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    posted a message on UED First Light Running Mission Review

    Mission 6


    Mission 6 is TOUGH. You have to guard three avenues of approach against pounding waves of Zerg enemies. CARR being alive is a mission objective, for some weird reason, since he wasn't essential in the previous macro mission that he appeared in since you could just remake him if destroyed. So, there's that lack of consistency in the campaign itself. Okay, fine. He's just a liability now, but I can work with that. The really difficult thing is spreading your defenses into three and having them all situated at the five minute mark. Enemies break through by then, giving you little time to get your economy going while also repairing what's been damaged, building new units, and building static defenses. Ospreys are essential to the defense of your base due to heavy Mutalisk attacks. I failed the mission, had to reload a save, but found I was unable to click anything and could only ping. I had to restart, but fortunately I only lost a little time.


    You start with 5 workers and a small mineral field to defend for nearly 30 minutes against attacks that are comparable to the likes of All In's wave. They ramp up within minutes of the mission starting, too. Once again, an example of poor testing and mission design. This mission is absolutely doable, but incredibly difficult to actually get going. You have the production to keep up with your current forces but not the economy, because the map designers thought it was reasonable starting you with 5 workers and 8 mineral fields to support a defense on 3 fronts with little time to prepare, which means you'll need to micro on each front while also producing units. The support drops alleviate this, but not by much, as they come as fast as enemies kill your unhealable units and structures. It's very impractical to have Mining Bots sacrifice themselves to heal buildings and vehicles, considering you start with so few already. I ran out of money with 10 minutes on the clock, without any viable way to sustain defenses.


    The mission objective is to keep the landing area secure, right, but you also need to protect the two com-sat radios. For some absurd reason, those two specifically must stay standing. Why that is, when you can build them, is beyond me. They're also very poorly positioned to artificially inflate the difficulty of the mission and turn them into utter liabilities. The campaign suffers from a gross lack of common sense when it comes to expectations for the player, so I'm not surprised. You're expected to push out and kill the spawned Nydus worms, I think, but this is incredibly difficult to do when you're constantly getting smacked. It's probably possible though.


    The map developers SERIOUSLY need to test their missions. Like, actually PLAY your missions, not with cheats, but legit. It's blatantly obvious that some parts of this campaign weren't tested and really sad that they're being released as complete when they are far from it. Visually and aesthetically, everything looks amazing. It reminds me a lot of the GDI from Command and Conquer. But the good stuff ends at the aesthetics, as missions are very poorly balanced, often tedious crawls where you need to save repeatedly to prevent yourself from a headache.


    The micro section to rescue the VIP is yet ANOTHER low-visibility gimmick where you have to use CARR to light up areas. Fortunately, your units are pretty good, but it's extremely annoying and would be great if this mechanic was not constantly rehashed. I did, however, like the stealth portion, but it seems that once again the lack of testing rears its ugly head. Enemies will hear you outside their radii and before the awareness bar at the top fills. Why have a bar there if it's not accurate? In the end I managed to finish, but this mission was quite tough. I killed over 6000 units, lost 300, and lost 120 buildings. This includes the final ten minutes of the holdout in which I activated God Mode, as it is impossible to get past as you do not have enough resources to do so. I wonder if the mission was still played while I was in the micro section, because I didn't think I killed 6k units. Either way, that's probably more than the entirety of All-In.


    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on UED First Light Running Mission Review

    Mission 4


    A high-speed micro section which is surprisingly easy compared to previous micro portions of this campaign. A breeze to complete with the use of Z-1 shielding and T-17 artillery fire. Its holdout portion is very difficult though - the exploding exhumers deal too much damage in a large radius and Nydus-spawning enemies go for it first. You get literally HUNDREDS of units thrown at you, and you are expected to hold them off with what you have. It's possible, but once again, artificial difficulty strikes again in the form of not being able to repair or build any units. A bit irritating, but entrenching yourself on the high ground seems to be the way to go. The macro section is quite the grind, but doable. The enemy base is very heavily fortified, but the using the artillery cannons trivializes taking down fortified positions. I quite like this mission - but the constant rehashing of low visibility mechanics in the form of fog is getting a little old. I also don't agree with the repair mechanic of sacrificing workers into units and structures to heal them, but it's a cool idea and far from impossible to work around.


    Mission 5


    Mission 5 seems to be broken. It is impossible to complete the mission because you can't produce any Fusion Reactors, which are your supply structures. That means you have a tiny army to clear out an entire fortification, and later defend against waves of enemy attacks. I had to use cheats to progress. I could tell that nobody tested this in a fair and balanced environment, or you would probably be able to identify such a game-breaking bug which rears its head right from the mission start. Yet another testament to how awfully designed some of these missions are. I REALLY hope this is not intentional. If it's intentional, someone seriously needs to stop making maps and starting playing some of what other creators have made to see what makes a good mission. This ain't it.


