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TurinTur
05-18-2009, 08:21 AM
The first video of Stalker CoP. Pity it's only a cam video. :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDwa4xuZ9mU

There is also a recap of screens from the same games convention. See in HD, there are interesting things like the map size of the new scenarios.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttEB9FvzrqQ&feature=related

For those uninitiated to Stalker Call of Pripyat, i will say this is a new "standalone" expansion, which i think (or i hope) it's going to be somewhat cheap (more of the same, only three maps).

But, these 3 maps are supposed to be extra-huge, bigger than the swamp of Stalker Clear Sky, and this time we will have more extra underground maps than in Stalker CS. They also will combine all the lessons learned in previous games, with a mood near to the first Stalker, and dropping the all-war aspect from CS, but still with the new upgrade weapon system and anomaly/detector system. And better barter system, AI upgrade, better AI life sytem, better quest system, and the typical promises from game developers.

More details:

-Plot follows the original "good" ending, in the role of a member of the Army who have to investigate the disappearance of a scientific team sent to Chernobyl.
-70 secondary quests, all of them hand-crafted (no more "give me 5 boar pieces")
-Two new monsters.
-You have to use a guide to travel between the three maps.
-Weapons tweaked to be more realistic (more range and damage).
-Two slots for long weapons.
-You can't join any stalker group (Duty, Freedom and Bandits present in the game). It's interesting to barter with different groups because every group is focused in an area: Duty have the good armor, Freedom the best sniper rifles, etc.
-Dynamic blowouts. They change the position of anomalies and artifacts.
-Sleep system.

edit: images are too big, img tag erased
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/e6b2a94fa3c85f12831fa45abb2c0c6c-1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/71f64ec919de58d6669163fcd061baf8-1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/aacae0662e2fa15e12423afbc4331d75-1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/e1bda7e0d56486aa04c82c5b0623ca49-1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/fcea663a00248f6bd69b0495c0a92652-1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y117/jonelo/stalker/b22f09addcc3ada064b32be8e499df38-1.jpg

quatoria
05-18-2009, 08:24 AM
Is it based on the Clear Sky timeline, or on the original Stalker timeline? Or is it using those maps, plus the new maps, with an entirely new story? Shit, why am I even pretending I care? It's more stalker! Day one purchase.

TurinTur
05-18-2009, 08:36 AM
I edited the first post quatoria, with more info. New maps, new story.

roguefrog
05-18-2009, 08:43 AM
I need my hardcore shooter fix and post nuclear disaster fix for this year. While ArmA filled the former and Fallout 3 filled the later...STALKER has been successfully fulfilling both for the last two years. It's becoming like annual sports titles...except it is STALKER - which is Awesome!

So this expansion takes place after Shadows of Chernobyl.

Tim James
05-18-2009, 09:09 AM
The positive news is that they appear to be taking a lot of user feedback about Clear Sky and good ideas from the mod community and integrating them into their game. It's not clear whether they'll return to the spooky atmosphere of the first game or not. My guess is they'll try to since you are back to being a lone guy without worrying about factions so much.

quatoria
05-18-2009, 09:25 AM
I'd welcome a return of some of the intensely creepy base exploration, but let's be honest - no matter what they do, it's going to be fucking creepy. Just wandering the Zone at night, alone, listening for the sound of beasts, and navigating by lightning bolts is creepy as is. If Clear Sky seemed less creepy, it's only because so many of us had become so intimately familiar with every detail of those maps, through long and repeated exploration.

TurinTur
05-18-2009, 09:29 AM
I am on a roll today!

Official press release, and images




The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control. According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched.
Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine's Security Service send their agent into the Zone center. From now on everything depends on the player.
Key Features:
Photorealistic exclusion Zone – Pripyat town, Yanov railway station, Jupiter factory, Kopachi village and more, recreated by their true-to-life prototypes.
New story, a number of unique characters.
Extended system of side quests.
New monsters: Chimera and Burer. New behaviour and abilities for all monsters.
New A-Life system, created using the players' best-liked elements of the first two games in series.
Emissions considerably influence the world of the Zone.
Sleep function added into the game.
New player's interface.
Possibility to continue the game after completion in a freeplay mode.
The game is developed on X-Ray engine v.1.6
Minimum System Requirements:

Intel Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz / AMD XP 2200+
512 MB RAM
128 MB DirectX 8.0 compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 5700 / ATI Radeon 9600 Recommended System Requirements:

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 / AMD 64 X2 5600+
2 GB RAM
512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850


http://ve3d.ign.com/images/game/14340292/PC/S-T-A-L-K-E-R-Call-of-Pripyat <= screenshots

Marcin
05-18-2009, 09:41 AM
So ... is Clear Sky playable now? Does it need mods?

TurinTur
05-18-2009, 09:44 AM
So ... is Clear Sky playable now? Does it need mods?

It doesn't "need" it, but everything is better with mods!

A little guide
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/04/27/stalker-the-mods-return-to-clear-sky/

Quitch
05-18-2009, 09:53 AM
Loving the STALKER series, they just keep trying new things and underneath it all still lives a great FPS.

GloriousMess
05-18-2009, 11:01 AM
Is that an improved inventory system I see?

roguefrog
05-18-2009, 11:11 AM
Clear Sky did some weird things so changing it up yet again is welcoming. Playing as a military guy is also an interesting switcharoo from the typical stalker/lone wolf merc. So does this mean no fighting the military which always gave the player grief in the last two installments?

Disconnected
05-18-2009, 11:44 AM
Clear Sky did some weird things so changing it up yet again is welcoming. Playing as a military guy is also an interesting switcharoo from the typical stalker/lone wolf merc. So does this mean no fighting the military which always gave the player grief in the last two installments?CoP was/is a total conversion for SoC. A very good one too. Anyway, the best impression you can get of CoP right now is probably playig the mod.

Roy Ziegler
05-18-2009, 11:58 AM
Wait, what? This is just a mod?

Tim James
05-18-2009, 12:03 PM
He's probably referring to how this storyline is similar to a fan mod named Priboi Story that casts you as a military guy. I don't know where the differences begin though.

Oh, and for old SoC fans, the Stalker Complete 2009 mod has quite a few graphics updates and gameplay enhancements integrated together. Some people don't like the gameplay enhancements (or would rather use Oblivion Lost) but you can see the graphics updates he used and some screen shots. Looks very pretty. http://www.flickr.com/photos/artistpavel/sets/72157608341111036/

roguefrog
05-18-2009, 05:39 PM
Those look really good. Almost tempted to make another run. Would If I wasn't so determined to kill my backlog.

TurinTur
05-25-2009, 12:13 PM
Interview in RPS
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/05/25/interview-gsc-on-call-of-pripyat/#more-12130

Tim James
05-25-2009, 12:22 PM
I was going to post that. You are turning into a bigger fan than I am. :(

Good for Jim to "helpfully suggest" a few things in the form of interview questions! I chuckled when GSC was unaware of the popularity of the idea of Russian voices with English subtitles...

Disconnected
05-25-2009, 12:43 PM
He's probably referring to how this storyline is similar to a fan mod named Priboi Story that casts you as a military guy. I don't know where the differences begin though.Yes, the sequel is based on the mod. Or it was, it's been a while since I scoured the Stalker forums.

Tom Ohle
05-25-2009, 02:26 PM
So with a subtitle like this I guess they're still not expecting big sales? :\
Looking forward to seeing a bit more of the game anyway.

Roy Ziegler
05-25-2009, 02:43 PM
And what subtitle would generate huge sales?

Zylon
05-25-2009, 02:51 PM
And what subtitle would generate huge sales?
STALKER: Order of the Phoenix?

Tom Ohle
05-25-2009, 02:54 PM
And what subtitle would generate huge sales?

Not saying a great subtitle will make for great sales... but an obscure one could certainly hurt the title's marketability.

schurem
05-25-2009, 03:04 PM
nuh uh, not when it comes to post industrial ex-soviet awesomeness. obscurity is a big part of its allure. be shure.

Tim James
05-25-2009, 04:18 PM
I'm sure they design for their region of the globe rather than the US. Pripyat probably sells better than Liberty City, and they did say fans have been begging them for more detailed renderings of that town.

Zylon
05-25-2009, 06:15 PM
I'm sure they design for their region of the globe rather than the US. Pripyat probably sells better than Liberty City, and they did say fans have been begging them for more detailed renderings of that town.
This is a STALKER sequel. You make it sound as if they had a choice whether to set it near Chernobyl.

roguefrog
05-25-2009, 06:23 PM
I WAS somewhat disappointed with Pripyat in Shadows of Chernobly. I felt more could have been done there. You're pretty much rushed through to get to the NPP as fast as possible as the place is just a warzone.

Tim James
06-14-2009, 11:02 PM
Can't sleep, so I'll see what the Ukranians are up to. A few interesting tidbits from their interview (http://www.pcgames.de/aid,687169/STALKER-Call-of-Pripyat-Exklusiv-Interview-mit-GSC-STALKER-2-bestaetigt/PC/Special/?page=2).

And, lastly, starting from next week we are taking on board a whole external testing company which will help us lead the game up to release.
No more randomized side quests, they will all be custom made. Also, I really liked the action-RPG aspect of tweaking gear in Clear Sky so I was happy to hear they will expand that a bit. Still no vehicles, seems like they don't think they'd fit on the maps or in the gameworld.

They took some recent trips to snap pictures of Pripyat, Kopachi, etc. Neat stuff, the East Europeans need to realize how cool this setting can be to those of us here in the US (at least me, anyway!)


No exact ship date so far, but we expect to get the game out this Autumn already


As for the franchise in general, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. currently is not only a computer game, but also a successful series of novels (with 5 novels out in German and over 20 in Russian (selling over 3 million books in total), a dedicated airsoft game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RPl2LXwCqg), a social network for s.t.a.l.k.e.r.s (currently in Russian only - www.yastalker.com (http://www.yastalker.com)) We'd love to expand the franchise with some new directions, such as official comics stories (and we're running such a contest already among fans), an official music festival etc. There's a lot of fun going on here. :)Someone translate that YouTube of the cosplay or whatever it is. Damn those guys are goofy, but the video had no real action shots so not much to see.

BobJustBob
06-14-2009, 11:10 PM
No more randomized side quests, they will all be custom made.

Bad move.

Tim James
06-14-2009, 11:14 PM
You liked finding the eyeballs? I could go either way. Or maybe it's a mistranslation.

Bandersnatch
06-14-2009, 11:51 PM
Love this series, heard about the mod but never played it. Clear Sky was good, but it was definitely missing something that made the first special. Hope they refine the combat, which was aggravating at times, especially early in both games. Hate missing the shot on a motionless person 5 feet away while crouching and looking through the sights, while they could snipe me in the head with a sawed-off shotgun from a mile away. Also, was anyone ever able to stealth kill someone with a knife in CS? Is it even possible?

BobJustBob
06-15-2009, 01:07 AM
You liked finding the eyeballs? I could go either way. Or maybe it's a mistranslation.

Actually I haven't played either game despite owning both. But I always prefer randomized side missions to scripted ones. Or randomized anything to scripted anything, really.

Cossix
06-15-2009, 01:25 AM
The random missions in STALKER were pretty bland.

schild
06-15-2009, 06:25 AM
ctrl+f

"fast travel"

Phrase not found

:(

quatoria
06-15-2009, 06:28 AM
ctrl+f

"fast travel"

Phrase not found

:(

Man, fuck that. The most important part of the gameplay experience is traveling through the zone in the dark, no idea when something horrible is going to spring out at you.

Tim James
06-15-2009, 09:34 AM
Yeah they're still doing that guide shit. Which was a good idea until I realized it cost thousands of credits just to save 3 minutes of running.

