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 Post subject: Enemy Within test: bugs and other issues
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:46 pm 
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OK, others can follow this with their own reports.

What we already know:
  • The player ship is too big. I don't know exactly what versions of D2 this affects - apparently not D2X-XL, though I haven't checked that out yet - but it seems to be most of them. It'll need to be downscaled slightly.
  • Player ship size makes level 2 blue key difficult to get, level 2 full map impossible; there's a tricky spot in level 4, and I hear somewhere else you can get stuck in level 20, although I haven't played that far myself.
  • Briefing lines are too long, and some text is poorly readable in some versions of D2 due to matching the background a little too well.
  • Level 21 crashes except in D2X-XL. This is due to errors in the level and will be fixed soon.
  • Some custom robots are missing - reportedly smelter clones are spawning from the third boss, while seekers are present in level 21 and boarsheads in level 23.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:08 pm 
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If shrinking the ship doesn't allow players to get that full map in level 2, I can always widen the cube a bit, but let's see if shrinking the ship eliminates all these problems altogether.

Briefing is fixed, check your email Sirius and see if it works for you now. See if there are other colors I can be aware of that will work on some of the 'planet' pictures. Or where I can best place the text to have it readable.

Level 21 is also now fixed, you should have already received it Sirius. Lots of bad wall links apparently. D2-XL safely ignored these, but all other versions went: SCREW THIS! and CTD. heh.

Also, we may need to make the thief a bigger target to hit. Just to alleviate those who have a hard time hitting the small bugger. I've also changed the position of the thief to appear beyond the red door in level 1 and the first red door in level 2 and beyond the yellow door in level 3 and beyond the blue door in level 4. Just to ease the player into finding the thief bot this early in the mission. Especially since he's more dangerous now.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:10 pm 
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I think D2X-XL has heavily modified level loading code that actually fixes the errors itself, hence how it loads it up without a complaint. Pretty impressive, but it's preferable not to need it. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:35 pm 
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I've noticed that in XL there are more errors for me at least in the first 3-4 levels than with Rebirth.

Also, the Mantid is a bit quick, if you don't have quad laser level fours you can knock down it's HP by about half, but by then it'll be on your cockpit glass, doing it's \"I got hit by a weapon so I'm going to spew one of those tracking plasma blobs that you can't dodge because I'm at point blank range.

For the Angler, I understand that he is supposed to be a replacement for the ITD, but he's either too flat or too quick with his dodging. This is really minor because it doesn't cause too many troubles short of minor frustration.

I'll also make the observation that the harpoon can lead the heck out of your ship when you're trying to maneuver around it.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:17 am 
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You'll wonder why the Angler or the Harpoon was ever a threat once you get more powerful weaponry. They're only tough in the beginning only because you have limited options of attack. But they are meant to fade into the background once you become more powerful. But at least they had their 15 mins of fame in the first few levels when you're still 'weak' as it were.

As for the Mantid, he's a nuisance throughout the entire mission, but it is possible to go through the entire campaign without him getting in your face once. I've done it. You just have to learn new tactics when fighting a Mantid.

Honestly, I don't find this mission hard at all until the last 6-8 levels. And this is on hotshot. Honestly, I don't like it when games dumb themselves down for the wider audience, I feel most people would actually appreciate a good challenge.

And what errors would those be Jake in XL? I'm playing XL 1.12.66 (last stable version before the switch to a new program language) and it works fine for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:49 am 
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Agreed on the Harpoon. I remember the start of level 4. Ouch.

Angler is really really powerful for its role but it takes one good shot to kill - once you get the Gauss (not there yet myself) though it'll probably be borderline irrelevant. As it is, as long as it doesn't get the jump on you you're good.

Mantid is probably the robot I hate the second most so far (most is the thief/somnabulant, and that's primarily because it's a thief and has annoying AI to suit), but it can *usually* be dealt with effectively if you back up when it charges you. I think you get guns that can give it pause before you start to run into it too (vulcan is the most effective but you may want to save that for the tricky-to-hit robots).