    If it's a bug, please fix it ASAP. There are enough infuriatingly unfair situations in this campaign already. Game-breaking bugs just make things worse. In a few instances, I also couldn't range the Guardians attacking me outside my unit's pathing area. I used cheats to get over the impossible part of the mission...just to find out nothing happens after a certain point. Enemies don't spawn, the toxicity keeps climbing, and the mission is impossible to complete in the end. So, quite upsetting...it seems that this mission was not tested as it can't even be beaten.


    Folks, this is not difficulty. This is poor design, period. Bugs I can understand, but when a mission literally does not work, it's pretty clear to me nobody is actually playtesting these maps to ensure they're fair challenges.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on UED First Light Running Mission Review

    One thing incredibly immersion-breaking about this campaign is the fact we have to fight Roaches. It makes absolutely no sense to have Roaches in this time period, as Zerglings, Hydralisks/Lurkers, and Ultralisks are the only major ground attack forces that Zerg has during SC/BW. It completely breaks immersion for the sake of adding a durable enemy unit to chew through your pathetic infantry. So you have 50hp combat units going up against multiple ~20 DPS/80HP Hydralisks, and ~10DPS/145HP Roaches. They simply do not belong in the context of this setting, lorewise or gameplaywise. Perhaps having a different unit instead would have made more sense. I understand if this is here for the sake of gameplay, but I think if you're branding this campaign as a lore-friendly, canonical precursor to SC/BW, its gameplay should reflect that. Enemies shouldn't get units and abilities that had no way of existing at the time.


    Mission 2


    A very long, but generally fun micro mission that really gets you in gear for the events that follow. Strangely, regular police officers have more hitpoints than the normal infantry, but this seems to just be a gameplay choice. The map is huge, and it took me 90 minutes to complete this. Myra is a very good hero unit and carries it - and city - on her back. She is actually useful unlike a few of the previous mission's heroes. It's almost like the first mission was to weed out or gatekeep players from continuing the campaign with how much more manageable the second one was. Or maybe it's because I mentally prepared myself to treat this like a Brutal campaign, so I found it easier. The massive creature/boss Ultralisk was a cool fight.


    During the coolant section where you fight the special immortal Hydralisk, though, The special Hydralisks spawns INVINCIBLE LARVA which turn into eggs that hatch waves of enemies. The eggs are nigh-invincible and the Hydralisk always reincarnates itself to accompany the spawned waves, which ramp up to the point of absurdity. And as another F-U to players who made the mistake of killing it to buy time, if you try to run up the ramp to the 3rd coolant valve, there is nowhere else to go. Next to the beacon there are two Hydralisks there for absolutely no reason waiting to ambush you and thus most likely corner you if there are active enemies, resulting in mission failure. It feels like this section is yet another effort to troll and insult the player for playing the game. I found that the only viable strategy is to avoid killing it as much as possible. You need to run through the incredibly boring snorefest of running around the area to outpace it, since killing it makes your life harder, and snag a few seconds off the clock.


    Is this the intended strategy? Because it is nothing more than tedious artificial difficulty and extremely unfun. The same deal in the sewers too. The mission doesn't tell you that you can't pick up both canisters. So once again, if you are killing the immortal Hydralisk and spawning waves, and making the risky run to both canisters, you will find that you can't pick it up. They are also located in narrow dead ends, which ALSO means that if the immortal Hydralisk waves chase you into them, you're toast. I have no idea if they behave this way, since I didn't kill it at all in the sewer section and would suggest anyone playing does the same.


    The macro portion of the mission is very interesting, giving you control of a UPL military base. Unfortunately, it completely takes away the player's agency of choice with regards to macro and defence, as you can't build anywhere in your base to increase unit production. Thus, adding yet again another infuriating attempt to inflate the map's difficulty. You are forced to wall yourself with squishy units  in lieu of being able to create chokes with extra production. You also will run out of mineral nodes quite quickly and do not have the production to keep up with your economy. This part makes little sense and is bad mission design, considering your only source of healing in a lengthy war of attrition against many waves of attacks...is a single-unit heal. I have the bank to produce units, but the game prevents you from doing so to make it harder for no justifiable reason. Guarding the civilians blocked up at the tunnel is extremely difficult when Infantrymen, your only anti-air, are pathetic against Mutalisk attacks. Coupled with the aggro they get from Roaches and Hydralisks, they die very quickly. You need to micro them away from the ledges to keep them alive against advancing ranged ground units, then line them back up to defend the civilians. You also can't repair any of your tanks. On the bright side, CARR is very beefy and can take a great deal of damage. I had to constantly go through the hectic task of rotating him back and forth tank for my base defenses and assist with anti-air during tunnel waves. This is probably what the developers wanted the player to do, so you should definitely hotkey him to a control group and use this strategy since he doesn't get his own hero panel for some odd reason.


