Best old Descent author/team

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

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Who was the best single player mission designer from the 90s (you may pick two)?

Kyoruru (Solrazor/Razor Blade)
1
17%
Luke Schneider
2
33%
Kruel
1
17%
GELD
0
No votes
Ellusion Design
1
17%
All equally good
1
17%
Someone I didn't include (please specify in comment)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 6
kakhome1
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Best old Descent author/team

Post by kakhome1 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:31 am

As opposed to selecting individual missions, who do you think made the best classic single player campaigns in the 1990s? Again they need to have had at least a vast majority of their work be pre-2000. You can pick two if you want and commentary is welcome!
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Sirius
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by Sirius » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:52 pm

Luke Schneider for technical innovation (first custom polymodels in a major mission due to Polytron); Kruel for artistry and storytelling in level design (especially Konflict at Karon). While some of that was refined significantly by later authors, pioneering work counts for a lot in my book. :)

Of course, a purely level-designer poll skips over the work of Garry Knudson, who had a huge behind-the-scenes influence due to his conversion and robot animation tools. He did contribute player ship designs to a couple of late-90s missions but also made most of the post-Entropy 2 innovations possible.
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by kakhome1 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:34 am

Both very good reasons. I remember Kyoruru getting a lot of praise for gameplay though. Also I think he made the absolute first new robots - Phobos Encounter predates Entropy 2.
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by LightWolf » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:11 pm

DMB2 had support for customizing robots - just not the models. Solrazor probably used that.
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by kakhome1 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:00 pm

Sirius wrote:Luke Schneider for technical innovation (first custom polymodels in a major mission due to Polytron); Kruel for artistry and storytelling in level design (especially Konflict at Karon). While some of that was refined significantly by later authors, pioneering work counts for a lot in my book. :)
In particular, what later authors do you think refined Kruel's work and in what ways? I'm assuming for Luke Schneider you mean in Entropy 2: Vengeance as the first Entropy Experiment had only modified robot behaviors.

Also, a shout out should probably go to whoever did the soundtracks for many of these missions (Orion, Chasm, Phobos, Mandrill, Entropy 1/2, EAF2, Obsidian). They're all great musics (at least in my opinion) and a lot better if these just had standard Descent (II) music. :) Even more recent releases often don't seem to have (new) custom music of this quality.
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by Sirius » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:40 pm

I was more thinking of building on Luke Schneider's work with that comment. Mandrill was the first to extend it with animated robots, but quite a few other missions followed that up, and there might have been a total conversion at some point? Or at least an attempt.
Interestingly, almost all animated robots before the XL/Rebirth era had simple convex submodels - because managing BSP was something of a black art and there weren't many tools to help with it. The only exceptions I know of were built by either Garry Knudson (Mandrill bosses) or me (Apocalyptic Factor bosses after level 3). Once XL/Rebirth came along people just started making them in Polytron because BSP didn't matter anymore (unless you load the mission up in DOSBox, in which case you will notice).

Kruel's school of level design was something that has rarely been followed up, on the other hand. Konflict at Karon is still probably the example I would point to for narrative-driven design (unless you look at Descent 3 or other games, where it's pretty common). Most other missions either kinda-sorta did a bit of that or didn't bother at all. Pumo Mines is very much in the vein of KaK so far, but it's still unreleased.
In terms of artistry, his levels are mostly only surpassed by D2X-XL levels. Darkhorse arguably might from time to time in regular D2, particularly in crazy works like what is probably the most painstaking texturing job of all time: http://enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=1065
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Re: Best old Descent author/team

Post by kakhome1 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:01 am

Which missions are unplayable in DosBOX simply due to how the robots are modeled? I have played a few TEW levels in Dos and didn't notice weird things like you suggest.

What non XL missions should not be played in Dos due to robots not properly functioning?
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