DCUG Fixed!

Alright folks, the previous DCUG version was buggy, and the uploaded files were so big that it was tough to get an uncorrupted download.  I’ve finally gotten around to fixing that, and you’ll find a clean upload with smaller files below.  I’ve fixed lots of issues with the Mystery in Space and Batman campaigns.  They should both be working 100% now.  However, the JSA campaign remains unfinished.  I’ll return to it eventually, but not right now.  I’ve also updated just a few skins and meshes that I had been meaning to.  We’ve got a new Fire and Ice thanks to Billdamn, and we’ve also got Tomato’s excellent Two Face mesh, along with Styles great Mr. Freeze skope!  So, get ready to experience the DC Universe as you’ve never experienced it before!

Download the DCUG!

Whoops!  I forgot a keyframe file, you can find the patch for this omission here.

And another patch for a few minor issues.

Or, if you’ve downloaded the previous version, you can get this patch.

Something FF This Way Comes

Howdy folks, I just wanted to let y’all know that I’ll have a small update coming sometime this week.  There is something that people have been wanting for a little while that I’ve finally gotten up the energy to do, so keep your eyes open in the next few days!

The DCUG is….Updated!

Thanks to the good people at Freedom Reborn, I was able to identify a number of bugs with both the Batman and Mystery in Space campaigns, and I have put together a patch to take care of them.  In addition to that, I’ve also replaced the missing Fire and Ice meshes.  This patch fixes:

  • Issues with the doctor standing and dying in the second Batman mission
  • The base CS not playing properly before the second Batman mission
  • The first Hawkman mission not advancing properly
  • Lack of objectives in the Batman campaign
  • Missing Fire and Ice meshes
  • Proper portrait for the Atom
  • Replaced missing Turret mesh
  • Fixed a bunch of missing resource entries
  • Some minor balance issues

You can get it here.

The DCUG Has Been Released!

Well friends and fans, the day has finally come…again.  I’ve grown exceedingly tired of struggling with this mod, and although it is still not complete, and it is still not of the level of perfection that I want, I don’t know that it ever will be.  Therefore, I am releasing the DCUG, a project that is literally four years in the making.  Join me in recreating an age of heroes as you experience my vision for the DC Universe.  I hope that my efforts here will encourage many of you to tell your own stories, and I flatter myself to think that some of you may even want to do so in the setting I created.  In fact, that is one of the major reasons I undertook this labor, to give all of us a sandbox for telling stories, a central stage upon which our imaginations can run wild.  I’ve done much of the work for you, so show me what amazing tales are still waiting to be told!

Download the DCUG!

Also, you can click on the DCUG page on the right hand side of the blog for more info and a few bug notes.

Return of the Son of the Ether Part II

Gotham Knights:

DC?  Is he serious?  Hasn’t he had a bellyful of DC thanks to that monster, the DCUG?  Well, yes, I pretty much have, but there is one thing that I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  I’ve simply never had the chance or the time.  Years ago Dr. Mike completely changed the face of Freedom Force by introducing freeroam capability into what was a completely linear game.  It really seemed like there wasn’t anything that this game couldn’t do…at least in the hands of our resident coding guru.  With Patriot City, many of us hoped that we’d soon see a number of emergent mods take advantage of the amazing possibilities this new option presented, but it never really seemed to catch on.  Several of us had ideas for freeroam mods, but nothing ever came of them.  I was certainly one of those who dreamed but never acted on the concepts of that wishful thinking.  As a matter of fact, before the DCUG had really begun to take shape, I toyed with the possibility of putting together a Gotham City mod.  It seemed like the perfect concept, the Batman game I’ve always wanted was one in which he was free to roam around his city, cracking the skulls of wrong doers, driving the Batmobile or flying the Batwing.  However, the DCUG took over, and the years passed.  I’ve been thinking more about it lately, and although I’m not likely to return to the DCU anytime soon after I finish my magnum opus, I may get to it one day.