    This campaign LOVES adding artificial difficulty to itself. While I managed to complete the escort/hold out portion after a few resets, I think the mission designers should definitely examine their expectations of what the player should realistically be doing in a scenario where they are getting attacked from three or four places at once by T2 enemy units, while themselves only have weak T1 that they cannot produce nearly fast enough to justify the sheer numbers. Don't you just love not being able to build any production or research upgrades in an RTS macro mission? I'm fairly certain the enemies had upgrades too, as I noticed Zerglings got faster at some point. Having virtually no way to keep your flimsy forces alive and forcing a low rate of reinforcement is simply insulting to the player when there are six whole waves to defend against. You shouldn't be testing missions for balance from the perspective of someone who already knows what to expect, but it's quite clear that these missions were designed this way.


    Much better than Mission 1 though.


    Mission 3


    Oh boy mission 3. How I love the first half, and hate the second. The first portion of the mission has you navigating the city securing checkpoints and reinforcing barricades to advance further. You can use a tactical window to do so, and it's pretty cool how the A.I. UPL responds to your orders. It feels very organic and militaristic, which I like a lot. For the record, though, the special champion Zerg in the sewer portion - the entirety of which can be completed by Myra alone - seems to be broken. Often times it just runs around and does nothing. And, once again, Hunterlings are extremely out of place to have in this time period. Not only are they special infected in Left 2 Die, a Blizzard-designed map inspired by Left 4 Dead, but they did not exist until the time of StarCraft 2. So...a little weird. They're also detectors, for some reason, which leads me to believe they may have just been taken straight from the Left 2 Die mod. Okay, fine. No big deal. But my god, once you get through the sewer portion and kill the last hive cluster, things get a little bit dumb. 


    I daresay the second half is simply just a-hole design, which once again is there to add some crappy, unfair gimmicks. You end up fleeing through the subway to enter a deeper part of the city, and encounter a gas station after an AMAZING top-down shooter portion. You control a soldier on a rooftop and have to snipe enemies coming down a path in order to protect civilians. I loved this part. Once you complete it, the gas station's laughably slow owner will sloth over to the valves and open them for you to vent gasoline through and create a fire barrier that roasts enemies. You can't keep it on at all times though, or you will run out. It's quite generous with the fuel reserves, so you can keep them on a lot longer than it makes you think. There's no timer visible in any of these types of portions in this campaign - why that is, I have no clue. It's impossible to pace yourself when you don't know how long the holdout part of the mission is.


    So, what's the problem here? The nonsense, utterly BS mechanic of enemies completely ignoring Myra and focusing down your horribly infantry. You need more than 2 to be alive in order to progress, because dropping below that means game over. I am AMAZED that this is a mission objective when it was not in the prior mission, because it would have been great to have it so you would not be softlocked by design 30 minutes in! It is completely scummy to have this be an objective and also have enemies completely ignore your only viable tank. It renders this portion extremely difficult with the few units you get and you need to play nearly perfectly to keep them alive, as each unit lost is closer to failure and a drop in crucial damage output. Completely unjustifiable excuse for "difficulty" and it makes me wonder if anyone actually tested this and gave it the OK that yes - it makes perfect sense that the player be unable to use their hero unit to tank and instead have the AI focus on chewing away at the mission objective. Is that an AI behavior which exists in literally any other campaign ever? No, because it's objectively awful and scummy mission design. Why is it only in parts of the mission where keeping units alive is a priority? Because this campaign loves making things irritating and annoying rather than challenging.



    The following escape sequence is the same gimmicky nonsense. You can rescue a small team of units, two of which are the mech suit type. You have to contend with infinitely spawning enemy fliers, though, which whittle down your godawful infantry. Not to mention the bounce to your weak Z-1 mech, which can't be repaired. Once again, keeping your units alive is an objective but enemies will ignore Myra in favor of them. It required several resets to get the perfect RNG and combination of ability casts in order to progress.


