View Full Version : The Ball - Hueca - Released!

25th Aug 2009, 02:58 PM
Part 4 of our award winning project!

Hueca takes place in a gigantic cavern with three large pyramids. Each pyramid contains several puzzles and challenges. The player travels from pyramid to pyramid using a large and ancient vehicle.

# Solve the pyramids in any order and freely roam the desert.
# The introduction of a vehicle!
# Three new enemies: A giant bomb dropping bird, a cannonfodder beetle, and a big sandworm.
# Introduction of ball modifications. The ball will acts as a local low gravity field or as flashlight in certain areas of Hueca.
# The introduction of a brand new environment theme.
# A new Survival level and further improvements done to the gametype in general.
# A range of changes including new voice acting, more parts of the menu replaced, a stats system, and you are even able to save your game now!



This installer also includes all previous episodes!

Check out ModDB's Preview special! - http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-ball/features/the-ball-hueca-preview


26th Aug 2009, 04:22 PM
Thanks for all the hard work your team has put into this mod...I always look forward to the next release of this great mod!

5th Sep 2009, 03:00 AM
I haven't had time to post in forever. But I wanted to jump in and say congrats to everyone for how amazing everything turned out. I played it through and it is kick ass. It is so much fun. Everyone did such amazing work, it really looks and plays beautifully.

5th Sep 2009, 05:59 PM
You have outdone yourselves in fourth episode, congrats! Gravity-ball part is may favourite one so far... looking forward to seeing more ball modifications in the next episode. :tup: I also liked how easier is to attract the ball with secondary fire now...

Just some feedback: :)
Least favourite part so far is combat, and especially the boss fights... they should be a little more personal and challenging IMO. The ball seems to have an ancient power in it... but then you see the biggest enemies dying by some random explosive balls, which makes the main Ball feel less mysterious... :p I was expecting to do something interesting with the Ball against the giant monkey, but the Ball would in fact be completely useless if you didn't have to kill a couple of mummies now and then. It would be better to see more buttons in that zone, perhaps a blue button that fills a lava pool in for a few seconds, so you have to drive the ball into the lava pool and then push it against the monkey while it is still hot and burning... :D This 'flame ball' could also be implemented as another ball modification along the game (activates for a few seconds when the ball runs on lava), allowing the ball to burn objects you wouldn't normally be able to destroy... ;)
The fight aginst the worm was kida easy too once you knew what to do (worm looks awesome btw :D). You can park the Ball al the yellow button and wait for 3 mummies to come to the red one and that's all. 3 pairs of different buttons would make it more challenging IMO, for example ball-mummy for the first hit, 2 cube buttons for the second one, and ball-player (or 2 player buttons) for the last hit. It would also be awesome if the buttons activated, instead of the explosive balls, some sort of mechanism that electrified the Ball (yay, another ball modification! :D) making it cause damage to nearby enemies, including the giant worm... :eek:

Survival is kinda fun too but I felt that there were too many enemies that just run towards your position. It would be more interesting to apply different behaviours: the mummies could follow you like they do now, bugs could ignore you unless you run close to them, and other enemies could try to dodge the ball or push it far from your location. It just needs less enemies but different behaviours, at the moment I found the explosive-ball-throwing mummies the most fun to fight against. Would also be interesting to see now and then an enemy that you could only kill by activating the different traps each level has... ;)

Finally, found a couple of game-stopping bugs during my play:
In Episode 2, when I completed the puzzle with the magnets and the bug, I went to chase the monkeys but the Ball was attracted by this magnet. Typed suicide at the console but I was no longer able to access this room and was forced to go to main menu and Resume.

Teotl 1, in the puzzle after this bridge, I was over the mummies head when this elevator (pic2) was going up, which caused the lift to stop before it reached its destination. The mummy did not attack me so I had to go to Main Menu and Resume. Spawned in the bridge but the door to the mummies room was closed and had to restart the campaign from this episode.

Quite a long post, hope it will be helpful! :D Best of luck on MSUC!

6th Sep 2009, 05:24 AM
Cool, thanks a lot for the feedback!

Yeah the heating up the ball thingy is exactly what is planned for part 5, with electrifying it maybe added later on too. I am aware that many boss fights are not ideal, we are first going to make the remaining story levels and once all content is done we will go over everything again and fix it all up. Prime concern now first is to just have everything there.

Survival has way too many enemies yes and it gets repetitive. In the next release we will lower the number of enemies, shorten the rounds, and we need to come up with some feature that makes you feel more rewarded for surviving. Right now you never really get the feedback "you're doing a good job here man!" from the game, it just spawns monsters on and on.

We will look at the bugs later on.

8th Sep 2009, 03:16 AM
I'll just chime in too with some feedback and a "crazy story" ;)

First: rest assured you don't have to absolutely fix the following for me personally, I am able to play The Ball perfectly well on another computer.
Now for the craziness :p

I decided to install UT3 and The Ball (As well as a few other maps/mods) on my laptop, to see if first the game could run, and then the editor (So I can map while I'm on the road.)
To my surprise (and probably yours too), UT3 did run, as well as The Ball which I've played through once more. And not only did it run, but it actually ran with all the detail sliders set at maximum (high, not low!), as well as a few other options ticked, at 848x480. Yeah, that's not a lot, but all of this is running on a dual core 2.26Ghz, 4GB of RAM, nVidia 9200 GS laptop with Vista x64... The system rating is 3.5, UT3 requires as bare minimum 3.7 (Or so it says)... And UT3 ran with the sliders on high too, not on low... 30-40FPS on the HOLP maps.
Enough with the crazy experiment though, on with the feedback of this "extreme performance test." I played through the whole mod, like I said, with these graphical settings. I was able to adjust it in order to get 30FPS when I was standing right next to the Ball, and looking at it, which seemed to be the biggest performance drain in the whole mod (apart from two other things which I'll talk about later.) If I was doing anything else, I got 40-50FPS... on high! Even in Survival mode! So needless to say, the mod runs great... Except for two parts (One major and one minor.)

