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DTrade in SDL
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Andy_Nonymous
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:44 am
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Instead of continually piling onto the Bucksnort thread, let's make a clean break and start anew... with a John Bucksnort "imitator"! Laughing

Playing through DTrade's mods again, I think the intention was more of a homage to John than to actually imitate him. John was initially upset at the wholesale lifting of the graphics, sounds and EXE from his own mods when 'Westlake I' came out. He eventually came to like DTrade and his work. For a bit more on this, check out the Wolfer Spotlight on DTrade.

Unlike Sandy's homages to WSJ, the Chinese wolfer DTrade's mods have a very interesting and idiosyncratic mapping style. His designs are tight, labyrinthian, with a lot of pushwalls, some required to progress though the levels.

When you fire up the first one, 'Westlake I', it's like you're playing 'Beyond Tobruk' again. But soon you realize that the nicely decorated layouts with massive enemy attacks are absent. Now you must look for secrets to replenish your ammo and health, and the enemies tend to come at you in smaller numbers (often solo). The secret areas tend to have a single clip and/or a health box; treaures, only occasionally. The cramped areas with Mutants and SS will keep you on your toes for sure. Personally, the Tab-O and Tab-U cheats came in handy for this one! Wink

Look for Westlake I SDL at the Dome this weekend!

Andy
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:14 am
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Agreed, Andy. DTrade was clearly an accomplished modder, offering challenges to even the most experienced players.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:07 am
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..although *this* player is stuck on Level 1 with only one key Confused
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 9:29 am
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One key is behind a pushwall, the other must be *earned* Cool
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:08 am
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Andy_Nonymous wrote:
One key is behind a pushwall, the other must be *earned* Cool


I think I've got the one that has to be 'earned' (SW-style?). Now off to find a pushwall, out of many, many pushwalls...
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 3:05 am
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....except that I've now reached what I think must be the real exit elevator on Level 1 and nothing happens when I try to activate it! Aarghh...
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 3:19 am
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This sounds ridiculously difficult. I think I've only briefly played through one of DTrade's releases 8+ years ago... I need to try this when I get home.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:18 am
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mbender wrote:
....except that I've now reached what I think must be the real exit elevator on Level 1 and nothing happens when I try to activate it! Aarghh...

Ha ha - if you've reached that elevator, look for a (what else?) pushwall in that room.

If you get really stumped, you can always use the Tab+O overhead map cheat (must enable with --goobers, shift+alt+backspace, etc). A not-so-naughty cheat is Tab+U which tells you the current K/S/T ratios.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 3:15 am
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Just raced through level 1. Must've found at least 20 secret doors... And still only got 75 % secret! It's a joy to play though. Ammo and health is widely available if you look around for it, so you don't die as fast as your average Bucksnort mod. But it misses some charm, that's for sure...

On to level 2. I remember this as being hard-ass and it is - that is, if you do not look for secret doors. I want to write "pushwalls" but lately I've referred to them as secret doors...
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:30 am
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Thanks Andy, will give it a go. And good luck Thomas!
Thomas
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 5:49 am
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Currently on level 4. I don't know. If DTrade actually sat down and made these maps from scratch I don't see it as a rip-off, but more as a tribute. I rest my case - these are some entertaining maps. The decoration's terrible and the use of wall patches and layout is even worse - but it's extremely fun and intense to play!
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:41 am
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So I won this game. Ran into a boss on level 6, don't know if it was supposed to happen like this or if DTrade merely put him there in order for the player to get squashed - but I have to tell you that I'm hooked on his mapping style. Out of the blue. I'd no idea I could fall for a thing like this. I'm looking forward to the next SDL releases.
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 6:10 am
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Thomas: maybe you can help. Stuck on Level 3.......can't......get......blue.............key. I mean, I can see it but.... Mad
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 6:38 am
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Yeah, I had to look up the map in an editor to get on with that one. Can't recall whether or not a guard had blocked the wall or if the wall was just well hidden... It's that secret, you get to a spiral corridor with a secret room that has a chain gun and all sorts of things, nearby... Somewhere in there ... It's a sort-of large room... There's another secret door leading you on to the part with the hexagonal patterned wall.