    I think the developers really need to examine how they handle dishing out challenges. This is objectively poor design and making the mission from the perspective of someone who already knows how to approach the situation is the exact opposite of how you should make a campaign - ESPECIALLY if you aren't adding any difficulty setting and gatekeeping casual players to brand this as a campaign for veterans of SC2. They are making the mistake of conflating gimmicks with actual challenge. When keeping units alive is an objective, enemies prioritize them over heroes. When it isn't an objective, the game will allow you to lose units without replenishment and stealthily progress you 30 minutes into it only to slap you in the face with an insurmountable block. Coupled with the total lack of basic campaign features such as checkpoints - or at bare minimum, save reminders - this makes for an infuriating and unenjoyable experience.


    So far, I give everything in this campaign a solid 10...except for the most important part, which is mission design. That's a solid 1/10 from me for the sole reason that these otherwise inventive and cool mechanics are made in such a way they go out of their way to screw you over. You can't enjoy a game if you have to save scum through it, but UED First Light demands that you do so to avoid infuriatingly long restarts. If you're going to be this obscene with difficulty spikes and adding artificial difficulties or forced handicaps, add a difficulty setting. Seriously, add one. Gatekeeping a campaign from less skilled players, or those wanting to have a relaxing experience, is just unacceptable and really just the lazy way out. This isn't a soulslike game with a static difficulty but forgiving system with respawns and such. This is a RTS game. Pretty much every other game in existence has difficulty settings so that brand-new players can have a simple and relaxing first run of it, and no campaign I have ever played in the past ten years has engaged in such egregious rigging of missions. You don't have time to enjoy the story or drop-dead gorgeous terrain when you're saving every five minutes to avoid dying to BS.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on UED First Light Running Mission Review

    I wanted to create this as a hybridized review/strategy thread for the aforementioned campaign, because I think the nature of the beast demands it. It's not something I think I have ever seen in a custom campaign setting and while it certainly is interesting, it has some massive drawbacks that can ruin the experience of a player seeking casual fun. Casual players, you've been warned. If you beat SC2 on Brutal you should be OK...somewhat. This is going to be an extremely in-depth critique of the missions' key mechanics with some strategies or suggestions on how to work around it, as this campaign seems to be unusually unforgiving.


    First Impressions:

    Awesome voice acting, very interesting mechanic with the keypads and environmental hazard. The atmosphere, terrain, highly custom unit models/animations, and campaign's premise are all awesome. And those custom loading screens are amazing and give you the feel of a futuristic human society that isn't quite at the SC-timeline's level yet. These older-age Terran units are quite interesting, not to mention having custom music is very cool. I can tell a lot of work went into this and it's a damn shame Blizzard can't put this kind of energy forward into their own game. Really sad that while Blizzard takes years to release garbage like Diablo Immortal and Overwatch Remastered 2, the community has been making campaign content to compensate for Blizzard's total neglect of SC's potential on that front.  Did I mention CARR sounds like Samuel Hayden from the new Doom games?


    Onwards to the not so great stuff: lack of difficulty setting, unreasonable difficulty spikes in the first mission, and the need for constant saving takes the fun out of things. If you are psychic and know what to expect, or are exceptionally good at micro from the get-go, you won't have too much trouble. The fact that mission mechanics are designed as if the player already knows what's going to hit them is a massive oversight and ruins the experience, because they often end up being annoying more than challenging. I would not recommend this campaign at all if you are a noob at SC2 and haven't beaten its campaign handily on Hard or Brutal. You will only upset yourself.


    TL;DR Missions are probably going to be quite gimmicky and sabotage the player in ways that compound with time. Definitely not how you want to structure a campaign that lacks difficulty options and should be designed around Normal-Hard. For example, Mass Recall's medium difficulty is somewhere between Blizzard's Normal and Hard. This first mission felt more like Hard-Brutal not because of any innate valuable challenge, but simply because of monkey wrenches, thought they were definitely very inventive mechanics and I haven't really seen them implemented before. I think that, if implemented in a less punishing way, they would be much more fun to engage with. If you're psychic, or played to a certain point and now learned how to approach a situation, you're fine. If you're a first-timer, prepare to have some restarts. This first mission forces you into this kind of playstyle in a what is should by right be a mid-ground campaign.


    I hope it isn't like this for the rest of it, but I'm fully expecting an unforgiving experience from here on out so that might soften the blows. In a way, this first mission does set your expectations for what is to come, as it should. It just is not a very good gameplay experience, though I'm quite committed to the story.


