Author Topic: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah  (Read 550 times)

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Offline Mobius

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RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah

This thread is meant to discuss The Spirit of Ptah, part of the Series Resurrecta - Shadows of the Great War collection. If you want to discuss Gehenna's Gate, there's a dedicated thread for it. Both campaigns share the same modpack; however, due to their plots and nature, they're probably better off discussed in their respective threads.


A "Resurrected Series"
Series Resurrecta is a form of Latin to say "Resurrected Series". No other title would be as appropriate, considering that SerRes campaigns have been in a limbo state for way more than a decade, passing from computer to computer, from pendrive to pendrive, and ultimately making it to a point where progress could be resumed. What you're about to play are missions whose earliest development phase dates back to March 13th, 2007; today's October 16th, 2020, so nearly 5,000 days have passed between the first FREDding attempts and release. At first, these minicampaigns were meant to be unofficial expansions to Inferno: Alliance Standalone, but have since become their own, independent package, using the FreeSpace Port as a root. Very special thanks go to Woomeister who strongly supported these unofficial INF campaigns back in the day, even though none of them were meant to be INF canon.

The Resurrection process
It's no secret that I've been away for a long while from this community. I used to spend less and less time in front of my computer, which gradually became obsolete and prevented me from running any of the graphics consuming FreeSpace mods. At some point in May, mostly due to changes to working habits (some may say that SR may be a consequence of Covid-19), I had to upgrade my equipment and bought a new laptop, which made my jobs easier. I also got the chance to play FreeSpace again, and stumbled upon plenty of missions from defunct projects.

I decided that these campaigns deserved to be "resurrected", so I asked for help on the FSCRP private board, considering how similar the process of getting these campaigns done is to the standard procedure of campaign revamping and upgrading. Admiral Nelson, Nyctaeus and Nightmare helped me cleaning the modpack and extracting it from its INFA dependency, thus turning it into a full FSPort mod. At the sime time, I worked on the mission, and quite fast I may add, considering that most of the FREDding job was pretty much done in about three weeks. Feedback during this revamping process was positive, and the results were quite encouraging too - June's screencap contest winner was, in fact, a screenshot taken from a SerRes campaign. We have spent the last couple of months squashing several bugs and making needed changes to the modpack and campaigns, including proofreading (special thanks to go Iain 'Nomad' Baker and lordhood117 for this).

Is this a new continuity?
Yes and no, with the proper answer leaning no. The campaigns were meant to be independent even with respect to each other, so there's no FS1 Era continuity emerging from Series Resurrecta. As you play through these stories, consider them as something on their own, even though they don't necessarily contradict each other and come under a unified brand. Just treat SerRes as it's meant to be treated - a series of campaigns set in the FS1 Era, which with its own plot and settings.

Will this be expanded?
As you may have guessed, GehG and TSoP aren't the only campaigns which I managed to recover from the void of oblivion. There's... more stuff, and we are evaluating future releases including more campaigns and expansions to this modpack, some of which are considerable. I can't promise anything right now but we do have advanced plans to release at least one campaign in the near future.

Missions and Balance
Due to time constraints, the missions currently lack checkpoints which would be extremely beneficial at least in some 2-3 missions over the package. They will definitely be implemented in future releases, as we expect the modpack to be revised and improved over time (more info on that will follow). We do recommend to set up Very Easy or Easy as difficulty levels during your playthroughs. Easy is still quite challenging and will let you enjoy both the plot and some intense action. Testers have reported a spike in difficulty from Medium upwards, so if I were you I would not play at that difficulty level before the full implementation of checkpoints. Even though these are minicampaigns, some of the missions are long.

The Spirit of Ptah [TSoP]
Near the end of 2336, with the Shivan threat now a memory and the will to reconstruct and rebuild being the primary goal for both the Terrans and Vasudans, alarming developments emerge from Vasudan systems, where the Hammer of Light seems to have regained the momentum they lost following the destruction of the Lucifer. The fanatics that once paved the way to the Shivans were gradually disappearing, as their prophecies and scrolls were progressively being disproven. Were they? What lies behind the apparent rebirth of the Hammer of Light, and how can the PVE and GTA cope with it?

Gallery

« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 03:12:51 pm by Mobius »

 

Offline AdDur

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
First mission was bugged, at least in 1.0. - after destroying cruisers nothing happens and mission does not progresses further.

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Thanks for your feedback. The bug you're reporting was not a thing in the early versions of that mission (INFASA, FSPort, SR package), but it started occurring in the past few weeks, as we introduced HoL reskins and switched to the most recent Nightlies (I'm not sure that's the root of the issue, however). It's a weird issue for sure because the event that triggers the mission to progress is very straightforward and makes use of the most basic SEXPs.

We've set up a modified version of the mission for dev/debugging purposes, and so far we managed to get it to progress to the next stage. We'll perform more tests and try to get to the bottom of this.

EDIT: alright, it turns out that we've found the source of the problem, which is the arrival cue of a specific wing that, on certain circumstances, would prevent its second wave from jumping in. We'll get an update very soon. Very special thanks to 0rph3u5 for nailing it. :)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 05:33:43 am by Mobius »

 

Offline Colt

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Review!

Spoiler:
Beat Spirit of Ptah last night.

