Download Alien Swarm SP

Alien Swarm SP is available for download via the link below:

Download

And here's more new levels to play through than you'll ever need!

Swarm Armory Map Database

Here's the contents of the Readme.txt

Alien Swarm SP by Aazell

Installation Instructions:

1: You must have an up to date version of Alien Swarm installed on Steam in order to play Alien Swarm SP

Extract the contents of AlienSwarmSP.rar to the following folder in your Steam directory.

\Steam\steamapps\sourcemods\

Now restart Steam and you should see Alien Swarm SP available in your games library.

Launching a map in Alien Swarm SP:
From the main menu of Alien Swarm SP select Play AS:SP option and you should see the mission selection screen. All addon campaigns (if you have installed any and activated them) should be available within this screen also.

I have encountered no bugs (heh heh) as yet but if you do please send an e-mail to aazell1@gmail.com giving as much information as you can and I will attempt to investigate the problem.

Hope you have fun with it...

Monday, 14 March 2011

My thoughts on custom maps...

I've spent the last few days playing every custom map I can get my hands on. The initial reason for this was to recommend and not recommend maps that work with AS:SP.

I began to write a post detailing my findings on each map. My writings began to look like a serious review of each map. Then I stopped...

I have no wish to piss off the rest of the AS mapping community by arrogantly passing judgement on individual maps. It's not as if I've done better or produced any maps that were noteworthy.

There are a few points however that I'd like to get off my chest.

What's The Story, Morning Glory?

With the exception of the objectives and the overview briefing screen I've yet to find a single custom map that attempts to provide any kind of story to engage the players. A good story may seem to be unnecessary when players are going to be simply joining a map and blasting their way through it but I disagree with this. A story is what drives the players along. Give purpose to their actions. With a good story I feel you can take a standard bunch of online players and transport them to a different place and time and really engage with the game.

There have to be consequences to the players actions (other than being made to look a fool by dieing in the first 2 mins) or the whole game is pointless.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The second thing that I noticed about the majority of the maps is that they lack any kind of clear and sutble direction on where the hell you should be going. It's a number one rule among game designers. The worst sin you can commit is to leave the player confused as to what they should be doing. The game should never be, trying to work out what to do. It should be about the skill it takes to achieve your goal.

By simply lighting up important areas or using some other method to draw the players attention to it, you can save an awful lot of headaches.

This shouldn't be hitting them over the head with a sledge hammer either. There should be no big arrows or on screen text saying GO TO HERE! Never the less, through smart use of textures and lighting you can make it very obvious as to where the player is trying to get to and how to get there.

Alone In The Dark

One last observation I made about many maps was that they were seriously underlit. It's one thing to try and create a creepy or threatening atmosphere, it's another to leave the player in almost total darkness surrounded by annoying map items so that they have to bump their way through a map like some overcomplicated pin ball wizard.

Regardless of the setting or the mood or whether the players have flashlights or not there really is no excuse for not lighting up every corner of your map at all times.
It doesn't have to be fullbright but it does have to be well defined to prevent the players falling over themselves...

Nut Up Or Shut Up

Ok so now I've spouted on about the problems with the current crop of custom maps I should probably put my money where my mouth is.
With this in mind I'm building a simple series of maps for people to playtest (either MP or SP) that will hopefully manage to not break each of the rules above.

My maps will have an engaging story, the players path will be clear at all times without feeling linear and all areas of the map will be appropriately well lit.

Gulp... what have I let myself in for???!

2 comments:

James said...

You should not feel that you are pissing off the AS community. Game reviewers are not all (in fact, most probably aren't) game developers, but they play games, so they can say what they think of them.

In playing them, you reserve 100% right to pass judgement on them. Did you like them? Hate them? Too complicated? Etc.

Personally, I'd of loved to read them.

PS. Downloaded your mod, about to boot the game up momentarily :)

Aazell said...

Hmmm ... you make a very convincing arguement.

Very well... I shall review some maps and post them up here. I suppose it's a review from a single player perspective which might be interesting!