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 Post subject: Favorite Campaigns
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:01 am 
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Back in the good 'ol days of D2 gaming, Project Mandrill (Razor/Kyouryuu) and Entropy Experiment 2 (Luke Schneider?) were the ones to beat. What are your favorites?

I've been \"out\" of the Descent gaming loop for a while; have there been any good D2 campaigns made in the past few years?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:08 am 
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The Abalon series by Cameron Fultz wasn't too bad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:27 am 
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Phobos Encounter (Kyouryuu), Entropy Experiment 1 (Luke Schneider) and Obsidian (Ellusion Design) are my all time favorites... :)


About newer missions, there aren't really anything really important right now.

However, i'm making Pumo Mines (a 19 level mission designed for D2X-XL) and DarkWolf's is trying to make a new mission with levels from various designers (me included) for old classical D2 ;)

So, stay tuned :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:46 pm 
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My favorite's always been Encounter At Farpoint 2 (Ellusion). I don't usually like custom textures, but this mission was one solid piece of quality.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:06 pm 
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Encounter at Far Point 2 and Obisidian self-installers won't work anymore with my new comp I just bought. So...anyone have those missions unzipped and slip them to me via email? darkflamewolf@yahoo.com
You could always check out my two: Bahagad Outbreak and Lost Levels.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:24 pm 
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I've got them. I will send them to your mail packed on a single RAR file...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:08 pm 
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uh...

If I were to pick one, I'd probably have to say EE2. There isn't really a lot separating it from many of its contemporaries though, and I don't believe it impossible to make something substantially better - just time-consuming.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:01 pm 
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Kruel's Konflikt At Karon and Kryllidian Krusade.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:28 pm 
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I enjoyed Entropy 2, but Obsidian was so hard, if I remember correctly, that I never beat all of it. After I beat the main D2 campaign and Vertigo missions I'll give it another try.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:03 pm 
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Obsidian was hard? Hehe. At least I didn't put all the shakers in after you needed them that time around. ;)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:16 pm 
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Diedel wrote:
Kruel's Konflikt At Karon and Kryllidian Krusade.


as evidenced in your level design style. :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:27 am 
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Boiling Point does borrow from Kruel a bit really.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:42 am 
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DarkFlameWolf wrote:
Diedel wrote:
Kruel's Konflikt At Karon and Kryllidian Krusade.


as evidenced in your level design style. :P


Really?

Sirius wrote:
Boiling Point does borrow from Kruel a bit really.


Though it doesn't do so intentionally, I take that as a compliment. For me, Kruel is the Great Grandmaster of Descent 1 and 2 level design. There are a few others who reached his level (e.g. Darkhorse, or you, Sirius), but no one produced such a mass of highest quality levels as Kruel. If you haven't, check out Kruel's section in my level spotlight. There's one precious pearl after the other. It's just amazing how he has managed to create the impression of realism with simplest means.

Just playing KaK again - what a beautiful mission. Krusade will be next. I love to fly through these missions and just look at everything.

Btw, how do you create your missions? If I want to do something new, I just start envisioning structures, and if I have a few things in my imagination I'd love to see in the game, I start building them. Often they aren't connected, and I have to find ways to bring them together, like in Boiling Point's canyon mission ('Live Training'), where you have that canyon and the huge cave - the cave was about the last area I built in the entire mission, and I had never intended it to be so big, but now as it is finished I think it's perfect. While I was doing it, it was like I was weaving something while being blindfolded. It had a lot do with a feeling of flow of the structure I created. For me that cave is some of the best stuff I have ever built.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:58 am 
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The reason is in the intent of the levels; the parts of Kruel's campaign levels that I recall were designed to look like particular things, whereas Descent levels have, historically, more often been somewhat abstract in design. Boiling Point has this same goal in mind, although it often uses different means of achieving the same end - largely due to more available features.

To be honest, the \"abstract\" school of thought was probably the fault of Parallax primarily, as they were trying to get the most out of an engine and artwork that didn't really seem to be suited for realism. Kruel just ignored it and went for realism anyway. :) The next generation of FPS games, such as Unreal, Quake 2/3 and Half-Life, soon vindicated that approach, since by that point the game engines were capable of producing realistic structures without extraordinary effort.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:05 am 
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True. I am looking for something more identifiable than the usual Descent 1/2 mines offer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:18 am 
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longest yard.

oops wait.. wrong game.



;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:43 am 
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D2X-XL forum - for all who want a troll free environment.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:39 pm 
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stay here if you want to breath free air.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:00 pm 
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and let's get back to favorite campaigns! Solrazor made a good one: Mandrill. It was short, sweet and definitely fun.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:14 pm 
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Duper wrote:
stay here if you want to breath free air.

Stay here if you want to suffer from people constantly abusing the "freedom" here.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:15 pm 
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DarkFlameWolf wrote:
and let's get back to favorite campaigns! Solrazor made a good one: Mandrill. It was short, sweet and definitely fun.

Yes, Mandrill is a great mission. I still remember the dual energy stealing boss robots all too well ... now imagine having to battle these with D2X-XL multiple bosses option enabled ... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:00 pm 
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DarkFlameWolf wrote:
and let's get back to favorite campaigns! Solrazor made a good one: Mandrill. It was short, sweet and definitely fun.


Actually Wolf, I'm a bit surprised at how many single player sets there are as I never came across even half of the ones mentioned. The one I DID play was over modded (imo) and very buggy. (that was quite a while ago)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:55 pm 
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This is completely my opinion, but here's the inherit folly of the "realistic" approach. When you choose to go down that avenue, you are pushing the game well beyond its limits and inviting the comparison with vastly more sophisticated engines. I don't care how fantastic you think your mine looks - it's nothing compared to a UT2004 map or even a UT map. The more you struggle to emulate that, the more you are doomed to fall short. You wind up with... well, that Seoul level from Descent 3, right? Yeah, doesn't age very well, does it?