Speaking of the dark, now that sleeping is integrated into the base game, they said nighttime monsters will be more aggressive.

I think I'll find a nice attic and sleep instead.

Quitch
06-15-2009, 10:01 AM
Fast travel is good the way it is, the safe and costly route, or the slow and possibly dangerous one. If you're just zipping around, well, I think it would gut the game.

Both the original and Clear Sky got some things right, I hope they're going to combine them into the perfect game. Anyway, even if they don't there's a ton of mods for those two games, I intend to try Faction Commander once I finish Clear Sky.

Gabe Lewis
06-15-2009, 10:13 AM
Fast travel is good the way it is, the safe and costly route, or the slow and possibly dangerous one. If you're just zipping around, well, I think it would gut the game.

Both the original and Clear Sky got some things right, I hope they're going to combine them into the perfect game. Anyway, even if they don't there's a ton of mods for those two games, I intend to try Faction Commander once I finish Clear Sky.

Maybe it's been improved, but Faction Commander seriously borked my game when I tried it. Getting help from friendly AI was like pulling teeth, and spawning squads caused all sorts of problems. It feels like you're issuing commands that go straight onto little strips of paper and into a party hat, and commands are selected by the AI at random every 10 minutes or so.

Tim James
06-15-2009, 10:16 AM
Fast travel is good the way it is, the safe and costly route, or the slow and possibly dangerous one. If you're just zipping around, well, I think it would gut the game.I never found the areas to be "dangerous" to run through, but that might be due to Clear Sky's visible enemy squads on the map. So it was just lame, and like it or not there were times I needed to zip around. If they rebalance it better it will be okay. Cost enough to not abuse it but low enough that if I don't feel like trudging then that's okay too.

Quitch
06-15-2009, 12:09 PM
Quick travel is like far out zoom, people want it until they get it and realise it robs all personality. Clear Sky is far too small for that... and vehicles!

Tim James
06-15-2009, 12:23 PM
Well, I think I definitely know what I want out of a STALKER game at this point. :) Less-costly guides should be a perfect medium.

Actually if they redo the side quests it might not matter, since you won't feel OCD to go all the way back to the Clear Sky base to pick up the 1000 credits for the boar ear you found.

TurinTur
08-19-2009, 12:48 PM
Point and laugh, the last trailer of Stalker CoP is pretty bad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ7MPGv_GB0
Word is that Gsc is also not happy with the marketing efforts of the new distributor.

greg wak
08-19-2009, 01:06 PM
it was ok to me but I have played the first 2 games. If I hadn't I would not have understood a thing I was seeing. I thought this was coming in Aug/Sept not November. Oh well. My plate is full now anyway.

LMN8R
08-19-2009, 02:18 PM
Marketing efforts of the new distributor? WHAT marketing efforts?

I loved the first STALKER, somewhat liked Clear Sky, and I'm really looking forward to the promises they've made for Call of Pripyat. Now they haven't said much of anything about the game for what seems like months....is there stuff I've missed?

And I'm still really skeptical of a 2009 release at this point...

Tim James
08-19-2009, 02:35 PM
Haha you weren't kidding. That trailer is a riot. Makes it look like a cheap piece of shit Russian shovelware game or something.

I noticed half the in-game shots had lightning strikes, which make the textures look overly shiny unless it's used intermittently (like in the game). The best part of the engine is the subdued gritty look it has compared to all the other engines out there so they did a poor job capturing uh.. how nice it is to enjoy the postapocalyptic atmosphere. :)

Paul_cze
08-19-2009, 02:36 PM
Yeah that was one of the worst trailers I have ever seen.Their SoC trailer from 2003 is miles better than this.
And I have no idea why would they go with such a small distributor?

Tim James
08-19-2009, 02:41 PM
What happened to the last one, bankrupt or they didn't like the reception? Maybe GSC wants a bigger cut or something. For all their huge global releases they still act like a new startup sometimes; in other words, what did they expect from these guys?

Oh and I was thinking October for the game. Really didn't want to wait until November.

Telefrog
08-19-2009, 02:44 PM
Woof! That's bad. Bad all over.

Paul_cze
08-19-2009, 02:56 PM
Deep Silver hardly went bankrupt, they will be releasing Risen in a while.

I have no idea why would they go for THQ, then DS and now these guys.From big to medium to small.Doesn't sound too good.

Quitch
08-19-2009, 02:59 PM
I look forward to the article detailing the collapse of another great gaming company with the business acumen of a small turnip.

Robert Sharp
08-19-2009, 03:18 PM
Is this about priapism?

Gabe Lewis
08-19-2009, 03:41 PM
Point and laugh, the last trailer of Stalker CoP is pretty bad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ7MPGv_GB0
Word is that Gsc is also not happy with the marketing efforts of the new distributor.

ARE YOU READY FOR GUN ACTION?
HOW ABOUT APOCALYPTIC RADIATION GAMEPLAY?
GET ALL THE BULLETS IN YOUR INVENTORY SCREEN EXCITEMENT.
RAINING NOW ON THE PC

schurem
08-19-2009, 05:07 PM
thats so bad it becomes good again. like they are aiming at the 'cult classic' status intentionally

TurinTur
08-21-2009, 12:32 AM
Ok, a better trailer here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgZN3n4wT3o

Wheelkick
08-21-2009, 01:14 AM
Ok, a better trailer here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgZN3n4wT3o

Better. But it doesn't tell me anything about the game. Other then that it's pretty.
And the small bit showing the Predator killing a shaved pitbul (in a single blow!) was just weird. What was that about? Was the Predator an ally or..?

Alistair
08-21-2009, 05:19 AM
Is there anything to distinguish this from the other two? Look nice, but I've struggled through it twice already. I think that means I've overcome the series'/my main failing - complete ability to tell what the hell is going on - so does this offer anything new..?

Tim James
08-21-2009, 05:24 AM
Actually I was kind of groaning looking at all the new maps in that trailer because I could only picture having to shoot about a thousand bad guys in them.

I think the real hope of this one is they will combine the lessons learned from the first two, though perhaps at the expense of what made each one unique.

Gorath
08-22-2009, 01:14 AM
Deep Silver hardly went bankrupt, they will be releasing Risen in a while.

When their boss announced at the GC that they have taken over the Sacred IP and are working on Sacred 3, he said Koch Media (the company behind the Deep Silver label) expects an 18% revenue groth this year, to 300+M EUR.
So yes, it seems they are doing fine.



I have no idea why would they go for THQ, then DS and now these guys.From big to medium to small.Doesn't sound too good.This looks as if they were shown the door, first by THQ and now by DS.

Gabe Lewis
09-11-2009, 11:58 AM
And there is yet another new trailer featuring what appears to be an irradiated dwarf wizard.
(http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/09/11/when-lighting-attacks-call-of-pripyat-trailer/#more-17591)

Eric Majkut
09-11-2009, 02:38 PM
They still haven't figured out that a multiplayer coop version of Stalker would sell like hotcakes, I see.

Zylon
09-11-2009, 03:06 PM
They still haven't figured out that a multiplayer coop version of Stalker would sell like hotcakes, I see.
Yeah, because the best parts of STALKER are when you're forced to team up with other stalkers oh wait.

ThornFalconeye
09-11-2009, 03:20 PM
Yeah, because the best parts of STALKER are when you're forced to team up with other stalkers oh wait.

Well COOP would let them do those sequences without having to program good AI- but I think it would sell like hotcakes if they traded out online Multiplayer functions for direct IP or something 2 to 4 man COOP This would be a must buy if they put in COOP and it was as decent as Clear Sky.

Still looking forward to this despite that odd dwarf fight- for the mood seemed right, but slowmo combat better not be in the game- I enjoyed having to trek around abandoned buildings for 10 minutes to line up for 5 to 6 good shots on an enemies head.

Eric Majkut
09-11-2009, 03:25 PM
Yeah, because the best parts of STALKER are when you're forced to team up with other stalkers oh wait.

I spent nearly every moment of both Stalker games wishing a friend could have come along with me for the ride. Being able to team up to explore and get around would be amazing. Having to share supplies would also make the scrounging parts more entertaining.

It's not something I'd necessarily want to play with pubbies. I'm thinking more about playing with friends that I regularly game with. System Shock 2 was a blast playing multiplayer coop.

Alistair
09-11-2009, 04:22 PM
I think Ken Levine or someone said adding co-op to SS2 was a complete waste of time given that seven people played it, and that they should have focussed on obtaining more lego for the models.

Zylon
09-11-2009, 05:03 PM
It's not something I'd necessarily want to play with pubbies. I'm thinking more about playing with friends that I regularly game with. System Shock 2 was a blast playing multiplayer coop.
Ironically (or apropos), I was just about to bring up SS2 as an example of another game where multiplayer utterly ruins the experience. Of course you want your friends with you. You're supposed to. You're supposed to feel alone and terrified and like your tenuous survival is entirely in your own hands. That's what makes them such great games. But shoehorn multiplayer into the mix, and it immediately drags everything the developers worked so hard to create right down to the "LOL FAG" level of every other multiplayer fragfest.

Tim James
10-05-2009, 02:01 PM
This game is out in Russia now. Unfortunately it doesn't come out for most of the world until Q1 2010. (Germany gets it this November though.) The publisher, bitComposer, has updated their website recently so it seems pretty official.

Initial reports on the forums indicate few bugs, which is promising, though I'm sure there will be plenty here and there. Some confusion about graphics and texture settings but I think people are figuring it out.

Anyway, watch out for spoilers. The silver lining for me is it will give me an excuse to hold off my PC upgrade for another few months.

TurinTur
10-05-2009, 02:19 PM
I read something in the line of "better than Clear Sky, not as good as Stalker SoC".

Kunikos
10-05-2009, 02:24 PM
Damn, that's disappointing. Was hoping for better than SoC.

Tim James
10-05-2009, 02:24 PM
That's fine with me. I'm not sure GSC can improve on SoC until they move to the full sequel and get a chance to build some new ideas from the ground up.

The community is still getting a lot of mileage out of the original too. If they can create a conversion that integrates some of the released alpha stuff, that'd be cool as well. Lots of excuses to play it over and over.

I still want to see someone expand the faction and action-RPG aspects of Clear Sky though. Then you have a game you can play for a long time.

TurinTur
10-05-2009, 11:43 PM
Damn, that's disappointing. Was hoping for better than SoC.

Well, it's not like any other company has made a better shooter of the kind of Stalker in the last years.

Kunikos
10-06-2009, 04:31 PM
True. But it would be dissapointing if STALKER gets X-Com'd where every sequel and spiritual sequel is subsequently worse than the original.

Balasarius
10-06-2009, 05:01 PM
I enjoyed SoC but avoided CS due to word-of-mouth.

Devs - stop making crappy games.

Tim James
10-06-2009, 07:26 PM
I enjoyed SoC but avoided CS due to word-of-mouth."Avoid" is the wrong word. There's nothing really wrong with it after perhaps a mod to reduce grenade chucking. It's just that it kind of missed the point and therefore isn't a must-play.

RSofaer
10-06-2009, 11:53 PM
I just read this, it's a novella that Stalker was sort of based on. Not Chernobyl, but a kind of sci fi. A little tangential, but pretty awesome.

http://www.cca.org/cm/picnic.pdf

caesarbear
10-07-2009, 12:32 AM
Have you seen Tarkovsky's movie too?

Tim James
10-07-2009, 07:32 AM
The theory on the GSC forums is the graphics look a little tuned down because they are trying to cram larger maps in an updated version of their old engine, and may have had to reduce detail because of it. Apparently the sun effects are not as good, but likely tweakable, especially when modders get ahold of the game.

BTW, people are still saying it is stable and relatively bug-free.

