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What's the best quality campaign Parallax made?
Descent I (First Strike)  44%  [ 7 ]
Descent II Counterstrike  6%  [ 1 ]
Descent II Vertigo  50%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 16
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 Post subject: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:56 pm 
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Basically the title is exactly the question, though please don't use number of levels as a means of judgement, the emphasis is quality. Not much need to elaborate further but feel free to comment. :)

ps I do have one question, because I read there was a way to do it but can't find out how: What edit to the mn2 file replaces the new Vertigo robots with D1 robots?


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:04 pm 
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Well, for me it's a bit hard to decide between D1 and Vertigo. The only thing I'm sure is that of the three options, D2 is the least nice.
And I'm not saying D2 it's not any good as campaign, I like it very much, but I feel D1 and Vertigo are way much better executed and designed.

In overall mission design and balance (specially in robot and weapon placement) I think D1 is the winner, and it also has the best atmopshere, but Vertigo mixes some good points of D1 with a very nice level architecture and hybrid atmosphere (D1/D2) that makes it almost the definitive mission, and it has both D1 and D2 robots, also well placed.

Maybe just because of Vertigo bringing all good elements from both worlds, I will vote for it on the poll. ;)

EDIT: Oh, and regarding your question, just open the d2x.mn2 file, and delete the 'z' before 'name'.
That is, convert "zname = Descent 2: Vertigo" to "name = Descent 2: Vertigo".

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Umm... would that actually work? I have a feeling in the original binaries it would make D2 produce some kind of "object id out of range" assertion and bail out.

Vertigo wins for me - level design had matured since D1/D2 and there was better robot variety (plus the new models are quite good for this engine). It's also tougher - not by that much over level 6+ D1, but the difference compared to D2 Counterstrike is very clear.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:58 pm 
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I agree with Sirius, though I'd actually rate D1's campaign lowest of all (not that it's bad -- it's still a really good campaign). I'm just a much bigger fan of D2's architectural style and robot designs compared to D1 -- and it has my favourite weapons in the series (most of them removed for D3, and in most multiplayer games :(). It does feel shorter and a little more rushed compared to D1 -- but not by much.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:36 am 
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I should have put Descent Maximum in this poll as well since it's been ported to the PC. Looks much shorter/more focused than CS and probably easier to 'pick up and play' overall.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:24 pm 
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You might find Maximum to be somewhat harder in certain regards as well, since the stronger weapons don't appear anywhere near as early as they did in Counterstrike (though even then, it's only for a few levels for most of the D2 guns). Personally I welcome the challenge, though I would've loved to see that kind of balance applied to a set of somewhat larger levels.

Out of the poll choices, though, I'd have to go with Vertigo. The balancing was a bit weird in that set, but it still poses a great challenge on Insane and the levels are some of the best Parallax has ever designed (which makes sense, since it was their last release on that engine). The levels that experimented with architecture and texturing schemes sure influenced my mapping style, and that set's level of difficulty is always fun to revisit.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:31 am 
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Even though the architecture itself in Descent 1 is lazier, less inspired and less trailblazing than in D2 Counterstrike, the weapon balance is better, the atmosphere created by the textures is stronger and the robots are better. The latter two things make Descent 1 more intense, more memorable, and actually at times feeling >newer< than Counterstrike was.

I voted for Vertigo, as it its level design is objectively the best, most creative, least schematic and most forward-thinking. The only thing that could have made that campaign better is the usage of D1 robots more as equivalent enemies than guest appearances.

It sucks that they cut D1 content from D2, too. Vertigo would have been so much better with intact D1 sounds and textures.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:25 am 
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I'd like to know do Vertigo's designs also tend to avoid having super-huge, somewhat randomly laid out maps (ala some CS levels)?


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:20 am 
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MegaDescent wrote:
I'd like to know do Vertigo's designs also tend to avoid having super-huge, somewhat randomly laid out maps (ala some CS levels)?


Some Vertigo levels are naturalistic, while some are based on symmetry. Overall, they can be considered to be hybrids of D1 and D2 levels, both in architecture and texturing, but better than those levels still.

