Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

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kakhome1
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by kakhome1 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:46 pm

Maybe a 'proper' solo version of AF will be made, not that anything is actually wrong or 'improper' as is, but proper meaning as in supporting all the traditional solo play game styles.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:47 am

kakhome1 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:48 pm
Hope you have plenty of Gauss left though...because the next level has no energy in it!
Well, I start each level fresh, with no prior munitions. So far I've been able to beat each one. After I'm done with all these challenges, I'll just kick the games off and try to beat them with no save scumming in one go -as many lives as I have left at the end, I'll keep. That's the way the game is supposed to be played after all. But it's really good to have some prior experience with the levels, that's for certain :D
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:50 am

AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:47 pm
The camping strategy for the boss (that Calmarius used and I tried to use it too, but did it the other way in my vid, because of the boss glitch) allows for more than 50% success rate, and you can always hear when the boss teleports nearby and safely drive it away with guided or smart missile. Where with this startegy, I think you will succees 1 of 10 on the boss if not less... Your run was indeed very lucky when it concerns the boss.
But probably my way makes it way too easy and thus less exiting, so you run with more straightforward approach is very interesting to watch.
The next energy gives you Gauss cannon quickly and enough ammo, don't fear it. Ant it is really easy.
Yeah, yours is a very safe yet effective run. Still, there are some things I think I did better, for example I didn't have to go back to the energy center that many times (not a single time actually), you skipped the homing missile and shield power-up in the ceiling of the passage leading to the energy center, also skipped one mega that was behind the phoenix cannon in the hidden cache with the Lou Guard protecting it (though we both ended up with 4 at the end of the day, since I chose to spend one earlier); last but not least you didn't clear out all the smaller robots in the boss arena, and you generally have to do that if you want it to be a valid 100% run :D

I can appreciate the camping strategy for the boss, but I'm a bit wary of it - after all he can always teleport just a little bit too close to your current position, at which point you're as good as dead. It takes instant reflexes to be able to dodge what's coming from him and hide in that alcove in time. I do appreciate the designers' decision to only give you a single cloak as far as the power-ups go, not counting the rather far-away invulnerability whose purpose is ambiguous. The Quartzon boss had tons of cloaks and invulnerabilities, making the fight much more comfortable, though that was somewhat counterbalanced by the presence of matcens in the boss arena.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:11 am

Yes, I missed some secrets, as usual. About the boss arena, it was impossible to move out of the hiding place this time because of the boss glitch that made it not teleport. I could have destroyed everything in the boss arena with guided missiles in this case. But simply forgot it. Without the glitch it's not hard to do the same, also robots tend to move into your line of sight sooner or later if you camp in the alcove and lure the boss with guided missiles. To be honest, my run should be replayed because of the boss glitch, but I am too lazy to do it, the strategy for the boss is well known, and i'd better record smth else. Maybe I will return to this level later, and even try to do it your way. And I don't think you need instant reflexes with camping strategy, I just rush to the alcove at the moment the boss starts to cloak, then listen how loud is his sound (thus know whether he teleported near the alcove). Where you need instant reflexes. are LL4 and LL16 bosses I think...
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:20 am

I think there might be no glitching in the vanilla version in DOS. I did redo my level 10 run, even though it was a nightmarishly hard level, so might as well try level 12 again too :D The only thing that bothers me about playing in DOSBox is the delay I get when pressing TAB until the Automap comes up, likewise with going back to gameplay. I don't remember having this problem playing years ago on older machines, and right now I use tab lots and lots of times out of habit - I just don't have the patience to wait like 5 seconds every time ;(
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:41 pm

Level 13: Yeah, this level is quite easy. Seems overwhelming at the start, sure, but if you dash towards your first destination quickly enough, you'll make it easily, chance is you won't even take damage. Took me <10 tries to beat, even going in blind didn't seem to be very much of an issue. The grated design of the level lets you eliminate many of the enemies before you even have to enter the chambers they're in. There are plenty of bulk destroyers who'll always give you another Gauss should the thief steal it, which helps too. The ice spindle is an easily underestimated robot with a large damage output, but it's for all intents and purposes just a jacked up Fox - dodging the fast-moving projectiles is the tricky part, but overall nothing to write home about, even though the level is not that conservative with the numbers. The biggest threat in this level are quite ironically the bulk destroyers, as the level creates several situations where their hitscan damage potential can whittle down your shields quickly if you're not careful. The reactor chamber is probably the most problematic part of the level, since there seem to be several triggers for the matcen, which can make your escape tough. I'm not sure if I managed to dispose of the sidearm modula inside the trap, but I probably did - if there is a need for a redo, I'll just plant some smart mines there next time or something. I like how the level gives you basically two routes towards the exit - the "shortcut" route has some goodies in it, which might be desirable to get in continuous play. Overall this level gives you plenty of Gauss ammo, so the only reason to economize on energy is for the afterburner.