Marcin
10-07-2009, 11:22 AM
"Avoid" is the wrong word. There's nothing really wrong with it after perhaps a mod to reduce grenade chucking. It's just that it kind of missed the point and therefore isn't a must-play.

Yeah, if you miss being in the Zone you should pick it up. It should be pretty cheap (10 bucks last week at Newegg, maybe still there?), and it has a few things that make the game a bit more enjoyable (cleverer AI, tons of upgrades along with a decent weapon and armor from the start, and tons of sidequests that make the factions feel more coherent).

I haven't reached the spot where it "misses the point" yet, and am just exploring. I forgot how immersive the game's atmosphere is - if you at all liked the first game, I'd recommend picking it up.

Tim James
10-07-2009, 11:29 AM
Not to turn this into a Clear Sky thread because everything's been said on the game already, but it doesn't capture the same flavor as the original. It's a great action shooter with some interesting (if underutilized) action-RPG and tactical strategy elements, but most people agree that GSC went in the wrong direction. I haven't played it recently so I can't give a better description than that. Maybe just read the Jim Rossingol review.

Still, no reason to avoid it unless you want to preserve some ideal about STALKER in your mind.

It'll be interesting to see where Call of Pripyat lands in these terms. "Better than one and not the other" doesn't help unless you can verify where that opinion is coming from.

Paul_cze
10-07-2009, 11:50 AM
I would recommend Stalker Clear Sky to anyone that liked SoC. It is worse, yeah, but it is still Stalker, and that means awesome.Still great atmosphere and location design, and even some great gameplay additions, like upgrading and artifact searching, which I loved in that game.I would give it 8/10 (SoC 9.5). I played version 1.5.10 though, which was bugfree.

Tim James
10-12-2009, 10:19 AM
Apparently the most common bug complaint is a crash when entering Pripyat that exists in one of the pirated versions. Always funny to see that (and sad for the developers if the game gets a reputation for bugs due to copy protection).

CLWheeljack
10-12-2009, 10:23 AM
Apparently the most common bug complaint is a crash when entering Pripyat that exists in one of the pirated versions. Always funny to see that (and sad for the developers if the game gets a reputation for bugs due to copy protection).

Really, having just one bug is such a step up for STALKER that I imagine it won't hurt them too much.

Tim James
10-12-2009, 10:45 AM
Good point! I guess it would be more like the Internet kids dismissing it as the same old crap from GSC, where if we can believe early reports it sounds like they made some progress.

jellyfish
10-12-2009, 04:07 PM
I read something in the line of "better than Clear Sky, not as good as Stalker SoC".
I just finished playing both Stalker games back to back. I don't understand why Stalker 2 is considered the inferior game. It is more of the same with updated graphics and mechanics. So what if it isn't scary? Ooooh ooh. I wasn't scared during the first one either. I am a grown up (age-wise anyway).

Hump
10-12-2009, 04:13 PM
I enjoyed CS but I wish there were a way to implement the equipment upgrades and artifact hunting into SoC since it adds so much the the combat and exploration.

Equis
10-12-2009, 08:19 PM
I just finished playing both Stalker games back to back. I don't understand why Stalker 2 is considered the inferior game. It is more of the same with updated graphics and mechanics. So what if it isn't scary? Ooooh ooh. I wasn't scared during the first one either. I am a grown up (age-wise anyway).

Game play wise.

CS added far too many retarded re-spawning enemies, either in the faction war or the general bandit population. It made the entire area feel less STALKERish and more like a very poor combat sandbox where every step you take you could get killed. Added to that was the fact that enemies had an unerring accuracy with grenades and sniper rifles and would basically shoot you from halfway across the map.

On the whole, it made Stalker less of a stalkerish survival game, and more of a "Oh hell, oh hell , where do I sprint to now" kinda game, which loses the entire point of why the first game was so great.

TurinTur
10-13-2009, 12:20 AM
Stalker had the right mix between random exploration and combat in a pseudo-open scenario and interesting quests and places, related to the main plot. CS broke that balance focusing too much in the first thing. The "dynamic battle" concept from CS worked better in paper than in reality, generaly speaking. But yeah, upgrading weapons and artifact hunting were fun.

Quitch
10-17-2009, 06:01 AM
Agreed, CS was far better for artefacts, but the game lost its desolate wilderness feel with every building housing hordes of some faction.

TurinTur
10-24-2009, 01:40 PM
VE3D has some new gameplay videos of STALKER Call of Pripyat
http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/50968/S-T-A-L-K-E-R-Call-Of-Pripyat-Gameplay-Movies

And while i haven't done any heavy reseraching, in the last weeks i have been hearing nice things about the game, some people says it's the best Stalker game to date.

Tim James
10-26-2009, 09:35 AM
And while i haven't done any heavy reseraching, in the last weeks i have been hearing nice things about the game, some people says it's the best Stalker game to date.Yes, I heard a few murmurs on the forums like that. Like I said above, I don't care if it's better than SoC, only that it's really good and has a long life in the mod scene.

Alistair
10-26-2009, 07:37 PM
I see Stalker itself is $5 on Steam...

Account Formerly Known as Brandon
10-26-2009, 08:15 PM
I see Stalker itself is $5 on Steam...

$5 ? because i see an even better deal: $3.75 USD

so for $3.75 i got it, even though i have it retail. (cup of coffee, right?)

Cormac
11-05-2009, 02:56 AM
Just noticed that this game is available at amazon germany, but not in the US or UK... Strange release schedule, its almost as if the russian & german market is functioning as Beta testers!

I'm curious about the game as I quite enjoyed SoC (never played CS), but I'm not really keen to play it in german.. (according to amazon, its not a multi language release)

However, my copy of Dragon Age should be arriving today or tomorrow, so I doubt I'd have time to play Stalker at the moment anyway!

Tim James
11-05-2009, 03:38 AM
The theory is it's extra time for localization. There aren't as many bugs this time around.

Zylon
11-05-2009, 05:58 AM
However, my copy of Dragon Age should be arriving today or tomorrow, so I doubt I'd have time to play Stalker at the moment anyway!
This just gave me an idea for the gaming mashups thread.

TurinTur
11-17-2009, 08:45 AM
http://files.gsc-game.com/st/bench/stkcop-bench-setup.exe



This benchmark is based on one of the ingame locations – Pripyat . The testing process includes four stages, those utilizing various weather and time of the day settings (day, night, rain, bright sun). In order to test your system thoroughly the benchmark is provided with a number of presets and options including different versions of DirectX (9.0, 10.0, 11), screen resolutions, antialiasing etc, all at your disposal.

LMN8R
11-17-2009, 12:44 PM
So there was talk about DX11 being backwards compatible with current DX10 hardware. Is that true with Call of Pripyat? Perhaps a DX11 renderer but just with Hardware Tesselation disabled or something?

Wouldn't mind getting a few extra frames with DX11 over DX10 with identical image quality...

Paul_cze
11-17-2009, 01:14 PM
http://files.gsc-game.com/st/bench/stkcop-bench-setup.exe
Just tested it, preset "extreme" in 1920*1200:

averages:
day - 78
night - 86
rain - 94
sunshafts - 24 (brutal)

on c2d 3.16ghz, gtx 280 and winxp (thus dx9).
The last test is really brutal, but in the full game I will just drop godrays to low and be done with it, did the same in Clear Sky and they were still looking good with framerate much higher.

Tim James
11-17-2009, 01:39 PM
I heard some noise that even the top sunray setting is no longer as taxing as it was in Clear Sky. That was really bad.

Zylon
11-17-2009, 01:49 PM
sunshafts - 24 (brutal)
If it's good enough for Michael Bay, it's good enough for you, ya whiner.

Paul_cze
11-17-2009, 02:22 PM
Fuck Michael Bay, 60 is where it's at.

Alistair
11-17-2009, 02:27 PM
I don't know if it's representative, but the area in that benchmark is pretty uninspiring. The more advanced lighting options help it, as does the lightning, but it's not much of an ad for the game.

Tim James
11-17-2009, 03:02 PM
As stated above, they dialed down the graphics and world detail in order to use fewer but larger maps. It's an aging engine that until recently still had a DX 8 render option. It does gritty atmosphere and color effects quite well, but has plenty of other flaws.

Alistair
11-17-2009, 03:39 PM
More worryingly, I can't delete the install file. It hangs explorer.

Paul_cze
11-17-2009, 04:17 PM
I deleted it just fine, if you mean the benchmark installer.You sure you don't have installed frakked up version of Securom? I remember it did the same thing for me a year ago.

Tim James
11-17-2009, 04:28 PM
For some reason it wouldn't do the Day scenario in anything less than extreme/enhanced. With an E8400 @ 3GHz and 4850 on 1600x1200, I got 49, 53.7, 57.9, 19.1. Looks like your 280 did a lot better, even at higher resolution.

Actually, where was DX11 supposed to come into play? Was that detected automatically maybe? I'm on XP.

TurinTur
11-18-2009, 12:15 AM
For some reason it wouldn't do the Day scenario in anything less than extreme/enhanced. With an E8400 @ 3GHz and 4850 on 1600x1200, I got 49, 53.7, 57.9, 19.1. Looks like your 280 did a lot better, even at higher resolution.

Actually, where was DX11 supposed to come into play? Was that detected automatically maybe? I'm on XP.

If DX10 is exclusive to Vista and Windows 7, do you think you can run DX11 on less? I don't think so xD.

Tim James
11-18-2009, 04:12 AM
I know, so it must autodetect and then enable DX10 features if they are available.

Tim James
11-23-2009, 07:04 AM
There is a rumor on the GSC forums that the Polish version (out Nov 27th) will have an option for English voiceovers. Not sure on the quality of voice work. It also won't have an English text option but you can combine it with the unofficial translation the community has done.

It all sounds pretty fishy, but maybe someone here can check it out for us.

Paul_cze
11-23-2009, 07:19 AM
I'll rather wait for official english release myself.Giving them more time to patch it is never a bad thing, even if the game is ten times more playable than CS was at release already.

Tim James
11-23-2009, 08:09 AM
Always love to hear Jim's take on STALKER games.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/11/23/hands-on-with-call-of-pripyat/

It’s also weirder, at least at an environmental level. While there was some strange stuff in SHOC’s world, Call Of Pripyat reminds me a little more of the open surrealism of Pathologic.We might diverge on this weird stuff since he isn't sure it's a change for the better. I just want the world to surprise me again.

The fatigue mechanics do worry me, and balance is always a pain. I'm sure there will be mods for it but you never know if they're any good or not for the entire game.

Tim James
12-15-2009, 12:19 PM
Confirmed for February 2nd in North America. Still not sure how I'm going to talk myself into another PC upgrade before then but I don't think it's that important this time around.

Paul_cze
12-15-2009, 01:14 PM
Game is already out here, but I will not buy it and wait for english version..cannot stand localized translation.There is one review (eurogamer.cz), gives 7/10 because it lacks originality, but also says that it is must buy for any stalker fan, plus it is very stable and mostly bug free (only bug he specifies is one quest where he did not receive reward upon completion, but loading save fixed it).He specifically says that it did not crash once during entire playthrough, so at least they learned this lesson.

Tim James
12-15-2009, 01:38 PM
The GSC forums said they ought to have patch 2 out there before NA release, and they half-joked it might not even need any more patches after that! Most of the response says it gets close to SoC, but I've heard a few criticisms like the world seems a little empty. Jim had a few more nitpicks at RPS, but I'm pretty confident I'll have a good time with it.

Paul_cze
12-15-2009, 02:29 PM
Yeah I am sure I will love it too.I like the concept of only 3 locations (and therefore 3 loading screens) which are a lot larger.Hopefully for proper Stalker 2 (damn I wish it was PC only) they will be able to create it completely loading-free, like Risen or ArmA 2 for example.

