Blog 529a: The Day I Started Making An Arena Y4

The Worm Ouroboros, that forever eateth its own tail.

WtFSA spawned RDZArena spawned This Wreckage… Spawned Arena Y4 spawned Project Y4 spawned… Arena Y4 again?

It is 8.40am. I saved (1)RDZY4.w3x as (4)RDZY4_Arena.w3x (not going to make that mistake again) and commenced stripping out all the assets I would not need. No mazes, no crane games, no computers and no keypads, no automap — this is Deathmatch, pure and simple.

After the success of the AP-AM trials during the incident at Facility EY43, the project has been moved forward and modularised, ready for production. The company is now performing the final trial runs of the new Epsilon mech and is challenging its pilots to face each other down using nothing but the new vehicle and their wits… Well, and its massive selection of equipment modules.

It is surprisingly easy to render this one down. I might have hashed up the main game triggerwork, but the base systems — item type limits, abilities and so on — are all clean and seperate and mostly ready to go. It is much worse to delete all the now-unnecessary mini-game and UI props: the Import Manager is not the nicest interface for bulk operations. It must be done, however — we’ve got 8.4MB to save before this project even becomes more than an academic exercise.

Gosh, this has exposed a lot of junk. There are still bits of Asteroid Wars (a bonus mission on indefinite hiatus) in here! It is 9.04am and I am only down to 11MB — a lot of this seems to be icons and sound effects, but those are going to be needed later… Ah well, it’s only going to be 32x32ish so I’ll be dropping 90% of the doodads anyway. No doubt I’ll end up cutting some stuff that I later have to re-copy from the real Project Y4, but that’s the way of these things.

9:34am marks the first editor crash as I over-zealously delete great swathes of regions. Second came hot on its heels at 09:42am as I turned the 256×256 sprawl into a concentrated 64×64 block. I flatten the terrain and gingerly decrease the map bounds in increments, saving every time: it looks like it’s those “terrain doodad” holes-in-the-ground that are causing all the fuss. I cut those out and the map reduces without incident.

You might ask — “why bother rendering the big map down when you can start again from scratch?” Because, I answer, there is still too much. Project Y4 is the culmination of a million little bitty settings as much as it is the sum of its chunky and easily-copied triggered systems. Gameplay constants, game interface settings, the numbers in the units, all of these things need to be transferred. Yes, the game is going to come out horribly imbalanced, but that’s why Unreal Tournament is such fun — it’s a singleplayer game that’s been hastily turned into a multiplayer game, before UT2003 and 4 came along with their anemic ideals of “balance” that neutered the game.

And as 10.00am rolls around, the reduction work is completed on schedule. It is time to build Arena Y4.

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