ever made".
  21:13:03  4 February 2015
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Charcharo
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/23/2009
Messages: 1175
People are different. Things are subjective.

I mean...many people like Bioshock Infinite...
And I consider it shit.
  22:05:26  4 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
02/04/2015 22:30:01
Messages: 137

---QUOTATION---
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.

Never noticed that. But in SoC, they seem to hit you even when pointing their guns in a totally different direction.
---END QUOTATION---



Well, I only noticed it in CoP a few months back, but when I recently came back to CS I realized that it had already been like that in CS.


---QUOTATION---
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.

What's wrong with Yantar? I love the psy effects (until you fix the cooling system).
---END QUOTATION---



There were simply too many zombies for my liking. Especially during the mission to fix the cooling system (so many exos). It's the kind of design that reminds me too much, that I'm (as the player) at the center of everything, when STALKER is best at creating a believable world that can mostly work without the player.


---QUOTATION---
- Another small thing that not everybody might see as something important is the bigger number of level-changers.

A possibly related result is how they make the areas from SoC feel different, due to the changed perspective. Maybe that applies especially to Army Warehouses.
---END QUOTATION---



Since you are mentioning the Warehouses, I had to point something out. The last time I played I arrived at the Red Forest and took a look at my PDA-map. I then realized that I had never been to the Army Wareheouses in CS.


---QUOTATION---
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.

That's probably because you move to close to them. Give them some personal space and they'll keep silent. Or you can pester them and enjoy their increasingly annoyed greeting phrases. I think the problem with CoP is more due to the voice acting.
---END QUOTATION---



I know, but if I have to talk to somebody, am passing through a camp or want to stay in one... It's just something that reliably ruins the mood. But at the moment I can't really remember how it was done in SoC. The point is the quick mechanical reaction that NPCs give when the player is near. Again, it reminds me that I'm playing a game. Too player-centric and thus unbelievable. But yeah, CoP is probably far worse.


---QUOTATION---
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.

It should happen in many more places, but perhaps not everywhere.

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...

Also at the Devilish Encampment in Red Forest.
---END QUOTATION---



Good to know. I'm just heading there.


---QUOTATION---
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.

I think NPCs are standing guard due to the impending faction wars, but you can also see artifact hunting in a few locations. In the early stages SoC, NPCs appear to wander around randomly apparently looking for loot (but in reality they're just migrating to replace NPCs that got killed somewhere else), while later on in SoC everybody rush towards Pripyat.
---END QUOTATION---



But there are far too many guards. Usually there is at most one guy sitting at a campfire. It often just seems like most of the social interaction between stalkers has been sucked out of the world. It's also a problem that too many of the traders, technicians and so on seem so forced... You know, the way how you need 1 trader, 1 technician and perhaps 1 barman per base. It's simply the standard complement of functions mostly there to serve the player. They are not characters. Simply giving the more important people some walls of text does not a character make. It also doesn't help that their physical appearance is usually not different from all the other people.

The detector-thing is a neat addition, but unfortunately it's also very transparent that they are not really looking for artifacts.

The wandering around being random is not the point, I'm aware it's not random. In fact, I happen to believe that completely random A-Life would be problematic. Places and the people that inhabit them should matter. With very dynamic and random A-Life people are randomly killed off and the feeling of the NPCs actually being of importance diminishes. In SoC how places are inhabited and how the movements to them occur feels very deliberate in comparison. And of course, as I have mentioned before, there are simply too many people and too many battles too actually care about any of them. Well, at least it's harder to care about them.



---QUOTATION---
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.

Exactly my opinion!
---END QUOTATION---



Haha, at least one point of agreement


Edit:

As far as FC2 is concerned: In some ways it's a very different game from the STALKER-titles, but I happen to believe that it actually does some things better than them. The wind for example, or some aspects of the behaviour of human enemies. There is no A-Life in FC2, but in combat they behave a lot more believable and the stealth-system is actually pretty good. On the other hand, they just respawn. The weather is lacking real thunderstorms (no thunder/lightning) and the nights are far too bright. Aside from the night sky not looking convincing at all.

These points are all valid, yet not the ones that people usually point to when explaining their dislike of FC2. In my experience it's pretty hard to get to the bottom of subjective preferences and often people just seem to take hold of some easy explanations, when they actually don't understand the exact reasons. Personally, I often find it very difficult to put my finger on the exact reasons for my hate/love (and everything in between) for a game.
  23:48:07  4 February 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
 

Message edited by:
Three Mile Island
02/04/2015 23:51:59
Messages: 3030

---QUOTATION---
StoleitfromKilgore:

There were simply too many zombies for my liking. Especially during the mission to fix the cooling system (so many exos). It's the kind of design that reminds me too much, that I'm (as the player) at the center of everything, when STALKER is best at creating a believable world that can mostly work without the player.

