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Nathan Albury
Raven | Jan 15 2000, 04:32:32 (ET) | nalbury@ravensoft.com

Name: Nathan Albury
Email: nalbury@mail.ravensoft.com
Description: Programmer
Project: SoF
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1-15-00

It seems like there's still a fair amount of confusion on some of the more
controvertial issues in Soldier of Fortune, so here's my sad attempt to
clear it up a bit.

In regards to enemy spawning and limited saves, these two attributes of the
game are dictated by the difficultly level. HOWEVER, in addition to our 5
preset difficultly levels, we have a custom difficultly level submenu that will allow
you to adjust the game more to your liking if you aren't pleased with our
defaults. So, for example, if you like smart enemies but can't stand spawning,
you can set up the game to accomodate that. Or, if you are more interested in
a higher intensity, more Doom-style shooter, you can crank up the spawning and
drop the enemy ai down. The game can be played according to your tastes.

With that said, I'm extremely hopeful that once people get a hold of our demo
they'll at least give our vision of the game a chance. We've taken the feedback
we've gotten into account, and honestly we've now had the chance to play the game a lot
more. The amount of tweaks that have occured since our last OEM and the present
demo are quite vast.

In particular, the AI has come a long way since our previous version. It's
finally to the point where playing the game stealthily can be entertaining,
if that's what you're looking for. I'm still of the opinion that maxing out
enemy AI to inhuman levels isn't a good approach to game creation, but
I do think that our guys are reacting in a much more believeable, enjoyable
fashion.

As far as the spawning is concerned, we've greatly refined and adjusted the
play mechanics behind it so that it enhances rather than confuses the gameplay.
Probably the most common complaint about spawning is that it invalidates stealthy
play... and I think that's a fair point. In our current system, the spawning
exists in large part to ENHANCE the stealth. There are no more instances where
you can wander around quietly, taking great care to lean around corners and
pick people off, only to get shot in the back by some wandering punk. If guys
are spawning, it's exclusively because you're making a whole lot of noise and
carnage. In fact, our challenging difficultly level (4 out of 5) is
almost impossible if you don't rely on stealth - the enemies are quick enough
and powerful enough that if you draw a crowd, you will fall over. And, once
again, if you really don't like spawning to the point of religiousness, you
can turn it off.

Hopefully (fingers crossed) this will help clear up a few things that seem to
be distressing a lot of you. Well, back to work, I suppose...



12-1-99, part 2

Just for the record, I don't think "Canada is gay", whatever that would mean.
Canada is not gay, and neither am I, therefore, technically, I am as gay as
Canada, no more, no less. I picked it (along with Hitler and Macintosh)
because of the silly nationalistic wackiness that always ensues in newsgroups.

I also think it's rather instructive (and probably very sad) that I've gotten
several e-mails from people mentioning my disparagement of Canada, but nary a
one bothered by my use of the term gay below. This leads me to believe that
one of the following must be the case: a) There aren't a lot of actaully gay
people who read .plan files, b) Gay people tend to be more literary than
Canadians and thus understood that I didn't actually condone the examples I
was using, c) Gay people have a lot thicker of skin than Canadians because there
are more people intolerant of gayness than Canadianess, d) Gay people already
hate me and couldn't care less about my opinion whereas Canadians are just
approaching that point or e) I'd better stop right here because I can't see
any of you anymore from the bottom of this incredibly deep hole I've just dug
myself into.

Thanks to everyone who's written me to assure me that not everyone out there
is thoughtless and arrogant and that Canada is not in fact gay. I think these
are very important points to remember.

Um, please don't be offended by this .plan update, also. Tongue is planted
firmly in cheek here and all that.

12-1-99

I must say, good job, Epic. Unreal Tournament is extremely cool. I wasn't
expecting to get into any of the upcoming deathmatch-only games as I haven't
been into deathmatch for a while, but UT is just too cool to pass up. Nice!