Running around DTrade's maps with no clue can give you severe abdominal pain. What you need to do in nadir is to look it up in a map editor - I know I do, 'cause at that point I don't know whether it's an in-game bug or just me getting old.
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 5:01 pm
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Tab+O! Tab+O! Tab+O! - the pushwalls show up as purple and the player is the white dot. I promise I won't mention it again... Laughing

It's good to see these SDL conversions being enjoyed though! Smile

The next mod by DTrade is the appropriately named Westlake II. It's more of the same as the first one, but I thought it a bit more challenging. On levels 1 and 4 there is a possibility of moving the pushwalls in such a way that it prevents you from getting a 100% pushwall count, but is otherwise harmless. 100% pushwalls is still possible on every level.

I didn't really emphasize it in the first post, but DTrade's mods are quite challenging. There's plenty of health and ammo, but I found myself constantly using it up. The familiar "brown boys" from Mutantstein replace the actual mutants here, not the officers. Combine these mutants with the tight quarters, and you get a combustible brew of fast, brutal action. Also, I think there were a few more multi-enemy firefights in part two than in the first.

Look for Westlake II SDL at the Wolf3d Dome this weekend!


Andy
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:57 am
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Hmmm....I couldn't find a DOS prompt anywhere (got Win7). Also tried opening SDLCheat but no difference that I could see. Don't usually use cheats so don't really know what I'm doing.

I note the SDL changes list mentions blocking pushwalls on Level 3 - maybe I pushed them in the wrong order?
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 6:55 am
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Oh, you're a non-cheater? That's rare, so I'll let you in on how to cheat! Laughing

Launch the game with the SDLcheat.bat file (this applies the --goobers parameter)

Enable the debug keys by simultaneously pressing left-shift + alt + backspace. You should get a message about the debug keys.

Then the following cheats / debugs are available to you:

Tab+B - changes border color (prompts for color)
Tab+C - object count
Tab+D - DarkOne's FPS counter (toggles on/off)
Tab+E - instant elevator switch (completes level)
Tab+F - facing spot (coordinates)
Tab+G - God mode (cycles through on / no flash / off)
Tab+H - hurt player (reduced health)
Tab+I - free items (adds points, health, and ammo, upgrades weapon)
Tab+K - give keys (prompts for 1-4)
Tab+L - shows completed level ratios
Tab+N - no clip cheat (player can walk through anything, toggles on/off)
Tab+O - basic overhead map (left side is useful)
Tab+P - Ripper's picture grabber (makes a BMP screenshot in your game folder)
Tab+Q - immediate quit
Tab+S - hitwall sound toggle (does not require debug activation) - this used to be the slow motion debug
Tab+T - shape test (doesn't work in vanilla SDL - I think Chris may have come up with a way to get this working)
Tab+U - current ratios
Tab+V - extra VBLs (use to slow your frame rate down - best avoided)
Tab+W - warp to another level (prompts for level)
Tab+X - extra stuff (quote from id: "put stuff here", i.e. does nothing)
Tab+Z - sky-related debug (does nothing in most mods)

Then there's the ILM cheat which gives you all weapons, keys, full ammo and health, and zeroes out your score - surely you know that one? Smile

Hope I haven't corrupted you! Wink
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 6:02 am
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Thanks Andy, always wondered about that! Have now activated all purple dots (pushwalls) but still no key Sad

I take it keys don't show up on the basic map.
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 7:51 am
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mbender wrote:
Thanks Andy, always wondered about that! Have now activated all purple dots (pushwalls) but still no key Sad

I take it keys don't show up on the basic map.

Yeah the overhead map is quite basic - the treasures were added (thanks to Chris) to help me test for achieveable 100% ratios. Rather than keep adding stuff, I revert to an editor on the rare occasion I am stumped.