    Mission One: End of Innocence


    The mission leading up until the escape part feels easy, right? Well, there's more. And if you don't have at least 6-8 combat units alive before you escape through the chain of collapsible towers, you need to load an earlier save. Or, if you got screwed over by the lack of checkpoints and never manually saved, time to restart. Or, just use cheats because being screwed over by the lack of checkpoints or save reminders in such a long mission isn't worth the headache :P


    It is mathematically impossible to beat the first mission's breaching sequence if you don't have at least six combat units by the end to keep up with sniping Nydus spawns, as you simply do NOT have the firepower for them especially when they start spawning in duos. This all assumes you keep your combat units alive during the fight against the rapid waves of Zergling and Hydralisk unburrows. You don't get reinforcements of any kind before the escape sequence, your two heroes neither take nor deal nearly enough damage to justify the excessive spawn rate. What you see is what you get in terms of potential units, and I think that would be fine if the game tells you, but it doesn't. Their abilities can't keep up in effectiveness or cooldown time either - without flamethrower infantry, your only splash damage against the absurd enemy swarms is a laughable 50 damage grenade which is useless against multiple Nyduses and Ultralisks which have hundreds of HP points each (it can't even one-shot a Hydralisk). Failing the objective should not fail the mission considering everyone dies seconds after the objective is complete because something shoots them. Why would failing to breach the chamber stop them from being shot by whatever enemy cannon is there? No idea! But if anything, failing the objective should start the next section prematurely while being successful is an achievement or grants some bonus. I think that not only is this a massive oversight that would turn away more casual or less patient players, but the huge difficulty spike at a point of no return is far too punishing considering how long the mission is. It makes it very infuriating for anyone who got a little careless 20 minutes ago and lost crucial units now resulting in the game being utterly unplayable. Not exactly the type of thing that would make someone want to play.


    Micro mission 101: they should be designed to be possible to beat with very few units to balance difficulty and avoid excessively punishing players - that is, asking yourself how many units you reasonably expect the player to have at X time in the mission, and whether they can complete it with that. Blizzard micro missions can be completed on any difficulty while still posing a tough challenge because they are designed with this in mind. Were the mapmakers expecting you to have most or all of your starting army 30 minutes into the mission after repeated waves of Ultralisks, Hydralisk, Zerglings, one-shotting splash defense block the way of 50hp wet noodle infantry and flimsy heroes? If you know all the encounters of the mission, it's a breeze. If you're playing blind, it's just an awful drag to save-scum your way after every fight so you don't lose forces. Hate to see it.


    If we were going for realism and not having any backup at all, which I think was the goal - to stress the urgency and desperation of the situation - how are there this many Zerg specimens in one laboratory and where are the hive clusters spawning them? God knows I have no clue. What's an uninhabited cave doing right in the middle of a developed facility? Your guess is as good as mine. Some parts of the mission simply don't make any sense and are solely there to add difficulty to what would otherwise be a fairly smooth ride. Debatable whether it's a good thing or not. I personally think it can be a good thing - it just is far from mindful of casual players who are not microing like they're playing Brutal campaign. Can't have it both ways - either you bend realism to add gameplay mechanics and fun factor, or you commit to realism to add them. You can't have realism to the end of making things more difficult then also disregard it...to the end of making things difficult. Someone tell me if it is ever explained why the cave system is right in the middle of the lab facility, in the event I missed it.


    Let's talk about those colonies too. They can one-shot your infantry (or pretty close to it). Leading with heroes into them is the way to go, but sometimes colonies would target my normal units anyway - maybe they do splash damage? I think this is a little unreasonable considering there isn't any attack marker. The Impaler Colony attacks from the HotS evolution mission do splash in a tiny radius and have an indicator. You definitely need to lead with your heroes and don't stack units on top of them so they are the focus of colony attacks. They need an attack indicator if they're going to do splash damage, and also attack at the rate of normal Sunken Colonies. The final boss of the mission has a telegraphed burrow charge that takes multiple seconds to reach its location coupled with an indicator, IN ADDITION to already being able to see it move underground. Why isn't that the case for the multiple Sunken Colonies which can one-shot your infantry?


    And then there's that power outage sequence after the escape...easily the worst part of the mission. Telling the player to have situational awareness is a great loading screen tip, if the game lets you have it! I lost quite a few units in the power outage because I was unable to see the enemy units hidden right behind cliff terrain that is parallel to the player camera. Terrain parallel to the player camera is a big no-no in Blizzard maps for this reason - you can't see them or click on them and thus cannot react without auto-attack. I was also getting aggroed by Zerglings and attacked by Hydralisks outside my own vision radius. I don't know if this is intentional or not, as I had no idea Zerg had night vision while 2200's space marines going into a blacked-out station have absolutely no sort of night vision equipment or flashlights. I guess between the present day and 2200s humanity lost the technology to make standard-issue NVGs. The worst mechanic in the mission ironically also makes absolutely no sense from a common sense perspective.

