I've been digging back into some of the maps in my free time since December, and it looks like there's not too much left to do at this point other than the movies, adding extra architecture, and testing. I'm setting October 2017 as the Death Wish 1.4 release month. If October comes around and the movies aren't done I'll just leave them be and release the new level set.
What are the major changes?
After watching a bunch of LPs over the last few years I made some edits to a lot of the problem areas players ran into as well as a variety of things I wanted to add or make better.
• Architecture changes to all missions (some more than others where sector limits allowed). New areas and better looking old areas.
• 2 new secret levels (+2 transition levels to rejoin the main campaign).
• Health rebalance: Last version was a little too stingy on health so I fixed that. Extra Crispy is still there for experts (including my devious prox mine placement)
• I removed a lot of things that impeded speedrunning / bomb-jump skips and added some new areas in several maps that add more speedrun opportunities (like connecting previously separate sections with only a tall wall between).
• Big overhauls to areas players singled out as annoying or confusing. For example, lot of people found the majority of Mothership too dark and plodding (especially with the vent system), so I did a lot of work to that mission to brighten up several places, connect sections, etc. The arrangement and weapon loadout for the Beast fights in Last Rites was also annoying for many players, so I put better weapon/ammo drops before those fights. Originally the idea was that players would shotgun them off the cliff (killing them instantly) but almost no one knew that was possible and it was difficult to do. I continued fixing these types of situations as I went through making changes to other things.
• New secret areas created when the opportunity arose during remodeling.
• The little things to make the missions more fun and less confusing:
- Many elevators move more quickly
- Doors open more quickly in missions where there are a lot of them to open (like The Abyss)
- Some key symbols and switches that blended into the environment were made easier to spot
- Extremely dark areas were brightened with better lighting overall
- Sections with too many uniform textures were edited to be more distinct and easy to navigate
- Large water areas have been upgraded so that you'll swim in the desired direction more quickly (like the beginning of Weird Science)
- Instances of "cheap" hitscan enemy placement edited
• Less multiplayer trapping. Doors that close (like the bomb door in Jigsaw) will eventually reopen, for example, so other players don't get locked out. There are probably some places that this kind of thing can still happen, but in the end this is a single-player campaign first and I don't want to compromise that experience to accommodate multiplayer. I was going to add teleporter "checkpoints" for multiplayer in all the levels, but with my very limited free time to work on Death Wish that didn't seem like a good time investment. Just the same, I tried to keep an eye out for trapping situations and hopefully I tended to most of them.
• Most switches’ height adjusted so less mouselook movement is required.
• More End Switches so it’s more clear that the level will end in several places instead of finding out the moment you try to open a door or walk down a hallway