The major part: Teotl II. This is where it hurt, I had to cheat at the point with the room with the pillars rising up and falling down when you walked on them and with the spikes below, as I couldn't get passed it because of the horrible framerate: 18FPS... So "fly" was in order, just for this spot. The problem started a looong way back, way before that point though, and every time I was looking in "that" direction, I was getting 18FPS... 40-50FPS otherwise. I soon determined (well, soon is a figure of speech, as it's quite a long way after the problem starts, like 1h or something) that it is because of the city. The whole city you have built is somehow causing troubles all the way back to near the beginning of the level. It seems it does not occlude properly and is fully rendered at all times. Now this isn't a problem (AFAIK, haven't played through it again since it's been released a long while ago) on an nVidia 8800 GTS (Which is why I'm saying don't fix it for me personally, I can run The Ball perfectly well), but on the 9200GS it is. Once I got passed the city everything was fine again, and when I was fighting the gorilla it's when I was looking "up" the hill that the framerate problem was happening, when it was when I was looking "down" the whole way from the beginning to the end otherwise. So yeah, that's the major part, some optimization problem it seems, as I said I got 30FPS minimum otherwise on all parts, and 25 on Hueca outside.

Now the minor part: there is this FPS drain with the Ball I mentioned, 40-50FPS when looking at other stuff, but 30 barely when looking at it from 1cm of distance. There is the same problem with the vehicle in Hueca when you look at it.

So that's basically it for the extreme performance test, now I've got other bugs/etc.

1. Single Player story:
During certain cutscenes on my playthrough with the laptop, I had the jumping voice effect from your character playing through constantly: "Huh! Heh! Huh!" etc. And then when I regained control, I was jumping against a wall. The only part I remember clearly when it didn't do it was the beginning (Pehua) and Teotl I because you come from underwater and cannot jump.

The bomb dropping bird completely kills the performance, even on the nVidia 8800 GTS this time. Too many bombs. It would be great if you could come up with another attack for him too, as for now he's fairly easy to dodge (and the attack looks completely out of place, and it looks like he stops flapping his wings when he drops the bomb, so he should fall to the ground if it were realistic...)

2. Survival:
Still on the laptop, sometimes the Ball would get stuck against mummies/zombies, and then go through without killing them, and they'd start attacking me again. It would "freeze" like that for a second against the mummies, and then "unfreeze" by going through.
Also, this is way too long, you don't go to the next round until you get the statue if there is one, and there's nothing at level 9's end (I cheated to got there...)

8th Sep 2009, 04:02 AM
Yeah Survival is too long, we will half each round in the next release and add more feedback so you feel like you do well in surviving.
The bird is indeed easy to dodge, we ran out of time there, and yeah I know about the perfomance. Will fix later. We will redo the entire bird so it doesn't circle but really follows you like a bomber aircraft pretty much. For that you need AI path finding and all in the air though, that was the hard part to get done in the time we had left.

The jumping is weird. Sometimes it can happen, but shouldn't happen all the time. It is a fairly minor though, we will look at much later on.

The perfomance is kind of weird. The ball is not that incredibly heavy, not much different from some other things we have really. If the room with the spikes also went really slow, it almost starts sounding as if it doesn't like the dynamic lighting. In that case for example the gate at the beginning of Pehua, right after you got the weapon, should run horribly slow because it has a large concentration of dynamic meshes.
The city really isn't drawn when you are inside, so I don't know why it is doing so... We will optimize it further later on though, just in case of.


8th Sep 2009, 11:56 AM
The freezing happened to me, too. Though only in PIE.
But in-game a bug managed to climb on my head. Couldn't get rid of it until I used the water trap. Stupid thing bit me all the way there :lol: :(

8th Sep 2009, 01:00 PM
Note: I didn't have dynamic lights on except for in Hueca, the underground dark parts. It's really looking at the city through the wall, etc. At one point I remember I was facing a wall in that direction, and I got the 18FPS. But what I was seeing was only a BSP wall with a texture on it, nothing else. So I don't know what's up. Again: no dynamic lights except for Hueca, so yeah at Pehua I didn't have any troubles, that's one of the places it actually runs the best on that laptop.

28th Sep 2009, 02:15 PM
hey, whenever I get to teotl 2 it dumps me. I even tried unistalling and installiong an earlir version. It loads hueca just fine, but teotl 2... always dumps, no matter what. Any ideas?

28th Sep 2009, 04:06 PM
Hi, there is a log file, it would be handy to have that. Folder Logs. Launch.log or Launch2.log. You need to check it out in notepad right after it has crashed as it only remember the last game you played. Feel free to paste it here, especially the end where it crashes.