OK, I've played through locbeta again, on skill 3 this time. I recorded a bunch of very short demos showing specific bugs, which I've uploaded here
. While recording these, I couldn't recall exactly which bugs were visible in my previous demos and which weren't, and when in doubt, I thought it was best to risk recording the same thing again, so there's likely some duplication.
I think the demos will be self-explanatory, so, here's some more general feedback about the map:
I liked the following:
* It has a strong, consistent theme. I liked the feeling of wandering through this sprawling otherworldly nightmare-palace where everything was menacing and malevolent at all times.
* I especially liked that there are creepy side-areas in various places which the player can see into but can't enter. Like the yellow-lit room with the Shambler corpse. I'm a big fan of levels including environmental details for no other reason than to be creepy and build atmosphere.
* The "hallucination" sequence (I'm not sure what to call it) actually spooked me on my first playthrough! I think that was because it was so unexpected.
* The hugeness of the map, when it starts opening out, is impressive in its own right.
* The scale of the environment and the lack of repetition in the design reminded me of things like WarpSpasm and various huge Tronyn maps.
I don't think the large size of the map is a bad thing in of itself. But I obviously found the layout and progression pretty difficult, and I think the large size of the map probably exacerbated that.
I've been trying to put my finger on why I found the layout/progression difficult. I don't think it's one thing, but a combination of several different things:
* At any one time there are a lot of different barriers (bars, force fields, key doors, etc.) which I have to try and remember so I can find my way back to them once I've found the thing that opens them.
* Some important barriers are not on the main path and are easy to overlook. An example is the gold key door: it's a long-term objective that the player will have to return to later, but it's in a side-area the player can easily miss.
* In some cases I found the means of opening a barrier without having encountered the barrier itself (leading to a feeling of "so where do I go now?").
* Even when replaying, I found it easy to forget which number Lord I was up to (which is obviously important because the hint messages refer to them by number). I also found it easy to forget whether I was supposed to be hunting for a Lord at any given time.
Even though I don't think the size is the problem, if you're in a mind to split the map in two, I guess that might mitigate the above issues?
I can't help thinking I would have enjoyed the map more if I didn't have to hunt for the Lords after summoning them. When trying to find them, I just felt like I was wandering aimlessly.
About the ammo situation: I found the ammo shortage at the start a bit irritating, especially as the player is confronted with gangs of bullet-spongey Fiends and Ogres right off the bat. I would have preferred a more "normal" ammo balance at the start. From about the halfway point, the ammo balance seemed to have become more normal anyway. (Disclaimer: I've only played on skill 2 and 3.)
But apart from those things, I definitely enjoyed the map. Whether you decide to split it into two maps or not, I'd be curious to play the next version to see how it's evolved.