Tim James
01-29-2010, 11:45 AM
Just ran the benchmark again with this 5850. E8400 @ 3.15 GHz (just messing around) and stock card at 1600x1200 in XP with extreme/enhanced (though again, not sure if anything in the enhanced dynamic lighting is enabled in DX9):

104, 112, 126, 47

Looks like I should be good to go until I throw Windows 7 and DX10 on here.

TurinTur
02-01-2010, 11:32 AM
Game will be out this week! :)
23.5 euros in play.com

Tim James
02-01-2010, 12:08 PM
Missing in action on all the US digital distribution sites. I pre-ordered from Amazon just in case.

Sean Tudor
02-01-2010, 04:03 PM
No Steam release?

LMN8R
02-01-2010, 04:31 PM
Yeah, seems really odd. What the heck is their new publisher doing?

Rock8man
02-01-2010, 05:44 PM
Very positive review over at Eurogamer (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/stalker-call-of-pripyat-review).

Tim James
02-01-2010, 07:07 PM
Yeah, seems really odd. What the heck is their new publisher doing?It must be some sort of crazy European business strategy: release the game in bits and spurts over the course of 4 months. Declare bankruptcy. Profit, etc.


Very positive review over at Eurogamer (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/stalker-call-of-pripyat-review).What, no Jim Rossignol? Perhaps uttering his name will summon him to explain where his review will be. That EG review sounds about right from the early buzz. Good solid game, better than Clear Sky, but not going to amaze anyone like the original.

My favorite today though is the wallet threat level post on Fidgit:

If you're a STALKER fan, which is more difficult in a post-Fallout 3 world than it was in a pre-Fallout 3 world, beware the sequel. STALKER: Call of Pripyat is out this week.Oh, Tom!

Rock8man
02-01-2010, 07:19 PM
Are you agreeing with Tom, or disagreeing? After a few hours with Fallout 3, I wasn't that impressed either. But recently, playing all the way through the GOTY edition, I was pretty much blown away. I could totally see myself not being as impressed with STALKER now that I've played such an impressive post-apocalyptic game.

Tim James
02-01-2010, 07:34 PM
They're totally different experiences, although I haven't played Fallout 3 for hundreds of hours so I might change my tune. Still it wasn't so much the world that grabbed me compared to some unique sequences I haven't seen any other game come close to, so I'm willing to grant that some people wouldn't be able to go back after a better fleshed-out world.

But so typical that an Xbox fanboy would post that!!!! (Okay, I've got nothing.)

Disconnected
02-01-2010, 08:45 PM
Are you agreeing with Tom, or disagreeing?

I know I'm disagreeing. They're much too antithetical. I don't see how anyone could like both for the same things, or even vaguely similar ones.

Tom Chick
02-01-2010, 09:04 PM
The point is that Fallout 3 stole a lot of STALKER's thunder. There's no need to release the hounds, or even get their hackles up. You don't even have to write an angry screed about how STALKER and Fallout 3 are different, because I've actually played them both. Honest!

-Tom

Tim James
02-01-2010, 09:11 PM
The point is that Fallout 3 stole a lot of STALKER's thunder. There's no need to release the hounds, or even get their hackles up. You don't even have to write an angry screed about how STALKER and Fallout 3 are different, because I've actually played them both. Honest!Prepare for 14 pages of line-by-line quoting rage.

Really though, I was just having fun with it at first but then Rock8man actually asked. I welcome as many post-apocalypse games that steal STALKER's thunder as developers want to create. Embarrassment of riches.

Tom Chick
02-01-2010, 09:24 PM
Well, I will grant that one important difference between Fallout 3 and STALKER is that STALKER sucks! Ha ha! I totally pwnt all you STALKER fanboyz.

I am really looking forward to checking out Call of Pripyat. Fallout 3 certainly wasn't much of a shooter. Although heck if I know where we're actually supposed to get the dang game.

-Tom

chequers
02-01-2010, 09:45 PM
It's not STALKER if it's not the original Russian version.

TurinTur
02-01-2010, 11:56 PM
The point is that Fallout 3 stole a lot of STALKER's thunder. There's no need to release the hounds, or even get their hackles up. You don't even have to write an angry screed about how STALKER and Fallout 3 are different, because I've actually played them both. Honest!

-Tom

Being Stalker mi favorite game of 07 and Fallout 3 mi favorite game of 08, i have to say that, indeed, Stalker and Fallout 3 are much different games. The fact you have played both doesn't affect the other fact: you are wrong. I can see the shallow relation of the two games that made you write that sentence in fidgit, but really, you are wrong. :P

Because Fallout 3 didn't stole STALKER's thunder. Apart that Fallout 3 didn't satisfy my (or anyone) FPS needs, and that atmosphere was different in both games (and better in Stalker), Stalker's thunder was lost by GSC themselves, because well, after the game in 2007, they have only made an inferior game (Clear Sky) and what it seems a decent "standalone addon" (Call of Pripryat) both with basically the same engine, the same graphical and audio assets, and with a very little changed gameplay.

edit: Also, you loved Far Cry 2. Opinion disregarded!

LMN8R
02-02-2010, 12:19 AM
Rock Paper Shotgun has their review up too: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/02/02/wot-i-think-call-of-pripyat/

chequers
02-02-2010, 12:19 AM
I think Tom's point is that they're both post apocalyptic open world games, and when you're part of the unwashed masses, why would you play a presumably crappy Russian version when you can play the good old American one?

I am super looking forward to CoP. Where can I buy a digital copy from? Anywhere?

LMN8R
02-02-2010, 12:28 AM
Rock Paper Shotgun has their review up too: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/02/02/wot-i-think-call-of-pripyat/
Jim also says in the comments that it'll probably be hitting Steam this Friday along with the UK release.

TurinTur
02-02-2010, 12:33 AM
Even the unwashed masses would be capable of differentiate between a mediocre shooter with VATS bolted on it with the "Oblivion appeal" and a real FPS with a very russian feel. Don't understimate the masses, they also made some FPS a blockbuster sucess while ignoring others similar games, even if both were scifi or modern war first person shooters.

And if they chose the goold old American one just because, well, they weren't part of the audience of Stalker in first place so nothing was stole.

Disconnected
02-02-2010, 12:33 AM
The point is that Fallout 3 stole a lot of STALKER's thunder. There's no need to release the hounds, or even get their hackles up.

Sorry, Tom. That came out all wrong. Also, I didn't consider the uninitiated might assume they're similar games.

Rock8man
02-02-2010, 12:44 AM
I really wanted to get into the original STALKER, but what gets me every time is that first mission. You're sent to a bunch of houses, armed with a pistol, and that whole fight just feels so awkward. Obviously I get the gun off one of the first people I kill and use that instead of the pistol, but it still doesn't feel right. I'm not sure what it is about the mechanics of the game that feel so weird, but I just can't shoot at what I want to shoot. I had to reload and replay that sequence about 10 times before I managed to kill everyone. And that just wasn't very appealing to me.

Is that what people are usually talking about when they say that the game feels unpolished? The actual shooting mechanics? Because if so, maybe Stalker just isn't a game for me. Or is it some kind of RPG where I'll get better at using those weapons later on somehow? Anyway, every time I restart that game from scratch, I run into that first firefight, and that's where I usually quit. It's just not satisfying to shoot a gun in that game because...... well, I'm not sure why. I guess I should pay more attention next time as to why the mechanics don't feel right.

Fallout 3 kind of had the same problem, but at least it had VATS mode, which gets around the problem of not liking the shooting mechanics. Maybe I just need to get farther into Stalker. Maybe there's better weapons, and the weapons in that first fight are just poor weapons or something?

TurinTur
02-02-2010, 12:59 AM
Rock8man, it's true the beginning of the game is harsh, but later you win better weapons and armor, apart from medical supplies, so the combat feels a bit more tolerable. Weapons in special, you will feel more in control when you have a decent rifle instead of a pistol or a limiting short range shotgun.

Also, the system is not very punishing for me. Why? Because the AI, it's very good. If i die, i try again and it's a pleasure to see how the firefight plays in a different manner, perhaps that second time i will try to flank more carefully by another direction, etc.

Paul_cze
02-02-2010, 01:56 AM
The shooting mechanic of Stalker is awesome, the feel of guns is perfect imo. It is supposed to suck in the beginning with the sucky weapons.

Rock8man
02-02-2010, 02:11 AM
Yeah, sorry for the derail of the topic.

I just restarted the game again. There's a few things that bother me: When I shoot someone, they just kind of have the same "I got hit" animation that plays quickly, and then they start shooting again. So headshots become super important. It sort of helped me to think of the game as an RPG instead of a shooter, actually. That way I could think of it as "I just shot the guy four times, and his hit points went down each time, but he's still got a lot of hit points left, which is why he's not limping or being phased by my bullets. I just need to hit him in the head to get a critical hit, that way all his hitpoints will be gone".

Another thing I didn't like is the amount of headbob in the game. It really is kind of ridiculous. More than any other game I've ever played, I think.

The final thing that bothered me is the amount of keys I have to constantly press. So if I want my gun super-stabilized and as accurate as possible, I'm sitting there not only crouched (Shift), but super-crouched (Ctrl+Shift), and I'm aiming down the sights (Right Mouse Button), and I'm also leaning around the corner (Q or E), and I'm pulling the trigger occasionally (LMB). It's kind of a pain. Hopefully I'll just get used to it, but it seems silly that I can't just toggle all this stuff. Just let me toggle super-crouched mode, and RMB should aim down sights, but as a toggle. Just seems really clunky to be pressing all these buttons at once.

One thing that really helped was what Naeblis said above: each time I re-loaded from a save, the fight plays out differently. Honestly it's the first game I've played besides Halo for which this is true. Every time I have to replay a fight, the guys do something different. Definitely makes it interesting. That's one of the reasons why I never got tired of the fighting in Halo, and that bodes well in this game.

Perhaps I'll take this talk to the proper STALKER thread, now that I'm trying to figure out how to get past the anomalies blocking my way from crossing under the railway tracks.

Raife
02-02-2010, 02:13 AM
Game will be out this week! :)
23.5 euros in play.com

What is that in real money?

TurinTur
02-02-2010, 02:18 AM
Nah, it's always good to talk about Stalker. xD

Some points

-Yeah, headhsots are pretty important in this game. But in the first hour, when you have sucky weapons, they are SUPER important. Later you can go for the typical "high chest" shots.

-I think they are some mods to reduce/disable the headbob.

-Use the toggle crouch key, press it once, you will be half-crouched. Then when you want to use supercruch you will have to press one key, instead of two, which is a bit more easy. But yes, this is a control issue in the game, i am not really trying to defend the whole crouched/super crouched thing.

-Perhaps, use a guide for the first half hour of the game. There is a half decent armor hidden in the beginning stalker camp, in some roof. It's hard to get it, but it will make the first 4-5 fight easier.

Cormac
02-02-2010, 02:23 AM
What is that in real money?
How about this (http://en.lmgtfy.com/?q=24+euro+in+dollars)?

Raife
02-02-2010, 02:26 AM
I meant in rubles.

djotefsoup
02-02-2010, 02:32 AM
Ammo and armour are super duper important! You're right about STALKER having a very RPG-like difficulty curve where having crappy gear puts you at a very large disadvantage. First priority - acquire some armour with at least a chest plate in it (one of the early bonus quests available from nimble at the first bandit lair). Second priority - get something with a scope on it for easier headshots. Third priority - get some armour piercing ammo to deal with military/environment suit/exosuit baddies.

The armour system in stalker is actually quite advanced, with about a couple of dozen different hit zones on a human with different damage reductions for just about every articulated part of the model - beasts work the same way, though generally it's not used for much on them without mods. Headshots work best as you've noticed, but there are a few different ways to stumble enemies and work around their armour too.