---END QUOTATION---


You're right, though I've never been bothered by it in Yantar.


---QUOTATION---

Since you are mentioning the Warehouses, I had to point something out. The last time I played I arrived at the Red Forest and took a look at my PDA-map. I then realized that I had never been to the Army Wareheouses in CS.

---END QUOTATION---


Initially you have to move through Red Forest to get there.


---QUOTATION---

at the moment I can't really remember how it was done in SoC.

---END QUOTATION---


Don't you just get a dialog text prompt in SoC? Can't remember either, despite playing SoC just a few weeks ago.


---QUOTATION---

The point is the quick mechanical reaction that NPCs give when the player is near. Again, it reminds me that I'm playing a game. Too player-centric and thus unbelievable.
---END QUOTATION---


In my first CS playthroughs I occasionally felt a little stressed by the aggressive voices of Clear Sky faction NPCs, but it didn't actually ruin the mood. Bandits are aggressive too, but also funny.


---QUOTATION---

Also at the Devilish Encampment in Red Forest.

Good to know. I'm just heading there.

---END QUOTATION---


Don't get your hopes up too much, they're just ordinary stalkers. Make sure to manually save before the mission, in case it fails and the NPCs die.


---QUOTATION---
But there are far too many guards. Usually there is at most one guy sitting at a campfire. It often just seems like most of the social interaction between stalkers has been sucked out of the world.
---END QUOTATION---


You're right, but it's never bothered me that much. I kind of envision them anticipating an attack any minute when you arrive.


---QUOTATION---
It's also a problem that too many of the traders, technicians and so on seem so forced... You know, the way how you need 1 trader, 1 technician and perhaps 1 barman per base. It's simply the standard complement of functions mostly there to serve the player.
---END QUOTATION---


I disagree, the Loner bases in Cordon and Agroprom lack bars, and Flea Market has two traders. In Red Forest the repair technician and trader are at different locations. Yantar only has a trader. Army Warehouses has nothing.


---QUOTATION---
They are not characters. Simply giving the more important people some walls of text does not a character make. It also doesn't help that their physical appearance is usually not different from all the other people.
---END QUOTATION---


I disagree, I think the above business people have very good characters in CS. This is mostly thanks to the excellent voice acting, but there are also several relatively unique face textures(?) like Cold, Gray, Sid, Kolobok/Father Valerian, Borov/Yoga, Sakharov and Forester (in fact I didn't realize until now that a couple of them look the same).


---QUOTATION---
The wandering around being random is not the point, I'm aware it's not random.
---END QUOTATION---


Maybe random was the wrong word, but in SoC some NPCs give an impression of being independent stalkers with some unknown goal in the Zone (that they may or may not tell you about if you ask). In CS this is admittedly a bit limited, you never encounter lonely generic stalkers (except for scripted events).


---QUOTATION---
there are simply too many people and too many battles too actually care about any of them. Well, at least it's harder to care about them.
---END QUOTATION---


That's true. On the other hand I've never cared much for even the unique NPCs in SoC --I hardly remember the names of people like Bes or Mole, and I've never understood why people bother tracking them and try to keep them alive. To me the truly unique CS characters (like Limpid) are much more memorable, but maybe that's partially because they tend to stay alive...


---QUOTATION---

These points are all valid, yet not the ones that people usually point to when explaining their dislike of FC2. In my experience it's pretty hard to get to the bottom of subjective preferences and often people just seem to take hold of some easy explanations, when they actually don't understand the exact reasons. Personally, I often find it very difficult to put my finger on the exact reasons for my hate/love (and everything in between) for a game.
---END QUOTATION---


Yes it can be hard both to analyze and articulate what's wrong with a game. Sometimes you don't even have the stamina to find out, since there are just too many things wrong with it (hence my disbelief when someone claims to have found something good).
  10:59:25  5 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
02/05/2015 11:17:41
Messages: 137
@ThreeMileIsland: Will try to respond later.

@Decane: Thanks, but so far it either does not work at all, or it has made things worse. I changed the values in the user.ltx and put the "r3"-folder into the "shader"-folder just beside the "r2"-folder. I'm assuming that I haven't done anything wrong.