Levels 5 and 10 (or was it 11?) come to mind when you think about huge open spaces - they have those and in spades. But there are also really small levels which are symmetric in design (but packed with enemies to the brim) such as level 19.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:50 am 
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It should be just fine for me as long as the levels are somewhat better thought out than say some of the Brimspark stuff, and/or any really big levels are relatively spread out and don't come in 'stretches' of many in a row like they do in CS - so is that the case?


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:59 am 
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Hehe... I guess I'm the only one in this thread (except maybe Pumo) who actually likes the Brimspark levels :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:56 am 
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I don't say the Brimspark levels are 'bad levels', especially in an objective sense. Rather that the system (as a whole) seems to drag when played consecutively (and of course in the game itself it is played consecutively). In fact any one of them could probably be just fine if it was just one level and not surrounded by the others. It's perhaps even more complicated than that, because another major player is the levels being (obviously) all of the same theme as well. I'd say it's the combination of all three factors: the level size, them all being the same theme, AND having four of them in a row. Take one of those factors off the playing field, and the so called 'Brimspark fatigue' factor would probably diminish considerably.

I wonder how Brimspark fares in Maximum. One thing's for sure, it's definitely not likely to be long enough for another round of fatigue.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:20 pm 
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Well, like Alter said, I'm also some of the few that seems to actually enjoy Brimspark without feeling any kind fatigue, even if they are consecutive and big, but what can I say? I'm a fan of volcanoes, be it in videogames or in real-life. ;)

Maybe the only thing I would complain of, is that of the four Brimspark levels (from 9 to 12), I don't like 10 very much because I feel that comparatively, it falls short in terms of quality. But levels 11 and 12 are some of my favorite D2 CS levels. :D

But yeah, it's true that having 4 levels of the exact same theme in a row (and this applies to all systems, from Z. Aquilae to Tycho Brahe, IMO) can be a bit tiring, that's one of the reasons why Vertigo is better than CS.

The Maximum version of Brimspark has the advantage that even if they are 4 fire themed levels in a row like CS, they have each a different atmosphere and a bit more natural and varied texturing (in a more D1-ish style).

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:12 pm 
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10 is my favourite map of Brimspark, because I love the decor of that mine (even now!) even though it does tend to drag when you're trying to find the yellow key (wherever it may be hiding... or running! :D).
Also it introduces two of that game's best (IMHO) enemies, which may be part of why I like it...

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:40 pm 
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There were also three red levels in a row in D1, namely the Mars levels. Yet they were all architecturally distinct enough and small enough to keep things interesting.

While D1 levels were not themed in terms of design (one and probably the only exception that comes to mind is Secret Level 2), they were rich in what I call "landmarks". Points in the mine that were so characteristic that they gave you a point of reference. D2 levels are pretty much the same in the regard of naturalism, even more so, but most of them lack those landmarks. Everyone remembers certain rooms from D1, for example. There's probably no level you wouldn't recognize by one of its sights. Take for example the seemingly pointless spherical mound in Level 7 or the entrance to the red room. Memorable as feck. Brimspark levels on the other hand still look all sameish to me, although to be fair, I haven't played through them half as many times as I have through D1.

For someone who's completed the game enough times everything should stand out in one way or another.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:20 pm 
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D1 Levels 8-10, I'm actually playing them right now (see the 'Playing without saves' thread); there's only three maps instead of four and they aren't as big as Brimspark either.

I bet Level 11 actually has the most lava in D1...even though it's a Jupiter level.

As for comments earlier up about D1 content in D2...shame...but at least the D2 content itself (walls, robots) is good enough plus some custom level authors took the liberty to add some of the D1 stuff back in. :)

And of course, D2 pretty much rules the world over D1 when it comes to custom content available, though there's a half dozen or so nice D1 campaigns to play that have no D2 variants. (Orion Nebula, the GELD stuff, Nefarious Assault, Outer Reaches maybe, and I probably missed something still - I know Orion Nebula D2 is floating around somewhere, but I'm including it anyways, because it's fairly rare to find, and it doesn't add anything to the D1 version anyways - so why bother with the D2 version unless you simply don't have D1?)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:02 am 
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I was just thinking about why the D1 single player campaign is my favorite and I think I hit on something. The D1 campaign is pretty challenging to borderline nintendo hard depending on the skill level, but not impossible to beat on insane even if you don't have much real skill. For the most part the D1 campaign ramps up the difficulty more smoothly than any other campaign I have played (excluding oddballs like level 6 anyway). And I think the reason the difficulty curve in D1 flows so well is because the developers themselves were improving their skills as they were creating the game, so they started out as newbies making the early levels and got gradually better and better as they worked on the later levels. To get a really smooth curve they only had to keep it reasonably challenging to themselves through the later levels in order to balance them out correctly. With D2 and later campaigns many of the developers were probably already experts at combat in the game, so trying to match the campaign difficulty curve to the learning curve was likely a lot harder to do.