Disconnected
02-02-2010, 03:07 AM
When I shoot someone, they just kind of have the same "I got hit" animation that plays quickly, and then they start shooting again.

Bad animations are one thing Stalker & FO3 really do have in common. The "ouch-duck" one, though, does serve the purpose of messing up your aim when you don't quite manage a headshot.

Stalker uses a semi-realistic damage system, with multiple damage and vulnerability types of variable magnitudes, and locational damage.

So yes, headshots are important. Especially if your weapon has so little stopping power it would take a clip or more to stop a Doberman in the real world, and you're shooting at moderately armoured targets.

It's not that Stalker is a RPG or has RPG-like combat mechanics. It's simply that Stalker doesn't have arcade-like mechanics. When you get your hands on weapons that should blow great, big holes in moderately armoured bandits, that's exactly what will happen. Minus the actual holes, mind, but I trust you get the idea.

That said, you should have some reasonably competent help along when you take out the Farm. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'd suggest you backtrack a little and have another look around.


Another thing I didn't like is the amount of headbob in the game. It really is kind of ridiculous. More than any other game I've ever played, I think. I can't play with that either. You can fix it manually by editing the gamesettings (can't remember how), or you can download a noheadbob mod and change the line "$game data$ recurs" to "true" in the fsgame.ltx file (which you'll need to do to use mods).


The final thing that bothered me is the amount of keys I have to constantly press.It bugs me too. My solution has been a combination of remapping the controls, and mapping some combinations to my mouse (prone aiming, for example, is set to be a 1-button toggle on my mouse). If you have more than the bare minimum mouse buttons, you might want to do the same. It only takes 5 minutes and the software is free (depending on your mouse & OS, you may already have it installed).

That said, the alternative would bug me far more. If you can manage to map your available options in a way you can actually use them, they add a great deal to the game. Sadly, shooters almost never offer more than crouch/jump/aim these days.

belgerog
02-02-2010, 06:00 AM
Ammo and armour are super duper important! You're right about STALKER having a very RPG-like difficulty curve where having crappy gear puts you at a very large disadvantage. First priority - acquire some armour with at least a chest plate in it (one of the early bonus quests available from nimble at the first bandit lair).


That's one of the things that made STALKER great for me. You always needed supplies, and exploring the environments in the game was always exciting. I was so happy when I finally found my first AK-74 (not the AK-74U or whatever the small version is called). And the firefights were always intense, even in the beggining, when you had to get really close to use the pistol or the first shotgun. I think few FPSs have done combat as well as STALKER, I love both the pacing and the feel of the guns. Valve could learn a thing or two with them.

I never finished Clear Sky but I did have one awesome moment in the swamps, hunting bandints in the night, prowling in the darkness.

GloriousMess
02-02-2010, 06:23 AM
I'm not sure STALKER or Fallout 3 were particularly great shooters personally, although STALKER did have the edge in that it felt better, and didn't use the irritating Oblivion-esque graphics engine. STALKER looked gritty, and appropriately so given the setting.
But the one thing that STALKER has over Fallout 3, and that I hope is resurrected in Pripyat, is the atmosphere. It's the spookiest, unnerving game I've played in a long time, especially the labs. The Eurogamer review is encouraging I must admit.

Tim James
02-02-2010, 07:20 AM
Steam on Friday makes sense. I remember for Clear Sky, Deep Silver held the release date back a week for some last second problem and Steam complied with that, so they must be waiting for the final worldwide release. I'll stick with Amazon.


The Eurogamer review is encouraging I must admit.It implies that we're revisiting the lengthy lab complexes from the original, but I don't think that's the case. Jim's take at RPS seems to be evenhanded about that particular aspect.

Zylon
02-02-2010, 10:23 AM
It sort of helped me to think of the game as an RPG instead of a shooter, actually. That way I could think of it as "I just shot the guy four times, and his hit points went down each time, but he's still got a lot of hit points left, which is why he's not limping or being phased by my bullets. I just need to hit him in the head to get a critical hit, that way all his hitpoints will be gone".
Ummm, isn't that exactly how most shooters play?

Rock8man
02-02-2010, 12:02 PM
Ummm, isn't that exactly how most shooters play?

Not really. Most shooters have a longer animation for people getting hit. Take any of the Call of Duty games for example. Even on the hardest difficulty, if you keep hitting people in the chest, they don't really ever get out of the "getting hit" animation long enough to shoot back as long as you're shooting at a reasonable clip. Goldeneye was the first game I'd played with long played out animations for people getting hit in different limbs, and it was a real revelation. Most shooters after that transferred to that kind of model, I think. It took a few years though.

Tim James
02-02-2010, 12:20 PM
It's not really a game where you want to have a QT3-style nitpick party over it. You'll grow old and die before you finish talking about mechanics that were done better in last gen console shooters. If you're the picky type you just have to brute force it 5-10 hours to some of the early unique parts, at which point you'll either get it or can safely drop it.

But I'll cheat and offer two tips: use a mod to remove headbob like everyone else does, and since you like unique shooter combat make sure you work the AI to take advantage of the system. They will focus on your last known position (or your allies), so flank around behind a hill or building and hit them while they're completely exposed. I was able to do this during the first quest you mentioned above so I was luckier than most in getting hooked right away.

Rock8man
02-02-2010, 01:55 PM
My intention was not to nitpick Tim, it was just that I was bothered that I couldn't articulate why the game didn't feel right. So I went back and played it so that I could discover why it didn't feel right. And this time I noticed specifics that could add up to the feeling I was talking about.

That said, I left this session with a much better view of the game than the last few times. I'll definitely look into that no-head-bob mod. And I'll try to find the better armor and things of that nature that you guys are talking about. Maybe I'll even figure out how to get past that railway track one of these days. That's been the main thing that's been keeping me in the opening area of the game always.

Tim James
02-02-2010, 02:00 PM
I think you can time it by throwing bolts but I never bothered. Just pay the military guys (or kill them) or look on the other side of the map for a place you can walk up over the tracks and not get too irradiated or killed by an anomaly.

The GSC forums say Target already has some copies if Pripyat, but YMMV of course. The girl at my local one was struggling to locate this obscure PC game so I told her to forget it. Looks like Amazon is boxing it up anyway so no need to grab it today.

Besides, I told my wife I'd spend some time with her tonight before I binged on ME2 and CoP starting Wednesday. :)

Zylon
02-02-2010, 02:43 PM
There's an excellent set of armor right in the starting area, concealed in one of the attics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEhP_cqC-w0).

If memory serves, you can get to the other side of the tracks via the tunnel, but the lightning anomalies in there are set up so that it's pretty much a one-way route. To get back, you have to either kill or bribe the guards. Either shouldn't be a problem by then.

And don't even try playing it without one of the fan patches. It's far too broken out of the box.

None
02-02-2010, 02:48 PM
FWIW, I think they changed the armor you can get in the starting area with one of their patches. I vaguely recall getting a full blow Stalker suit pre-patch and something not quite as good post-patch, like a mercenary's jacket or some such.

And, yes, it is possible to cross over the tracks. There's a break in the fence along the railway, I believe (along with a stash, probably empty).

David Erikson
02-02-2010, 04:16 PM
Another thing I didn't like is the amount of headbob in the game. It really is kind of ridiculous. More than any other game I've ever played, I think.

Yeap, I agree. In fact that headbobing bothered me so much I don't think I could continue enjoying the game unless I could take care of that issue.

Fortunately after some digging around I've found several solutions for it. First there is a mod that removes headbobbing completely, so the game plays very smoothly. Even better if slightly more complicated solution is to mess with game's main .ini file manually (that's what I did). After playing around I've found a perfect settings for me - on walking the headbobbing is eliminated completely, and on running it is about 50% of what it is in default settings.

As far as STALKER concerned - I am not a big fan of FPS in general, but STALKER is a great game. I would suggest you to stick with it and you'll likely to have a lot of fun once you get past a bit of rough start.

Rock8man
02-02-2010, 05:28 PM
Hmmm. I might have made a mistake by going a bit overboard. I installed the Stalker Complete 2009 (http://www.moddb.com/mods/stalker-complete-2009/downloads/stalker-complete-2009-14-exe-installer) mod, which removes head-bob, bugs, and includes lots of great changes, but it also changes the look and feel of the game quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, it looks very good. But now that the sun comes out and the lighting of the game is so different, it doesn't have the same atmosphere as the original anymore.

Still, the interface is better, the game looks way more gorgeous now, so I think I might stick with this. I just hope I didn't alter the game so much that it won't be the same as the original intent.

Tim James
02-02-2010, 07:00 PM
Haven't tried it myself but it's a popular one because it stays close to the original intent. It does make the lighting a bit brighter during the day so it's up to you.

djotefsoup
02-03-2010, 12:51 AM
Hmmm. I might have made a mistake by going a bit overboard. I installed the Stalker Complete 2009 (http://www.moddb.com/mods/stalker-complete-2009/downloads/stalker-complete-2009-14-exe-installer) mod, which removes head-bob, bugs, and includes lots of great changes, but it also changes the look and feel of the game quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, it looks very good. But now that the sun comes out and the lighting of the game is so different, it doesn't have the same atmosphere as the original anymore.

Still, the interface is better, the game looks way more gorgeous now, so I think I might stick with this. I just hope I didn't alter the game so much that it won't be the same as the original intent.

The mods really make the game, if you have AMK, Oblivion Lost and Complete 2009, it's almost like you have 3 different sequels using the same assets. AMK is my favorite (I did some testing for the english translation) and it was the first to really explore a lot of the more interesting engine functions, but the others have some really neat stuff on their own too and Complete mostly eliminates the need for crash-inducing sub modding.

Clear Sky kind of went the opposite way to what I thought it would - they were inches from having an Oblivion-like open world economy and mob behaviour, proper 3d ballistics, and a real Roadside Picnic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadside_Picnic) style atmosphere, which AMK tried to pull it towards. Instead they locked down the mobs, game-d up the ballistics far in excess of what was in original Stalker (coded hit probabilities independent of where you aimed), and made the zone far more human-friendly. To me it was fundamentally less interesting as a result. On the other hand if you add a global IM system where humans talk to other humans on an open net, add random blowouts, add tiredness and sleep and the requirement for shelter from them as a factor, add proper scopes and ballistics, add a bunch of different mutants and mutant behaviours, make spawn zones random, make using a detector and the bolts compulsory with invisible anomalies like in the book - then you have something pretty interesting.

TurinTur
02-03-2010, 04:01 AM
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalkercallofpripyat/review.html

Another 8/10.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 05:49 AM
Amazon boned me and delayed shipment (the whole experience has been almost as bumbling as a Steam launch) so I grabbed a copy at Target on the way in to work. There was some speculation that since Viva Media is a casual games distributor in NA that it makes sense Target got the first copies. Kind of funny.

TurinTur
02-03-2010, 07:28 AM
Well, you will be the official first-impressions-research-team Stalker. We will wait for a report.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 07:36 AM
I'm mostly looking for something that stands out. I actually thought Clear Sky was solid, just kind of pedestrian since GSC missed some opportunities. So it's not a matter of the game being good but whether it can produce any amazing sequences. I count at least five in SoC and almost one in CS (the redone Red Forest at night) so just one part here that blows me out of my comfy desk chair will make it time and money well spent.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 01:59 PM
I can safely report that it's still possible to sneak up on a bandit who is looting a corpse, and murder him in cold blood to take his gear.

Also, wow this engine looks really old unmodified. I think they toned down the complexity of the levels so they could make them bigger and it's quite bland looking.

TurinTur
02-03-2010, 02:10 PM
Also, wow this engine looks really old unmodified. I think they toned down the complexity of the levels so they could make them bigger and it's quite bland looking.