I will try again later, with: 6, 60, 40, 1536. I hope the latter doesn't hurt performance too much. The latter three values are taken from some old thread. Danlo seems to have used them. I will keep experimenting. (By the way, why should decreasing the gloss factor improve anything? I'm not sure that it is the reason, but the only significant change I noticed yesterday is that all the effects seem less visible.)
  12:26:30  5 February 2015
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Decane
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 04/04/2007
Messages: 1705

---QUOTATION---
@Decane: Thanks, but so far it either does not work at all, or it has made things worse.
---END QUOTATION---


You still get stripes? (The wet sheen on clothes is supposed to be there when it rains.)
  19:34:39  5 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
 

Message edited by:
StoleitfromKilgore
02/06/2015 1:08:27
Messages: 137

---QUOTATION---
@Decane: Thanks, but so far it either does not work at all, or it has made things worse.
You still get stripes? (The wet sheen on clothes is supposed to be there when it rains.)
---END QUOTATION---



No, I didn't see any, but I also didn't see anything else. Splashes (because of lower gloss factor?) are barely visible and the same goes for the flowing water.

But the way it has worked for me so far it's hard to tell if it's just the "wet surfaces" - feature doing what it wants (as usual), or if something further got broken by the fix.

Edit:
The wet sheen on people and surfaces has sometimes been there during my current playthrough, sometimes not. Also didn't work yesterday.
Also, I just remembered that there was one stash at the Devilish Encampment where the flowing water on a vertical surface actually worked. The only surface I saw it yesterday.

Edit 2:
Ok, have tested it and aside from "r2_gloss_factor 6.", which is simply ridiculous, things seem to actually be working now. Hurray!

There were two separate instances today where it rained during nighttime and daytime. I hope turning down the gloss factor to 4 won't change it for the worse. I'm assuming it was the increase in the resolution which made the difference.

So it's like this now (in the user.ltx):

- r2_gloss_factor 4. (changed back from 6 just a few minutes ago)
- r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_far 60.
- r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_near 40.
- r3_dynamic_wet_surfaces_sm_res 1536

Some examples:

First, two examples of what gloss factor 6 does to your game. Bioshock-levels of goodness.

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/media/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-05-15_22-32-51_military_zpsfelqirzl.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/media/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-05-15_22-35-20_military_zpsr9awvhvw.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

Plus four examples for wet surfaces actually working. Metal surfaces still look the best, but I could mostly also see a comparably weak effect on stalkers, wood and most brick/stone walls.

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/media/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-05-15_23-30-38_military_zpsdlsivem5.jpg.html?sort=3&o=3

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/media/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-05-15_23-28-04_red_forest_zps5gedkh0d.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

http://s1156.photobucket.com/user/Schattensucher/media/STALKER%20-%20Clear%20Sky%20Complete%20-%20Dx-10%20effects/ss_user_02-05-15_23-27-31_red_forest_zps58kbwodw.jpg.html?sort=3&o=2

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  17:10:57  7 February 2015
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StoleitfromKilgore
(Senior)
 
On forum: 10/27/2010
Messages: 137

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Since you are mentioning the Warehouses, I had to point something out. The last time I played I arrived at the Red Forest and took a look at my PDA-map. I then realized that I had never been to the Army Wareheouses in CS.

Initially you have to move through Red Forest to get there.
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My mistake. I have to have been there before, because I actually finished the game a few years ago. I simply couldn't remember.



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at the moment I can't really remember how it was done in SoC.

Don't you just get a dialog text prompt in SoC? Can't remember either, despite playing SoC just a few weeks ago.
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In SoC they just say some things in Russian and make some gestures, if you have your weapon out. Other than that they mostly ignore the player. Basically there is a strong reaction to the player's weapon in SoC and other than that not much. In CS the NPCs seem like they are constantly upset. It's a bit irrational, but I think it's also the fact that the NPC-comments are now in English, which annoys me a bit.


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The point is the quick mechanical reaction that NPCs give when the player is near. Again, it reminds me that I'm playing a game. Too player-centric and thus unbelievable.
In my first CS playthroughs I occasionally felt a little stressed by the aggressive voices of Clear Sky faction NPCs, but it didn't actually ruin the mood. Bandits are aggressive too, but also funny.

Also at the Devilish Encampment in Red Forest.

Good to know. I'm just heading there.

Don't get your hopes up too much, they're just ordinary stalkers. Make sure to manually save before the mission, in case it fails and the NPCs die.
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Northwest of the Forrester, there is also a Duty-encampment, where quite a few people where sitting around the campfire. They were constantly pushing other people out of the way, getting up, sitting down etc., but still... They also pushed me into the fire once.

Same for the Freedom-encampment on the other side of the level-changer (Red Forest-Army Warehouses). No campfire, but a few people that were sleeping during the night.