It would give me a chance to tell a wide variety of stories and not have to worry too much about creating a carefully crafted overarching narrative, as the players would be filling in many of the blanks themselves.  I would base it, of course, on that best of all possible bat-worlds, Batman: The Animated Series.  If I could swing it, I would include both Bats and Robin as your playable characters, and allow you to recruite Batgirl and Catwoman eventually.  You’d also be able to team up with a few DC heroes, just as Dr. Mike’s sample campaign allowed you to team up with Freedom Forcers.  The real fun part would be the chance to use the simple choice plugin for EZScript to create some actual detective work for the players.  You’d get a clue, maybe about the Joker’s next big crime, but you have to figure out where to go to find him.  Maybe you could ask the Batcomputer about unusual power usage in the town, or maybe you could just patrol in the Batmobile.  Killer Croc would haunt the sewers, Poison Ivy would lurk in the park, The Penguin would rule the docks, and you’d never know where or when the Joker might pop up!  This would also give me a chance to create some DC characters in the same vein, level-able, that I’ve been working lately.  That would be a lot of fun, methinks.

EZScript Script-Off Winner!

It’s decision time, my friends!  Well…actually, it was decision time earlier this week, but that’s the way things go.  Either way, I’ve played each of our two submissions a few times, and I’m ready to announce a winner.  I had hoped to see more people participate, but I was still really happy to at least see some interest.  I’ll review each entry, and then announce the winner.

Reich Around the Clock by Yellow Lantern:  This was a fun mission, with the Blitz fighting Nazis and running over hill and dale to punch the soldiers of the Reich.

Nazi Punching can quickly become an addiction

You jump right into the action, with civilians that need rescuing from a blazing fire.  We don’t get much set-up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but knowing next to nothing about the character, I wouldn’t have minded a bit of context or character building.  There is a nice variety of encounters, going from that fire rescue to stopping the Nazis from tearing down some homes.  Then you’re fighting in earnest, first just soldiers, but then a pretty challenging encounter with a pair of tanks!

Something about this doesn’t seem quite right…

I found this the highlight of the mission, because you’ve only got one attack that can really hurt these behemoths, and it was tricky to maneuver around them long enough to build up the charge necessary to toast them. I thought that the mission was going to end after this encounter, especially considering how banged up I was, but imagine my surprise when I went from the frying pan into the fire. I just managed to defeat the tanks, and all of a sudden, the sky is filled with Eyes of the Reich…and The Blitz without a decent ranged attack to his name!

Alright, this hardly seems fair….

This is where the mission takes a turn for the impossible. I tried a couple times, but couldn’t get past the Eyes. With a little creative cheating, though, I managed to get through to the final encounter where I faced…Blitzkrieg himself! ‘Ol big brain is guarding a bomb that kills non-aryans, which I thought was a nice touch, and you face a pretty desperate fight against him and a passel (gaggle, flock, herd…what’s the term for a group of these guys?) of Killarillas.

Tanks and flying brains weren’t enough, now I have to be pummeled by monkeys?!

All in all, this was a fun, creative mission with a bit of witty dialog and some challenging things to do, but it is also one that becomes downright impossible by the end. The Blitz himself was fun to play, and he had a nice variety of powers. The difficulty and lack of context do hurt it a bit, but the overall effect was still pretty good. I give this one four unconscious Ratzis out of five.

The Test, by John Jr.: Here we have a Superman adventure in which the Man of Steel finds Metropolis under siege by mysterious forces. JJ gives us some simple but enjoyable bits of characterization as Supes uncovers the alien menace in their midst.

Man these guys are ugly!

It turns out that these diabolical spacefarers are testing weapons on the people of Earth because they are similar to the great enemy of their race. I thought that was a pretty neat motivation for the bad guys to have, and JJ makes good use of the built in FF aliens. Of course, Supes doesn’t take that too kindly, and he starts to hunt the invaders down.

Yeah, you’d better run!