I already heard this one, when the game was released in Russia. :/

Bandersnatch
02-03-2010, 02:15 PM
I can safely report that it's still possible to sneak up on a bandit who is looting a corpse, and murder him in cold blood to take his gear.

Also, wow this engine looks really old unmodified. I think they toned down the complexity of the levels so they could make them bigger and it's quite bland looking.

Are you talking about sneaking and knifing them or shooting? I remember trying to knife enemies silently and failing 100% of the time in the previous two games. No matter how careful I was they would auto detect me right before I could knife them and shoot me in the face.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 02:24 PM
I already heard this one, when the game was released in Russia. :/It still looks great up close but they like to make these wide open maps that let you look as far as possible, and it ends up being silly.


Are you talking about sneaking and knifing them or shooting? I remember trying to knife enemies silently and failing 100% of the time in the previous two games. No matter how careful I was they would auto detect me right before I could knife them and shoot me in the face.Haven't tried the knife yet but there is a new sound bar in the HUD that seems to indicate how much noise you make. The bandit I shot in the back of the head at point-blank range was neutral to me at the time. I read in a review that most humans are like this now.

Before I get back in there, I wonder if I should look for an endurance mod. Already have a low-headbob mod in there.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 05:06 PM
They have formalized artifact hunting even more and put them in unique areas throughout the map. I don't know if I was the only one, but I actually liked finding those with my detector in Clear Sky (rather than laying about as in the original) so I'm glad to see that's back in an even bigger way here.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 06:53 PM
I already heard this one, when the game was released in Russia. :/I've noticed that it's the normal and color maps on distant land that are super low fidelity, so I think modders should be able to improve that pretty easily for video cards with more memory.

GSC talked a lot about many unique side quests instead of randomized kill/fetch crap. So far they are decent. It looks like this is the type of game with lots of running around and questing. Still need to keep playing to look for the intense sequences.

Tim James
02-03-2010, 08:56 PM
This may be the easiest of the three games to get started as a new player to the series. You start with a decent weapon and armor, there are no anomalies to wander into randomly, and there's even a designated place to sleep and stash your stuff in the first safehouse. It's just kind of directionless for the first 10 minutes.

I don't know yet whether the experience is worth recommending as the first game to try, but they make it a lot easier.

So far I've noticed a lot of the same harmless glitches. No crashes or bugs so far, but the usual goofiness from this old-ass engine. It's all cute and forgiveable but I kind of hope this is their last game before a big overhaul.

flyinj
02-03-2010, 10:15 PM
This may be the easiest of the three games to get started as a new player to the series. You start with a decent weapon and armor, there are no anomalies to wander into randomly, and there's even a designated place to sleep and stash your stuff in the first safehouse. It's just kind of directionless for the first 10 minutes.

I don't know yet whether the experience is worth recommending as the first game to try, but they make it a lot easier.

So far I've noticed a lot of the same harmless glitches. No crashes or bugs so far, but the usual goofiness from this old-ass engine. It's all cute and forgiveable but I kind of hope this is their last game before a big overhaul.

I actually loved the beginning portions of Stalker. Having a complete shit pea-shooter and barely scraping by really made you appreciate that rusty old sub machine gun you finally came across.

Paul_cze
02-03-2010, 10:51 PM
I actually loved the beginning portions of Stalker. Having a complete shit pea-shooter and barely scraping by really made you appreciate that rusty old sub machine gun you finally came across.

Exactly.
I played always on Stalker difficulty (medium?) and the first few fights took a few tries, but the challenge is big part of fun.And it makes getting new weapons/armor that much rewarding.

TurinTur
02-04-2010, 01:53 AM
Are you talking about sneaking and knifing them or shooting? I remember trying to knife enemies silently and failing 100% of the time in the previous two games. No matter how careful I was they would auto detect me right before I could knife them and shoot me in the face.

I got to kill 2-3 guys in the first Stalker using the knife, from behind.

Disconnected
02-04-2010, 04:55 AM
I actually loved the beginning portions of Stalker. Having a complete shit pea-shooter and barely scraping by really made you appreciate that rusty old sub machine gun you finally came across.

I loved it too the first time I played SoC, most likely because it had by far the most competent AI I'd met in a FPS (in open terrain anyway). Getting torn apart by wild dogs managed to be a lot of fun.

I still don't mind it in SoC or CS, but only because it helps set the mood and increases the gratification of getting decent gear. It's not fun in itself like it was in my first SoC playthrough.

Incidentally, I've never managed to backstab anyone either. But I haven't tried very hard.

Tim James
02-04-2010, 05:40 AM
Someone on another forum confirmed my initial impression about the change in pace to the game. It's kind of open ended like Clear Sky except this time there are more interesting things to do. Grabbing artifacts is like a puzzle or obstacle course, the semi-custom side quests are decent, but you're given a wide area to explore on your own at the start with lots to do and plenty of random conflicts, rather than being somewhat funneled between maps in the first two games.

GSC seems to be actively changing the design of these games as they go along. I wonder if this is closer to how they originally envisioned the open endedness in their game (after they switched away from making a linear level-based shooter).

What could be interesting here is whether CoP has some serious legs for modders. SoC is great but still relatively linear; if they can expand and spruce up CoP we might get a STALKER universe to live and play in for a while. Only thing missing is the faction warfare metagame, which wasn't executed well but was another open world idea that could have had improved long-term play.

Tim James
02-04-2010, 09:13 AM
Fair warning to everyone that some of the same glitches exist here, like the weird sunshadow that a few people get. The game may be more stable with fewer blatant bugs, but they didn't do much work on the engine. Strictly an expansion pack with some new design and more of the same for the rest. The usual fixes to these glitches still apply, fortunately.

I believe the fog distance was increased which is why we notice the low-res color maps now. It's just something you have to get over until modders fix it.

DoomMunky
02-04-2010, 09:39 AM
I recently started Clear Sky and am really enjoying the changes to SoC, so now I'm looking forward to this one, too!

I love the way CS feels more RPG-y, with the fast travel through guides and upgrade mechanics. Why didn't I play this sooner? :)

Tim James
02-04-2010, 09:45 AM
I love the way CS feels more RPG-y, with the fast travel through guides and upgrade mechanics. Why didn't I play this sooner? :)I actually liked that too and have mentioned it a few times. CS doesn't have the same high highs as SoC but it was a cool game -- or would have been if there weren't so many bullets and grenades flying around that Call of Duty would blush, and the faction warfare wasn't broken.

If you like that RPG stuff and the artifact hunting in CS, you should really enjoy CoP.

Tim James
02-05-2010, 10:40 PM
Pripyat easily beats Clear Sky in terms of questing and gameplay, and now I can safely say it equals that game in providing at least one sequence of white knuckle intensity.

Now to continue on to see if we get any of the eye popping surrealism of the original game. I'm already fully satisfied though, and it is well worth the purchase.

HRose
02-05-2010, 10:54 PM
I also went back to Stalker but Complete 09 was just too colorful and lacked all the gritty-ness that I remembered.

So my choice ended up running the old Float32 shaders along with the ZRP unofficial patch. I tried to mix some elements of Complete 09 but the game crashed.

I'll give a look at this AMK now.

djotefsoup
02-05-2010, 11:22 PM
Should be latest amk-eng installer here. (http://www.mediafire.com/?9ynjjzpdzjj)

Should be latest english patch here. (http://www.mediafire.com/?jlyhnu9ygmy)

Also from browsing around the forum the original russian team have decided to make AMK 2 for Call of Pripyat. Nice.

Tim James
02-07-2010, 02:34 PM
Finished the main quest and it turned out how I predicted. Doesn't quite reach the extreme highs of sequences in the original but it's probably the best game of the three overall. Good design and structure. Just feels "cohesive" like they had more time to tell a story and meter out the mythos like they wanted to instead of dumping things in at the last minute. You'll have a good time exploring this game.

I haven't done all the late game side quests (they actually seem to leave half of a map unexplored in the main quest to encourage you to venture out) so I'm eager to continue in freeplay.

I need to reiterate the warning that there are still many charming X-ray engine glitches here, but can safely say there are no major bugs. I encountered no crashes or broken quests, although one minor item trader from the first safezone disappeared completely midway through the game. [EDIT] Oops I was told this was part of a quest, haha.

roguefrog
02-07-2010, 08:44 PM
GoGamer and Gamestop don't carry this game. What in da hell!

Tim James
02-07-2010, 08:48 PM
Only seems to be retail Target stores in stock right now. The US/worldwide launch is kind of a joke.

TurinTur
02-07-2010, 11:53 PM
What's the duration of the game, doing main + side quets, but ignoring the posterior freeplay?

chequers
02-08-2010, 12:25 AM
So when is this arriving on Steam again?

Tim James
02-08-2010, 07:12 AM
What's the duration of the game, doing main + side quets, but ignoring the posterior freeplay?I spent 30 hours but didn't even explore half of one of the maps. There might be more side quests there, I don't know. I think the game sometimes has side quests available that you'd never even know about unless you talked to an obscure character or stumbled upon something. It rewards exploration and going back to old areas sometimes.


So when is this arriving on Steam again?No one knows.

TurinTur
02-08-2010, 07:19 AM
30 hours! Very nice. I was worried that with only "thee maps", even if they are much bigger than the original Stalker maps, was only a short/average fps in length.

Tim James
02-08-2010, 07:43 AM
It's nonlinear so you have to make your own game out of it. If you know where everything is, and take advantage of stash locations (which I don't think change from game to game this time around) you can probably speedrun through in 5 hours. I didn't feel like I spent an unusual amount of extra time, but did take it pretty easy. 20-40 hours seems like the correct window based on my savegame times.

The early comments are right about how sometimes the Zone feels empty as you double back and try to cover large distances quickly, but every time I arrived at a unique location (10-12 per map) the pace slowed way down to the usual tense gameplay.

aganazer
02-08-2010, 07:50 AM
How is enemy respawn handled in this one? I would assume that some enemies do respawn, but how quickly and is it a full respawn?

Some of my biggest issues with the original Stalker game (and Fallout 3) was that every time you return to an area you're faced with all the same spawns in all the same places that you spent countless hours clearing out the first time through that particular area. It gets a little tedious and grindy.

Tim James
02-08-2010, 08:29 AM
Mutants spawn in small groups, along with bandits and stalkers I think (though they don't shoot you on sight). Most wander, some stay where they are. The patrols seem to be designed so the two groups meet each other frequently. Every couple times I went out, I saw a gun battle taking place in the distance. The maps are huge and nonlinear so you don't clear them out like Wild Territory in SoC. The draw distance is quite far so you can usually see them before you get in range, except on the urban map which is more of a unique challenge.

The "tedious" part if you can call it that is the lack of random danger from wandering around. You could probably go for hours without firing a shot if you were careful. Even anomalies are confined to certain areas. But once you have some endurance-enhancing artifacts and get smarter about organizing your errands, running back and forth is a little less annoying. Certainly much better than going from the Bar to Yantar over and over with all the loading screens.

In general, GSC is very conservative with the monster count. My guess is they are concentrating more on the bleak tension rather than throwing tons of enemies at you like Clear Sky. Still not perfectly balanced but a big step in the right direction. You'll like it.

Rock8man
02-08-2010, 12:17 PM
Some of my biggest issues with the original Stalker game (and Fallout 3) was that every time you return to an area you're faced with all the same spawns in all the same places that you spent countless hours clearing out the first time through that particular area. It gets a little tedious and grindy.

That never happened to me in Fallout 3 until.... well, I'll get to that. But basically, I liked the fact that when I cleared an area, it stayed clear. But about 60 hours into the game I started getting a bit worried, because it was starting to feel like I'd actually clear out the Capital Wasteland and the D.C. area completely clear of Super Mutants and other critters. And just as I was thinking that, I finished the main quest and was asleep for two weeks (off screen), and when I got up, re-inforcements had arrived everywhere. The Super Mutants were back in D.C.! And the other areas were back to their normal selves too.

