Descent videos

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

Moderator: AceCombat

User avatar
Sirius
DBB Master
DBB Master
Posts: 5497
Joined: Fri May 28, 1999 2:01 am
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Sirius » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:31 pm

kakhome1 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:00 pm
@Sirius How are you supposed to handle Level 2 cold start no death? I can't even come close, even on Hotshot. Can't even reliably clear way to the energy center.
Basically, you're not. Cold start, sure; no deaths wasn't part of the plan though. It's probably possible even on Insane if you're very good and very persistent, but the direction for AF was simply "challenging in co-op but beatable". We didn't have a consistent measuring stick for what that meant. It wasn't until I was working on Anthology that I started being methodical about encounter design.
Though that's not to say that AF was totally random. Level 1 was intentionally supposed to be an only-moderately-difficult introduction to the set, and the real nastiness would hit you in level 2. And if I recall correctly I wanted level 4 to be a bit of a space to breathe as well, since the previous two were just painful. After that all bets were off.
AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:33 pm
To Sirius :
Ok then I will assume I did a decent job with AF :D . I mainly wanted to ask why it was designed that a bit "anti-climactic" way - L2, 3 being very diffucult, and for example L 14 and L15 not too hard... Was there any idea behind the difficulty progression and level order here?
I don't recall that being expressly intentional, i.e. we didn't set out to make a difficulty peak that early on. It was more a side-effect of Gauss coming in combined with that we didn't do much to ramp up the difficulty in response to the Gauss. There are a few ways to do that, but the only one I particularly like is controlling the ammo supply. Ambushes start to feel cheap and lazy if you use them too much, and custom robots wasn't something we wanted everywhere.
AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:33 pm
on L3 getting to the energy center is plain impossible on cold start - how you are supposed to fight those dangerous enemies with red lasers?
Pick up all the weapons you can, and don't miss (much).

No, it's not exactly fair.
AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:33 pm
More on cold starts, L12 cannot be coldstarted at all on Insane, I believe. You simply don't have enough missiles to kill the boss.
Agreed. That was part of the mission that was unquestionably a mistake. A level like that should be paired with a lower-difficulty boss.

Level 11 I recall being tricky and I had to just dash through fire at the start room, but it wasn't impossible. Once you got a couple guns you could get a foothold and the rest of the level was less scary. It was probably easier in co-op, since the start rooms were split and each player would draw the robots' attention away from the other.
kakhome1
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:19 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by kakhome1 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:05 pm

@Sirius You mention 'challenging in co-op but beatable', yet clearly the mission IS beatable in single player too (save Level 12 coldstart), just VERY challenging, and probably still quite hard even on continuous and with deaths allowed (as long as not 'game over', of course). What was your intent as to how single player would be (i.e. was any specific consideration given, or is 'brutally hard in single player but not impossible' simple what 'challenging in co-op but beatable' more or less naturally translates to)?

Also, as for the Level 12 (virtually) impossible coldstart issue, it seems almost precisely the same issue exists for Level 14 of Obsidian.
User avatar
Sirius
DBB Master
DBB Master
Posts: 5497
Joined: Fri May 28, 1999 2:01 am
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Sirius » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:30 pm

I think single-player was more or less - "it should be possible, but you might have to drop the difficulty level below what you normally play at, in order to still have fun". There was a briefing so it was part of the consideration, but we took it as a given that a mission targeted at experienced co-op players would be tougher than normal in single-player.

Obsidian level 14 I've usually considered as having a "knowledge" problem - the boss isn't much drama if you know what to expect, but if you don't, things just drop off a cliff. That doesn't make for good times in co-op where you can't just reload if you made a bad mistake (well, technically I guess you can; multiplayer savegames exist but I've yet to see people savescumming with them). But I'm not sure that's exactly the point you're making... there might just outright not be enough Earthshakers in the level to kill it anyway.
And that's possible, but I also recall that it was never our goal that Obsidian be coldstart-friendly. I even recall musing in a blog post that (not an exact quote) "level 15 is so tough I've yet to successfully cold-start it, but hey, it's the final level". At the time nobody was really asking for anything else unless you'd killed them on the way to the exit in the previous level.
User avatar
AlexanderBorisov
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:20 am

@Siruis : I still think it was a big fun to play this level set the way I did - except levels 2,3,5,7 boss parts - if I tried to record those levels entirely no save no death it would take a month for each level and would not be fun, definitely :x . But for levels like 5,7 it is inevitable - if you have a difficult boss at the end of one hour long and very hard level, it is plain unfair on no death no save mode. At least I found the way to beat L5 boss without too many reloads and rather quickly, with L7 only thing I found is to nuke it with all my smart mines. Does not work often but it is the only way to beat it without save-scumming or deaths. On L2, should be easy to fix to make it playable no save - replace 6 cloaked drillers in boss room with a couple of usual ones, cut boss HP by 1000, and you are done! L3 is a different beast, of course, but if the player was given Vulcan and quads right at the beginning, and a pack of guided missiles and couple smarts along the level, things should be fine. Maybe remove those seekers near the ammo rack that shoot you every time you move in the long corridor, and remove 1 seeker of 3 near the boss door. And do smth with that matcens near the energy center (impossible to clear if it spawns a lot of drillers). Just my thoughts, I don't mean it should be really changed...