I think that probably contributed to that extra spark that D1 has which was missing from the later games (even if D2 did improve on many things).

Even the skill levels are just right in D1, unlike modern games where most people can beat a game on "hard" on the first play through without suffering, if a newbie tries to beat D1 on insane they would likely find the skill level to be perfectly named because the learning curve is just that brutal, while trainee is forgiving enough that just about anyone who likes the game and wants to see more but aren't amazing players can still beat it.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 4:41 am 
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Counterstrike's biggest downfall as far as aesthetics are concerned was the designers' insistence to use the new graphic content so heavily that they neglected the D1 graphic content, which was perfectly fine in its own right. Luckily they rectified this in Vertigo and then some.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 7:14 am 
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Krom wrote:
...not impossible to beat on insane even if you don't have much real skill.

Really? I must have too much skill then. :lol:
I keep trying to go through D1 on insane and every time I game over before level 9. I've gone through on Ace with no difficulty at all, so I should be able to... but I refuse to save-scum which is probably why :D.

And I've won multiplayer games against some pretty good pilots in Descent 1-3 (in contrast to pretty much any other online game franchise I've played :P).

But I'll keep trying... 'cuz I'm just that skilled at being pathetic.

Joking aside, I don't think it's a question of "real" skill but a question of different kinds of skill at the same game. High-difficulty singleplayer needs a different style of skill compared to multiplayer.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 7:50 am 
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I beat D1 on insane when I was keyboard only and could only fire (6) homing missiles around corners to beat super hulks. That and shooting around corners using the wingtip bolt from quad lasers so I could kill robots without taking any fire (although beating the level 7 boss took hours because I had to run and hide inside the only spot in the boss room where smart missiles couldn't reach). I could barely even use sliding at all (only left and right) and the most I used it for was for hugging corners. It is possible, but it is a question of just how much patience and persistence you have.

If you are having trouble getting through D1 on insane, first check your controls. I was a perma-noob till I got an actual competent control setup, then I improved dramatically.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 11:56 am 
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First Strike > Maximum > Vertigo > Counterstrike

i dont actually like D2 as much as i love D1. everything that makes D1 great... isnt in D2.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 4:22 pm 
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ThugsRook wrote:
First Strike > Maximum > Vertigo > Counterstrike

i dont actually like D2 as much as i love D1. everything that makes D1 great... isnt in D2.


Wrong. D2 has far more good custom missions to blast through. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 11:11 pm 
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MegaDescent wrote:
ThugsRook wrote:
First Strike > Maximum > Vertigo > Counterstrike

i dont actually like D2 as much as i love D1. everything that makes D1 great... isnt in D2.


Wrong. D2 has far more good custom missions to blast through. :)

are you really gonna fanboi defend D2 in your own thread?

there is no need, this is a Descent forum. cut it out or ill sik the D3 fanbois on ya ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 11:21 pm 
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ThugsRook wrote:
MegaDescent wrote:
ThugsRook wrote:
First Strike > Maximum > Vertigo > Counterstrike

i dont actually like D2 as much as i love D1. everything that makes D1 great... isnt in D2.


Wrong. D2 has far more good custom missions to blast through. :)

are you really gonna fanboi defend D2 in your own thread?

there is no need, this is a Descent forum. cut it out or ill sik the D3 fanbois on ya ;)


No, I'm not trying to defend the original, I enjoy THE ORIGINAL of D1 more by leaps and bounds compared to THE ORIGINAL of D2. (I haven't played Vertigo and I've played only a little of Maximum.) But that doesn't mean D2 can't have a lot of superior custom missions, does it? That's my point, I'd like to know if your statement of D1 beating D2 (and D2 missing everything that made D1 great) is only applicable for the original (which I totally agree with) or for custom missions as well (personally, I feel custom content for D2 revitalizes the game in its entirety and helps make up for the disappointing original).