So then I cleared out a huge portion of some other areas I was exploring, and I assumed they'd stay clear for a long time. But then I did Point Outlook, which is a 3 week journey by boat, so when I got back to the Capital Wasteland, they had reinforcements again. So every time the enemies came back, it made sense because I was away for extended periods of time. I liked that.

TurinTur
02-08-2010, 12:27 PM
My ideal take about the respawn issue in these open gameworlds is yes to respawn of critters, but in a much lesser ammount than the original state of the zone.

aganazer
02-08-2010, 12:52 PM
My ideal take about the respawn issue in these open gameworlds is yes to respawn of critters, but in a much lesser ammount than the original state of the zone.

I've seen a few interesting approaches to this.

My favorite was probably Sacred. Once you complete enough quests in an area then the area gets marked as 'safe' and there is almost no respawn (but still a little bit of wildlife).

I also liked how Risen handled it with specific MOB's respawning between chapters, but never on timers.

What I don't like is Bioshock's triggered respawn when you enter an area. Worse yet are the games that simply won't be bothered with trying to keep a persistent world and just respawn everything each time you load up a game.

Tim James
02-08-2010, 12:55 PM
Over time a lot of corpses will pile up which is kind of silly to look at, but the A-life produces most of them with its in-fighting. So you could say it spawns a lot but you don't have to grind through them if you don't want to. Almost like a balanced ecosystem (although I'd hesitate to use that word just in case!)

Contrast that with Wild Territory, which could get so broken you'd have 70 dogs chasing after you and shit if you really screwed things up.

Disconnected
02-08-2010, 01:43 PM
My ideal take about the respawn issue in these open gameworlds is yes to respawn of critters, but in a much lesser ammount than the original state of the zone.

I'd prefer a simulated or partially simulated ecology. For example:

Treat the zone as one macro area and compute population growth based on current population levels and a basic requirement or two of each type of population. Then divide that area into smaller areas, and distribute additional population based on the current types and levels of population in each of the sub-areas, plus a small, random number.

It could be way more elaborate, obviously. But the point of it would simply be to integrate the ecology in the gameplay, in such a way that the player can mess with it in a real way, without making the product illogical or entirely predictable, and without breaking the game balance. It wouldn't need to be very complex to do that.

I've been trying to come up with a practical way to do this in tabletop games for years. Unfortunately tabletop game ecologies tend to be orders of magnitude more complex than Stalker's, and humans aren't exactly well equipped to track and compute massive volumes of information.

djotefsoup
02-08-2010, 03:54 PM
Almost like a balanced ecosystem (although I'd hesitate to use that word just in case!)

You can do some really nice things with the AI scripting in Stalker (which AMK used) like script the AI animals to fight over and eat dead bodies, and script other stalkers to cremate dead stalkers in the burning barrels.

TurinTur
02-09-2010, 12:32 AM
I'd prefer a simulated or partially simulated ecology. For example: (snip)


Well, i was being a bit more realistic about development times and budget and things like that :P.

I also prefer games (in most genres) that tends to realism and general "simulationist" approach as a solution to game complexity, balance, variety, interactivity, choices & consequences, etc. But they are so frigging hard to develop. Perhaps in twenty years they will be the norm, but for now... beggars can't be choosers.

Bandersnatch
02-09-2010, 04:43 PM
Gah I want to order this but Amazon is being a douche and won't apply the $10 credit I got from Mass Effect 2 to it.

Tim James
02-09-2010, 04:59 PM
Gah I want to order this but Amazon is being a douche and won't apply the $10 credit I got from Mass Effect 2 to it.I don't know if you followed my troubles with this, but the reason is they list it in the Software category instead of Video Games. I sent a customer service request in about this and someone said he would have it changed. Then I literally watched it all weekend bounce back and forth between categories. They're really bumbling with this game, but so is everyone except Target.

caesarbear
02-09-2010, 05:03 PM
Well, i was being a bit more realistic about development times and budget and things like that :P.

I also prefer games (in most genres) that tends to realism and general "simulationist" approach as a solution to game complexity, balance, variety, interactivity, choices & consequences, etc. But they are so frigging hard to develop. Perhaps in twenty years they will be the norm, but for now... beggars can't be choosers.
Honestly, most of what Disconnected says sounds like math and variables. Most of the heavy lifting has been done by the engine already. The time and effort would be in testing it to make sure it doesn't go wacky on you.

Tim James
02-10-2010, 10:24 AM
I noticed in the Bioshock thread they are having FOV problems like before. I saw recently that the default FOV in Call of Pripyat is 55 degrees! There is a hack fix but I was surprised I never really noticed or cared on my 4:3 CRT. Seems ridiculously low. Cheap attempt to create tension by restricting field of view?

It worked.

Disconnected
02-10-2010, 06:15 PM
Honestly, most of what Disconnected says sounds like math and variables. Most of the heavy lifting has been done by the engine already. The time and effort would be in testing it to make sure it doesn't go wacky on you.

And presumably the time and efforts will have to be spend no matter what approach is used.

The reason I'd like an ecology simulation, however limited, is two-fold. Firstly, simulating it could offer the player a degree of control over the spawn system. I don't mean it should be possible for the player to create his own endangered Zone-Species list, but rather that it could allow the player a little influence on what's fighting and where.
Secondly, simulating the ecology could increase the internal consistency of the Zone in the eyes of the player by eliminating the possibility of spawns that conflict with assumptions a player has been led to make by the game. SoCs Farm, for example, will spawn and position bandits if no bandits are there when the player comes within a certain distance, regardless of whether the Farm is occupied by a bunch of relaxing stalkers. It's hard on the player's suspense of disbelief, and could easily be avoided if the game used some type of simulation to track and spawn the Zone's inhabitants.

Games and realism is a tricky combination. From my experience (which doesn't include video game design at all), what games require is something you might call internal-logic-consistency. What I mean by that, is that the game shouldn't define the player's expectations, but it should define what expectations the player can form, and it shouldn't contradict them.

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't even know how to define realism in a discussion about games. It might mean "conforms to the mechanics of reality". Or it might mean "doesn't violate potential player expectations, as defined by the game". Or it mean something altogether different. It's sort of like discussing consciousness. Communicating the concept in a very vague way is simple enough. But the exacts tends to defy description.

Zylon
02-10-2010, 07:37 PM
To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't even know how to define realism in a discussion about games. It might mean "conforms to the mechanics of reality". Or it might mean "doesn't violate potential player expectations, as defined by the game". Or it mean something altogether different.
The concept you're grasping for is called "verisimilitude".

Disconnected
02-10-2010, 07:54 PM
The concept you're grasping for is called "verisimilitude".

That's what I meant by internal-logic-consistency, yes. Thank you.

belgerog
02-11-2010, 03:43 PM
The game appeared on steam, visibly out of nowhere. You can get a discount if you have SoC or clear sky registered on steam.

Sam Jones
02-11-2010, 03:47 PM
The game appeared on steam, visibly out of nowhere. You can get a discount if you have SoC or clear sky registered on steam.

Also with a "Loyalty Promo" price of 14.99 UKP (reduced from 19.99) if you already have the first or second game in your Steam account.

Cubit
02-11-2010, 04:34 PM
The game appeared on steam, visibly out of nowhere. You can get a discount if you have SoC or clear sky registered on steam.

That is a pretty cool little promo.

Kurina
02-11-2010, 04:36 PM
Well that will teach me to use other digital distribution services. I own both previous Stalkers, but not through Steam.

Alistair
02-11-2010, 04:58 PM
Cools. Doesn't seem to be time-limited?

Tim James
02-11-2010, 05:00 PM
$10 off retail, not bad. I guess because you don't get the "Collector's Edition" with stickers and poster. But it doesn't matter where you obsessively purchase games, just go get it!

Angrycoder
02-11-2010, 06:16 PM
Oh for fucks sake, the copy I ordered on Amazon for 40 bucks came in the mail today. Now its on steam for 20.

Rock8man
02-11-2010, 06:28 PM
Wow, $20 for a new game. Of course, since I just started the original STALKER, I don't see myself taking advantage of that deal anytime soon. Especially since I'm knee deep in Bioshock 2 right now. But even when I get back to Stalker, it will be Chernobyl, not Pripyat.

Cubit
02-11-2010, 06:30 PM
I have a question for all you STALKER veterans: Which of the three games is the best for someone new starting out? Is it best to play them in order, or can you safely skip one of them?

Tim James
02-11-2010, 07:04 PM
I have a question for all you STALKER veterans: Which of the three games is the best for someone new starting out? Is it best to play them in order, or can you safely skip one of them?Cubit you get the gold star for being the first to ask the question I knew would come up.

The original game is still the best and has the highest high points of the series, but also takes the biggest investment of patience early on and maybe some mods if you can't tolerate a bit of a struggle. The latest game is the easiest to get into and enjoy at a relaxed pace but doesn't have any of the sequences that made this series a cult hit. Still, they've finally integrated some mechanics that take the edge off the Eastern Europe game design. In CoP you can sleep through the dark scary night, repair your equipment, and explore anywhere you want with fewer gated challenges to get restrict you. They also start you off with a rifle.

There are mods for SoC that add these things but CoP is the best if you just want to dabble for a few hours and check out the fuss. It's also a good game on its own. Clear Sky remains the weakest because it focuses too much on shooting, rather than the surrealism of SoC or lonely tension of CoP.

My only worry is that playing Call of Pripyat might affect the surprise of the original when you go back to it (and you should!) If you have any patience at all I still recommend you start with SoC, but if you're a very cranky gamer then Call of Pripyat is your ticket to this series.

TurinTur
02-11-2010, 11:53 PM
So when is this arriving on Steam again?

NOW

http://store.steampowered.com/app/41700/

And


Loyalty Promo grants a discount off Call of Pripyat if you already own the Steam Version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl. Please note that you need to have Clear Sky or Shadow of Chernobyl registered to your Steam account before purchasing Call of Pripyat to receive the discounted price

33% discount if you already have Stalker or Stalker CS in Steam.

Sean Tudor
02-12-2010, 03:12 AM
Good deal! :)

Alistair
02-12-2010, 05:20 AM
Whoa - thread anomaly :)

Paul_cze
02-12-2010, 12:24 PM
Godammit I should have bought SoC or CS during christmas sale eventhough I own them in retail, I could have CoP for 10 euros : /

TurinTur
02-12-2010, 12:56 PM
Godammit I should have bought SoC or CS during christmas sale eventhough I own them in retail, I could have CoP for 10 euros : /

No, no. It's 30 the normal price, and 20 with the discount.

Paul_cze
02-12-2010, 01:13 PM
No, no. It's 30 the normal price, and 20 with the discount.

O RLY? (http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4033/orlyy.jpg)

A miracle happened, steam offers a good deal for central european?

Cubit
02-12-2010, 01:18 PM
O RLY? (http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4033/orlyy.jpg)

Heh, you sure take advantage of that widescreen monitor, don't you. :)

Paul_cze
02-12-2010, 01:27 PM
Heh, you sure take advantage of that widescreen monitor, don't you. :)

Yeah, especially when watching Ong Bak 2 in 1080p, all that sweat and blood of Tony Jaa, uuuargh! : )

TurinTur
02-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Damn, your prices are better than ours. :(

belgerog
02-12-2010, 06:50 PM
I started the game and it's very strange so far. Five minutes into the game and I've already found an AK-74. Soon after I found a stash with the equivalent of an HK-416 (one of the best weapons in the first game). I don't get it, I'm used dealing with enemies only with a pistol and crappy shotguns in the beggining of STALKER games, and suddenly the whole weapon progression has gone mad. And what's up with the crouch-move animation of other stalkers?