    Since CARR can only throw flares at the same cliff level, being completely blind makes doing this difficult since I would accidentally click on cliffs and he will attempt to move to that point instead of throw a flare. He also doesn't heal from Rollins' heal ability, and once he drops below around 50HP he won't recover unless you sit around waiting for passive regeneration. This means that the Ultralisks, which are at least as fast as your units and can't be kited, can simply chew their way through you since the hero who is supposed to tank is unable to actually do his job due to potential oversight - though in the next section you get a hero that can heal mechanical. Rollins needs her description specified to only heal Biological, or CARR needs to take heals from her - that definitely needs some clarification. Your only have 150hp wet noodle heroes to tank, trying to withstand Ultralisks that deal about 50 DPS while backed up by Zerglings and Hydralisks. And if all the heroes go down, game over. Definitely have Rollins take the heat first if CARR goes down and rotate her out with the Lieutenant. Her heal is pretty much the only thing that makes this mission remotely possible, and it sometimes just is not enough.


    The final part of the mission was easier, fortunately, since your two tanky heroes can actually be healed and do their jobs. The unit model for the mech suit was really cool. I just wonder why we didn't use that from the beginning...I don't actually know if there was a way to get Peters to where the other grenadier and healer hero were. It certainly would have helped a lot, considering his ability would apply a crucial debuff to the Nydus worms and Ultralisks. That being said, since everyone in the breaching room dies anyway, I'm not sure if it would have locked you into a different path of the mission where CARR has to solo the rest of it.


    I definitely suggest adding a difficulty setting if there are going to be this many ways for the player to fail that will only feel the effects of later on. Way too difficult for an introductory mission - as one of many who have ran through SC2 on Brutal, and someone who beat Mass Recall on its infamous hardest difficulty (though it took a long time to master!), I personally think things need some work in the difficulty department if there won't be any difficulty options in the main menu, because this clearly is not a mid-level campaign. Going in blind, did I play as well as I could have? Admittedly, no, I kind of just went with the flow because I didn't expect it to be that hard. Early on, it really isn't difficult. The warbots are nothing. Unfortunately, the difficulty spikes out of nowhere and unreasonably so, employing cheap tricks to try and make things hard. Truthfully I had no idea what to expect, and I was not punished for my mistakes until much later on, which was quite insulting if I'm going to be honest. For the mission to fit you with a timebomb that doesn't go off for 20 minutes or so is an insult to the player's time investment. You could just tell me I should have made manual saves, which might be true, but should I have expected to be screwed over so long after the mistake was made to necessitate incremental saving in the first place? Should I have expected quicksave to be insufficient? Absolutely not.

    The missions are definitely made for the audience that beat SC2 on Brutal because micro and mindfulness of positioning is an absolute MUST. If you're a new player going blind, it feels like elements of difficulty are more like cheap shots or handicaps meant to set you up for failure. Blindsiding the player with a softlock 30 minutes in because of their mismicro earlier on is a massive turnoff. It feels more like a middle finger to the player for getting careless with their units. Rehashing the low visibility mechanic in a way that hides attacking units behind terrain and outside the vision radius (while they can still attack and aggro to you) is not very fun. Instead of groping in the dark like you're supposed to in the spirit of the mission, you're spending more time making saves so the cheaply obscured units don't catch you off-guard because you just accidentally moved into them and surprise! While trying to toss a flare you misclicked on a cliff you couldn't see due to the extremely small vision radius, and now CARR is just walking into a ball of Zerglings you're surrounded with. Not the most well-implemented feature, but definitely a very unique one.


    My biggest gripe above all is the demand for save-scumming in lieu of checkpoints. Infuriating for players who might forget to save and find they reached an unrecoverable state 20 or so minutes since their last salvageable manual save. If not for the ability to use cheats to get over that section, I would have just quit altogether. I'm apprehensive about playing the rest of this, as the necessity for save-scumming coupled with gimmicky difficulty mechanics makes things less fun and more of a tedious crawl. Challenge is great. Gimmicks are not. I can't wait for the first macro mission, because if all the micro missions in this campaign are gimmicky, drawn-out wars of attrition where losing even a few units might spell doom 20 minutes later, I can't say I'll be having fun. I'll get through it now that I know what to expect, but having fun with the gameplay is going to be a secondary from here on out.