Likewise, if you play into the limitations of the engine, you only draw comparisons between other work on that engine. Within that context, the piece will age as gracefully as the rest of the game does.

I would also point out that beyond this narrow community, it's impossible to "wow" anyone with Descent's graphics, D2X or not. Its time has come and gone. Why even try? Why do people keep playing? To borrow a great political phrase, "It's the gameplay, stupid." Gameplay is paramount to everything and, realistically, it's all you have to go on with a game of this age.

But that's my Descent design philosophy, at least.

[quote=Sirius]... producing realistic structures without extraordinary effort.[/quote]

You don't know next-gen really well, do you? :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:27 am 
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Relatively speaking.

No, I'm not very familiar *at all* with next-gen level design, but I do recall fairly well that designing structures however you felt like was substantially simpler in UT than in D2 or D3 - the former meant twisting cubes into annoyingly tricky arrangements, and the latter meant hand-drawing every single polygon (usually). Brushes make things much faster.

I do hear they're heading away from brushes in favour of pre-cast objects created in actual modelling tools, though. Not sure whether I like that approach, but I guess if it works, it works.

For the record, what you've stated is the main reason why I never aimed at realism much myself... because if I really wanted it, I'd find a newer engine. I can respect people that DID aim for it though, because the results were often pretty impressive considering the technological limitations.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:40 am 
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Descent's gameplay is fairly unique, and that's the sole reason why you'd bother trying to use exotic architecture in the game. It requires less programming experience to make it work in D3 than in UT*.

Still 8 years old though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:51 am 
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Good gameplay never gets old and can be easily put into a good engine, and that's what I plan to do.

I don't compare Kruel's or my efforts to achieve some realism with the D2 engine to new engines and what they can do. I compare it to what has been done with the D2 engine, and what can be done. Given that, I like both Kruel's and my productions.

You can start to talk about making comparisons when you have a \"D4X\".

And then, there is no Descent (2) like game on a more modern engine, so that stuff is all you can have currently.

Btw, brushes aren't really better than single polys. Actually a brush is only a 3D poly. Making stuff reusable makes level editing easier. Having the power of a professional 3D modelling program does too, that's why modern engines may use these to have their levels and models built.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:41 pm 
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Yeah, it's just that the techniques used by editors like UnrealEd with brushes etc make it much quicker to generate the polygons. I found quite a lot of things I wanted to do could be expressed more easily with boolean operations than polygon-by-polygon, even if that is ultimately what they end up as.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:52 am 
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I only know WorldCraft, but I've read good stuff about UnrealEd.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:26 am 
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Brushes, and by this I mean the sort of BSP geometry Unreal uses, can be rather evil in practice. Behind the scenes, the editor has to go in and chop all of those brushes into triangles on-the-fly and carve holes and intersections on its own. The editor is only as good as the algorithm that does this.

It turns out that UnrealEd's system is actually quite faulty, even in the third iteration (moreso here because they ditched the portals that would normally be used to segment BSP into smaller chunks for the algorithm to digest). One way they compensated was by adding static meshes. Any moderately complex Unreal Tournament level will likely run into a BSP hole at some point caused by the faulty algorithm, and they are maddening to fix.

Conversely, the Source Engine's brushes permit a bit less flexibility in shapes, but it is vastly more reliable. It is startling how much BSP there is in Half-Life 2.

The brilliance of Descent's engine is that, because everything is a cube, it becomes pretty simple to figure out how to render and occlude pieces of the mine. Not to mention the pathfinding methods are almost implicit (take the center point of any joined cube face and call it a path node, basically).

So, to agree with Diedel's point, I actually prefer to not have to deal with BSP if I can help it. It's great for prototyping things quickly, but there are deficiencies in the system that make it prohibitive for building really elaborate worlds. It's a lot nicer to just build the whole thing in Maya. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:15 am 
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(Just have to do this) Kruel's \"Konflikt At Karon\", Level 4 \"Main Reactor\" (I dared to create a D2X-XL version):

Image


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:25 pm 
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Diedel wrote:
Good gameplay never gets old


And thats one thing we can all agree on. :)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Diedel wrote:
Btw, how do you create your missions? If I want to do something new, I just start envisioning structures, and if I have a few things in my imagination I'd love to see in the game, I start building them. Often they aren't connected, and I have to find ways to bring them together, like in Boiling Point's canyon mission ('Live Training'), where you have that canyon and the huge cave - the cave was about the last area I built in the entire mission, and I had never intended it to be so big, but now as it is finished I think it's perfect. While I was doing it, it was like I was weaving something while being blindfolded. It had a lot do with a feeling of flow of the structure I created. For me that cave is some of the best stuff I have ever built.


Usually, the beginning of an idea will come into my head, seemingly on its own, and it seems to develop by itself (I often draw a 2D map on paper (sort of like the ones in the D1 strategy guide) to help, and so I don't forget). When the idea is finished forming, I wait until I have time, then I open dle-xp to start building. It seems the more time I wait, the better the level turns out. Often one idea will spawn two entirely different levels if I wait long enough.

BTW - My favourite missions are Project: Mandrill (it had the coolest robots I've ever seen), Obsidian (great robots, level design that looks more professional than the official campaigns, and awesome music) and The Lost Levels (awesome level design, and one of the most complex stories I've seen in a video game), and Pumo Mines level 1 (more awesome level design, and according to Pumo's website, a fantastically complex storyline, which is completely original). ;)


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