I admit I'm probably not the best person to give advice on balance though. I wasn't exactly IDL upper tier material, but still close enough that it makes a difference.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:11 am 
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More comments -

Level 7 - relatively easy. There are possibly *cough* reasons for this, but there was enough space to tackle pretty much everything this time, although Pipers prove rather nasty if you don't catch them fast. I do think it's a bit too dark, will see what I can do about that.

Level 8 - also easy. Ish. Has some ambushes but they aren't ludicrous and they're also, dare I say it, a little predictable. I suspect the appearance of the Gauss here will make the next few levels pretty straightforward, but we shall see.

Secret level 1 - um. Was okay. I found the robots annoyingly hard to deal with at first until I realised that spamming flash missiles in their general direction is actually a VERY effective tactic due to the blast sizes (hint to others playing the set; do this. Far faster than trying to see the Echoes, they're borderline microscopic). I'm not convinced the grates in the reactor room are possible to open for any normal player though. I managed to hit them without mouselook but it's damn hard, and I don't think everyone could.

I should also note my evaluations of the difficulty of each level are really based on comparisons to other levels in the set... the set as a whole on Hotshot compares to D2 Counterstrike somewhere between Ace and Insane, I think.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:59 am 
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I believe that's where we agreed we wanted it to be in terms of difficulty, no?
As for the grate triggers in the reactor room of secret level 1, they are possible. I actually stayed in the doorframe just above the reactor, fired guideds down INTO the room, leveled them up, did a circle pass around the room once, then into the edge of one of the grates into the small inaccessible area beyond and then immediately swung the missile around to the control panel. Its doable, and I can actually do it in 1-2 tries at most now with practice. Its definitely doable.

Sirius way to do it below also works. Its really up to the player if they think its worth it or not. Secret level 1 was meant to have everything sealed off tight. The later secret levels loosen up a bit however.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:15 am 
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If you've got the space and mouse sensitivity to spin them round like that, yeah, that's possible. The absolute easiest way is probably just to use invulnerability for it and sit under fire ... whether that's worth it is another question. The reactor definitely makes things way harder though.

I ended up sitting as near to underneath the reactor as I could get so I could use the geometry to block it, then trying to get guided missiles through the grates on a shallow enough angle to turn fast enough. Took some time to get it right.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:33 am 
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you need to adjust the cube size for that level 2 blue key problem then test it from standard descent2.exe if it works then it's ok.... which we all know everyone has

--------------------------------------------------

Before you report a bug

Is it version specific or level specific

our first priority should be level specific

if you think you have discovered a problem, where you using descent2.exe or d2win85.exe to validate?? If not test and attempt to validate it in one of those base programs, if the bug is the same then yes .....report it as a level bug

Let's keep away from what some open source add-on does and open-source add-on doesn't or how certain ones mask the errors.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:44 am 
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well it has been confirmed that the player ship is 0.3 units larger than the traditional Pyro. When Sirius gets back to me on checking to see if shrinking it to the same size as the Pyro fixes the problems, then there probably won't need to require changes to the levels. But if not, we'll have to go through them one by one and alter it. But let's see first if changing its size fixes things.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:47 am 
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that would make the difference in a 20 unit cube vs a 25 unit cube when compared to a standard pyro in a std level set

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:14 am 
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Well, level 25 has a very badly conceived spot for a control panel which enables you to skip 90% of the level, grab the red key straight off and head for the boss. I'm going to be.....moving this control panel. So if anyone was able to exploit this during testing, it'll be dealt with.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:42 am 
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I've encountered wierdly stretched textures in D2X-XL (although I'm not using the latest version). I haven't been able to beat many of the levels without cheats, but of the levels I have completed, I have to say it's one of the most fun level sets I've ever played. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:58 pm 
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As difficulty levels go, you'll probably find that playing one lower than you're used to is about right.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:59 pm 
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yeah, new skill levels:
Rookie, Hotshot, Ace, Insane, Deathwish. :P

Anyhoo, level 25 boss spawns invisible diamond claws, suggest changing those to something nasty, like warlords. :P

EDIT: Also, due to some concerns, the Angler will have a speed reduction, which will make targeting it a bit easier. No other changes are planned.
The Harpoon has a insane leading aim of 255 (max possible), we can knock this down to 240 which should eliminate its awesome leading and let it prove to be a less hard opponent that early in the mission.
No changes have been planned for the Komodo, I personally feel the robot is fine the way it is. Esp. since I tend to rely on him a bit more in later levels, he needs to stay the current difficulty.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:27 pm 
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OK, after playing the last few levels on Hotshot, there are a handful of mostly balancing-related comments I'd like to make.