I've given this a lot of thought, and I regret to say that if I had to judge
humanity as a whole based solely off my exposure to it via the internet, I
have a strong feeling I would put everyone to death and make the world a
better place. Is it really so difficult to have a bit of civility? Is it so
tough to see past your own tiny little nose and realize that the rest of the
world doesn't exist solely to entertain you? (I don't mean you as in you,
whoever is reading this, of course... Instead I mean you, the people who are
frustrating me to no end.) Here's a thought; if, for whatever reason, you
want to persuade someone else to do something for you or to see something
from your point of view, here are some good approaches: Ask nicely. Bring up
logical reasons. Be polite in your requests. Give the other person as much
respect as you want them to give you. Go in knowing that the other person
doesn't owe you anything. Now, with that out of the way, here are some bad
approaches: "Your game sucks!!1! i was playing it and the ai was gay. i
shotted tons of gusy and way to many of them died - youre game should only
have about 10 guys each level. Having a lot of guys is unrealiztic. You
better take respawning out - who ever put that in made a huge mistkae. Respawnig
is really really gay. I cant believe you guys couldnt see how much respawning
sucked when you put this out. I really hope you plan on spending a lot more
time on this game, because this is totally unacceptable."

I am programming AI, and I am working on spawning, now to the exclusion of all
else. I really and truly want to improve and/or change them if it's going to
help Soldier of Fortune out, and to be honest they're very interesting and
enjoyable challenges. I'm actually glad that Blue mentioned the spawning a
while back, because it made a few of us take a closer look at it, and in
retrospect I can see why he would complain. I have a lot of ideas that I plan
on trying out to make it a much more viable play mechanic - but none of us here
have any intentions of removing it completely. It will just be adjusted / changed
until it is more fun, which is, after all, the point of a game.

But if you honestly want to provide critisism and have your opinion be a factor
at all when discussing things in a public forum that developers have access to,
I can tell you one method for certain that doesn't get me thinking, "By Jove,
this fellow IS right! I hadn't noticed it before, but, watching my men run
around, their AI is totally gay. I can't believe how gay their AI is. I
better make it straight." (Well, I guess, anyway. I have no idea what the
opposite of "gay ai" is.) Nevermind that announcing that other people
who are working hard at a difficult job have made a huge mistake while you lounge
around on your chair downloading goat-porn-granny-fellatio-pix is incredibly rude;
nevermind that spouting off from your ivory tower that matters of opinion are
subject to your decrees as gospel truth is the height of pomposity; nevermind
that making this game has swallowed 2 full years of most of our lives compared to the forty
dollars that you'll have to shell out if you really decide not to warez it from
your 13374ZZ buddies anyway, which no one is even FORCING YOU TO BUY. Nevermind
all that, because even if you don't consider any of it, the fact remains that
when you treat developers like crap, they ignore you. Except when they get
particularly pissed off and update their fingers. That's the only time they
don't ignore you.

Not everyone will like Soldier of Fortune. No game can ever please everyone.
Our game is about action and violence, and if you're looking for something else,
particularly if you come in deciding what our game has to be rather than
taking the time to see what it is, you're likely to be extremely disappointed, and
I'm sorry. I truly am. We're doing what we can to make Soldier of Fortune as
cool as possible, and I really think we're succeeding. Lots of gameplay elements
including the AI have come a long way recently, and it's cool seeing that come
together. But... ah, nevermind, what's the point. Most of you really don't
need to read this, and the people who do are probably going to skim over it
and then start a huge flame war on various message boards with threads like
"Nathan is gayer than Canada" and "Macintosh was invented by Hitler vs. gay
atheists."


Okay, ventings over. I feel better now =) Whew. You can all come out from
hiding. If I don't ever update my plan again it's because I'm gayer than Canada.
Raven...
James Monroe 12/9
Zachary Quarles 04/20
Rick Johnson 09/24
Bobby Duncanson 08/24
Pat Lipo 07/10
Kenn Hoekstra 07/8
Brian Shubat 04/19
Scott McNutt 03/19
Mike Renner 03/19
Kevin Long 03/19
Kim Lathrop 03/19
Jarod Showers 03/19
Ben Geisler 03/19
Robert Love 03/19
Mike Gummelt 03/19
Jon Zuk 03/19
Matt Pinkston 03/19
Chris Foster 03/19
Jim Hughes 05/23
Bryan Dube 05/23
Clem Samson-Samuel 05/23
Rob Gee 05/23
Mike Schulenberg 05/23
Brian Pelletier 05/23
John Scott 05/23
Marcus Whitlock 05/23
Eric Turman 03/1
Dan Kramer 03/1
Eric Biessman 03/1
Brian Raffel 03/1
M. Raymond-Judy 03/1
Jake Simpson 08/16
Mike Crowns 03/12
Chia Chin Lee 03/12
Josh Weier 03/12
Jeremy Statz 03/12
Jeff Lampo 03/12
Nathan Albury 01/15
William Mull 11/27
Steve Stringer 05/20
 

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