    Hopefully Mission 2 is better. I got attacked during the opening cutscene during one attempt, and had to count on RNG to survive running past randomly patrolling Zerglings in another because I mathematically could not outmicro and outDPS the opening section's enemies. Couple this with the section later on where I found out allies were unpushable (causing my hero to get stuck and die to Hydralisks) I'm expecting this to be a pretty rough ride.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on [Video] Basics - Kitbashing SC2 Models with Blender 2.8

    No problem

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Video] Basics - Kitbashing SC2 Models with Blender 2.8

    You need to import them first, preferably. If you import them into Assets/Textures after importing the model, you will need to restart the editor to get it to show up in previewers. Right click on the texture then click Move File > New Path > type in "Assets/Textures", no quotes


    Also, do ensure before you export the model that its m3 material paths default to Assets/Textures/(yourmaterial).dds and are correctly named.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Dark Souls Model Conversions

    An example of what I have done using the recent Dragonslayer Armour conversion. You can use any of the normal m3s in the DS3 zips on my assets page to do kitbashes of your own! Being able to use Souls enemies opens up a whole new door for RPG makers (like myself, atm), so I'm thrilled to have learned how to do this.

    Posted in: Artist Tavern
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    posted a message on Dark Souls Model Conversions

    I'm in the process of converting a crapton of models from DS3. If anyone would like to use these assets, not only can you download them on my Assets page but either here or there would be the place to ask if you need an asset converted! All 3 games are fine, although DS3 is preferred since that is the only one I have on the computer with Max. I am going at a fairly lax pace because school is irritating as always, but I have no particular direction atm. One of the things I'm not 100% sure how to convert yet is the player character or the DS3 DLCs, as DSExplore doesn't seem to read them as Data. So if you ask me to convert Midir or Sister Friede it's not going to happen until I get a more updated tool. I would love to convert Midir :[.


    This thread is basically showcasing my work as it goes along as I eventually plan to incorporate them into my own project. This is my first showoff, as some of you that see this already have seen my Abyss Watcher conversion ^^

    Posted in: Artist Tavern
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    posted a message on Please help me import this SC2 asset to any 3D modeling software, Reward Follows.

    Should be noted that if you use 3DSMax - 2016 required! - you can use TaylorMouse's M3 import script. Also install SC2ArtTools - we have pinned messages in the Discord for download links. After you make your edits, use SC2ArtTools (when installed it will be a top right menu option) to export it back out using the Export Floater from the menu's dropdown. Just tick Mopaq Paths in the export popup to make sure texture paths remain internal to the map or mod file.


    If all else fails I can just send you a blend file or max file with whatever model you need to print, but BaneBirst explained the Blender side really well so you should be fine :)

    Posted in: General Chat
  • 0.952481150271787

    posted a message on [Video] Correcting Unwanted Import Deformations in Blender 2.8

    Blender has a tendency to deform the .m3 models incorrectly on import. While Dark Templar models are easily the most notorious for their inability to work properly in Blender, things like the Spectre are much more stable to fix. Until I figured out how to fix this, I wasn't able to edit some models at all. It's a 3 1/2 minute video, hope it helps!


    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Video] Basics - Kitbashing SC2 Models with Blender 2.8

    It's been years since someone has done this for Blender so now that I know enough about how it works I made a basic tutorial in video and text. Kitbashing is actually easy to learn once you get over the initial creativity curve. WillJay84 made a great tutorial on animation so instead I will eventually make more tutorials and videos for Blender.



    You can use CASCView to extract files but it's not required since the SC2Editor has its own export function through the native file browser. Most importantly though, you need Blender and the Talv's m3addon. Remember to save often, especially before exporting anything.


    1. Open Blender. Go to Edit > Preferences > Install the addon from file.


    2. Restarting Blender shouldn't be necessary but won't hurt. After this, import the model that you want to take parts from.


    3. Delete its armature. Often times meshes or body parts such as armor, carapace, weapons, etc are separate objects once you import.

    3a. If your desired part is merged with something you don't want: Select the object > Edit Mode > Select Faces > hover over desired part > Press L (Select Linked Objects). If you're familiar with 3DSMax element select this is basically the same. In some cases you will need to manually select faces because pressing L selects too much.


    4. Press P to separate any Linked Object selections you make to a different mesh object.


    5. Delete what you don't want, and go into the modifiers for each unanimated object. Delete the UseArmature modifier in red highlight.


    6. Export the "parts" .blend file as its own .m3. Then make a new project and import the main object that you will be modifying.

    6a. For example, you want to give the Purifier Adept the same chest as the Sentinel Zealot. Edit the Sentinel Zealot first, subtracting everything but the chest armor, then export it under your name (I'll pick ZealotChest.m3). Make a new blend file, import the Purifier Adept, then import the ZealotChest.m3 and it will be right on top of the Adept.