I'm not saying the game is good or bad (I can't really say, I haven't played a lot yet), I'm just surprised. The UI is much improved, I haven't seen a bug, and the engine seems more optimized (at the same setting I wouldn't get the same performance with Clear Sky). Still love the combat, I'm playing in veteran and if I don't use cover I die very quickly.

Tim James
02-12-2010, 09:36 PM
Two games is enough with the silly weapon progression. Makes much more sense to start with a rifle. You'll be short on ammo for anything other than the 5.45x39mm guns though, at least for a while.

Veteran was good without too many grenades getting chucked around, but the whole game has less combat against humans so it's easier in that regard. The design has changed a bit. More relaxed.

None
02-12-2010, 10:47 PM
So it has taken me a couple of fights to get used to medkits not taking full effect immediately. Also, are shotguns more powerful in CoP? I never really used them in the previous games once I could consistently keep my assault rifles stocked with bullets. But I have found shotguns to be particularly devastating during the early goings in CoP. I shot one bandit with the regular pump-action that sent him flying ten feet into the air. Serves him right for trying to steal my artifact.

Sean Tudor
02-12-2010, 11:27 PM
Not sure if this problem affects everyone but for some of us the gun and footstep sounds are extremely low volume or can not be heard at all. A Japanese guy has released a fix on his website (http://arikai.com/)

The file - http://arikai.com/stalker/files/cop_sound_volume_mod.7z

Extract the file and copy the "gamedata" directory to your main STALKER COP directory.

chequers
02-13-2010, 06:26 AM
$10 off as a loyalty bonus? And the game was only $30 anyway? After all the crappy high prices for new games and DRM bitching, GSC have just ensured I'll buy every game they ever release.

Eric P
02-13-2010, 06:57 AM
i was up until about 2 am last night playing this.

i had forgotten how tense this series is

great atmosphere

Tim James
02-13-2010, 10:58 AM
$10 off as a loyalty bonus? And the game was only $30 anyway? After all the crappy high prices for new games and DRM bitching, GSC have just ensured I'll buy every game they ever release.They're not doing you a favor, just being fair about it. The engine is mostly the same and they didn't spend a single minute fixing the wonky animations or harmless glitches that have been there since 2007. Kind of like an expansion pack.

But it is much more stable and bug-free, not to mention well-designed and packs enough content in there to easily make it worth $40.

TurinTur
02-13-2010, 11:45 AM
Well, it's called Stalker "subtitle", instead of Stalker 2. CS and CoP are from the beginning "expandalone", games between expansions of the original game and full blown sequels, and also with price between an expansion and a full game.


Now, if only the publisher of Bioshock 2 would have the same honesty and put a more sensible tag price for their "expansion" (same engine, same art assets, overall the same mechanics).

Cubit
02-13-2010, 11:55 AM
Now, if only the publisher of Bioshock 2 would have the same honesty and put a more sensible tag price for their "expansion" (same engine, same art assets, overall the same mechanics).

Fuck yeah, man! Next, let us rage against Activision and Infinity Ward for having the audacity to charge us $60 for Modern Warfare 2! Same engine, a few reused assets, and same mechanics as Modern Warfare 1. It is an expansion pack at best!

p.s. Don't get me started on Gears of War 2...

Paul_cze
02-13-2010, 02:02 PM
Fuck yeah, man! Next, let us rage against Activision and Infinity Ward for having the audacity to charge us $60 for Modern Warfare 2! Same engine, a few reused assets, and same mechanics as Modern Warfare 1. It is an expansion pack at best!

p.s. Don't get me started on Gears of War 2...

I am not sure if you are sarcastic or not, but he has a point. Bioshock 2 especially is just an expansion really.

Cubit
02-13-2010, 02:40 PM
I am not sure if you are sarcastic or not, but he has a point. Bioshock 2 especially is just an expansion really.

I was being sarcastic, because Naeblis's and your contention that Bioshock 2 is a mere expansion as far as new content goes is ridiculous.

If you are gonna say that, then you'd have to call sequels like Modern Warfare 2, Gears of War 2, Mass Effect 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Dirt 2, Overlord 2, and Assassin's Creed 2 expansion packs as well. Why, all of the above use the same engine, reuse some assets, and have similar mechanics!

Give me a fucking break.

Paul_cze
02-13-2010, 02:46 PM
I consider Modern Warfare 2, AC2, ME2.. to have so much new content they I do consider them full blown sequels. From what I played of Bioshock 2 (ok I admit, just first few hours) it does feel more like an expansion. I haven't played the rest of what you listed.
Take it easy.

TurinTur
02-13-2010, 02:51 PM
Oh come on!
/rolleyes.

Yeah, there are some sequels that improve and change from the original game more, and others change and improve less, but especially Bioshock 2 is giving me a expansion feeling. A very fun expansion, with even more visceral combat and intriguing plot, but still an expansion. Same engine, with same models and textures, same type of scenario with the same layout philosophy, same overall style, enemies and plasmids that appear again, same turrets and cameras to hack, same money system, same shops, same upgrade machines, same consumable items, same Big Daddies to fight (ok, one new), same Vitachambers, etc.
I suppose you could say they are following the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto but it feels like Bioshock 1.5.

Sorry for the offtopic, there is a nice Bioshock 2 thread down there....

belgerog
02-13-2010, 03:35 PM
Two games is enough with the silly weapon progression. Makes much more sense to start with a rifle.

I don't know, I liked the early encounters in the first two games. You had to improvise tactics with your pistol and sawed off shotgun, and, most of all, not having all the cool toys from the beggining encouraged a sort of exploration that ,coupled with how the environments in stalker are, was a big part of why I liked the games.

I also enjoyed quite a lot every encounter against humans, do they come more often later on in CoP?

Tim James
02-13-2010, 03:46 PM
Yes they do but nothing near Clear Sky levels. You'll also still have more exploration than you can shake a sawed-off shotgun at. Technically a rifle isn't the best choice against mutants so there is still some weapon progression.

GloriousMess
02-13-2010, 04:30 PM
i was up until about 2 am last night playing this.

i had forgotten how tense this series is

great atmosphere
Care to expand on that without any spoilers whatsoever? The thing I loved about SoC was the atmosphere and the setting, to the point where I almost didn't notice the bugs.

Gabe Lewis
02-13-2010, 04:47 PM
I just started playing today, and I am loving it.

Minor Quest and Exploration Related Spoilers:

The first mission I took was to find the missing Stalker named Tremor, ok, I thought, thats a fine place to start. Find a dude. No big deal. On my way to meet up with Grouse, the guy who's going to help you find the kid, a voice comes on saying, "Emission imminent." Well fuck. I remember emissions from AMK, and they are pretty much instant death to anything not under shelter. Grouse is at least 100 feet away, I'd imagine it's 50/50 whether this quest leads to cover or not.

Either way, the Emission overrides my current quest, with a new quest to "Find some goddamn cover" and point out the nearest cover. Oddly enough, the nearest cover is a 100 long foot chasm in the middle of the goddamn ground. I run over, not knowing how long after the announcement the actual emission occurs. It's at least 100 feet deep, and there are rock shelves that make a nice little hop down to the bottom. As I descend, I begin to realize, there is no way to leave the same way I came. Balls. When I reach the bottom there is a car with a locked metal box in that gets added to my inventory, next to that, an entrance to a cave. The ground begins to shake and sky is going red. So I make a break for the cave. This is when I hear the familiar growl of a snork.

The cave is tiny. more cramped that most caves you'll find in this kind of game, and my flash light is mostly pathetic. The forks in the cave could obviously lead you in circles, and I imagine that we're not dealing with a lone snork. I pulled out the sawed off shotgun, and remembered what it was like to have real tension in a game.

End Spoilers

Tim James
02-13-2010, 05:31 PM
Care to expand on that without any spoilers whatsoever? The thing I loved about SoC was the atmosphere and the setting, to the point where I almost didn't notice the bugs.The atmosphere is exploring an abandoned area. Fairly quiet and sparse. There's not even much inside some of the locations, but every one felt like a new adventure. The pace is better because there's always an opportunity to go spelunking, compared to SoC where it's lots of running through overland areas with an occasional dive deep into a lab or whatever.

Do you remember the bloodsucker village, or Agroprom facility at night, or even the radiated building that had the SEVA suit in Wild Territory? It's like that times 30.

Alex Pirani
02-13-2010, 11:29 PM
Just bought this today. So far, I'm really enjoying it. It feels a lot more refined than shadow of chernobyl.
I'm also wondering why steam didn't give me a CD key, and when I'm going to get it. Guess I can't play this online for a while.

Papageno
02-14-2010, 12:24 AM
So Gabe, is a "loan snork" one that you have to give back later? ;-)

Paul_cze
02-14-2010, 04:58 AM
So I could not resist and bought the game on steam anyway.
I cranked everything to maximum, 1920*1200, fire it up...
What the hell is with those subtitles being completely different than what that guy says?
Anyway, I get into the game (rather abruptly after intro ends)..what the hell is this uglyass graphics? Seriously. The draw distance on grass it really lame.SoC and CS starting areas looked much much better.

And what is up with the weird FOV or whatever it is? The knife especially - in previous games, I could see the model of hands/knife normally, here I can see just a small part of it - is that normal?

Paul_cze
02-14-2010, 05:14 AM
Look at the regression:

Shadow of Chernobyl:
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/4986/soc.jpg

Whoa! (ok, using stalker complete, but still)

Clear Sky:
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/4286/91344397.jpg

still looking pretty good

Call of Pripyat:
http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/873/copz.jpg

what the hell is that? And what's with that knife model?!

TheWombat
02-14-2010, 06:58 AM
Hmm, the graphics don't look quite like that for me, or maybe it's just that I'm not seeing the huge differences. It isn't a graphics superstar, but it seems fine to me. More annoying by far though are the bugs. Most glaringly, there seems to be some issue with spawning NPCs properly. Several times I've come back to the base boat and found no one there; saving and then reloading spawns them. On one mission, the other NPCs my group of NPCs was supposed to meet didn't spawn; I had to reload and try again a bunch of times to get them to spawn (and then I had to survive the fire fight, of course).

Other than that, though, I really like it.

Raife
02-14-2010, 07:12 AM
You fuckers are going to make me buy this, and I already don't have time to be playing the amount of STO that I am.

mrmolecule88
02-14-2010, 07:59 AM
You fuckers are going to make me buy this, and I already don't have time to be playing the amount of STO that I am.

seconded. For god's sake, people, I have a life! Let me live!

None
02-14-2010, 01:01 PM
One of my favorite things about the Stalker games have been the locations throughout the Zone. I'm talking about a small defensive position on a ridge here or a campfire with some tents there. I'm embarrassed to say this but I find these little places fascinating and will often spend long periods of time just running around a location looking at lines of sight, fields of fire, sandbag or crate placements...really geeky shit. I try to imagine what it would be like to hold such a position with, say, 6 Stalkers. How do I get resupplied? Should I clear more firing lanes? Do I send out a four-man patrol and hold the position with just two? The way my living room is set up, one can see my monitor from the couch. My girlfriend was watching tv the other day while I was playing CoP and after about half an hour she asked me what the hell I was doing because she hadn't heard shoot anything for a long time and as far as she could tell, I was just running around in a circle and crouching every once in a while and looking around.

When Clear Sky was first released, I hesitated in buying it because I didn't really have the time to play it. Then I saw this screenshot:

http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/974/clearsky.jpg

I mean, look at the possibilities of that position! I couldn't buy it quick enough after seeing this.

Gabe Lewis
02-14-2010, 01:31 PM
So Gabe, is a "loan snork" one that you have to give back later? ;-)

Haha! Nice catch!