The Kuras Hub

So firstly, hey, 20 posts this month! 21 if you count this one. The previous record was in April, with 18 posts. Now that I’ve hit 20, I can stop flooding it with filler. Instead, let’s talk more level stuff.

Continuing on from the cavern in the last update, this next section will have absolutely no monsters in it and instead be based around traps and puzzle-solving. What you see in the video is a hub area for three trap gauntlets, each with a key at the end. There’s three keys in Dark Saga, the third being a copper variant that I believe was meant for secrets and optional routes. Instead, I’ll be using all three keys to protect the final stretch of the level. Each of the three paths will be based around a different kind of trap, first nail traps, then crusher traps (my little tribute to NewHouse, I suppose), and finally floating debris to platform across.

The Kuras sure do go to great, strange lengths to protect their valuables, don’t they?

Each path also conceals a secret, optional path that will contain monsters, to break up the monotony for repeat playthroughs. Lest you think this all sounds like a lot of extra level, I’m going to constrain myself to essentially speedmap-length gauntlets, with the optional paths being a room, two rooms each. This level is already long, and there’s no way I’m getting caught up in accidentally making another sewer path.

I’m really starting to hit the 900 poly ceiling in some of these scenes; for a brief moment today (when that video was taken), I thought I had to cut out an extra view up into the hub from the first ikblue room because having both the cavern and the hub in the same PVS blew past my budget. Although it didn’t make much sense to have a doorway right over a bottomless pit, I thought it both looked really cool and reinforced the scale of the room, a certain sense of “fuck this is big” I was trying to go for with the cavern as well.

Another view up into the hub area
Thankfully, I had the bright idea to reorient the stronghold and introduce a bend in that tunnel, so I was able to bring it back.

I know everyone else thinks trying to abide by 1997 polygon limits is a dumb idea, but it pleases me. I’m a purist sort. Everyone else can go “literally what are r_speeds” and have colored disco lights in their levels, that’s fine. I’m just rather vanilla. (Even if I won’t be able to totally avoid greyout with how open this is, potentially. Ah well.)

I seem to be building this level ridiculously fast at this point, about a section a day. I’m hoping it’s done within the next week, week-and-a-half. Pennyverse Month will still commence, but given that Art Fight doesn’t end until the 10th and this level will probably take the same amount of time, I expect us all to still be ever-so-slightly occupied for the first third. At least I’m not gonna end it with burnout this year, so I can keep going afterwards.

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