    7. Click on the Purifier Adept's armature, click on the Object Data Properties tab (green stickman) on the control panel to the right. Now click on Rest Position to put the mesh in a neutral state. Don't try to finagle objects into position and parent them to the armature while it is in an in-game pose - you make your life harder because mesh weighting problems will occur in force!


    8. Position the chest armor where you want.


    9. Select the Zealot chestpiece and ctrl+click on the Armature for the Adept. Ctrl+P and select Automatic Weights. Save yourself headache and do this individually for each separate StaticMesh that gets imported.


    10. Weight paint as necessary to prevent unwanted deformation of meshes.


    11. Go into the Playback timeline - click on the clock, change it to Dope Sheet, then directly on the right select Action Editor from the dropdown and then select the Armature. You can inspect the animation integrity before you make your final export.


    12. Remember to save! Import any custom textures into a test map, save the map, then import your custom unit into that document.


    13. To make sure the export worked correctly, preview the model in the Cutscene Editor from the Import Module and comb through its animations for irregularities.


    If everything looks good, it's ready for use!

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on KSNumedia's Models

    Ghost Collection is going live! It will include 5 Ghost types and 3 special hero Ghosts!


    Armored Umojan Shadowguard: an up-armored version of the Shadowguard with a back plate, left shoulder guard, and additional anchoring to the main body. Up-armored Shadowguards see an improvement in overall survivability in high-stress situations where they are supporting ground forces or have been detected.


    Insurrectionist Vega: Vega as she might have appeared before joining Tychus's Heaven's Devils group from coop.


    Silver Visored: the Knights of Tyrador employ Ghosts as scouts, assassins, and fire support. The inclusion of visors in additional to ocular implants ensures that primary targeting methods have a backup should either one fail.


    Python: A rogue Ghost from Nova Terra's Covert Ops crew with a psionic rating of 7. He refused to fight Defenders of Man insurgents because of his own brainwashing during the Arcturus Mengsk Dominion. Therefore he agreed with the Defenders' logic and abandoned the Covert Ops crew. Nova has officially declared him as M.I.A. and he has retired, taking up minor mercenary contracts but otherwise became disillusioned and jaded. He eventually completely decided on leaving his violent life behind after the Defenders of Man insurgency failed, deeming no further bloodshed to be worth his own life. Upon discovering his retiring from violence, Nova declared him deceased and left him be. He currently has a wife and they have settled on the newly recolonized Mar Sara, living quietly in a small town while they expect their first child. Python has now has adopted the name Paul and occasionally works as a vigilante and community serviceman - the only times he will don his weaponry again.


    Panther: A Covert Ops member with no known real name. He is a Cyborg Ghost whose body is entirely neosteel except for his internal organs and blood, powered by an advanced prosthetic system that grants him increased physical capabilities and mental processing power over even the most peak of Terran physiologies. The power cell fueling his body is a Xel'naga crystal used in emergency to keep him alive when he was gravely injured in the conflict against Amon. He appears to be psionically overtuned to the powers of the Void, able to use traditionally Protoss techniques such as Blinking. With a Psionic rating of 10, he is kept under highly close watch by Nova and her team as he often acts irrationally - potentially from the Void energies seeping into his biological and mechanical parts, warping and enhancing them at the cost of his sanity...

    Posted in: Artist Tavern
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    posted a message on KSNumedia's Models

    Davey Jones the Spectre!


    Also, teaser for Ghost Collection - Up-Armored Umojan Shadowguard :)

    Posted in: Artist Tavern
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    posted a message on [forgotten name][request]starcaft 1 training heroic units

    Never heard of this map specifically but there are plenty of such concepts on the arcade i.e. Space Zombies being the first one that comes to mind - civilian enters a region then your hero spawns.


    A trigger might go like this


    Event: Civilian (male) enters Any Region

    Conditions: [Or]

    -> entered region == <insert race 3 times, one for each race> Select

    Local Vars: none


    (General) If conditions then do actions else


    => Conditions: Entered Region == Terran Select


    Create 2 Marauder at point MarauderSpawn

    Create 1 Raynor (sniper) at point HeroSpawn

    Create 1 Planetary Fortress at point PFSpawn



    and now follow up with additional if then else's to check other race possibilities. This is definitely doable so you should give it a try. You could also then disable or hide command card buttons for the player governing what unit gets trained. Or you could have a separate hero train ability if you wanted.

    Posted in: Map Suggestions/Requests
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    posted a message on KSNumedia's Models

    I agree. I will remove one of her katanas then make a sword-only model that has still has the gun model on her back. The Hold Fire animation on her is currently a bit broken so a separate sword model will work nicely ^^

    Posted in: Artist Tavern
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