23, A Road That Leads - this being dark, you're going to be using energy, whether through the headlight or flares, to be able to see much. Right now there are no energy centres at all. Once I ran out of powerups, I started going through missile supplies and seriously got down to using Earthshakers to clear robots. Completed it without dying but very, very low on weapons. There were Boarsheads there too, instead of Warlords. Another thing; you broke the texture alignment on one pillar when you added a light to it.

I'd suggest making changes/additions as you see fit. Right now, it's not that evil except that it can easily catch you unprepared, and leave you even more unprepared for the boss two levels later.

25, The Core is the Nexus - yeah, that trigger makes things easier, but this is a tight level with Golems and Warlords bombarding you constantly, so it never becomes too easy. The worst thing was the stream of plasma blobs from shooting the Golems and no space to dodge them. Not quite as painful as taking their smart missiles in the face, but still painful.

26, The Sunspire - that boss... there's a very good boss arena for dodging earthshakers, but that stream of Fusion makes dogfighting impossible so I had to deal to it with Phoenix from outside the door. It may be easier with a cloak. Only had two to go around though.

You could possibly lock the player in the boss room to make things interesting, but you'd then have to supply an energy centre and probably two or three more cloaks. I'm wondering what that boss is going to be like on Insane, regardless.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:25 am 
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I'll look into that level 23 texture misalignment. And where would you suggest we put a energy center? I'm guessing where the civilization looking area with pillars and arches...somewhere around there. But where?

Level 25 - yes, the small areas with deadly robots is intentional, its getting down the the wire for the last few levels and its time to force the player to start using some of his more powerful weaponry to clear out hard to eliminate robots.

Level 26 - The boss is easy for me in D2-XL mainly because by then, I've inventoried about 6 cloaks and 8 invuls by that time. I judicially save them. But there is one cloak and one invul in the arena for other versions of Descent. But since there is only one each, I do agree it makes things tougher. Shall I place one cloak and invul right before the main door? Thoughts.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:21 am 
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Probably that intersection beyond the wall behind the blue door would be a good place to put an energy centre. Somewhere in there.

For level 26, yeah, one of the problems of balancing for D2-XL is that you can change so many variables on the fly. Best to make sure it's playable for people using other versions of D2 though, because if they run into something that was designed for the inventory system they're out of luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:27 am 
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Since Diedel is a tester for this project.

He wishes to help by having his comments viewed by all authors in this project.
Since he is banned from this site. I'm willing to provide links to any comments regarding this project.

This is only to help any author/s who may wish to read feedback from all testers.
I hope no one minds? After all, he only wants to help. ;)

Enemy Within impression

Any further updates concerning TEW. I'll add a direct link.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:18 pm 
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well you can tell Diedel that the new cockpit isn't working in D2-XL because its defaulting to high resolution versions found in the PIG file rather than looking in the POGs attached to each and every level. Its causing some problems by having some new cockpit graphics showing, but not others.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:00 pm 
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Hehe, Diedel isn't going to be so happy with much of my work in this mission because I've been trying some weird things to break the mould. Some of them worked (level 15 boss chamber particularly) and some of them didn't (level 4 crystalline rooms). I'm not particularly happy with Into the Deep either. A Road That Leads would have worked with a different texture library; maybe I can dig up some custom textures for it since we've already got 5MB of POGs anyway.

If only it were faster to do good caves with this engine. One of the reasons I'm looking to get into UT3 instead.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:08 pm 
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well, I can send you the most current version of levle 23 I have so you can update the textures as you see fit for it. As for into the deep, I was impressed by it. I like it the way it is. :) There are a few corridors that could use work, but I decided not to touch it; unless you'd prefer to.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:48 am 
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Made a start on #4. It might be a couple days before I finish the thing; I have no interest in burying myself in Descent editors for 12 hours straight.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:10 am 
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Thrown some custom textures and energy centres into level 23. I might look at it tomorrow and hate everything but fingers crossed. The textures must be better than they were at least.