This one was tough. It felt like all the aces of the PVN had defected to the HoL. The Ka fighter is like a Basilisk with the maneuverability of a Ulysses and the profile of a pizza. Fighting them was a pain, but very satisfying once they went down. The difficulty made Procyon Insurgency look like childs play. That being said, I mostly didn't feel cheated, but rather had to play very carefully and manage whatever strength I had, especially trying to preserve squadmates for later parts of a mission. Overall, the difficulty was mostly welcomed.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to beat the last mission conventionally and had to cheat my way to beating it, as the enemy numbers were simply far too unbearable and I had already spent almost 4 hours trying to beat it. Nyctaeus mentioned that checkpoints will be added in the future, so I certainly plan to give TSoP another run. I think I bugged the final mission with the cheats, as the HoL destroyer "rammed" the Pandemonium while there was still around 2 kilometers of space between the two ships. Going into the mission was kinda funny, as it starts out with a simple premise of patrolling a depot, which I thought was fair after the previous mission which was hard as hell to beat, only to lead into  battles with the superdestroyer, the discovery of the Pandamonium etc. I think the latter's name perfectly describes this mission  :p

But anyway, enough about the difficulty. The story was great, and I liked the deeper look into Vasudan culture. The stealth mission was very well done and probably my favourite mission. It was absolutely nerve-racking escaping the final stage with 3% hull integrity after almost 40 minutes. I liked how the theme of Shivan sleeper fleets from Gehenna's Gate naturally flowed into the story. Seeing new models like the new Vasudan fighters and bombers, and the prototype Sobek and retextured Hedetet is always nice. The whole HoL defector stuff was great, as I always felt unsure if a wingmate of mine would shoot me in the back at a moment's notice.

In the end, I had fun with Ptah for the most part. I look forward to giving both it another run in the future and seeing what else in in store for Series Resurrecta. :yes:

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Thanks a lot for this review! You nailed most of the campaign's peculiarities.  :)

Spoiler:
The final ramming is triggered at a specific distance between the two ships (once the "victory" conditions are met, of course, otherwise the bad ending would be triggered) because a pure ramming was not proven to work as expected. That's mostly due to the fact that there are many Shah extensions all around the Pandemonium and their bounding boxes have an effect on the Hikuptah as it approaches. The collision may appear odd if the player's right between the two destroyers, but seems rather genuine from other perspectives.

 

Offline Colt

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Spoiler:
Heh. I chose the worst place to be then when they collided. I was right above the Panda shooting at one of its reactors when the entire universe seemed to end. :lol:
I encountered another boss battle: dodging Shah pylon debris. I certainly let loose some unsavoury words during those few seconds.  :nervous:

 

Offline CKid

Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Found a bug in the mission "A Weakened Giant". The Hedetet was destroyed however there was no mission fail, the dialogue and mission continued until the PVT Isis transports were to launch but never appeared. I assume they were to depart from the now destroyed Hedetet. Now as for why Hedetet was blown to high hell, I strongly recommend that when you setup invincible wingmen you guardian their weapons subsystems as well cause I had 5 useless flying brinks who couldn't stop a single bomber wing while I was disarming the enemy destroyer.
If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Thank you for pointing this out! The warship was guardianed at some point during the testing phase, but some of the files overlapped so the fix must have vanished in the process (our tools meant to transfer files between team members were and still are rather basic - we don't have a dedicated platform where files can be synchronized).

In any case, we'll definitely add more content to that phase of the mission in a future update, with specific messages and a failure debriefing stage, which both make more sense than forcing a destroyer to be guardianed and survive the battle.  :)

 
Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Is anyone else having problems with CTD during what appear to be event triggers in this campaign?  I managed to finally finish the first mission without a CTD, but I keep crashing on the 2nd mission.  Usually it is when I either blow up a set of doors or as I'm passing through one of them.

I didn't have the presence of mind to run a debug build.  I'll try doing that tonight when I play again and send some meaningful diagnostics.  I was just curious if this is just me or if it is something others are experiencing.

Other than that, I have to say I am very impressed with the level of detail in these missions!  I am having to hit F4 to catch up on dialog a lot, but it hasn't really broken immersion too much.  You have to make good use of your wingmen or you are toast.

EDIT:
Ran the Debug and I made it to the end of the 1st cutscene, but I kept getting errors leading into the second cut scene.  Same one over and over again.  After hitting continue over and over again, I finally clicked out.  Any idea what
Code: [Select]
"WARNING: "Invalid subsystem 'Snuffleupagus' passed to hits-left-subsystem" at sexp.cpp:6960
Frame 3291 too long!!: frametime = 0.801 (0.801)
is all about?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 11:22:44 pm by perihelion »
"Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day to day living that wears you out." – Anton Chekhov

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated! We're working on the next SerRes release but we're also improving both Gehenna's Gate and The Spirit of Ptah; we're squashing reported bugs and all dialogues are undergoing a major facelift. The bug you're reporting right here is news to the Team and will definitely help us out in the process of delivering a polished update. :)


I can't check the mission via FRED right now, but I will take a look later today. What I do know for sure is that "Snuffleupagus" is the default value of a string variable which is turned into a different string as certain in-mission events require, and it's been there since the 2007 version of this mission. If you're getting this error, it must have something to do with the process of turning the variable from its default string to the desired value, or the game checking for anything that matches that string before it's supposed to.

EDIT: alright, I got the chance to take a closer look. The issue with "Snuffleupagus" as a string variable should not be the core of the problem because...


Spoiler:
...if I got it right, you experience crashes the moment you venture deep into Senwosre outpost and aim for the reactor. That's the second self destruction attempt of said outpost.

The above mentioned variable determines which subsystem has to be destroyed in order to prevent the first self destruction procedure.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 04:30:35 am by Mobius »

 
Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Just finished this one.
 I found it tougher then Gehenna's Gate.
The mission with all the scanning kicked my butt, I am just not that good of a pilot.
Lot's of fun trying to guess who you can trust.
How the HOL was able to develop such high tech with ,what I would think would be limited resource,s was a head scratcher, lol.


 

Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: RELEASE: The Spirit of Ptah
Support of influental politicians from vasudan parliament. TSoP hints the reason why Emperor dissoluted whole institution during Reconstruction.
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