The mission ends with a showdown against Praetor, who proves admirably resistant to a Super-thumping. However, these aliens are, in general, fairly ineffective against the Man of Steel. Their shields may stop his heat vision, and they may be resistant to crushing damage, but it still only takes him a few shots to drop them. More importantly, their weapons just aren’t much of a threat to Supes.

Let’s see your shield stop THIS!

That isn’t much of an issue in the first part of the mission, where the real danger is to the civilians you are saving, rather than to Superman himself. It is pretty challenging to get to the aliens and take them out before they can blow the citizens of Metropolis to kingdom come, but when you go after the alien’s leader, there isn’t really much tension to the encounter. This mission had some good characterization, but it needed a bit more in the way of challenge. Still, this was a fun mission, and after having slaved over DC characters for so long, it was something of a breath of fresh air to play a nice, simple adventure like this. There is something rather zen about hurling a car at an evil alien. I give it three and a half hurtling automotive missiles out of five.

The winner by a nose is Yellow Lantern! I want to stress how close this was, as these missions were, in some ways, mirror images of one another. Where YL’s entry was too tough, JJ’s was a bit too easy. Where the first didn’t have enough context, JJ’s had a nice bit of characterization. It was a pretty close call. I hope that y’all enjoyed this contest, I know that I did! I’ll be putting up a page for YL’s entry sometime this week, and I’ll come up with something for JJ too, as a consolation prize. Thanks for playing guys, and I hope you’ll have more company next time!

The Anatomy of an EZScript Adventure

Well, I’ve been debating how best to illustrate the composition of an EZScript mission, and I thought that it might be useful to y’all to actually watch one get written, in a way, so, if that interests you, join me as I put together a relatively simple adventure for a favorite character of mine:

The DCUG includes a campaign that alternates between The Atom and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and as I was debating what I wanted to do for this post, it occurred to me that I had plans for several missions that would be pretty simple.  So, I’ll open up EZScript Edit, and instead of using my previous scripts as models, I’ll compose from scratch so you can see the whole process.

I’ve got my heroes, but who should my villain be?  Well, I’m in luck there, as I have a fairly extensive backlog of stories that I haven’t had time to get to you.  Reaching into my notes more or less at random (with an eye towards the beginning of my overall story arc with the Hawks), I come up with The Fadeaway Man!  I’ve said before that the DCUG is the home to obscure characters.  Anyway, the next step is to figure out what I actually want to happen in this mission.  Since Fadeaway Man is more or less just a thief, we’ll start with a jewel heist.  I can choose a couple different encounter types to simulate this, for example, I could chose a straight up “Fight” encounter and just create the illusion of a heist via dialog.  I could also use a “Save Civilian” encounter, implying that our villain would be going THROUGH some hapless civilian to get his trinket.  Instead, I think I’ll use an “Interrogation” encounter, which will allow our villain to have a conversation with our heroes at the end of the encounter.  So, I double click on “Interrogation,” and I receive this:

Story: 05hawkman

#————————————–

Encounter:
Type: Interrogation
Villains:
Minions:

Alert Cutscene:

Start Cutscene:

Interrogation Cutscene:

End Cutscene:

#—————————————-

You’ll notice that I’ve named my mission (something simple and easy to remember), and that I’ve added “#—-” to help me separate various encounters, and to make my scripts a little neater and easier to follow.  Now we need to fill in the blanks.  We’ll name the encounter “Jewel1,” which is a nice simple name I can recognize quickly, and use as part of something else if I ever feel so inclined.  It is important that you never name your encounters with parts of characters names, terms that show up in encounter types, or marker names. Any of those things can cause EZScript to get confused.  That’s why simple naming is such a good idea.  Next, we identify the cast.  We’ll have the Hawks as part of our team going into this mission, so we don’t need to worry about them.  The villain is, of course, fadeaway_man, and he won’t have any minions in this encounter, so I’ll remove that line.  Now all we need to do is decide which cutscenes, if any, we want.  Remember, you can use as many or as few of these as you like.  However, in encounters like this that don’t simply end when all of the bad guys are down, an End  CS can be a good litmus test to make sure everything is working properly.  For our purposes, we’ll provide an Alert, Start, and Interrogation CS.  The finished encounter looks like this:

#————————————–

Encounter: Jewel1
Type: Interrogation
Villains: fadeaway_man
Primary Objective: “Stop the robbery and catch the mysterious thief” for 50 prestige
Next: Jewel2
Marker: store1

Alert Cutscene:
Cinematic camera on hawkman to hawkgirl
hawkman says, “I suppose since we’re going to be staying here, we may as well try to make ourselves useful,Shayera.”
hawkgirl says, “Shall we patrol the city? It will be just like our joint shifts back on Thanagar.”
hawkman says, “An excellent idea, I…”
hawkgirl turns to store1
hawkgirl says, “Wait! Do you hear that?”
hawkman turns to store1
hawkman plays animation melee
hawkman says, “Yes…yes I do…just on the edge of my hearing…it sounds like…”
hawkgirl says, “A siren! Fantastic, let’s go!”
hawkgirl moves to store1
hawkman says, “This night is getting interesting already!”
Red Arrow on fadeaway_man

Start Cutscene:
Remove Arrow on fadeaway_man
Cinematic camera on fadeaway_man
hawkman says, “It’s Professor Lamont…but what in the world is he doing?”
fadeaway_man turns to hawkman
fadeaway_man plays animation melee
fadeaway_man says, “No! I just needed a few more minutes to muster the concentration needed to teleport these diamonds away…stay back aliens!”
Camera on hawkgirl
hawkgirl says, “What do you think you’re doing, pal? Don’t you want to reconsider. You can’t get away from us.”
Cinematic camera on hawkman
hawkman says, “And if you try, it’s going to hurt.”
hawkman turns to hawkgirl
hawkman says, “He must have stolen that cloak from the museum…he used us Shayera!”
Camera on fadeaway_man
fadeaway_man says, “I don’t know how you flying fools found me, but leave now or face the power of the Cloak of Cagliostro!”

Interrogation Cutscene:
Camera on fadeaway_man
fadeaway_man says, “You’ve caught me…but…the question is….can you hold me!?”
Fade for 2 seconds
hawkman says, “What are you talking abo….wait, where’d he go?”
fadeaway_man teleports to spot1
Unfade for 3 seconds

#—————————————-

I’ve added my dialog, pointed the camera at what I wanted, and got just the slightest bit fancy at the end.  To make the story a bit more dramatic, I teleport our villain out of the way before we get the game rolling again.  Now we won’t be stuck looking at him until the game removes him.  You may also notice that I’ve called a few specific markers.  That’s fine as long as I place them on the map.  Without them, this encounter won’t work at all, or at least won’t work properly.  I’ve also added an objective which will show up and help the player figure out what to do.  So, what next?  Well, now we have to hunt down our escaped villain, searching for him in the city.  To make this really effective, I’m not going to call a specific marker, so that he’ll show up at a random spot each time you play.  We’ll make it a simple “Fight” encounter, which will keep him from looking for us.

#—————————————-

Encounter: Jewel2
Type: Fight
Villains: fadeaway_man
Minions: thug_with_gun
Primary Objective: “Track the thief down and stop his escape” for 150 prestige
Next: Win

Alert Cutscene:
Camera on hawkman
hawkman says, “How’d he vanish like that?”
hawkgirl says, “It has to be something to do with that cloak…he claimed it had some kind of power.”
hawkman says, “Well, I suppose we’ll find out when we take it away from him. Come on, let’s see if we can’t track him down!”

Start Cutscene:
Cinematic camera on hawkman
hawkman turns to fadeaway_man
hawkman says, “Alright magician, you’ve pulled your last vanishing act!”
Camera on fadeaway_man
fadeaway_man says, “It’s Fadeaway Man to you, bird brain! We’ll see about that!”

End Cutscene:
Camera on hawkgirl
hawkgirl says, “Let’s get this thief into a cell and this cloak back to the museum.”