No more work on 4 yet. Running through caves in my head to think of something I haven't already done with them.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:29 am 
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sigh.

Yes, I'm going to be making additional changes. I botched a texture alignment somewhere down the track.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:37 am 
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This might be of some use if you were interested in going down that track DFW.
http://www.descent2.de/dle-xp-music-howto.html
Yes, it's one version only, but it's a significant one (you use it!) so it might at least reduce tech-support calls... so to speak...

Your call though. Never heard a yea or nay on whether you wanted to do that.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:12 am 
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or I could simply plop in the current descent.sng file, that should work right? :P Either way, players can put it in the data folder of D2-XL and have it work or put it in the main D2 folder of other versions to have it work.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:05 pm 
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I'd do both. An extra .sng file isn't going to stop the mission working or add anything appreciable to the file size.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:54 pm 
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I shall do both then. As for level 23, great job, but by removing the emtpy lights in many of the brighter portions of the cave, its made it pitch black in D2-XL which requires light based textures to give off light. So I'm thinking...maybe we replace the under-texture in those light areas to blue/red/fuel center goal textures to give certain parts of the cave a colored tint?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:47 pm 
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Not familiar with the colours of those. If it's just a subtle shade, OK, but I don't want bright blue weirdness.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:23 pm 
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well, if you're willing to let me, I'll test them out and see what looks best to me and I'll post up screenshots here for confirmation. And they actually shouldn't effect the way the level looks color and light wise in any other descent 2 version, so we should be okay there.
Here are some samples, I have to tone down that blue, but it does work well in the areas I've put it in. What do you think DH?
Image
Image
Image
Image


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:19 pm 
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Okay a new version of the set will be ready soon by Sirius for download to all testers....speaking of testers, we haven't heard so much as a peep from a lot of you and not as much as we'd have hoped from the rest. Is everything alright? Or do we need testers with more free time? :?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:57 am 
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Everyone should have a new beta download link in their PMs.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:40 am 
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I didn't encounter any bugs in the old version apart from what had already been posted, but it was one of the most fun missions I'd ever played, even if I couldn't beat many of the levels without cheats (I normally play on Trainee.)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:53 pm 
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did you like what I did with your original level design Fox? (level 18 )


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:52 pm 
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Yes, I think that level is one of the coolest and most fun levels in the entire set. Plus, it's level 18 (which has always been my favourite level number, I have no idea why), that it's an ice level (my favourite of D2's \"themes\"), and that uses lots of the Komodos (in my opinion, the coolest robot in the set). My only issue is I can't beat it without cheats. (I can't get very far in the mission without cheats, so I'm using cheats so I can at least test each level for everything besides difficulty, which I already know is insanely hard.)

BTW - The name of level 13 \"Caldera\", was also the name of a character in an anthology I recently read (Magic: The Gathering - Shadowmoor). I'm not sure, but that name might be copywrighted.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:04 pm 
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Caldera is a common word for a lava hole, look it up in the dictionary, hardly think its copyrighted.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:23 pm 
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That word is actually Caledra, to the best of my knowledge. Caldera seemed to be a clever play on it, with the D and E reversed.

EDIT: Sorry, my bad. Turns out I've been spelling it wrong my whole life! :P


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:28 am 
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DBB Captain
DBB Captain
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 9:21 pm
Posts: 983
AOL: DarkFlameWolfie
Location: Lousiana
Honestly, I'm kinda disappointed. Other than Alter-fox, who although he cheated, is the only person I know of who actually took the time and finished the mission. He didn't do much bug-testing/feedback wise, but at least he's consistent with his comments on the quality and fun-ness of the set. I haven't heard hardly a word from most of the rest of you. So I'm not entirely sure I can happily put you down as testers for the set unless I hear some more comments. It doesn't necessarily have to be bug fixes/reports if they truly aren't any. But comments and general feedback is always appreciated. Just to let us developers know you still care about the project and are actively playing/testing it. That is all.


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