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 12:59 am 
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we are talking about the originals.

youre new, so you cant possibly have the same perspective as us oldtimers that have been playing since the shareware versions. revitalizes? you just started! :lol:

this is how i feel about Counterstrike...
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20470

;)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:48 am 
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Well, far as custom missions are concerned, D2 indeed gives us much more possibilities. Personally I wouldn't mind weapon balance tweaks, though, to bring them back to their D1 values. But I've already expressed my woe about the cut D1 contend plenty of times :D

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 3:57 am 
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Pumo wrote:
...just open the d2x.mn2 file, and delete the 'z' before 'name'.
That is, convert "zname = Descent 2: Vertigo" to "name = Descent 2: Vertigo".

this does work in DOS Descent 2 also.

you can have both versions of Vertigo at the same time so you dont have to constantly edit...
copy d2x.hog & d2x.mn2
rename them vertigo.hog and vertigo.mn2
open vertigo.mn2 and remove 'z' from 'zname', rename mission Descent 1: Vertigo (or whatever you want)

this way also has the effect of breaking the robot briefings, which is good since they arent in the game ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:29 am 
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Xfing wrote:
Well, far as custom missions are concerned, D2 indeed gives us much more possibilities. Personally I wouldn't mind weapon balance tweaks, though, to bring them back to their D1 values. But I've already expressed my woe about the cut D1 contend plenty of times :D


As far as I know the only stuff from D1 that actually is not present to be used in D2 missions are some textures, some door sounds, and the Fusion Cannon is weaker, right? I had thought that anything else from D1 can be replicated in D2, if desired, besides those couple of things (and without using custom texture/sound files). Is that correct?

If that is the case, then weapon balance would be largely up to the creator of the custom mission to manage, apart from being forced to deal with the weaker Fusion.

I think I'm going to split this custom content thing into another poll though...


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:39 am 
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^ D2 is not D1.
the bots are not the same. just play D1 in D2 and the difference is clear... D1 isnt exactly D1 in D2. the entire balance is different. (not to mention the bosses are nerfed)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 11:07 am 
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I know not everything is the same, but: you can have (some) D1 textures, you can have D1 doors, you can use only D1 weapons in most levels if you desire so, and most regular D1 robots are available. So I'm not arguing D1 has its own charm, but it's not like you can't do ANYTHING for a D1 feel, either. And - just because the Parallax campaign for D2 is much inferior - why does that have to mean custom missions are inferior as well? Again though, I split custom content in a separate poll, so please feel free to discuss there as well. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 2:58 pm 
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Actually it is, with some work, possible to make a level nigh indistinguishable from D1 in D2. That requires:

- meddling with the HAM file and restoring weapon values such as laser power, spread power and blob speed, fusion power. Requires a replacement HAM.
- exproting D1-exclusive textures from the PIG and using them as custom textures in your mine - easily done
- Having a custom palette optimized for D1 textures - very difficult. Pumo is currently working on one, it'll be just another PIG file like the six included with the game
- Adding back D1 robot sounds - perfectly feasible. requires that you save these from D1 using DTX and import them into the D2 S.22 file using DTX2, replacing some multiplayer sound files, and finally you need to assign these sounds to their respective robots using HAXMED32. Sadly, the files will always be intrinsically in 11 khz quality and their transition into 22 khz may have less than satisfactory results. There is no better way to do this entire thing as of today.
- Adding back D1 door sounds - next to impossible to accomplish simultaneously with robots because of the number of the sound files you can replace. Best left alone, if maybe except for the D1 secret doors, these can be handled.

All of the above considered, your level still won't have the D1 door sounds (or robot sounds - it's your choice) nor the D1 scripted in-game exit sequence, but apart from that you can have pretty much everything else.

I do have an updated HAM file for weapon balance ready. The sound files too. When Pumo finishes his PIG palette, we'll practically have everything we can have to make D2 as D1-like as it can possibly get (without some serious programming skills).

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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 8:14 am 
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You could always play with my weapons mod for a brand new experience....heh heh


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 Post subject: Re: Best Parallax campaign
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 2:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:03 am
Posts: 1362
Location: Ringing Satan's Doorbell
Yeah, the Lost Levels weapons are definitely something new. And they're more distinct from each other than the stock weapons :P

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Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 32/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6


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