Anyway, here's the deal on Westlake I level 3's blue key:
Right in the middle of the map are three "main" rooms. The blue key is in the leftmost of the three. These 3 main rooms are separated by columns. When you saw it, you probably were in the middle room, or possibly to the small room west of the left room, where a hanging skeleton cage blocked your way in.

You must approach the room this way:

Maybe a dead body is lying on the key?
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 6:24 am
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OK, I'm thinking that the final pushwall into the blue key 'room' is stuck or something - went around the other way and couldn't see any dead guards blocking it. Anyways, have used the 'get key' cheat and am on to the next level .
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 3:16 pm
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mbender wrote:
OK, I'm thinking that the final pushwall into the blue key 'room' is stuck or something - went around the other way and couldn't see any dead guards blocking it. Anyways, have used the 'get key' cheat and am on to the next level .
Heh, my M.O. in these cases is to 'no-clip' through the blocked pushwall. Same difference. Wink

On to the next mod... WarZone I: Sudden Strike

For starters, DTrade reverted to an Episode One format, eschewing the trusty old Bucksnort Family favorite seamless EXE. So it's back to the familiar music order and grey ceilings. And he has increased the trickery here, some fakery on level 4 and some strange wall effects on level 10 were ones I noted (and won't spoil by revealing). His mods are getting a little less Bucksnort-like, introducing some new textures, and are perhaps a bit less cramped in places.

In level 1 it is possible to cut off your path with a pushwall in a particular direction, forcing you to go the long way around, but this is otherwise harmless.

Even with the use of an overhead map or an editor, it was STILL difficult for me to find my way around - WarZone I is certainly a test of the player's navigational skills.

Are you navigational enough?

Look for WarZone I SDL at the Wolf3d Dome this weekend!

Andy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:15 am
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DTrade's next mod, 'WarZone II: Surprise Attack' follows the formula of the previous one. I detected a few new textures and more attempts at tricking or fooling the player, plus some purposely inattentive guards.

On level 2, it is possible to block off a pushwall leading to the blue key if you kill a guard that lands in just the right spot, so as always, save your game often just in case.

Look for WarZone II SDL at the Wolf3d Dome this weekend!

Andy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:21 am
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Next in line is 'WarZone III: Counterattack'

DTrade's mods are getting increasingly challenging, complex, and puzzly. There are pushwall puzzles leading to the secret elevators and a few of the keys. Some, but not all, of these puzzles can result in the player being locked out of completing the level.

There are also pushwalls that can be pushed multiple times; some of these can be pushed in alternate directions, which can leave behind unused secret wall markers in the maps that cannot be activated. I encountered this on levels 7 and 8. It is possible to get 100% pushwalls, but you have to get them all in the right direction. Good luck!

Look for WarZone III at the Dome this weekend!

Andy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:57 am
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The next mod, 'Warzone Project IV: High Stakes' introduces some different textures, more Hitler ghost replacements (aka ammo eaters), less pushwalls, but with otherwise the same enemies and cramped design. You'll often find yourself doubling back after finding keys. Not for those who lack navigational skills (unless you use the aforementioned cheats)! It's very challenging to stay alive on the hardest difficulties, and getting 100% pushwalls, even at the reduced number of them, can be tough - one wrong push and forgeddabouddit!

Look for WarZone IV SDL at the Dome soon!

Andy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:42 am
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The last DTrade mod, Den of Evil, is the least Bucksnort-like of them all. It's Spear-based, has even more new textures, and the brown mutant has lost his Curly persona.

I found this one to be the most challenging of all of them, though the style is similar. Cheating with a map editor and God mode, it still was tough to get 100% of everything. And in some spots, the wrong pushwall move will prevent you from getting 100% stats. So save often!

If you haven't tried any of DTrade's mods, and only want to play one, I recommend this one.

Look for Den of Evil SDL at the Dome soon!

Andy
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