Finally, for aesthetics: there is something really easy on the eyes about the ice levels, this one being no exception. Quite an obvious route to go down too, I'm sure Parallax already had plans for this kind of theme back in the early days. The white, firny walls, the cyan ice and the dark blue, patchy texture are my favorites from this level. I also like how some textures debuting in D1 were given a chance to shine - if memory serves, this was a rather prevalent practice in Limefrost Spiral. No wonder either - many textures introduced in D1 supplement this theme very nicely.

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/7pqu7i
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:25 am

BTW i tried to do L12 your way, it was hard, probably harder than L10, the minibosses and the seeker in the big room on the way to the energy center kill you often or you run out of energy. And you can only beat the boss if you are lucky enough for it to teleport twice in your sight but far from you. Everything else is not hard, of course. Probably required around 20 attempts to accomplish. And I am not sure this was not the same boss glitch again... Also not 100% certainty that I killed everything in the boss room because I was doing the cleanup in haste during the countdown.

L13 is really pleasant for the eyes for some reason. And nice geometry, too. The bulk destroyers are not completely hit-scan however, you can dodge at even medium range if you are circling in place; of course the shots are invisible and it makes dodging them harder. But I doubt it is faster than player mercury missile, for example. Vulcan should be faster (in D1 it is certainly nearly hit-scan), but I am not entirely sure about it. BTW do you know how one can access the weapon data to look up such details, I remember you told that you modified the Fusion in D1.5, how is it done?
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:30 pm

AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:25 am
BTW i tried to do L12 your way, it was hard, probably harder than L10, the minibosses and the seeker in the big room on the way to the energy center kill you often or you run out of energy. And you can only beat the boss if you are lucky enough for it to teleport twice in your sight but far from you. Everything else is not hard, of course. Probably required around 20 attempts to accomplish. And I am not sure this was not the same boss glitch again... Also not 100% certainty that I killed everything in the boss room because I was doing the cleanup in haste during the countdown.
The minibosses in the walkway chamber can be troublesome, the ones in the big chamber on the way to the blue key are about equally annoying, I agree.Afterwards it's way easier. As for the boss then yeah, I'd definitely be interested in perfecting a more reliable way of fighting him, but at least I know I can dodge his stuff from a medium distance. Not having other mechs to worry about helps too, he unfortunately spawns seekers, which are bad enough on their own >_>
L13 is really pleasant for the eyes for some reason. And nice geometry, too. The bulk destroyers are not completely hit-scan however, you can dodge at even medium range if you are circling in place; of course the shots are invisible and it makes dodging them harder. But I doubt it is faster than player mercury missile, for example. Vulcan should be faster (in D1 it is certainly nearly hit-scan), but I am not entirely sure about it.
Yeah, neither Vulcan nor Gauss are technically hitscan actually, there is no such thing in Descent. Still, I like to think of them as such for obvious reasons.
BTW do you know how one can access the weapon data to look up such details, I remember you told that you modified the Fusion in D1.5, how is it done?
You need to use an old utility called Haxmed32, it's part of a package known as DMTools. Someone around these boards should be able to help you find it. Normally it has a lock on descent2.HAM so that you can't edit it to cheat in multiplayer, but with a simple flag change in its settings file, you move the lock to random HXM files and can actually edit the main HAM instead. Even without it though you can see all the values. BTW it has to be run as admin under newer Windows versions.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:04 pm

About the best strategy (safest) for the boss - I think that one Calmarius used (camping in the alcove) is the best if done correctly. Almost 1 of 2 successfull. Anyway the Ice boss can only be beaten with this strategy, I believe.
Thanks I've found the Haxmedt32 (most of those Descent tools are still alive on Pumo's page), does it need 32-bit XP to work or still works on Win7-64? Fortunately I have the XP system on my old machine, but will get this machine back from repairs only a few days later. And this hack that allows editing Descent2.hog, does it need a special tool or it is smth obvious to do? Probably just renaming descent2.hog to smth else will work?
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:11 am

Only 16-bit applications require that the system isn't 64-bit. 32-bit apps can be run just fine on 64-bit systems, and Haxmed32 is one, it's even in the name :D

The change you need to make to its files in order to be able to make changes to descent2.hog is this: in the DATA directory of the application, you've got a file named ham.fmt. In this file you've got 2 headlines: [HAMtype_ham] and [HAMtype_vhm]. The first lines under the headlines will be Desc=HAM and Desc=V-HAM , respectively. Just swap these two around so that [HAMtype_vhm] has Desc=HAM instead of Desc=V-HAM and vice versa. This should remove the lock on descent2.ham editing.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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