#—————————————-

Well, that tells a complete story, so we could really stop here, but I like to try and provide a bit more for the player to do, so let’s flesh this adventure out with a few secondary objectives.  Since the Hawks are just getting started in Midway City, it’s only natural that they’d run into the organized criminal element sooner or later, right?  Well, we’ll scatter a few different types of encounters with mob types to spice things up a bit.

#—————————————-

Encounter: Mug1
Type: Building Rampage
Villains: thug_with_gun, thug_with_grenade, thug_with_grenade, thug_with_gun, thug_with_grenade
Allies: civilian_male
Next: If Ally Survives: None
Next: If Ally Lost: None

Start Cutscene:
Camera on Villain1
Villain1 says, “Sorry pal, but you was told that if you didn’t buy our ‘insurance’ bad things might happen to you. You shoulda’ listened. Now we gotta’ smash this place up a bit…”
Cinematic camera on hawkman
hawkman says, “No…I think that you’re the one that should listen, because I’m only going to say this once. Put down your weapons while you can still move your arms.”

#—————————————-

Encounter: Mug2
Type: Heist
Villains: thug_with_gun, thug_with_bat, thug_with_gun, thug_with_bat
Item: crate
Next: If Item Recovered: None
Next: If Item Lost: None

Start Cutscene:
Camera on Villain1
Villain1 says, “Grab the loot, sooner we get it to the fence, sooner we can split the money.”
Cinematic camera on hawkgirl
hawkgirl says, “I don’t think so boys. Why don’t you hand it over now and save us all a lot of trouble.”
Villain1 says, “Look out, it’s the fuzz…and they got wings!”

#—————————————-

Encounter: Mug3
Type: Save Civilian
Villains: thug_with_gun, thug_with_bat, thug_with_gun, thug_with_bat, thug_with_gun, thug_with_gun
Allies: civilian_female
Next: If Ally Survives: None
Next: If Ally Lost: None

Start Cutscene:
Cinematic camera on Villain1 to Ally1
Villain1 says, “Alright girlie, I imagine your rich daddy will pay well to get you back in one piece.”
Ally1 says, “No…please….just let me go….”
Villain1 says, “Now, come along quietly girlie, or things are going to get ugly.”
Cinematic camera on hawkman
hawkman turns to Villain1
hawkman says, “I know things are pretty different here, but I’m fairly certain that kidnapping people is just as unlawful here as it is where we’re from…”

Ally Thanks Hero Cutscene:
Camera on Ally1
Ally1 says, “Thanks Hawkman! Thanks Hawkgirl!”
Cinematic camera on hawkgirl
hawkgirl says, “Girl? Not again! This is going to catch on if I don’t put a stop to it.”
hawkman says, “Later darling, we’ve got bigger game to catch!”

Ally Lost Cutscene:
Camera on hawkgirl
hawkgirl says, “No…she was counting on us!”

#—————————————-

So, these are all simple, and they are all marked as having “None” following them.  Important, any time you use encounters out of sequence, you need to specify what follows them. For example, if I didn’t specify that nothing follows Mug1, after you finished it, the game would go ahead and start a SECOND Mug2.  Now we’ll add an extra treat (punishment?) for those completists who explore the entire map and do all of these encounters.

#—————————————-

Encounter: Mug4
Type: Hunt
Villains: warlord, mafioso, mafioso
Minions: thug_with_gun, thug_with_bat, thug_with_gun, mafioso
Starts When: Mug1 at End, Mug2 at End, Mug3 at End

Start Cutscene:
Camera on Villain1
Villain1 says, “Hey, birdboy! You’ve been interfering in our business…and that ain’t wise…that ain’t wise at all. We got a message for ya’, and it’s spelled in lead!”

End Cutscene:
Cinematic camera on hawkman
hawkman says, “Well, we certainly seem to be making an impression…”

#—————————————-

There you have it, total time for this mission, right around 45 minutes.  I hope that was helpful, and perhaps even interesting to a few of you.  Please post if you have any questions!