About L11 coldstart - tried it, possible (got past the first room 3 times in 40 mins), but definitely not fun on no death no save restriction. The rest of level itself is not that hard, of course. I just wanted to check it because there is a boss bug that affect L11, L12 bosses (boss refuses to teleport, make sound or make robots), and I want to re-record those levels without the bug. Latest nightly doesn't have this bug on coldstart but if I load a save the bug is still there... Even if I load L11 save into the latest build, complete the level and go to L12 boss, the boss is buggy. And I cannot normally coldstart either of two levels. Hopefully Kp is trying to help me with VS compilation issue, there is a chance that we will succeed and I will be able to look on this boss bug myself. Because Kp does not have much time for it right now...

On Obsidian L15, don't see why it is difficult on cold start, I had no intention to do it in my playthrough but later checked that I can deal with starting enemies on coldstart, get a foothold in the big room and get to the source of Gauss ammo (kill those blue robots in side rooms). Then you have Gauss (with enough ammo) and Plasma and it becomes the same as warm start. You can restore energy and get some shakers (need 3-4 to beat the last room without PITA) from the secret level.

Another question about AF level 3, why it is designed that way you can skip half of it or even more (and even MUST skip if you don't want to die)?
And nothing very useful in those parts, too. You can check what areas of the level I visited (second part starts at red key).

kakhome1
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:19 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by kakhome1 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:28 am

Definitely a question for Sirius, but I'm guessing it's so that the other player has placed to explore in co-op.
User avatar
Sirius
DBB Master
DBB Master
Posts: 5497
Joined: Fri May 28, 1999 2:01 am
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Sirius » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:44 pm

Actually that one is a question for DH; I didn't design level 3. Though I have no problem with optional parts of a level either.
User avatar
AlexanderBorisov
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:17 am

Haha, seems the most evil AF levels are designed by DH (maybe except 7? but it has only an evil boss) - and the same is true for TEW. I understand that you won't have problems in coops with unlimited deaths, but for SP on one life and no saves those areas are a thing to avoid. It is interesting which path through the level you choose, maybe I am doing smth seriously wrong, missing some important stuff and unintentionally make it much harder? Especially interested how you deal with the area near the ammo rack, 3 seekers and 2 spiders that shoot you through the grate as you move from the beginning to the energy center and back - which I had to do 5 times! And those 3 spiders in adjacent room that also shoot you through the grated door (one of those caused most of my failures on this level). And how you are supposed to beat the red area (where is the boss unlocking switch) without guided missile trick I used in the second part?

Edit : I managed to replay it without deaths, improving the strategy and clearing larger part of the level, too.
User avatar
AlexanderBorisov
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:01 am

Alter-Fox wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:35 pm
Might watch one of those... Don't want spoilers but maybe I can figure out what I'm doing wrong in level 2.
It would also be very interesting to know what do you think about my music selection for the levels. I felt AF deserves some good music - and here it is!
kakhome1
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:19 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by kakhome1 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:03 am

I really liked the music choices from a glance at least...doing non-midi and just playing it in the background is a creative idea IMO. :) And it's well-credited too, so you know what the source is! No hunting around necessary.
User avatar
Alter-Fox
The Feline Menace
Posts: 2728
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 12:49 pm
Location: the realms of theory
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:43 am

I'll probably take a watch this evening or tomorrow, while I'm writing.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
User avatar
Sirius
DBB Master
DBB Master
Posts: 5497
Joined: Fri May 28, 1999 2:01 am
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Sirius » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:11 pm

Regarding AF levels, Sirius: 1, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11
DH: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15
(yeah he did most of the building)

Only reason AF didn't have music was because we didn't have anything appropriate on hand, neither of us had any songwriting ability, we didn't want to just copy stuff and no-one was available to help with that... so adding music after the fact is fairly justified.
Basically the same reason Anthology has no music. If I can't do it well I just feel it's better not to do it at all.
User avatar
AlexanderBorisov
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:43 pm

Interesting, I thought 7 is yours because it is the only one of DH's levels that does not have an Ownage Depot (or I haven't found it, but I carefully checked every level with DLE to ensure I found all useful secrets and did not skipped large areas unintentionally) - which was my secondary goal. 8,9 are in fact quite hard, especially 9, but they are fair. Maybe except the "death maze" in L8 with tons of missile bots, I tried to crack it for a long time before figuring out how to do it without saves and deaths...
User avatar
Alter-Fox
The Feline Menace
Posts: 2728
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 12:49 pm
Location: the realms of theory
Contact:

Re: Descent videos

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:11 pm

I remember whenever I played it in co-op I always ended up choosing the same song for level 6. Which was incidentally as far as my brother and I would ever get.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
User avatar
AlexanderBorisov
DBB Ace
DBB Ace
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Descent videos

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:36 am

A couple more interesting single levels recorded : Juggernaut (by Luke Schneider), I heard this level is a must to play (although I was unable to find it for long time), and in fact it is very good! Now it is on DMDB.

And I found a gem in LOTW - Turncoat (for D1) - another hard and interesting to play level.
Post Reply