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It's also a problem that too many of the traders, technicians and so on seem so forced... You know, the way how you need 1 trader, 1 technician and perhaps 1 barman per base. It's simply the standard complement of functions mostly there to serve the player. They are not characters. Simply giving the more important people some walls of text does not a character make. It also doesn't help that their physical appearance is usually not different from all the other people.

I disagree, the Loner bases in Cordon and Agroprom lack bars, and Flea Market has two traders. In Red Forest the repair technician and trader are at different locations. Yantar only has a trader. Army Warehouses has nothing. I disagree, I think the above business people have very good characters in CS. This is mostly thanks to the excellent voice acting, but there are also several relatively unique face textures(?) like Cold, Gray, Sid, Kolobok/Father Valerian, Borov/Yoga, Sakharov and Forester (in fact I didn't realize until now that a couple of them look the same).
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Maybe I exaggerated a bit. Some of them, like Cold for example are actually quite fine. I just had to deal with the Duty-technician and -trader quite a bit and also with their two equivalents in the Agroprom-loner-base. The latter two could as well be cardboard-cutouts. Part of the problem comes down to how they are placed. There are simply too many people locked in some place or behind some counter or desk, which are hard to distinguish from most other stalkers. There is some variety in how they are placed, but not enough. It's not just that though, it's also that they are often isolated from the rest of the base/group. Just try to compare the Agroprom-loners with the Flea Market-loners for a moment. In the latter case the traders can also be somewhat hard to distinguish from the rest, but they also seem integrated into their surroundings. It doesn't seem as standardized.



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The wandering around being random is not the point, I'm aware it's not random.
Maybe random was the wrong word, but in SoC some NPCs give an impression of being independent stalkers with some unknown goal in the Zone (that they may or may not tell you about if you ask). In CS this is admittedly a bit limited, you never encounter lonely generic stalkers (except for scripted events).

there are simply too many people and too many battles too actually care about any of them. Well, at least it's harder to care about them.

That's true. On the other hand I've never cared much for even the unique NPCs in SoC --I hardly remember the names of people like Bes or Mole, and I've never understood why people bother tracking them and try to keep them alive. To me the truly unique CS characters (like Limpid) are much more memorable, but maybe that's partially because they tend to stay alive...
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Yep, it used to be similar for me. I still don't care for them as characters, but if you pay some attention to developments and movements (who dies, who replaces them), it really helps build a connnection. It's really problematic with Freedom and Duty though, especially the latter (in SoC, I mean). You wouldn't believe how hard it is to actually care if everybody wears the same uniform and has the same weapon.
  20:27:28  7 February 2015
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Three Mile Island
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 11/04/2008
 

Message edited by:
Three Mile Island
02/07/2015 20:29:20
Messages: 3030

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StoleitfromKilgore:

My mistake. I have to have been there before, because I actually finished the game a few years ago. I simply couldn't remember.

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In my first game (old patch) I recall I somehow went from the Red Forest ambush directly to Limansk. No idea what happened there.


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Part of the problem comes down to how they are placed. There are simply too many people locked in some place or behind some counter or desk, which are hard to distinguish from most other stalkers. There is some variety in how they are placed, but not enough. It's not just that though, it's also that they are often isolated from the rest of the base/group.

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It's not uncommon to see Senka (and Limpid? Can't remember --he does pull out his gun though) charge out of the Bandit base to defend it against Dutyers that venture too close. Borov is unarmed, so he'll just run around screaming. This is probably a bug, though.

The other techs and traders of course disappear when a base is under attack, so they can't join the fighting (except the Agroprom Loner trader, that keeps doing business during the constant fighting and is often killed by Bandit fire).


---QUOTATION---

Just try to compare the Agroprom-loners with the Flea Market-loners for a moment. In the latter case the traders can also be somewhat hard to distinguish from the rest, but they also seem integrated into their surroundings. It doesn't seem as standardized.
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I'd attribute that to the more makeshift business going on at the Flea Market, while the faction bases are more organized. The SoC traders also stay behind their counters, perhaps with the exception of Colonel Petrenko.


---QUOTATION---
I still don't care for them as characters, but if you pay some attention to developments and movements (who dies, who replaces them), it really helps build a connnection. It's really problematic with Freedom and Duty though, especially the latter (in SoC, I mean). You wouldn't believe how hard it is to actually care if everybody wears the same uniform and has the same weapon.
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I guess lots of causalties are a consequence of the infinite faction war, you can't have one without the other.

One thing you can do in CS is tracking the NPCs you've previously returned unique items to (if nothing else to get back that item). Unfortunately they are not many, and tend to die soon unless you babysit them.
 
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